Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Bay Street Players presented Legally Blonde The Musical.

Amanda Warren the director of Legally Blonde The Musical invited me to the historic State Theater to sketch the show. I've seen the movie, "Legally Blonde", but never the musical. The theater is located in Eustis which turned out to be quite an adventurous drive north. The lobby was quite crowded when I arrived. It turned out that the computer system was down and so staff was shuffling through stacks of tickets while patrons waited. Amanda got on stage to introduce the show. I was surprised by the high cost to purchase the rights to stage the show. Thankfully the house was sold out.

The musical was fun and light hearted. Elle played by Meredith Pughe pursued her man, but in the end realized it was more important to pursue her dreams.  The multi level set designed by Tom Mangieri and Scott Fattizzi was quite impressive with an entire wall that could rotate to morph the stage into a courtroom. The upbeat musical direction was by Andy Matchett off stage. Bruiser, Katie Scarlett Baker, the tiny chihuahua seemed like a dear in the headlights while Rufus, Zoe Carpenter, the basset hound stole his scenes by exploring the stage to comic effect.

It is surprisingly easy to be swept away in this valley girl's rise to self awareness. The music was fun and the show moved along at a fast pace. It was an incredibly ambitious production with over forty actors involved. The show proves that small community theaters are already thriving as the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center opens its doors in downtown Orlando for the first time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Corsets and Cuties add some spice to the holiday season.

I went to a dress rehearsal or should I say, an undress rehearsal for Corsets and Cuties at Danceworks on Curry Ford Road. Snow was blanketing most of the country while the cast gathered outside the dance studio waiting for an aerobics dance class to end. Each dancer clutched her costumes for the night. Exhaling, I could faintly see my breath. One dancer was really under the weather trying to recover from a cold or flu. Three new dancers had joined the cast. One lamented that all her co-workers were planning to go to the show to see her in her birthday suit.

When the class let out, the Cuties stormed the dressing room. Producer and performer Jaimz Dillman acted as the announcer. She explained that the show consisted of some well rehearsed favorites and some new acts that stayed with the holiday season theme. Blue tarps were duck taped over the front windows as the cast changed. A large group number opened the show and then there were a series of solo performances. Many performers sang as well as danced, confirming that there is some major talent in this show. Feathers and baubles flew to the floor along with clothing.

Some acts were laugh out loud funny, like the Junk in a Box routine. Two cuties sat in their 60s styled negligee and they were seduced by two male admirers holding gift boxes at their hips.  When the girls finally got a look inside, their shocked expressions were priceless. Two huge dildos sat nestled inside. Marisa Ashley Quijano acting as one of the men, thrust her box braced hips so hard that the top popped off to hilarious effect. She also later did a "Blue Christmas" number where she shed her white polar fleece jacket to show off her sexy blue lace outfit.

The Corsets and Cuties show on Saturday November 22nd at The Venue (511 Virginia Drive Orlando FL) is SOLD OUT.  Having experienced the fun and craziness of their rehearsals, I can understand why.

Friday, November 21, 2014

AADW Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 22 & 23.

Saturday November 22 2014
10am to 4pm Free. Harvest Festival. Winter Park Central Park West Meadow 150 N New York Avenue Winter Park FL. A one-day event focused on connecting the grass-roots with the deep-roots of our local food-shed by celebrating our local farmers, gardeners, entrepreneurs and non-profits. (321) 236-3316

5pm to 7pm Free. FORMENTO + FORMENTO Artist Talk & Book Signing. Snap! Orlando 1013 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Fl. an evening artist talk, projection and book signing at Snap! Space with FORMENTO + FORMENTO. Please RSVP (No cover / LIMITED CAPACITY).
Bj Formento is the light. Richeille Formento is the pigment. Weaving cinematic worlds drenched in sensuality, FORMENTO + FORMENTO produce genre-bending photography that is as conceptually rich as it is precisely crafted. Currently on exhibit at Snap! Space, are works from The Japan Diaries. For this series, the Formentos drew their inspiration from 1950’s Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa, Araki and Moriyama, as well as Edo woodblock prints and erotic imagery of Ero Guro paintings.

6pm to 11pm Free. Jingle Eve. Ivanhoe Village 1605 Alden Rd, Orlando, Fl. Jingle Eve is a neighborhood-wide holiday celebration that always occurs the weekend before Thanksgiving. It’s the start of the holiday season here in Orlando and you don’t want to miss it!
Here is a sneak-peak of the night's events:
Santa's workshop
Happy Holiday sign lighting
Christmas tree lighting in Gaston Edwards Park
Holidays specials and samples from local merchants
Wine Stroll
The Food Truck Bazaar
Great local vendors
And more!

Sunday November 23, 2014
10am to 12:30pm $10. Sketch Class. Crealdé School of Art, 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park, FL. Life drawing from a nude model.

Noon to 2pm Free. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try yourself.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bastille Day in Audubon Park was a grey day for a beheading.

Bastille Day is a celebration of the victorious French Revolution. On July 12th the Audubon Park Garden District hosted a Bastille Day Festival at 1603 Winter Park Road, which turned out to be a church. As Terry and I arrived, it was starting to drizzle. The weather didn't stop Marie Antoinette from posing for photos and signing autographs. Another photo opportunity was a well oiled guillotine. Anyone could stick their neck out for a photo if they dared. I stood in the entry vestibule of the church to keep my sketch out of the rain.

A small outdoor market  featured Bamapana Vintage, Lady Day Vintage, Whisk and Bowl, The Crepe Company, La Femme du Fromage, The Yum Yum Truck, OhLaLa Petanque Club, and Olde Hearth Bread Company. Inside the church courtyard there was a wine and cheese tasting going on but this was a ticketed event that Terry and I hadn't signed up for. I pressed my nose up to the window to see that the tasting room was packed. The courtyard also had some french themed art and a game of pin the hat on Napoleon. No one was playing the game, so I wasn't tempted to sketch. The guillotine was moved out of the rain into the covered courtyard and I followed it to complete my sketch. Who would have the nerve to move a guillotine during a public execution?  It turned out that a photographer was in charge and he snapped photos of anyone willing to kneel down. I'm still convinced that those picture boxes are a passing fad. There was supposed to be baguette fencing but I never witnessed it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fiddler's Green was a great spot for Geof Benge's Birthday Celebration.

Geoff Benge celebrated his birthday with family and friends at Fiddler's Green (544 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL). Geoff and his wife Janet, both from New Zealand,  are co-authors of 68 biographies of famous historical figures, with over 3 million copies sold worldwide. Their latest book, Triumph- the Extraordinary Life of Louis Zamparini, is timed perfectly to engage young readers prior to the Christmas Day release of Unbroken, a movie of his life directed by Angelina Jolie.

Before the party, I sketched the regular patrons at the bar. The heated discussion was all about soccer. Once Geoff and Janet arrived, I joined them in the back room. Guinness flowed and conversations turned to literature.  Friends got up to toast Geoff. He is apparently known for being able to hold his liquor. On a trip with friends he had a liquor bottle. The group went on an exhausting hike and Geoff kept sipping from his bottle to every one's amazement. He not only kept up with all the other hikers, but he was sure footed the whole way. It wasn't until later, around the camp fire that everyone learned that his bottle was actually full of water.

The only time I drink Guinness is when there is chocolate cake to go with it. The sweet chocolate is fantastic to wash down with the thick dark beer. I was in bliss.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Audubon Market has produce and a sense of community.

Mondays in Orlando offer few event options. If I’m unable to find a sketchable event, I always go to the Audubon Garden District Community Market at Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 Winter Park Rd, Orlando, FL). Tents start to go up in the Stardust parking lot as the sun sets. I like to order a drink at Stardust and sit back to watch all the activity.

On this Monday, I sketched the Stardust patrons who were soaking in the atmosphere. The market always has a live performer which also makes it the perfect spot to sketch. Produce and products are locally grown and crafted which make the market a healthy shopping option. When I order something to eat, I know that at least I ate one healthy meal for the week. With East End Market just a few blocks away there is no reason not to eat a healthy balanced diet all week, but as an artist on the run, I tend to only eat processed fast food before doing most sketches. Maybe a better diet could result in better sketches.

I’ve sketched a number of vegetarian and Vegan themed events and have seen and heard the merits of not eating meat, yet I haven’t yet followed up with a commitment to change my eating habits. It is hard to teach this old dog how to improve his diet. Eating is a quick necessity that I don’t think much about. I function primarily on caffeine and sugar. Perhaps that is why my sketches pen Iines are so shaky and nervous. Healthy living courses seem like such a luxury, yet im probably not functioning at 100%. Aching bones tend to be a distraction when getting lost in the creative process. Perhaps someday I’ll change.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Parrot Adventures grants a girls wish.

 About once a month, Parrot Adventures meets at Albert Park in College Park. This particular meeting was special because the Make a Wish Foundation was granting a young girls wish to be surrounded by parrots. It turned out to be a rainy day but that didn't stop the birds and their owners from coming out. Everyone crowded under a small gazebo to stay out of the rain. I huddled under an umbrella sitting on a picnic table to get the sketch done. Some rain blew in, exploding the pigments already on the sketch.

Someone had made bird shaped cookies, and the little girl got to meet every single bird. I was afraid that Zorro, Terry and my Cockatoo, might bite the girl, but even he was on his best behavior.  Since it was raining, we all went across the street to Graffiti Junktion for lunch. The front patio was covered, so the girl continued to meet birds all through lunch. Terry and I like to take Zorro out once a month to help him be more sociable around other people. On a number of occasions, blood was spilled, but parrot owners are rather forgiving.

Mark Your Calendar! The next "Parrot Adventures" club event is scheduled for 11am to 2pm on December 14, 2014 at Albert Park. The address is 2400 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mysty Forest Becomes an Animation Studio

Travis Blaise, a former Disney Animator offered a class at Misty Forest (N Hyer Ave, Orlando, FL) which had the students working towards completing an animated short. The story was called "Rosalie and the Bottle Tree". A bottle tree is simply empty bottles put on the end of tree limbs and a bottle tree can bring good fortune. The narration was complete and the children's drawings were used as the story boards.

What Misty Forest lacked in terms of cameras and light tables, it made up in the children's enthusiasm. I don't believe the film was ever completed, but the kids had a great time getting to collaborate on  what might one day become an inspired little film. All it takes is on determined soul to reignite the spark and take on the Herculean task of finishing the animation.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Crucible never gets old.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller cemented his reputation as a major playwright at a very early age. It deals with the Salem witch hunts and was used as a parable to mirror the McCarthy communist witch hunts in the 60s. As my first sketch opportunity after returning from Australia, I went to Lake Minneola High School (101 North Hancock Rd Minneola Fl) to see a run through of this student production being produced and directed by Kaitlin Elizabeth Baxter.

The school seemed like a fortress or prison as I approached at night. Tall fences surrounded the entire school and a locked gate blocked me from parking near the performing Arts building. I must have grown up in much more innocent times.  I circled back and drove around the school looking for an gap in the fence. I found an opening on the opposite side of the school and parked near the bus loading zone. The gates to the school inner compound were unlocked, and I asked a student to point me towards the Performing Arts Building. Kaitlin had left one of the lobby doors open.

In the theater, the run through was already in progress. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, Kaitlin welcomed me. I found a spot up front and started to sketch. John Proctor, (Daniel Santos) and his wife Elizabeth (Briana Barnett) felt that their marriage was under attack by Abigail (Bella Martinez) who was accusing Elizabeth of witchcraft so she could have John to herself. John had an affair with Abigail but wanted to stay true to his wife. At the witch trial Abigail screams in horror and points at an unseen menace. All the young girls follow her lead and join in the hysteria which mystifies and spooks the religious court. There is something truely terrifying about a group of girls acting together as a pack.

There were several long awkward pauses in the second act in the midst of an argument on stage. Even a short pause can feel like an eternity as an actor searches for a line. In a high school lab, I was once asked by a theater teacher to pretend I was on a boat leaving port and my loved ones were on the dock. It was a fun acting exercise that I embraced and enjoyed, and I suppose he wanted to see if I had what it takes to be an actor. I was already addicted to sketching, so I didn't go on stage. I admire anyone who is brave enough to stand in front of an audience. As an artist, I never actually see the people who view my work. They are filtered behind the curtain of the Internet. As a senior in high school, I partied with the theater students. It was a fun boysterous group to be with and I suppose they fueled my need to always stand on the sidelines to watch the magic and hard work of theater. It is possible that a student in this production might find they to could become addicted to the siren's call of theater. It is a calling that can last a lifetime.

The Crucible
Where: Lake Minneola High School -Performing Arts Building 101 North Hancock Rd Minneola Fl
When: Nov. 15th at 7pm -Doors open at 6: 30pm
Tickets: $5 for Students & Seniors $7 for Adults
-Purchase at the Door
-Reservations: Email or call 352-394-9600 ex: 5168

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 15th and 16th.

Saturday November 15, 2014
9am to 3pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL. Antiques.

1pm to 3pm Free. Family Days at the Maitland Museum. Maitland Art Center, 231 Packwood Avenue West, Maitland, FL. Gather your family for an afternoon of quality time together at the A&H's Family Days at the Museum! Our first program is held this Saturday, June 16 at 1:00 PM at the A&H's Maitland Art Center. Family Days at the Museum is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month, and each program is held in a different location within the A&H Museums. Join us for this afternoon of family fun!

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

Sunday November 16, 2014.
3pm to 5pm Free. LECTURE | Eric Gottesman, Artist and organizer. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Fractured Narratives artist Eric Gottesman will speak about his works  in the exhibition, which were inspired by his exploration of the dissident Ethiopian novel Oromaye, written by Baalu Girma. Gottesman's artistic practice focuses on collaboration and dialogue, using photography, writing and film as vehicles to engage others in conversation and critical thought about the social structures that surround them. Sponsored by the Thomas P. Johnson Scholar Fund.

5pm to 9pm Free but get some grub.  Food Truck Bazaar. Orlando Fashion Square, 3201 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL.

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try yourself.