Saturday, July 4, 2015

Beer tasting at East End Market.

I went to East End Market, 3201 Corrine Drive Orlando, FL, where I have some cards on consignment displayed at Local Roots Farm Store which brings the freshness and quality of the farm directly to the city, including local produce, artisan foods and craft beer. I was advised to get a rotating card stand to display the cards but it had slots which were too large for the 5 by 7 inch cards I had created. Because the slats are so large, cards kept falling on the floor and I was asked to remove the display. I'm thinking that I could hand make foam core boxes that could keep the cards from falling but that is a complex task that is on the back burner for now. For now, my cards are on display in a small wicker basket on a shelf.

The bar is made of a huge single slab of wood that curves elegantly.  Taylor and Megan were trying a beer sampler which had six shot sized glasses of beer for their tasting pleasure. I like this sampler idea. I just started a monthly artist group called "Drink and Draw" and the idea is to sample beers at a different bar each month with a group of artists. I am hoping to refine my tastes while also sketching.

Mark your Calendar. The first Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) event will be at Taverna Opa, 9101 International Drive, #2240, Orlando, FL from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on July 6th. Taverna Opa has an assortment of unique Mediterranean dishes. But you might not be too focused on the food as restaurant goers participate in the traditional Zorba line dance and throw plates and napkins on the floor. I'm having to re-think my retail display since cards keep falling on the floor, but it has to be fun sketching a restaurant and bar with plates and napkins getting thrown on the floor.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for July 4th and 5th.

Saturday July 4, 2015
4pm to 10pm Free. Fireworks at Lake Eola. Lake Eola Park 512 East Washington Street Orlando FL. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer invites Central Florida residents and visitors to attend Fireworks at the Fountain on Saturday, July 4, 2015 at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early in order to find a great viewing spot. The night will conclude with a patriotic firework display over Lake Eola, which will begin at 9:10 p.m.

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

7pm to 9pm Free.  Swingout Saturday. 644 Florida Central Parkway, Longwood, Florida. The music is hot and the dance floor will rock! Beginner dance lesson at 7pm. Dancing from 8 to 11pm.

Sunday July 5, 2015 
Noon to 5pm Free but get a beer. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ mixes music for the afternoon.

9pm to 11pm Free but get a coffee. 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.

9pm to 11pm Free but get a coffee. Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. Natura Coffee & Tea, 12078 Collegiate Way, Orlando, FL. 407 482-5000.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Artegon then and now.

Artegon is an artist market set up in the former Festival Bay Mall. Festival Bay had only a few merchants who were long term, one was the Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon Surf Shop. Unfortunately the rest of the mall was usually half empty. Artegon came in with an exciting concept to convert the mall into an artist market. I liked the idea, having been to a number of exiting markets around the world like the bazaar in Turkey. Rent for artist vendors started at a cheap rate of $6 a day, so I went to several of the early pitch meetings to consider the idea of setting up a shop for myself.

After the pitch we all got a chance to tour the new facility. All of the inner courtyards had been given alleyways of cages for vendors to set up shop. Each cage was about 10 feet square. The effect as we walked through the dark space was much like an insane asylum or Thunder dome from Mad Max. One artist had invested in a huge retail gallery space for his own vanity gallery. When I re-visited Artegon several months later, he had moved out. Unfortunately the cages are never more than half occupied.

A metal zip line elevated aerial adventure  had been constructed in the largest courtyard. Within one month of the opening, a tourist fell to his death from the attraction. There is no safety net, but I imagine tourists must sign a waver before they climb up to the heights. The Daily City, another Orlando News site set up shop for the opening of Artegon, but that store also closed. Walking around recently I didn't recognize and local artists as vendors, although local B-Side artists collaborated to create some decent murals.

Driving from the airport to Orlando on the Bee line and on I-4 I noticed billboards for Artegon. They hope to bring in tourists to the market and travel destination. Despite the marketing efforts the place still has a lonely vacant feel. Gods and Monsters, a comic superstore just opened, and at the opening day the market was finally bustling with costumed superheros. Perhaps it will take a superhero to save this artist market ideal. Right now the place seems to have an identity crisis.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Art and Horror of ‘Phantasmagoria’ was at Valencia College.

A multi-media art exhibit brought the spirit of a Victorian-era, Steampunk-influenced Halloween opened at Valencia College’s East Campus on Oct. 3 for a one-week run. “The Art and Horror of ‘Phantasmagoria’: Puppetry, Photography, Costumes, Props and Video” offered an inside peek at the magic behind “Phantasmagoria,” a critically-acclaimed stage production that director John DiDonna describes as “a graphic novel come to life.” Five years ago, “Phantasmagoria” began as an evening of horror stories told by local actors dressed in clothing from the late 1880s. Today, the production has evolved into a sort of Gothic soap opera, with recurring characters who appear year after year.

The exhibit also included Phantasmagoria-related works by prominent local and international artists, including paintings by Thomas Thorspecken and photographs by Kristen Wheeler and Beaureguarde Von Hoffman. The exhibit was on display at Valencia’s Anita S. Wooten Gallery.I went to the opening reception and was immediately drawn to the Punch and Judy styled puppets on display. Some people at the opening were dressed in Victorian Steampunk fashions and they weren't even part of the Phantasmagoria cast. Members of the cast did mingle mysteriously at the opening and then they waltzed to music that only they could hear. Giant skulls and bones hung from the ceiling and a ghostly figure hoovered in the corner.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A panel discussion helped students learn about Theater.

John DiDonna, who is the Program Chair/Artistic Director of the Theater Department at Valencia College's East Campus, organized a panel discussion with some of Orlando's biggest talents. The event was held in the community area right next to the campus Black Box Theater in front of the gallery which had a show of black and white photos documenting racism in Central Florida.

Beth Marshal started off the discussion, Mike Deaven and Anastasia Stacy are integral to her production company, Beth Marshall Presents. Beth basically stressed that students should have realistic expectations if they want to get into the theater business. When I sketch at Beth's auditions, Mike is always there to play opposite someone in scenes. He is Beth's assistant. Anastasia is Beth's son's girlfriend and she has become indispensable as Beth's Stage manager. Students who go into theater tend to think they will start making over $30,000 a year, but realistically most actors, directors and stage hands all need to have a day job to pay the bills. The only way to work your way into theater is through patience, perseverance and endless determination.

Alana McMillan Friskes is the Executive Director of the Garden Theatre. I love that historic Theater with its star studded indoor ceiling. Built in 1935, it was the first movie theater built for "talkies." The theater underwent several renovations before closing in 1963. It was then converted into a farm supply store. The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, restored the Garden Theatre which  reopened in February of 2008. With over 200 events per season, has quickly become a shining star on Plant Street. Alana has been integral in bringing live theater to the stage in Winter Garden.

James Brendlinger, who is the Chairman of the Department of Arts & Communications at Lake Howell High, School, is also the founder of Penguin Point Productions. James helped build and organize a huge expanded Costume Room which is an incredible resource for the theater community. I know that he collaborated with Beth Marshall Productions on Hoodies which was a powerful production at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. The Central Florida Theater community is small and very interconnected. A strong reputation takes time to build, but a bad reputation is quickly discovered by everyone in this tight knit community.

Aradhana Tiwari spoke about how she admired the work of a director at Mad Cow Theatre. She had never done this before, but she asked to shadow the director to find out how he worked. He then left the theatre and Aradhana was promoted to the position of being Mad Cow's resident director. John DiDonna shouted out "She is essentially the Artistic Director." This is a fine parable about how curiosity and drive can lead to unexpected breaks in this business. I learned things about the Central Florida Theater Community, and I've been sketching from the sidelines for years. This must have been an eye opening experience for students just starting out in theater.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bikini Ad Space turned heads at Fringe.

Katie Thayer, an attractive local actress and comedian, came up with the idea of Bikini Ad Space at the Orlando International Fringe Festival several years ago. The idea is pure genius and simple. She wears a sexy bikini and you can body paint your message on any of her prime body parts. Her lower shins, and her upper or lower arms, front and back go for $5 each. $10 gets prime exposure on her upper calves, front and back, and her belly. You can "get cheeky" by purchasing ad space on both butt cheeks for $15. Of course the most expensive ad space is the $20 chest ad which can nestle in her cleavage.

We bumped into Katie on the first day of the Fringe Sketch Tour and arranged to sketch her the next day. She works inside the Shakespeare Theater lobby which is always crowded with people buying tickets and waiting for shows. She had her leg propped up on a table covered with show flyer's. The layer of flyer's was an inch thick which meant you often had to dig down to find a flyer for the show you were interested in. Usually clients had the opportunity to paint their ad on Katy's flesh. In this rare instance Katy was painting her own ad to get people to vote for Bikini Ad Space as the best "Bring Your Own Venue" in The Daily City Audience Choice Awards. I don't know if she won that honor.

Cootie Catcher in the red venue had purchased the prime cleavage ad space while Valence had invested in belly ad space. I saw valance, an introspective dance performance that inspected touch in human interactions, but I never saw Cootie Catcher. My sketch protege sketched me sketching Katy and I'm sure photos were shot which made it a very "Meta" performance. The day before, Katy had left her kit of brushed behind and it vanished. Luckily she found a loose brush in the bottom of her bag, but it was a rather blunt brush which meant she couldn't add any refined touches. I offered her one of my brushes but she was too proud to take it. I hope that the ads she sold will help pay for a new set of brushes because quality brushes are expensive. Her palette was a clear plastic plate. Friends stopped to ask her advice on the best shows to see. Katy had seen tons of shows, so she was a great resource.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sterio Type performed at the Fringe Outdoor Stage.

Stereo Type which hails from Daytona Beach, Florida performed at the Fringe Outdoor Stage. Band members include, Vincent Victor Oath on Guitar and Lead Vocals, Brian Topp on Drums. Their genre is Punk and Hard Rock. We came across the band performing during the Fringe Sketch Tour. Music sets on the outdoor stage are seldom over an hour long and usually much less, so I rushed to get something on the page. My Sketch Tour protege was a bit tired, having already done about 5 drawings that day. She decided to listen to the music and just watch me work. In a sense this sketch became a demonstration on how to work fast and furious. Hopefully it helped.

The music was also fast and furious as band members banged their heads to the beat. When sketching live performances, the beat and rhythm often work their way into every line and wash on the sketch. After the initial frustrations subside, I often reach a point where I'm no longer drawing things, but a feeling or flow through the scene. It is magic when it happens but I'm to harsh a critic to decide if it worked. I put the sketch aside and start hunting for my next scene to capture.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tears of a Tyrant performed on the outdoor stage at Fringe.

On the Fringe Sketch Tour we stopped to sketch Tears of a Tyrant on the outdoor stage. They had a colorful tie-die banner as a backdrop. Danielle Dart was the lead singer with a purple floral garland in her hair. She had a dreamy way of closing her eyes as she sang that was quite endearing. Jester Cordell accompanied her on acoustic guitar. There are usually two other members in the band, but I guess they couldn't make it out to this pro bono gig. They classify their music as Groovy  Classic Rock and Southern Rock.

To me this adorable couple personified the young Central Florida hipster           . ideal with their flip flops and ultra casual attire.  This casual attire is something I love about Orlando. No matter what event you go to in O-town there will be people in tee shirts and flip flops. If you went to a similar event in NYC, everyone would be dressed in black and wearing designer names in an effort to impress. Orlando has plenty of raw care free talent.

Well perhaps not care free. It is hard to make a living as an artist in Orlando. There is a constant exodus out of this town to other cities that are more supportive of the arts. As the 2015 Tallahassee Legislative Special Session came to a close, the film, TV and digital media industry was excluded from the budget again this year. This marks 3 straight years this program has gone without funding. Additionally the proposed budget includes a staff and budget reduction to the State Office of Film and Entertainment. This is why many actors and film makers go out of state to create films.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for June 27th and 28th.

Saturday June 27, 2015
10am to 4pm Free. LibCon. Orlando Public Library 101 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL. A day-long celebration of books at the Orlando Public Library. Come and check it out for book signings, panel discussion, and writing workshops!
The Author’s Fair in Library Central will feature 26 authors of all genres from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. NYT Bestselling Author and Printz Honor recipient Rick Yancey will give the keynote address at 11 a.m. and sign immediately after his talk. Yancey’s book The 5th Wave is now a major motion picture, releasing 2016. From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be panel discussions for both readers and aspiring authors.
Attending authors are: R.L. Austin, Kait Ballenger, Vivi Barnes, Stacy Barton, Richard Lee Byers, E.M. Caines, Doug Dillon, Lucienne Diver, James Driggers, Christina Farley, Maria Geraci, Lori Goldstein, Shane Hinton, Nathan Holic, Trisha Leaver, Ethan Long, Tawdra Kandle, Marianne Kirby, David Lapham, Lynne Matson, Amy Christine Parker, H.D. Smith, J.A. Souders, Jeff Strand, Nancy Robards Thompson, Lynne Waddell. (Subject to change.)

11am to 4pm Free. Snap! Orlando presents : 'Snap! Book Day' 1013 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida. Enjoy a quiet afternoon mimosa and coffee with art and photo books, Limited Edition European periodicals, magazines and art guides. This is the kick-off to a recurring event held on select Saturdays at Snap! Space.
Collectors are willing to pay steep prices for the world’s finest art and photography books. We’ll be showcasing signed rare editions from the likes of Duane Michals, Gottfried Helnwein, Irwin Olaf, Mei Xian Qiu, Sebastiao Salgado, Tom Chambers, Zun Lee, Viviane Sassen and many more. Sometimes these books have captured an era or a location, sometimes they have helped to coin an artistic trend, most often they are simply the finest work of a particular artist or photographer.
Along with art and photography books, we will showcase the best periodicals in fashion, European magazines, photo magazines and architectural guides. Post and current editions will be on view for your perusing pleasure! Also on view is our current exhibition, ‘LIFE IN REAL TIME.’
Free parking in Snap! Space’s lot on Thornton Ave. behind the building. Snap! Space is the 5,000 sq. ft. indoor/outdoor gallery home of Snap! Orlando, a 501(c) 3 charitable foundation with the mission to celebrate master photographers, and artists, discover and cultivate emerging talent and promote the appreciation of photography and art worldwide.

2pm to 4pm Free. The Warriors Party and Charity Event. Rogue Pub 3076 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, Florida. Come out and play Saturday, June 27th starting at 2p for a Warriors themed charity event benefiting the Pug Rescue of Florida. Enjoy a Warrior themed draft line-up, costume contest, purchase some Warrior inspired art from local artists and get a chance to meet some of the awesome pups from the Pug Rescue!

Sunday June 28, 2015
10am to Noon Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en masse around the city as they check off their scavenger hunt-like list of Do Gooder Duties; collecting litter, helping senior citizens cross the road, returning shopping carts, basically performing small acts of kindness for an hour and a half of hilarity and love.
The Super Joy Riders: Do Gooder Bike Ride is an exercise in community organizing and active engagement. We hope to use the ride as an opportunity to show how helping people can be simple, fun, and easy, especially while wearing a cape.

You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever
We are inviting Orlando to come with us on a fun filled bike ride of awesomeness on the last Sunday of the month. Dress like a superhero, hop on a bike, and follow our scavenger hunt list of Good Deeds as we all try to save the world with small acts of kindness.
Look for the capes!

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

1pm to 3pm Free but get a coffee. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 N Bay St, Eustis, FL.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Grim and Fisher was part mime, part puppetry and pure magic.

Grim and Fisher produced by Wonderheads from Portland Oregon was in the Silver Venue at this years Orlando International Fringe Festival. They were the creators of last years Fringe hit Loon, so my expectations were high.

Grim and Fisher was an epic showdown between a dour faced Grim Reaper and a lively and determined granny. The set consisted of a simple rocking chair and a side table with a tiny box on top of it. Much of the first act consisted of the Granny messing with a repairman who came to her apartment to repair her TV. When he needed to use the bathroom, he was surprised because every time he touched the door, loud farts would emanate from inside. I guess this established the granny as an "old fart" but when she came out holding a whoopee cushion is also established her as having a sense of humor.

When Grim comes for the old lady, she doesn't go willingly. When she gives him the tiny box, he is won over when he discovers it is a music box. He forgets his job and shows his more human side for a moment. It reminded me of the food critic's scene when he tastes the rats sumptuous food for the first time. The granny puts her former husband's coat on Grim and they dance.

When Grim realizes he has a job to do, the old lady battles for her life. In the end she does walk towards the light perhaps finally reunited with her long lost husband. The show for me wasn't as magical as Loon. I knew from the start that death always wins. It made the battle to live a little sad.