Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hurricane damage in Greenwood Cemetery.

I drive by Greenwood Cemetery almost daily and after Hurricane Irma I was amazed at the amount of tree damage there was in the cemetery. I decided to return to document some of the trees that had snapped like twigs. The first stop was to the four headstones for victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. This area of the cemetery had been largely spared. As a matter of fact one stone had rainbow balloons, rainbow flowers, a pin wheel and a rainbow colored teddy bear. All the memorial items were pristine. The day before had been Leroy Valentín Fernández' birthday. Clearly the family had come out and colorfully decorated his headstone to mark the occasion. All of the Pulse victim headstones now had color photos that were laminated in plastic and cut into the headstones. The photo of Cory Connell was had outstretched arms as if he were ready to wrestle the world. All memorial items had been removed form his stone, probably in preparation for Hurricane Irma. All 4 stone sat quietly in the shade of a large tree that had weathered the storm fine.

Pam Schwartz and I searched the cemetery for the tree I had seen while driving by the cemetery. Blanche Crews headstone was knocked over by a fallen tree limb. It was wedged back up with fallen branches making it look like the fallen angels had crutches.  Dozens of trees had snapped and branches littered the entire cemetery making it appear wild and overgrown. I settled into a spot near the headstone of Edgar Earl Hitchcock. I of course wondered if he was related to the film maker. Pam quickly did research and found out that Edgar was an important figure in Orlando's medical history. He founded the Pediatric Associates of Orlando in 1939. He was shown 8n a photo giving the very first polio vaccine shot in Central Florida to a young boy. His wife Ruth died many years after him but her headstone was not in her family plot or perhaps there is just no headstone.

Across the lane from where I was sketching, a family arrived in several cars. Blue and white helium balloons bounced up out of the car behind them. They were visiting the headstone of Richard Marcano Trinidad who had died on August 19, 2016. He had died at the tender age of 36. His stone noted that he was a Stealers fan and the epitaph read..."For the best daddy in the world. We will never forget you...from your kids." An Orlando Sentinel article reported that police had been dispatched to a home near UCF, where they found Trinidad critically injured. His 36 year old girlfriend was on the scene. I could not find any further reports about how or why Richard had died. The family released the dozen or so blue and white balloons and they silently rose into the sky.

Near the fallen tree I was sketching was the headstone for Harry P. Leu (1884-1977) and his wife Mary (1903-1986) of Leu Gardens fame. Their two granite slabs lying side by side, were pristine except for a few leaves. The Harry P. Leu historic home however has suffered damage from a huge tree limb that crashed into the roof, exposing the Leu bedroom to rain and wind damage. The ceilings and floor boards are soaked. Leu Gardens has closed indefinitely. Pam Schwartz, the Orange County Regional History Center curator went to the historic home to offer advice on preservation societies who might be able to help as well as FEMA contacts. 

The History Center off site storage facility had suffered damage when a roof access panel was blown loose and it gouged holes in the roofing as the heavy metal lid was hurled by the high winds, causing leaks over the historic collection. I was with Pam when she found the soaked warehouse and helped in removing soaked ceiling panels and now useless archival cardboard boxes. It look hours of work and in the emergency the sketchbook was ignored. Even though the floor were dried and artifacts were lifted to be  dried out off the floor, it was then discovered that the walls of the warehouse are fulled with mold. Now an effort needs to be made to save the collection form that mold which is inside the walls up to 10 feet high. The History Center is replacing all the inner walls in an effort to  protect and preserve Orlando's History.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for September 23rd and 24th.

Saturday September 23, 2017,
9 am to 3 pm Free. Orlando Superkids Classic. Manheim Central Florida 9800 Bachman Road Orlando Fl. Soap Box Derby style race with special needs children. Non-special needs children will be drivers and special needs children are passengers.

7 pm to 2 am. Free but drinks cost. Pirate Pub Invasion. Starting at Little fish Huge Pond 401 S. Sanford Ave. Sanford FL, at 7pm and are going to try and invade all the ports in Sanford. Be part of the plundering and pillaging.  Just make sure ye don’t steer yur ship with too much grog in yur belly.  PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. Local Bars
Avenue Lounge
Bitters and Brass
Buster's Bistro
Little Fish HUGE Pond (host bar)
Sanford Brewing Co.
Sanford Avenue Tavern
Standard Sailor
East End Trading Co.
Wops Hops Brewery 

7 pm to 9 pm Free. Functionally Literate presents: SJ Sindu and Kristen Arnett. Blue Bamboo Center For The Arts 1905 Kentucky Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789. A reading, audience Q and A, book signing, and discussion of LGBTQ + issues in literature, featuring Lambda Literary Fellows: SJ SINDU (author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies) KRISTEN ARNETT (author of Felt in the Jaw) Beer, wine. Books for sale by Bookmark It. In partnership with Watermark Publishing Group, Inc.. Sponsored by Rollins College Master of Liberal Studies program.

Sunday September 24, 2017
5 pm to 7 pm Free. Blues Jam hosted by Doc WilliamsonThe Alley 114 S. Park Ave. Winter Park FL. Bring an instrument and join in the fun.

6:30 pm to 7:05 pm $10 Billy and Alan.  Short film screening as part of the Global Peace Film Festival. Cobb Plaza Cinema Café 12, South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL. Director: Vicki Nantz USA, 2013, 35 minutes Website: When Billy Manes lost his partner, Alan, to suicide in 2012, he nearly lost everything he owned to homophobic “in-laws” who swept in to claim Alan’s possessions. Billy would later write about his devastating loss in the Orlando Weekly. In 2013 he agreed to share his story in this documentary to help change hearts and minds in the State of Florida which, at the time, did not recognize same-sex relationships, or provide them any legal protections. Billy Manes died unexpectedly in July. He was friend of the Global Peace Film Festival, and a beloved person in the Orlando community.

 8 pm to 10 pm Free. Harry's Honey Badger CaveLittle Fish Huge Pond 401 S. Sanford Ave. Sanford FL. I have no idea what this is about but it sounds like a good sketch opportunity.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Making Conversations - Global Warming.

Founded by artist LeAnn Siefferman, Making Conversations is an ongoing dinner series in which participants sit together at a large dinner table eat drink and talk about issues that effect us today. In cooperation with The Dinner Party Project the topical dinnerware is transformed into an intimate, private dinner party experience... with 12 strangers.The dinner was held in a very unique space, 1010 West Church Street in Paramour near the new soccer stadium, it's an old airplane hangar that has been converted into a venue.

A large industrial wire spool was set up as a table and plates, all designed by LeAnn were on display. The topic for this evening's dinner was climate change. The pates themselves addressed the issue. For instance one plate had a graph on it that showed the CO2 levels in the atmosphere over thousands of years. Thought the levels rise and fall over the centuries, the recent spike is ominous and unlike any spike from the past.

Another plate set the tone for the evening, it said, "I will listen, I will be open to your ideas. I will hold space. I will ask thoughtful questions. I will reflect before I respond. I will examine my story. I will look at both sides. I will seek the source of my beliefs. I will come to the table to learn." The plates reflected LeAnn's thoughts and he interpretation of information she has gathered on the subject of global warming over the years. Some people at the table were professors who acted as moderators while most were curious open minded people. The moderators were there to answer questions and prompt new ones. The goal l was to learn, listen, share and grow.

LeAnn spoke about each plate before dinner was served. She explained that we see the world through lenses. We interpret the information and project it back out into the world. That process is effected by our experiences, boundaries, religion, society, family, culture, fear, and genetics. Instead of projecting outward, perhaps the conversation could illuminate inward as we seek the source of our stories and understand where they came from. Guests each picked a plate, carried over to the table and dinner was then served.

The catered dinner looked delicious, flowers were arranged as the centerpiece, and the wine flowed. by the time I finished the sketch, the conversations were still heating up. These type of conversations on specific complex issues, by people from different communities, will help us find sustainable solutions for a more sustainable future. The goal also was to understand other peoples belief systems, to listen understand and look for answers. If we are to survive as a human race, we need to start reaching out and connecting.

SEPT, 26
1010 Church St W, Orlando, FL 32805-2216, United States
OCT, 26
1010 Church St W, Orlando, FL 32805-2216, United States
NOV, 16
1010 Church St W, Orlando, FL 32805-2216, United States

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Live Oak International.

Live Oak International Grand Prix held at the pastoral Live Oak Plantation (2215 SW 110th Ave, Ocala, FL 34481), a 5,000-acre thoroughbred breeding farm located minutes from Ocala Florida,  celebrated it's 25th anniversary in 2016. The combined driving event has grown from humble beginnings as a sparsely attended affair held at a small venue near Ocala to one of the largest Combined Driving events in the country.

Today, the competition attracts some of the best drivers, trainers, coaches and owners from around the world. Over the years, tens of thousands have come to watch the driving and show jumping during the Live Oak International. The Show Jumping event draws top riders, including past Olympic gold medalists. Once again in 2017, the Grand Prix will be part of the Longines FEI World CupJumping North American League.

The combination of the two disciplines makes Live Oak International a one-of-a-kind event perfect for the seasoned equine enthusiast and the novice alike.  Was nerve wracking watching the horses jump the fences. Perfect rides with no fence posts down were rare. Of course there is only one horse and rider on the course at a time, but I couldn't resist putting more horses on the sketch as they jumped.
The winner of the $35,000 International Jump Competition (against the clock) was number 175 Vasco with rider Adam Prudent from France. He ran the course at 60.24 seconds with no penalties.
The next Live Oak International competition will be March 15-18, 2018. Tickets are available now.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trash 2 Trends: An Evening of Recycled Fashion.

The third annual Trash 2 Trends held at Sea World's Ports of Call, is a fundraiser which  brings the fashion and art of local artists together with the environmental community to promote sustainability in an innovative way. The show features local designers who create runway looks from items headed to the landfill. Money raised went to Keep Orlando Beautiful, whose mission is to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community  environment through litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling and beautification  efforts.

There were complimentary appetizers during the cocktail hour, and a dessert and coffee bar was be provided during intermission for all guests. This is always a fun evening with some outlandish and quite beautiful designs created. Judges included City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Maxine Earhart, Flora Maria Garcia and designer Nailuj Villarroel.

The most Avant Guard design was in black, white and silver with very pointy over the top sun glasses, by designer Brittany Mikell. The most wearable award went to Nancy Alanso for an elegant white gown. The best use of material, by Gail Warner had a skirt made from hundreds of soda 6 pack holders. The Top Design award went to Christina Woodman for a black blouse and white skirt combination that was offset with a sharp 45 degree angle at the waist.  The audience choice went to Helaine Schneider for a poofy Van Gogh starry night themed dress.

The next Trash 2 Trends:
Date: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Location: SeaWorld’s Ports of Call, 7007 Seaworld Drive, Orlando, Fl 32821
Time: 7 – 10 p.m.
Attire: Cocktail

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Story Club at the Abbey.

I went to The Abbey, (100 S Eola Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32801) to sketch Orlando Story Club which is an evening of stories based on the theme of “Can You Keep A Secret?” At this unique story telling series everyone can share their stories. Participants drop their names in a hat. The host pulls names from the hat to see who tells their story next. Three judges are picked from the audience. The only requirement to be a judge is that the person is new to Story Club.  The judges award prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.  A guest story teller headlines every show with its own theme, food, drinks and laughter are available in abundance.

Orlando Story Club was founded by storyteller and film maker Robin Cowie (“The Blair Witch Project”).  After participating in the national storytelling series The Moth, Central Florida based Cowie sought out to produce the same event here and so Orlando Story Club was born.

 The most memorable story for me was told by Banks Helfrich, a local filmmaker. He told a story about meeting a woman and really connecting with her. He described the warmth of her hugs when they parted. Each encounter seemed more intimate. One day she explained that she needed to tell him something. It turned out that she had a long term boyfriend. This bit of news came as a complete shock.

The May charity partner was Victim Service Center of Central Florida.  Since 1999, the Victim Service of Central Florida has been aiding victims of sexual assault, violent crime and traumatic circumstances.  The center is designed to provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support to victims.  They are the only certified rape crisis center for both Orange and Osceola County.  Their vision is to continue to transform victims’ lives and stop violence in the community.  Through their vision and mission, the Victim Service Center of Central Florida strives to keep assisting victims of these circumstances and provide a safe outlet for them to seek counseling and support.

Orlando Story Club will continue on the first Wednesday of every other month this year (November 1, 2017 and “Best Of” December 13, 2017).

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Parkin' Lot Pickin' behind Twistee Treat.

Each Friday for about the past 27 years,weather permitting Blue Grass musicians gather in the parking lot on the corner of Colonial Drive ad Maguire in Ocoee Florida for a Blue Grass jam. The parking lot lamp acts as a spotlight for this group of tailgate musicians. The one female musician grew up performing in this lot since her father started the tradition. This is a true old Florida past time. Banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and upright basses all find their way to this gathering each week. Jack and Judy Lewis founded this jam session 22 years ago, making it Florida's longest running Blue Grass jam.

When the sessions first started out, Jack Lewis says, Moonlite Express acted as the core of the group, never missing a Friday night.The jam session has gained a reputation. It's received so much attention that people have traveled from different states, and even other countries, to pick along with the Moonlite Express and the crew of regulars. Lewis doesn't operate a website, and the jam isn't advertised, so people have to find out about it through word of mouth. This group refuses to go electric, they play all acoustic instruments. To amplify, they might play into a microphone.

The Blue Grass Jam is an inspiring sketch and great date night any time of the year. The most obvious landmark is the Twistee Treat on Maguire on the corner of Colonial Drive. Order some soft serve ice cream and then listen for the Blue Grass music. You will literally find the group on the far end of the parking lot. I got to share this session with Pam Schwartz and we met several musicians since they were interested in seeing what I was sketching.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Broadway Brunch at Hamburger Mary's

I joined the staff of the Orange County Regional History Center when they went as a group to Hamburger Mary's for Broadway Brunch. Mimosas flowed and then we ordered some very juicy burgers and cheese fries. The Minx, and Nicky Monet, acted as the hosts who kept the show lively. The Broadway Brunch Bunch dancers and some stellar singers show up to this weekly showcase to belt out their favorite show tunes. No two shows are alike. Production numbers were from Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Grease, Les Miserables, and so much more.

I had seen Dream Girls on Broadway when the show opened so I couldn't resist singing along to those tunes. One act consisted of a singer slowly coming out of what might have been a sleeping bag or sheet w-Honda around her. She spread her arms and it became clear that she was a butterfly. It was an amazing act and I just sat back and enjoyed instead of stressing about trying to catch it all. Acts often circulated around the room collecting tips and singing up close and personal. One singer pressed between two men on the History Center staff and pressed them to her chest.

If you haven't been to the Sunday Broadway Brunch, you need to go. The hosts stressed that the fun shared here needs to flow out into the world so that hate has no reason to flourish. In Orlando we lost 49 joyous souls. By singing laughing and dancing, we honor their memory.

Guests will each pay a $2.99 entertainment fee and be required to purchase an entree or two alcoholic beverages.  Call 321-319-0600 to grab your seat!

 Upcoming show dates:

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for September 16th and 17th.

Saturday September 16, 2017
11 am to 12:30 pm Free. Life Screenings - One Minute Film Festival. Orange County Library System (FL) 101 E Central Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32801. Life Screenings in association with the Orange County Main Public Library look “Outside the Lines” at what happens when a film festival and library mash-up. The purpose is to create a library beyond a library and a film festival beyond a festival. Preceded by donuts and coffee, one minute films will screen back to back; post exhibit, filmmakers will be on hand to participate in a lively talk back. Films are chosen on the basis that they show a world we love to live in. Create and send us your one minute stories. Free donuts and coffee supplied by the library.

1 pm to Midnight Free but beers cost. 11th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration!  Orlando Brewing 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806. Our 11th annual celebration of German food, music, games and beer is drawing near!
1PM: Tapping of our organic Oktoberfest märzen lager
2PM: Traditional German food available from Backhaus Orlando food truck
5PM-9PM: Live music & games with Dan Witucki and the Heimatland Musikanten [Epcot's German Band]
- Best Dressed of Oktoberfest Contest (5PM)
- Women's Stein Holding Competition (5:30PM)
- Most Revered Beard [& Mr. Moustache] Competition (6PM)
- Men's Stein Holding Competition (6:45PM)
This a dog & family-friendly event that will take place rain or shine We encourage patrons to Uber or Lyft to this event, so if you show us your ride receipt, you'll receive a happy hour wristband for $1 off all drafts all day Oktoberfest Mug Preorders: Preorder your 20 oz. 2017 Oktoberfest mug today and get two FREE fills of our organic Oktoberfest beer. Mug also gets you Oktoberfest fills for pint price for the 3 weeks of our 11th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration!

4 pm to 8 pm Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL. Classic cars & rods. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night!

Sunday September 17, 2017
Noon to 3 PM. Donation based. Music at the Casa. Alborea Dances Flamenco. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789.

 2 pm to 4 pm Free. Ukulaliens Ukelele JamDeadly Sins Brewing 750 Jackson Ave.Winter Park FL. All-ukelele open jam.

4 PM to 10:30 PM $15 Southern Fried Sunday's Southern Belle Ball.  Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. Will's Pub and Southern Fried Sunday: Southern Belle Ball! SFS is celebrating fall and the twenty-second anniversary of Will's Pub by harvesting 11 of the cream of the crop female musicians to play a festival style afternoon/evening, inside/outside festival event at Will's Pub, Lil Indies and The Dirty Laundry Pavilion. Classic Southern Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Craft Cocktails will be served from the Jack Daniels' Vintage Airstream bar, and the entire Jack Daniels Family of Whiskeys will be on special. Swine & Sons will be in attendance, serving a Locally Sourced, Farm-To-Table, BBQ Feast. Donations of Food and Funds will be accepted for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to help our neighbors have abundance in this season. Bring out the Big Hats, and don your Dapper Derby Style, in the Fall! Let's get Fancy & have a Ball Y'all! 
Performances by: 
Hannah Harber and The Lionhearts 
Kaleigh Baker 
Terri Binion 
Beth McKee's Swamp Sistas 
Songwriter Circle Heather Lee & Jordan Wynn's Whyte Tygers 
Soulace feat. 
members of Harmonica Man and the Sawgrass 
Band Maple Sparrow 
Sarah Purser Sings 
Sleepy Giants feat. members of Uke-A-Ladies 
Parlor with special guest Layla Brisbois 
Danielle Dart of Tears of a Tyrant 
 $10 Presale tickets, $15 Day of Show. 18+ Welcome. Friendly dogs on a leash are allowed outside.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Weathering Hurricane Irma.

I spent all morning looking for a coffee house with Wi Fi. My apartment has no power. I tried Stardust Video and Coffee first. A staff member was dumping water out the front door using a plastic trash pail. He let me know that Stardust was without power. A crew was cutting up a fallen Live Oak across the street. I tried Drunken Monkey next. The parking lot was full. I parked a few blocks away and walked in. There was a huge line for coffee. Nicki Drumb, who got an awesome grant to help create "Moving Art" on Orlando's Sun Rail, had her cup of coffee and gave me a hug in line. She let know that the Monkey had no Wi Fi. Ugh, I groaned. Next I tried the Orlando Public Library which had bombastic music piped in at the entrance. Unfortunately the library was closed. 

At this point I gave up my quest for a digital connection. Instead I sketched this fallen tree near my apartment. The neighborhood was coming alive with people walking their dogs to get out after being cooped up for several days because of Hurricane Irma. Baby Blue , the owner of the Venue stopped her car and asked me if I needed anything from my curbside sketching perch. A neighbor who was also out of power stopped to see my sketch and we chatted for a moment. It is amazing how catastrophe helps bring a community together. With my sketch done, I drove up to Winter Park, because The re was a rumor that Austin's Coffee (929 West Fairbanks Road Orlando FL) was open and it had Wi Fi. Behind the counter the Batista's mused,"We got Nihilism, we got musings in cool places,We got bad attitudes, oh and we got power."  With an ice cold Yak and a Portabella Mushroom sandwich, I finally settled in to write this article.

The night before, power flickered off just as Pam Schwartz pulled a hot home made pizza out of the oven. We played cards by candle light as the winds picked up outside. I followed the eye of the four hundred mile wide storm on the radar app on my phone. South West coast of Florida as a category four Hurricane and it crept north at 15 miles per hour. The winds blew objects which rolled and scraped over the roof. The sky flashed a mysterious vibrant blue. Emergency vehicle lights strobbed and illuminated the trees a blood red. Something banged at the front and back of the house. Several intense wind bursts made it seem like The roof might lift.

The next morning clean up began. It seemed like half of the tree limbs had snapped off of the tree. Curb side piles grew to fortress proportions. Large trees were down in the neighborhood. With yard work out of the way curator Pam Schwartz and I drove south to check on the warehouse where the Orange County History Center's off site storage facility is housed. What we found was shocking and unexpected. A huge double rainbow spanned the horizon opposite the setting sun over the huge warehouse parking lot which was now a lake which was thigh deep.

All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.