Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiny Houses are Big Draw in Orlando

Emily Lindahl and Dorian hosted a Tiny Houses open house at College Park Village RV/Tiny House Community in Orlando. Dorian lives in a custom-built single-level tiny house with an open floorplan (The Dorian, built by Maximus Extreme), while Emily lives in a tinier house, built by Elaine Walker of the Tiny House-Community,  based on the Tumbleweed Lusby plans (now the Elm 18 Equator). Built in 2009  the house has traveled nearly 7,000 miles from New Hampshire to California to Washington DC to where it resides now in Florida. Emily met Elaine at a meetup in November and she told Elaine that she planned to sell her large house to start living small. About a month later, Elaine moved out of her tiny house to care for a family member in Florida and offered to let Emily move in. Emily accepted, but someday she hopes to save up enough to build a tiny house of her own.

When I arrived at the Tiny House Open House, Emily gave me a quick tour of her place. A huge vine has grown up the back wall of the home and is climbing onto tree limbs. Emily reached up on tip toe to show me a large gourd that will be a loofa sponge when she harvests it and dries it out. The first landscaping feature Emily added was a winding garden path. She definitely has a green thumb because the garden around her tiny house is flourishing. Her tiny house looks out across a gorgeous lake. Though she is living small, she has a million dollar view. Two hundred or so people showed up to the open house. It was a bit surreal to see a long line of giants waiting to tour the tiny house.

Emily Lindahl has been interested in tiny houses since she was in college. She first saw a Jay Shafer YouTube video on tiny houses in 2006. She grew up in a huge house but was always a bit of a minimalist. She attended a tumbleweed Tiny House building workshop in January 2013 and she and a classmate started a Tiny Houses Facebook group shortly after. The group page started with just 20 people but has grown to over 1600 members. The Tiny Houses Community is getting more organized by pooling resources and getting a website and forum. Emily is the Director of Communications for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra so she knows how to bring people together using social media. She hopes to one day see Tiny House communities throughout Florida. A tiny housed video series will be released on YouTube soon. Emily wrote the theme song for it. She uses the hashtag #emilystinyadventure online to share her experiences. You can also follow the adventure on Instagram at @emilystinyadventure plus she is sharing her tiny adventure on her blog.

Monday, September 1, 2014

East End Market Offers All Things Local

My exhibition of several dozen original Orlando Urban Sketches has been hanging at East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr. Orlando, FL) for the past several months. The show is slated to come down sometime in the beginning of September. Emily Rankin of Local Roots Distribution Company asked me to keep some cards in her farm store in the front of the market. I left her with a dozen or so cards that were left over from the Emotions Dance performance, Art Evolution. I did a sketch based on each choreographed performance and worked the dancers into iconic works of art. Over time I will be adding cards that have urban sketches of venues around Orlando.

After setting up the exhibit in the community room on the second floor of East End, I decided to stay and sketch the market, which is always bustling with activity. People stay at the juice bar for hours working on their computers making them perfect models. The thin pink haired girl was the reason for starting this sketch. When she wasn't on  her computer, she was talking to the staff behind the bar. Mason jars are used as light bulbs above the bar. Behind me, the custom coffee bar was always serving up orders.

I'm so happy my work has been exhibited at East End. People keep approaching me to let me know that they liked getting a chance to see my sketches up close and in person. I always say that my sketches are about documenting people and places that make Orlando a stronger community. East End Market is a new venue where those people come together to share similar ideals. It has been the perfect place to share what I do with people that make a difference in this town.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Places Less Traveled at the Peacock Room

On May 6th, I went to the opening reception for "Places Less Traveled" at the Peacock Room (1321 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL). This show featured Selected Graffiti Photographs taken by Grazyna Kleinman in Miami between 2011-2014. Grazyna travels to Art Basel in Miami each year and she documents the ever changing urban graffiti scene. The Wynwood Arts District in Miami has entire buildings covered in Graffiti and every year groups of artists travel there to expand and change the scene. She takes multiple photographs at each location and stitches them together to create her high resolution images. Some of the images are printed on metal giving them an interesting sheen. She had several self published books on display and I thumbed through to see more of her work. 3D glasses sat on the table along with the books. When you look at the photos with the glasses on, the graffiti tends to float above the walls.

Grazyna's husband and son were at the opening. Her son is planning to become a stock broker and he bragged about how easy it is to make money in the stock market. I thought it would have been good for him to meet Terry to get a more realistic view of what the market has been like for the past twenty years. Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.

In the main bar area there was a  Group Art Show by local Artists which was curated by Mendi Cowles.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Citrus Bowl Gets a Face Lift

Driving on the East West Expressway to work, I've often glanced over to see the Citrus Bowl being stripped down to it's cement skeleton. I finally decided I needed to get off at the next exit to sketch the work in progress. I know that Orlando plans to host another Bowl game this year, so I'm assuming the reconstruction needs to be done by then. About 90% of the stadium will be torn down and replaced, including portions that have stood since its original construction in 1937. Only the upper decks, which were added in 1990 and remain viable as part of a modern facility, will remain.

The new Citrus Bowl will offer an enhanced fan experience at every level, with wider, chair-back seating, new concessions areas and restrooms, and new club and premium spaces throughout the building. 
When the stadium reopens in fall 2014, it will continue to host signature events including the Capital One Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Florida Blue Florida Classic and Monster Jam. In addition, the new venue will allow Orlando to pursue more high-profile sports tourism events such as neutral-site college football games, NFL preseason games, international soccer matches, big-name concerts and more.

November 2013
Pre-construction mobilization began.
January 2014
Demolition of lower seating levels began.
March 2014
New seating bowl construction began.
Late Spring 2014
Construction of new concessions, restrooms, team locker rooms and operation/support areas began.
November 2014
Substantial completion achieved (95%) in time to be operational for fall events.
April 2015
Target for 100% completion.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 30 and 31

Saturday August 30, 2014
9am to 3pm Free.  Sanford Farmers Market. First and Magnolia in Downtown Sanford. A small farmer's market.

10am to 3pm Free. Summer Write-In. Downtown Orlando library in the Palm Room. Writers of all genres are welcome to bring your laptops or notebooks and write along fellow authors. This informal event provides you with quiet writing time allows you to come and leave at any time. There will be a few activities and breaks to keep you awake and inspired.

7:30pm to 9:30pm Free. Amy Watkins and Open Mic. The Geek Easy 114 S. Semoran Blvd Suite #6, Winter Park, Florida. Open to all: Musicians-Lyricists-Artists-and Poets of all kinds
Bring out the cape and have some fun.

Sunday August 31, 2014
10am to Noon Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en Masses 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

Noon to 5pm Free but get a beer. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar and Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL.

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Weekly. Lake Eola Park, North Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lake Highland was Home to the Annual Max Starks NFL Youth Football and Speed Camp

As a way to give back to the community, a free football camp was offered for two days at Lake Highland Preparatory School (901 Highland Ave, Orlando, FL). Hundreds of children sat in the bleachers as the professional athletes introduced themselves. Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Champion Max Starks, who calls Orlando home, hosted the annual Max Starks NFL Youth Football and Speed Camp along with special guest and NFL Hall of Fame defensive back Darrell Green.Then everyone flooded out onto the football field to warm up and run on the field. The school has classic architecture that makes it look like an Ivy League School. I sat down and leaned against a fence as I sketched the students on the field.

This was a free camp to girls and boys (minimum age 7) up to 18 years of age. Registration forms can be picked up and returned to the Florida Citrus Sports offices located on the second floor of the south end zone office building at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (1610 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32805) or downloaded at www.maxstarks.com.

Friday’s speed camp, led by Darrell Green, will include NFL combine simulations for high school athletes. Saturday’s Youth Football Camp will teach the fundamentals and techniques of each position. All campers received a free t-shirt, camp bag filled with goods, one ticket to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney, lunch and a one- hour life skills and educational segment stressing the importance of staying in school and developing a sterling image on and off the field.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Travis Blaise Works on His Cintique

Travis Blaise worked with students at Misty Forest to help create storyboards for a short animated film titled "Rosalie and the Bottle Tree." As I sketched Travis, he told me about the equipment he was using, and I decided to purchase the same scanner and printer he was using. The Epson has been serving me well. Misty Forest is a small private school that offers kids creative courses after regular school hours. A bottle tree consists of bottles stuck onto branches and they are created to bring good luck. Travis had the kids create all the storyboards and he was using the Cintique to edit together the images along with the sound track.

Travis is an amazing animator that worked at Disney Feature Animation when hand drawn animation was in it's hay day. He is a master at working straight ahead, letting the scene develop organically.  He showed me how he uses the Cintique to animate using Flash. I was amazed that the program could be used to create organically drawn animation. I always assumed that Flash created flat, cut out type characters that were then moved like puppets.

Travis ended up leaving Orlando to work at Digital Domain, a computer animation studio. Digital Domain then closed down and I'm not sure where Travis went after that. Working in the animation industry is like tap dancing on quick sand.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Riding Horses on Vacation

My wife Terry used to love to ride horses. She used to volunteer for the Police Equestrian Unit in Orlando riding the police horses  to make sure they got enough exercise. On a vacation to visit my family in Pennsylvania she went for a trail ride while I sketched the horses in the coral. She stopped riding abruptly when a police horse got spooked and threw her to the ground. She ended up with a huge bruise down her leg which had her limping for a week.Horse riders say that it isn't a matter of "if" you will be thrown, but a matter of "when" you will be thrown. I have never trusted horses and I have never sat on top of a horse. I suspect they don't have my best interests at heart.

 On a vacation to the Canadian Rockies this year, Terry once again went on a trail ride that went for miles up a muddy path to a glacier lookout. I stayed behind and did a sketch. The trail horses were super calm and she didn't get thrown or injured. Perhaps as the saying goes, she is back in the saddle. The trail horses had Western saddles that have that horn to grab onto. The police horses have English saddles that leave a rider with nothing to grab if they loose their balance. Regardless of the saddle though, I still prefer to sketch horses rather than ride them.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Shift to feature a Multiple Dance Company Ccollaboration

Emotions Dance  founded by Larissa Humiston is teaming up with Orlando’s best in modern, improv, and contemporary dance to engage and enlighten audiences with new, experimental, and in-progress works all under one roof. After the performance, there will be a Question and Answer session with the Artistic Directors to allow audiences to provide feedback as well as gain insight into the creative process. A one-of-a-kind annual event hosted by Emotions Dance Company, The Shift: Calm and Chaos focuses primarily on shifting our perception of movement, dance, and art while allowing companies to grow and change as artists. Companies participating this year include: Voci Dance, Yow Dance, Dawn Branch Works, Canvas Creative Coalition, Red Right Return Dance Company, Mary Love Dance Projects, Coby Dance Project and more!

Mark Your Calendar! The Shift: Calm and Chaos  will be performed on Friday September 19 and Saturday Sept 20, 2014 8pm at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center’s Mandell Theatre (812 E Rollins St. Orlando FL). Presale tickets are available Aug 12 until September 12 GA- $18 Students/Seniors (65+)- $14 At the door- GA- $20 Students/ Seniors (65+)- $15 Discounted tickets available for parties of 10+.

Also on the horizon is  7 Deadly Sins happening October 17-25th at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, Fl). 7 Deadly Sins is an original work that combines contemporary dance, visual art, performance art, poetry, music and culinary art to examine topics of temptation and sin. Lust, pride, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy and greed come together to entice audience members through an interactive art gallery setting. 

Featuring performances by Emotions Dance Company, visual art by award winning body painter and Skin Wars Season 1 contestant, Shannon Holt, visual art by award winning body painter, Brit Lytle, artwork by Patrick Fatica, Amanda Wegman, Scott Hodges, Thomas Thorspecken and others, spoken word performances by E.J. Younes, J. Bradley, and Ashley Inguanta, aeral performances by American Circus Academy, and a variety of refreshments from local food vendors to satisfy your inner glutton.

Friday October 17
Saturday October 18
Friday October 24
Saturday October 25


The Venue (511 Virginia Drive. Orlando FL)

Presale tickets- $20 (available Sept 19-Oct 12)
At The Door- $25

This program contains some mature themes and may not be appropriate for children under 13.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Creative Mind Project was the Birthplace of Dog Powered Robot

At Fringe two years ago, I was invited by Jessica Mariko to be part of the Creative Mind Project. A select group of artists were given the same music and told to create a theatrical presentation based on what they heard. I decided to edit together a series of sketches to create a video montage paced to the music.

On the opening night, I had to be backstage as the Creative Mind project was presented. My only responsibility was to walk out a projector when my piece was to be presented. I also had borrowed a film screen that I had help setting up. From backstage I peeked out from behind the curtains to see the other presentations.

This sketch is of Tisse Mallon and a cross dressing male performer right before they went on stage. I never actually saw their performance. The cardboard buildings they are standing in front of are set pieces for Dog Powered Robot. When it was Dog Powered Robot's turn, the audience went wild with laughter.

 Evan and Christie Miga had build a simple blue cardboard robot with a square head that rotated with wild abandon. A center chest compartment opened to showcase their adorable Pomeranian dog named Fisher. As the music played, Evan as the narrator waxed poetic about his childhood dreams of living in the city. Then a loud nuclear warning clamored, and Dog Powered Robot walked out into the cardboard cityscape. Like Godzilla in a cheap B grade sci-fi movie he began to destroy the city. The odd sight of this cute dog powering the robot's rampage was hilarious and people in the audience shouted "Dog Powered Robot!" with delight as they laughed. I only saw glimpses of that first performance from backstage, but the riotous audience was easy to hear.

Dog Powered Robot is still going strong today. They staged their own Fringe show twice and just this week, they made an appearance at the Maker Fair in the Orlando Science Center. I'm convinced that someday the stars will align and Dog Powered Robot will become an international cult sensation. Kids love these cardboard robots but adults can't get enough. Jessica Mariko is still bringing together creative minds by hosting Local Arts Nights at Drip (8747 International Dr #102, Orlando, FL) every 4th Thursday of the month.