Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Creature From the Black Lagoon Screened at the Enzian

As part of the Cult Classics Series, the Enzian Theater screened the original 3-D version of The Creature From the Black Lagoon made in 1954. Gina Stanley, the actress that was the Creatures on screen crush was at the screening. In the film she wore a stunning white swimsuit that was quite revealing for its day. Much of the film was shot in Florida swamps. In the film, Gina is screaming every time she sees the creature. The actor inside the creature suit, Ben Chapman, who was 6 foot three, played the creature on land. He was a former Polynesian dancer under contract with Universal Studios. His height and size made him perfect to play the creature. A second actor, then a college student, Ricou Browning, played the "underwater Creature" for the film, and he wore the "underwater Creature suit" for the sequences shot in Florida

Julia had an incredible career as an actress outside the lagoon. She starred opposite Tyrone Power, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Jimmy Stewart, and Charlton Heston. Working on a horror film was considered a step down for many actresses so she almost turned the film down. It is ironic that today, this is the film she is most known for.

There was a somewhat disastrous design of the Creature's head, that almost made it into the final film. But a screen test at the eleventh hour convinced the studio head that the look of the creature did not work, and the head was redesigned and became the classic we know and love today. The film was impressive on the big screen and it became clear that many scenes were staged to take advantage of the 3-D effects. After the screening Gina signed autographs and I had her sign my sketch.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 23rd and 24th

Saturday August 23, 2014
11am to 2pm Free. Orlando Shakes Open House. Orlando Shakespeare Theater, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF invites the public to a free Open House on Saturday, August 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Theater staff will lead guests on a tour of the building, providing them with behind the scenes access, insider info, and fun facts about Orlando Shakes. Visitors will also enjoy a sneak peek rehearsal of this fall’s highly anticipated production, Les Misérables, and may enter to win tickets and prizes from Orlando Shakes and other local arts organizations. Families are encouraged to participate in fun crafts and photo opportunities with costumed characters free of charge.

7pm to 10pm Free. Eat your Art Out. Homegrown Local Food Cooperative 2310 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Fl. Homegrown Local Food Cooperative is pleased to present original artwork, for ONE NIGHT ONLY by Orlando artists Victor Bokas and Dawn Schreiner.
Homegrown Local Food Cooperative welcomes you to our store to launch the Exhibit while mingling with friends and enjoying music by Sharon Center Lowe and Ben Tiptonford. Delicious local food will be served, including kombucha by Living Vitalitea, baked goods by Olde Hearth Bread, sweet treats from Sweet Utopian and other Homegrown goodies. There will also be other drinks available.

Tonight and Saturday 8pm to 2am $14. Corsets and Cuties- A Burlesque Cabaret! The Venue 511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, Fl. Join us for our encore performance of a sold out weekend. Lovely ladies and one not-so-gentleman sing, dance, and take their clothes off in a rollicking 90-minute full show!

Sunday August 24, 2014
Noon to 5pm Free but grab a beer. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ music to rock your Sunday afternoon.

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

1pm to 3pm Free. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 North Bay Street, Eustis, FL.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Psycadelic Spirals at Alice Takes Wonderland

Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland has infused its way into so many productions in Orlando. At this rehearsal, Tisse Mellon and dancers were busy painting spirals onto cardboard disks. They were all hung in the entry as people entered the venue which was on Hanging Moss Drive right near Full Sail University. The black box theater was a nice big warehouse space and unfortunately this is the only production I ever saw staged there. Linda Eve Elchak of  NAO Dance choreographed this playful production.

A whimsical, playful post show environment was created with a minimal budget using little more than cardboard paint and fabrics. The theme as audience members entered was the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. These spiral disks were suspended to create a dizzying perspective. Actors arms jutted out from behind black curtains holding trays of sumptuous treats. The dance performance itself was incredibly playful, incorporating dancers improvisational contributions as well as crisp choreography.

NAO Dances mission, is to explore honest perspectives in the human condition through movement that inspires, enlightens, and entertains. When you dance only from your ego or your conscious mind you are just skimming the surface. Develop your voice and imagine what is really possible when you dance from your authentic person. The Nao Dance Collective is not interested in programming individuals, instead they let every dancer have their own voice and allow them to develop themselves through self-discovery.

Nao Dance Collective, pronounced "now" came from the word Tao which is "the way of life". Ancient Chinese considered Tao as the highest, omnipresent order of universe. A life following Tao implies a life with the highest fulfillment. Nao Dance Collective company members are bold, intuitive, risk-takers with a strong base of technical training. Linda offers classes in the NAO technique on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's .  Classes are located at different Dance Studios every Sunday from 5pm to 630pm $10.00 drop in rate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Kentucky Derby Galloped Onto Winter Park

On May 3rd "Derby on Park" was held at the Winter Park Country Club (761 Old England Avenue Winter Park FL.) Event organizer, Anthony Dinova, invited me out to sketch the event. This was on the same day as the Kentucky Derby so women came out with their finest wide brimmed hats. I decided to sketch the well heeled crowd waiting outside for food. Several golfers were using the putting green when I started blocking in the sketch but they left when it started drizzling. Inside there was live music, wine and of course the Kentucky Derby was on TV.

The exciting ambiance of the well-renowned annual Kentucky Derby was brought to Winter Park. This themed event boasted unlimited craft beer and wine along with samplings of delicious food and desserts from various local vendors for all in attendance. Guests were encouraged to dress in their finest Derby attire with prizes for best-dressed in several categories. With a complimentary private-labeled bottle of wine for each guest, live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby, Fashion show and live entertainment, the prestige and energy of this coveted signature event provided guests with the most sophisticated and stylish afternoon outside of Churchill Downs.

As I worked on the sketch I heard the crowd inside start to cheer as the race started. The roar grew louder until the horses crossed the finish line. Terry was inside to catch all the action. There was a small retaining wall at the edge of the putting green and people used it as a bench to sit while sipping their mint juleps.  A women who came outside to get away from the claustrophobic crowd inside sat on the ledge and then unexpectedly fainted. Luckily she fell back onto the soft grass rather than forward onto the brick patio. She was revived by her friends and event organizers called the fire department and EMTs to check her vitals. She hadn't been drinking so she couldn't figure out why she fainted.

With the sketch done I went inside to spend time with Terry and to grab a bite to eat. A new batch of pasta was being warmed up and I waited for a bit. The crowd thinned out fast after the race but Terry and I stayed to see who won the best bonnet award. One woman had a huge bouquet of flowers on her bonnet and I was surprised that she didn't win. Perhaps connections are more important than flourish.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Snap! Space is a New Hip Cultural Hub in Orlando

On May 2nd I went to the opening reception for Edge of a Dream at Snap! Space (1013 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, Florida). The show explored the fine line between figurative narratives, reverie and the familiarity of reality while resembling a dream. Curated by Patrick and Holly Kahn, the exhibit featured the works of eight nationally renowned fine art photographers, along with sculpture, installation, fine art origami and jewelry. Guest artists were in attendance. Cocktails were offered by 'The Courtesy Bar', and music was by resident DJ Nigel John.  I was most intrigued by the photos of Richard Tushman. His "Hopper Meditations" series showed an isolated couple in a bedroom. The lighting and compositions made the photos look like Edward Hopper paintings. The photos had a surreal quality to them. It wasn't until after the opening that Patrick explained that the rooms were miniatures created by the photographer. Looking at the photos again I could see that the curtains didn't hang quite right.

At the opening I sat next to the reception desk to sketch the bar. Snap! girls volunteer at these events and field any questions people might have. Holly came to the desk with a prospective client and sold a small sculpture made from vintage watch gears and pieces by Mike Nuriel. Sketching the Courtesy Bar was a challenge, since the line kept moving as people picked up their drinks. My artists stool wobbled as my crossed legs grew tired. I have a nasty habit of leaning back in a chair until I'm balanced on the back two legs. Unfortunately the small artist stool couldn't handle my maneuvering.  The back legs folded under me sending we toppling backwards in slow motion. A lamp cord was strung behind me like a clothes line to the outlet, so as I fell, the lamp flew off the table. The Snap girl acted with quick instincts and caught the lamp like a professional baseball outfielder. I landed squarely on my ass and flushed red as I got up and reset my stool with what little remained of my dignity. "Great" I thought, "Save the lamp and let the artist flop down like a rag doll." Actually I was very grateful. Patrick and Holly had "borrowed" the lamp from their son's bedroom. Had it been broken, I would have felt horrible. I finished the sketch without incident and then looked at all the art one more time before I slipped out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Making Nails

In July, the Thorspecken Clan descended on Orlando. Cornelia and her daughter Nini came from Wiesbaden Germany, Don, Val and their kids, Nichole and Kyle came from Connecticut. Carol and her kids, Anna and Kristen came from Upstate New York. Terry and I drove to the hotel where everyone was staying on the first night. Anna immediately wanted to borrow my watercolor paint supplies. I gave her a watercolor palette and a brush and for the rest of the evening she created a tropical sunset on a paper plate. Mark Bishop took a test drive in Terry's new Porche, and his animated excitement about the ride was fun to watch.

Anna then began to experiment with painting fingernails and toe nails. She created pink strawberry toenails  with bright green leaves and then neatly placed black seeds. Other nail designs included smiley faces and floral nails. Every woman left with fully painted toe nails and finger nails.When everyone came to our house for a visit, Anna set up a little lab on our kitchen table. A blue plastic cup was filled halfway with water and then fingernails paint was poured in. The nail polish floated on the top of the water and then she would pour in another color into the center creating concentric rings of color that floated on the water. She would drag a small stick into the slick and pull it outward much as baristas do with patterned foam in a coffee cup. The result was a sort of colorful spider's web. She would then submerge a fake fingernail under the slick and try to get the pattern to appear on the top of the nail. The experimenting went on for hours and Terry helped out by attaching nails to sticks.

I'm still experimenting with a tablet to draw, and the results are a bit garish as I get used to the interface and controls. I haven't yet found the tools that can give me a spontaneous took that I usually get from splashing real watercolors on the page. Like Anna, I need to keep playing until I get the results that I want. Terry hates the look of the digital sketches and feels I should stop trying to use technology to sketch. I'm stubborn however and I'm convinces that in time I'll get amazing results. I'll keep throwing spaghetti at the wall until it starts to stick. If I look back at the sketches I did the first year I started this blog, I have to admit that there was plenty of sketches that just didn't work back then. I just need to find the tools that work for me. Right now I'm fighting the machine but eventually when it becomes fun to work with I'll improve. One step forward, two steps back, that is what it takes to keep growing as an artist.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunstroke Melt Race at the Daytona International Speedway

Wendy Wallenburg invited me to the Sunstroke Melt Race at the Daytona International Speedway. She is friends with one of the drivers,  Jim Keeland, so she had full access to the inner field of the raceway as well as access to the pit area and garages. This was a sketch opportunity that I couldn't pass up. This sketch is at the starting line to the race. Two rows of cars lined up facing one another and at the start they rolled onto the race track in order of their standings. So I was sketching in an area where I might get run over if a driver jumped the line. It was nerve wracking and I had to work fast.

Jim's car, a Mazda Miata,  was number 37 and he had body damage from an accident from the day before.  It had been raining all day and many cars spun out on one particular curve that day. This was Jim's first race and he had a lot invested in being sure he stayed on the field. He wasn't expecting to win, he just needed to place. Jim has worked in the pit crew for other drivers and this was his chance to get on the track himself.

The official on the starting line stood near me and she made sure to give me time to get behind the line before the start. She had never seen an artist sketch the race, so she was glad to help keep me out of harm's way. Race cars don't have air conditioning so drivers get incredibly hot as they wait. Their driving outfits actually have coils with cool water that keep them from over heating. Some assistants also had fans to blow cool air into the cars.

There was no dramatic squealing of tires at the start. All of the cars rumbled to life and filed onto the track at a relaxing 25 miles per hour. They then followed a pace car to get up to speed. Wendy drove the golf cart to the curve where the cars were spinning out the day before. From those infield stands it was possible to see Jim's Mazda as he made his way around the track. The front runners went so fast that they caught up to and passed the cars at the back of the pack. Then it became confusing to figure out who was in front of who.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Watching the Daytona International Speedway Pit Crews from the Turn 1 Infield Bleachers

On May 4th, I had time for one more sketch when a second race began at the Daytona International Speedway. The races were not very long, so there wasn't much action to sketch among the pit crews. I decided instead to watch the race from covered bleachers that overlooked the pit crews. I needed to get in some shade before I became a red neck. The cars racing on the track were a blur of motion and intense sound. Here we saw the cars as they came off the first turn and headed down the straight away. There weren't many people in the bleachers, only a few family and friends of the drivers. The large bleachers on the outer rim of the track were empty. The Speedway is undergoing major renovations which made it hard for me to find the entrance to the infield when I first arrived.

Driver Jim Keeland didn't win the race but since it was his first race, he was happy to finish. He went to the officials office and recovered his license. In a few weeks, he would be on the track again.  Daytona left his car with some body damage that would need repair on the front driver's side bumper. Some drivers had huge air Conditioned trailers with state of the art amenities, while others scape by with only the bare essentials. Having all those bells and whistles doesn't guarantee a win. Watch for number 37 to start moving up the ranks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 16th and 17th

Saturday August 16, 2014
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 Family Days at the Museum! 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 Art and History Museums. Join us for this afternoon of family fun!

3pm to 5pm Free. Orlando Artists' Quarterly Social. Sleeping Moon Cafe 495 N Semoran Blvd Suite 1, Winter Park, Florida. Please join us for an opportunity to meet and connect!
This is a networking event for Orlando area artists to help create support and opportunity within our local community. Be sure to bring your business cards or any other printed information about you and your work that you'd like to share. ALL ARTISTS WELCOME!
Bringing a friend or significant other is always welcome. Sharing this event page with your artist friends is also greatly appreciated.
Friends, PLEASE RSVP with the utmost sincerity. Since this meeting's location is at a cafe, I am reserving the time and space with the venue so that they can be prepared for food and drink orders, and appropriate staffing. They are very supportive of the art community, so please help me in supporting them with appropriate RSVPs so that we can all plan accordingly.
This event is organized by Rebecca Williams. Please contact her with any questions or concerns via Facebook or through email at:

3pm to 7pm Fee. 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! INFO: & for showing your car 386-738-0649

Sunday August 17, 2014
Noon to 3pm Free. Music at the Casa The Olde Noyse. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. The Olde Noyse has been a musical fixture in the Central Florida area for well over a decade.  In chamber music settings (both vocal and instrumental), the Olde Noyse is an ensemble made up of highly talented musicians who can provide an exquisite and pleasurable level of enjoyment.

4:30pm to 6:30pm $13 Roller Derby: Serial Thrillers vs Sunnyland Slammers. Semoran Skateway 2670 Cassel Creek Blvd, Casselberry, Florida. Come out and watch the Orlando Roller Derby - Serial Thrillers and the Orlando Roller Derby - Sunnyland Slammers battle it out at Semoran Skateway! Doors open at 4:30 and first jam is at 5:00.
This is an all ages event.
Food and BEER will be available at the snack bar.
We will have a 50/50 raffle, so bring some cash!
Remember to bring your own chairs; chairs with rubber bottoms are allowed on the track, high heels are not.
And don't forget, you can take home a piece of OPCDG with one of our league or team shirts, or even a one of a kind, derby girl made, necklaces, magnets, and more. (
After party will be directly after the game at Friendly Confines, Winter Park.
Tickets are $10 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or $13 at the door.
Any questions, check us out at - Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Before the Race

Between races, the cars returned to the garage on the Daytona International Speedway infield for repairs and maintenance. You get to the infield by driving under the track through a tunnel. Here all the trailers that transport the race cars are parked. Wendy Wallenburg leaned against Jim Keeland's number 37 Mazda Miada. Before the race, the drivers have to give their driving license to race officials. Only after the race can the drivers get their license back. This is to keep drivers from being overly agressive or breaking rules of conduct.

Tires literally melt as the cars scream down the Daytona Speedway track.  They often jet stream behind another car. The cars don't only tailgate, they touch bumpers. The back car pushes the front car and both cars go faster. lt is very easy to cause a spin out but no accidents happened while I watched the race. This was my first time watching a race from up close, and it was a unique thrill. I believe the red car, number 25 was the car that won the next race.