Monday, April 23, 2018

Jill's Csh Box at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Perfporming Arts

Jill's Cash Box is a Country Band that performed on the lawn in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from 5 7 p.m. on  Saturday night in April. The lawn was surrounded by a temporary metal fence for the occasion. To get inside this free concert, I had to go through a metal detector and bag search. My art supplied always raise suspicions so it takes me a bit longer to get through. This concert was two months prior to the June 12, 2916 attack on the Pulse Nightclub that left 49 people dead and forever changed our city.

AT the time of this country concert I thought all the heightened security was crazy since less that 24 people attended the concert in their folding chairs. However now looking back after Pulse and the mass shooting in Las Vegas I see that this is the new reality. Perhaps this amount of security wasn't actually enough. I am in Las Vegas right now and once I finish this article I will be going to sketch the makeshift memorial set up by the Mandalay Bay Hotel. At that mass shooting the set up was very similar to this concert. There were security fences and bag checks to get into the concert but the entire field was exposed to the elevated rooms of the hotel across the street. This lawn in Orlando is also exposed to the Grand Bohemian hotel right across the street.

At the vigil held for victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in this same grass field, there were no fences, no bag checks and no metal detectors. Concerns that a copycat shooter might attack the candle light vigil must have been a very real concern but inclusion, acceptance and trusting love were far more over riding themes that night. I  found myself scanning roof tops and there were police snipers to be found. The new reality is that we can be shot by a gun toting lunatic at any time, and stripping down and being searched is not really any form of protection. In the Federal Courthouse, covering the Noor Salman Trial, I walked through the building holding my shoes, belt and possessions since I had to go through a second metal detector and search right outside the courtroom. Going to the bathroom required its own search. Security footage showed the gunman entered Pulse with his assault riffle up and ready to shoot . He walked right past security, entered the club and started immediately shooting people at point blank range.

Was Jill's Cash Box a good concert? I honestly don't remember. But it was certainly a more innocent time. One of the memorial phrases to come from the Las Vegas mass shooting is "Country Strong."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Elixir of Love at The Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts.

Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) was a light hearted operatic comedy that was staged for free at the Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts (445 S Magnolia Ave
Orlando, FL 32801.) This truly classic opera endures the ages and speaks to the hearts of all who come in contact with it. 

Elixir tells the story of a young, poor man, Nemorino (David Soto Zambrana) who tries to win the heart of a beautiful wealthy woman, Adina (Romana Saintil). Add to the mix a blustering self-absorbed officer, Belcore (Justin Morrison) and a traveling quack doctor, Dr. Dulcamara (Juan Tomas Martinez) who claims to sell potions that cure everything from psoriasis and old age to diabetes and – well, you name it! – and you have the principal cast of one of the most beloved and melodic operas ever written.

This modernized adaptation featured a cast member on a Segway which clearly set the scene in the modern day. The painted backdrop set the scene in a modern day park. Nemorino yearns for Adina from a distance. Sergeant Belcore his passion for Adina. Dulcamara sells a bottle of a love elixir to Nemorino who drinks it. He approaches Adina with a confident swagger and she is turned off and decides to flirt with Belcore. It was basically a story of how drinking lots of wine builds your romantic confidence and love wins in the end. It was a fun operatic romp.

The production was staged as part of the week long UCF Celebrates the Arts.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dance 10 at the Dr.Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Dance 10 featured 80 dancers who performed at the Disney Theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (455 S. Magnolia Avenue Orlando FL.) The performance was one of many during the week long UCF Celebrates the Arts. In the spring of 2015, the university launched this
festival to celebrate UCF’s visual and performing arts through plays, exhibitions, and musical performances.

For its second year, the School of Performing Arts and the School of Visual Arts and Design, in
collaboration with community and university partners, has prepared a showcase of UCF’s
vibrant disciplines to delight and educate audiences. The festival included over 30 performances by Theatre students and Music students, as well as gallery and interactive exhibitions by student visual artists. The showcase brought to Central Florida a celebration of the talent, creativity, and dedication of the school's student artists. 

The Disney Theater was packed for Dance 10. I had to find a spot in the nose bleed seats. Many of the people  in the audience around me seemed like they might be dancers themselves. With the low light, I  painted the scene with just the three primary colors, red yellow and blue. It was a good lesson in leaving out local colors like the colors of a dress or the tint of a blouse, and instead just focusing on large washes to cover the page quickly. Photography and video wasn't allowed but no one mentioned that art could not be created at a festival of the arts.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, April 20, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 21 and 22, 2018

Saturday April 21, 2018
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parramore Farmers Market. the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View. Open every Saturday on the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View.Purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Book Festival. Downtown Orlando Public Library 101 E. Central Blvd.Orlando FL 32801. The Orlando Book Festival is a day-long celebration of books at the Orlando Public Library. New York Times bestseller S. Jae-Jones, author of Wintersong, will kick off the day with an opening keynote. Join us for panels, writing workshops, book signings, and more from bestselling authors from all over the country. Enjoy a closing keynote address from New York Times bestseller David Baldacci. Seating is limited for the David Baldacci talk; a limited number of wristbands will be distributed starting at 9:30 a.m. You must be present to receive a wristband. One wristband per person.
This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but RSVP on Facebook to see updates and ask questions. 
Schedule (Subject to Change)
For Readers and Writers
10-10:50 a.m. Opening Keynote - S. Jae-Jones
10 a.m. - 2p.m. Literary Organization Tables
11-11:50 a.m. Panel and Workshop, Session 1
12-12:50 p.m. Panel and Workshop, Session 2
1-1:50 p.m. Panel and Workshop, Session 3
2-2:50 p.m. Closing Keynote - David Baldacci
2-2:50 p.m. Explore the Melrose Center
3-4:30 p.m. Book Signing, all authors 

4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 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
East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL

Sunday April 22, 2018
 Noon to 3 p.m. Donation based. Music at the Casa. Vocalist and Guitarist Reverend Shawn Garvey. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Members of the public are invited to visit our historic home museum on a Sunday afternoon from 12 to 3 pm, listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. "Chalk Walk" program open-house Polasek House. Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. The week-long Winter Park Paint Out plein air festival officially starts with this open house event where artists will be on site painting the picturesque sculpture gardens. Artist Michelle Held will lead registered teams in the “Student Chalk Walk” program by showing visitors and students her chalk design on one of the garden’s sidewalk squares. Students will have just two hours to complete their designs which will be on display through the week-long event. Complimentary plein air watercolor activities appropriate for all ages and skill levels will be available in the gardens throughout the afternoon. E-mail to register a team to participate in the chalk walk. More information on Winter Park Paint Out at

10 Midnight. Free but get a coffee. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out and laugh, or give it a try yourself.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tiffany Johnson Bartending at Pulse on June 12, 2016

There is sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

Tiffany Johnson was bar tending the Pulse Nightclub patio bar on the night of the attack on June 12, 2016. Pulse was a second job, her fun job. She also worked at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. She would go straight from Dr. Phillips to her evening shift at Pulse.  She  was introduced to the club by a friend named Ryan who asked her to come see him dance. Ryan also let her know that they were hiring bartenders and she applied for the job. Neema Bahrami interviewed her and she started in 2015 as a bartender on call. Pulse felt comfortable, and she knew Ryan, so it was like family. By June, she was starting to work Saturdays with another bartender on the Pulse patio.

On the evening of June 11, 2016 Tiffany was working at Dr. Phillips as usual. The show that night let out late though she couldn't remember what it was.  When she got to Pulse, the other bartender was already doing her thing. It was a busy night but not super busy. Fringe had just ended so the night was slow in comparison. She took a cellphone photo of the crowd dancing.

A little after 2 a.m. the bartenders stopped after last call. Tiffany's computer had broken, so she was sharing a computer with the other bartender. Tiffany texted her boyfriend "Lets go eat." She went to the bathroom and cut through the VIP area to get back up front. Brian was talking to her as she gathered her sales slips. In mid sentence, as he spoke to her, two shots went off. Then the shots just started. She saw out of her periphery and then ran to the outside corner of the bar. She was frozen. The music was still going. She could hear people running and screaming. Then Ryan shouted, "Everybody out!" She snapped back into reality and ran out, thinking, 'please don't shoot me in the back.' Somebody was running with her. "What the hell is going on?" she asked. "I don't know, someone is shooting." he countered. His car was in the parking lot. She shouted at him, "Is this your car?" "Get in the car lets go!" They drove around the neighborhood. She doesn't smoke, but she started chain smoking his Newport's. She tried to get him to take her to her friend's house, but she was too distraught to give directions. She called her boyfriend who was working in a downtown club.

By this time sirens could be heard approaching. They parked at McDonald's, which is just south of Pulse on Orange Avenue. People were coming into McDonald's covered in blood. There weren't major injures, but the blood might have been from other people who had been shot. A bum started asking people for money. Couldn't he see what was going on? She went off on him. The other person she rode with's friend made it to McDonald's to meet them. "Can you just drop me off Downtown?" she asked him. Then she looked down at her hands and she realized she was still clutching her credit card slips. She had been holding them all this time. The friend dropped her off on Garland Avenue and she ran to the Beacham Theater where her boyfriend worked. The bouncer didn't let her in, at first thinking she might just be some distraught drunk girl. When she saw her boyfriend she broke down and cried. They went back to Pulse together but couldn't get close. She wanted to recover her car and belongings. The police said to, "Take her home." She couldn't sleep that night, it was horrible.

She didn't have her house key, phone, car, or any of her belongings. Her friends got some clothes for her. She basically lived in her Pulse t shirt for a week. She was helpless and didn't know what to do. The police interview took about half an hour. They could not let her know when she could get her car and it put her in a really weird place. She finally got a call  that she could pick up her car a week and a half later. There was human matter on the hood. A friend of hers details cars, so they traded cars and he got it deep cleaned for her. Inside some Michael Kors merchandise had literally melted.

It took about a month for the full magnitude of what happened to hit her. She couldn't go to the Dr. Phillips vigil, she wasn't ready. That Thursday there was a fundraiser at Southern Nights and that was an emotional night. That Friday they all met a Neema's house. She did get to the Lake Eola Vigil. Over time she learned who had survived and who died that night. Camping World Stadium assistance wasn't too complicated, it was just weird that she had to do it. Southwest airlines sent her home for two weeks. On the second day at Camping World, she got her purse back. She had to sketch out where she had been that night.

Orlando had showed up in strength that first week and a half. She felt proud to live here. She was invited with some survivors to Boston. That particular group got very close. The parade was amazing. It was good to get away and finally relax. Sometimes when the survivors get together and start talking about that evening, she just has to remove herself from the conversation.

Barbara Poma invited some of the Pulse staff to return to the building and go inside. Tiffany didn't have a chance to go back to the patio where she worked that night because someone had tried to break into the building and the area was blocked off. To her, it seemed eerie inside. It did nothing for her. She kind of wished that she just remembered the place as it used to be, but now there was this new memory. Tiffany started bartending again when Pulse employees started holding events at The Abbey. It felt OK because she was with everyone. She has a new family since that evening. That is the best part of the whole shitty mess.

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“Merging Art and Language in Museums”

Sergio Bessa gave a talk titled, “Merging Art and Language in Museums” at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, (1414 Art Center Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168). I figured this was a fine subject to  bring along Pam Schwartz, the chief curator at the Orange County Regional History Center. The Atlantic Arts Center of the Arts is like an artist camp set out in the woods at the edge of civilization. Boardwalks interconnect communal cabins. We were at a loss to find where the talk would take place and we finally asked another artist wandering about, and he guided us there. The lecture hall was about the size of a small basketball court with stadium seating for the attendees. We sat in the front row to get a good view of Sergio. Perhaps a dozen or so people filed in to listen.

Sergio Bessa is the director of curatorial and education programs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which he joined in 2003. A scholar of concrete poetry, Bessa has published several volumes on the subject.  At the Bronx Museum, he has organized several exhibitions including Joan Semmel: The Lucid Eye (2013), Paulo Bruscky: Art is our last hope (2013); Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (2015), in collaboration with Yasmin Ramirez, and later this year he will present Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect, organized in collaboration with Jessamyn Fiore.

The talk was all about concrete poetry, which is poetry organized to fill specific shapes and structures. Concrete poetry has developed from a long tradition of shaped poems in which the words are arranged in such a way as to depict their subject. The talk was a dry and in-depth look at concrete poetry in its early days in Brazil. Without digital tricks the early poets had to rely on typewriters with different colored ink tapes and extensive use of actual cutting and pasting of text. A poem by Augusto de Campos, titled “here are the lovers,” is meant to depict nude lovers copulating. 

Other audience members must have had a solid week of exposure to concrete poetry because they interpreted the work with reflective and deep interpretation as if their grade depended upon it. Personally, if I want to depict something on a page, I  would much rather sketch it with line and color  than be limited by the linear structure of words. Now that I am firmly aware of this form of poetry, it seems I can't escape it. Pam and I ran across a concrete poetry exhibit in Miami shortly after the talk. Every poem was arranged the the shape of a cube. What did it all mean? I don't know. I don't think I am esoteric enough to let this poetry affect me deeply. I  just like to draw stuff. Pam was just surprised that the talk had absolutely nothing to do with museums.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Orlando Drink and Draw 10

Orlando Drink and Draw ventures to a new bar each month to sample beers and sketch. There is no model fee and no instruction. This is just a chance to get out, meet fellow artists and draw. Big Daddy's (Orlando 3001 Corrine Dr, Orlando, Florida 32803) is a traditional dive bar in the Audubon District.  New owner Frankie Guerrero has made some amazing improvements including a new game room and additional table seating area.

This ODD event wasn't very crowded, but quality artists showed up like Audrey Zindler, Noga Grossman and also Wendy Wallenberg. The place had the rich thick smell of cigarettes which for me was a draw back. I breathed shallow as I sketched. My goal has always been to find Orlando's true dive bars and I have to live with some smoke to get some of these sketches on location. My clothes had a good washing when I got home.

The space reminded me of the strangely sinister pool room Vincent Van Gogh painted in the south of France as he slowly lost his mind. At the time of this sketch I was contemplating separation and a few weeks later I had left. It is almost two years since I left and the divorce is still held up as the value of my art work is being argued. Most of my sketches are in hard bound sketchbooks which are impossible to sell since there is another sketch on the back of each page.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lauren Jane in Blue Box 11

27 Blue Boxes are painted on sidewalks in Downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking is now possible day and night in these blue boxes. Although set up for panhandlers, police have insisted street performers must use the blue boxes. Artists are labeled as performers by this city law. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

I am working towards  scheduling 27 sketch opportunities in which performers utilize these Blue Boxes. I am about half way through the project. These Boxes represent the only places downtown where there is theoretically freedom of speech. This group page is set up to organize the systematic documentation of these 27 Boxes using sketches and articles about what results.

Lauren Jane is a talented local visual artist in Orlando. Her representational work is large and bold. She decided to sketch me as I sketched her. The legs of her easel fit neatly in the blue box but one leg jutted just outside the confines of the box. If a police officer wanted to cite her on a technicality that inch might have been interpreted as blocking the flow of traffic on the sidewalk. This blue box is right near the downtown post office. You might think there wold be a greater flow of foot traffic justified by people going to the post office to get stamps. I think I am one of the few antiquated individuals who still sends bills via the mail.

Jane and I settled in to our task at hand. Very few people wandered by or even noticed that she was creating art. Lauren has started a business called Lauren Jane Inc. that teaches artists how to show, promote and sell their art. She has a free art biz blueprint book for anyone who joins her Art Biz Secrets Facebook Group. Secrets offered include: -How to Sell your art - How to Get in shows - Learn what other artists are doing... what works and what doesn’t - Learn how to talk about your art - Join a close community of like minded artists who want to see each other thrive, in art Creations and Sales. It is all advice I desperately need. I am doing expense reports for 2017 and some months did not generate enough income to justify my staying in Orlando. I love creating, but sales don't justify all the commitment to this city's arts community.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Josephine: a Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play Rehearsal

Josephine: a Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play is a one-woman musical biographical play about the iconic Josephine Baker. Created by Tymisha Harris, Michael Marinaccio and Tod Kimbro. Book and Musical Direction by Tod Kimbro, performed by Tymisha Harris. Directed and Produced by Michael Marinaccio

I went to a rehearsal just prior to the Fab Fringe 2018 Fundraiser to be held at the Plaza Live (425 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803) on March 5th. Josephine, combines cabaret, theatre, and dance to tell the story of the iconic Josephine Baker, the first African-American international superstar and one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th Century. Josephine shatters stereotypes of race, gender roles, and sexuality in this intimate, charming and haunting cabaret with a twist. Born in St. Louis in 1906, Josephine Baker achieved only moderate success in the United States but became an international superstar after moving to France in the early 20s. She starred alongside white romantic leading men in films in the 30s, had multiple interracial marriages and homosexual relationships, and performed in men's clothing before the term "drag" existed in the lexicon. Her adopted country of France gave her the opportunity to live freely without the racial oppression of her home nation, though she never stopped yearning for acceptance in America.

The rehearsal was in a small Orlando bungalow just south of Greenwood Cemetery. The band squeezed into the small  living room. There were drums, a guitar, Todd on Piano, a violinist and bass along with an accordion. The conversations between sets offered plenty of saucy humor and the show itself offered the same. I don't believe I saw the entire run through so I will not venture a review. But I could tell this was going to be a very fun musical review with a serious message.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Little Shop of Horrors in Eustis

Clandestine Arts in conjunction with the Bay Street Players presents the hilariously kooky musical favorite, "Little Shop of Horrors" as part of the State Theatre Studio Series. Derek Critzer produced and directed the show while also taking the lead role. This was a herculean task and he pulled it off. Pam Schwartz and I rushed up to The Historic State Theater (109 N Bay St, Eustis, Florida 32726) after I had taught my weekend Urban Sketching class. We negotiated our way into seats in the very back row feeling our way in the dark. We had missed some of the first act, but I was intent on getting a sketch. The soundtrack to the musical Little Shop of Horrors with music by Howard Ashman and lyrics by Alan Mencken got me through some rough times as I struggled to survive as an artist in NYC. I always felt I was trying to escape from skid row. As an artist you are always trying to make magic happen on a shoe-string budget.

When we arrived Audrey (Savannah Pedersen) was on a date with Orin Scrivello the dentist (Robb Ross). His maniacal laughing was unnerving and abrasive. As he suffocated in his laughing gas helmet I felt claustrophobic for him. Could he get enough air in that fish bowl of a helmet? Seymour Krelborn (Derek Critzer) who raised the mysterious plant gets the girl but needs to feed the plants insatiable appetite for blood in his hope to keep her. The meek, plant shop apprentice is thrown into the public eye.

The voice of the plant (Eduardo Rivera) was silky and enticing. One trumpet player in the live orchestra kept blatting out his notes and some voices in the cast seemed worn. In some ways this was fitting for the urban grunge aesthetic, but the 3 woman chorus (Camila Camilo, Nyeshia Smith, and  Felichia Chivaughn Wright) was on point doing a stellar job.

Overall this was a fun day of theater, well worth the drive. 
Remaining show dates are today and tomorrow, 
Tickets are $21 

Saturday April 14, 2018
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday April 15, 2018
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at