Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Girl at Fringe

Beth Marshall is directing, Girl, written by Megan Mostyn-Brown, a hard-hitting drama at this year's Fringe. When the audience entered the Gold Venue there were three black boxes on the stage and a blue suitcase. Girl consisted of three intimate stories which create a compelling account of the female adolescent experience and what it means to be "home."

The play opened with a young girl, Hannah (Chloe Shaw), seated on the center box. Hate and ugly were scrawled on her legs. Her sister had recently died and she was trying to come to terms with this harsh reality. Days of the week flashed on the screen above her head and we watched as she spiraled downward. She had become numb and the only reality was the feeling she got when began cutting herself. Her sister might not have lived the most exemplary life, but she began to emulate her, going so far as to buy a red-haired wig to look like her.

The second scene introduced a tom boy, Lucy (Alexa Carroll), with a Polaroid camera around her neck. She didn't try and blend in with the upper crust snobbish girls in school, preferring to keep to herself and document the moments of her life with the camera. A group of students began talking about sex and asked, "Where is the strangest place you have done it?" Well, she hadn't actually had sex yet, but when confronted with the question she said, "In a tree," and was shocked that they believed her. a classmate, Isaac (Matthew Gray), later called her out in private saying she was better than that. He walked her home and they began talking as if they had been friends for years. The girl's mom, (Sierra Vennes), sat house right and began talking about the mistakes she had made in life and how she hoped she could protect her daughter from making the same mistakes.  Ultimately, that goal is impossible.

Lydia (Rachel Comeau) performed the final scene alone. Her performance was stellar. Without going into details, I will say her story had heartbreak and pain, with hope in the end. She brought the entire audience on her emotional journey and we were faced with the harsh reality of what she had to face. She cried and laughed and tried to stay strong through it all. She is the one actress I didn't sketch, but I just had to stop and watch her performance without the interruption of glancing down at the page. She held new life dear and close to her chest, discovering what it meant to be at home.

This was heart-wrenching theater at its best. A tour-de-force of emotions.

Girl is in the Gold Venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 Mills Ave N, Orlando, FL 32803.
Tickets are $6 along with the $10 Fringe button.
The remaining show dates are:
7:00 PM

6:30 PM
7:00 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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pollywood at Orlando Fringe

Polly Esther had been through some pretty rough times, but no matter how bad things got, she could always listen to a Weird Al Yankovic recording and laugh. She addressed the Fringe audience wearing a Weird Al t-shirt. Her excitement was manic and contagious. She heard that Al would be getting a star on Hollywood's walk of fame. This is an honor that has to be paid for, but it is still an honor.

Since she loves Weird Al so much, she decided she had to go to Hollywood to see him when his star was unveiled. The trouble was, she didn't have the money for a plane flight or hotel stay. Dena from Orlando Fringe advised her to start a Go Fund me page to raise money for the trip. Polly took her advice and was surprised when she actually raised the money needed for the trip. She actually surpassed her goal by a bit and decided to get a pair of sandals with plenty of bling so she would blend in on the Hollywood strip.

She hadn't planned ahead for the trip very much, since it never seemed quite like a reality. The morning she had to leave for the airport she hadn't packed a thing. She performed a manic mime of the frantic struggle to pack, which was quite hilarious. Polly's 37 hour adventure was as fun and quirky as Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

The map taped to the back wall with green frog tape showed her trip route to Hollywood. She had the names of all her contributors and added them to the map alongside the route. When she was in Hollywood, she met one of Weird Al's entourage and he invited her to a VIP party on the day of the unveiling. When she met Al, she was amazed that he looked her right in the eye and he loved her name "Polyester!" It wasn't until that moment that it occurred to me that her first and last name, when said quickly, was a synthetic fabric used in cheap clothing lines. 

The bottom line is that this was a fun story about one woman's dream coming true in ways she never expected. Dream big and sometimes you might just reach the stars.

Pollywood is in the Blue Venue inside the Orlando Shakes, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803.
Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe button. 
The remaining show times are:

10:45 PM
8:45 PM
3:30 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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Abridged Orlando Fringe Sketchbook

The Abridged Orlando Fringe Sketchbook documents 10 years of the Orlando Fringe in sketches. The project began in 2009 and today, 10 years later, the sketching continues. Above is a sample of the first 10 pages of the book.

This Abridged Fringe Sketchbook is 110 pages with over 200 full-color sketches. The book is going to press now and will be available by the 2019 Orlando Fringe Festival. Each year has a few paragraphs highlighting my favorite shows of the year. The goal has been to assemble every sketch done at Fringe shows over the past 10 years at an affordable price.

The books will sell for about $25 at the Orlando Fringe. If you would like to pre-order a book, contact If you pre-order, we will arrange to give you the book when you arrive at the Fringe Festival.  We can take orders via pay pal, checks, or of course, the preferred cash. The books can now be found out on the Green Lawn of Fabulousness and inside the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in the Fringe Merchandise booths. I pulled aside one for myself since I now fear they might sellout. If they do sell out we will print more books which can be delivered or picked up after Fringe.

A much larger 249 page book that has all the original articles written for Analog Artist Digital World is also being produced if we have enough pre-orders and interest!

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

Ladies Room: The Musical at Orlando Fringe

Ladies Room: The Musical presented by Bikini Katie Productions was an absolute delight. The audience sat in folding chairs place in each stall. One stall was empty, so I plopped myself down as I travel with my own chair. Bikini Katie quickly warned me that that particular stall would be used during the production. I erased the sketch I had started and began fresh. I was particularly panicked since this show is just a half hour long. A bearded pianist sat at his keyboard in the handicap stall.

Once the audience was settled in, four women entered the ladies room. They sang about poor dates, societal expectations, and friendship. One woman hadn't dated for a long time and she was on a date with a guy who turned out to be a real jerk. She seriously didn't want to go back out to face him, fearing she might not make it through the night alive.

A woman wearing a tiara was having her birthday with friends and she was getting as drunk as possible. Her song was interrupted when she ran into the stall I had sat in and hurled. She was the only woman who noticed the musician in the handicap stall. It was a fun way to break the fourth wall.

A thin fashion model of a woman changed her dress and hair styles several times. She seriously had multiple dresses and wigs. Any time she lost interest in a guy she would change her look and find a new guy.

The fourth woman in the group was sort of the mom figure. She had everything in her purse that might necessary to help her younger and misguided friends. She was there for her sage advice. These four woman banded together to help each other get through the night.

Without giving away more details, I can just say that this show was such a fun time. It was the most unique venue this year for sure and the music and performances were amazing. This is my favorite musical so far this year. I hope the show is ultimately fleshed out even further. Definitely get in line for the Ladies Room you will be glad you did.

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, May 19, 2019

The Agony and the Ivories at Fringe

Grown Man Productions, Chicago, IL, presented Bill Larkin behind the piano in the Brown Venue. I have to say right up front that this was the funniest show I have seen so far at this year's Fringe. Bill was from Orlando working at the SAK Comedy Lab before he moved to Chicago. He is an actor, musician, and most defiantly a comedian. He feels the music and he feels your pain.

He sang a song about his twin brother. It was the first song he ever wrote when he was just 8 years old. The beautiful chord progressions that followed lead me to believe a Disney ballad might follow. Instead the ballad was about how the family only wanted one child. Then followed his dreams of killing his brother and how the world would be such a better place once he was gone. It was hilarious and unsettling all at once, a viscous and crazy childhood dream.

Another song about his childhood involved the lengths he had to go to to see some porn. It involved a long trip into town on his trust bike. His destination, six miles away, was the magical Davidson's Pharmacy that carried a special type of magazine. Way in the back of that den of drugs were the magazines, from Time to Woman's Day, but up above those behind an orange, plastic screen were the objects of his dreams - Playboy and Penthouse magazines. He was able to reach the forbidden fruit and he hid it inside a Life Magazine. Lost in the splendor of what he saw, his cover was blown when a proprietor tapped him on the shoulder. He ran for his life and biked home in the rain.

He then explained how easy children have it today. He asked a member of the audience to set the timer on their iPhone to see how long it might take him to find some porn on his phone. The timer was set and his fingers flashed across the screen. Within 14 seconds he found a site and screamed. It took 14 seconds. He shouted it out for all to hear. He then walked over to the outdoor stage door, opened it, and sunlight streamed in. "14 seconds!" he shouted.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

This is just a dry sampling of the hilarity that ensued. His songs tackled subjects such as aging, homosexuality, self-esteem, and social media.  Weird Al Yankovic himself is "a big fan."

The Agony and the Ivories is in the Brown Venue at the Orlando Shakes, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. 

Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe Button needed for every show.

Remaining show times:

6:15 PM
8:15 PM
10:45 PM
5:30 PM
7:00 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

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Coconuts, Coral, and Cow S#it at Fringe

The title for this show was quite misleading. I walked into the preview assuming I would find a strange comedy. Instead, I found a compelling personal drama. Actress Sara Kunz stood on a chair looking down into an abyss. Wind whistled in our ears as she subtly swayed forward and back. She began to cry. The moment lingers, allowing the audience time to realize that she might be willing to jump. The theater went black.

Sara excitedly considered a challenging hike in Hawaii. She loved physical challenges, they allow her to push to her physical limits and beyond. The park announcements in her iPod headset kept reminding her of the dangers. The announcer offered much needed humor, since she seemed to be directing her recorded commentary directly at Sara.

At an outdoor festival, Sara discovered that people would actually pay her money when she performed with her hula hoop. She showed us her act, which was incredible and graceful. She beamed when performing, a human flame, making the hula hoop move in unexpected and magical ways. Realizing that people actually paid her for her art, she decided to travel the world, busking along the way to supplement her life. Her parents didn't think this was a wise life choice, but her mind was made up.

Someone she thought was her friend took a part of her that sent her into a spiraling depression. The scene I sketched had her seated in a therapist's office as she described how her life had been put on hold. We returned to the Hawaiian hike where she was crossing a dangerous ravine that only had a PVC ladder as a crossing point. The ladder was across two chairs, but her terror as she crossed was palpable. I identified with this scene as I had just painted a mural and reaching up to paint the sky, high on the wall, was terrifying on the tall swaying scaffolding.

This performance was testimony to the fact that Sara had not only overcome the horrible experience in her past, but that she also has the strength to share her story so that others who might feel the same guilt and debilitating shame might realize that they are not alone. So don't go to Coconuts, Coral, and Cow S#it expecting comedy, go to be challenged and inspired by the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend the show.

Tickets are $8 plus a $10 Fringe Button.
The Green Venue is in the black box theater behind the Repertory Theater, 1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803

Remaining show times are:

2:00 PM
6:15 PM
5:45 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

Friday, May 17, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Fringe Picks

Saturday May 18, 2019
3 PM to 4 PM $12.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. Black Wood. Gold Venue in the Orlando Museum of Art 2416 Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803.
Carpenter Aunt Productions, Orlando, FL
It's 1967, and Caroline Logan has just joined the cast of TVs top supernatural soap opera. But will nervous network censors and a vampire with line trouble derail her career before it's begun? Probe the dark shadows of dysfunction in a hilarious and poignant new comedy written by Fringe fave Steve Schneider (Escape From Baldwin Park, Ominous George) directed by Dave Russell (president, SAK Comedy Lab), and starring a cast of top O-Town talent.
13 and up - Strong Language, Adult Content

8 PM to 9 PM  $12.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. A Showgirls Musical. Orange Venue in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater 812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803.
JMEG Theatrical, Winter Garden, FL
Sequins. Sabotage. Sex in the pool? Based on every one's favorite career killing cult classic, JMEG Theatrical takes you to the 90's with a parody musical that is sure to have more than just your eyes popping. Nomi Malone arrived in Las Vegas with just a suitcase and a dream. So pack your ice cubes, hitch a ride, and wear your best Versayce!
18 and up - Nudity, Adult Content, Strong Language
This show includes strobe lighting effects.

10:30 PM to 11:30 PM  $12.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. Corsets and Cuties: #Celebrate. Black Venue in The Venue 511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803. 
Corsets and Cuties, LLC, Casselberry, FL
Fringe veterans Corsets & Cuties have made their home at The Venue since their sold-out debut August 2014. Sponsored by Premier Couples Superstore, the Cuties personally welcome guests and attendees to their shows and the troupe intends to light up the night this May in the Black Venue. With a different guest star each night you never know what's gonna happen with this troupe. Be a part of the Cutie's party and "have a good damn time."
18 and up - Strong Language, Nudity, Adult Content

Sunday May 19, 2019
3 PM to 4 PM  $12.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. Black Cow Jumps. Purple Venue  in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater 812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803. 
Banks Helfrich, Clermont, FL
Multi-vignettes that place the human back into humanity. Visceral reflections of how we perceive ourselves when we remove our veils, and shift into authenticity. An observation of reality in a performance space to create a clarity and frankness that we all crave, if only we are willing to see ourselves in others. An invitation to pause long enough to experience our Ah-ha moments in a room full of people desiring connection. Life soup.
18 and up - Strong Language, Adult Content

5:30 PM to 6:25 PM  $11.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. The Hammered Dog. Red Venue in the
Orlando Shakespeare Theater 812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803.
Freeline Productions, Orlando, FL
Starring Fringe favorites Sarah Lockard, Steven Johnson and Todd Allen-Long! From the creative team of 2016 Purple Patrons Pick Murder Sleep. Shy, insecure and emotionally fragile Sandra meets the handsome, sexually possessive Ted at a nightclub where a chance interaction quickly leads to an intense, volatile relationship. Under the strain of her obscure past and Ted’s emotional manipulation, her life takes a fateful turn. Some wounds never heal.
13 and up - Adult Content

9:45 PM to 10:55 PM $10.00 plus a $10 Fringe button. How to Eat a Bear. Brown Venue  in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater 812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803.  
Crafty McVillain, Orlando, FL
Best friends Dave and Mark decide that they will stop at nothing to satisfy their inexplicable craving for bear meat and find out the hard way that their quest will lead them down every path except victory.
13 and up

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, May 16, 2019

Ray Bradbury's H2O at Fringe

Susan Turner and Kangagirl Productions is presenting H20, conceived and performed by David Lee. I went to a tech rehearsal to sketch. The production is centered around three Ray Bradbury short stories. The Lake had a young boy yearning for a moment alone by running along the shore. When truly alone, he began to miss Tally, perhaps his sister or a dear friend who he used to help build sand castles. At 12 years old she swam out into the lake, never to return. He built half a sand castle hoping she would return to build the rest.

In The Season of Calm Weather, George Smith and his wife were vacationing in France. He didn't mind the art of Caravaggio or the thick wormed yellows of a Van Gogh sunflower, but he truly loved the paintings of Pablo Picasso. He hoped to one day pay Picasso $5000, telling the artist "Give us the sea, the sand, that sky, or any old thing you want, we'll be happy." George took a walk along the beach and in the distance saw a tan old man drawing in the sand with a popsicle stick. He was drawing incredible figures. He was completely absorbed in his work drawing one figure and then another, and another. The sand flew as he sketched wildly. What appeared was free-running bacchanal, with satyrs, fauns, wine-dipped maidens, prancing unicorns, and piping youths dancing toward distant meadows, woodlands, ruined temples, and volcanoes.

The artist stopped and discovered George standing behind him. The artist shrugged his shoulders as if saying "Look what I've done; see what a child? Allow an old fool this, eh?" He wanted to run back to his room for a camera to capture the scene but there wasn't time, the sun was setting fast and the tide was coming in. He only had time to walk along the length of the creation to soak it all in before the sun slipped below the horizon.  Then, the tide came in, ironing the sand flat. I loved this story which was a reminder that nothing we create will last forever. However as artists, we can't help ourselves.

The third story was The Million Year Picnic, about a family trip to Mars. Blue lights on the edge of the stage created subtle ripple patterns on the ceiling and walls of the theater. This visual clue tied together the three stories, which each had the common element of water. The stories were at times haunting and foreboding about how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe. David did block out each scene by moving around the stage taking on the parts of each character in turn. His goal was to focus on the rich language of Bradbury. This created a staged reading where Ray Bradbury's mesmerizing phrasing could shine. It was raining hard while this rehearsal took place further emphasizing the theme of H2O as the storm pounded the theater roof. There was magic in every moment.

Ray Bradbury's H2O is in the Yellow venue in the Orlando Shakes,  812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803. Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe button. The show runs 60 minutes.

The remaining show dates are:

7:30 PM
12:15 PM
8:30 PM
10:45 PM
7:15 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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Corsets and Cuties: #Celebrate

Corsets and Cuties made their Fringe debut in 2014. Since then, the shows keep selling out. I first sketched them that year, and I have been following their entertaining antics ever since. The Fringe show opens with the jingle song of Premier Couples' Superstore. What followed was a fun night of burlesque, mixed with singing prowess and comedy. There was some unexpected news that their aerialist had fallen recently at the pirate dinner theatre, so he would not be performing.

Veronica Paige did a hilarious and sensual routine in which she essentially made love to a delicious handful of carbs as she stripped, a Hawaiian Sweet Roll I believe. Her Rubenesque might not fit into many pencil thin fashions, but she put those thin girls to shame and looked beautiful. Black gloves and a flowing semi transparent robe made for some fine old-school burlesque.

Crumbcake Cutie did a hilarious routine in which she was baking a cake. Orlando Sentinel theater reporter Matt Palm was in  the audience, seated toward the back away from the crowd. Crumbcake strutted up to him once she had stripped down, and shook her bootie right in his face. He realized he was now the center of attention and gave her a playful pat on the butt, as it seemed she would not go away until he did.

Barbie Rhinestone gave a high energy routine in her polka dot dress. She radiated smiles. Nicki Jay performed to a Lady Ga Ga song and she moved with so much energy that I had to just stop for a bit and watch. I will figure out how to get that level of energy into a sketch someday. Pam seated next to me always jokes, "I always know when Nicki Jay is performing, because your brush stops moving and you just stare."

Corsets and Cuties offered an amazing night of Burlesque. You never know what will happen. Super fun with a big side of sexy.

There are 4 show dates. Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe Button. They are in  the Black Venue which is in The Venue 511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803.

11:59 PM
10:30 PM
10:30 PM
11:59 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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Black Wood at Fringe

Pam and I happen to have been binge watching Dark Shadows, a goth 1960s live TV show. The show ran for an incredible 1,225 episodes. We are still watching the first season, though it seems like it has been forever. Black Wood, written by Steve Schneider and directed by David Russell, recreated what it might be like for the cast of that tradition of live TV. I have a rather personal memory of watching Dark Shadows as a child. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and she spent most of her time in a NYC hospital away from our suburban New Jersey home. Towards the end, she came home and I would sit in bed with her watching Dark Shadows each day. To me the show seemed dark and sinister, often dealing with people struggling to stay alive after having their blood sucked away by Barnabas Collins... a VAMPIRE! This was one of the last memories I had of being close to my mom. I was 10 years old.

Black Wood featured a young method-acting student, Caroline (Melanie Leon) landing a prize role right after graduating from acting school. Her excitement and enthusiasm was thrilling. The long time cast of the show, however, was jaded, just trying to get through each episode without stumbling. To open her first appearance, Caroline read an opening monologue into the mic. Her throaty, reflective, and dreamy performance was perfectly in line with every intro that proceeded the actual on-air drama. In her monologue, she dreamed of how her life would change once she was finally confronted by Black Wood. The intern on the program, William (Hannibal Callens), was black and he tried to hold back a giggle. This was an ongoing joke.

The cast were professional actors faced with having to go live before the cameras for each show with only a brief rehearsal and script rundown. The sinister vampire of the series was Peter, playing Victor (J.D. Sutton.) He had a magnificently chiseled face, reminiscent of Vincent Price. One constant when watching the TV show live is that actors often stumbled horrifically over their lines. In this stage comedy, Victor as an aging actor was the one who would forget his, leaving the cast stunned as they tried to redirect him on the live broadcast. It left room for plenty of comedy and dark terrified stares off into the scary unknown.

This is my favorite Fringe show so far. I have the advantage of being in the midst of watching Dark Shadows. If you have never seen the goth 1960s drama, then some of the subtle jokes might be missed. But I had a blast. When Caroline let it slip that she was proud to be working on a soap opera, the whole cast gasped. They didn't like referring to their show as a soap opera. They preferred to call it a daytime drama. Soap operas suck, but reality bites. I am certain that Barnabas Collins would approve.

Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe Button. Show dates are:

Thursday May 16, 2019 at 8:45 PM to 9:45 PM
Saturday May 18, 2019 at 3 PM to 4 PM
Wednesday May 22, 2019 at 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Saturday May 25, 2019 at 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Sunday May 26, 2019 at 10:45 PM to 11:45 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