Friday, October 31, 2014

Max Starks Football Camp inspires the youth of Orlando

The two day Max Starks Football Camp is free to girls and boys 7-17 years of age but space is limited. Each summer, numerous community partners, dedicated volunteers and several NFL colleagues and coaches reach hundreds of kids in the annual Football Camp in Orlando, FL. The program incorporates life skills, literacy, education and stresses the importance of maintaining a sterling image on and off the field.

Physicals are requested and all registered participants receive a breakfast snack, hydration fluids, lunch, camp t-shirt, Ford sports gear and a minimum of one age appropriate scholastic book.I went to Lake Highland Prepertory School, (901 Highland Ave, Orlando, FL) to sketch as the two days of training kicked off. The auditorium bleachers were full and the anticipation grew as the conversations grew louder.

Max Starks and several team mates opened the day welcoming all the brave young sports enthusiasts. Everyone wore the free tee shirts sporting the Max Starks logo. When everyone was pumped up they all ran out to the football field. Everyone ran laps to start to warm up followed by stretches. I didn't stay for all the training workouts since I was sweating form just doing a sketch.

This years camp location will be announced on April 1st, 2015.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NFL Mixer raised funds for the Annual Max Starks Football Camp

This NFL Themed fundraiser was held in a luxury car dealership near the Millenia Mall. Silent auction items at many fundraisers often have signed footballs or sports Jerseys, but this fundraiser sported these man cave items only. Funds were being raised for the annual the Annual Max Starks NFL Youth Football and Speed Camp held at Lake Highland Preparatory School (901 Highland Ave, Orlando, FL).

I glanced around the the auction items but my man cave is full of sketchbooks and art leaving little room for framed sports jerseys.  Since there wasn't any musicians or other talent to focus my attention on, I quietly slipped away to get home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Drunken Monkey is the perfect spot to stop for coffee and a bite between sketches.

I often stop off at the Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar (444 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL) after work at Full Sail so I don't have to drive all the way home before going to an event to sketch. Everyone sipping their coffee seems to involved in some form of work be it digital or traditional. It is right across the street from the plaza theater, so I often end up waiting her prior to a performance at the theater. The coffee bar is also half way between Full Sail and downtown which makes it the perfect stopping spot for me. If I plan to sketch downtown later that evening.

There are plenty of tasty sandwiches on the menu as well which makes it a fine place to grab a bit for dinner as well. I'm a creature of habit and if I love a spot I return often. I also like getting to see the ever changing art on the walls which feature local artists. I always support any business that supports the local arts scene.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cigars and sports at Corona Cigar Lounge

Located near the Plaza in Downtown Orlando, Corona Cigar Company (127 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL) offers liquor and stogies for any occasion. During any Orlando Magic game the Lounge fills up with fans and smoke. I decided to stop in to sketch during a Magic game. The lounge is filled with old Spanish furniture with leather studded cushions. I sketched with curiosity as a patron snipped off the end of a cigar before lighting up. While many establishments are converting to no smoking policies, that will never happen here.

When I got home, Terry could smell the smoke on my clothes and sketchbook. She has a keen sense of smell but smell is my weakest sense which is a blessing when folks light up around me.  Since I always sketch in crowded environments I have to tolerate and even celebrate peoples habits. I'm never tempted to smoke myself but I'm curious about people that do smoke. I feel a little nasty when I sketch in a smoke filled room and that can be a good thing. The Magic lost.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Project F experimented with the entertaining ways we interact online.

In 2010 I was tracking the progress of a experimental Theater production called Project F. This show was about Facebook and how it affects the way people interact today. This rehearsal was held in a TV Channel 9 News studio on Orange Blossom Trail. News footage was being edited in the editing bays as I walked the hallways to find this green screen studio. It was hard to resist the urge to stop and sketch.

Project F was an experimental collaborative experiment between the actors and Director Aradhana Tiwari. At this rehearsal, the actors wrote down autobiographical details which might later be incorporated into the show. Aradhana had been given a camera for Christmas and she documented the rehearsal with photos. TV cameras, cranes and ladders cluttered the space.

After everyone had finished writing, the began a viewpoints session. Viewpoints is a trust building exercise that has the actors walk in a grid pattern on the stage. Actors become aware of each others movements and develop a 6th sense about who is near them on the stage. Aradhana gives the actors suggestions which are incorporated into their every move. Sometime the moves were slow and languorous and at other times fast and frenetic.

Project F had much promise, but it never made it to a final stages production. I feel lucky to have seen the early stages in its development. A software interface has changed the way people interact and exchange ideas. It had made it easy to reconnect with old friends and it had caused friction and rifts in other relationships. We will never be the same.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jack Fields Birthday

This sketch was done at Jack Fields birthday party held at Dandelion Communitea Cafe (618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL). Jack is an extremely talented puppeteer. Puppets he creates are sublime and surreal. He has branched off and begun creating his own puppet films, shooting them in his own makeshift home movie studio. When he and Hannah Miller team up, anything is possible. The art on the Dandelion walls always changes every month. On Jack's birthday there were some fun and quirky painting of octopus characters on the walls.

I fist met Jack and Hannah when they worked at Pinocchios Marionette Theater in the Altimonte Mall. Sadly Pinocchio's Marionette Theater closed permanently on July 31st of 2014. I had gone to Pinocchio's on may occasions to sketch. There were puppet slams held there which showcased the best puppetry for local artists. I found sketching behind the scenes at Pinochio's was always exciting. There is still an innocent thrill that children feel when they watch a show. They might shout out and intersect with the puppets in ways that never happen when passively watching some Computer generated puppet. I was watching a reviewer talking about the recent Muppet movie. They said that the one time that they were jolted out of the story was when Kermit was given a computer generated body. Suddenly the humanity or believability was lost.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Cradle Will Rock Was Used For an Open Debate Among Students

The Cradle Will Rock is a 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. Originally a part of the Federal Theatre Project, it was directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman. The musical is an allegory of corruption and corporate greed. Set in "Steeltown, USA", it follows the efforts of Larry Foreman to unionize the town's workers and combat wicked, greedy businessman Mr. Mister, who controls the town's factory, press, church and social organization. The piece is almost entirely sung-through, giving it many operatic qualities, although Blitzstein included popular song styles of the time.

The production was shut down four days before its opening by the Work Progress Administration, which stated that due to budget cuts, the WPA was reorganizing its arts projects, and all openings of WPA plays, musicals, concerts, and art galleries were to be delayed until after July 1, however, many asserted that the musical had been censored because the pro-union plot was "too radical". The theatre was padlocked and surrounded by security to prevent anyone from stealing props or costumes, as these were considered U. S. Government property. Welles, Houseman, and Blitzstein, seeking a way to privately produce the show, rented the much larger Venice Theatre and a piano just in time for the scheduled preview on June 16, 1937. The 600 audience members, who had gathered outside the Maxine Elliot Theatre for the preview, traveled 21 blocks north to the Venice Theatre; many were on foot. The sold-out house grew even larger when the show's creators invited people off the street to attend for free.To avoid government and union restrictions, the show was performed with Blitzstein playing piano onstage and the cast members singing their parts from the audience. It was a bold decision for every actor since taking this stance could have ruined their careers. Orson Wells and John Houseman were fired for insubordination. They then formed their own, Mercury Theater Company, which would later produce the radio play War of the Worlds which put Orson Wells on the map allowing him to later direct the movie Citizen Kane using many actors from the Mercury Theater troupe.

Though attempts might be made, it is hard to silence creativity in a democratic society. But it might take one frail voice to make that stand. Students sat in a circle on the empty stage reliving the events in 1937. It is hard to imagine remaining silent when social media makes expressing any idea so easy. Yet who honestly ever swims upstream. We do all we can to swim downstream in school formation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 25th and 26th

Saturday October 25, 2014
Noon to 2pm Free. Distance Music at Lake Eola for Walking Audience, Train Horns and Brass Choirs. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. A first in music - come and hear a giant sound sculpture created by geometrically spaced train horns that you can see with your ears as you walk around it!

6pm to 11pm Free. College Park Jazz Fest. Along Edgewater Drive College Park. Several stages of live jazz in a street party.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free but get some tapas and drinks. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded flamenco dancers.

Sunday October 26, 2014 
10pm to ?  Free. Art in the Park. Dickson Azalea Park Rosearden Dr, Orlando, FL. Spend time with other artists, share, and tap into creative consciousness. This isn't an organization, it's a group of like-minded artists coming together to create, network and inspire one another in this beautiful local park in the heart of Downtown Orlando. Set up anywhere you wish in the park, but we will mostly gather near the stage area. This event is totally free and open to anyone who wants to participate! All forms of artwork are encouraged. Things to bring- art supplies, chairs, blankets, musical instruments, friends, snacks, drinks, cameras, business cards, words of encouragement, and positive energy. Since we are spending time at this park, we are NOT allowed to sell any items but we can meet and mingle and promote upcoming events. Bathrooms are limited to across the street at Langford Park. In the event of rain, the event will be rescheduled. Call 828-974-1105 if you have any questions.

10am to Noon Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en masse 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 2pm Free but get some grub. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nothing Beats Bingo at Pulse

Bingo is usually associated with a crowd of retirees at the local Moose Lodge. However when presented by Anna-Rexia and Dysen-Terri, at Pulse, bingo can become a fun romp. I didn't pick up a bingo card since my hands were busy, but Katie Windish played along.

The cross dressed outfits were a riot of black and white stripes along with plenty of fishnets. After a few Yuengling beers it started to seem like victory was always close at hand.

Pulse (1912 Orange Ave, Orlando, FL) is supposed to be Orlando's premiere gay bar, it offers a world of fun and fantasy. Inside there are three unique worlds: The Lounge, Ultra Bar and The Adonis Room. Since 2004, Pulse has been serving up unmatched live entertainment and tantalizing liquid libations, courtesy of the renowned staff and entertainers.

Bingo was presented rather early in the evening before the place gets packed. I haven't sketched there yet when the party is in full swing. Anna-Rexia was hilarious, offering plenty of slutty tongue in cheek quips that kept everyone laughing as the lusted for just one win.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jack Kerouac's Girlfriend Interviewed at the Kerouac House

In 2010 one of Jack Kerouac's girlfriends, Joyce Johnson, visited the small College Park Cottage where Jack wrote "The Dharma Bums." Jack and his mother rented the back rooms in those days. "Listen Joyce," he wrote from Orlando to his girlfriend in New York City on a winter day in 1957. He had big news. He was tearing along on a new novel, "greater than 'On the Road'." he wrote. It would be called The Dharma Bums, and he described gazing up at the stars over Florida for inspiration about how to wrap it up. Joyce recalled, "I thought I'd never met anyone who'd lived with more absolute freedom … A need to keep moving, as if whenever he stayed anywhere too long, he exhausted the present by soaking it in too intensely."

Several college students were filming a documentary about the legendary "Beat Generation" author. David Amram, a musician who also knew Jack was there to be interviewed as well. "Jack had a kindness and devotion to writing." Amram explained. "He was always listening and watching like a great reporter. He was always writing epiphanies and inner feelings." "By your words ye shall be known." Yet for many Kerouac remains an enigma. Local news journalist and writer Bob Kieling has researched Kerouac for years, while writing about Kerouac's Orlando connection. New material always surfaces. While in Orlando, "On the Road" was published and suddenly Kerouac was famous. Kerouac's life spun out of control and he drank himself to death in 1969 at the age of 47. "How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy. To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." wrote Walter Pater. The key of course is to not burn out.