Sunday, May 31, 2009

Club Harem

Located on Lee Road, Club Harem's double breasted architectural style is unmistakable. I decided to sketch this establishment after a day of work at Full Sail. When I started the sketch there wasn't a cloud in the sky but as I worked storm clouds quickly formed and rolled over me.
There is a long history between Winter Park and Club Harem. The Winter Park police department has targeted the club in the past with the obvious goal of putting it out of business. The club has been raided multiple times but has always reopened for business. Club Harem is nestled on the edge of a quiet suburban neighborhood. A woman jogged by several times as I sketched and a man rode through the empty parking lot on a red bicycle.
Many years ago the bar was known as "The Booby Trap". From my casual observance on a hot Wednesday afternoon, Club Harem looks to be a well maintained thriving business. It continues to be Winter Parks only adult entertainment establishment, and in my mind an Orlando landmark.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Research Studio in the 21st Century

Friday evening I went to the Maitland Art Center to see the opening of RS21. I knew one of the exhibiting artists namely Kelledy Francis having met her at the Kerouac House. Kelledy exhibited some of her couture dresses from her Four Seasons series. She had planned to hire models and have them standing in a small man made pond out in the Maitland Arts Center court yard. However heavy rains were predicted so she decided on a more fine arts approach to exhibit her dresses. The three dresses seen in this sketch are hung from the ceiling by thin wire. The seasons represented are Spring, Fall and Summer. A woman in a gold dress expressed an excited interest in the dresses and I hope she and Kelledy had a chance to talk.
The three people sitting at the table were there for quite some time. It turns out that the woman typing was transcribing everything the young couple was saying. They were actually part of the exhibit put together by Kim Walz. Kim explained that the transcriptions were being fed wirelessly to a large screen in the exhibition room as were live texts messages. She apparently also had speech recognition software which would then print gallery goers conversations in real time.
The cutting edge exhibit and installations were created in the spirit of the work started at "The Research Studio," founded by AndrĂ© Smith in the 1930’s. The show runs through July 13th 2009.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Grande Hysterie

This sketch is from an event called Blunder Bungle which was organized by Jessica Earley. The event or party took place in MoMNB, the Museum of My Neighbor's Backyard. Twenty or so artists had work hanging off of fences and on the side of the house.
Erika Wilhite sat in a secluded corner of the yard with small stage lights illuminating her from below. She was dressed in a white night gown which made it seem like she had wandered into this event by mistake. She would play raucous songs on the accordion and then periodically select an audience member for a special demonstration.
After I finished this sketch she picked me for one of these demonstrations. I was asked to stand close, but not to close mind you. She then showed me a white glove and as she delicately pulled the glove onto her hand she explained that she was about to show me something truly beautiful. She daintily pulled the glove tightly down over each finger. Then she worked her fingers to test the fit. She reached behind her for one of the balloons and showed it to me as she cooed softly about the beauty of what I was about to behold. With the balloon inches from my face, she popped it with an quick motion and began to laugh maniacally as I jumped back in surprise. She continued to laugh uncontrollably until her handler, A man with a top hat and a waxed mustache, calmed her down and had her sit down. Erika's demonstrations of grand hysteria had me mesmerized, and I drifted back several times as she worked her magic on other unsuspecting audience members.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shakespeare Theater

Memorial Day marked the end of the Orlando Fringe Theater Festival. On this final day all the Visual Fringe artists were asked to pick up their work. As Terry and I drove to the Shakespeare Theater it once again began to rain. Driving through downtown on the 408 the rain became a torrential downpour. When we walked into the Visual Fringe room all the art was on the floor leaning up against the walls. I had to sign a form stating that I had picked up my work and then Anna helped me find my sketch. Everyone must have been up late partying because they looked exhausted. Anna gave me one last hug and then the rain let up as Terry and I exited the theater on our way out to the parking lot. Terry and I climbed into the truck and headed home. As we exited the parking lot, the sun burst through the clouds and an immense rainbow stretched from horizon to horizon. The Fringe was officially over.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gunther Barnaby's Traveling Show

I convinced my wife Terry to head out to the Fringe to see a show on my birthday which was May 22nd. She took me to a lovely restaurant in College Park where I had a delicious diner of duck with a cherry sauce which was to die for. When we got to the green lawn we had about an hour till show time, so we relaxed under a tent since it was raining. One of the event people had the fantastic idea of backing up one tent against another so that the audience watching the outdoor stage was not constantly getting drenched. As we waited, Gunther Barnaby's Traveling show hit the stage. Barnaby offered an elixir which promised to cure all that ales you from Cataliptic Neuroplexy to Stoutness and Camel Toe. Two alluring young women wandered the audience handing out airplane vodka bottle sized samples of this magic potion. In the foreground of this sketch is my wife who continued to suffer from her cold. After trying the elixir she was able to get up and brave the long lines as we went on to the nights show. Perhaps it wasn't a miraculous and complete recovery since she is still coughing four days later.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Green Lawn of Fabulousness

There were several breaks in the rain when patrons flocked to the green lawn. Event organizers dubbed this years Fringe festival as "Hurricane Fringe". Although no actual hurricane hit, storm clouds lingered and opened up daily on the Festival.
When evening rolled in an awards ceremony was held at the outdoor stage. Pink Lawn Flamingos were handed out as Fabby Awards. Patrons pics were announced and these shows will play on Memorial Day.
Another set of awards were handed out called the Patrons Choice awards. I submitted a print of one of my Fringe sketches which was awarded to the Best Original Play. Jessica Earley presented the award which went to "The Schaefer Killing" by the Playwrights Round Table written by Larry Stalling.

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Urban Sketchers Banner

Today the Gabi posted a new Urban Sketchers banner featuring a photo of myself at work by Kristen Manieri and the sketch I was working on. That day I was sketching a Green Festival at Baldwin Park. Kristen wrote an article about my blog which will appear in the July issue of Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine.
Head on over to Urban Sketchers to see sketches from around the world.

The Worm

I spent most of Saturday at the Fringe. It was hot, muggy and sunny when I arrived. I immediately went into the Shakespeare Theater to soak in the air conditioning. I found a comfortable leather chair and relaxed.
This sculpture by Doug Rhodehamel is made entirely from cassette audio tape. In an effort to keep patrons from stepping on or touching the sculpture, Doug placed a sign on the floor that stated that performance artist Brian Feldman may or may not be inside. The worm looks like it has taken and interest in the program that a Fringe patron is reading.
Kristina Goetz, the Director of Development, arrived and sat down in the leather chair next to me. We talked for a while. She said that in preparation for the Fringe she has to make sure all her bills are paid, that her laundry is done and that anything perishable is out of the fridge. She does all that because she basically lives at the Fringe for its duration. She explained that the rain has hurt revenues but now that the sun is out, people who must have cabin fever after a solid week of rain, are coming out in force.
Since I missed Flamenco con Fusion last night I decided to catch the 11:20PM show tonight. I got a ticket and ran over to the theater just before to get in. It turns out I arrived and hour early. For whatever reason I have been constantly confused trying to get into con Fusion. In the lobby outside the show the guitarist and one of the dancers were taking pictures. I got to shake his hand and I explained that I had heard quite a bit of buzz about his guitar playing and the show. The show was wonderful. From the moment the guitarist sat in the glow of a single spot light on a bare stage, I was entranced. The dancing consisted of a duel between a traditional Flamenco dancer and a Break dancer. After the high energy performance the audience stood, screamed and yelled.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Fringe Rain Bar

Since the rain continued, keeping people from going outside to the beer tent, organizers decided to move the bar inside the lobby of the Shakespeare Theater. Besides the bar there was oriental food and pizza. Lines for the shows were at times very long so people are seeing shows despite the rain. For my birthday I treated myself to tickets to a show. Terry and I stood in line with Brad Kuhn,his sister and friends. Brad's fiance Darlyn had sent out an e-mail saying Flamenco Con Fusion was a must see. I assumed I had taken her advice. When Terry and I were about to go into the Theater, the ticket taker informed us that we had the wrong tickets. Several days ago I had bought tickets to The Cody Rivers Show and I had forgotten about them. Terry and I had to run over to another theater since Cody Rivers was about to start as well. It was pure luck that we managed to get in. Had Cody Rivers opened an hour earlier, we would have been up the creek without a paddle. The luck of the Fringe was looking out for me. I still would like to see Flamenco. I think I will have to see that tonight. By the way "The Cody Rivers Show" was awesome and is a must see!
Back to the sketch, as I was finishing up, the Korean girls from the food station came over to see how I was doing. They had seen me sketching outside so they knew what I was up to. I answered questions while I continued to work. One girl watched for the longest time, I usually feel self conscious when being watched for a long time, but she had such a quiet demeanor, that I felt quite comfortable. She later bought over a full plate of rice, egg rolls and salad. Since it was late, I had scored a free diner. The starving artist myth payed off. I bought a Coke from the wine Bar and I was one happy camper.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fringe Beer Tent

When it finally stopped raining for a few hours, people flocked to the green lawn of fabulouosness and stormed the beer tent. The tent had a truck next to it with kegs that allowed servers to tap and pour the beers right out of the side of the truck. The crowd would grow thick and then on mass people would wander off to a show.
Dewey Chaffee was shooting footage of the revelers. He shot some footage of me sketching as well, and I look forward to seeing the final edit.
One group of folks started singing Christmas carols behind me for no apparent reason. By the second verse I was singing along. Tonight I also got to meet Bonnie Sprung and her mother. They have been to the Fringe for 17 years in a row since day one. Bonnie's mom has vintage Fringe buttons pinned all over her volunteer tee-shirt. A documentary is being shot about the history of the Fringe and the two of them are going to get interviewed. I stopped sketching when I felt a large raindrop hit my hand. I closed my sketch pad and held my hand up to the sky to test for rain. Sure enough a second drop and then a third. I decided my sketch was done and I opened my umbrella and headed to my car. As I drove home it poured.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Fringe Deluge

It has been raining for three days straight. Not a drizzle but a deluge. Beth Marshall's facebook status reported: "Rain Rain Go Away, Fringe Fringe Is Here To Stay, Patron Patrons Come Out And Play, GAY GAY GAY GAY!:)"
The rain did not keep the intrepid artists from performing. The show must go on, but the green lawn fabulousness was deserted. I arrived early and caught this Cello player thumbing through his Fringe program guide. A line started forming behind me for the Pink Venue but the line never got long enough to block my view. I was afraid I might end up with a sketch of a bunch of rear ends although that might have been interesting. Before I was finished with the sketch the Cello player walked off. I am not sure what show he was performing in that night. Another Fringe mystery.
To lighten my mood after so many days of rain, I decided to go see VarieTEASE. This dance group performed a cross between burlesque, cabaret and modern dance with costumes that would make Toulouse Lautrec proud. The performance was playful and vibrant. Unfortunately the lights dimmed and I could not see my sketchbook. I did do a series of blind gestural sketches. These performers impressed me so much however that I am hoping to catch them relaxing just before there next performance in the green room backstage.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fringe Ticket Booth

After two days of observing the Fringe from a distance, I decided it was time to get tickets and see a show! On the Green Lawn of Fabulousness I asked four different people what their favorite show was so far and they ALL pointed me to "The Cody Rivers Show presents: Meanwhile Everywhere". I decided a four out of four survey guaranteed that my first Fringe show would be a great one.
But before I bought my ticket I had to of course sketch the ticket booth. While doing this sketch I spotted a friend of mine Ray as he bought a ticket. I shouted out his name and then we went outside to get some Greek food for dinner. Ray and I talked about an upcoming event he is planning and about art, marketing and life in general. While we were eating, Patient X Augustine of the Asylum, aka Erika Wilhite, sat down with us and performed a twisted yet delightful piece on her accordion. The accordion was set up with a small spot light on top which lit her face in an sinister way. When her song was finished, her handler, a burly man with an upturned mustache, pulled X away with a rope.
Later a sexy female pirate with an umbrella, a wet ghost and a girl in a pink tutu with butterfly wings were handing out blow pops in a reversal of Halloween traditions. The way the pirate offered the pop was quite enticing she would say "Care for a sucker?" or "Do you want a blow............pop?" I declined her nasty offer. I am married after all. But boy they looked good, I think I saw a grape flavored one. How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Blow Pop? I can't stop thinking about it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Toni Taylor at Visual Fringe

In the Visual Fringe room I had the rare pleasure of watching Toni Taylor working on one of her refined and luminous canvases. I sat at a round table across from her and began to sketch. I had just about finished drawing her when she placed her pallet on her portfolio and walked away to talk to some friends. While she was away I started drawing paintings on the walls and the insane number of fliers lying on the table. Several people started flipping through the portfolio and turned the pages over right onto the wet paints. Had I been paying attention I might have been able to stop them. When Toni returned she had to scrape off the paint with a pallet knife and wipe the pages clean with a rag. We had a good laugh about it when the damage was all cleaned up.
As I was finishing up my sketch Toni finally noticed that I was sketching. She was a bit shocked, she thought I was just writing notes. We started to talk and found that our lives had run near identical courses intersecting often. She lived in NYC at the same time I did and even was at the School of Visual Arts at about the same time as me. She lived in Washington Heights only blocks away from where I lived while in NYC. Then she moved to Orlando as I did and now she has a studio less than a mile from my studio. I seems crazy that we had not bumped into each other before. The Fringe continues to radiate its crazy unexpected magic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fringe Poetry Smackdown

As evening rolled around the poets took to the stage for a no holds bared Poetry Smackdown. There were five judges. Three of the judges were Fringe celebrities including Pepe with the red Mohawk, Beth Marshall The Producing Artistic Director of the Fringe, and Wayburn Sassy entertainment legend and you tube celebrity. Two other judges were selected from the audience to keep the judging fair and impartial.

This sketch is of Curtis Meyer who impressed me with his strong rap like delivery. He would close his eyes as if in a revelry and then thrust his verse upon the audience gesturing the whole time with his hands.

After heated qualifying rounds which all seemed to involve sexuality in one form or another, poets must be a horny bunch, the wheat was separated from the chaff. In the end only one poet was left standing and that was Kendra Corrie who's poetry resonated with a confident voice and message that was inspired. Her last poem was a response to a thirty something who said "if you area not liberal in your twentys you don't have a heart and if you aren't conservative in your thirtys you don't have a brain." Her poem spoke to the depths of idealism, hope and caring. She lifted me up weightless and full of joy. Screw American Idol there should be a nationally televised Poetry Smackdown celebrating the truly creative voices that can be found right in our back yard. On that stage Kendra is my Fringe Idol.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Orlando International Fringe Festival Begins!

I finally had a chance to go to Lock Haven Park to experience the Fringe Festival. In all my years in Orlando I have never been to the Fringe. I am a true Fringe virgin. When you enter Lock Haven Park the first thing you see is the sculpture titled "The Rocket Thrower" by Donald DeLue. For the Fringe he has a sporty Fringe tee shirt around his neck. Behind him on the green lawn of fabulousness are all the colorful tents of the food vendors, and an outdoor stage. The first impression is of entering a carnival.
The first thing I did was check out the Visual Fringe which is located in a round room inside the Shakespeare theater. A small sketch I did of Wayburn Sassy at a Fringe preview was on display. I am astounded by the talented artists that had work in the show. I am hoping that over time I will get to meet some of these artists and sketch them at work so I can share there work here. Anna McCambridge who runs the Visual Fringe welcomed me with a warm hug. I immediately felt at home at the Fringe.
While I did this sketch a young blond girl sat down next to the statue in the blazing sun probably waiting for a friend. She lasted a full 15 minutes in the sun before she then moved over to a shady spot and started using her cell phone. I sketched her in both locations so I had more of the human drama. As I was working on the details of the tents and food stations, I glanced up to find she was gone. I am not sure if she met her friend or not.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Magic Playoff Game

At the last minute Terry got two tickets to the game 6 of the playoff games between the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. A client of hers works for ESPN and we met him in the huge trailer that is used to quickly edit together all the footage being shot of the game. I would have liked to have watched the crew at work as they edited the show live on dozens and dozens of small TV screens, perhaps next time. We had some difficulty getting to our seats and a nice usher told us to follow him. He lead us to a hallway that lead to court side. As we walked in the Magic players started to run past with a huge fanfare. A man next to me reached out and gave a player a high five. He shouted "I am never going to wash this hand!" My dreams of sitting court side were shattered as we started walking up an endless staircase until we reached the very top row of seats in out section. The beginning of the game was punctuated by huge flame throwers and a large T.G. Lee blimp made its rounds flying above the crowd. The National Anthem was sung by a seven year old and the crowd went wild when she finished.
At halftime the Magic dancers performed and trampolines were set up in front of the baskets. Girls would run with basketballs jump on the trampolines and make spectacular slam dunks. One girl did a full forward flip and still slam dunked the ball. A fight broke out in our section between a fan wearing a green Celtics jersey and a Magic fan seated directly behind him. The magic fan was shouting and took off his shirt I guess to show off his chest muscles or so the shirt would not get ripped in the fight. The two girlfriends were trying to calm the guys down and security showed up just in time and dragged the fans away.
I finished the sketch with only a few minutes to go in the game. The crowd was standing and going wild. I figured it was time to start paying attention to the score. With 3:40 minutes to go the score was 75 to 75. The magic made a huge final push and ended up winning 83 to 75. The crowd was so loud Terry had to cover her ears. There were fireworks and streamers. The guy seated in front of me gave me a high five. That was the most exciting 3 minutes ever!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Philharmonic After Party

After the performance of the Orlando Philharmonic, Board members, donors and friends of the Philharmonic are allowed to go back stage for a meet and greet. Champagne is served along with fruit punch and deserts. Terry and I always attend these gatherings and since Terry is a true social butterfly, we are almost always the last to leave. This time I walked up two steps on the stairway to the dressing rooms to get a good overall view of the crowd. This sketch was certainly a challenge since people were constantly milling about and moving from group to group. I am pleased with the result since I can pick out individuals I know and it gives a good feeling of what this crowded event s like.
The time just flew by, and several children became curious and wanted to see what I was up to. The featured pianist Joyce Yang even wanted to see what I was up to so I got to talk to her, which I usually would not do since the featured performer is almost always surrounded by a crowd of admirers. This sketching at social events has turned out to be a great way to meet talented and interesting people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Orlando Philharmonic Performance

Terry and I attended the concert that the Philharmonic had been rehearsing for. The concert was entitled "Mozart and Mendelssohn". Joyce Yang was the featured performer and she played piano for the Mozart Piano Concerto number 24. For the first half of the concert we sat up in the balcony and when I got my sketchbook out I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to bring my eye glasses. The glasses allow me to see objects at a distance clearly. I let out a huge guttural scream and everyone in the audience turned to look. No that didn't happen, I just resigned myself to my blindness. Looking at the stage I could barely make out dark and light blurry shapes. When the house lights dimmed I also could not see the sketchbook. I put the book away and closed my eyes and enjoyed the music instead.
When intermission came, Terry and I moved down to the front row. We had the front row entirely to ourselves. For whatever reason people do not sit that close. From this vantage point I could see all the performers and the stage lighting allowed me to see what I was drawing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Orlando Philharmonic

The Philharmonic offered the Board of Directors a chance to experience the music up close and personal. After a small sit down dinner in the atrium of the theater, Christopher Wilkins, the conductor, explained that in these hard economic times the Orchestra has had to cut back on the number of performances but the organization still stands on solid ground. He said the Orchestra is starting to reach out and involve the community in new and creative ways.
The Orchestra had to rehearse for the final performance of the season. The members of the Board were offered a chance to sit next to their favorite instrument. A Magic game was also going on that night and Christopher said "The Magic never offers it's fans the chance to go right down to the court and experience the game next to the players."
Since my wife plays French Horn, I decided to sketch the brass players. I was sitting right in front of the Timpani drums and a Cello player suggested I get some ear plugs from stage right, which I did. The orchestra rehearsed Dances of Galanta by Kodaly. There were many stops and starts but I must say it was exhilarating! Sitting among the players surrounds you with sound in a way even the best stereo can not duplicate. The Timpani was indeed very loud but I didn't want to dull the experience by using the ear plugs. I have known many of the players for years so sketching them came second hand. I hope Christopher Wilkins will consider letting me sketch during rehearsals more often because this is a great subject to observe and draw.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seven Seas Aquarium

Chad a longtime reader of this blog, suggested I sketch at the fish store he works in called Seven Seas. The store had just recently moved into this smaller space since the fish and corals sold could no longer cover the rent in the the much larger space next door in the same store complex. I arrived in the mid afternoon and for the longest time I simply drew the room since there were no costumers to sketch.
After well over an hour of sketching nothing but the room, a couple finally walked in. They were expecting a child and from my experience with fellow reefers, once the baby hits the scene suddenly the fish tank gets neglected. This might be one of there last trips to the fish store. Chad can be seen feeding the fish. When he finished he quickly helped the couple pick what they needed. Chad had some amazing stories to tell about truly crazy costumers like a woman from a local institution who could not make eye contact or socialize in any way, she dropped her money on the floor and ran out the door with a fish in a bag, or the guy who arrived at the store with pants with holes cut in them so that had his butt cheeks were hanging out. Sounds like running a fish store offers a glimpse at a wide variety of Orlando's unique individuals.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Ring

Months ago I lost my wedding ring. I noticed it was missing while I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Earlier that day, I had been fiddling with the ring, pushing it up past the knuckle and spinning it while I waited for a computer anti virus program to finish its work. The ring had to be between the computer room and the kitchen and I searched for it relentlessly.
The day I lost the ring the financial markets began to collapse. I am certain that these two events at linked. If I could find the ring then the markets might stabilize. At various festivals I had tried on mood rings and artsy wood and silver rings but none fit. Also Terry didn't approve of my choices.
I decided for Terry's birthday to finally go to P.J. Abramson, Inc. a good jewelry store in Winter Park and get a traditional gold band. The first ring the sales lady showed me was 24 carrot gold and it cost $2000. I almost had a heart attack, thank god it didn't fit. The second ring was a bit more reasonable and it slipped right on, a perfect fit. After the purchase I explained that I would like to sketch the store. The manager was concerned that I might sketch the security system but reluctantly let me proceed. Notice no video cameras or even wires were drawn in the making of this picture.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Visual Fringe Artist Dropoff

The Fringe Festival is a 12 day festival that is founded on the concept of offering 100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible theater. music, dance, art and madness of all types and ages where 100% of the box office ticket sales go directly back to the artists within the Fringe. The Orlando Fringe is the longest running US Fringe festival.
At the last minute I found out about Visual Fringe which is a showcase for local artists during the Fringe Festival. On hand to accept artist entries were, Visual Fringe Producer Anna McCambridge and her mom as well as Director of Development Kristina Goetz. After I filled out the paperwork and finalized my submission, I sat back and started my first Fringe sketch. These three dedicated souls sat at this table from 12 noon till 6pm accepting art.
While I was sketching one artist came in and entered paintings for his girlfriend. He explained his trials and tribulations of the morning and Anna agreed to make a phone call to his girlfriend explaining the sacrifices he had made and that on behalf of the Fringe he deserved extra special treatment that night such as a back rub or nice dinner. To her credit, Anna actually made that call and she had never met the girlfriend or artist before. Now that is someone who is going the extra mile for the arts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wine Quest

Last night Terry managed to get a hold of some $75 tickets to Wine Quest. Wine Quest is a fund raising event for the disability community. The event was held at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. The room was cavernous and reminded me for some reason of a Las Vegas casino. Scattered about the room were 30 or so tables with over 200 different brands of wine. Terry and I started by just going to the food stations and sampling the variety of foods. I decided I wasn't going to have a sip of wine until I got a sketch done.
Terry started sampling the wines as I watched. The people manning the tables were very knowledgeable. For instance Terry wanted a strong flavored red wine to go with some blue cheese and the server offered the perfect wine. I started to get antsy since I knew the event would end at 9 and I knew it would take about an hour to finish a sketch. When I told Terry I needed to sketch she told me she would go check out the silent auction and that she would mingle while I sketched. I finished right as the event was ending. I got the usual comments from tipsy socialites and the cook told me how to spell his name. I had to walk around the huge room several times to find Terry and when I did, she said she was ready to go. I could tell she wasn't in a great mood. Although she told me to sketch, she really wanted me to be social. This urge to draw keeps causing friction. I never did taste any wine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Central Florida Fair

A Fringe Preview was held at the Central Florida Fair. I gave myself plenty of time to wander the midway and soak in the sights, sounds and smells of the fair. At the entry ticket booth the computer had died so I spent some time at the entrance watching the pigs being prepared for a showing. The thick barnyard smell was overwhelming for a city slicker like myself. When the computer was back up, I got my ticket and started to wander. I stopped under the only shady tree in sight and sketched the Ferris Wheel. I was off the main drag near a tent where rosters where making a ruckus. It is rather relaxing working to the chorus of clucking and crowing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wayburn Sassy and the Fringe Preview

At the last minute I got a tip from reader, Dewey Chaffee that there was going to be a Fringe preview at the Central Florida Fair. As I arrived there was Wayburn Sassy shouting at the passers by trying to get them to come in to see the show. He used every carnies trick in the book with insults and curses thrown in for good measure. What I love about Wayburn is that he is not afraid to speak his mind. Whatever thought pops into his head is immediately shouted out.
Wayburn is a hoot and I hope to catch him again at the Fringe Festival.
The Fringe performances were wonderful. Two acts particularly stood out for me. They were Varie Tease and Voci Dance. Varie Tease had amazing Moulin Rouge like costumes and tense exuberant dance moves. Voci dance was a modern dance troup and the performances were sublime. There is something very rewarding about watching cutting edge performances at a culture deprived event such as the Central Florida Fair. I left the Fringe preview feeling elated and confident that the arts are indeed alive in Central Florida.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dog Fest 2009

Downtown near the History Center several bars and stores got together to host Dog Fest. The festival allowed dog owners to have a beer with their best friend. There was a $10 donation, and proceeds went to benefit The Cian Griffen Cystic Fibrosis Fund. At the event there were dog contests, vendors live music, food and drink and a raffle & silent auction. I got to the event late in the day and as I was sketching vendors started to get ready to leave. There must have been a dogie costume contest because I saw many dogs on the streets of downtown that day dresses in tee shirts and or Tu Tus.
A few people looked over my shoulder that day but one stands out. His name is Phil and he is homeless. He was completely taken with the sketch. He told me "Man I have to get off these streets there is so much talent out there. If I had a video camera, I would be shooting amazing footage everyday. You have no idea what I see on these streets." He suggested I sketch at a spot where Interstate 4 passes over Parrimore Street. Apparently a large group of people call that spot home for the night. Someday I hope to bump into Phil again, I suspect he rests in the History Center Park. Who knows someday I might take him up on that suggestion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We Love You Brooke

Merritt Andrews a friend from my Disney Feature Animation days has started a campaign to help lift the spirit of a beautiful 4 year old girl named Brooke. She is the daughter of Merritt's friends Amy and Rob from her hometown of Salisbury, MD. On January 4th Brooke was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that occurs in infants and young children. The town has rallied around this young girl and raised thousands of dollars with fundraisers and events to help with the medical bills that keep rising as Brooke goes through countless treatments in Philadelphia. There has been much media coverage of her in Salisbury, she was even given a key to the city. From video I have seen she is a spunky little girl who is bravely facing the future. Her mother in an act of solidarity shaved her own head to match her daughters. Today Brooke is going into surgery to have an adrenal gland and tumor removed.
Merritt is getting photos of all the characters holding a sign that says "We Love You Brooke". I went with Merritt on a scorching hot Sunday and sketched her as she waited in endless lines to get the photos for Brooke. Merritt is wearing the blue hat in the sketch. One photographer, named Ed, recognized Merritt and asked her how Brooke was doing. This photographer had taken the photo of Mickey Mouse holding the sign and said he is praying for Brooke every day. Should you want to learn more about Brooke, or if you want to help in some way, visit her Caring Bridge home page. In an e-mail Amy wrote "The pictures always make Brooke so happy!"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crane Collapses

As I was leaving work at 5PM yesterday, I got a call from Terry about a crane collapsing in downtown Orlando at the site of the Event Center construction. I had done a sketch at this construction site before. The crane had collapsed only about a half hour before, so I immediately headed downtown. As I approached the site I heard helicopters overhead from the news crews taking video of the location. On site were 2 news trucks and several anchors giving their reports to the cameras. I simply set up between two news crews and started to sketch. While sketching I eavesdropped on the anchors to get a sense of what happened. A cable snapped while lifting a load which led to the crane boom landing on the structure.
The operator was taken to the hospital in shock but there were no injuries. The Orlando Magic for whom the Center is being constructed reported that damage from the collapse was minor.
A former construction worker who was on disability stopped by to take photos on his cell phone. He explained to me that in order to up right the crane, workers would have to cut all the cranes cables which are tangled in the buildings exposed beams. Inside the construction area, the crane is surrounded by red warning tape. A reporter said work would continue as usual tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Johnnies Hot Dog Stand

I must drive past this stand at least 3 times a week. I finally decided to go to sketch and get a hot dog. The stand is located in the parking lot of a Chevron gas station. I walked up to the gas pumps and sat down on one of the cement pilings. As I was sketching a woman drove up to the pump I was sitting next to and she got out and started to to fill her tank. She said to me "I thought you were going to pump the gas for me." I said, "If you are a good tipper I will." Another man pumping gas said "He needs to put some mustard up there, his bun is starting to bleach in the sun."
When I finished this sketch I finally went up to the ordering window to get myself a dog. This stand is a one man show. Johnnie has a thick New York accent and the attraction of the place is how he chats up each costumer. He dropped a whole potato into a device and pulled the leaver down slicing the potato into fries which he then threw in the oil. The hot dog itself was huge, at least 12 inches. A costumer in line said "He has the biggest wieners in town". I ordered a dog with yellow mustard and sauerkraut. It was delicious.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kentucky Derby

I arrived at the Jai Lai Fronton at around 10:30AM to see what kind of crowd would show up for the Kentucky Derby. As I was walking in, a small group of ladies walked out with very exotic hats. I got excited figuring there must be a crowd inside all elegantly dressed and waiting for the race to start. When I got to the simulcast room filled with hundreds of TVs, I looked around and was disappointed to find that it looked like the usual crowd. Where were the men in suits and the women in flowing dresses? I decided to sketch the room anyway and half way through the sketch the race started up. Men were screaming and cheering. I never know where to look and honestly I have no idea what horse won the race.
Much later in the day I got home and Terry told me that the Kentucky Derby was going to start at 6:30PM! The race I had witnesses at the Fronton wasn't even the Kentucky Derby. I did watch the race from the comfort of my living room and was thrilled that the underdog "Mine That Bird" won with 50 to 1 odds. I should have placed a bet at the Fronton, I could be rich right now. Would I ever have bet on a horse with 50 to 1 odds? I doubt it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


When the battle was over, all of the participants lined up in front of the spectators and aimed their muskets straight up in the air firing then all off at once. With the show over, most spectators immediately filed off to the parking lot for the drive home. The soldiers marched back to camp where they sat around camp fires and reminisced about the days events. They would rise the next day to do it all over again. This ends Civil War week at Analog Artist Digital World.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Fallen

An advantage of being a Re enactor is that you get to choose where you die. In a large field with cow patties and or mud everywhere a Re enactor will find the most pristine spot to die. Casualties a non existent in the beginning of the battle even though the two forces are shooting at each other from only about 100 yards. It is when the ammunition charges run out that men begin to fall. I found it interesting that following the troops were "Civil War Angels" women in uniform who would tend to the injured and dying. Note that the red was not found on the actual battle field that day, when I painted the red stripes on the American flag, I could not resist using the red paint elsewhere. When the battle was over, an announcer on a loud speaker announced "resurrect!" and all the dead rose back on to their feet. The audience then cheered.