Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CFHLA Gala

The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Gala was held this year at the Brand new Peabody Hotel right near the Convention Center. As Terry and I drove up to the Hotel, we saw a sign for free parking on the right so we took a right turn into the entry and dropped of the keys with a valet. The new hotel's lobby is immense. It has the feeling of a space station with it's tall glass facade and curved oak panels. At first the event didn't seem well attended but when we rounded a corner the crowd of black tuxedos and ballgowns suddenly appeared. People milled around the bars and the tables full of silent auction items. Terry placed a bid on a leather hand bag but was thankfully outbid. There were the usual suspects, a signed basketball, gift baskets and a few art prints.

Elegantly dressed stilt walkers wandered among the crowd. I envied them thinking it would be the perfect angle to sketch the crowd from. Hal Studholme compared the event to a party thrown by Salvidor Dali's wife. While Terry was being a social butterfly finding her friends from the Philharmonic, I agonized about what I should sketch. There was an upper level which would have given me a good overview, but Terry pointed out that the dining room doors would be opening in half an hour. Not enough time for a detailed overview. I bit the inside of my mouth and waited. She had made the right call because only moments later the doors swept open and the stilt walkers tried to convince people to go inside.

We sat at the table with the Friends of the Philharmonic. Dinner was decent. I ate quickly and started this sketch in the pauses between courses. Everyone at the table knew of this blog and that they might end up in the sketch. A member of our group joked that I should sketch the woman seated at the table behind us. She had on a tight shear dress and was busty. He said my site would get twice as many hits. I didn't sketch her. On stage there was a billboard sized check to the Orlando Philharmonic for $10,000.

A Beatles cover band performed as we were getting desert. Then a scrim lifted and the Orlando Philharmonic was there as back up. Soon the dancing started but I had a cold so I wandered back out to the lobby thinking I might try a second sketch. I didn't have it in me. I lounged on a large couch and watched a group of 6 or so stilt walkers dressed in 60's rainbow flavored suits as they danced and vogued.

We went up to a friends room upstairs and marveled at the TV inside the bathroom mirror and neon lights under the dresser which were motion activated. Down at the valet we found out parking was actually $10. We were Shang hai'd! My head was ready to explode and I just wanted to rest.

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