Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pulse of Orlando

What follows is a fictitious account. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental...

It was another rehearsal in the weeks leading up to Fringe. The actors sat around the kitchen table at Mike's house reading personal stories and poems. They shared several bottles of red wine. Soon the rehearsal was more of an opportunity for members of the cast to share intimate secrets. The notion that this was a reading vanished and the conversations blossomed. Todd then admitted that he had started to dance at a gay club. Having a room full of people admiring his body gave him a visceral thrill. Anna, the director then decided that we all had to see Todd perform. We piled into two cars and headed off to Pulse. I was one of the designated drivers since I had been sketching rather than drinking. Anna sat on a copy of the Alchemist that was on my passenger seat. She and Sandra had just been talking about this book. Excited, she said she had to read it and she shoved it into her large purse.

We all filed into Pulse. My bag was checked since they thought I might have a camera. I explained that I only had a sketchbook. I backed myself into a nook and immediately started to sketch. Men gyrated in the amber light. I was right behind Todd who was dancing on the bar in front of me. About halfway into the sketch Anna pulled me over to join the cast that was assembled in a tight cluster at the end of the bar and dancing. Sandra and John were dancing provocatively close. When they grew self conscious, Anna would shove them together. She was always the director even in matters of the heart. They had all been drinking some exotic shots and combined with the red wine they were feeling no pain. A guy actually groped my balls as if this was his way of saying hello. I shoved his hand aside and decided I needed to walk away and finish the sketch. I wandered back to my spot, where I had to stop sketching every time someone needed to shove into the bathroom. When I returned to the group, my sketch finished, it was obvious that Anna had been drinking too much. Todd, the male dancer was with her trying to get her to sit down. He suggested Betsy and I try and get her home. When I approached Anna she backed away and disappeared into the packed dance floor. I wasn't about to chase her around the club. Betsy seemed sober so I asked her to talk to Anna and convince her to leave. However Betsy was busy trying to find her cell phone which she had left in the other car on the drive over.

I exited the club and waited outside. I was sure Betsy would be out any minute with Anna and her cell phone but the clock kept ticking. Then suddenly Anna stumbled out and sat on the retaining wall beside me. She didn't realize I was there. She had been sick and she couldn't keep her head up. I asked if she was alright and she was surprised to see me. Embarrassed she began running down the street. Betsy exited the club and we both trailed behind her, concerned she might run into traffic. She finally collapsed between two parked cars and slumped over in a seated position. I reassured her until she shouted out, "Leave me alone!" I was making matters worse. I backed off and decided this had to be settled by the cast. Tod managed to help Anna get into his car. It was agreed that we would drive her to Mike's house where she could sleep it off. I then drove Sandra and Betsy to Mike's and when Todd and Anna arrived, the girls helped tuck her in for the night. I waited long enough to be sure everyone was fine, then I drove home. I'm convinced the events of this night helped bind the individual actors in the show into a tight knit ensemble. I suppose I could have left at any time, but I was the designated driver, besides I got a decent sketch.

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

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