Sunday, April 10, 2011

Florida Film Festival Opening Night

The Opening Night party at the Enzian Theater was a $100 a ticket posh extravaganza. I arrived early and was very pleased to find a parking spot in the theater's usually overflowing parking lot. Such little things keep me happy. I stood at one of the tables in the bar area and considered doing a sketch of the Peroni Girl who would be handing out free beer all night. A guy behind me interrupted my thoughts by saying, "That is one dumb button you have on your bag." After I explained where I got the button he pressed my sternum and waited for my response. It took me a minute to realize he had seen the word "Press" on my press pass and was taking it literally. He was pressing my buttons so I decided I had to leave. I located a choice seat at the bar.

As I started to sketch, a fellow with a "Filmmaker" ID around his neck sat beside me. His name was Tony Blass and he had just flown in from LA. He was here because a film titled "The One Man Beatles", which he is marketing, is going to be screened on the final day of the Festival, Sunday April 17th at 12:30pm at the Regal Winter Park Cinemas. This film is about Emitt Rhodes, a rock star from the 60s who was a huge star at the age of 24 but he grew bitter after his recording company sued him and he disappeared off the pop cultural radar. Tony looked parched, so I grabbed a Peroni for him and myself.

Our conversation turned to a common memory of an old TV series called "Dark Shadows." I remember being ten years old and lying in bed with my mother who had just returned from a New York City hospital. Tony had actually written several books which expanded on the story of the mysterious house called Collin Wood. He went on to let me know that Tim Burton is planning to make a feature film, starring Johnny Depp, which will resurrect "Dark Shadows." Barnabus Collins may return from the dead.

I then learned that while he is here in Florida, Tony planned to start filming Venus D Lite, who he said, "Can give Madonna a run for her money." She was in Atlanta on the night of the Film Festival opening, but Tony will be driving her to Miami for two shows and then driving her back to Orlando where she will perform at Pulse at about 10pm on Saturday April 16th. He hopes the footage he shoots here in Florida will be the start of a documentary about Venus' ambitious and tireless career. I plan to sketch Venus at Pulse and then at the screening of "The One Man Beatles" the next day.

Robert Johnson, the lead singer of Everyday Ghosts stopped by the bar and got hugs from the staff of three bartenders. The last time I sketched at the Enzian he was bartending, but tonight he was going to be performing on stage. Later Beth Black showed up at the bar in her bright red volunteer's T-shirt. She is a professional violinist who also volunteers for the Maitland Symphony. Ironically her assignment for the night was to be the "runner" for the band. She was getting drinks. At the time, I thought she was the band's manager. She let me know that Everyday Ghosts had just started playing, so I rushed inside to sketch. Jeremy Meier played drums. Richerd Becker was on Bass and the lead guitarist, Austin, was the son of the band's manager, Richard "Snake" Glatt. Someone said, "There's nobody in front of the band", but then Beth started recruiting partiers around the room to get on the dance floor. Soon there was a crowd of people moving, jumping and twirling to the beat. Some wore costumes like a pink zebra hat and Viking horns. I had sipped two white wines so the second sketch of the band was done with a loose splashing abandon. The whole time I rocked and swayed lost in the musics flow. Now I need to figure out which films to see. Anyone have suggestions?

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


Beth Black said...

I love how you captured the band's expressions so well! and interesting news in your Blog, it's so good to pick up info especially the Film directors comments and also the comments about Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp...I'm going to try and catch his film Sunday.

Fen Dunyasi said...
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