Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tom & Jerry's

Every Tuesday starting at 9pm Tom & Jerry's Lounge (1117 N. Orlando Ave.) hosts a Free Open Mic with Blues Mama. The Lounge is easy to spot since it has a VW Bug on top of a telephone pole to catch your attention. I pulled into the side streets and parked behind the building. I noticed that quite a few off duty food trucks were parked in the area. Inside, the smoke filled bar was quiet. I walked behind the wall of people seated at the bar. I figured I'd order a beer so I looked to see what was on tap. I didn't see a bartender so I gave up on the beer and sat at a tall round table.

Band equipment was being set up on a small corner stage. Two guitarists got the evening started with cover songs. Blues Mama followed them playing guitar and singing solo. Though the tables remained empty, the bar was crowded. When she finished her set, she walked up to me curious about the sketch. I asked her name and she shouted, "Cheryl!" over the amplified guitar music. I must say, she keeps the event humming with performers constantly lined up throughout the evening.

Terry and Mark Baratelli walked in, having come from a fundraiser at a posh European sports car dealership. They both looked sharp and a bit out of place in the grungy bar. Terry didn't like the smoke, so they immediately left. A scuffle broke out between two guys at the bar next to me. A bar stool crashed to the floor and one guy was shouting waving his finger in the other guys face, "Don't you ever touch me!" I don't know what it was about. The woman seated between me and the scuffle caught my eye and she raised her eye brows as if saying, "Boys will be boys."

A guitarist named Thomas got on stage and it was announced that this would be his last performance at the open mic since he is moving to the cold North East. My sketch was done, so I packed up and left. I had completely forgotten to have a beer.

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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