Monday, June 18, 2012

Casino Royale

The Friends of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra held a Casino Royale fundraiser at Villa Conroy. Tickets were $100. My wife, Terry, painted herself gold for the event in honor of the James Bond film Gold Finger. When we entered Villa Conroy, the first song on the sound system was appropriately, Gold Finger. Upstairs, blackjack and roulette tables were set up. The room was filled with art, both representational and abstract. A Chihuli glass lily pad was encased behind Plexiglas. Everyone was handed a hundred dollar bill which could be turned in for chips. Terry used my chips since she played while I sketched.

At the roulette wheel, Kristin Brandt, the Assistant Director of Development for the Philharmonic, was tentative about placing her first bets. She had never played roulette before. Her boyfriend  stood behind her coaching. She doubled her money. Then doubled it again. She was giddy and flustered, blushing. "Beginners luck" someone muttered as his chips were cleaned off the table. A crowd gathered and shouted as she won again. More chips were pulled out to be added to her pile.

Terry, the golden girl, mostly stuck with Blackjack. Towards the end of the evening she grew fearless and her winnings grew exponentially. At stake for everyone in the room was the lure of a gift basket. I scanned the other tables to see if anyone else had a stack of chips as big as Terry's. Kristin's stack had dissipated. The gentleman on the right side of my sketch had an impressive pile. With a minute to go before they closed the betting, Terry bet everything and lost. The gentleman took home the gift basket. Each of the dealers had Tupperware "tip jars". They were stuffed full or real green.

After the fundraiser, Terry and I went to the Kerouac House where we just missed the reading by resident author, Leslie Parry.  Former resident author, Catlin Doyle, was there as well. She was at the Atlantic Center of the Arts in New Smyrna Beach and she drove to Orlando for the reading.  I was fascinated with her life as a nomadic resident artist. After a quick bite and sip, Terry and I went to Fringe for a Poetry Smack down.

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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