Friday, May 31, 2013

Drip Gay Days


Through June 1st, Gay Days is being celebrated at Drip on International Drive (8747 International Dr. Suite 102, Behind Denny's and Senor Frogs, Orlando, Florida). Tonight, May 31st, there is an all male cast performing at 8:30PM and 11:30PM. On Saturday June 1st at 8:30 and 11:30 there will be performances by an all female cast. I had seen the all female performance before, so I wanted to see how the tragic love story played out for the men.

The band got on stage and soon the room was ripped open with the ear splitting riffs of David Traver who also is the music director for Blue Man Group. Quickly the room was filled with men. The male dancers performed inside a makeshift inner structure where paint and sand flew. Jeans were suspended from the ceiling and when tugged they became erotic showers of sand. People were screaming and shouting.

Overall the show's story remained the same, Blue and Yellow spark a romantic dance and as they smear their colors together they turn green. There is infidelity and a very sexy scene performed under pulsing strobe lights. With the men there was a bit more masculine shoving and athletics. Yellow was left to wash away the past to find some sense of self.

I found out that Jessie Sander who usually dances the part of yellow in the production was seeing the show for the first time as an audience member. I saw her watching the male Yellow's every move and she shouted encouragement at the top of her lungs. The male cast had three weeks to rehearse and fine tune the show. Jessica Mariko, Drip's founder stood on the side lines watching the show unfold. At one point she whispered to a male dancer in the dark offering advice.

There is no passive seating for the show. The audience stands on either side of the huge performance space. Everywhere inside Drip is a splash zone, everyone gets wet. I knew when to close my sketchbook this time to preserve the sketch. When water balloons were handed out to audience members, a big bear of a guy hid behind me to try and avoid getting pelted by his boy friend. I ducked left and right and he followed my every move. Ultimately he was pelted.

Weekend Top 6 Picks. 
Saturday June 1, 2013 
6PM-9PM  Superman Art Show, Acme Superstore 905 E. State Road 434 Longwood.

8:30PM-10:30PM $35 DRIP Shows- for the ladies (all female cast). Drip 8747 International Dr. Suite 102 (Behind Denny's and Senor Frogs), Orlando, Florida

11:30PM-1:30AM $35 DRIP Shows- for the ladies (all female cast). Drip 8747 International Dr. Suite 102 (Behind Denny's and Senor Frogs), Orlando, Florida

Sunday June 2, 2013
 8:00AM-10AM Free Total Body Transformation Workout. Gaston Edwards Park - Lake Ivanhoe Boat dock / next to Gargis 1414 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL

7PM-Midnight Free Jesse and Amy get hitched and reception/open jam all nite! On the Rocks, Lake Eola Park 195 N Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801.  Everybody is welcome! Only request is that everyone wear some sort of white shirt (for photographic reasons). We're def not expecting wedding gifts (gravy boats, microwaves,etc...) but if you're so inclined, we are trying to get a house, so any cash donation would be welcome (again, not in anyway necessary). We just wanna have the coolest wedding/jam fest EVER!! Bands are welcome to do 2-3 song sets, but must use stage equipment (except for guitars, if u want your own) and notify Jeremy Hagen so he can organize the chaos. We're hoping the jams just materialize outta the insane assemblage of all the musicians in the house.

10PM-Midnight Free Sick Of It Presents: Rancid Karaoke Cover Set. Will's Pub 1042 N. Mills Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803. You come up out of the crowd and sing your favorite Rancid songs with a live band...YOU'RE the singer!


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ses-qui-cen-ten-nial


Joe Rosier with his grey beard and weather worn leathery complexion is a dead ringer for confederate general Robert E. Lee. It was raining like a banshee when I parked my car near the Orlando Fringe Festival. I waited in my car until the rain slowed a bit. When I did step out, I was amazed to see the tires half engulfed in a raging muddy gutter flow. It looked like the car could be swept away.

The premise of the presentation was that General Lee was addressing students at Washington College in Lexington Virginia, recounting his time in the Civil War and his relationship with General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union troops.  The Purple Patron's Room Venue was empty when I found a seat. Only two other theater goers came in. Joe later confided that the woman in the third row was a theater reviewer from the Orlando Weekly. The General let us know he was pleased that we had all braved the elements to hear his story.

I think you need to be a real history buff to fully appreciate the show. At one point the general had some trouble remembering the battle of Appomattox. He apologized for his brief memory slip as he is getting on in years. I couldn't decide if it was the actor searching for a line or the General's lapse in memory. I paid close attention as he recalled his surrender to a very disheveled Grant. Grant let the rebel officers keep their side arms after the surrender. The General was spry for his age, moving constantly on the stage. I caught him in a rare moment when he chose to sit.

Tonight 
10PM - 2AM
Girls at Gay Days Kick-Off Party "One Hot Mess"
Drip 8747 International Dr. Suite 102 (Behind Denny's and Senor Frogs), Orlando, Florida 32819
I will be doing a live large scale painting of two Drip dancers embracing.  I should be able to sketch several other willing couples as well. If you are an exhibitionist, come on by and get sketched. This is likely to be a hell of a party. It is preceded by a Drip show with an all female cast which is very hot. The show is $35 but the "One Hot Mess" after party is free.
  • DJ Lez Spins
  • Appearance by Jude the Lesbian
  • Budlight colored beer taste testing
  • Barefoot Wine Bar with special grape stomping performance by DRIP.
  • DRIP performance art in white powder
  • DRIP dancers performing in rain
  • DRIP ticket giveaways
  • Dancing
  • Interactive Paint Station
  • Body Painting
  • Gay Days themed visual art show
  • Art Sales




All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mitzi Morris in "If Looks Could Kill"


I decided to slip in and sketch "If Looks Could Kill" at Fringe simply because I noticed the line to get into the yellow venue was long and it started to move. "That's what she said!" Bikini Katie was in the front row along with Logan Donahoo. Logan's show, "A Field Guide to Gays" was constantly sold out. Anyway back to the stage. Mitzi Morris played a 60's style American spy who seduces her way to the truth. She battled a ferocious Russian spy, played by Jamie-Lyn Markos, who poured out of her tight leather outfit. The most hilarious moments in the production were when this lusty Russian spy spoke like a sexy Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoons, to her henchman on her cell phone and his every response to her orders was "Da".

There was mystery and intrigue and Mitzi Morris squeezing in a musical dance number. She lost one of the orbs that decorated her hair as she danced. As it bounced into the audience, I began to suspect that this spy just might be a guy. No, impossible, since every guy onstage instantly fell in love with her. It was a fun hour and Mitzi triumphed over evil.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Poe & Mathews


Grumble Productions from Los Angeles presented "Poe and Mathews: A Misadventure in the Middle of Nowhere" in the Gold Venue at this years Fringe. The premise was that Edgar Allen Poe was deserted on a desert island with a bungling fool. This comedy of errors was hung on stages of grief, like denial, anger and acceptance. In the preview, the over weight fool ate an apple as Poe tried to concentrate. Poe lost his patience and yelled at Mathews to eat quieter. Mathews tried taking delicate baby bites but even that pushed Poe over the edge. The production reminded me quite a bit of "Waiting for Godot", with physical comedy thrown into the mix.

These actors worked the lines of other shows incessantly. They won an award at the Fringe for being the most diligent marketers.  I was surprised to find out that Poe was a female actor. The production was pleasant enough, but I began loosing patience, wishing the story would take me somewhere else.

All the Patron's Picks are now in, so be sure to get out and see your favorite shows!
Black – Blue and Tod: In the Black
Blue – Fetish
Brown – TJ and Mr. Oaksite
Gold – Macbeth
Green – Loon
Orange – Celebrity Match Game: The Musical (5/28, 9:30pm)
Pink – The Boxer: A Silent Movie Onstage (5/28, 8pm)
Purple (tie) – Pillow Talk ((5/27, 10am) / A Field Guide to the Gays (5/28, 6:30pm)
Red – Eating Pasta Off the Floor
Silver – Piranha the Musical!
Yellow – God is a Scottish Drag Queen


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe


I went to the Jett Backpack tech rehearsal to see the cast in costume. I was impressed by the backpack itself which was built with cardboard tubes and the ends of liter soda bottles along with tubing snaking from component to component, all of this was anchored to a roll along suitcase and worn, the backpack looked like it might work.

Dancers rehearsed the opening scene in which they held planets that zoomed down the isles and onto the stage narrowly missing Jennifer Guhl as she flew a pretend shuttle through space. Dorothy Massey was busey cutting a foam tail for a reptilian villain named Dr. Saurian played by Stephen Lima. When the tail was secured with a belt she and the cast had a good laugh. Later the reptile was fighting Jett Backpack, played by John Bateman, and the tail struck Jett in the balls immobilizing him. In a second rehearsal of the same fight, Jett's knees came together when he was struck and the tail snapped off remaining between his clenched knees. It was a hilarious mistake.

This Fringe show was campy and fun offering rolls where local actors could cut loose and be silly. Sadly the show's run is over and yesterday I saw the cast relaxing over beers in the beer tent. The earth itself was saved from certain doom so it was time to down some ale and admit the battle was now part on Intergalactic history.

This show won TheDailyCity.com's Audience Choice Award for the best show in the yellow venue.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Boogie Shoes


Quiet Desperation Productions presents "Boogie Shoes", written and performed by Marcie Schwailm and directed by Tara Corless in the Red Venue. The red venue this year was in a rehearsal space on the second floor of the Shakes. Based on posters I had seen around the Fringe Festival, I expected to see a goofy comedy about a dancer with little coordination. Marcie walked on stage and began talking about how she loved to dance as a small child. Her mother told her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. "I want to be Wonder Woman!" "Well Wonder Woman is a pretend character, you can be anything real." "A shark?" "No." The next best thing was to become a ballerina.

Her mom supported her dream and enrolled her in a ballet class. Unfortunately some snotty ballet student told Marcie she was too fat to be a ballerina. Deflated, she dropped out of the class. Bulimic girlfriends told her she should barf up any food she ate to stay thin.  She couldn't do it. Bitchy adolescence set in and she resented her own body. She took to cutting herself. The razor's edge was one thing she had absolute control over. Thankfully, she eventually put that behind her. In her 20's she met the man of her dreams and she read endless brides magazines to plan the wedding. When she tried on a wedding dress and looked in a mirror, she didn't like what she saw. Depression set in for years because she didn't see herself as a Cinderella ideal.

Then she discovered belly dancing. The teacher had students isolate upper body movements by asking the students to imagine they were washing a window with their breasts. She had students move their chest as if then were writing a word. Marcie demonstrated for us. Amazingly someone in the audience guessed the right word. I was too modest to venture a guess although she wrote 5 letters. To isolate hip movements the teacher suggested students imagine they had a pencil in their vaginas with which they wrote on the floor. Those would be some long pencils!

After a quick costume change Marcie came out in a belly dancer's outfit. She sparkled and a thin gossamer blue veil flowed around her as she danced. Now when she looks in a mirror she knows she is beautiful. The audience clapped and shouted their support. I was glowing, happy to have heard this story of overcoming the odds imposed by society, and rediscovering a child's joy that can always be rekindled. Some people go through their whole life never finding that innocent passion again. This show was a life affirming miracle. Some dreams do come true as long as you keep searching and never give up. This was without a doubt the most inspiring true life story I've heard at this year's Fringe.

A portion of the sales for "Boogie Shoes" will be donated to the non-profit organization, "To Write Love on Her Arms". This organization is dedicated to presenting hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. They encourage, inform, inspire and invest in treatment and recovery.

When:
Sunday May 26 at 5:45PM
Where:
Red Venue
Tickets:
$8 plus a Fringe button.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Boxer - A Silent Movie On Stage


 The Patron's Picks have been announced for the Orlando Fringe. These shows sold the most tickets in their respective venues and they get to stage one more show at the end of the festival.
Green venue: "Loon," 11 a.m. Monday May 27.
Pink venue: "The Boxer," 8 p.m. Tuesday May 28.
Purple venue: "Pillow Talk," 10 a.m. Monday May 27.
Silver venue: "Piranha The Musical," 12:15 p.m. Monday May 27.
Yellow venue: "God Is a Scottish Drag Queen," 9 p.m. Monday 27.

Jester Theater Company presents Brandon Roberts and some of Orlando’s most brilliant comedic actors and musicians in this laugh-filled silent movie onstage. A live ragtime soundtrack is provided  by Blake Braswell and Anthony Riley. I love Brandon Roberts physical comedy, so I had to see The Boxer written by Matt Lyle. The play began by introducing the heroine played by Gemma Fearn. She is dressed as a man so she can get a job in depression era hard times.  She is incredibly endearing from the start as she tries to imitate men's gestures. The boxer enters being beat down repeatedly. In a slow motion moment he is hit by a punch. His head snaps and he slowly spins. The expression on Gemma's face as she watches, turns from horror' to compassion' to love, all within that knockout blow that sends the boxer to the floor.

She decides to train the boxer herself. In a hilarious training montage projected on the stage backdrop,  she blows soap bubbles which overwhelm the boxer sending him to the mat. Although she falls for the boxer, he treats her like any other guy. the boxer needs to win a match for his dear old mom.  I don't want to give too much away. This show is as endearing as any Charlie Chaplin classic. It will melt your heart. Just go. You wild laugh till your sides hurt. The show I went to was completely sold out.

When:
Saturday May 25 at 6:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 11:15PM
Tuesday May 28 at 8PM
Where:
Pink Venue in the Shakes
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe button




All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Onomatopoeia


Entering the Black venue on Virginia Drive we were greeted by the music of Miss Laney Jones and her band, Bill Jickell on mandolin and Chris Campbell on upright bass. Their sweet bluegrass music wove its way through the whole show. Onomatopoeia, written by Anthony Bolante, is a bitter sweet story set in 1929. On a back lit screen, a young couple meet and fall in love in a small mid West town. The title came from a conversation the young couple had about how two words could join together to have a whole new meaning. The analogy being, that two people in love could weather any storm.

At a town celebration and dance, the boy played by Adam Scharf proposes to the girl, played by Melina Countryman, by hiding a ring in a red balloon. Their fates change when the stock market crashes sending the country into the great depression. The boy has to leave the town and his girl with hopes of finding work. The girl returns his ring saying he might need to sell it. He leaves with his possessions in a satchel on a stick and he learns how to survive as a hobo.

There are odd jobs and comic moments. The boy looses his voice and has to communicate in mime. Audience member Michael Poley was called on stage to help him stack boxes. He had to learn the boy's hand signals to comic effect. The young hobo never manages to find his fortune and ultimately returns to his home town, defeated. All the while he held on to the hope that his girl would be there when he returned. His town was situated in the dust bowl and everyone, including his girl, had suffered. She blames him for not being there when she needed him most. Dejected he leaves his satchel behind and walks away. She opens it and finds nothing but a red balloon.

The music of Laney Jones and the band really makes this show shine. I've been a fan of her music ever since I heard her play on a rainy day in a parking lot in College Park. Over a dozen songs punctuated the show. Many were written by Laney, one was by Chris Campbell and several others were by Anthony Bolante along with several classics. Elisabeth Drake-Forbes was the Music Supervisor and Producer. I drove the whole way home humming "It's Only a Paper Moon."  Two thumbs up for this production. You only have one last chance to catch this show.

When:
Saturday May 25 at 11:15PM
Where:
Black Venue,  511 Virginia Drive
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe button

Weekend Top 6 Picks
Saturday May 25th 2013

11AM - Midnight FRINGE! Both Days. http://orlandofringe.org/

Noon -- 5PM FREE: Food Truck Fiesta for People and Pets at Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S Lakemont Ave Winter Park FL 32789 Live music, great food, pet-friendly!
INFO: (407)296-5882 www.foodtruckcrazy.com

2PM - 4PM March Against Monsanto, City Hall 400 South Orange Avenue. https://www.facebook.com/notes/march-against-monsanto/mission-statement/579359972082527

10PM - Midnight FREE: FRINGE Toast Off, Outdoor tent, Lock Haven Park. Is it poetry? Is it a drinking game? Is it improv comedy? Is it some unholy human centipede of all the above? (Poetry is the 2.) Find out when host Tod Caviness gets Orlando's finest comedians (and a few Fringe favorites) drunk for your amusement on the outdoor stage at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Did we mention that it's free? We probably should. You're going to need the money for the beer tent.

Sunday May 26th 2013

9AM - 4PM Kiwi Camera Swap, Kiwi Camera Service, 18808 Kentucky Avenue Winter Park I'm pretty sure this photography thing is a passing fad. Prime sketching of photographers and their large lenses.

Noon- 2PM Broadway Brunch at Hamburger Mary's! Hot buns and Broadway tunes. Need I say more? 110 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801






All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shut Up Emily Dickenson


The two minute Fringe preview for this show was hilarious. A male announcer described how utterly annoying Emily Dickinson was as she looked over her shoulder at the audience with contempt. Her nose was rubbed raw from a cold and she put lotion on her chaffed elbows. Emily was performed by Tanya O’Debra from Brooklyn NY.

Stretching that two minute joke out for the eternity of an hour was problematic. Emily was consistently annoying and reclusive. The only writing she did was of morbid condolence letters to friends and family suffering loss. Never leaving her room, she begins to fantasize about the narrator. There was one precious comic moment when she decided to let her hair down. She began removing one hair pin after another. She must have had 50 hair pins in that tight bun. Ultimately however, I was left bored. As a character, Emily didn't change in any way. I can laugh at an annoying character for a few minutes but I have no desire to watch them for an hour. I need some sort of character development if I'm to become involved. I was a bit annoyed at myself for going to the show.

When:
Thursday May 23 at 9:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 2:30PM
Where:
Green Venue Rep Black box theater
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe Button



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup

One of the most colorful characters of the Fringe has to be Miss Hiccup who I've seen many times on the Lockhaven park green lawn of fabulousness always in character. The program described her show as,  "Fringe favorites Paul Strickland and Chase Padgett combine their talents..." wait a minute, they have nothing to do with this show! Major typo!  Let me look online, ... "The mysterious Miss Hiccup lives alone, but is definitely not lonely. She is forever accompanied by a raucous cast of sounds and music that make her life an absurd adventure. A hilarious and beautiful physical comedy by award-winning Japanese performer Shoshinz from Tokyo."

Miss Hiccup performs in the Blue venue which is the Shakes black box theater. The performance was absurd and endearing.  When she unrolled a whole roll of toilet paper with childish delight, she decided to ensure I was paying attention by kicking the pile of paper onto my sketch pad. She does indeed hiccup her way throughout the show. She came onstage in a crouched crab like position, I'm not sure why. In one cute bit she held a tiny umbrella, maybe twice the size of a drink umbrella over her head. The sound of water leaking would be different if it hit the umbrella. She ran about trying to have every water drop hit her umbrella. While much of the performance was mime along with physical comedy, Hiccup does also sing.

The audience at 5:15PM Friday May 17th was rather small, perhaps 10 people, but everyone could have a front row seat. I'm sure the folks expecting Chase and Paul were confused. The show is light hearted fun and quite kid friendly. As a matter of fact you need to be ready to channel your inner child to fully appreciate the show.

Remaining shows:
Wednesday May 22 at 8PM
Friday May 24 at 6:45PM
Saturday May 25 at 2:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 2:00PM
Where:
Blue Venue at the  John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe Button


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dance For Grandma


My wife Terry has joined the board of the Orlando Fringe. On the evening of the opening gala, I got her to join me to see her first show this season. We went into the Purple venue which is the round patron's room at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. The tiny stage was set up like an attic. Scott Whittemore came out from behind the black curtains with a flash light. I had to stop sketching since the house had gone black. He used his flashlight as a spot light angling it up at a stool. He began to play his ukulele.

Original music, monologues, physical storytelling, dance, ukuleles, and Christmas sweaters help tell the story of a young man seeking to reconnect with his recently departed Grandmother. The theater grew quiet as he used a Quji board to reconnect. Props found in the attic set offered entertaining sidelines into yo-yo tricks and rope lasso dancing. With nostalgia and heart Scott shared the love and respect he had for his grandmother.

The patron's room isn't a great venue because you can hear everyone in the Shakespeare hallways as they laugh and shout. The men's bathroom is also right next to the patrons room and you can imagine how that might be distracting. The intimacy of the production however separated us from the distractions. It was like being alone in the attic while downstairs a party raged. This simple heart felt production was a perfect appetizer, a sweet taste of what this year's Fringe had to offer. I highly recommend the show.

When:
Tuesday May 21 at 5:45PM
Thursday May 23 at 6:45PM
Saturday May 25 at 1:30PM
Sunday May 26 at 9:15PM
Where:
Purple Venue (Patron's Room) at the Shakes
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe button



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fringe, dis|CONNECTED

Larissa Humiston of Emotions Dance Company asked me if I would be up to do a cameo appearance at her Fringe show titled dis|CONNECTED. I needed to show up at the Silver Venue at 8:30PM on the first evenings performance and she would fill me in at that time.

In a world full of technology meant to bring us together, why are we still so detached from the people around us? In dis|CONNECTED, Emotions Dance will explore the forces that cause us to disengage and the eternal ties that remain, pulling us back into relationship with one another and allowing us to connect within ourselves.

Larissa greeted me and walked me back stage before the performance. I was to walk center stage about midway through the show and two dancers would dance around me.  It sounded simple enough. As I waited to go on, I sketched. The dancers only had a few minutes to stretch and warm up to perform. The venue opened and I noticed people making their way to the seats. Terry was in the audience and she reported that there were perhaps 25 people there. Fringe producer Michael Marinaccio had earlier explained that the first night of Fringe was usually the slowest. He had scheduled all local acts the first night figuring the performers could drum up an audience of friends and family via social media. The dancers lamented that it would be depressing if there were more dancers than audience members. A reviewer could be in the audience however so they needed to give it their all.

The lights blazed and the dancers were on. I could only see occasional legs and arms from my position in the wings. The black wing curtains fractured my view. Besides I was still working on the sketch of dancers stretching. The song, "Addicted to Love" came on and Larissa nudged me on stage. I walked center stage still working on my sketch. Two dancers began a high stakes cat fight over me. I raised an eyebrow shrugged and returned to my sketch as they clawed at each other and competed for attention. I heard laughter in the audience so I suspect the moment was entertaining. The dancers flew off stage still fighting leaving me still standing center stage sketching. When the lights blacked out, I walked off stage. In the wings the dancers gave me a high five.

Seeing dance from the wings is entirely different than watching as an audience member. I have a renewed sense of awe for how hard these women work. When they come off stage they are completely spent and gasping for air. They have only a few minutes to recover before they have to go right back out again. Between dance numbers dancers walked around the stage holding signs that had life affirming notes and doubts much like the woman who announces boxing rounds. One piece had audio of boxing and sports coaches talking about athletes who have to give their all and then push even further. That is standard practice for Emotions Dancers.

When:
Monday May 20th at 8:00PM
Thursday May 23rd at 9:15PM
Friday May 24th at 11:15PM
Saturday May 25th at 12:45AM
Sunday May 26th at 2:15PM
Where:
Silver Venue at the Rep
Tickets:
$11 plus a Fringe Button


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fringe National / International Preview


On Wednesday May 15th the Fringe National / International Preview was held in the Orange Venue at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. 44 shows from out of town performers had two minutes to get patrons interested in their show. If and performer went beyond two minutes, Bikini Katie would get up and escort the performer off stage. Michael Marinaccio, Fringe's producer, and Chase Padgett hosted the event.

The first performer up was Miss Hiccup, Shoshinz from Tokyo Japan, and I placed her in the sketch.  Her show is called "A Day in the Life of  Miss Hiccup". Her loud flower covered costume was hard to resist. Her physical comedy looks like it could be a fun show. Alexa Fitzpatrick from Aspen Colorado told us about her show called "Serving Bait to Rich People." Alexa works as a bartender at a Colorado dive in a mountain town where men outnumber women two to one. She got serious for a moment, "I'm in the middle of a break up." She paused to let that sink in. "But I'll  be OK, the couple was already having trouble." I laughed out loud.

That reminds me, there was a guy seated in the front row who had the loudest guffaw of a laugh, I've ever heard. One performer commented, "I love your laugh, It's like you're hurling acceptance at me." Oddly a woman in the audience chimed in saying she hoped it would stop. Chase was very diplomatic and stressed that different people have different laughs, and at the Fringe , laughs from all walks of life are accepted. Sadly the guy seemed to have become self conscious and didn't laugh as loud or as often. Then again, seeing 44 previews in a row can wear an audience member down.

I was impressed by the performance of Qurrat Ann Kadwani from NYC. First off she lamented that her parents gave her a name that no one could pronounce. I can identify with that. She switched characters often as she talked about what it was like growing up Indian in the Bronx. I circled "They Call me Q" in my program. Jason Nettle educated us about Fetishes. He said Bronnies and Clappers are individuals who get off on "My Little Pony." He said he could explain why Michael keeps asking George for a Blimpkin. I obviously have much to learn, so I circled "Fetish" in my program. 

Patrick Combs got one of those fake checks from publishers Clearing House for $95,000 dollars. He thought it would be funny to deposit it at his bank signed with a smiley face. He forgot about it and later discovered that his Bank (Bank of America) had cashed the check and he was $100,000 richer. When he went to the bank to straighten things out he was greeted by armed gun men in black suits. His two minutes were up at the mic, and the audience all went awww. Because we all wanted to know what happened next. Bikini Katie walked him off stage with "Man 1, Bank O" written on her thighs.

Chase Padgett and Paul Strickland teamed up to do a guitar duo.  They made up lyrics on the fly and Chase came up with lyrics about laughter that tied into the evenings ongoing theme. I circled, "Chase and Paul: Solo Shows are Hard". Gemma Wilcox from London took us for a ride in her "Magical Mystery Detour". She played a dog, a driver and a motorcycle side car, switching between characters in an instant. I suspect this show is a must see, although she moves so fast and so often, she might be hard to sketch.. "Little Pussy" by John Grady isn't about Sex, but about a little kitten named faith that he rescued from sprawling LA traffic. Martin Dockery is a master storyteller. I saw him last year and recognized his frenetic energy. I definitely want to see "The Dark Fantastic".


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

4 x 4 Fringe Pub Crawl

The 4 x 4 Fringe Pub Crawl on May 13th was in the Mills 50 District and in Ivanhoe Village. There were drink specials at Wally's, Will's Pub, BART and The Peacock Room in Mills 50 and The Matador, Hideaway, Hammered Lamb and Savoy in Ivanhoe Village. O-Cartz (included with the $10 wristband) transported patrons between bars.  There was a rumor that Andy Matchett would pay $20 to anyone who literally crawled from BART to the Peacock Room a block or two further up Mills Avenue.

I decided to go to BART, an arcade and bar on Mills Avenue that I have never been to before. Chan Sterling was checking his portable microphone and speaker. It was tinny but would have to do. Lead by Ruby Darling, Skill Focus Burlesque Dancers arrived and sat in the cushy lounge seating.  The entire cast of Jet Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe arrived all at once. They were all in their intergalactic costumes. There were photo opportunities of Jett and his crew playing video games.

Earth Girls are Easy was on the wide screen TV but music drowned the sound track. Paintings by Parker Sketch had just been hung earlier in the day. Parker arrived with a few friends and he let me know that several of the smaller pieces had already sold. A woman asked me if I was the Painter, Sketcher who was on the poster. I didn't know what she meant at first, but finally realized she was referring to Parker Sketch.

Suddenly a gaggle of screaming women entered the bar. Two of them climbed onto the bar, dancing and making out. One girl had a long pink penis shaped water pistol filled with vodka and she was offering shots to all the men. I couldn't bring myself to purse my lips in front of the phallic dispenser. One woman had penis shaped antenna and she was the one to go up to the mic to promote the Bachelorette show. I was given a business card with a tiny plastic bag of white powder stapled to the back, I did a detective wet finger taste test. It wasn't cocaine but powdered sugar, then again, I have no idea what cocaine tastes like. The Bachelorettes vanished as suddenly as the arrived, probably off to the next bar. Suddenly the bar was relatively quiet again.

John Bateman took to the microphone and sang David Bowie's "Space Oddity" with lyrics that had been altered to the Jett Backpack theme. Kevin Sigman as the sinister Doctor Saurian also stepped up to the mic.  Matt McGrath shouldered up to the bar with model Sierra Missed. She had an angular futuristic hair style that made her appear like an exotic futuristic replicant from Blade Runner. I had sketched her just last month at the RAW event at the Abbey. I didn't recognize her at first since she was all green when I sketched her, but she recognized me. Matt pointed out that I'm probably the only person in town who can get away with scrutinizing someone for several hours without appearing creepy. With my sketch done, I contemplated wandering off to another bar on the crawl, but decided one sketch was enough for the night.

I'm curious about that Bachelorette show now.
Remaining Show Times are:
5/18 at 7PM
5/19 at 4:20PM
5/22 at 9:30PM
5/24 at 11:15PM
5/25 at 9:15PM
Where: Gold Venue at Theater Downtown, Princeton and Orange
Tickets: $10 plus a Fringe Button



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Macbeth


Sisyphus Productions presents Macbeth at this years Fringe Festival. This stripped version of Shakespeare’s classic play of corrupting ambition and madness remains faithful to the text while incorporating grotesquely seductive movement and macabre visuals. The show explores the role of fate as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth yield to the seductive prophecies of the trio of witches and embark down a long road on which “blood will have blood.”

I went to a final dress rehearsal at Edgewater High School just a few days before the play hits the stage in the Shakespeare Theater. I bumped into actress Sarah Lockard in the Shakes and mentioned that I would be sketching Mac... She stopped me and said I couldn't utter the title in the theater. You see, the play is cursed and uttering its name will bring down the fortunes of any theater company. Paul Horgan explained at the Fringe Pub Crawl that theater companies that were struggling would stage Macbeth and then falter. It was a self fulfilling prophesy.

Michelle Kraus does an astonishing job as Macbeth's wife. She seduces Macbeth, played by Jason Skinner, into committing murder to make his way to the thrown. He is filled with self doubt and loathing but her pure unfaltering lustful ambition sways him to the deed.  As he laments the bloody dagger, she takes charge snatching the dagger from him and washes it clean. The simple set of pillars and blocks gradually tumbles into ruins as the play progresses. Later Lady Macbeth is plunged into darkness and insanity trying to rub the invisible blood from her hands. Michelle looked off stage in my direction. Her eyes blazed with horror. Although the room was bathed in florescent light, her intensity was frightening.

Holly Harris had three actors cloaked in a stretchy material and their graceful gestures became strange featureless abstractions. Their writhing fluid movements were creepy and effective. Jimmy Moore who directed the play along with Michelle confided that the Fringe play he worked on last year wasn't very good. However he has every reason to be proud of this ambitious production. This huge cast of at least 15 actors gives the play a dark and epic feel. Although the blood red walls of the auditorium seemed appropriate for the production, I need to see the show again on the dark moody Fringe stage complete with lighting effects. I have no doubt this production will shine bright. You should see this hour and a half production, just don't utter the title in any theaters halls. If you order tickets inside the theater, refer to it as "The Scottish Play". "What's done can not be undone."

What: Macbeth
When:
Saturday May 18th at 9:00PM
Tuesday May 21st at 10:00PM
Saturday May 25th at 7:00PM
Sunday May 26th at 1:45PM
Where: Gold Venue in Theater Downtown, 2113 N Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL
Tickets: $10 plus a Fringe Button


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Key of E Rehearsal


The Dark Side of Saturn presents Key of E. Andy Matchett of Andy Matchett and the Minks wrote all the music for this original apocalyptic rock musical. I went to a rehearsal in a small art classroom on Colonial Drive near a sushi place. Andy welcomed me and apologized that some of the bigger effects might not happen at this rehearsal. I was happy just to listen to his amazing music. Andy began singing with Minks band members  Abraham Couch, Brandon Kalber and Randy Coole. I quickly sketched Andy and was surprised when actor Cory Violence replaced him at the mic singing "Just Can't Wait for the Game to End".

Cory takes on the lead roll of Ethan, a disillusioned hipster who dreams of how he might become a John Connor or Road Warrior hero if the world were to suddenly end.  As he sang of this apocalyptic bliss, his girlfriend played by Marissa Ashley interrupted to try and get him home.  She had to play the roll of annoying reason as he drank himself to oblivion. His dream  of the world's end is suddenly realized when he is engulfed in a huge tsunami wave that leaves him stranded on a desert island.  The wave was executed with an ingenious effect with a parachute of plastic littered with garbage taking on the roll of the oceans surface. Andy stepped in as the narrator letting us know that the other characters on the survivor's island were figments of Ethan's imagination. 

The island had a typical bossy leader who felt he knew all about survival, sending the women to scavenge for food and clean camp. Ethan didn't notice how this annoying character resembled himself. All the people on the island were there to help him survive and avoid his usual path of self destruction. Like the island on Lost, this place is a bit surreal. When Ethan discovers a bottle of whiskey he comes face to face with a dark red eyed demon.  His life could return to normal if only he could only put the cap back on the bottle.

Evan Miga, one of the mad scientists from Dog Powered Robot Labs devised the creature design. Right now, this show is my pick to be a sure runaway hit at Fringe. The music is hard hitting eclectic and ingenious. Cory really shines singing his way through the lead roll.  The entire cast of about 10 actors has pulled off an epic production on a shoe string budget. The Key of E is going to hit this year's Fringe like a nuclear blast.

What:  
Key of E an Apocalyptic Rock Musical
When: 
Thursday, May 16 at 7:45PM
Saturday May 18 at 3:00PM
Sunday May 19 at 7:45PM 
Wednesday May 22 at 8:00PM
Saturday May 25th at 11:45PM
Where
Green Venue in the Rep
Tickets
$11 + a Fringe button

P.S. At 8:45PM tonight (May 16th) a certain Urban Sketcher will make a cameo appearance at Emotions Dances' dis/CONNECTED in the Silver Venue which is in the Rep Theater. I really can not divulge details, if I told you, I'd have to kill you.



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Skill Focus Strikes Back


On May 6th, Skill Focus Burlesque held a dress rehearsal, or rather an undress rehearsal for their upcoming Fringe show, "Skill Focus Strikes Back". The rehearsal was at Dancer’s Edge Studio (7351 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL). A large white curtain hung in front of the stage becoming the modesty curtain for performers as they got into costume. There were still under aged dancers in the back studio so someone stood at the door blocking the view of anyone trying to glance in. Last year, Skill Focus was a last minute substitution at the Fringe and Ruby felt it was a hot mess, but this year she wanted her troupes ready for a blitzkrieg.

Skill Focus will be performing three unique shows at the Fringe this year in the green venue. Sci-Fi-A-Go-Go has characters from Star Trek, Star Wars and other intergalactic adventures. Classic Consoles features video game themed characters and Arkham Asylum has Batman characters baring it all. Ruby Darling asked all the dancers to join her in warm up exercises. Everyone stretched and practiced some kicks. Then every performer in turn got into costume to perform their routine.

The guys were up first. My favorite routine had Nekkid RoboJoe wearing so many sweaters, that he resembled that kid in his winter clothes in "A Christmas Story" who couldn't put his arms down. He needed help getting the last sweaters on. When he began his routine, he flexed his muscles and the sweaters made him resemble a very warm Hulk. His thin black pant legs looked like burnt match sticks supporting a huge marshmallow. As he struggled to remove the sweaters one at a time, Ruby shouted out, "No triangle face!" Although it might be a struggle, she wanted it to look sensual. I was laughing till my sides hurt. It didn't matter what was at the center of the Tootsie Pop.

Stage Kitten Miss Terri Guest helped in a Classic Consoles number holding the Pong Ball in a heated Pong match. She strutted back and forth with Vanna flair.  Suddenly she bent over in pain. At first I thought it was part of the routine but she sat beside me with tears in her eyes and Ruby asked if she could help. A stray ligament caused the pain and another stage kitten had to take her place. The show must go on. After Miss Terri recovered, she had a pointer for all the performers. She said is is much sexier to unbutton blouses and shirts from the bottom up. I'll have to remember that the next time I unbutton a dress shirt. I tend to forget to unbutton the sleeves and end up straight jacketed until I can yank my hands loose. Definitely not sexy.

Who: Skill Focus Strikes Back

Where: Fringe, Green Venue in the Rep

When: Sci-Fi-A-Go-Go
May 16 at 11:15PM
May 21 at 8:45PM
Classic Consoles
May 18 at Midnight
May 24 at 7:15PM
Arkham Asylum
May 19 at 9:30PM
May 25 at 10:15PM
Fan Service Finale:
May 26 at 7:45PM

Tickets:  $10 + Fringe Button. 18 or older only.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

39 Steps Rehearsal


Back in January at a Florida Creative's happy hour, I first found out that Ryan Price was planning to produce a Fringe play built around "The 39 Steps" a 1915  adventure novel written by John Buchan. It was later adopted by Alfred Hitchcock in a 1935 film. Becky Lane is directing this adaptation in which every show will be improvised based on audience suggestions. In early rehearsals Becky told me that the cast did view point sessions in which the actors walked an imaginary grid and worked as a group becoming a cohesive cast.

This Invisible Frisbee Productions rehearsal was held in a Winter Garden warehouse just two days before Fringe opened. A huge ventilation fan moved the humid air. A tarp was put on the floor because in one scene there is a murder and they didn't want the corpse to have to lie in saw dust or metal filings. In this rehearsal the cast of four went over the introduction and the sequence of events that were needed to get the audience feedback. Since I was essentially an audience of one, Becky had me fill out eight chalkboards with answers to two questions. One question was to write down a job of someone in my party that was suspicious. I've found people to be suspicious of artists so that was my first answer, the others that I recall were a teacher and mailman. The other question involved picking a character trait of someone in your party that they are proud of and then write down the opposite. I recall writing excitable, angry and sloth. Those chalk boards were hung on the front of the boxes and helped defined the backgrounds and personalities the characters.

My other responsibility was to hand out playing cards that each character picked to choose their roll in the comedic drama. Max Hilend, the wild card, was hilarious as a lazy sloth of an artist. He spoke slowly with little to no enthusiasm. He discussed the one painting he does a year, and even the cast was laughing, and peaking at the words that defined his character. Nadia Garzon with a red rose in her hair was funny and entertaining as a high strung excitable art teacher. I decided she had to be the lead character, Hannay, based on her hilarious performance. Megan Borkes was a disgruntled spy and in a scene with Nadia, the two played off each other wonderfully. The villain was the black bearded Christian Cheker in his black shirt and military cargo pants. To me these roles seemed predestined. It is exciting watching the scenes unfold with the even actors not knowing what would come next.

The sets were defined with the boxes rearranged in each scene as chairs as well as a table, ladder and a window on a tripod. Nadia stayed in character as Hannay and had me laughing consistently with her innocent enthusiasm and endless curiosity. I glanced over to see the director, Becky, laughing out loud as well. It was such a delight to know that this performance was unique and as an audience member, I helped mold the performances. As Hannay was entertaining the spy in her home, Max opened the window and blew a dart into the spy's neck. That sudden murder changed Hannay's fate, forcing her to follow through on the spy's mission, now being accused of murder, and on the run from police and the villain who was easily identifiable because of a unique, sometimes rude feature picked by the audience.

The cast took me on an amazing playful ride while asking me to suspend disbelief and fill in what was needed with my imagination. Be sure to check out this show at Fringe, your experience will be new and completely unique. It is theater in its truest form with murder, intrigue and plenty of laughs and unexpected turns.

Where: The Pink Venue

Tickets: $11 along with your Fringe button.

When:
Thursday May 16, 2013 at 6:00PM
Saturday May 18, 2013 at 6:45PM
Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:15AM
Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 11:15PM
Wednesday May 22, 2013 at 9:30PM
Saturday May 25, 2013 at 4:30PM
Sunday May 26, 2013 at 2:45PM


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Fiesta in the Park

Walking downtown on the evening of April 5th, I noticed hundreds of tents being set up around Lake Eola. At the South East Entrance I decided to sit and sketch. The next day this spot would be bustling as part of the Spring Fiesta in the Park which is an Arts and Crafts Festival. Once in a while people would stop to read the posted events on the directional compass totem pole. The ATM was ready to dispense cash for impulse buys. These sort of outdoor festivals seem to flourish in Central Florida maybe because it is warm year round.

A couple arrived with merchandise stacked up in a little red  wagon. They set up a table in the tent and over multiple trips with the red wagon they moved their wares. I couldn't make out what they were unpacking from this distance. I didn't notice any police in the time it took me to sketch, but if all the tents were full of crafts, there must have been police there. The Best in Show Award went to Jeff Nelson for his inlaid wood furniture. The next Fiesta is November 2nd and 3rd.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Up Beat


For Cinco de Mayo, Terry and I went to the courtyard outside Cantina Laredo. A stage was set up for "Up Beat". The performer out front played saxophone, flute and some sort of clarinet. Oddly he seldom face the audience, preferring to face the piano player. Terry said that he must be shy. I waited the longest time before I could work him into the sketch, I never knew what he would be playing. I finally gave up and just had him singing into the microphone. When he played sax, he would get off the stage and saunter up to the tables. The orange tent across the way served tacos and there was a tent for margaritas.

The guitar player looked like Jimmy Buffet and he sang "Margarita ville." The piano player noticed me sketching and he said, "Be sure you get my good side." He then turned around and shook his rump. I'm not sure if he meant I should ketch that. The drummer's girlfriend was seated behind Terry and I. She would shoot photos each time the band started a new set. The drummer, Antone Affronti, owns a frame and mat shop called Custom Framing. I got his card since I haven't used a framing shop for a while. If I ever put on a gallery show, I'll need lots of frames made. The frames I have made myself are getting quite beat up. He had quite a collection of drum sticks and I wondered if he would break a few, but he never did.

Some women danced to the music and I'm sure as if got later that the place would be hopping. It was a sunny yet cool day, perfect to relax and sketch in the shade. After the performance, we went to see Iron Man 3.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cinco de Mayo


Terry wanted to go to Cantina Laredo for their Pico de Gallo. It is located in a new knot of strip mall restaurants on Sand Lake Road. This huge fiberglass replica fountain was actually spewing water. It is the first time I've actually seen it work. It is hard to describe how cheesy and repulsive the fountain is. If you have ever been to Italy and seen true sculpted fountains then you will find this holds no comparison. It is sort of like the Lego Land of sculpted fountains. No, I take that back, a Lego version would have far more class.

It was a beautiful crisp and cool day however and it was nice to sketch while Terry read her magazine. The chicken flour Tacos were rather tasteless but spicy hot. I had a few of Terry's chips to try her Pico de Gallo and it was yummy.

A woman wanted me to do a portrait of her dad but there wasn't time.



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Josette Urso


Josette Urso is a Brooklyn based artist who has been invited to come down for a residency at the Maitland Art Center.  Her residency runs from April 28 through June 2nd. This residency program has been resurrected after about a 30 year hiatus. lt was part of J. Andre Smith's vision to bring accomplished artists to Florida where they could recharge their creative batteries. Past artists of national prominence,  who were residents here included Milton Avery, Ralston Crawford, Doris Lee, Boris Margo and Teng Chiu.

Josette offered a presentation of her work in the Germaine Marvel Building on the Maitland Art Center Campus. I was one of the first people to arrive. I had been in contact with Josette because I hoped to sketch her at work and learn about her process. This talk was a perfect way to truly meet the artist. She talks with passion and excitement about her art which is accomplished and branches in multiple directions. What was most exciting was that her work has a sense of play as she experiments in various mediums.

Some of the earliest work was collage arranged in circles. Intricate images inhabited tiny squares within the over all design. They were like Madella's or kaleidoscopes with vibrant color. She collects UPC codes and these linear patterns adorned one of the circular motifs. The image she was working on was huge and she ran out of UPC codes. Most people go to their neighbors perhaps for a cup of sugar but she turned to her neighbors for codes.

When she showed her Urban drawings, I was inspired. One sketch was of a Bushwick building rooftop with a flock of pigeons moving as a dark mass above the building. She thought the pigeons would always be there but the coup was closed down. The drawing was done with a child's pen she had purchased in Taiwan. The ink is beginning to fade along with the inspiring memory of the flock. She would visit other artist's studios and sketch the amazing views.

Her paintings border on the abstract yet are grounded in direct observation. She likes to get lost in the process moving around the page and is surprised when it all lines up. One action always leads to another. Her paintings pose questions not offering just answers. Different tools inspire different images. An ink sketch can't be erased yet an oil painting can be kept in a constant state of flux. Here in Maitland she is working plein air getting her inspirations from the gardens around the museum. She admitted that the Florida sun had tapped her energy. Someone needs to bring this woman a big straw wide brimmed hat.

On Saturday, May 11, from 10 AM to 1 PM,the Art and History Museum will hold an official Plein Air Paint Day with Josette Urso. Painters from around Central Florida are encouraged to come and create alongside Urso. Guests will discover the tools and techniques Urso uses to create her widely-collected paintings, as they enjoy the beauty of the A&H’s Maitland Art Center campus. This program is FREE and the public is encouraged to attend.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

RAW Artists Orlando Presents...Marvel

On April 4th, I went to The Abbey (100 South Eola Drive, Orlando, Fl) to check out the talent at RAW Artists Orlando presents...Marvel. There was a line to get in that snaked around the corner into a parking garage.

A recording of Britt Daley's "One and Only" was pulsing through the room. "Awesome!" I thought. "They really are showcasing the best local talent." However, Britt wasn't on stage that night. Musical acts included Live Hart, Cure for Caska, and Judy Tribune. One performer who sang while I was sketching was so far off key that I cringed.

The artist that caught my eye was this body painter named Nix Herrera. He used stencils and an airbrush to create intricate lettering and designs.  It was really stunning work. The model, Sierra Missed, had a proud and regal expression the whole time. She was enjoying the attention.

Artist, Jean-Claude Rasch introduced himself.  I had met him before at one of Parker Sketch's art critiques. I remember Jean worked on Plexiglas and the paintings would have different coloring if lit from behind. He was set up in the same spot where Parker Sketch had been set up the month before. Jean's work had more than a passing resemblance to Parker's work incorporating splashes and pop culture imagery.

Last time I went to a RAW event I was dressed a bit grungy, walking in with a baseball cap the bouncer reminded me to take off. This time, knowing cocktail attire was required, I wore a suit and tie. I just had to keep the tie from flopping down onto the palette. You have to be over 21 to get in and tickets were $10 in advance or $15 at the door.




All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Seed


Hannah Miller let me know that she would be directing a 15-minute play called "Seed" written by Danny Kessler. She invited me to a dress rehearsal at Valencia Community College - East Campus (701 N Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando, Fl). The rehearsal was on the East Campus, in Building 1 on the 3rd floor in classroom 368. I was searching for the room number when I bumped into Sarah Lockhard in a clowns outfit. She guided me to the rehearsal space which was an empty classroom with some boxes, a bag of seed and some recycled paper bags.

"Seed" is an existential play about the end of the world, filled with Skittles, clowns, and fantastic performances from students Jasmine Lesser, Jennifer Hurless  and local actress Sarah Lockard. Sarah stepped in when a student was unable to fill the commitment. Jasmine had been rehearsing from the start. Jasmine played the seed in bunny ears and a frilly pink dress while Jennifer played a mother earth type character. Sarah narrated the play's opening scene and later came out in a hazmat suit to clean up the stage.

This was Hannah's first experience directing.  As she said, "I took on the challenge to learn a little bit about a director's perspective on text so I'd be a better playwright. I've learned a lot, I think." Hannah and Sarah talked for quite a while about Sarah's motivations and actions in the play. She had just stepped into a roll that had been established by another student actress and she hoped to put more of herself into the part yet the performance was only days away.

In this final week of rehearsals, Jane Henson passed away. Hannah works for IBEX Puppetry run by Heather Henson, Jane's Daughter. Besides Hannah's own grief, her boss's enormous grief, and the grief of everyone she works with, she had to handle the overwhelming outpouring of communication on IBEX Puppetry's behalf. To say Hannah had a lot on her plate would be an understatement, but as always, the show must go on. From my perspective seeing the run through for the first time, the play flowed effortlessly. The actual performance was during a school showcase in midday of Weds., April 10th.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Memory Room


It was back in August of 2009 when I first met Mary Hill and later, her mother Margaret Hill. Mary moved from California to take care of her mom here in Orlando. For five years she was responsible for her mother's care. Margret's pulmonary fibrosis and other conditions grew worse until she couldn't get out of bed. It was around this time that I did several sketches of Margaret and interviewed her about her life. She died on December 28th of 2011.

It was a bit strange returning to Margaret's old bedroom. The room seemed immense and empty. An old Teddy Bear sat on top of some shelves. This was won at a state fair by Duane Hill, her future husband, and it was the first present he ever gave her. In a box tied with twine and labeled "Junk", were all the letters Duane and Margaret wrote each other when they were dating. A photo of Mary's parents was on the wall behind her along with paintings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. This was always a religious family. Mary's aunt was a nun.

Mary was busy trying to sort all the family photos into cardboard bins. She was trying to decide which relatives should get which photos. It seems that Margaret took more photos of grandchildren than she did of her own children. Each of Mary's brothers had a shelf where their stiff collared High School photos were stored. So much of the family's true story remained hidden from the staged and posed family photos. Yet each snapshot could bring back a flood of memories, clear reminders of what truly happened.




All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jett Backpack Rehearsal


On April 29th, I went to Dancer’s Edge Studio (7351 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL) to sketch a rehearsal for Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe, which will appear at the upcoming Fringe Theater Festival in May. It was raining like a banshee  on the drive to the theater, but the cast trickled into the dance studio lobby one at a time at first and then in a deluge. The dance studio had mirrors on three walls and the actors performed towards the fourth wall.

Much of the action took place on an intergalactic space craft with John Bateman playing a cocky and somewhat incompetent captain with Jennifer Guhl playing his salty number 1.  The play was written by Josh Geohagen and he sat on the floor pouring over the script. At this rehearsal just two scenes were blocked with Kevin G. Becker directing. Before getting to work, the cast assembled in a circle and switched places with a point and command. Another exercise involved everyone walking the room and reciting the alphabet. If two actors said the same letter at the same time, they had to begin again at A. I'm always amazed at how a cast can pull together and become keenly aware of each other working almost like a flock.

Often the crew of the star ship would be looking at an imaginary view screen which they decided was the blue cork paneling on the wall. They all would crane their heads to look up at it. Several clones perished in gruesome ways and where whisked off to air locks. Dorothy Massey played a sultry Princess Positronic who was attracted to the captain. Trenell Mooring is sort of the face of Fringe this year since she is pictured on the Fringe poster along with her son. Her eyes are set apart wide on her face giving her an exotic chiseled look. She plays the part of an alien helmsman on the ship speaking an alien dialect. This tongue in cheek comedy was consistently hilarious. I can't wait to see the cast in costume. Since only two scenes were rehearsed, I'm left wondering how the adventure will play out.

Where: The show will be in the yellow venue which is the Mandell Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
How much: You need a Fringe button plus tickets are $10.
Show times:
Thu 5/16 7:30PM
Sat 5/18 9:45PM
Sun 5/19 11:15PM
Tue 5/21 7:15PM
Thurs 5/23 5:45PM
Fri 5/24 6:30PM
Sat 5/25 1:00PM



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cameo Theater

On March 22nd, I went to the Cameo Theater for a display of garbage as art. The Cameo had been closed for well over a year due to fire code violations so I was curious to see it open it's doors again. UCF architecture student, Jorge Boone, who recently purchased the Cameo, Wes Featherston and James Cornetet of Process Architecture, LLC hosted the art installation.

Two amazing installations created by ten talented UCF architecture students in the alley beside the Cameo. The students were tasked with studying post-consumer waste and developing innovative new techniques for transforming these materials into building systems.

One group re-purposed plastic grocery bags using tribal basket weaving techniques to create a structural 40’x10’ canopy that sores over the Cameo’s courtyard. The bag canopy was tied to a ladder above my head and various window bars and metal stairs. It started raining as I sketched and unfortunately the canopy didn't protect from the rain because of it's open weave.

The other group of students examined the structural nature of paper mache egg cartons to create a pair of 12’x20’ wall panels that will create the only ‘quiet’ zone in the district due to the natural acoustic qualities of the cartons.

Several new designs for the theater were lying on tables inside the Theater. Then both seemed to focus on sprucing up the Theater's facade. The interior was gutted clean. One student was sweeping the dusty floor. A talent agency is still upstairs as well as John Hurst's animation storyboard artist studio.

Hopefully the new owner will resurrect the Cameo since it was one of my favorite venues to sketch. The place was raw and uncluttered making it ideal for large installations and cutting edge experimental shows. Perhaps the Phoenix can rise again from the fire codes ashes.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Toyota Service


My Toyota Prius was due for it's complimentary 10,000 mile service. The dashboard display reminded me of this everyday with a "Service Required" sign on the display. Pulling into the service carport, I was fourth in line for service. An attendant put a small plastic cone with the number 4 on the car's roof.  Every time a car was driven into the service garage, he scrambled to update the cones like a shell game.

Tony Ferrando was my service consultant. He pointed out the indoor deli and suggested I take a seat in the lounge. Most of the costumers seated around the waiting area amused themselves with their phones. One woman was knitting and the gentleman seated right in front of me was reading a real paper to get his news. There was a mother with her daughter seated next to me. She had been sitting in exactly the same spot last time I was in for service. I considered mentioning this to her but though it might come off as creepy.

Just as I finished the sketch, Tony called my name. He pointed out that everything checked out and they even cleaned the car besides changing the oil. All of this was complimentary which is unheard of in this age of hidden fees. He said he would still need my credit card although there was no charge. I handed it over cautiously. He laughed saying "Got ya! I actually asked a guy to start filling out a check once and he had it half filled out before I stopped him."

The service check up was much quicker than I expected. This new dealership is state of the art, I actually don't dread returning.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I went to an open rehearsal for William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center on April 26th. The only performance would be the next day and it was completely sold out. I was surprised at how crowded it was getting into the theater. It turned out $10 tickets were sold to see the rehearsal. I usually sit right up front but the front rows were blocked with yellow caution tape.

I did this sketch with a fountain pen Larry Lauria had lent me. It wasn't until I started adding watercolor washes, that I realized that the ink wasn't waterproof. Every wash that touched a line would explode black as the ink spread. I wanted to abandon the sketch and start another, but there wasn't enough time. I pushed forward hoping the whole page wouldn't turn black by the end of the show.

The orchestra performed music by Felix Mendelsohn which perfectly complimented the play. There were love potions that caused mortals to fall helplessly in love with the wrong person. All the lovers were bewildered and lost. The wost case was when Titania fell in love with an actor who had been transformed into an ass. My favorite moment was the play staged within the play. Brandon Roberts as a carpenter announced the play while standing on a column. The actors staged a farcical tragedy of Pyramus and Thisby. The female Thisby  was played by a man and there must have been basketballs on his chest swinging under the Greek toga. Philip Nolan as Pyramus had a hilarious death scene in which he kept poking his sword at his impenetrable chest plate. He apologized to the assembled audience on stage and said "Well, this is actually more of a dress rehearsal." He finally shoved the sword inside the armor and had a long winded agonizing death scene that he milked at least three times. Even members of the orchestra couldn't stop laughing.

It was a delightful evening and I hope the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center continue to collaborate.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dialogues with Collectors Series


I went to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, (Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave Winter Park FL) on Tuesday March 19 at 7pm for the free Cornell Fine Art Museum's, Dialogues with Collectors Series. This series of dialogue will expand on the collecting theme of the museum's 35th anniversary exhibitions by opening a conversation about why, what and how people collect, and the role of the collecting instinct as a vital part of preserving our history. Roberta Green Ahmanson, a philanthropist and the current chair of the board of the Museum of Biblical Art, (MOBIA), New York City, spoke about her private collection of biblical art and the Ahmanson family collecting legacy.

Roberta pointed out that her husband came from a family of collectors, but as a young boy, he lived in a bedroom upstairs from a Rembrandt. His father kept the house the perfect temperature and humidity to preserve the painting. Unfortunately that made the place intolerable for his son's bedroom.  Roberta and her husband met because of their shared faith. She began collecting artwork that affirmed that faith. She doesn't tolerate Sunday School biblical illustration. She looks for subtle messages in contemporary artists work as well as old historical pieces.

It was encouraging to know that there are people out there today who are passionate about collecting art. Perhaps the daily struggle to keep creating will one day reap some small reward. Admission the the museum is free all this year to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the institution. I suppose that is a reward in itself to Central Florida. Also Roberta's talk is available on UTube, should you be interested.




All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Banished from Sketching Polasek's Eden

In the Orlando Weekly, I read about a free oil painting demonstration at the Albin Polasek Museum as part of the Winter Park Paint Out. I talked to a docent inside and checked to be sure it would be alright for me to sketch the demonstration. He said it was fine. I had met him once before at an art critique at Barefoot Spa. He does paintings in the style of Frank Frazetta. It was good to catch up with him. Last year I had been asked to do a series of sketches during the Paint Out for Winter Park Magazine, being given full access, but Terry scheduled a vacation to Panama that week and I had to back out. It was a good trip.

I still hadn't done a single sketch of any Paint Out festivities, so I was excited to finally get an opportunity to sketch and promote the event. I was just beginning to ink in this sketch when the docent came out and said that someone higher up had decided I couldn't sketch. I politely packed up my sketchbook and left, fuming. The artist demonstrating hadn't even started to put paint on the canvas yet.

Back at the studio, I quickly finished the sketch I had started. Since the sketch lacked detail, I decided to play with it in Photoshop. I suppose this sketch now makes me a Digital Artist in a Digital World. If the "No Sketch Policy" was put in place to protect the identities of people attending the workshop, then this  image solved that issue. I always finish a sketch once it is started. Had I posted the sketch and article the next day like I wanted to, more people would be aware of all the wonderful artists gathered in Winter Park. I suppose I should have arranged a press pass beforehand, but I didn't think it was needed since the workshop was free. I only found out about the Paint Out the day before.

Terry said that the Polasek staff might have had Boston Marathon bomb jitters. I suppose my sketch supply bag can look quite ominous but it never left my side. I was profiled as a deviant artist even though no one could have seen what I was doing. I had my back to a hedge to be sure there were no curious bystanders. It is odd to feel like a criminal for taking notes with interest and putting lines on a page. I can't imagine sitting through a workshop without keeping my fidgety fingers active. I learn better that way.

The next day, I contacted the event co-chair Hal Stringer, and he he wrote, " We have a very strong policy that the gardens are reserved exclusively for paint out artists during this week. Our staff was not aware of the nature of your sketching and the relationship it has to your blog. We would welcome being featured in one of your articles. Feel free to come sketch during one of the remaining three demos if you wish. But, please stop by the front desk and ask for me or Debbie Komanski so we know you’re on property. We’ll make sure the staff knows you have our permission to sketch the demo for your blog."

This was the state of the sketch when I was asked to stop.
I really don't understand the policy of asking an artist to stop sketching. Anytime I am asked to put my pen down, I feel my right to self expression has been compromised.  There were cell phone photos being flashed all over the web promoting the event. I doubt any phones were confiscated from attendees. I'm still annoyed that the staff member that made the decision, whoever that is, did not approach me directly. I could have reasoned with them, but the volunteer that was sent to stop me was blindly following orders. The Polasek is private property however, and they can enforce any rules they like. Hal, the co-host of the Paint Out has been a dear friend and did everything in his power to help me the next day. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to go back for a second attempt at the sketch.

If the ghost of John Singer Sargent, or Sorolla, offered a painting workshop in Winter Park. I might sit with my hands folded neatly in my lap to watch them work. Then again, I consider it a sin that no one ever sketched these masters as they painted. It would be my moral obligation, a chance of a lifetime. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world where large groups of artists could gather together and sketches weren't discriminated against?



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.