Friday, October 31, 2014

Max Starks Football Camp inspires the youth of Orlando

The two day Max Starks Football Camp is free to girls and boys 7-17 years of age but space is limited. Each summer, numerous community partners, dedicated volunteers and several NFL colleagues and coaches reach hundreds of kids in the annual Football Camp in Orlando, FL. The program incorporates life skills, literacy, education and stresses the importance of maintaining a sterling image on and off the field.

Physicals are requested and all registered participants receive a breakfast snack, hydration fluids, lunch, camp t-shirt, Ford sports gear and a minimum of one age appropriate scholastic book.I went to Lake Highland Prepertory School, (901 Highland Ave, Orlando, FL) to sketch as the two days of training kicked off. The auditorium bleachers were full and the anticipation grew as the conversations grew louder.

Max Starks and several team mates opened the day welcoming all the brave young sports enthusiasts. Everyone wore the free tee shirts sporting the Max Starks logo. When everyone was pumped up they all ran out to the football field. Everyone ran laps to start to warm up followed by stretches. I didn't stay for all the training workouts since I was sweating form just doing a sketch.

This years camp location will be announced on April 1st, 2015.

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NFL Mixer raised funds for the Annual Max Starks Football Camp

This NFL Themed fundraiser was held in a luxury car dealership near the Millenia Mall. Silent auction items at many fundraisers often have signed footballs or sports Jerseys, but this fundraiser sported these man cave items only. Funds were being raised for the annual the Annual Max Starks NFL Youth Football and Speed Camp held at Lake Highland Preparatory School (901 Highland Ave, Orlando, FL).

I glanced around the the auction items but my man cave is full of sketchbooks and art leaving little room for framed sports jerseys.  Since there wasn't any musicians or other talent to focus my attention on, I quietly slipped away to get home.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No More Drunken Monkey

I often stop off at the Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar after work at Full Sail so I don't have to drive all the way home before going to an event to sketch. Everyone sipping their coffee seems to involved in some form of work be it digital or traditional. It is right across the street from the plaza theater, so I often end up waiting her prior to a performance at the theater. The coffee bar is also half way between Full Sail and downtown which makes it the perfect stopping spot for me. If I plan to sketch downtown later that evening.

There are plenty of tasty sandwiches on the menu as well which makes it a fine place to grab a bit for dinner as well. I'm a creature of habit and if I love a spot I return often. I also like getting to see the ever changing art on the walls which feature local artists. I always support any business that supports the local arts scene.

I no longer go to Drunken Monkey since they used one of my sketches on their server home page without consulting me..

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cigars and sports at Corona Cigar Lounge

Located near the Plaza in Downtown Orlando, Corona Cigar Company (127 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL) offers liquor and stogies for any occasion. During any Orlando Magic game the Lounge fills up with fans and smoke. I decided to stop in to sketch during a Magic game. The lounge is filled with old Spanish furniture with leather studded cushions. I sketched with curiosity as a patron snipped off the end of a cigar before lighting up. While many establishments are converting to no smoking policies, that will never happen here.

When I got home, Terry could smell the smoke on my clothes and sketchbook. She has a keen sense of smell but smell is my weakest sense which is a blessing when folks light up around me.  Since I always sketch in crowded environments I have to tolerate and even celebrate peoples habits. I'm never tempted to smoke myself but I'm curious about people that do smoke. I feel a little nasty when I sketch in a smoke filled room and that can be a good thing. The Magic lost.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Project F experimented with the entertaining ways we interact online.

In 2010 I was tracking the progress of a experimental Theater production called Project F. This show was about Facebook and how it affects the way people interact today. This rehearsal was held in a TV Channel 9 News studio on Orange Blossom Trail. News footage was being edited in the editing bays as I walked the hallways to find this green screen studio. It was hard to resist the urge to stop and sketch.

Project F was an experimental collaborative experiment between the actors and Director Aradhana Tiwari. At this rehearsal, the actors wrote down autobiographical details which might later be incorporated into the show. Aradhana had been given a camera for Christmas and she documented the rehearsal with photos. TV cameras, cranes and ladders cluttered the space.

After everyone had finished writing, the began a viewpoints session. Viewpoints is a trust building exercise that has the actors walk in a grid pattern on the stage. Actors become aware of each others movements and develop a 6th sense about who is near them on the stage. Aradhana gives the actors suggestions which are incorporated into their every move. Sometime the moves were slow and languorous and at other times fast and frenetic.

Project F had much promise, but it never made it to a final stages production. I feel lucky to have seen the early stages in its development. A software interface has changed the way people interact and exchange ideas. It had made it easy to reconnect with old friends and it had caused friction and rifts in other relationships. We will never be the same.

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jack Fields Birthday

This sketch was done at Jack Fields birthday party held at Dandelion Communitea Cafe (618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL). Jack is an extremely talented puppeteer. Puppets he creates are sublime and surreal. He has branched off and begun creating his own puppet films, shooting them in his own makeshift home movie studio. When he and Hannah Miller team up, anything is possible. The art on the Dandelion walls always changes every month. On Jack's birthday there were some fun and quirky painting of octopus characters on the walls.

I fist met Jack and Hannah when they worked at Pinocchios Marionette Theater in the Altimonte Mall. Sadly Pinocchio's Marionette Theater closed permanently on July 31st of 2014. I had gone to Pinocchio's on may occasions to sketch. There were puppet slams held there which showcased the best puppetry for local artists. I found sketching behind the scenes at Pinochio's was always exciting. There is still an innocent thrill that children feel when they watch a show. They might shout out and intersect with the puppets in ways that never happen when passively watching some Computer generated puppet. I was watching a reviewer talking about the recent Muppet movie. They said that the one time that they were jolted out of the story was when Kermit was given a computer generated body. Suddenly the humanity or believability was lost.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Cradle Will Rock Was Used For an Open Debate Among Students

The Cradle Will Rock is a 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. Originally a part of the Federal Theatre Project, it was directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman. The musical is an allegory of corruption and corporate greed. Set in "Steeltown, USA", it follows the efforts of Larry Foreman to unionize the town's workers and combat wicked, greedy businessman Mr. Mister, who controls the town's factory, press, church and social organization. The piece is almost entirely sung-through, giving it many operatic qualities, although Blitzstein included popular song styles of the time.

The production was shut down four days before its opening by the Work Progress Administration, which stated that due to budget cuts, the WPA was reorganizing its arts projects, and all openings of WPA plays, musicals, concerts, and art galleries were to be delayed until after July 1, however, many asserted that the musical had been censored because the pro-union plot was "too radical". The theatre was padlocked and surrounded by security to prevent anyone from stealing props or costumes, as these were considered U. S. Government property. Welles, Houseman, and Blitzstein, seeking a way to privately produce the show, rented the much larger Venice Theatre and a piano just in time for the scheduled preview on June 16, 1937. The 600 audience members, who had gathered outside the Maxine Elliot Theatre for the preview, traveled 21 blocks north to the Venice Theatre; many were on foot. The sold-out house grew even larger when the show's creators invited people off the street to attend for free.To avoid government and union restrictions, the show was performed with Blitzstein playing piano onstage and the cast members singing their parts from the audience. It was a bold decision for every actor since taking this stance could have ruined their careers. Orson Wells and John Houseman were fired for insubordination. They then formed their own, Mercury Theater Company, which would later produce the radio play War of the Worlds which put Orson Wells on the map allowing him to later direct the movie Citizen Kane using many actors from the Mercury Theater troupe.

Though attempts might be made, it is hard to silence creativity in a democratic society. But it might take one frail voice to make that stand. Students sat in a circle on the empty stage reliving the events in 1937. It is hard to imagine remaining silent when social media makes expressing any idea so easy. Yet who honestly ever swims upstream. We do all we can to swim downstream in school formation.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 25th and 26th

Saturday October 25, 2014
Noon to 2pm Free. Distance Music at Lake Eola for Walking Audience, Train Horns and Brass Choirs. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. A first in music - come and hear a giant sound sculpture created by geometrically spaced train horns that you can see with your ears as you walk around it!

6pm to 11pm Free. College Park Jazz Fest. Along Edgewater Drive College Park. Several stages of live jazz in a street party.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free but get some tapas and drinks. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded flamenco dancers.

Sunday October 26, 2014 
10pm to ?  Free. Art in the Park. Dickson Azalea Park Rosearden Dr, Orlando, FL. Spend time with other artists, share, and tap into creative consciousness. This isn't an organization, it's a group of like-minded artists coming together to create, network and inspire one another in this beautiful local park in the heart of Downtown Orlando. Set up anywhere you wish in the park, but we will mostly gather near the stage area. This event is totally free and open to anyone who wants to participate! All forms of artwork are encouraged. Things to bring- art supplies, chairs, blankets, musical instruments, friends, snacks, drinks, cameras, business cards, words of encouragement, and positive energy. Since we are spending time at this park, we are NOT allowed to sell any items but we can meet and mingle and promote upcoming events. Bathrooms are limited to across the street at Langford Park. In the event of rain, the event will be rescheduled. Call 828-974-1105 if you have any questions.

10am to Noon Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en masse around the city as they check off their scavenger hunt-like list of Do Gooder Duties; collecting litter, helping senior citizens cross the road, returning shopping carts, basically performing small acts of kindness for an hour and a half of hilarity and love.
The Super Joy Riders: Do Gooder Bike Ride is an exercise in community organizing and active engagement. We hope to use the ride as an opportunity to show how helping people can be simple, fun, and easy, especially while wearing a cape. You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever.

Noon to 2pm Free but get some grub. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nothing Beats Bingo at Pulse

Bingo is usually associated with a crowd of retirees at the local Moose Lodge. However when presented by Anna-Rexia and Dysen-Terri, at Pulse, bingo can become a fun romp. I didn't pick up a bingo card since my hands were busy, but Katie Windish played along.

The cross dressed outfits were a riot of black and white stripes along with plenty of fishnets. After a few Yuengling beers it started to seem like victory was always close at hand.

Pulse (1912 Orange Ave, Orlando, FL) is supposed to be Orlando's premiere gay bar, it offers a world of fun and fantasy. Inside there are three unique worlds: The Lounge, Ultra Bar and The Adonis Room. Since 2004, Pulse has been serving up unmatched live entertainment and tantalizing liquid libations, courtesy of the renowned staff and entertainers.

Bingo was presented rather early in the evening before the place gets packed. I haven't sketched there yet when the party is in full swing. Anna-Rexia was hilarious, offering plenty of slutty tongue in cheek quips that kept everyone laughing as the lusted for just one win.

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jack Kerouac's Girlfriend Interviewed at the Kerouac House

In 2010 one of Jack Kerouac's girlfriends, Joyce Johnson, visited the small College Park Cottage where Jack wrote "The Dharma Bums." Jack and his mother rented the back rooms in those days. "Listen Joyce," he wrote from Orlando to his girlfriend in New York City on a winter day in 1957. He had big news. He was tearing along on a new novel, "greater than 'On the Road'." he wrote. It would be called The Dharma Bums, and he described gazing up at the stars over Florida for inspiration about how to wrap it up. Joyce recalled, "I thought I'd never met anyone who'd lived with more absolute freedom … A need to keep moving, as if whenever he stayed anywhere too long, he exhausted the present by soaking it in too intensely."

Several college students were filming a documentary about the legendary "Beat Generation" author. David Amram, a musician who also knew Jack was there to be interviewed as well. "Jack had a kindness and devotion to writing." Amram explained. "He was always listening and watching like a great reporter. He was always writing epiphanies and inner feelings." "By your words ye shall be known." Yet for many Kerouac remains an enigma. Local news journalist and writer Bob Kieling has researched Kerouac for years, while writing about Kerouac's Orlando connection. New material always surfaces. While in Orlando, "On the Road" was published and suddenly Kerouac was famous. Kerouac's life spun out of control and he drank himself to death in 1969 at the age of 47. "How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy. To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." wrote Walter Pater. The key of course is to not burn out.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kerouac House Yard Sale Raises Money for the Resident Author Project

The Kerouac Project hosts resident authors every few months in the house where Jack Kerouac wrote the Dharma Bums and where he was living with his mom when On the Road became a best seller putting him on the literary map. Jack really couldn't handle the fame and he ended up drinking himself to death at a very young age. Jack is a writer who burned bright and was insanely prolific.

The Kerouac Project is a grassroots local organization hat purchased the College park home and maintains it for resident authors. The author get to live rent free with all expanses paid giving them the freedom to truly focus on their writing. The present author is Anne Marie Ni Churreain. She hails from the North-West of Ireland. Her work has appeared in various journals such as Poetry Ireland Review and The London Magazine. Anne Marie is the co-founder of the Upstart Arts Collective. I met Anne at a recent potluck dinner held in the Kerouac House. She comes from an incredible family with so many siblings that she can't even be sure of the number. Her father was raised in an orphanage and so the home is filled with multicultural foster children along with her actual biological siblings. At home she is seldom alone, so the Kerouac House is a very different setting.

Once a year the Kerouac Project asks people to donated items for a Yard Sale. This is an awesome place to find books since these folks actually read printed books. Terry always finds some item she can't live without and I relax in a lawn chair to get a sketch. Proceeds from the yard sale help keep authors coming to Orlando. Caitlin Doyle, who was a resident author last year has returned to Orlando to get away from the constant cold in Milwaukee. This is a testament to the warm reception writers get when they call Orlando Home. She will be going for her doctorate degree so that someday she will find a secure university position with tenure while she continues to write her poetry. Conversations at a Kerouac House potluck get intense, ranging from domestic violence to the state of art in America today. With enough wine, we just might solve the world's problems.

Mark Your Calendar! On Wednesday October 22, at noon, there will be a dedication ceremony at the Kerouac House (1418 Clouser Ave, Orlando, FL), commemorating the houses recent induction into the Florida Historic Marker Foundation. Local Newscaster Bob Kealing discovered this homes tie in to the author of On The Road as he was researching an article commemorating the posthumous 75th birthday of Jack Kerouac.

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Trinity Ecology Mosaic Was Created as a Cummunity Project

Lynn Tomlinson supervised the creation of a huge multi-paneled mural for the Trinity Prep School. Students helped to decide what element should be on each panel. Parents and students helped with the grouting. On this day grout had to be wiped off of the mosaic to show more of the ceramics. People came in shifts to help out. When I got to Trinity Prep, I had to ask around to find the classroom where all the creation was happening.

Some panels were on tables being grouted and these panels in the sketch were leaning against the wall to be cleaned. Volunteers and Lynn wiped away grout to showcase the colorful ceramics. All of the birds and animals in the mosaic are native to Central Florida. Some of the leaf shaped ceramics had the names of contributors enscribed. This was a labor of love with everyone lending a hand.

Unfortunately Lynn and her family have left Central Florida to go to Baltimore, so it is unlikely that we will be seeing any more of her mosaics lightening up the walls around town. I always seem to reporting on amazing talents that are leaving or have left Orlando.

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alice Takes Wonderland Rehearsal

Linda Elchak of NAO Dance choreographed Alice Takes Wonderland in 2010. The production was staged in a warehouse on Hanging Moss Road in Winter Park. It was clear that the curtains had just been hung from the rafters. This was a playful production with bright costumes and props. The production encouraged improvisational dance, so every rehearsal and production was unique. Dancers could break away from any structured mold to express themselves in the moment.

The rehearsal involved a complete run through of the show. The stage was barely elevated which meant that people sitting in the front row were right on top of the action. There was less of a performer to audience disconnect. Props were simple, direct and fun. like rabbit ears, a clock, and suitcase. The magic came from the performances which were playful and fun.

With dance, I like to get the sketches done and then relax and simply enjoy the movement on stage. The front entry foyer was converted into the Mad Hatter's tea party and guests got to be part of the immersive experience. Since this production I've never heard about this space being used again. The space must have returned to its industrial origins.

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bike Polo Requires Xtreem Sport Dexterity

On June 5th, I went to Langford Park (1808 East Central Blvd Orlando FL), around 6pm to watch an Orlando Bike Polo match. Not everyone had arrived yet so the bikers sat and talked. They flipped their bikes over and tuned them. The front wheels on several bikes had the spokes covered which I imagine is to keep the ball from passing through. Each contestant had a mallet which was long enough to reach the ground and was often used as a kick stand by the goalies who kept their feet on the peddles.

Once enough players arrived the split up into two teems with three bikers per team. The action is fast and furious. One of the younger bikers was working on a hopping maneuver to change directions.  He would stop and balance the bike in location and then hop up and down to change directions. Crashes were quite common. One wheelie resulted in the bike flying out from under the rider who landed hard on his tailbone. Another biker skidded into the fence inches from me. At the start I asked if I'd be out of the way leaning against the fence. As a spectator however, you are better off standing, so you can jump out of the way in case of a headlong crash.

As the first match was winding down, more bikers arrived to play in the second match. These Bike Polo matches happen every Friday starting around 6pm. Stop out to watch or play sometime. This is a unique urban experience.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 18 and 19

Saturday October 18, 2014
1pm to 3pm Free. Family Days at the Maitland Museum. Maitland Art Center, 231 Packwood Avenue West, Maitland, FL. Gather your family for an afternoon of quality time together at the A&H's Family Days at the Museum! The program is FREE! Family Days at the Museum is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month, and each program is held in a different location within the A&H Museums. Join us for this afternoon of family fun!

5pm to 8:15pm Free. Woman of Wonder 2. Coliseum of Comics - Fashion Square Mall 3201 E Colonial Dr #M-11, Orlando, Florida. All ages mixer Celebration and Benefit for Women's Residential and Counseling Center.
Silent auction of original Wonder Woman art
Silent auction of Wonder Woman collectibles
Local and national artists (Artist Alley)
Wonder Woman Children FacePaint

9:30pm to 11:30pm Grab a drink or some Tapas. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco Dancing.

Sunday October 19, 2014
10am to 2pm Free. V2lab's - The Zombie Meat (Mystery Meat 3). Downtown Orlando 201 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida. I / V2lab would like to make this a Halloween event; So if possible come dressed as a zombie (#zombiemeat)! And as always this is an all ages event and everyone is welcome no matter what you drive (or if you have to walk...or ride a bike..or crawl...?). We'd also like to get the vendors (when released) to pass out candy to kids as well!

Noon to 5pm Grab a beer. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ music for the afternoon.

9pm to 11pm Free. Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. Natura Coffee & Tea, 12078 Collegiate Way, Orlando, FL. 407 482-5000

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Marilyn Monroe zombie leaves a sweet musty smell in City Arts Factory.

I had to drop off some cards for Barbara Hartley at City Arts Factory (29 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL). The place according to the website is usually closed on Monday but on this Indigenous People's Day it was open because artists were dropping off their work for the Day of the Dead show happening in October.

While I was chatting with Tr3 Mark Harris at the front desk, Paul Joachim walked in. Paul sculpts life sized chocolate sculptures.  Paul had dropped off a life sized Marilyn Monroe zombie sculpture and he wanted to touch up he paint job. The sign next to her read, "Do not touch. Do not eat." Which is very ironic since there were plenty of open bite wounds causing her to bleed red syrup. An exposed bone was visible on her left shin. Denna Beena told Paul that every guy who viewed the sculpture thought she might be having her period. Paul had considered making a small card to put under her dress that said,Hard Rock "You should be ashamed of yourself." He thought better of it.

Paul had done a clean sculpt of Marilyn and then he added the gouges, blood and pasty purple skin tone. When he was working on her face he had to walk a fine line, making her look like Marilyn but dead. A huge bite out of her right cheek exposed her jaw bone and she was missing some teeth. There was an amazing synergy between Marilyn's mouth and Andrew Spear's mural behind her. Both pieces of art treated the female sumptuous lips and teeth with loving detail.

Paul told me that the drive to City Arts Factory with the sculpture in the back of the truck was harrowing. Orlando's cobble stone streets sent her dancing and shimmying in the back of the truck, Thankfully she didn't topple over. After this show , Paul hopes that Hard Rock Cafe might inherit Marilyn for next year's Halloween season. Halloween Horror Nights might be another home for her. I was surprised to find out that chocolate keeps rather well. It gets harder with age.

Mark Your Calendar! CityArts Dia de los Muertos and Monster Factory Exhibit is opening tonight, October 16th 6-11pm.  Phantasmagoria will be there to entertain and amaze and there will be a Day of the Dead Parade with larger than life sized skeletons. The show will remain up through November 14th.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sin is in at the Venue.

7 Deadly Sins is an original work that combines contemporary dance, visual art, performance art, poetry, music and culinary art to examine topics of temptation and sin. Lust, pride, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy and greed come together to entice audience members through an interactive art gallery setting. Featuring performances by Emotions Dance Company, visual art by award winning body painter and Skin Wars Season 1 2nd place finalist, Shannon Holt, visual art by award winning body painter, Brit Lytle artwork by Patrick Fatica, Amanda Panacea, Scott Sharky Hodges, Thomas Thorspecken, Adrian Calle and others, spoken word performances by E.J. Younes, Jesse Bradley, and Ashley Equality Inguanta, aeral performances by The American Circus Arts Academy, and a variety of refreshments from local food vendors to satisfy your inner glutton.

Performances are on:
Friday October 17
Saturday October 18
Friday October 24
Saturday October 25

7-10pm  at The Venue (511 Virginia Drive. Orlando FL)
Tickets $25 at The Door.
This program contains some mature themes and may not be appropriate for children under 13.

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Being a victim at Petrified Forest

Sylvia Katherine Viles the show director at Petrified Forest let me stop in for a walk through. I arrived early along with the cast who had to get into costumes and make up. In order for me to blend in on the trail as I sketched, Sylvia suggested I get into costume and makeup myself to become a victim on the trail as I sketched. A victim is just as important as a scare actor in that they distract the unsuspecting so that the scare isn't anticipated.

I realized that I had enough time to sketch as all the actors lined up to get their make up done. This was face painting triage style with each painting job taking 10 minutes to do at most. Like a barber, some face painters liked to chat with the actors as they worked. The lead makeup artist might shout out "That is enough, on to the next!" To all an actor to the makeup chair the artist would shout out, "Next victim?" One actor was leaning back in the makeup chair and he lost his balance toppling backwards. Another actor asked for my help because he couldn't find his glasses. I scoured the ground and was just about to give up when I spotted the glasses under the makeup table.

I was the last person to get make up applied. I asked what type of paint was being used but didn't get an answer. The actor next to me explained that baby oil was best for taking off thick stage makeup. I froze as the first cool blast of paint darkened my eye sockets. The spray paint smelled toxic to me or at least that is what ran through my paranoid thoughts. I tried not to breath but couldn't hold my breath long enough. I breathed through my mouth each time I needed another breath of air. I was told I only needed to look dirty and weathered. I was being spared from being bloodied. Apparently blood is rather sticky and they didn't want it to get all over my drawing. At first glance, I looked a bit like a reptile.

Actress Tara Rewis walked me back through the maze of pallets and fencing to where she was staged. I decided that the haunted school bus was the perfect spot to sketch. My costume consisted of a simple jacket that seemed as if it was from the Civil war era. It had on big brass button. The rest of my clothing was all black that night which was perfect camouflage for the evening.

Sylvia shouted, 10 minutes to house open!" The professional actors in the group shouted back, "Thank you 10!" Before the actors all took their places there was a pep rally in the front staging area. Standing on a picnic table, Kimmy Clark shouted out, "Boo Rah!"  Everyone shouted back, "Boo Rah!" This was repeated until the woods were filled with the shouting. Actress Carol Jacqueline Palumbo walked me back to the school bus where she was working along with 2 young girls, Madison in a white dress and Jordyn in a red dress, Ken was inside the bus and he gave the guests the biggest scare. He was hidden behind one of the seats and he would shout out, "What are you doing on my bus!" Strobe lights blinded people and he had a creepy photographers studio set up with an umbrella to deflect the light. any model that volunteered might not survive the photo shoot.

Carol lay on top of a shopping card looking dead as her scarf draped down to the ground. One couple stopped to look at her for several minuted waiting for her to blink. Amazingly Carol kept her cool until the guest were distracted and they went into the bus. Madison kept stopping over to see how the sketch was progressing. She seemed quite amazed and entertained. Jordyn is the daughter of Nichole Scott. I met Madison when I sketched the auditions for the Forest. Everyone in the bus staging area were made to look like burn victims. Creepy dolls were strewn about. The girls often implored trail gusts to play with them. "You would make a good dolly." they might say. A camp fire emitted a warm glow and there was a toilet which was often used as a thrown. We knew that any time we heard a band saw that the guests were about to enter our area. Madison and Jordon would scramble back to their staging areas to be ready. Once Madison tripped on a root in her haste. Jordan had an allergic reaction of some sort from the bug spray or make up. Imaginary horrors became real. I was terrified that mosquitoes might eat me alive, but I survived.

Tara told me that even as I sat still, some guests would be frightened by my presence. She was right. I laughed each time someone turned with a start. I must have a creepy laugh. I was hidden behind the door that leads into the bus area. I stared opening the door towards me which I imagined might create a ghostly feel as people entered. When the sketch was done, I had t walk the trail to find my way out. I caught up to two ladies being walked through the trail along with Elaine, one of the face painters. Suddenly Elaine was lifted up by a cast member and she screamed as he dragged her away like a cave man. The women shouted in terror as Sam screamed. I laughed out loud. It was definitely the bast scare of the night. Later the women ware reunited with their friend. They chastised her. She has an ongoing agreement with certain members of the cast that they can carry her away if she walks the trail.

When I got home, Terry looked puzzled by my appearance. I then walked towards my pet cockatoo and he let off a blood curdling scream and he fluttered away from me in terror. I would have to wash off the paint since he was so upset. We don't have any baby oil and Terry experimented with her body lotions and then some Vaseline. Nothing worked to get the make up off. Ultimately I took a very long shower and using soap and a harsh luffa, I managed to remove the make up along with a top layer of skin as well.

Mark Your Calendar! You don't want to miss this attraction. It is located on S.R. 436, just 1/4 mile West of 17-92. Just look for the huge inflated black cat. 1360 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs, FL. You can get tickets online or at the Forest. Check their calendar to see which dates work for you.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Couples Cooking Competition gets agressive.

 The Couples Cooking Competition is a fast-paced, hands-on cooking competition designed to give couples the opportunity to test their skills for the chance to win fabulous prizes and the title of Orlando’s Top Culinary Couple. It is held at Aggressive Appliances, (617 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL) which is right down the street from.

Presented by Edible Orlando and the Orlando Date Night Guide, the contest will give couples the chance to compete in one of the 3 qualifying rounds, with one winner from each semi-final cook-off advancing to the finals. Contests will be judged by local food personalities and writers like Katie Farmand, editor of Edible Orlando, Joseph Hayes, the Orlando Magazine dining editor, and Chef Israel from Second Harvest Food Bank.

Aggressive Appliances looks like an industrial warehouse from the outside, but inside, there were gorgeous, fully appointed, state of the art kitchens where the couples could compete. Each dish this evening had to include chicken. A table was set up that held key ingredients like spices and oils and a second table was covered with a cloth to hide the secret ingredient table. I decided to sketch kitchen 2 which came with a TV which was playing the cooking channel. The couple I sketched prepared a roasted chicken with a sweet potato chili hash. An appliance staff person was on hand in each kitchen to explain how to use the equipment. There was only one hour for the competitiors to get their dishes ready.

Only five couples get the chance to compete in each semi-final round.  On this evening there was going to be one winning couple and two wild card couples that would move up in the rankings. That made the chances of winning, 3 in 5. Each winning couple receives complimentary admission to the finals. The couples crowded around the ingredient table taking the supplies they needed for their recipes. Everyone was polite checking to be sure they weren't taking ingredients another couple might need. Two couples agreed to split the rice.

Prizes for the winning couple include, a two-night gourmet getaway to JW Marriott, Grande L There was no elbows or punches thrown. The contestants then returned to their kitchens to start slicing dicing and cooking. The showroom filled with sumptuous aromas. iPhones were allowed in this semi final round but in future competitions there would be no digital crutches. The couple I sketched did refer to their phones a few times. Dishes would be judged on presentation as well a flavor. One couple kisses when their dish was done.

The the overall winners will get dinner for two at PRIMO, breakfast each morning in Citron, An American Brasserie, and two spa passes to the Ritz-Carlton Spa. Other prizes include a Sub Zero wine cooler, Tassimo coffee, system, Meile canister vacuum, KitchenAid stand mixer.  Arti Kalidas and Chirag Kabrawala won on this evening with their twist on a Moroccan tagine.

Proceeds from the competition support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Entry includes all food, sit-down dinner with wine after competition and a fabulous swag bag filled with surprises. In other words, everyone is a winner. I went home and popped a frozen lasagna in the microwave for 10 minutes.

Mark Your Calendars!
The next competition qualifying round is Friday, October 17, 2014 and it is sold out.
The big Final Round is Friday, November 14, 2014 (A limited number of tickets will be made available to those wishing to attend the finals as an observer. These tickets will go on sale Oct. 20)

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Phantasmagoria V "Death Comes for All" in Orlando

This is the fifth year that creator and director John DiDonna has brought classic tales of horror to Orlando in the form of a Victorian Steam punk Circus troupe called Phantasmagoria. Each year has progressed the story of this troupe's back story and interpersonal drama. For many millennia they have had to tell the stories as a matter of life and death. Once a story is started it must be finished. This year in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center's Mandell theater, platformed walkways are set up behind the audience seating. This allows the cast to circulate around and behind audience members. It is a theater in the round and you have a front row seat to experience the horror first hand.

 Since this was a rehearsal, there was a fight call that went over the fight direction by Bill Warriner. There is one spectacular sword fight that features three combatants. Even at quarter speed, the fight seemed dangerous as the three blades flashed in the stage lights. Being so close to the action you might find yourself leaning back in your chair for fear of being slashed. Megan who was juggling all the sound and lighting cues was able to act out all the staging so the lighting designer by Hatem Habashi could set the lighting cues. She playfully stomped on projected beetles that scurried on the floor.

Phantasmagoria presets tales of terror from diverse authors such as Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark”, Charles Dickens Captain Murderer and many others including horrific folk tales, legends and myths from around the world!

In the tight intimate space, you will find the cast often inches from you.  During one tale, Mercury (Kaitlin Elizabeth Baxter) was behind me laughing maniacally and then gasping in horror. Having the cast so close ensures that even a sketch artist can get sucked into the drama that unfolds. The classic Edgar Allen Poe story, "The Pit and the Pendulum" had Leon (Joseph Josh Geoghagan) lying in the grasp of much of the cast. They held him aloft and then embraced him as the straps held him down in the story. Dana Mott had created wonderful projections that had rats scurrying on the floor while the shadow of the pendulum arched gracefully downward. Poe was also represented in an abridged telling of "The Tell Tale Heart" which is one of my favorite stories of horror insanity and suspense.

An Indian horror story had  Seraphina (Serafina Schiano) return from the dead as a demonic creature with multiple arms and flowing red drapery as she took vengeance on her three self centered brothers. Exotic Indian dances were beautifully choreographed by Mila Makarova and Dion Leonhard.  This show is a great way to gear up for Halloween.

Mark Your Calendar!
WHAT: “PHANTASMAGORIA V–“Death Comes for All” 
WHEN:  Oct 10th – 31st 2014
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening performances.
Special Monday performances Oct 20th and 27th.
Halloween performance October 31st.
All evening performances at 8:30pm (Box opens at 7:50pm/Doors at 8:15pm)
WHERE: The Mandell Theatre, John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL (Corner of 1792 and Princeton)
TICKETS: General Admission $20.00 / Student and Senior $15.00 (VIP Tickets available – $25 for all performances leading up to Halloween / $30 Halloween night. Includes drink/special gift/photo op with cast/reserved seating/Post show performance)

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Orlando Ballet presents Peter and the Wolf.

I've been wanting to sketch an Orlando Ballet rehearsal for quite some time. I finally contacted Robert Hill the company's Artistic Director and he was more than gracious. Joey Lynn, Robert's assistant was supervising the rehearsal when I arrived. She guided me to a spot where I could watch the rehearsal without getting kicked by a dancer. The Ballet Company has recently moved into a new studio space which is right on the water. All of the dance studio plate glass windows face out to a view across the lake. I was in this building, (610 Lake Formosa Drive) just one other time several years ago for a fundraiser raising aid to Haiti.

Families will continue to delight in productions that are specifically created to capture the imagination of the young ones, while engaging the adults. This season, we present Peter and The Wolf, The Swan Princess, The Magical Princess Doll, and of course our popular Family Series version of The Nutcracker. These one-hour productions are designed with young audiences in mind, and promise exquisite story telling through the perfect combination of world-class ballet, opulent sets, and costumes. Mark Your Calendar, this production of Peter and the Wolf will be staged on October 18, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Bob Carr Theatre (401 West Livingston Street Orlando, FL).
This is a classic story of a young boy on his quest to trap a wolf with the help of other animals is brought to life in this one-hour production. The choreography is by Robert Hill. He pointed out to the cast that the movement in this production is very much over the top and exaggerated,  like in a cartoon. I found myself quite entertained by the movements of a duck and bird who interacted playfully. The duck always had her hands behind her back shaking them like the feathers on her tail. The bird had graceful flowing movements on point that made her seem weightless as if in flight. The cat had graceful sinewy movements. I was shocked and disappointed that the duck I had so carefully watched and sketched was devoured by the wolf.

Ballet has a whole language developed over it history to define it's movements. The director might shout out, Pencke', Pencke', Pencke', or Écarté! and cast members knew exactly what pose to take. I need to research these French terms so I can better understated future rehearsals. I was most impressed when the rehearsal ended. All the the dancers gathered around Robert and each thanked him in turn. When I packed up to leave, one dancer, near the exit asked if he could see what I has been sketching. I pulled out the sketchbook and suddenly found myself surrounded by all the dancers. They expressed their amazement and gratitude. It was a rare moment to be surrounded by so much young talent and experience their gratitude. I hope to get to future rehearsals to better understand the rarefied world of ballet. One of the dancers stood in a relaxed pose just like "Little Dancer" a sculpture by Edgar Degas. I sighed, I need to capture that level of grace and power next time I 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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 11 and 12

Saturday October 11, 2014
10am to 5pm $5 Florida Agricultural Museum Hosts Annual Civil War Pellicer Creek Raid. 7900 Old Kings Road North in Palm Coast Florida. Approximately 250 infantry, artillery, and cavalry troops will stage two battles. Battles will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm. A parade of colors will be presented at noon on Saturday and Sunday. When the participants are not engaged in battle reenactments, their historic camps will be open to the public from 10 am - 5 pm, illustrating other aspects of military life circa 1864.

3pm to 5pm Free. Pride Parade  Lake Eola Orlando FL. The most colorful parade in Central Florida.

6:30pm to 10pm $5 with a side dish. Fundraiser For Charade Theater's 2015 Fringe Show "Lay, Ms." 3216 Wallington Dr, Orlando, FL. If the Lottery Gods smile upon us, Charade Theater will be producing a re-imagining of a Broadway classic: Les Miserables. Our adaptation will start in 1952 in America and will document the life and struggles of one man as his paths leads him to one fateful night in New York: the Stonewall Riots.
The show will also delve heavily into the beginnings of the porn industry, and in light of that our first fundraiser is going to be to host a movie night on the lawn, focusing on two movies that seemed appropriate:
*Orgazmo (from the producers of South Park)
*Zack And Miri Make A Porno (Kevin Smith)
The movies will begin at 7:30 PM, but you can start showing up as early as 6:30 to eat.

Sunday October 12, 2015
10am to 6pm Free. Fashion Square Art Fair. Orlando Fashion Square 3201 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, Florida.  on the 2nd Sunday of every month Gallery Fresh Art Markets and Orlando Fashion Square Mall proudly present our "Fashion Square Art Fair." This is an indoor event showcasing 30 to 60 artists and fine crafts persons located throughout Fashion Square Mall.

1pm to 3pm Free. Script Reading Workshop. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Read and workshop plays.

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try yourself.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

FLBlogCon inspired at Full Sail Live.

Florida Blog Con is a full day convention held once a year to inspire and inform online Blog writers. Bess Auer organizes the event which has grown exponentially large over the past five years. The first year 100 people sat in a school auditorium and this year Full Sail Live (3300 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL) was completely full for the opening Keynote speaker which was Ted Murphy CEO of IZEA.

Sunshine Woodyard Baker gave a talk about what PR agencies expect from bloggers who are invited to cover an event. All of her points directly relate to what I do every day as I try and gain access to bigger and better events to sketch. There is a major advantage to be the first to blog about an event. It is shared on all social media extending the articles reach. Since I have such a huge back log of as of yet unpublished sketches, it is harder to get a post to go live quickly. Only when I've been paid to document an event, will I get it up the next day.

Nicole Siscaretti's discussion about the merits of using instagram caused be to download the program the next week. Within a day there were 400 followers. I love that instagram is a completely visual interface and I use it now to take photos of sketches in progress. Like Facebook, people can "like" an image or comment. It is another ball that I need to juggle in my social media outreach. I heard Professor Josh shoot several photos behind me as I sketched. A few days later he posted a digital sketch of me in action. Another thing on my "to do list" is a weekly newsletter. Katy Widrick pointed out that e-mails are a great way to reach young connected individuals. I tried to set up a Mail Chimp newsletter account once and failed. Her talk made me realize that I have to go back and battle the chimp. She showed an image of 3 intersecting circles with a sweet spot in the center. Those circles were blogging, social media and a newsletter. I can't find my sweet spot until I complete that triad.

Eddie Selover gave an inspiring closing keynote. Eddie organizes Pecha Kucha here in Orlando where about eight speakers give Power Point presentations with a hitch. Each slide is only shown for 20 seconds and there are 20 images. The speaker can not stop, go back or pause. The train keeps moving quickly forward. Eddy pointed out that with such a condensed format, a speaker must edit and re-edit so that every word is aimed at conveying the central theme or concept. What is left is often poetry and pure emotion. There is magic in coming together to listen to stories. The fact that Pecha Kucha events in Orlando always sell out is a testament to that magic. Derick Orth then gave a Pecha Kucha presentation about his travel adventures as a vagabond. There is a website called couch surfing which offers travelers a chance to hang out with local hosts around the world. Rather than complain about his dead end job, Derick decided to travel and teach English in Japan for income. His life turned from consumption to connection. The world became his classroom and he had control over his recess schedule. Life became more important than fears. Eddie went on to point out that bloggers need to go out and live a life worth writing about. Every day can be an adventure.

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Petrified Forest is Orlando's premire scare trail.

On September 6th I went to sketch auditions for scare actors at Petrified Forest located on S.R. 436, just 1/4 mile West of 17-92 (1360 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs, FL).  I sketched inside this maze of horror last year and it really is an amazing experience. Silvia Viles Vicchiullo, the show director was in charge of the auditions. DJ the actor trainer and Stitch the tech also sat in. A video camera recorded each audition for future reference. Actors sat at picnic tables filling out forms and then they entered this fenced in corner area for the audition.

There were props available like a scary clown mask, a golf club and several hats. There was a stool, but it was there just to cover some broken glass. Nicole Scott's children were recruited as the willing victims. Their job was to walk past the actor. These two had seen it all, so it would take a miracle to scare them. The more uncertain actors would use the masks. One actor admitted that he had never been to Petrified Forest before. "You're breaking my heart!" Silvia responded.

This is the seventh year that Petrified Forest has been frightening Floridians. Some actors were clearly returning having participated in previous years. They were greeted as friends. One actor took a two by four and started pounding it on the ground as hard as he could before his audition. The wood split in two like a baseball bat and he then had a very deadly stake. I started to wonder if anyone had told him he shouldn't kill the children. He restrained himself but when the audition was over, he stabbed the stake deep into the ground. Each actor had to write what they find scary on their form. One wrote, "Someone who is unpredictable." Silvia told him, "You probably picked the wrong place to work."

The most impressive audition was from a young girl who walked around in a crap like stance and then she rotated her whole body until she was moving around in an inverted stance with her belly to the sky. She could also rotate her arms out of joint which made me a bit queasy. The young actor I ultimately drew was a returning actor who joked around and gossiped for quite a while before auditioning.

Mark Your Calendars! Petrified Forest opened on October 3rd! Check their online schedule and be sure to experience this amazing scare trail. A single trail is $15 or both trails for $25. Tickets can be bought online or cash only on site.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Seasons continue to sweep through Central Florida

Seasons the Musical had a huge impact at this year's Orlando Fringe Festival. It won multiple awards and  it returned to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater for two performances on September 27th and 28th. The book, lyrics and music were written by Katie Hammond and Elaine Pechacek. Elaine accompanied all the musical numbers by performing on piano. The play mostly follows two relationships, the strong bond between Mrs. Jones (Beki Herrbach), and her daughter Hope (Kathryn Fabbroni) and then the unplanned coupling of Helen (Renee Morico) and Peter (Erin Robere).

All of the characters lives change because of unexpected moments. Helen has a few too many drinks at a high school party and decides to sleep with Peter if he plays his cards right.  That night resulted in her pregnancy. When Peter finds out he proposes marriage. Hope has also been proposed to, and she dreams of her future of happiness. At the same time, her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. The two stories unfold, each with their uncertainties and anguish.

The music propels the story forward with 23 numbers in the show. Sadness is offset by humor and laughter offset by pain. Helen isn't sure she loves Peter, but she hopes in time that she will. When their child arrives, she finds a focus for pure unquestioned love. Hope's mother collapses during the wedding and then Hope remains by her mother's side in the hospital. When Hope sang of her selfish need for her mother's love, and how she wasn't ready to let go, I welled up. Mrs. Jones sings an incredible song to her daughter when she realizes she hasn't much time left. She wants Hope to know she will always be loved and she tells he to never take a single moment for granted.

Not every story has a happy ending. Life is short and bitter sweet. But all of the characters made the choice to love and be loved and that makes all of life's difficulties worth living. The show ends with a lullaby that lingers long after the show is over. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Mark Your Calendars! Seasons will be returning October 17th and 18th at the Moonlight Players Theatre (735 W Minneola Ave Clermont FL) at 8pm.

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world

Terry and I stayed in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta Canada and the room had a fabulous view overlooking the lake. While Terry explored the hotel, I sketched. The hotel isn't as gorgeous at the Fairmont hotel in Banff but the view made up for any deficiency. The pool was under repair and the lobby seemed to always be full of bus loads of Japanese tourists. The lake had a magical turquoise color that is hard to capture with a simple watercolor wash. The color is caused by the cloudy glacial silt that is always suspended in the water.

Terry and I walked to the far end of the lake where rock climbers were scaling cliffs. I wasn't tempted to try this myself. I would need to loose a few pounds before trying to support my weight from my fingertips. We took another trail that went half way up a steep slope to an overlook that offered a birds eye view of the lake. It started to rain and we put on our rain gear. Tiny yellow canoes dotted the lake everywhere. When we got back from that hike, we saw a couple in a canoe that capsized. That glacial water is ice cold so they were in danger of quickly drowning. A motor boat quickly got out to rescue them and tow the canoe back.  At diner that night the capsized couple were the topic of every conversation. Terry and I didn't rent a canoe.

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

12 Angry Jurors Opens in Sanford

12 Angry Jurors is based on the 1957 film titled 12 Angry Men written by Reginald Rose. In the black and white film, the jurors were all men, but in this modern adaptation more that half of the jurors are women. Aléa Figueroa plays the role that Henry Fonda played in the film. As the jury voted for the first time she had a look of terror on her face as every other juror voted guilty. From that moment on, she commanded attention. She had to convince all the other jurors that there was a reasonable doubt. I went to the rehearsal expecting to see 12 good old boys debate the case, but only one man in the cast fit that bill. It was the women in the jury who were able to pick apart the testimony and weigh the evidence.

The play deals with deep rooted racism that still persists today which is the reason many of the jurors were convinced of the defendants guilt from the start. Chaz Krivan played the part of a juror who angrily argued for guilt even as the rest of the jury began to sway. Director, Nicholas Murphy was the person who opened the locked front door to allow me into the rehearsal. He watched the dress rehearsal from several different seats to get a feel for the staging. One juror just wanted to reach a verdict so he could get to a baseball game he had tickets to. Ironically, I had just sketched a trial where a juror was wearing a Green bay Packers jersey and the lawyer in his closing statement pointed out to the fact that there was a game that night.

I liked this production that had a jury of men and women since it is more true to what would happen today. When the good old boy juror demonstrated the use of a knife by almost stabbing Aléa, there was the underlying hints of aggression towards women that comes with sexism. Some jurors were recent immigrants and they fully understood the responsibility that came with being a juror while long time citizens just wanted the process be quick and painless.

Mark Your calendars! This is a production that is well worth seeing. You will leave the theater thinking and maybe wonder how you would have stood in that jury room. I can vouch for the fact that it is a short drive to the Princess Theater (115 W 1st St, Sanford, FL). Call: (407) 494-8474.

Tickets are:
Adults $20
Students $15 (under 25 with valid ID)

Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 2:00pm
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 7:00pm
Friday, October 10, 2014 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 2:00pm
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7:00pm
Friday, October 17, 2014 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 2:00pm

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Travon Martin Project touches raw nerves.

On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American high school student. George, a 28-year-old mixed-race Hispanic man, was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily living and where the shooting took place George was told not to follow the youth but he followed anyway.  Responding to an earlier call from Zimmerman, police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the shooting. He was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, then questioned for five hours. The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute the claim of having acted in self-defense. The police chief also said that Zimmerman had had a right to defend himself with lethal force. An arrest was finally made after the incident became national news and protesters filled Sanford. George was given a trial and found not guilty.

Producer Beth Marshal wanted to create a show that deals with the huge divide that Trayvon Martin's death caused in Central Florida and the country. Her son is about the same age as Trayvon and if her son was seen walking through suburban Sanford, quite frankly he would be alive. The show opens with Billy Holiday singing "Strange Fruit" as the audience entered the theater. The song referenced "blood on the leaves" in a sorrowful anguished voice. The show opened with a congressional hearing about the ban on certain items. There were long heated debates about how these items needed to be outlawed for everyone's protection. One committee member had smuggled the item into the hearing like a knife into a courtroom. The committee erupted in chaos as he showed them the hoodie which is quite functional on a cold evening.
John DiDonna acted as the show's narrator. He talked about Sanford's past and how racism has been woven into the fabric of the towns history. Back in 1946, the city of Sanford ran Jackie Robinson out of town while he was playing for the Montreal Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers AAA team, which trained in Sanford. Then there was the story of schoolteacher Harry Tyson Moore, who was the founder of the first branch of the NAACP in Florida's Seminole County, where Sanford is located. Moore fought tirelessly for racial equality in Sanford, including voting rights for African Americans. That made him a dangerous man to many white people in town. On Christmas night of 1951, the home of Moore and his wife Harriette Vyda Simms Moore was fire bombed. It was the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary. Moore died on his way to a Sanford hospital and his wife died 9 days later of her injuries. In Sanford's more recent past, the 2010 case of Sherman Ware had some troubling similarities to the Trayvon Martin tragedy. On Dec. 4, 2010, 21-year-old Justin Collison, was captured on a YouTube video leaving a Sanford bar, when he walked up behind an unsuspecting Ware, a homeless African American man, and punched him in the back of the head, which drove Ware's face into a utility pole and then onto the pavement breaking his nose. Sanford police questioned Collison who was not cuffed that night and had possession of the video but did not arrest him. You see, Collison's father is a Sanford police lieutenant and his grandfather is a former circuit judge and wealthy Florida landowner.

20 years ago when I moved to Orlando, the Ku Klux Klan held a demonstration at the Jewish Community Center in Maitland.  There was a heated debate at the time about if there should be a counter demonstration. Some argued that by counter demonstrating, we would be giving the KKK the attention they wanted. Hundreds of counter demonstrators showed up verses six or so KKK members hiding behind robes. Janine Klein spoke of isms in her monologue in the show. She was a Jewish school teacher and did grow up facing racism. In the talk back after the show she said that she realized that she wants to be more of an activist to help bring about change. Silence isn't the answer.

The talk back triggered an amazing conversation with the audience. One woman in the audience was of Cuban heritage. One of her cousins had light skin and she was treated differently than all the other children with dark skin. So there was racism even within a family. Sheryl Carbonell, from the cast is inter-racially married to a white police officer. He has been bitten, beaten and shot at on the job. 14 incidents were all caused by black men. None of these incidents were ever covered by the media. The Jordan Davis shooting happened during production of the play. It is clear that these type of shootings continue. Kerry Alce who plays Trayvon said that he is desensitized and frightened by all the shootings of black children. The talk back was every bit as powerful as the production itself. Change only happens when you open a dialogue.This is a daring production that certainly opened that dialogue. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King

There are only 2 shows remaining of The Trayvon Martin Project...
October 4, Saturday at 7:30pm
October 5, Sunday at 2pm
at the Valencia College East Campus Black Box Theatre building 3 (701 North Econolockahatchee Trail Orlando FL).
Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 students. Proceeds from this event benefit The Travyon Martin Foundation.

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 4th and 5th

Saturday October 4, 2014
10am to Noon $15. Orlando Walk for Farm Animals. Langford Park located at 1808 E Central Blvd in downtown Orlando FL. The Walk for Farm Animals raises vital funds for Farm Sanctuary’s lifesaving work and brings together thousands of people to change hearts and minds about farm animals. Will you join us in Orlando to support compassion for all? Early registration $15 day of walk $25 children under 18 free.
Walk for animals then join us after the walk for vegan food, guest speakers, and entertainment. Contact: or 407-968-2400 for more information.

4pm to 7pm Free. Peter Frampton Concert. Central and Garland Orlando FL Next to Ember. Downtown Concert Series! Don't miss this FREE concert in Downtown Orlando! Even though it's FREE you could be a VIP. Thank you for listening to 98.9 WMMO! We'll see YOU at DCS! See more at:

8pm to 10pm Free. Shuffleboard. Orlando's Beardall Courts 800 Delaney Ave Orlando FL. On the 1st Saturday of each month. Free fun!

Sunday October 5, 2014
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. South East corner of Lake Eola, Orlando, FL.

1pm to 3pm  Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Every week at the East end of the park near the Japanese pagoda.

6pm to 8pm Free. SHUT YOUR FACE! Poetry Slam by Curtis Meyer! La Casa De La Paellas 10414 E Colonial Dr Orlando FL. The only current ongoing slam in Orlando officially certified by Poetry Slam Incorporated, IE. Send a team to Nats as well as poets to The Individual World Poetry Slam & Women of The World Poetry Slam! $50 to the winner! If you’ve never seen or been in a slam before, it’s definitely worth checking out!

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Fairmont Hotel in Banff Makes a luxurious home base in the Canadian Rockies.

Terry and I stayed at the well appointed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada). As soon as we drove up, valet's helped us with our luggage and got us checked in. Our room was high up in one of the turrets making it feel like we were staying in a Scottish castle.

William Cornelius Van Horne, the general manager of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has been credited with recognizing the tourism potential of the Canadian west. Van Horne maintained tourism was an intricate ingredient in getting people to ride CPR and was conscious of the financial possibilities attached to the western mountain scenery. His philosophy reflected this awareness, 'Since we can't export the scenery,' he said, ' we'll have to import the tourists.' To enhance traffic on the CPR, Van Horne envisioned a succession of lavish resort hotels along the railway line through the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains. Van Horne hired Bruce Price of New York, one of the leading architects of the time to design and build the Fairmont Hotel. Construction of the Hotel began in the spring of 1887 and the hotel publicly opened on June 1, 1888.

I sketched Terry as she looked at a guide book planning our next day's adventure. From this back patio you could hear the distant Bow River waterfall. We hiked down to the waterfall and discovered that this was the launching place for daily river rafting trips. We decided to take the rafting trip which went down river for many miles. The passenger next to me lost his paper day planner in the water. Luckily it floated along side the raft. My reach was just long enough to touch it with my finger tips. It sank at my touch and I cursed. It rose to the surface again and then I grasped it. Everyone on the raft cheered. Had he used a digital device it would be at the bottom of the river.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hoodoo you think your fooling?

Hoodoos are rocky sandstone spires that appear after eons of erosion. These hoodoos were located a short drive from the second hotel we stayed at in Banff. These magical spires are carved by wind and water protected by a hard cap of rock at the peak.

A sign at the roadside parking lot warned about bears. I was more concerned about the gloomy grey clouds that moved through the Bow river valley. A well maintained trail lead to this spot that overlooked the hoodoos. I sketched from the opposite side of the fence which protects tourist from falling into the valley as they stare into their digital devices.

There was a steep sloped trail that lead right to the base of the Hoodoos and Terry decided to hike down while I sketched. She sang while she walked to warn any bears of her approach. The clouds let off a light mist of rain. It wasn't raining hard enough to send me running for cover, but it certainly made it hard to put watercolor washes on the sketch. Any time a drop hit the page it would explode and remove pigment from the sketch.

I saw Terry's photos from the base of the hoodoos and they are impressive up close. I wanted to include the human element however and I could always catch a tourist taking a photo from the trial's corral.

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