Saturday, January 31, 2015

Seen up close, butterflies become monsters.

When it began to rain during Artlando, I ran inside the Orlando Museum of Art for cover. A crowd of people had the same idea. Inside the museum, local art galleries had exhibits. Jai Gallery was set up in the lobby. I was curious about a large hyper real photograph of a butterfly. Artist and architect James Cornetet was taking microscopic photos of a butterfly. The digital camera was set up on a metal framework which allowed James to move the camera in tiny increments. To get the final high resolution image he shoots hundreds of photos horizontally, vertically and in depth. The camera has a very shallow depth of field which means the tip of an antenna might be in focus but the butterfly head might be out of focus. James had an exhibit titled "High Fidelity" of his monstrous insects at Jai Gallery. Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon was also on hand to let people know about Jai Gallery. One of Josh Garrick's black and white photos of a sculpted Greek god's head was also on display.  Josh's photos went on exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Greece. He was the first American artist to ever have his work displayed there.

Snap! Orlando teamed up with The Falcon and The Gallery at Avalon Island for a special installation at Artlando. The exhibit featured the art of Szymon Brodziak Photography, Aurora Crowley and an interactive digital installation 'Beautiful Chaos' by Nathan Selikoff. The exhibit was in the rotunda of OMA, as well as the galleries located to the left of the museum's entrance. Once I was done with my sketch, I ran outside to my tent to make sure none of the cards on display had gotten wet. Everything was dry, but I was shocked to see that the tip jar which was half full of dollar bills earlier in the day, was now empty. I was furious. Who would stoop so low to steal money from a tip jar? Later that day I found out that my wife Terry had removed the money, "for safe keening." The tip jar earned me enough money to pay for the food truck feast I enjoyed later that day.

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, January 30, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 31 and February 1.

Saturday January 31, 2015
6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL. See how they make their vintage brews at Orlando Brewing.

8:30pm to 11:30pm $8. The Crack Rock Opera, Room Full of Strangers, The Welzeins, Twigs. Will's Pub, 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida. What is The Crack Rock Opera and who the devil is Danny Feedback? Danny Feedback is a rock n roll freak infamously known for lewd, lascivious stage antics and performance art rife with destruction of such objects as 800lb pianos while frequently in the nude. His music and lyrics are a blend of experimental garage and psych-pop, bristling with dissonance and fuzz; catchy yet jarring and always irreverent. As for The Crack Rock Opera it is Danny Feedback's foray into theater, which is more like if an early John Waters had he formed a band. The media has described The Crack Rock Opera as "Rocky Horror, but With Better Music".And despite being reviled by theater critics Feedback and his troupe The Crack Rock Opera have graced the front page of The Orlando Weekly, performed a full run at The Orlando International Fringe and performed well attended shows at various theaters in Central Florida...Now, Saturday January 31st The Crack Rock Opera celebrates the release of their self titled LP which they will perform at length.This album harkens back to the trippy story albums similar to The Firesign Theater that made their debut in the tumultuous late 60s. However, the CRO is much more potty mouthed, anti-PC, and irreverent in a ham fisted back hand sort of way and no social, ethnic or religious class is spared. Januray 31st The Crack Rock Opera brings it back to the gritty dives from whence they came, namely Will's. All attendees will receive a limited copy of The Crack Rock Opera w/ carton character inserts.
Musical guests...
ROOM FULL of STRANGERS - Acid Gospel, punk, whatever...
THE WELZEINS Garage punk.
TWIGS New Orlando band from Whatsit Records, hear em live for the first time.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free but get a drink or some tapas. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot passionate flamenco dancers perform live.

Sunday February 1, 2015
Noon to 5pm Free but get a drink or two. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ spins music through the afternoon.

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. On the East lawn near the children's playground. Weekly.

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, January 29, 2015

The Inaugural Artlando was held in Lock Haven Park.

ALL DAY. ALL ART. I was offered a vendors tent at the inaugural Artlando event held September 27 in Lock Haven Park. My plan was to only sell $2 cards in a card rack and leave a tip jar so people could pay on the honor system. That left me free to roam the event and the day became a sketch marathon. All vendors had to arrive early in the morning to set up. You had to unload at a spot next to the Repertory Theater's parking lot and then immediately drive off site to park. Each artist was assigned a specific area of Lock Haven's lawn which was marked by a number. Soon there was a tent city. Clouds loomed ominous and gray all day.

A giant inflatable bird was in front of the Orlando Museum of Art. It was based on a painting by Lamar Peterson whose work was on exhibit inside. The brown statues, which were part of an installation titled "Horizons",  by noted Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir (pronounced Stay-nun Thorens daughter), were often used by people who imitated the poses for photo opportunities. That installation is on exhibit through 2015. 

Carolyn Moor, with her daughter Mackensey and a friend from out of town stopped to say hello. Carl Gauze jumped in on the conversation and he pointed out that the inflatable bird had a bullet hole in its chest.  I inspected the inflated art up close and sure enough there was a puncture wound.  I imagined a pickup truck squealing around the parking lot at night with a drunk local using his rifle to take shots at any art he could find. Then again the hole might just be there to control the flow of air. Caroline waited in front of the museum for Mackenzie to return from the main stage. On the main stage there were live performance by Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Shakes, Central Florida Community Arts, Orlando Fringe, Phantasmagoria and many more.

As I was finishing this sketch, it began to rain. I ran inside the museum for cover.

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, January 28, 2015

Drip opens its doors to local artists.

Drip Local Art Night invites artists and musicians to represent Orlando art to local, national and international travelers! On the evening I went there was a packed house in the bar and the dance performance then drew the crowd into the main performance area giving artists the opportunity to set up in the bar area. Future local art nights will no longer be on the same night as a performance.  This should allow more artists a chance to set up and share their art. This event will be held on the 4th Thursday of every month. The Drip organizers will keep a running list for this monthly event.

On the night I went, I set up framed sketchbooks in a spot next to the bar. The bar area is now illuminated wit black lights which makes all the Drip shirts glow an eerie blue color. I discovered that the paper in my early sketchbooks doesn't glow under black lights, so they were hard to see.  I want to go back and do a digital sketch since that is probably the best way to catch those colors. This sketch was sort of done blind because I couldn't see the page in the low light plus the page glowed blue making colors a guess in the dark. I should have had a book light. Ashlyn Bapst used this end of the bar to create intricate woven Drip shirts. Her nimble fingers worked quickly to create these sexy, much sought after collectors items.

If you haven't been to Drip yet, what are you waiting for? It is an explosion of color, light and dance set in a grunge back alley bar on International Drive. The story revolves around a love triangle. Dancers get covered in primary colors of paint and when they hug they change colors. It becomes a story of redemption and empowerment all set to the beat of a live rock band. Don't wear your Sunday best. It is wiser to dress down for Drip. While Sea World has front row seats in a splash zone, the entire venue is a splash zone at Drip. You will get wet.

Drip Local Art Night
Who: Open to everyone 21+ (Artists can be 18+)
What: Local Art Night @ DRIP
When: 4th Thursday of every month Set Up 6:30 PM; Doors open to public from 8-10 PM.
Where: DRIP 8747 International Dr #102, Orlando, FL 32819
How to apply: Send a link to your portfolio/samples to

Mark your calendar! The next Drip Local Art Night is February 26th 6:30pm to 11pm.

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, January 27, 2015

The Orlando Public Library offers programs for all tastes.

George Markward from the Pastrami Project Food Truck offered a course on cooking holiday foods at the main branch of the Orlando Public Library (101 East Central Boulevard Orlando, FL). You should sign up for these courses in advance, but I dropped in unannounced and was welcomed. The library classroom is set up to offer any kind of cuisine course. The sink and oven were in another room adjacent to the classroom. About a dozen foodies sat in attendance.

George prepared three holiday dishes. He prepared a noodle kugel, potato pancakes and caviar on Blinis.  Preparations involved a mad dash of proceeding, stirring, boiling and frying. The great thing is that we all got to taste the finished products and bring the recipes home. I liked the noodle kugel so much that I made it at home the next week. Terry was shocked that I baked something, and it was a hit. Perhaps there is hope that I'll become a foodie someday. It seemed ironic that the Greek Orthodox Church was feeding the homeless a block away while I was sampling free caviar, sour cream, lox and chives on Blinis. God they were good.

Here is the Noodle Kugel Recipe courtesy of Dave Lieberman.
Total time: 50 minutes.
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Yield: 6-8 servings.

12 oz wide egg noodles
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 pound cottage cheese
16oz sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Boil the noodles in salted water for about 4 minutes. Strain noodles from the water. In a large mixing bowl, combine noodles with the remaining ingredients and pour into a greased, approximately 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Bake until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, about 30-45 minutes.

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, January 26, 2015

Defined Enterprises redefines the creative workspace.

On January 13th I went to meet Brill Adium at Defined Enterprises Gallery. Brill had contacted me on Facebook. He said he like my work and he wanted me to see a new gallery-creative hub that he is planning to open on February 21st. Defined is located in a business park right next to I-4. A Cracker Barrel is right next door. As I approached the entry, I noticed that all the windows were blacked out. "How could a gallery survive this far north of Downtown Orlando?" I thought. I tried the door and it was locked. Maybe Brill hadn't arrived yet. I was maybe 10 minutes early. As I was pulling out my phone to text, the front door opened and Brill welcomed me.

The second I walked in, I felt excited about the place. The space is in the final stages of a build out. Brill gave me a tour of the place. The walls were a cheerful bright yellow.  A bar was halfway constructed with bright pink counter tops. Red shelving looked a bit like a skull. Wire fencing separated an elevated platform with 60's styled red lounge chairs and comfy couches. TV monitors were stacked vertically in a row. A huge mural by Dolla Short featured a hip hop singer and a twitter bird decorated the room. A mural by Dolla on the outside wall of Will's Pub, has created a bit of a stir. The mural depicts a drunk satyr farting a green venomous cloud along with a black skull. Some neighbors complained to code enforcement claiming it was crude and offensive. The city in response has created a Public Art Advisory Board that will "curate" or rather censor murals. As works of art murals are covered by first amendments freedom of speech. To get around this, the city plans to label all murals as signs which can be controlled by city ordinances.

The fact that Dolla's mural dominates the front room gives a taste of the mission of Defined Enterprises. As Honey Park said, “People will tell you DON’T, and we recommend that you DO”. Defined Enterprises wants to make YOUR ideas come to life! They are one of Central Florida’s top creative production teams. Established in late 2012 they have grown from just a “one man show”of independent videography to a full functioning multi-media design company. Defined Enterprises takes pride in its creative processes and final products with more than exceptional visuals. Their experience exceeds 5 plus years, and their work speaks for itself. No job is ever too small or too big! With a creative and innovate staff, they can assure you that each and every project will be executed to your liking.

Smaller rooms will become editing bays and sound studios.  The back room houses a large seamless photo stage which might become a green room. The men's and women's rooms had old colorized photos to mark the doors. Brill's enthusiasm for the space is contagious. The place has an exciting creative vibe. It reminds me of Miami's Wynwood District which welcomes international muralists to showcase their work. While Orlando tries to control and censor creativity, this place offers a vibrant creative outlet. On First Fridays, the studio will be open for adults to do their creative work. On second Fridays, kids aged 10-17 will be able to use the studio space. There are many plans in the works to make Defined a creative hub.

Mark your calendars. Defined Enterprises (279 Douglas Ave, Simon Medical Center Plaza, suite 1106 Altamonte Springs FL) will have its Grand Opening on February 21st 8pm to 11pm.

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, January 25, 2015

The Art Wine Walk in Lake Mary combined an outdoor art bazaar with wine from local establishments.

On September 24th, I went to Colonial Town Park, (950 Market Promenade Ave #2200, Lake Mary, FL) to experience the Art Wine Walk. Eight artists were listed as vendors so I expected to see a sizable tent city. There were however only two artists tents set up. Earlier in the day it had rained a bit and the sky looked ominous, so I assume artist were scared off by the weather.

The event was $10, and the proceeds benefited Clean the World! Vaughn Belak was one of the two die hard artists with work on display. He does intriguing goth images with sinister but playful undertones. He explained that this used to be a regular event but it was shelved for a while by promoters. He would come out and set up a tent anyway because people that have been drinking and having a good time would be more likely to make an impulse buy.

The bar across from Vaughn's tent was Liam Fitzpatrick's and it was doing a lively business. Other bars in Colonial Town Park include, Graffiti Junction, and World of Beers. With such a concentration of bars, this place must get rowdy by midnight. The Art Wine walk went from 5pm to 8pm, so, just as the street lights flickered on, the two artists tents came down. The Art Wine Walk is listed as happening every 4th Wednesday of each month, but I'm not so sure the momentum is there to keep it going.

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, January 24, 2015

A quiet celebrity bartender night at the Savoy in Orlando.

On September 22nd there was a Celebrity Bartender Fundraising event at the Savoy (1913 N. Orange Avenue Orlando Fl). Funds raised went to the GLBT Center ( 946 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL), The evening featured surprise celebrity bartenders making you yummy drinks. I ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon and sketched as the night unfolded. There were several small square stages that had illuminated floors. These were the stages for a fit male dancer. The celebrity bartenders included Adam Nickolson and Robert Carver.

The atmosphere was seedy but exotic. Cigarette smoke wafted through the bar and ultimately made me want to sketch faster. I had one shot which tasted a bit like watermelon.  I had sketched at the Savoy once before and got a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street in the suburbs. This time I parked quite a distance away and walked. I'm a bit paranoid now that police target cars parked near popular venues. Nothing dramatic happened while I did this sketch, it just seemed like the quiet start to a typical evening at this Orlando waterhole.

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, January 23, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 24th and 25th.

Saturday January 24, 2015
 1pm to Midnight Grab a brew. The Art of Craft: Hopgasmic Release and Art Show. Orlando Brewing 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, Fl. Hopgasmic IPA is cause for a special high alcohol / high hop extravaganza. Continually hopped for 90 minutes with Magnum, Centennial, and Cascade Hops.
1pm: Tapping Hopgasmic IPA & opening of our newest art show
3pm-5pm: Meet & greet with artist Nick Seyler
6pm: Free brewery tour
9pm: Live music performances
Saturday will mark Orlando Brewing's 6th Art Show and we're honored to be showcasing NIX Abstract.

1:30pm to 4:30pm 2015 Orlando Chowder Festival. At the Winter Park Village 17-92 South of Lee Road and North of Fairbanks. An afternoon of amazing fun. A variety of area food vendors will be competing for the 2015 Chowder Cup, previously awarded to Boston Lobster Feast Restaurant in 2014, and Fleming's Steakhouse in 2013.
Expected Businesses for 2015 -
1. 1st Place 2014 - Boston Lobster Feast Restaurants
2. 2nd Place 2014- John & Shirley's Catering
3. 3rd Place 2014 - Sea Dog Brewing Co.
4. The Alfond Inn
5. Sushi Pop
6. Lombardi's Seafood
8. Crisper's Restaurant
9. Winter Park Fish Co.
10. Kasa
11. Whole Foods Winter Park
12. Raleigh Design
13. Orlando Chili Cook-off
14. First Watch
15. Southeastern Solutions
16. Avenue Gastrobar Orlando
17. iCraveCatering
18. Kitchen Craft Cookware
19. Lone Sailor Navy Memorial
20. TJ's Seafood Shack
Specialty Vendors
Shake Shack
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Rex Goliath

10pm to 2am Free, but get a drink or two. No One Knows I'm Disco. Spacebar 2428 E Robinson St, Orlando, Fl. Don't be afraid, DISCO IS NOT A DIRTY WORD.
Carlitos Corcho aka CHANG from Tampa,
Huggy Huggett aka HUGGY from Leeds
Tommy Mot aka MOT.
The music will be all things Disco. RARE, Electronic, Afrofunk, Boogie, Space and Classic Disco with a side of Acid House, Techno and surprises.
Masks are encouraged! Dance off a few of those Holiday pounds! HA...

Sunday January 25, 2015 
10am to Noon. Free. Super Joy Riders. 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.

1pm to 3pm Free to the public! Bagel bar provided. Boris Fishman discusses A Replacement Life. Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida 851 N Maitland Ave, Maitland, Fl. Included in The New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books of 2014, Boris Fishman's A Replacement Life is a "bold, ambitious and wickedly smart first novel" in which "a Soviet émigré writer in New York becomes disturbingly adept at forging applications for Holocaust reparations." Read the full article from The New York Times Book Review. Event is in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida and sponsored by Greenberg Traurig.

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out and 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, January 22, 2015

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater presents "To Kill a Mockingbird".

I went to the dress rehearsal for "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. I was surprised to find an audience waiting to get into the theater.  I decided to slip into the theater and start the sketch before the house was open. I paused for a long time, because the balconies had their metal railings removed. I realized they were now part of the stage set. Directed by Thomas Ouellette, Christopher Sergel's adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel came to life on the Margeson Theater stage.  The movie based adaptation is a classic and one of my favorite films, so this show had some big shoes to fill.

The audience was full of students from Columbia College and many were African American which made this particular performance quite compelling. I knew about the students and faculty because one man introduced himself to me saying we had met at an event a while back.  For some reason he thanked me and explained that many of the people from his campus would have never been to a play. I realized after he walked away that he must have mistook my for someone else. I guess when you are busy sketching, you look like you are in charge. Whoever invited the Columbia College group, you should know that they are thankful.

The story is told through the eyes of six year old Scout (Kennedy Joy Foristall ). As a tense tug of war between justice and racism heats up, Scout and her family must learn to temper violence and hatred with courage and compassion. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird continues to inspire hope in the face of inequality. The moral of the story as told by Atticus Finch (Warren Kelley) is "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Scout held her own as a tom boy who always gets into fights and has no filter when speaking her mind.

The set, designed by Bert Scott gave a strong backdrop of the depression Era south. This really is an important show to see since there are always injustices that some accept. Sometimes a person is called on to shake off the dust of these backwards beliefs. The shows title relates to the idea that "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Toward the end of the production, Sheriff Heck Tate (John Ahlin) explained to Atticus, "To my way of thinking, taking the one man who's done you and this town a big service and dragging him with his shy ways into the limelight - to me that's a sin." Sometimes a community isn't best served by following the letter of the law but rather the spirit of the law. "Let the dead berry the dead."

"To Kill a Mockingbird"
What: A drama written by Harper Lee and adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel
Where: Orlando Shakespeare Theater,  Margeson Theater 812 East Rollins Street, Orlando FL
When: Opens Friday, Jan. 21; 7:30 p.m. through March 8.
Cost: $10 to $45
Call: (407) 447-1700

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, January 21, 2015

The Explorer's Club sweeps into the Mad Cow with hilarity.

While walking downtown to go to The Explorer's Club dress rehearsal at the Mad Cow Theatre, I saw a fun run poster that announced, "We bring the hilarity to charity." This predicted the tone for the entire evening. Perhaps a dozen people sat in the audience for the dress rehearsal. Written by Nell Benjamin the show runs from January 22 through February 22.  The comedic farce debuted in NYC's off-Broadway in 2013.

It's a crisis in 1879 London when the members of the prestigious Explorers Club are threatened by the potential membership of...a woman! Eric Pinder as botanist Lucius Fertway is responsible for nominating the woman, who is the accomplished explorer, prim and proper Phyllida Spotte-Hume played by Heather Leonardi . She’s made an in-depth study, “NaKong Tribe of the Lost City of Pahatlabong,”.  “They have hunted nearly all the animals to extinction,” she reports, “and are forced to subsist on a jerky made of toad. The toad is poisonous. But most of the poison boils off when the toad is poached in urine.”she explained. The club members are all quite impressed, but Professor Sloane (Glenn Gover), a religious fanatic, sticks his nose in the air proclaiming her discoveries are fine but she is a woman and there has never been a woman in the Explorer's Club. When the men retire for cigars and sherry she is told she would have to wait outside.

Glen Glover, Simon Needham and Eric Pinder were all members of the cast at Walt Disney World's Adventurers Club. This was one of my favorite spots to visit when I used to work for Disney Feature Animation. The club was crowded with objects that were found from around the world. One huge mask on the wall used to make comments about patrons at the bar. Unfortunately, the Club was closed in 2008, along with all the other nightclubs in favor of retail stores and restaurants. When I saw the set in the Mad Cow by William Elliott, memories flooded back. The gazelles and masks in this club however remained sadly mute.

It turns out that Lucius has nominated the petite Phyllida because he has a crush on her. He went so far as to name an exotic flower after her. That attraction is mutual, but Club President Harry Percy (Simon Needham) decides that he is the brainless hulk of a man that Phyllida deserves. Although Phyllida confides in Lucius, Harry is sure that his swagger will win her over. She has brought back a member of the lost tribe who she has named Luigi (Ryan Gigliotti). He is covered in blue paint and has the annoying habit of slapping people in the face as a form of introduction. When he is brought before the queen of England, all hell breaks loose when he slaps her as well. Hilarity ensues as the intrepid explorers try to return God and country to normalcy. In their eyes, science will always win.

The director David Russell was seated a few rows behind me with his laptop. After the show he encouraged the cast to push the envelope in exploring the quirky lunacy of their parts. He seemed a bit disappointed that there wasn't more laughter from the audience. Since there were only a few people in the test audience, the sparse laughter was understandable. When there is a full house the story could be quite different. As a disguise, Luigi posed as the club's bartender. He mixed drinks using liquored of every imaginable color with no regard to a recipe. To serve the drink, he would shout, "Your drink sah!" and slide it quickly off the bar top. Club members had to dive to keep the drinks from crashing to the floor. David encouraged the players to avoid playing it safe. It a drink crashed to the floor it wouldn't be the end of the world. I was seated in the front row and there were moments when I thought I might be in the splash zone.

"The Explorers Club"
What: A comedy by Nell Benjamin
Where: Mad Cow Theatre, 54 W. Church St., Orlando
When: Opens Friday, Jan. 23; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and two Mondays, Feb. 2 and 9; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; through Feb. 22
Cost: $24.25-$36.75; $17 on Mondays
Call: 407-297-8788

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, January 20, 2015

Horns and Heros Project #2 raised funds to help save endangered rhinos.

On September 18th I went to The Abbey, (100 S Eola Dr, Orlando, Fl), to sketch some of the incredibly creative rhinos that artists were given to alter and decorate. The Horns and Heroes Project was an art show and art auction to benefit the International Rhino Foundation and others like it that focus on rhino conservation and the survival of rhinos throughout the world. The event not only celebrated rhinos, but brought awareness and educated the public about rhinos and the threats they face. The Horns and Heroes Project hopes to ensure the future of rhinos by bringing the world of art and conservation together.

A black rhino, sculpted by the talented SFX artist Barry S. Anderson was molded and cast in 70 individual sculptures. Each identical sculpture was given an artist to recreate in their own style and vision. Painters, illustrators, tattoo artists, sculptors, photographers and SFX make-up artists, just to name a few, were asked to participate in this year's event.

These works of art from top local and international artists were on display for one night only. Attendees were invited to place bids on the custom artworks through silent and live auctions to raise money for rhino conservation. The live music on stage was by Infinite Third. His music added a subtle new age vibe to the scene as the crowd grew thick. Captain America and Wonder Woman were mingling in the crowd of artists and patrons.

Thirty species of rhinos once roamed the earth. Now only five species remain. Poachers kill rhinos for their horns. Although they are made up mainly of keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails, many cultures believe that powdered rhino horn can cure everything from headaches to cancer. However, there has never been any clinical research to support any of these claims made by those who manufacture products made with rhino horn. Prices for rhino horn have skyrocketed in the past few years, making rhino horn now more expensive than the weight of gold.  "We thought [last year] was the worst year on record with I think over 600 rhinos slaughtered. This year - and the year’s not even over yet - we have over 820 that have been killed." said Horns and Heros founder Chad Harmon. The first Horns and Heroes project in 2012 raised $6000 to help save rhinos.  The September event raised $23,000 for the cause.

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, January 19, 2015

The Round Building's brise-soleil was carefully preserved.

On September 18th, I went down to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts construction site to watch as the Round Buildings brise-soleil was removed. The round building was designed in 1963 by Orlando architects Bob Murphy and Frank Sheehy. The design was an exciting futuristic change from the usual cement and stucco monoliths that litter downtown. It sort of reminds me of Disney's Carousel of Progress which first appeared at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

The precast cement brise-soleil was designed to help shade the windows from the harsh Florida sun. The upper floors were added at a much later date. Commissioner Patty Sheehan was instrumental in the effort to have the unique brise-soleil preserved.  Each individual vertical section had to be reinforced by a steel structure to be sure it didn't break apart when being transported. They could then be clipped free of the connecting bolts. I sketched for two hours and only one section was carefully removed in that time. Each section was then loaded onto a truck and transported to a city storage yard. Ironically the round building looked like it belonged next to the modern design of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

As of January 5th while forty plus same-sex couples got married at City Hall across the street, the round building looked like it had been hit by multiple bunker busting bombs. The cement shell had been removed and the rest of the building was collapsing in on itself. Someone stopped to admire my sketch in progress. He was the son of Jack Jennings, the local contractor who first built the Round Building. He asked to take a photo of my sketch to remember his fathers legacy. Niles M. Schweitzer Fellows held a design competition to find creative ways to reuse the preserved brise-soleil. There were some incredibly creative designs, but there are no funds to make any of them a reality. It is harder to create than to destroy. Who knows how long these cement sentinels will remain hidden in the city's storage facility. I remains to be seen what the Next Round for these panels will be.

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, January 18, 2015

Orlando Soup helps fund creative ideas in Orlando.

Orlando SOUP was modeled after the successful Detroit SOUP, a micro-granting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Orlando. For a donation of $10, attendees receive soup (made by Edible Orlando using fresh, local ingredients), salad and bread. Before dinner is served, attendees will listen to four short community project proposals covering a range of topics such as art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurship, education, technology, and more. During dinner, attendees cast a vote for their favorite project and, at the end of the night, the project that receives the most votes is funded by $7 from each attendees’ donation. Winners appear at future SOUP dinners to report their project’s progress.

I went to the Soup crowd funding event on August 13th 2014at East End Market. (3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL). The walls were still covered with my framed sketches. It was great to see so many people in the community room sharing creative ideas. The room buzzed with excitement. I had been asked to work on a mural to cover the front facade of the Fringe offices in the Ivanhoe Village district. Scottie Campbell set up an online crowd source page to try and raise the money to pay me for the project. About $2000 had been raised for the proposed project, but that was less than half of what was needed. Scottie decided to pitch the idea at the Orlando Soup event to make more people aware of the project and raise more funds. His pitch was eloquent and exciting and it helped that my work was visible on every wall. Oddly, though I was in the room sketching, I was never called up to the mic since Scottie covered every base.

Another presentation this evening was by Cole Nesmith who was raising money for The Creative City Project which featured live performances throughout downtown Orlando by local and international arts groups. Cole wants to pay the artists involved but raising the funds needed is a full time job. I wanted to do life sized interactive portraits on the street as my contribution. Unfortunately I was in Australia when the Creative City Project became a reality, so I didn't get a chance to experience or sketch any aspect of it.  For this Orlando Soup presentation, Cole made a tactical error when he gave everyone in the room a tiny battery and light. The audience became so involved in trying to get the light to work, that they must have missed Cole's underlying message that it takes everyone's involvement to light up Orlando with creativity.

Pat Greene gave a presentation about his Transit Interpretation Project (TrIP) and exhibition. He had photographers ride the new Sun Rail trains to take photos of fellow commuters. He needed funds to help hang the exhibit which was at the Gallery at Avalon Island  (39 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL). This show happened while I was away as well. Patrick got the most votes to help fund the TrIP Project show.

Mark your calendar. The next Orlando Soup is January 20, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at East End Market. (3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL). The community room is upstairs. It is a great way to see what creative projects are brewing in 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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Otronicon opens with a VIP reception at the Orlando Science Center.

The 10th Annual Otronicon opened at the Orlando Science Center (777 East Princeton Street Orlando FL) with a VIP reception on January 15th. Mayor Buddy Dyer Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell faced off in a video game throw down, playing “Super Smash Bros.,” “Dance Central 3” and “Madden 15” for bragging rights as they engaged in a rematch from Otronicon v.1 in 2006. Unfortunately I was teaching a life drawing class so I missed the video game action. By the time I got to the Science Center all the dignitaries had all ready left.

 Now in its 10th year, Otronicon is the premiere technology event in Orlando. Discover how we will live, learn, work and play in the years to come through video games, simulation and other technology — most of which is made here in Orlando. The four-day event features:
  • Larger-than-life video game experiences
  • State-of-the-art medical and military simulators
  • Workshops taught by industry pros
  • And so much more!
Since Otronicon is all about technology, I decided to use my digital tablet to sketch. From the walkway above, I was intrigued by the bright green tables that created a unique pattern in the perspective of the massive space. People gathered in lively groups and the room buzzed with conversations. There were a few arcade styled video games right behind me and I could hear the mayhem as I sketched. When the sketch was done, I went down to quickly look at all the displays.

EA Sports was strongly represented with football, basketball and soccer games. Bean bag chairs that looked like basketballs and soccer balls were you had to sit in order to play the games. A storm trooper wandered around the room to keep order and Darth Vader was there to handle anyone who became drunk and disorderly. My friends, Wendy Wallenberg, Michael McLeod and Denise Sudler were there so I stayed to get a chance to talk and laugh for a while. I had invited Terry, but she had to work late. I'll probably return to Otronicon which runs through January 19th to do some more sketches. It is an Urban Sketcher's paradise.

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, January 16, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 17th and 18th.

Saturday January 17, 2015
 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday Florida Manatee Festival and Endangered Species Parade. Three Sisters Springs Latitude: 2888872533 Longitude: -8258919102, Crystal River, Florida. This popular Florida Manatee Festival attracts over 10,000 visitors to the City of Crystal River, from which nearly half visit Three Sisters Springs. The refuge hosts mermaids, presentations by manatee scientists, spring experts and world class photographers/videographers, conservation agency booths and much more! Learn more.
$8 Adults
$2 Children Ages 4-10
FREE Children 3 And Under
$10 Dogs

10am to 10pm Saturday, 10am to 6pm Sunday. January 16-19. 10th Annual Otronicon. Orlando Science Center 777 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL. A glimpse into the future and a demonstration of how interactive technology will impact how we work, learn and play. Partake in cutting edge video games, digital media, digital art, competitions and workshops - not to mention military and medical simulators typically not available to the public.  
$19.00 daily for adults 
$17.00 daily for students/seniors 
$13.00 daily for kids (ages 3 - 11) 
FREE daily for ages 2 and under

5pm to 8pm Free.  A Night of Fire at Crealdé. Crealdé School of Art, 600 St Andrews Blvd, Winter Park, Florida. The whole campus comes alive after dark for the fourth annual A Night of Fire. Tour the Crealdé studios and galleries, participate in workshops and demonstrations including a bronze pour, a gas kiln firing and raku firing. New this year is a light-painting photography display over the lake. Enjoy live music, refreshments and storytelling around the fire. Food from the grill provided by Millers Hardware. The evening also serves as the opening reception for the "Director's Choice V" exhibition of works by Crealde's youth faculty.

Sunday January 18, 2015
Noon to 5pm Free but get a beer or two. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL.  A DJ mix for your Sunday afternoon.

2pm to 6pm Free. Barks for Beers 2015. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, Florida. There will be live music, silent auctions, raffle items, delicious food, local vendors and, of course, great micro-brewed beer!

6pm to 9:30pm $9 Southern Fried Music. Will's Pub, 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL. Celebrate 9 years of Southern Fried music, food & fun on Sunday, January 18 at Will's Pub & lil indies!  Music from Riverbottom Nightmare Band, The Appleseed Collective, The Honeyslides & more!  A southern style barbq dinner is included in the $9 cover!
6:00pm - show at Will's, 1042 N. Mills
7:00pm - dinner
9:30pm - music at lil indies, 1036 N. Mills

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, January 15, 2015

Sketch Tour Workshops offered in Orlando.

Orlando Sketch Tours offers visitors a chance to slow down, see and sketch the true Orlando outside of theme parks. Thor from Analog Artist Digital World and Kelly Medford from Sketching Rome Tours will be your guides for this 2-day sketching tour around Orlando.

Each workshop day is $125, or $200 for both days.
Saturday February 28, 2015 Workshop 10am to 2pm.
Sunday March 1, 2015 Workshop 10am to 2pm.

For all levels, NO experience is required. All materials provided, just bring yourself.

Your sketch kit includes:
pencil and sharpener
waterproof drawing pen
travel sized watercolor kit
5x7 inch watercolor artist journal
and a zippered supply bag to hold everything

Artists will meet at 10am the red pagoda at the east end of Lake Eola. The Saturday workshop will start off by introducing simple and straightforward techniques in pen, pencil and watercolor for all levels, from beginners to more practiced artists or sketchers. Both Thor and Kelly will offer several hours of tips and tricks to get you comfortable working with your materials. Kelly will offer insights into the use of watercolor and Thor will give tips on how to compose your urban sketch.

We can break for lunch at Pannera and then continue sketching together afterwards. We will finish off the day at the Red Pagoda at 2pm to share sketches and chat about the experience.

The Sunday workshop will be much like the Saturday workshop with more time for those who attended Saturday's workshop to sketch and for newcomers to work directly in getting to know your materials and various techniques. Register here on Eventbrite.
Registration ends February 21st.

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, January 14, 2015

Ashley Inguanta hosted a Marriage Equality Celebration and Readings at Lake Eola.

On the evening before the ban on same sex marriages was lifted, Ashley Inguanta hosted readings that were a celebration of love at Lake Eola. I arrived a bit early and did a sketch of a big grassy field thinking that it would soon be filled with hundreds of supporters. Tisse Mallon arrived with some equipment on a dolly. Although the invitation said to meet in the field, Tisse realized that a small staging area nearby might have an outlet where she could plug in an amplifier and a mic. Sure enough there were plugs right behind the stage. She covered a small TV tray table with a black cloth and set the speaker up in front of that. The final touch were small candles that acted as foot lamps.

Perhaps a dozen people gathered on the wooden benches. Ashley took the microphone and introduced herself. She explained that on this chilly evening, we were celebrating the arrival of same-sex marriage with a series of readings by LGBT writers. Readers on the bill included Dianne Turgeon Richardson, Tisse Mallon and Ricardo Williams. As Ashley read the first poem about love, a policeman on a bicycle stopped to shut down the performance. It is rather ironic that poems about love should be considered subversive while people shout out hatred of hell and brimstone on street corners downtown. Ashley asked if she could continue to read without the mic. He allowed that and rode off. Ashley advised everyone to huddle together in the front row, for added body warmth and to hear her over the traffic. She got off the stage and moved close to the audience.

Tisse read an intimate poem about her first love. Other poems were by Dia Davina and Adrienne Rich. Ricardo explained that he wasn't LGBT but any injustice is an injustice to all. Dianne's story was similar. She was recently married and hadn't been writing much poetry while she was happy. The poems she used to write were always dark. On this cold evening there was a warmth and joy in every poem shared. Ricardo read a second poem, but I couldn't hear him over the passing traffic.

Ashley had recently moved to NYC where she hoped to find her soul mate and get married. She reminded us all that there were only four hours left until there would be marriage equality in Florida. Now it will be possible for anyone to find a committed lasting love in the City Beautiful.

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, January 13, 2015

The Maker Faire had a human powered snow cone machine.

Outside the Orlando Science Center, during the Maker Faire, there was a constant line of children and adults waiting to use the human powered wheel. Ice Age is the company that created this technological wonder. It reminds me of a sketch Leonardo Da Vinci did in the renaissance of a human powered machine gun. Human-Powered Snow Cones are the brainchild of dreamer and inventor Joe Donoughe. To use the machine you would stand inside the barrel and walk or run. The motion would power a machine that would crush the ice which would then be dumped into a cup. The cup of ice would move down a small conveyor belt. Pulling a hammer would lower a flat metal hand which would pack the crushed ice down. Then the conveyor belt would move the cup to the flavor station where a pull on a leaver would add the bright colored flavor to the ice.

I would have to bet that standing in the sun and then exercising in the human hamster wheel would burn more calories than what could be gained from the cup of ice. As I was sketching the machine, the Maker Faire was drawing to a close. The line of kids waiting to get their human powered ice never diminished.  At some point the line must have been capped so that the inventors could pack up and go home.

I walked around outside to see what other vendors had to offer. There was a giant red inflatable robot with an M on his chest which clued passers by that the Faire was happening. Paint the Trail was busy painting wooden fencing with hip pop personalities and sayings. There were wind chimes and hand fashioned flutes. I spent two solid days at the Maker Faire and honestly don't think that I saw everything that there was to see.

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, January 12, 2015

The Maker Faire at the Orlando Science Center showcased inovations and inventions.

The Orlando Maker Faire was held on September 13th and 14th at the Orlando Science Center (777 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL). I went both days to see and sketch some of the cool stuff being made and showcased. I immediately went to an upper balcony overlooking the show room floor. The first thing to catch my eye was this huge roller coaster. The coaster would slowly rise up the ramp and then scream downward at top speed. It went through two loop-de-loops before returning back to the station. There was always a crowd surrounding the coaster and kids would sit on the floor to watch with rapt attention.

On the upper right of the sketch I caught a few people who were spectators of the Nerdy Derby. A large table was set up so kids and children at heart could build their own derby car. A long ramp was set up so contestants could face off to see who had the fastest car. There were bleachers set up for the screaming fans.

As I sketched, I heard R2D2 clicking and beeping at guests. He was very popular and everyone had to have their picture taken with him. It turned out that there were close to a dozen R2D2's at the Maker Faire. Some were only partly assembled, so it was possible to see the servos and circuitry that made him run.  Dog Powered Robot and Lollybot were on the show room floor and they were so mobbed with photo requests that I felt it was to crowded and hazardous to sketch. Fisher, the dog who powers the Dog Powered Robot was complacently panting and enjoying the attention. Evan and Christie Miga who created the Dog Powered Robot franchise were a bit overwhelmed but happy about all the attention their blue boxed robot generated.

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, January 11, 2015

Nerd Nite is like the Discovery chanel with beer!

Nerd Nite Orlando at Stardust Video and Coffee, (1842 E. Winter Park Rd. Winter Park, FL) s an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking talks across many disciplines, all while the audience drinks along in a casual bar atmosphere. Speakers present for up to 20 minutes each on a fascinating subject of their choice, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. Following the presentations is a brief question and answer with the audience. Quench your curiosity! Come meet up, drink, and learn something new!

The September 11th Nerd Nite featured “Nerd Nite Trivia!” with Ricardo Williams. Teams of up to 4 people competed against other smarty pants from across the city. Here are a few of the challenging questions. I'll put the answers in the comment section of this post.
1. 90s Animated Series. What 90-93 animated TV series featured the voice talent of Whoopee Goldberg?
2. Wars that the United States fought.  What was the United States major cold war engagement prior to the Vietnam war?
3. People named Michael. Who is the baddest man on the planet?
4. Animals that have sex. If a Puma mates with a Leopard what animal is produced?
5.  Potent potables. What Welsh privateer of the Caribbean was also known as Sir Henry Moore?

The second presentation was, “Steampunk: Creating the Future out of the Past!” by Richard Young. I sketched Richard as he agonized over the Power Point slides. Steampunk is a combination of Victorian Aesthetics with Science Fiction Technology. Speaker He took a look at this Sub-Genre of Science Fiction. Including it’s history, it’s effects on modern culture, and his own experiences exploring this strange and beautiful world. Richard Young has been a member of the Central Florida Steampunk Association for over two years. He spends most of the time at work staring at computer screens, and a lot of time outside of work looking for things to do that do not involve staring at computer screens. An ex-Disney animator is working on a steampunk styled hand drawn animated film. I'm excited to see artists returning to traditional animation. Perhaps we all have been staring at computer screens to long.
Bird Nerd: Plumage, Sex, and Social Selection!” by Angela Tringali. The plumage of birds isn't just beautiful, it serves a function. To determine if the plumage of Florida scrub-jay juveniles had a function she changed it, and their social behavior changed too. She spoke about bird color, and a bird found only in Florida. This nerd nite was a bird nerd nite. Her passion for the subject was contagious. She is a conservation biologist and behavioral ecologist. She earned her PhD in 2013. When Angela isn't chasing birds she is thinking about it. Some people say she has a one-track mind.

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, January 10, 2015

Steampunk was featured at the Orlando Maker Faire.

The Central Florida Steampunk Association was strongly represented at the Orlando Maker Faire held in the Orlando Science Center on September 13th and 14th. Their display was in the Dino Digs area of the museum. A large T-Rex stood menacingly in the background. Intricate costuming and devices were all hand crafted. Leather was being stamped and patterned with detail. There is an infinite amount of detail in every Steampunk costume. The details even have details. A jet pack in front of one of the display tables was constructed using two large soda bottles as the main canisters.

Gadgets and gizmo's were all for sale. The fashion for women featured corsets and fur. I rather like the look. Gusts could stop at the leather working station and pound in some of their own patterns using a metal template and a hammer. In a room behind me, an announcer would let everyone know that the potato gun was about to be fired.  It blasted off about every half hour. In the stairway, Orit Reuben was doing a pastel portrait of Jenny Coyle as she read her book. I'm happy that art was represented at the Maker Faire. There was a back room for robotic battles, but unfortunately the two times I went it the robots were on a break. Robots don't need cigarette breaks.

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, January 9, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 10th and 11th.

Saturday January 10, 2015
9am to 3pm Free. Sanford Farmers Market. A small farmers market on the corner of First and magnolia in Sanford. Right near the old historic clock.

1pm to 3pm Free. Art at the Casa. Casa Feliz 656 N. Park Avenue Winter Park FL. There's No Place Like Home: Art Inspired by Winter Park's Historic Architecture. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum will host a juried art exhibit open to artists of all mediums. The goal of the exhibit is to celebrate Winter Park's historic architecture - past and present - and to elevate the discussion on the importance of historic preservation. Ena Heller, the Bruce A. Beal Director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, will be the judge and will award the top three cash prizes.  There will also be a 'People's Choice' award determined by the votes of viewers.
A Special Community Celebration will be held on Saturday, January 10 from 1-3pm with lots of fun free kids' activities, including crafts, story-telling and music, a 'scavenger hunt' quiz to encourage interaction with art, snacks and more!

9:30pm to 11:30pm. Get a drink or dinner. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Weekly Flamenco performances.

Sunday January 11, 2015
Noon to 3pm Free. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz 656 N. Park Avenue Winter Park FL. Shannon Caine & Beautiful Music. Established in 1989.  Offering from solo musicians to ensembles with custom instrumentation. Genres include classical, jazz and dance music.

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, January 8, 2015

We finally have marriage equality in Orlando.

On January 6th, at midnight, the ban on same sex marriages ended in Florida. At an event called Vowed and Proud, Mayor Buddy Dyer performed a mass wedding for over 40 same sex couples on the steps of city hall. Commissioner Patty Sheehan stepped up to the mic and proudly announced that she was the first openly gay commissioner in the City Beautiful. The crowd cheered. She pointed out that it was a long hard battle to get to this day. This was a day to celebrate love. Some of the couple had been together longer than many heterosexual couples.

I found a view where I could see the mayor and the row of couples waiting to be married. One of Buddy's security guards however considered me a menace with my sketchbook and he told me to move. Sigh, he's just doing his job. I moved much further back to sketch the huge crowd gathered. Originally the ceremony was going to be held in the City Hall rotunda, but the event was too big to be contained inside.  The Mayor Told all the couples to face each other and they recited after him, "With this ring, I thee wed." There was a huge cheer from the crowd when the ceremony was complete. The Orlando Gay Chorus then sang, Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

There were two sad and sullen protesters, but their hateful shouts were downed out by the celebration of love. On a radio program on my drive downtown, the protesters were given a microphone to air their views. I turned the radio off. I don't need to hear their hate. They shouted, "Jesus is coming!" "Good" I thought, "Jesus would appreciate this celebration of love." The tides are changing. The brightness of joy outweighed the protests of a few. Florida Family Action filed a lawsuit against Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in an effort to stop the ceremony, as well as others across the state, reported WKMG in Orlando. The group fought for a gay marriage ban in Florida, which was approved by voters in 2008. That ban was found to be unconstitutional. They clearly did not succeed. Wedding planners, hotels and resorts feel that Orlando could become a wedding destination for same sex couples in the deep south. January 6th was a truly historic moment in Orlando and I'm happy I was there to sketch it.

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, January 7, 2015

The Treat House Cafe and frozen yogurt shoppe is a cozy retreat for children and adults.

Over the winter break, I have been teaching Urban Sketching workshops at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando, FL). The classroom is located in a strip mall on the corner of Conroy Windermere Road and Apopka Vineland Road above a pizza shop. I have four students to start and my main objective is to get them out of the studio to sketch on location every day. Trish Eakin the owner of Treat House Cafe and frozen yogurt shoppe (8935 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando FL.) gave us a warm welcome and invited us to sketch in her shoppe which was right downstairs. She has a table set up in front where children can work on crafts projects. Trish explained, "My dream when I built Treat House was that it would be a warm comfortable place for students and artists to relax, study and create."

The shoppe opened on Valentines Day in 2014, so it is a little less than a year old. Trish used to operate three locations of TCBY as a franchise.  One of those yogurt shops was right in Universal Studios. She had a staff of up to 13 people at the time to keep the shops operating. Unfortunately the shops couldn't stay open since they couldn't sell enough yogurt. She decided to create her own yogurt shop using her creativity and experience to come up with something new. She decorated the shoppe herself making it feel like a seaside rustic retreat. She put in the weathered woodwork and picked out furniture from antiques shops. Every choice reflects her personal rustic aesthetic. 

Trish's Treat House is right across the street from the Chain of Lakes Middle School. When the school has it's big pride day, she had the schools band perform on the back patio of her shoppe and 15% of all yogurt sales went to school programs. Her cozy shop allows her to feel much closer to her local community. I hope to return to sketch the next Pride Celebration.

When my class arrived, there was a family at the table and scissors and cut paper on the table made it clear that snow flakes had been created recently. Dozens of snowflakes were suspended from the ceiling. My student Ali took to sketching the shoppe with gusto. Steve, an Elite instructor sketched the vintage Coke machine giving it a forced perspective to make it look immense and ominous. On the first day we only focused on the line sketch and then on the second day, we used color on the same sketch. Trish worked behind the counter, likely crunching end of the year numbers. She later had to work on one of the yogurt machines, taking it apart and replacing what looked like the mixing blades. Since she is the only person in the shoppe, she has to be a Jack of all trades. Support local entrepreneurs, operating a small local shop is a challenge when huge chains undercut prices.

When our sketches were done, Trish took pictures of us all holding our work.

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, January 6, 2015

Eugine Snoden performed at the Maitland Art Center.

On September 12th, Eugine Snoden performed at the Maitland Art Center for their monthly "Culture Pop" music series. I went to the art center right after work, so I arrived early. The arts building had just been renovated and expanded. The band arrived and started loading in their equipment. Once all the mics were in place, one of the band members plugged in an amplifier and suddenly all the lights went out. A Maitland Arts Center staff member tried flipping the fuse box switch but that didn't work. It was dusk and getting dark fast. I couldn't see my sketch page.

Guests who arrived informed us that the lights were out all over Maitland. I recalled that on the drive to the event, I had passed utility workers working on a power pole about a mile away. The work had caused a major bottle neck on the drive north. Being a consummate performer, Eugine decided that the show must go on. The band brought a few chairs outside and they began to perform an acoustic set.  The audience sat in the grass and on the steps.  There wag a romance in listening to the music under the huge live oak trees covered in hanging moss.

After a few songs, the lights flickered back on. I quickly returned to my seat to continue the sketch I had started. Eugine is an amazing performer. He acts as a ring master inviting other performers to join him at any time. His music is soulful and verges on being a religious experience. He invited violinist Beth Black to join in for several songs and her music blended beautifully into the mix. If you ever have a chance to see Eugine Snoden perform you must jump at the chance.

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, January 5, 2015

Animation has lost veteran animator and teacher Larry Lauria.

On a quiet Sunday to escape a barrage of football games on TV, I went through my phone sites that were bookmarked to thin down the list. I clicked on Animation World Network and was surprised to see a sketch from my former co-worker, Larry Lauria. The article, dated December 3, 2014 was titled "In tribute to my good friend Larry Lauria." I read on, pleased that Larry was getting some much deserved attention. By the second sentence a numb realization dawned on me. The author was referring to Larry in the past tense. Larry, my friend and colleague had died. How had I missed this? Am I so self absorbed in creating sketches, that I would loose sight of friends leaving this world? Of all the billions of articles online, how had I come across this one article?  I couldn't be real. Just a few months ago, Larry had taken part in a group that did a sketch every day and shared those sketches online. Larry was always open to embracing a new creative challenge. I went to his Facebook page in disbelief and found other loving tributes.

The sketch above, shows Larry in a typical pose as he hunched over a drawing in class. He would teach students by example, often having fun animating a scene to see how far he could push the assignment. He loved showing students how to construct characters using simple shapes.  When he found out about my sketch a day work ethic, he quickly embraced cafe drawings into his daily routine. He loved to go to coffee shops where he could relax to sketch and do thumbnails for scenes he was going to work on. While teaching the traditional animation class at Full Sail, he managed to storyboard and animate an entire Salty Dog animated short. His dedication and excitement to the medium of animation was contagious.

Larry and his family traveled to Dublin Ireland where he became the Course Coordinator and an Instructor at the European School of Animation, one of the top three animation programs in the world.  He had students create an animated film that transcended the differences between North and south Ireland. The film was a crowning achievement. Lauria went on to become the head of animation at the Disney Institute in Orlando, FL.  As Disney began lay offs, Larry was saddened to have to let go the talented people he had hired. It was one of the most difficult things he had to do.

On the last day of each months animation class, Larry would often call up animation veterans to give the students a behind the scenes view of the productions they worked on. Larry was never shy about asking advice from animation veterans. When he moved to California he looked in a phone book to find Ward Kimball one of Disney's revered nine old men. In the nervous moment when he introduced himself, Larry stammered, "Hi, this is Ward Kimbal." Ward responded, "No, I'm Ward Kimball." The blunder resulted in laughter on both ends of the line. Ward invited Larry over to his studio and Larry was able to ask any question he wanted of the animation legend.

Larry always said that all of his career moves were tempered by his family's needs. He was blessed that his wife and family always wanted to be a part of the adventure. Larry's son Matt has found success working as an actor in Hollywood films and stage productions. Larry loved to share the air times of any program like Parenthood, that his son was starring in. It made sense that his son would be inspired to follow in his father's footsteps to embrace the entertainment industry. Larry was just as enthusiastic when he introduced me to his daughter at an outdoor concert in Winter Garden.

Larry founded an animation studio in Washington DC because there weren't any studios there. When he moved to Orlando he realized there wasn't an animation festival there. Rather than accept those limits, he felt the need to found an animated festival. When students expressed an interest in having a traditional animation club, Larry talked to school administrators about getting the club started. Larry instilled in me an excitement about getting a chance to experience large animation festivals like the one in Annecy France. He truly loved the medium of animation and he shared that love. He left a mark on every student and he has inspired me to want to be a better artist. Though I find his passing hard to accept, I'll always miss his  humor and excitement about a medium in which anything is possible.

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, January 4, 2015

Lottery tickets at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Certer.

There are affordable tickets to the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. Brian Feldman a performance artist who now resides in Washington DC, returned to Orlando to surprise his parents this holiday season. The family decided to see "The Book of Mormon". At 5:30pm there is a lottery for $25 tickets to the show. The Feldman family was at the front of the line. Names were taken and placed in one of those rotating lottery ticket cages. Perhaps 30 people stood in line.

A group of teens were playing, "Name that Sondheim Show".  The MC knew all the shows, but her friends were Steven Sondheim illiterate. I felt like I should shout out the answers but I kept to myself. She tried to explain "Sunday in the Park with George". "Its difficult to explain, the whole show is about this large painting of people in a park." she explained. At 6pm the first names were drawn. Everyone crowded around the announcer hoping their name would be next. When a name was called out there would be gleeful cheers and clapping. The last name called only got a few disappointed claps. The lottery losers dispersed. None of the Feldman's won the lottery.

Brian had wandered off to find a cash machine because lottery tickets could only be paid for with cold hard cash. I never did see him that night. His Mom, Marilyn, was in the box office in a bit of a panic. She didn't have cash and so she couldn't purchase fer full price ticket.  A friend offered to pay for her. Since so few people know about this lottery, your chances of winning are pretty good. As I hiked back to my car, I over heard a couple who had lost the lottery but had been offered winning tickets from another group that had won to many times.

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, January 3, 2015

Eric Schlosser spoke about his new book Command and Control at Rollins College.

Eric Schlosser's new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety is about the insanity of keeping a nuclear arsenal. He began research on the book after hearing horror stories from enlisted men who are tasked with maintaining these aging nuclear weapons. Many documents have recently been declasifIed, making research possible. He told a story about a simple maintenance worker in a launch silo who was tightening a bolt and accidentally dropped his wrench. It clamored downward and just missed hitting a device which would have caused the bomb to explode.

The nuclear bombs that exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were apparently very inefficient devices. Only 30% of the uranium was part of the nuclear fission used in the blast. The rest of the uranium was just dissipated by the explosions. Had these bombs been better designed, the devastation of the blast would have been much greater. I didn't realize that an atomic bomb is designed to explode in the air just before impact. This means that none of the blasts downward percussive force was wasted.

The arms race resulted in countries hoarding as many weapons of mass destruction as possible. There is something known as the Titanic Effect. Basically every machine eventually fails which is why we need to buy new cars or build new planes. No matter how many safe guards there are, a device will fail because of aging outdated components, or human error. If you have ever driven on the roads in Florida then you know that humans can't be trusted to use machines with safety in mind. A recent airplane crash wasn't caused by pilot error or the engine failing, instead the crash was caused by the seat back entertainment system failing and causing a fire. An airplane was used to transport a nuclear warhead from one storage facility to another. The plane crashed in the Carolinas and thankfully the bomb didn't explode. A huge disaster was narrowly averted. Luck only lasts so long.  The bulk of our nuclear arsenal is using outdated technology from the 60's and 70's.

When the first nuclear bomb was exploded as a test, the scientist weren't sure if it might burn away the entire atmosphere leaving a dead planet. Thankfully that didn't happen but the incessant testing through the years has littered the atmosphere with harmful radiation that will last for centuries. Our need for bigger bombs as security is slowly killing us all. The Russians have created the largest bomb to date, the Tsar Bomba, with a 100 Mega Ton yield. If that puppy were to detonate above Disney World, the air blast radius would go as far north as Mount Dora and as far west as Bithlo. At 5 psi overpressure, most residential buildings would collapse, injuries would be universal, and fatalities widespread. Of course the radio active fallout would drift further killing many more. Oh, Happy New Year!

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, January 2, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 3rd and 4th.

Saturday January 3, 2014
9am to 3pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL. Imagine the vintage and antique items to be found.

10am to 3pm Enrollment required. Urban Sketching Workshops. Elite Animation Academy, 8933
Conroy Windermere Road, Orlando, FL. On the second floor of a shopping complex above a Pizza Shop. All this week (Mon 12/29 to Friday Jan 9 with no workshop Jan 1)  I am teaching Urban Sketching Workshops for middle school and high school students, however any age and skill level is encouraged to join us. Contact Elite Animation for details. 407 459-7959

10am to 5pm Free. New Year First Friday and Saturday at FAVO. Faith Arts Village Orlando 221 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Fl. Art Show and Market.

Sunday January 4, 2014
10am to 3pm Urban sketching Workshop. (See above.)

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. East side of the park near the red pagoda. Weekly. Bring a mat.

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, January 1, 2015

Top 5 Sketches of 2014.

1. August 28, 2014. Lake Highland was Home to the Annual Max Starks NFL Youth Football and Speed Camp.

2. May 5, 2014. Art Car.

3. January 22, 2014. The Carrie Eshman / Doug Gesiorski Wedding.

4. January 24, 2014.Weekend Top 6 Picks.
5. September 2, 2014. Tiny houses are a big draw in 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