Sunday, May 31, 2015

Late With Lance at Fringe.

Late With Lance starring Lance Jonathan, was in the Brown Venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art. A poster in the museum showcased the new, hip marketing campaign the museum has started. Over a photo of the museum was written "Orlando Museum O Art". Was this a typo, had they forgotten the "f" in "of"? Perhaps it is just more hip now to leave out letters like f because o texting. Lance equated the bronze venue to a broom closet. His program which everyone got, had his acting resume on one side. He figured someone in the audience must be a talent scout. He had been the head o Big Bird in a National Tour o Sesame Street Live on Ice. He was Nana, the dog in Peter Pan and a Snow Baby in Ice Capades. His skills include, blending into a crowd, crying and or laughing on cue and talking fast.

The last was definitely true, because he was a whirlwind from the moment he got on stage. He pulled a "Late with Lance" banner out o a bucket and used the lid as a blinking marquee.  He pulled a woman out o the audience to act as his co-host for a talk show. The second she spoke, he interrupted her to point out that her sole purpose was to laugh. He pulled another woman out o the audience and asked her intimate questions that required plenty o thought. When she answered, he would prod for more information, saying "And... please go on." When asked what her most uncomfortable experience in life had been, she replied "Right now." David Horgan, one o DEM Guys who sees as many shows as humanly possible, held up well under interrogation. His years of watching theater lead him to catch Lance as he made a remark that was a segway to a musical number.

The auburn hair made Lance look rather young. From my front row seat however I could see that his side burns didn't match the hair. Lance let us know that he had asked quite a few stars to come to Orlando to be interviewed on his show. He would periodically check with his tech guy to see if anyone had called. The audience would console him in these moments o disappointment. When he isn't performing exotic Fringe shows, Lance helps his dad and his boyfriend doing a dinner theater show on a cruise ship. A call finally did come, from his dad, and Lance quickly stripped to get into a hula skirt along with a coconut bikini. The wig came off along with his shirt and his young energetic facade crumbled. This was a fun hour of high energy performance. The streamers and banner went back into the bucket.  This was a fun, high energy hour of theater and I admire anyone who can maintain that level of energy for an hour.

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, May 30, 2015

Are you a bully or the bull?

Tasty Monster Productions from the United Kingdom presented Ferdinand in the Red venue of this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. The show was inspired by the classic children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf, Ferdinand tells the story of Tom, a single dad struggling to raise his son in a world determined to make him fight. Raised on the story of his namesake Ferdinand, the bull who refused to fight but just wanted to sit and smell the flowers, young Ferdy learns the hard lessons in life as his father tries to shield him from the harsh realities of adulthood.

Tom reads the story of Ferdinand the bull to his son so many times at night that the boy knows the story by heart. Tom's increasingly demanding job keeps pulling him away from being able to spent time with his son.  He brings his son into work for "bring your child to work day".  At the end of the work day his boss came in and demanded that he stay late. He starts yelling and bullying Tom in front of his son. Furious, Tom clenches his fists and is ready to punch his boss. His son however stops him, reminding him to be the bull not the bully. Tom does however quite his job on the spot.

The boy begs his dad to come to a school play. It turned out that his son was playing the title roll as the kind natured bull Ferdinand. Tom's boss is also in the audience.  He confides that he wasn't ready for all the new responsibility and he needed Tom's expertise to get through the rough patch. Tom is hired back and for the first time sees the more human side of his boss, who was there to see his own son in the play.

This was a simple heart warming tale about the difficulties of raising a child alone. It was a solo show with heart and sincerity. I was surprised that some people don't know the story of Ferdinand the Bull. I included a link to the Disney Animated classic above, so if you don't know the story, then at least watch the animated short.

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, May 29, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 30th and 31st

Saturday May 30, 2015
6pm to 8pm Free. "TEXT" group art show. The Barefoot Spa 801 Virginia Dr, Orlando, Florida. "TEXT" features the work of 30 Central Florida artists. The connecting theme of this show is the use of words and numbers in art. Included are paintings, sculptures, photography and multi media pieces. The collection is diverse vibrant and interesting.
This show will be up for the months of May, June and July at The Barefoot Spa. Most of the artists will be available at the reception to speak to you about their art. Please make time in your schedule to support the Central Florida art community!

7pm to 9pm Free. Functionally Literate presents: PINKIES. 1300 Brookhaven Dr, Orlando, FL. Join us on the 3rd leg of our first ever Func Lit Florida Tour, and celebrate the release of Burrow Press' latest book with readings and book signings by:
Shane Hinton, author of Pinkies
Jeff Parker, author of Where Bears Roam the Streets
Erica Dawson, author of The Small Blades Hurt
Books for sale by Bookmark It.
After party at Lil Indies, 1036 N. Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 10pm, with literary cocktails, and jams brought to you by PhDj Dawson.
Both events are free, so bring your book-buyin' money.

9:30pm to 10:30pm Free performance but order food or drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco dancers.

Sunday May 31, 2015
10am to 12:30pm  $10 Crealde Sketch Class. Crealdé School of Art, 600 St Andrews Blvd, Winter Park, FL. Life drawing session from the nude model.

Noon to 3pm Free. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. Classern String Quartet  The Classern String Quartet combines the Classic elegance of a string quartet with a modern twist by performing pop and rock melodies from yesterday and today.
Each member of the Quartet is a college educated, Classically trained musician that have performed in major symphonies and events throughout Florida.
They have a large repertoire of music and perform anything from Bach to the Beatles, Lady Gaga , the Black Eyed Peas and everything in between.

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL on the grass on the east end of the park near the red pagoda. Weekly.

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, May 28, 2015

Alone in the Universe presented a humerous existential look at the meaning of life.

Big Whoop productions from Vancouver Canada presented Alone in the Universe a one-man sketch comedy experience about the mystery of existence and what it means to be just a dumb human floating in space, examined through characters, mime, music, and stand-up. This Fringe show written and performed by Adam Pateman was presented in the Bronze venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art. Adam who was dressed like a gas station attendant was challenged by an alien announcer to solve the mysteries of life, or the entire human race would be annihilated.

Adam followed with a one man monologue that reflected on his past and present. Of course none of what he said addressed the ultimate question but the point was to go along for a fun ride. He seemed to feel that turning 30 was a major life change. Hair grew in new and unexpected places. The following decades bring much greater surprises.

He ultimately concluded that the meaning of life must be the question itself, that we had been given life and the ability to reason so that we might ultimately ask the question. The sinister alien announcer stated simply "No". It turns out that all of existence came about so that there might be a seventh season of Glee on TV.

Since Adam was wrong the announcer stated that the world would end at any moment. The audience sat in the dark theater and waited. He toyed with the audience by announcing our untimely end several times. Would the show ever end? Were we destined to sit in this dark purgatory forever?

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, May 27, 2015

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra has a new Musical Director

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s international search for a new Music Director was announced in the spring of 2013. Over 12 months, a committee comprised of orchestra musicians and community members spent over 2000+ hours to screen a slate over more than 275 candidates from around the world to choose five finalists, who each conducted a classical program during the 2014-2015 season.

The finalists were,  Alondra de la Parra, Steven Jarvi, Eric Jacobsen, Dirk Meyer, and Leslie B. Dunner. On May 4th, patrons of the Philharmonic were invited to the Plaza Live Theater for a Sneak Peek to find out who would conduct the orchestra for the next season. As at the Academy Awards, a single sealed envelope sat on a music stand at center stage. Emily Lindahl was kind enough to be sure I found a seat up front to sketch from. As we bustled through the crowd, she let slip that HE was the perfect choice as conductor. So the list was whittled down to four finalists in my head now. If Orlando wasn't ready for a female conductor, would they be ready for an African American conductor? I didn't get to see every conductor perform, so I am unqualified to decide who should lead the Orchestra into the future. But I was certainly impressed with Alondra and Leslie, the conductors I did get to sketch.

 After much pomp and circumstance the envelope was opened and the tympani drum roll began. Eric Jacobsen's name was announced and the Philharmonic brass section played regal music from the balcony. Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative programming projects. As co-founder and Music Director of adventurous orchestra The Knights and a founding member of genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, he may take credit for helping to ensure “the future of classical music in America”. (Los Angeles Times).

David Schillhammer., the Philharmonics Executive Director sat on stage opposite Eric and together they announced the upcoming season. Eric must have some loose ends to tie up because there were quite a few concerts where a guest conductor had to fill in.

Mark Your Calendars! The Music Director Debut will be on Saturday October 24, 2015 at 8:00pm at the Bob Carr Theater. Eric Jacobsen will conduct and Joyce Yang will be on piano. Music Director Eric Jacobsen and the orchestra embark on their musical journey with two concerts featuring Van Cliburn silver medalist Joyce Yang, and a banquet of masterpieces spanning four centuries.

BEETHOVEN  Leonore Overture No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Piano Concerto No. 1
RAVEL  Daphnis et Chloe: Suite No. 2

 For more information about all the other concerts coming up this season, be sure to check the Orlando Philharmonic web 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, May 26, 2015

Corsets and Cuties bring belly laughs to burlesque at Fringe.

Double Tree Productions presents Corsets and Cuties a Burlesque Cabaret in the Black Venue (The Venue) at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. I went to one of their earlier shows at 10:30pm to sketch. What Babs and her troupe do is make burlesque fun and classy in equal measure. A three foot long sausage with balls on the male dancer might not be classy, but it is laugh out loud fun. He also did a number to the song Kriptonite in superman pajamas. When he stripped behind his long red cape, the women in the audience went crazy. He did turn around but kept part of the cape covering his midsection at all times just like the drapery in a Michelangelo.

I love the Three Belly dancers who performed a James Bond themed belly dance.  Theirs is a graceful class act. I wanted to catch their graceful gestures but my sketch was already crowded with performers. Their was a magical effect created by the blue footlights that I would have loved to catch. Sometimes I wish my right hand could move a whole lot faster (for sketching).

The number about the history of the brazier featured Babs in a costume that had impossibly large pillowy breasts. Jaimz wore a German Tirolean costume and the routine has to be seen to be believed. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. The big reveal would often happen with a performer's back to the audience and these performers understand the art of the tease. Performers walked out into the audience and dollar bills would be stuffed into crevices. As the whole troupe took their final bow, a fist full of dollars rained down on the stage. The show is sponsored by Premier Couples Superstore. Every evenings show is different so there are always surprises.

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, May 25, 2015

Autobahn shines it's headlights on the drama of road trips.

Handwritten Productions presented Autobahn written by Neil Labute, in the Red Venue of this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. It presented five one act scenes with the audience voyeuristicly looking through the windshield at couples in the front seats of their car. The show began with headlights shining in the audiences eyes. The first scene featured a young woman, (Kristen Shoffner) in a black skull T-shirt slouching down in the passenger seat. Presumably her mother, (Candy Heller) sat stoic and silent behind the driving wheel. The young woman chatted non-stop while the driver never spoke and always seemed a bit annoyed. It became clear over time that the young woman had beer released from a rehab program. She had learned how to give the staff all the right answers. The one thing she had learned is that she needed to have one person she could always confide in. She informed the driver that it was her lucky day because she would always confide in her. What she confided however was that she couldn't wait to start using again. She missed the rush, the heavenly high. It was clear that the stoic driver wasn't pleased, but she must have had a checkered past as well because the passenger felt no one would take the driver's word were she to try and turn the young woman in.

A boy and girl sat in a car with a bench seat at a lovers point. The girl, (Jillian Gizzi) was on edge because she thought the boy, (Adam DelMedica)  might want to break up with her. Instead then began to make out. When they come up for air she tells him  about the last boy who broke up with her. She sought revenge by mailing dead mice to his house from different locations. She rejoiced in the fact that police were unable to stop her. The boy's face turned pale as he heard about her fatal attraction and unending need for revenge. He had been happy with their relationship, but now he clearly wanted out but was to frightened to broach the subject.

The scene that hit closest to home for me featured an older man behind the wheel, (Lucas Perez) and a young girl curled up in the passenger's seat (Marisa Nieves Hemphill). From their first interactions I presumed this was a father and daughter. He chastised her for her behavior in a rest stop where her temper tantrum had gotten him quite upset. However, the more they spoke, the less close they seemed. I kept trying to guess her age. When she was curled up in the fetal position she seemed like such a young child but as they spoke she seemed to mature. The drivers affection for the girl seemed fine when I imagined he was her dad but when it became clear he was a stranger, his affection became menacing. He was her driver's ed instructor and he was taking her to a secluded cabin. I wanted to shout out, "Get out of the car!" But instead she chatted amicably seeking forgiveness for her outburst at the rest stop. He spotted a deer on the side of the road, and she begged him to turn around so she could see it. He refused. He was now clearly in control. She curled up again. He asked, "Can I touch your hair?" She asked "Why?" "Because I want to." he replied. The lights dimmed as he ran his fingers through her hair. Marisa, the actress in this scene, resembles a friend of mine who once confided that a relative had sexually abused her. This is more common than I ever imagined here in Florida. Another friend, who later committed suicide confided that her brother had done the same when she was very young. She had blocked that memory for years. When it resurfaced, she couldn't live with it. This scene sticks with me because I wish that the inevitable tragedy could be averted.

The plays title comes from the last scene in which the woman says that perhaps the Germans had it right with their Autobahn in that there should be no speed limits and we should speed through life never having time to see the people speeding past us. We are all in a mad automotive rush, but to what end, what final destination? I can't shake this play which first appeared at the Little Shubert Theater in NYC on March 8, 2004. This is what Fringe does best, five one act scenes that will linger forever. This was the Patron's Pick in the Red Venue so there is one more performance.

Last performance: Monday May 25,  12:30pm to 1:30pm
Length: 60 minutes.
Venue: Red (Shakes behind through the courtyard and up to a second floor theater)
Rated: 18+ for language and sexual themes
Tickets: $11 (+service charge)

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, May 24, 2015

7(+1) Samurai is high energy fun at this year's Orlando Fringe.

Actor David Gaines thanked patrons standing in line for his solo show, 7(+1) Samurai. His show is in one of the largest venues which is a good thing because word of mouth will result in even larger lines. On his own, David acts out the movie 7 Samurai, playing all the parts himself. The result is at times mysterious, and often hilarious. His impression of a frightened farmer running through his field is worth the price of admission alone.

Sound effects play an integral part in every scene and he created them all with his voice from the flump of a falling body to the swipp, chunck, jigga jigga jigga of an arrow slicing through the air and hitting its target.  In many ways it felt like the movie was being projected quickly like in the silent film era. The masks were used to represent the villain and then the quiet and stoic hero samurai who helped the villagers learn how to defend themselves.

As an artist, I had to glance down at my sketch sometimes, and when I looked up, David had become another character. Fight sequences might find him changing character 7 times or more every minute. It was a non-stop fun whirlwind that didn't stop until his open hand with radiating fingers representing the setting sun,
lowered behind his extended arm and the lights faded to black.

This high energy romp is one of my top picks from this year's Fringe Festival. It is a show that must be seen to be believed.

7(+1) Samurai
Only one show remaining: Sunday 5/24 3:45pm to 4:45pm
Tickets are $10 (plus a service charge).
Rating: 7+
Run time: 60 minutes.
Venue: Orange (The Margison Theater inside the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center)

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, May 23, 2015

Hoodies opens a much needed discussion about racism in America.

Penguin Point Productions and Beth Marshall Presented the World Premiere of Hoodies written by Paris Crayton III and directed by Beth Marshall at this year's Orlando Fringe. It is the third in a series of productions addressing racism following the Trayvon Martin shooting. Beth was driving home from a 17 hour long Fringe day setting up for the Hoodies premiere., As she said, "I get pulled over by O-Town's finest. Apparently, I was going 7 miles over the speed limit at one point and swerved a little. (NOTE- I have not had one drink in god knows how long) When the cop is shining his flashlight in the car, he sees the Hoodies posters and asks about the show. I proceeded to tell him about the year-long Trayvon Martin Project and that Hoodies is part 3 and do my pitch. He says" So you want people to come to a show about "cops doing their jobs" (a line that is said a LOT in the play by our cop) for the betterment of the community." To which I reply, the death of black teens is never to the betterment of our community, sir. He went off to run my information and then 2 other cop cars pull up to check on him and come over and to see the Hoodies flyers. As they take them, I say- I have another show at Fringe that you might like better- ha! (meaning Cosmolyrical) and handed these two cops the flyers. Then they all come back over and the cop gives me a warning for my "speeding and swerving" and makes a joke saying "here's a warning for doing a show about bad cops"... I was not amused. Then one of the others said, begins talking about how he once did South Pacific in some community theatre in one of the Carolina's. Again, I was not amused.... Then they said they were "gonna try to make it to them". I asked if I could take a photo of them with the flyers and they said no. HAPPY FRINGE!"

Hoodies presents the story of  “Hooper” Williams, (Stelson Telfort) a seventeen year old black teen who is energetic, smart, and full of life. He is exceptional at basketball and a popular student at his high school. The genius of this play is that you learn to love Hooper through a series of scenes with his family and friends. Much of the cast consists of theater students from Lake Howell High School.  This makes perfect sense since the story is about the senseless shooting of a fellow student.

 The scenes don' t happen in chronological. In one of the funniest scenes, Hooper confides in his mom, Alice (Shonda L Thurman) that he is nervous about asking a girl to the prom. Mom suggests he ask her as if she were the girl in question. Then she starts asking questions about the girl so she can "get in character". As she explains, she is a method actor. When he confides that the girl is white, she says, "You're making this difficult on me." She does play the part however, as a stereo typical Valley girl to hilarious effect. When he finally does ask her out, she replies simply, "No, I have plans." "Mom!" he shouts, and then she explains what he did wrong.

Students discussed the insane action their school took to ban hoodies. A young black student had been shot by a police man while wearing a hoodie and this was the schools knee jerk reaction to protect the student population. Jenny (Momo Earle) a soft spoken Caucasian girl lamented that changing what students wear isn't a solution. Only an open discussion and real change could stop the killing. She had been close to the boy shot and was still devastated by his senseless death. In another scene, Hooper and Jenny meet in the school hallway and they struggle to talk in an awkward exchange. Hooper finally builds up the courage to ask Jenny out and her simply "Yes" eases the tension. They both gleefully shake in delight when they walk away. From that moment on however, the audience knows that Hooper will be shot.

"The Talk" parents have with black teen boys is different than the talk Caucasian parents have with their boys. Rather than "the birds and bees" Hooper's parents explain how he must act when being confronted by a police man. They tell him that he must keep his hands visible at all times and never raise his voice. He should never give the policeman any reason to escalate the situation. "But what if I didn't do anything wrong!" he shouts. "It doesn't matter." he is told that just the color of his skin makes him a suspect in racial profiling..

Frank Stevens (Stephen Lima) is a Caucasian male who is new to the police force. In a conversation with his wife, Katie (Chelsey Panisch) he finds out that she is unhappy with the way that their marriage is going and can’t handle the new pressure of being so closely involved with the death of a young teen. "You think I'm guilty" he tells her. "It didn't have to end the way it did" she replies. "I was doing my job!" he shouts. As an audience member, you can't help but recall how many Germans after World War II also confided that they "were just following orders".

Hooper was shot the night before prom and Jenny came on stage in a beautiful purple prom dress to explain that she would never go to prom. Hooper's mom was so overcome with grief that she couldn't stop crying. Her husband, Jonathon (Barry White) confided that he couldn't stand to see her in so much pain. He felt helpless in the wake of so much pain.

What makes this play so powerful is that you see every characters strengths and flaws in each scene. I recently traveled to Turkey and some people felt I should have bean scared. Ironically a Turkish taxi driver confided that America is a far more scary place. No where else in the world are so many unarmed youths killed. Police in America kill citizens at over 70 times the rate of other first world nations. Hoodies addresses this problem in a very human way. It is theater at it's best because it forces us to took at ourselves and realize that chance will only happen if enough people raise their voice. The cast and crew of Hoodies did an amazing job and I hope the show will find a larger audience. After the show, the theater lobby was crowded full of students holding signs of protest. Don't miss Hoodies!

Where: Silver Venue (Orlando REP, Bush Theatre) 1001 East Princeton Street (Loch Haven Park) Orlando FL

Tickets: $11 + service charge.

Remaining Shows:
Saturday, 5/23- 8:30pm
Sunday, 5/24- 12:30pm

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, May 22, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Orlando Fringe Picks.

Saturday May 23, 2015
A $10 Fringe Button is needed for entrance to all shows. Available at the Shakes box office. (good for entire 14-Day Festival.). Anyone can Fringe. I will be at Fringe from 10am to 4pm all weekend doing a Fringe Sketch Tour. If you spot me, be sure to say hi.

11:45pm to 12:45pm $11 + service charge. Moonlight After Midnight. Green Venue (Rep Black Box). 60 minutes. Rated 7+ years old. "A beautiful woman meets a mysterious man in a midnight hotel room. Starring Martin Dockery & Vanessa Quesnelle". I have seen Martin Dockery tell stories on the Fringe stages for the past several years and I am always spellbound.

2pm to 2:55pm $11 + service charge. Tales Too Tall for Trailers. Brown Venue (Shakes inside former Philharmonic rehearsal space). 55 minutes. All ages. "Comedian / Storyteller Paul Strickland  and Erika Kate MacDonald  join forces in this off-kilter musical family comedy! Funny songs, strange southern stories, shadow puppetry, a pet named "Peeve" and more. The final installment in Paul's trailer park trilogy." I saw this show and was delighted with it's humor, innocent and clever use of shadow puppetry and wit.

4:30pm to 5pm $5 + service charge. Judy Garland. Orange Venue (Shakes Margison Theater). 30 minutes. Rated 18+. "That Judy Garland show from last year that sold out four times and wasn't even listed in the program is back in a bigger venue with cheaper tickets." This show had me laughing out loud last year, and I have to see it again.

Sunday May 24, 2015
12:30pm to 1:30pm  $11 + service charge. Hoodies. Silver Venue (Large Rep Theater). 60 minutes. Rated 13+. "The third piece in our Beth Marshall Presents: The Trayvon Martin Project year - long exploration of racism, profiling, gun control and the tragic loss of too many black teens. A raw and powerful socio-political play delving deeply into the core of race relations between blacks and whites today with the purpose of greater communication, healing and celebration of diversity." Theater at it's best. That opens a raw and much needed discussion of race in America.

3:15pm to 4:15pm $11 + service charge. Autobahn. Red Venue (Shakes back courtyard and then upstairs) 60 minutes. Rated 18+.  "From the playwright of reasons to be pretty, Neil LaBute's Autobahn is a provocative, darkly comic portrait of America - "from a make-out session gone awry to a kidnapping thinly disguised as a road trip" - set within the confines of the front seat of a car, a gritty fable about the words we leave unsaid." Incredibly compelling theater. One of my favorite shows this year.

4:20pm to 5:20pm $11 + service charge. Janis Joplin, Little Girl Blue. Gold Venue (In the Orlando Museum of Art theater). 60 minutes. Rated 18+.  "Kaleigh Baker and an all-star band of Orlando's finest musicians, including director Andy Matchett, present an in-depth and passionate look at the life, music and untimely death of one of Music's greatest icons: Janis Joplin. Baker swells in volume as she moves from a solo rendition of "What Good Can Drinkin Do?" to an explosive 8 piece band backing her on hits like Peace of My Heart and Get It While You Can." Kaleigh is the one singer who can truly capture the spirit of Janice when she sings. At the rehearsal I was transported back in time.  If you also see Autobahn the same day, you will literally have to run across the parking lot to catch this show but it is worth the effort.

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, May 21, 2015

Bubble Gum Party blows up the Brown Venve.

The Bubble Gum Party is a splash of color at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. The  Silver Dollar Productions singing trio consists of Robbie Bubble (dad), Debbie Bubble (mom), and Abby Bubble (daughter). They sing sugar sweet pop songs with a twist. The show stars Summer AielloSarah French, and Keven Kriegel. The book and lyrics are by Kevin and Sarah, and the music by Ned Wilkinson. I met the cast briefly before the show and Kevin gave me a "Blow Me!" button that I proudly sport on my art bag. Blue Estrella had invited me to the show.

The show is billed a wholesome family fun, yet every song has hilarious double meanings. As the poster says, "Fun for the whole family" and "Not suitable for children". Sarah was adorable as the child in this high octane Partridge family. Dad dropped hint after hint that he enjoys a muscular mans body while Debbie seemed oblivious to his wandering lust. Sarah announced that she likes "sexting" but to her that is any text with some hip urban attitude.

Every song in the show was laugh out loud funny and the audience was on there feet clapping and dancing. The show began with Sarah shouting out to the audience, "Who's been to a Bubble Gum Party before!" The audience sat silent. "Well who hasn't been to a Bubble Gum Party before!" The audience cheered. "Yay!" From that moment on, the energy never dropped. Abby wondered how many bubble gum balls she could fit in her mouth.  Debbie thought two balls were enough for her, but Robbie could fit or dreamed of fitting far more. What followed was a fun hour of laughter and sexual innuendo. I laughed so hard, that at times it was hard to draw.

The sock puppets that represented stereo typical racial types made me a bit uncomfortable but they were so un-pc that I had to laugh.  Robbie held a guitar but clearly couldn't play. Perhaps this was a poke at lip syncing divas. This boisterous family did however know how to sing into their brightly colored mics! If you love laughter and having a good time, this is the show for you.

Bubble Gum Party
Remaining show times:
Friday May 22,  9:45pm to 10:45pm
Saturday May 23, 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Sunday May 24,  3:15pm to 4:15pm
Venue: Brown (Shakes former Philharmonic rehearsal space)
Rating: 13+
Length: 60 minutes 
Tickets: $9

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, May 20, 2015

Nick Paul's Impossible Feats of Fake Magic offered comedy and Magic.

Nick Paul's Impossible Feats of Fake Magic in the Fringe bronze venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art was a highly entertaining hour of magic. Nick is an Orlando native and this was the first time I had to sketch his act. A helium balloon was suspended in the middle of the stage. Nick eyed the balloon and with a flourish decided to cut the ribbon that held the balloon to the stage. Amazingly the balloon remained hovering where it was rather than floating to the ceiling. He then waved his hands around the balloon to show that there were no rods or supports holding the balloon in place. Next he tried to move the balloon by pushing and pulling it with no effect. I actually used to show a YouTube clip to my Full Sail students in which a mime tried to move a helium balloon. Darko Cesar, a former Disney Animator turned me on to this entertaining piece. We used it to show students how an animators job is to imply stress and strain by using exaggerated poses. When done right the unbelievable becomes plausible.

Nick asked an audience member to pick out a long word in the Fringe program. An envelope taped to the back of the trunk was opened and somehow that work was written on the sheet of paper inside. I tried to figure out the trick but in the end enjoyed simply being amazed. Nick's wife joined him at the end of the show and somehow she was quickly transported inside a small box when behind a curtain for a minute. Her hand waved from a small hole in the box and that was the end of the show. People didn't know if they should leave. At the exit several audience members approached Nick, concerned that his wife was still locked away in the box.  I don't know if she ever got out. Of course all magic is fake, but Nicks physical comedy and audience participation made it a fun and entertaining show. He performs magic regularly at Walt Disney World where magic is expected.

Venue: Bronze
Length: 50 minutes
Rating: 13+
Tickets: $10 (+service charge)
Remaining Show Times:
Wednesday May 20, 2015  5:30pm to 6:20pm
Sunday May 24, 2015        8:15pm to 9:05pm

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, May 19, 2015

Valence explores the psycology of touch through dance.

I thought I had sketched every dance company in town, but Explore Theatre and Dance Company from Winter Park presenting Valence at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival was new on my radar. The show began with the entire line of dancers walking in slow motion towards the audience, then an elegant and solidly built female dancer pivoted at a 90 degree angle to the stage grid. What followed was dancers balancing and supporting each other in a slow abstract choreography. Bonds seemed to form and then break apart.

Between scenes audio recordings would showcase a dancers insecurities, doubts and accomplishments. I kind of dreaded these audio prologues since I couldn't sketch in the dark and I didn't have anything for my hungry eyes to soak in. When the lights came up, each dance was fluid and focused on relationships and isolation. It seems like isolation always won in the end. I loved that not all the dancers where thin. Every imaginable body shape and size moves in fluid elegant ways. Even the dance company's founder,  Chris Gonzalez, is a solid brick of a man who is willing to experiment and take chances. I love sketching dance despite the challenges, so I was a kid in a candy shop. You might notice that sitting in an audience is not my MO. I like being on the outside looking in, a voyeur to the whole theatrical experience. Perhaps that is why I identify with the theme of isolation in the show.

Remaining Show Times:
Thursday May 21  7:00pm
Thursday May 24, 7:00pm
Run Time:
60 minutes

Red  (behind the Shakes, 2nd floor)
Tickets: $7 (+ service charge)

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, May 18, 2015

Janice Joplin brings her amazing voice to the Fringe.

Andy Matchett the show's author and director invited me to a dress rehearsal for Janice Joplin, Little Girl BIue starring Kaleigh Baker.  The rehearsal was in Castle Door Recording Studio on Kentucky Avenue in Winter Park. This was the perfect setting for this show. From the moment I entered the recording studio, I felt like I had stepped back into the 60s.

 As I approached the sound studio on foot, I saw costume designer Sara Grey struggling to push a tall rack of 60's outfits towards the entrance. The wheels caught on every bump in the pavement causing her to have to pause every few feet to lift the rack up. Because of her I knew I was in the right place. I helped her get the costumes through the door. It turns out that Kaleigh and a band member had to perform at the Fringe opening ceremonies that night, so that gave Sara an hour to hand out costumes and make any adjustments. When Andy arrived, he offered me a Yuengling  before the rehearsal started and I felt the thrill of being in a recording studio with so much raw talent. I had sketched Kaleigh Baker before at smokey dives like Tanquerey's downtown and I knew that she is the one person who could sing like Janice.

The show presents an in-depth and passionate look at the life, music and untimely death of one of Music's greatest icons: Janis Joplin. Baker swells in volume as she moves from a solo rendition of "What Good Can Drinkin Do?" to an explosive 8 piece band backing her on hits like "Peace of My Heart" and "Get It While You Can". Laura Joplin (Amanda Warren) sat and spoke about her sister Janice. She painted a picture of Janice as a child that never fit in who was bullied and harassed by fellow students. There was a hint of envy in her words and I loved that Janice had overcome her past and her music helped her soar.

The scene that I saw rehearsed several times involved Jimmy Hendrix (Pascal Sacleux) taking the place of one of the guitarists on stage (Jeff Nolan).  In shock the guitarist walks off stage. The following instrumental performance blew the roof off. Hendrix exuded confidence and he made love to Janice with his guitar with wild abandon. By the end of the performance he lay the guitar on the ground and caressed its strings like an out of control lover. After one performance in which Janice sang her heart out, a band member shouted out "I don't know what that was, but it was out of control!" "Damn right!" I thought. "That was absolute wild magic!" I thought the scene had ended and I laughed and shouted in delight. The scene hadn't ended I had forgotten this was a rehearsal. For a moment I was in the studio with the real Janice Joplin and I wanted her to burn bright. I loved how she could let go.

Magic happened in the studio that night. Janice Joplin will blow your mind at this year's Fringe Festival.

Venue: Gold (in the Orlando Museum of Art)
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: 18 and up 
Remaining shows:
May 19  8:15pm to 9:15pm
May 22  10:00pm to 11:00pm
May 23  10:00pm to 11:00pm
May 24  4:20pm to 5:20pm

Tickets: $11 (+service. Charge)

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, May 17, 2015

Anne Frankenstein strikes the Orlando Fringe like lightening.

Anne Frankenstein written by Michael Knight and directed by Adam McCabe melds the worlds of horror and 70's grind house films. In the opening scene Dr. Sylva Steffel, (Meghan Mitchell) harnessed the power of a lightning storm to re-animate the dead body of Anne Frankenstein (Lauren Culiver). The theater lights flickered and sparked as the body twitched and then slowly sat upright. Anne was killed by Nazis in a concentration camp but she and her sister were put on ice. Anne was re-assembled using some of her sister's body parts.

Anne was brought back to life to be a super human Nazi killing machine much like the vengeful female protagonist in "Kill Bill." The "Igor" in this tale (Rob Mobley) explains to Anne how he helped re-build her. He shows Anne her printed diaries and she is shocked to find out millions of people have read her words. She vows to kill every living Neo-Nazi.

Heinrich Von Arschloch  (Michael Mikanite Knight) is the leader intent on finishing Hitler's work. He incites his thugs by telling them simplistic lies about how Jews are running America. At the heart of this insane lie is Einstein Bagels. Heinrich's daughter Pamela (Danielle Miller) is as evil if not more evil than her father. Her weapon of choice is a cinder block at the end of a bat that creates a hammer that even Thor might envy.

Anne quickly kills the Neo-Nazi thugs that are torturing an Einstein Bagels costumer.  To get to Heinrich Von Arschloch however she has to battle the imposing Pamela. The play moves at s thrilling pace. The single set piece rotates between the Neo-Nazi den and the Doctor's laboratory for quick efficient scene changes. The tech rehearsal I sat in had many stops and starts to adjust lighting cues and sound effects. I do suspect that Anne Frankenstein will  have long lines of ticket holders waiting to see the carnage. Believe the buzz. It's Alive!

Sunday, 5/17- 10:00pm
Saturday, 5/23- 10:00pm
Sunday, 5/24- 6:00pm

The Orange Venue (Margeson Theater)
Orlando Shakespeare Theater
812 E Rollins St,
Orlando, FL 32803

TICKETS are $10 w/ Orlando Fringe Button
($2 off with legal proof of Jewish heritage!)

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, May 16, 2015

Lay Ms parodies Le Miserables set in the swinging 60s.

Lay Ms written by Paul C Tugwell and lyrics by Brian Rewis used the songs from Les Miserables and changed the lyrics to tell the story of BDSM, porn and gay rights in the 60s. It followed the story of a young girl who decided she needed the money that a strip club could offer. The club lead to her downfall but her child found a protector. Trying to compress the plot of the epic Les Miserables into 90 minutes resulted in a somewhat rushed production. Set changes came at a break neck pace after every song. Each time the theater went black, I had to stop sketching. Having only seen the movie version of Les Miserables, I had a hard time assimilating the characters French names. I would have kept better track with Dick, Jane and Harry. The premise of Lay Ms is genius and at times I did sympathize with the plight of gay and transgender characters who were not treated as equals.  Gay bashing is sadly still prevalent in America.  The songs resulted in several inspired performances but the off stage synthesizer didn't offer much in the way of back up.

One scene involved actress and director Tara Rewis as Eponine a lesbian who is forced by her scheming parents to star in a heterosexual porn film. A bartender, who was a long time friend offered to help out. The scene featured the only nudity in the show and her performance singing the song, flat on her back and her head leaning over the edge of the bed was admirable. She tolerated the heterosexual sex while trying to imagine her female lover. When she straddled him, she took her bra and placed it over his breasts and then cupped his breasts in her hands with eyes closed. It was an inspired and hilarious scene.

When the revolution culminated in the Stonewall Riots the crowd sang the battle cry in unison with flags waving and protest posters highlighting the continued inequality. Marriage equality now exists in 37 states. 13 states remain in the dark ages. 40% of gay youths commit suicide. Changing attitudes takes time so the battle rages on. I found myself humming the tune for the rest of the day although I didn't remember the lyrics. The show had some rough edges which is to be expected since this was a rehearsal. Some of the dialogue seemed forced as if to rush the plot along to get to the next song. The overall premise is fun and the music kept me thinking about the battle for equality long after the show was over.

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, May 16 - 12:30 PM — 2:00 PM
Monday, May 18 - 8:45 PM — 10:15 PM
Tuesday, May 19 - 7:00 PM — 8:30 PM
Friday, May 22 - 10:00 PM — 11:30 PM
Saturday, May 23 - 4:00 PM — 5:30 PM
Sunday, May 24 - 8:00 PM — 9:30 PM

Length: 90
Venue: Silver in the REP
Price: $9 (+service charge) and Fringe Button!
Rating: 18+ - Nudity|Language|Adult Content|Some Violence

All Patrons Over Age 13 Must Have a Fringe Button
No Late Entry Show-All Shows Start on Time
No Re-entry Into Any Venue
No Refunds or Exchanges
100% Of All Ticket Sales Are Returned to Artists

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, May 15, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 16th and 17th.

Saturday May 16, 2015
 9:30am to 11pm Free. Haiku Be Bop. Rollins College Bush Building Room 201. Stamford M. Forrester speaker.

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!  Families are encouraged to stay and enjoy the A&H museums after the program concludes. 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!

3pm to 11pm Free. Swamp Sistas La La @ Fringe Fest. Green Lawn 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL. Park Ave CD's and Beth McKee present Swamp Sista La La on the Green Lawn @ Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival: A free, day long music event to raise awareness and $ for fighting local hunger with healthy food. Artists performing at the La La include: Beth McKee, Laney Jones & the Spirits, Kaleigh Baker (star of Fringe show Janis Joplin, Little Girl Blue), A Caché, Multiple Me (Lauren Carder ), O-Sky, Rebekah Pulley & the Reluctant Prophets, E-Turn, and Beth's Swamp Sista Songwriting Circle featuring Loi Jeannette,Shadow Pearson, Gail Jijon and Kattya Graham.

Sunday May 17, 2015
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park, East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. Weekly.

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

8pm to 9pm Free. There Will Be Madness. The Orlando Fringe Festival outdoor stage Lock Haven Park. here Will Be Madness, the official flash fiction slam of There Will Be Words, makes its debut at the Outdoor Stage of the Orlando Fringe Festival.
Eight amazing flash fiction writers will face off head-to-head audience-judged slam in three rounds of literary combat until there is only one (think Highlander, but without the beheadings and the swords).
The format for this show is
1st round: 250 words max
2nd round: 375 words max
Championship Round: 500 words max
Scheduled to appear (so far)
Sam Slaughter
Jared Silvia
Danielle Isaiah
Curtis X Meyer
Meg Sefton
and you? perhaps. Spots are limited. If interested, send an email to or comment on this event page.
The winner will be crowned Outdoor There Will Be Madness Champion, and may face this year's Indoor champion in a unification bout later this year.
For more details about There Will Be Words, check 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, May 14, 2015

Poe follows the last days of the master of the macabre.

This year's Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival has just begun. If you haven't been before, you are missing thirteen days of non-stop theater at venues all around Lock Haven Park. Fringe plays are selected by lottery.Fringe is... 100% UNCENSORED, 100% UNJURIED, 100% ACCESSIBLE, 100% of $ from ticket sales go directly to the ARTISTS. Anyone can Fringe.

I went to a rehearsal for Poe presented by Theater Downtown in the Green Venue which is in the black box theater of the Rep. It seemed fitting that Poe, Written by Stephen Most and directed by Frank Hilgenberg, should be staged in a black box. The play follows the final tormented days of the author of "The Raven" and "The Tell Tale Heart". Chris Prueitt breathed life into the tortured poet.  Before the rehearsal started cast members joked and wrestled playfully. It is a shame some of that playfulness never seemed to play a part of Poe's life. His pompous airs didn't impress towns folk and as he recites one of his poems he is beaten and robbed. His father considered him a lazy vagrant. Their contentious relationship comes to a head as Edgar imagines himself murdering his dad and hiding the corpse below the floor boards.

Biographical fact mixed with fiction is retold through the authors own tales. Darci Ricciardi did the shows choreography. Before the rehearsal, she welcomed me dressed in a whispy white dress that made her look just like Marilyn Monroe, all that was missing was a subway grate. The dress made sense when she and three other dancers moved in mystical fluid motion around the fallen poet. Bawdy prostitutes and violent thugs haunted the poets life. Family life offered little solace.

Poe fell madly in love with a young cousin played by Jolie Hart. Their happiness was quickly cut short when illness struck and Jolie lay motionless on a platform like Sleeping Beauty. The poet couldn't accept her death, believing she would return to him. Had she been buried alive? She ultimately did return in dreams wearing a white expressionless mask. Darci and the dancers also wore white masks and black gowns and danced in a scene that managed to make my skin crawl. The show has it's horrors, it's tortured misgivings. If darkness you seek, it might be quite thrilling.

Tickets $11 plus required Orlando Fringe button (available at Fringe box office).
Green Venue - The Orlando REP (Black Box theatre to the left of The Rep main stage)
1001 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL.

Thursday 5/14     9:00pm
Saturday 5/16     10:30pm
Monday 5/18      9:00pm
Wednesday 5/20 5:30pm
Thursday 5/21     7:30pm
Saturday 5/23      8:45pm
Sunday 5/24        11:30am

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, May 13, 2015

Ballerat's sprawling botanical garden is a beauty mate.

The last town Terry and I drove to was Ballerat. In Australia it was springtime while back in Orlando it was Winter, not that there is much of a difference. We stopped at the Ballerat Botanical Gardens (Gillies Street North, N Ballarat VIC 3355, Australia) so Terry could enjoy the flowers and birds and I could sketch. I suppose I should have wanted to capture the gorgeous vibrant colored flower beds, but instead, I walked straight into a sculpture pavilion. The pavilion felt like it came from a Victorian era Worlds Fair.

The Pavilion and its statues were unveiled in 1888 by Premier Duncan Gillies, a former colleague of James Russell Thompson whose bequest to the City enabled the purchase, in Italy, of the statues. The Flight from Pompeii and the four accompanying statues are housed in the Statuary Pavilion in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. The Flight from Pompeii, in the center, was designed by Professor Carlo Benzoni and carved by Charles Francis Summers while the four accompanying statues were all designed and carved by Charles Francis Summers. The octagonal Pavilion was specially designed by T.E. Molloy in 1887 to house the statuary. 

I left out the guard rails since they blocked my view of certain details. Families and couples would come in briefly to view the statues. Parents would explain the sculptures significance to their children. I wondered why the couple only had time to throw towels over their loins as the ran down the streets of Pompeii trying to escape the lava and ash erupting from the volcano. He thought ahead enough to also bring a bed sheet which billowed above them to hopefully stop any red hot rocks from burning their backs. Had they just been in bed, or did they run from a bath house?

One aspect of this scene is that large quarter sized flies would enter the pavilion and they would buzz and pound themselves against the windows trying to escape back out to the vibrant garden. They would start their frantic escape by smacking high against the glass. With each successive blow, they would grow tired and ultimately rest against the windows bottom ledge.  In my head a devised an obvious fly trap that would easily catch every fly allowing them to be removed and released into someone else s garden. How many times would flies stop to rest on the smooth granite semi nude skin of these statues and they couldn't slap the flies away. As it was, I had to smack a few persistent flies with my sketchbook when the distracted me too much from the sketch. This pavilion was Pompeii for every fly that entered. The were doomed to see the glorious freedom just beyond the glass and die from exhaustion  or the slap of my sketchbook as they struggled to reach 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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

We stopped to rest while hiking McKenzie Falls.

Pam Anderson and her husband took us to hike in Grampians National Park which was a short drive from their home on several one lane dirt roads. We stopped at an abandoned gold mine but unfortunately we didn't see any gold flakes in the soil. The drive up to Mckenzie Falls involved a twisting, winding road with hundreds of switch backs. We took the hill at an aggressive speed with constant acceleration and hard breaking in the curves. I started feeling motion sick in the back seat so I fixed my gaze out the front window trying to anticipate each new curve.

Mckenzee Falls had just reopened after being ravaged by an out of control wildfire. All the barren tree trunks were charcoal black. One plant thrives after a fire. Fires release nutrients to the soil and create rich seedbeds for newly dropped seed. The first rains after fires bring the landscape to life; a cycle of regrowth, competition and maturation starts all over again.The Australian Grass Tree thrives after a wildfire.  It sends up a four foot inch thick rod that thrusts up from the grassy base. This phallic seed bearing appendage earned it's un-politically correct nickname, "Black Boy" from it's charred appearance. Life always finds away.

Reed's Outlook gave us a stunning view of the entire valley. There is a rock that juts out over the cliffs edge and it used to be possible  to stand at it's tip, "Lion King" style for photo opportunities. Unfortunately it is now fenced off. One too many people must have fallen off after being asked to "step back" for a photo. Terry kept her back plastered to the rock wall standing clear of the railing.

The parking lot at the Mckenzie Falls trail was full of cars. A Japanese double-decker tourist bus pulled into the lot and it seemed like hundreds of people piled out. I've never seen a bus like this before. It was set up as a sleeper and each person must get a coffin-like compartment that comes with a curtained window. I really wanted to look inside. The parks department office was burnt to the ground and surrounded by a fence for our protection. Only a single brick chimney marked the site. Pam and her husband are avid hikers and they planned to hike all the way to the base of the waterfall and back up. Once we got near the river, the flies started buzzing in our ears. Pam explained that "The Australian Salute" is the gesture of swiping flies from your face. Thankfully, Terry and I had head nets that kept the flies from getting on our faces. The second watercolor hit my sketch, dozens of flies would land on the page to drink it up. Either they liked the color or the moisture. I stuffed pencil end erasers in my ears to dull the annoying buzzing around my head. Terry and I stopped because she felt the hike down was too steep. This sketch was done at the top of the falls. I was glad for the chance to sketch. If this sketch seems rushed, that is because it was rushed. I decided to consider the sketch done when Pam and her husband hiked their way back to us.

When we drove down out of the park, we stopped at a Cricket field as the sun set. Dozens of Kangaroos were foraging in the field. Terry kept walking up to the kangaroos I suppose with the intent to pet one. I've seen videos of kangaroos boxing and using their tail and hind legs as very effective weapons. I kept my distance and watched. The kangaroos knew to hop away and keep a safe distance.

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, May 11, 2015

Friends gather at Barney's Bar Bistro in Australia.

Another of Terry's high school friends, Pam Anderson, invited us to her home and it involved a long drive through Victoria to the town of Ararat. The home was surrounded by a gorgeous garden situated on many acres. From the back yard we could see young colts following their thoroughbred moms. The couple were both teachers and their sons had just left home to forge their own lives. One son was a civil engineer and he was making good money out west for a mining company. The mine is in the middle of nowhere so the pay tried to compensate for the isolation. Their other son had moved to New York City. Apparently this trip to America is quite common for Australian youths.

Once a week a group of friends gathers at Barney's Bar Bistro (Ararat - Halls Gap Rd,, Pomonal, Halls Gap, Victoria) for a bite, some drinks and plenty of conversation. The building is a converted woolshed barn and is has an open layout with exposed wooden beams. We sat out back waiting for a table to open up. In the field behind the bar, kangaroos by the dozens gathered to forage as the sun set. Terry and I were ecstatic at the sight but this was a common sight for everyone else.

Having been behind the wheel of the car all day, I was itching to do a sketch and I started to sketch the second we were seated. Terry apologized for my behavior but no one seemed to mind. By the time our food arrived the sketch was done. Most of the people in the group were teachers, so I got to learn a bit about the inner politics inside the High School. The boys had their mom for one class and their dad for another, so it was almost like being home schooled. A college education is paid for by the government, so youths are highly educated and they don't start their adult lives deep in debt. American politicians could learn a thing or two from Australia's example.

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, May 10, 2015

A Lorne Australia residential sculpture garden has plenty of surprises.

Josie Browne, a high school classmate of Terry's told me that I had to check out the front yard of a neighbor of hers named Deborah. She gave me directions and I set off with my art supplies in hand. Her neighbor is a well known sculptor in Melbourne. When I got to her property, I was met by "Big Dik" and "Tits", a bull and cow whose sexuality was bright red. A ram named "Baby Tart" negotiated the space between them as they faced off. A bright pink sheep was covered in plastic forks and spoons which created a rich texture to her coat. A nude blue couple stood in the background near the entrance to the home-studio. Even the trees were alive with faces and covered in giant lady bugs.Unfortunately Josie couldn't recall Deborah's last name. My online research lead me to a Deborah Halpern, but her work has much more of a Picassoesque feel to it. My online search for "Big Dik" and "Tits" didn't result in any bovine sculptures.

Josie told me of the time she visited the sculptor for tea. She was a bit terrified at first to see the inside of the sculptor's studio. They became immediate friends and keep in touch. Awkwardly, I planted myself in the corner of Deborah's front yard to sketch. If she was home, I would just have to hope that she wouldn't mind me sketching her quirky work. Lorne Australia has a Sculpture Biennal where sculptors place their work along the long stretch of beach.  There were exciting and unexpected arts scenes like this throughout Australia.

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, May 9, 2015

Ravenwood is a quaint Bed and Breakfast perched high up a hill in Lorne Australia.

The day started out with a leisurely walk on the beach with Josie and her sheep herding dog. Large sheets of volcanic rock  on the beach had solidified with the positive and negative shapes of un-popped lava bubbles. The inverted cups filled with ocean water as the tide went out and became mini aquariums. All forms of life from algae to crabs thrived in the tide pools. Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by tide pools. I love any kind of self contained ecosystem.

Half way up the hill to Josie Browne's house, I stopped to sketch Ravenwood. First, I liked the name of this Bed and Breakfast thinking it might be occupied by Edgar Allan Poe, but also the building reminded me of paintings done by Edward Hopper. As I sketched, Terry and Josie continued walking up the hill. I remember as I walked up this steep hill alone once, I saw an old man coming down the hill. I thought to myself that I should control my breath a bit so I wasn't huffing and puffing as we passed each other. He remarked, "Darn, I'm more winded than you just going downhill." I laughed and began huffing and puffing again.

There is so much of this old Victorian architecture in Australia. I wondered if there was a way up to the widow's nest. Metal roofs reflect the sun like mirrors. And the front yard of this home had a vibrant garden filled with pink roses.

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, May 8, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 9th and 10th.

Saturday May 9, 2015.
Noon to 2pm $25. NOH8 Open Photo Shoot. Parliament House Orlando 410 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida. Single/Solo Photos: $40
Couple/Group Photos: $25 per person
NOH8 accepts cash and credit cards only. Fees paid to participate cover services and costs for one edited digital print only, made available via, and do not include physical prints.
The NOH8 Campaign will team up with The Wedding Alliance for an open photo shoot at the The Parliament House on Saturday, May 9th! Stop by anytime between 12pm-3pm to pose for an official NOH8 photo by photographer Adam Bouska. No reservations needed!
Photos are first-come, first-served - and we move fast! Please arrive camera-ready with a plain white shirt to match the signature style of the NOH8 photos.
When is the best time to arrive? Most people tend to arrive before the photo shoot begins, but as long as someone has lined up by the advertised end time for the photo shoot (3:00pm for this photo shoot), they should be guaranteed a chance to pose!
Once you arrive, the next steps are easy!
1. Fill-out one numbered model release for each person.
2. Have a NOH8 temporary tattoo applied for your photo.
3. Standby for your number to be called.
4. Process your payment once called.
5. Trade your processed model release for duct tape!
NOH8 Co-Founder Adam Bouska will photograph roughly 5-10 frames per person. One frame will be selected/edited by our team and made available within approximately eight weeks (timeline subject to change).
Funds raised by the NOH8 Campaign will be used to continue promoting and raising awareness for marriage and human equality as well as anti-discrimination and anti-bullying through NOH8’s interactive social media campaign. This includes bringing the campaign to other cities and countries around the world, creating and compiling images for our ongoing large-scale media campaign, and covering the costs of the daily operations and maintenance necessary to run this rapidly growing campaign out of our Burbank Headquarters.
The NOH8 Campaign is a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Click here and scroll down to the 'Funds & Financing' portion of our FAQ for more information about how fees are utilized.

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL. See how beer is made.

9:30pm to 11pm Order food or drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco dancers.

Sunday May 10, 2015
1pm to 3pm $5. Film Slam. Enzian Theater, South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL. Originally a project of University of Central Florida's Downtown Media Arts Center, Enzian became the home of Film Slam when DMAC closed in 2006. Now in its fifth year at Enzian, Film Slam continues to be a popular outlet for indie and student filmmakers throughout the State of Florida.
Film Slam will usually be held on the second Sunday of each month at 1PM at Enzian.
It's so hot outside our brains just melted! So, this month we've booked the craziest Film Slam line up of the year.
Experimental Films, Puppet Films, Art Films, Bartenders throwing bottles, Gangsters, a Music Video....this has to be the most amazingly eclectic line we've had for all of 2012.
Program starts at 1pm sharp. Tickets are still only $5. Q&A with the filmmakers to follow screening.

1pm to 3pm Free.  Yoga. Lake Eola Park East lawn near playground. Weekly.

9pm to 11pm Free but get a coffee. 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, May 7, 2015

Lorne's Swinging Bridge becomes a backdrop for a wedding photographer.

I asked Josie Browne advice on picturesque places to sketch in Lorne Australia. She drove me to the swinging bride, which is a small footbridge that crosses a quiet stream right before it trickles into the ocean. At the beach, the stream breaks apart into a series of tiny deltas. On the far side of the bridge is the Swinging Bridge Boat house and Cafe (30 Great Ocean Road, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia).  Terry, Josie and I ate lunch here after a long walk on the beach. The food tasted great after so much fresh air and exercise.

The  bridge reminds me of a painting Vincent Van Gogh did in Provence of a small yellow bridge. In his painting, women stone washed their laundry at the river's shore. I had no such luck, darn washing machines. I did notice an oriental couple posing repeatedly on the far shore.

A wedding photographer was shooting photos of the couple. They moved out onto the bridge and the photographer coached them to get ever sillier with each shot. The soon to be bride was quite a ham. Soon all three of them were standing behind me. The photographer asked if it was alright if he took a few shots of me. I said it was fine. After what seamed like an eternity of constant, persistent clicking they wandered away.  So now in some couples wedding album there is a photo of this couple acting stunned and amazed as they look over my shoulder.

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, May 6, 2015

Remeniscing about senior year at Melbourne's Lauriston Girl's School.

At Terry's high school reunion for Lauriston Girl's School in Melbourne, she met Josie Browne who offered us a chance to stay in her Lourne, Australia beach house. The house was designed by an architect for himself and it has unique panoramic windows that give the sleek modern interior a feeling of being open to the environment. Josie was incredibly open and sincere, we both liked her immediately. Apparently her husband is her polar opposite, being loud and always seeking to close the next big deal. The family dog is an incredibly intelligent sheep herding dog. His greatest joy in life is retrieving a tennis ball that Josie tosses down the beach using a plastic sling. The house isn't right on the beach but up a steep hill. The second floor balcony allows a sweeping view of the ocean over the neighboring roofs.

Josie's daughter was back home and working long shifts at the restaurant in a hotel at the bottom of the hill. Her love is animal husbandry and someday she may fulfill her dream of living on a farm with plenty of horses. As Terry and Josie talked about Lauriston, a Sydney horse race was on the telly. Horse racing is huge in Australia. It became a national past time right after the gold rush and money from the races helped build the city infrastructure.

At the restaurant at the bottom of the hill there was outdoor seating. Signs of the railing around the dining area said, "Don't Feed the Cockatoos". The entire trip Terry had been looking for cockatoos because she missed our pet cockatoo named Zorro. As we ate dinner, cockatoos landed on the railing to watch us eat. If you turned your back for a moment they would swoop down and grab some of your food. At a trash can by the beach, cockatoos had pried the lid off and were rummaging in the garbage. I put some of the trash back and scolded a cockatoo as if I were talking to Zorro.  A few minutes later, trash was once again being thrown to the ground. Come to think of it, Zorro never obeys either. The cockatoos also chew and destroy any wooden surfaces on buildings. To say the least, cockatoos are considered a pest in Lourne.

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, May 5, 2015

Winter Park Art in Chambers is to feature the daily sketches of Thor.

The City Park Public Art Advisory Board invites you to attend a free artist reception for the sketches of Thomas (Thor) Thorspecken from Refreshments will be provided. Mark your Calendar! The opening reception is Wednesday May 6th from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Commission Chambers and Chapman Room in Winter Park City Hall 401 South Park Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789 second floor. Stop on out and say hi. The show will hang through August 1st.

For anyone who wants to keep the Art Party going, I will be going to the British Invasion Body Painting Show right afterwards to sketch. That event is at the Majestic Event Center, 801 North John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL. Doors officially open at 8pm. Watch talented body painters transform models into living works of art right before your eyes while getting a chance to interact with the artists and the "art." Some of Orlando's top entertainers will also be performing on stage throughout the evening. Enjoy the bar specials and browse the artists vending tables.
Entry is $10 presale or $15 at the door.
Get your tickets at

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, May 4, 2015

BASE Orlando "British Invasion" Body Painting Show is to feature plenty of talent.

I went to the Majestic Event Center, 801 North John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL to watch body painting artists get their models ready for a BASE Orlando Body Painting Event. The artists start early in the afternoon so that their creations are ready by the time the doors open at 8pm. I sketched the line up as artists set up. I've sketched Nix Herrera before and I love his work. Ironically Sierra Missed was his model at the previous RAW Orlando event so I wanted to be sure they were in the foreground. Sierra was energetic when she arrived, dancing her way into the venue. But when it came time to get to work, she became a marble statue.

Nix's first order of business was to get Sierra in a tight skull cap and to be sure pasties covered her nipples. He is a consummate pro and offered to help other artists glue down any rough edges on pasties. Models wore bikini bottoms but other than that they were a nude blank canvas to start. There is plenty of playful conversation to start but once brush touches flesh things get serious. There has to be an amazing amount of trust between models and artists. Sierra was quickly painted white from head to feet. Grey detailing was added at her joints that made her look like a mechanical android. One of the dancers from Corsets and Cuties was transformed into a green reptilian goddess. The theme for the evening was "Out of This World" and the results were just that.

Mark Your Calendars! On Wednesday, May 6 at 8:00pm at the Majestic Event Center, 801 N John Young Pkwy, Orlando, Fl, some of Orlando's top entertainers will also be performing on stage throughout the evening for the British Invasion. Enjoy the bar specials and browse the artists vending tables.
Entry is $10 presale or $15 at the door.
Get your tickets.

Body Paint Artists:
Mandi Ilene
Sierra Rose
Lori Jessup
Nix Herrera
Ajay Schweiger
Della Morte
Melanie Cochrane
Jeff and Caity Simon
Chris Davis and Lauren-Rae Chismar
Tabitha Sclafani
Justin Davis
Emma Kenemer
Tifinie Boutot
Juan Pantoja 
Robert Six-Round
Chuck Davis 
BalaChandra Belly Dance
Corsets and Cuties, a Burlesque Cabaret
Rock Hard Revue
Team Rush
Is there an age requirement?
Yes, since the event features artwork on nude models, guests over 18 are welcome.
Can I bring my camera?
We ask that you leave your cameras at home since we will have some incredible photographers on hand. Taking photos with your phone is fine, but leave the heavy duty photography to our professionals! You can see the photographers’ work after on our website and on our Facebook page.

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, May 3, 2015

The Ferry to Manly offers great views of Sydney.

As a day trip from Sydney, Terry and I decided to take a ferry to Manly Beach in Australia. The Ferry docks are right near the Opera House and that whole area is tourist central with street performers fighting for tourists attention and tips. Several aboriginals sat playing their didgeridoos. One guy had a high wire act where he balanced above the crows riding his bicycle on a wire. Terry and I didn't stop to watch the chaos. Our ferry was leaving in a few minutes so we rushed through the terminal.

The hour or so ferry ride was very pleasant. It was early spring in Australia so a few people were still bundled up. Sail boats dotted the entire harbor. When we docked in Manly, we walked a quarter mile or so down the main street which lead to the beach. We both ordered a frozen yogurt cone with plenty of fixings and then we found a shady spot on a ledge that overlooked the beach. There was a large group of school children learning how to surf. Others tossed Frisbees or just lay in the sun like harbor seals.

On the ferry ride back to Sydney, I put the sketchbook away and just enjoyed the ever changing view. These ferry rides are a real deal and it is a great way to discover Sydney very much the way British explorers did hundreds of years ago.

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, May 2, 2015

The Orlando Ballet brings the magic of Coppélia to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

On April 30th I went to the Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts to sketch a dress rehearsal of Coppélia. In Greek Coppélia means "young lady" and this comic ballet premiered in 1870. The performance was set to he music of Léo Delibes. Terry decided that she wanted to see this rehearsal, so she met me in front of the Center. When I opened the stage door, I was surprised to see a crowd of journalists. At Earth Day, I bumped into Jim Cundiff, the Interim Executive Director at the Orlando Ballet. He told me about an exciting collaboration between the Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic, and Central Florida Community Arts. It turned out that this rehearsal was the platform to officially announce this collaboration.

Robert Hill, the Ballet's Artistic Director, David Shilhammer, the Executive Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and Joshua Vickery the founder and Executive Director of Central Florida Community Arts stood on stage before the rehearsal.  Since it's inception in 1974, the Orlando Ballet has relied on recorded music for it's performances. Starting in October of 2015, the Philharmonic Orchestra will perform in the pit to bring all future ballet performances to life. David Shilhammer explained that recorded music limits the performers from taking chances and varying their rhythm and timing, The orchestra can adapt to each performance allowing for greater flexibility. In April of 2016 the Ballet will collaborate with Central Florida Community Arts which has 800 singers in multiple choirs. This is a win win for all the organizations and audiences. As the Dr. Phillips Center was being constructed, critics assumed that local arts groups would never stand to benefit. This incredible collaboration proves that they can and will endure.

Coppélia concerns an inventor, Dr Coppelius, who has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Franz, a village youth, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his true heart's desire, Swanhilde. She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him. The rehearsal was playful and magical. The mechanical dance choreography was delightful. I had never seen this ballet and I am glad I finally did. I also admired the gorgeous painted backdrops which had a rich deep impressionistic use of color. I would think that the dancers might hold back a bit in a rehearsal, but everyone danced full out. Many of their athletic moves defied gravity.

Mark Your Calendars! The remaining performances of  Coppélia are today May 2nd at 11am and 8pm and May 3rd at 2pm at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL. Tickets  starting at $38.75 are available online or at the box office. This really is an amazing production, and bring your kids, they will love it too.

Looking ahead...
October 30- November 1, 2015 Gisselle with music by the Orlando Philharmonic.
December 17 - 20, 2015 Nutrcacker with music by the Orlando Philharmonic.
February 5-7, 2016 the world premiere of The Firebird with music by the Orlando Philharmonic.
March 18-20, 2016 Don Quixote with music by the Orlando Philharmonic.
April 29-May 1, 2016 the world premiere of Beauty and the Beast with Central Florida Community Arts.

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