Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We spend our wedding anniversary in Eden Australia.


Our wedding anniversary was on October 19th and we spent the day making domestic preparations. We found the town supermarket and got essentials like Cheerios and milk for breakfast. We picked up some pre baked barbeque as well for dinner that night. The Eagle Heights apartment  in Eden, Australia had a full kitchen along with a microwave, so we cooked our food in minutes. I sat on the couch and used my tablet to sketch Terry making plans for the next day. We planned to go out on a charter boat to finally see some whales up close.

We were both still jet lagged and the drive down from Sydney had taken all day, so we were exhausted. On social media, hundreds of people might wish you happy birthday, but wedding anniversary's are quiet introspective mile stones. There was a TV and an assortment of movies but it was never turned on. The apartment had two bedrooms and we used them both. I fell asleep in seconds.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Eden is the place to go for whale watching.


From Sydney Australia, Terry and I rented a car and drove south to Eden. It was a full days drive. Australia is deceptively large. We stayed at Eagle Heights (2 Yule Street, Eden NSW 2551, Australia) which is perched right on the edge of cliffs over looking the bay. From our little patio you could look out over the expanse of water. I love the twisted ways that trees grow when they are affected by salty winds. A gazebo offered a telescope in case whales were spotted. Terry becomes incredibly patient when wild life viewing. We never did spot whales from our cliff perch but we might have spotted blow spouts which are the fine mists created when whales exhale. The spouts were so far out that they might have just been sea mist.

At the foot of the hill there was a place where we ordered fish and chips for our first dinner. It was the best fish and chips I had ever tasted. Exhausted we immediately drifted off to sleep. I believe this sketch was done the next day, very early in the morning as the sun rose. Just beyond that fence is a steep drop to the bay. Waves crashed the rocks that had spilled into the water. We had come to Eden to see whales and come hell or high water we would find them. The town has a siren that fires off any time whales are spotted in the bay. It was a rare instance where we hoped to hear a siren blaze. From October 31 to November 2 this quaint fishing village is home to the annual Eden Whale Festival. The festival is celebrating its 19th year in 2015 and will combine art, street theatre, film, music, exploration, seafood and local produce along with good old fashioned festival fun. Terry and I missed the festival by a week, but it sounds like a good reason to go back. Our time was divided between bird watching, whale watching and the occasional sketch.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jesus Christ Superstar rehearses on the front porch of a Maitland Law Firm.


Sylvia Katherine Viles is directing Jesus Christ Superstar. I met Sylvia at a casting call for the Petrified Forest this last year. She insisted I get in costume and get ghoulish make up so that I blended in with the cast. As I arrivedat the Jesus Christ Superstar rehearsal, the cast was on the porch stretching. Sylvia was her warm bubbly self and gave me a warm hug. She explained that, "JCS has been a bucket list show since I was a child. Since my singing voice and gender have combined forces against me and the role of Judas will alas never be mine, directing the show is my dream come true. Add to the mix being able to do it at Bay Street Players, my home theater and the excitement is literally bursting out of me.  For you younger performers this was my "RENT" or "Spring Awakening", "BARE" etc., it was a show that spoke to me. It still speaks today." As a child Sylvia grew up loving this show. Judas is portrayed as a caring person Who tried to save Jesus. It is a roll reversal similar to what you see in "Wicked".

The cast was going to practice choreography on the steps to the porch. The final set will have a series of ascending steps so this was a perfect opportunity. They usually rehearse inside the building but there was some sort of open house going on.  Jesus was late. He thought the rehearsal was at 3pm. They needed to rehearse a musical number called "what's the buzz". Sylvia stepped in for Jesus and descended the steps as the cast knelt down beside her. Her shirt said "Bite me" on one of those candied hearts. She improvised her lines about how great her dad was and then the cast danced, doing hand slaps and then circling Jesus singing and clapping. Steven Johnson (aka Tim Gunn) did the choreography. New movements were worked in with each run through of the scene. A car leaving the parking lot broke up the action. I shouted "Car on stage!" and everyone scrambled up the steps to get out of the way. I think they should leave the car in the final stage production.

The cast then broke into groups and sang "When will we ride into Jerusalem?"  "What's the buzz, tell me whats a happening." They sang to each other as they sought gossip. The final run through was flawless and they cheered for having nailed down the blocking while maintaining spontaneity. The Sun had burst through the the trees heating up the porch steps, so Sylvia called a break and the next guerrilla rehearsal spot was on the driveway beside the house in the shade. I stayed behind and finished putting washes on the sketch. It was a gorgeous house and a beautiful, if hot day. I saw on a Facebook post later in the week a group photo of the cast that said, "The Cast of Jesus Christ Superstar doesn't sweat, we sparkle!" You have to love such youthful exuberance. I'm a bit sad that I can't see the final production because in a week ill be in Istanbul in Turkey which is a Middle Eastern country much like where these gospel stories first began.

Mark Your Calendars! Jesus Christ Superstar with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice will be performed at Bay Street Players (109 North Bay Street Eustis, FL)  from April 10 to May 3, 2015. Get your tickets now.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rimma Bergeron-Langlois rehearsed a stunning Sibelius Violin Concerto.


As part of the Music Director Candidate search, Leslie B. Dunner, conducted the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. I sketched an open rehearsal on March 20th at the Bob Carr Theatre. The Bob Carr used to be a Theatre but new orange letters were put up announcing it as a theater. Theater is the English spelling while Theatre is used everywhere else. There is no difference in meaning. Some Americans make distinctions, for instance, that a theater is a venue while theatre is an art form, or that a theater is a movie theater while a theatre is a drama venue. If that is the case, the Bob Carr had been demoted since the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center opened, from an art form to a venue.

When solo violinist Rimma Bergeron-Langlois walked on stage, she smiled at the Director and took her place standing in front of the violin section. I knew immediately that this would be an amazing rehearsal. She was relaxed and ready. Leslie B. Dunner is the final Music Director Candidate to conduct the Philharmonic. 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 orchestra plans to announce its new Music Director in Spring 2015. The finalists were, Alondra de la Parra, Steven Jarvi, Eric Jacobsen, Dirk Meyer, and Leslie B. Dunner.

After the first half of the rehearsal was over and the orchestra was taking a break, Michael McLeod came over to say hello. He joked with me that Denise Sudler had noticed that I had sketched her at my art opening at Maxine's and that she hadn't granted consent allowing me to sketch her visage. I countered that there was plausible deniabitity. She is just 1/2 inch high in the sketch, it could very well be Wendy Wallenberg who had posed several times to try and get in the sketch. I first met Wendy when I sat on stage in the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and sketched the audience. She was in the front row. I'm surprised she didn't get up and stand on stage in front of me to block my view of the audience. She missed that opportunity.

Back to the rehearsal. Rimma's loose sweater flowed and her pony tail bobbed as she performed. The Sibelius concerto was complex crisp and uplifting. It is amazing how so many instruments can blend their sounds to express a universal joy that is greater than any single sound. Yet the violin rejoiced in it's liberating sound. There is a magic in experiencing a live orchestration like this. There were some fits and stops as Leslie inspired subtleties from different instruments. He was all about precision and purity of performance. Michael felt that Leslie was doing an amazing job conducting. I haven't seen all the conductors perform so I don't feel qualified to judge. I did see Alondra de la Parra conduct and I was swept away with her playful vigor. Only the musicians truly know which conductor inspired them to give their all. If you want to see what audiences are saying, you can find #OPOsNewMaestro. Let the voting begin.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 28th and 29th.

Saturday March 28, 2015
10am to 4pm Free. Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk and Urban Art Festival. Hannibal Square Heritage Center 642 W New England Ave, Winter Park, Florida. The sixth annual festival celebrates the works of more than 25 artists, including members of the original Florida Highwaymen and the B-Side Artists collective. A highlight will be the demonstrations of life casting by Crealdé artist-in-residence Rigoberto Torres, who is creating a sculpture of Richard Hall Jr., a decorated Tuskegee Airman and Hannibal Square neighborhood hero. Featured music: the Porchdogs Cajun and Zydeco Band and Orisi Risi African Folklore. A "Kid-folk" workshop offers "The Aztec Encounter and Musical Parade." Food trucks will be serving.

10am to 5pm Free. Scooters 4 Hooters and Ellen's Walk With the Angels. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida. A day of fun including a 4k walk, 22 mile escorted scooter ride, live bands, silent auction, vendors, and much more!!!

3pm to 5pm Free.  'STRUCTURE & PERSPECTIVE' Artist Panel Conversation. Snap! Orlando Snap! Space / Snap! Orlando 1013 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida. Join us at Snap! Space 3-5 PM for an artist panel conversation with:
DAN L. HESS
JUAN TRAVIESO
CHRISTOPH MORLINGHAUS
RYAN BUYSSENS
Please RSVP here.
Their work is currently on display in our 'STRUCTURE & PERSPECTIVE' exhibit. Learn more about the artists at.

Sunday March 29, 2015
11am to 2pm No cover, order Brunch. Kaleigh Baker for Rejuvenation Brunch. Maxine's on Shine 337 Shine Ave, Orlando, FL. Brunch is meant to be delicious, lighthearted and whenever possible shared with friends and loved ones. What better way to enjoy the day than with soothing and grooving sounds played live from some of the area’s best soft rock and folk musicians from 11am to 2pm while we rejuvenate the very essence of your well cocktailed souls? Full and eclectic brunch menu, ginormous hand crafted bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and sangria.
For brunch entertainment, one time Orlando resident Kaleigh Baker returns to the stage. Truly one of our greatest talents that now resides more on the road, then our humble abode…come out and hear her voice full of blues and soul, as all things become better within the fold, of her music, our food & drink, and an atmosphere conducive to celebrating life is very good in the Greater Orlando Neighborhood. Also see original art from Analog Artist Digital World on display.

11am to 4pm. Free. Bach Fest Musicians perform in the Maitland Art Museum. 231 Packwood Ave, Maitland, FL.

Noon to 2pm. Free. Letters of Love. Gather at Lake Eola at the green space near the corner of Eola and Central. We'll write letters of encouragement and love to and for the people of Orlando. Then we’ll distribute them throughout the city.

Romantic eatery with regular live music, featuring an eclectic menu & whimsical '40s-style decor.337 Shine Ave, Orlando, FL


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Teaching Urban Sketching at China Garden.


At Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL), I have been teaching Urban Sketching to three very talented students. Megan has her own car, so she is in a perfect position to find places and events to fill her sketchbooks. Mathew absolutely loves the idea of going out into the community and sketching. He said, that he had waited his whole life for this chance. Samuel, who was usually accompanied by his father, tended to be uncertain when I suggested warm up sketch exercises in the class room. When we went out on location however, he was a natural. He would boldly sketch in a scene directly in ink, and I admired his approach.

On this day, we went to China Garden (8833 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL) to practice cafe sketching. Megen and Samuel sat in a booth and Mathew joined me at a center table. In this class I had introduced everyone to watercolors and I let them go for a solid hour and a half as they focused on completing a sketch. At Elite we use office paper that has been three hole punched to fit on animation peg bars. This keeps the sheets of paper flush to each other so the animation stays in place. Unfortunately, office paper is very thin which makes it less than ideal for watercolor washes. I kept advising students to invest in nice sketchbooks with at least 100 pound paper. Samuel was the first to get his own set of Urban Sketching supplies while Mathew and Megan limped by on the office paper. I decided to do a sketch on the animation paper to see how it wrinkled.

I ordered a General Tao's chicken as a late lunch to eat as I sketched. The order took forever to arrive. People sitting at a table next to us had been sitting there since our class arrived and they were grumbling about how long they had been waiting. The woman noticed Mathew sketching and she said, "Be sure to catch my good side." Students had to borrow my water brushes which are a bit dried out it  hard to squeeze the water out of them.   I saw Megan squeezing her brush like she was trying to strangle it death. I gave her more water, which helped. She joked with me that she expected to see herself strangling the brush in my sketch. She is right, I missed a golden sketch opportunity there. I offered Mathew my fortune cookie, and he popped it into his mouth without cracking it open to check his fortune. He ate his fortune! I don't know if he will ever know what it was.

I'm proud of each of these new Urban Sketchers. Megan came up with a strong composition in which the details in the figures she drew were offset by large open spaces of the booth backs. Samuel is like a focused machine when he works on location and Mathew has a strong eye for gesture and composition. If they each develop the habit of sketching daily, they will be grow in leaps and bounds outside the confines of a studio or classroom. Unfortunately there were no enrollments for the next 10 Urban Sketching classes, but that is just as well since I will be sketching in Turkey for three weeks as Terry and I explore this ancient country.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Glancing inside my skull and neck.

I've started seeing doctors again about finding a solution to constant head aches and neck pain. This has resulted in constant blood tents and getting MRI's of my skull and neck. It also results in testing my patience in waiting rooms. This fellow across from me was able to nod off while he waited.

An MRI is an adventure. You lay down on a white plank and a face and neck clamp is hinged over your head to keep your head still, much like in a roller coaster. Then you are rolled back into a tight cylinder to wait. Their is one tiny mirror inside which allows you to glance at the technician behind the controls. Sketching would have been impossible. The metal on the pencil and the spiral binding on the sketchbook would have caused havoc because of the huge magnets that must spin around inside the machine.

What followed was a loud series of screeches, clicks and beeps. I imagined they set the beat to music and I danced to the tones inside my head. I didn't move a muscle. If there was something wrong in there, I wanted them to find it.

At the headache doctors office, I listened as Dr. Scharfman listed a series of symptoms of the patient in the room next to me in his sing song voice. Maybe some of the symptoms are just in the patients head rather than being caused by an incurable pinched nerve. No doctor has ever offered a solution to pain. It is far too mercurial. They only offer increasing dosages of drugs. I had a doctor try to burn the nerve that might be causing the problems at the 5th disk of my vertebrae, but he prayed to God to guide his hands and I suspect god didn't listen.

I've decided to start running again each morning at 7am. Having a more active lifestyle isn't a cure but it couldn't hurt. Well, I take that back. It has been several years since I ran a 5k and my legs feel like lead. I'm just jogging maybe a quarter mile around my neighborhood, but I'm pleased that I can still go the distance. I'm also going to start researching neck exercises online. I stretch my neck each morning in the shower but I need to strengthen those muscles which might help. At least I am taking steps to find my own cure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ciara Shuttleworth has settled in as the new resident author at the Kerouac House.


The Jack Kerouac Project sponsors resident authors every few months at the Kerouac House in College Park. Jack Kerouac was living in the back rooms of this house with his mother  when he got the news that his novel, "On the Road" was being published. He also wrote "The Dharma Bums" while living here. Ciara Shuttleworth is now the resident author. I first met her at a potluck dinner held in her honor. I have to confess that I knew nothing about her writing before going to the potluck. She read a poem before we all dug into the fried chicken and healthy salads arranged in the dining room. The poem was the first she had written after moving into the home. It left a strong impression, the lonely sound of a train's horn and the beauty found in wreckage, and then the wine and conversations flowed.

Ciara Shuttleworth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington state. Talking to her on the front porch, I learned that she had been struck by a car while training for a marathon. She showed me the scar on her ankle. She was told she couldn't run again, but she didn't accept that, and she began to run despite the pain. She fought her way back to an active lifestyle and she gets up each morning at 6am so she can run before the Florida heat sets in. She said her thoughts flow when she runs.

Ciara was a visual artist before she realized she had to write poetry full time. She showed me the stark black and white portraits she used to do by letting me flip through the images on her phone. Her father is a well known poet but she has struck out early in her career to make a name for herself. One poem, "Sestina" was written in an inspired moment in college in reply to a professor introducing the class to the poetic form. The poem uses so few words to express loss and sadness. Several composers have taken this lean, succinct poem and set it to music. She sent it to the New Yorker on a whim and  her submission was accepted.

I arrived after fighting traffic that caused me to miss a turn and causing me to make an illegal U-turn to avoid a blinking train crossing. She welcomed me on the front porch and then set to work in the back room of the Kerouac House. The ceiling in this room slants down at a sharp angle and it almost touched my head causing me to hunker down a bit. She was refining a poem she was working on. She described her process briefly. She tends to write her poems in a Moleskin notebook when the idea is fresh and raw. These moments are very private and emotional. She then goes back through the notebook and begins to mine for ideas and thoughts that go into the final poem. The original hand written poems are like the sketch and when she types it into the Macbook Pro laptop computer, that is when things get serious. The screen saver showed a view of a California beach. The same image was tacked to the writing studio wall. She put it there because there was already a tack in the wall. It would be a shame to waste it.

She paused for a long delicious moment gazing out the back window at the bright green foliage. In the poem she was working on, a cormorant flashed its black wings against the intense sun which is too bright to look at directly. Her poem was full of vibrant imagery that could leave you wanting to laugh with delight and cry at the same time. Clearly her years as a painter had helped her as she related sights and emotions with brevity. There is a weightless quality to he words, like flight is the natural order of the world. While smoking outside a bar in NYC's Hell's Kitchen with a friend, she saw an intoxicated boy making a futile pass at a girl. That moment became art. One poem she was working on, she ripped up into tiny pieces and threw it away in the other room. "It was getting too preachy" she explained. Once that happens it is best to let go and start over. This wasn't a loss but rather a victory since she got it out of her system. "Yes, good poems are hard to write. Someone close to me said he has written more mediocre poems than anyone else ever, which ultimately doesn't matter since he's also written some good ones." she later told me. What is important is the habit and joy in creating.

Ciara took a break when her poem was done and I had placed my last wash on the sketch. Since she was also a visual artist, I was a bit reluctant to show the sketch which is by definition never quite finished. She seemed to appreciate it and she shared it with her dad. While talking on the back stoop, she asked me, "Do you do any creative writing, like fiction or poetry?" That caused me to pause. All I do is observe and share my thoughts. I'm more of a reporter than an artist. Perhaps I could go back through all my writing and mine out sincere moments of revelation and amazement. I tend to live vicariously always on the fringe looking in. I don't know how to trust enough to share raw emotion, but I'm glad to know there are people who can.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dandelion featured an Art Opening for the Berrios-Myers Project 52.


I went to an art opening at Dandelion Communitea Cafe (618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando FL). At the start of 2014, friends and artists Deliz Berrios and Bethany Myers challenged each other to complete one small piece of art each week for an entire year. The result is Project 52, a show 12 months in the making, featuring the 104 works created by Deliz and Bethany as they met their weekly deadlines. Originally, it was an exercise in motivation. Along the way, it became an art show.

Bethany Myers’ style changed dramatically throughout the year, ranging from reality to abstract surrealism. A concussion in January influenced strange paintings. By spring her art returned to her familiar style of blind contour drawing and bold colored paintings.“It wasn’t easy to think of subject matter that was cohesive. I gave up on that early on and moved forward with a variety of ideas.“

Deliz Berrios’ work reflects her personal life and perspective on a variety of subjects ranging from current states of mind to figurative work. Patterns and color emerge in her art, a clear reference to her
graphic design background. “Working at this small scale I was able to experiment and be playful. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to convey.” Besides having all 52 originals from both artists on the walls, there was also a box full of prints which made for a very affordable way to purchase art.

At the opening I got to meet both artists in person. It was my first time meeting Deliz and her skills as a figurative artist are inspiring. I have met Bethany a few times at artist critiques, and again, I identify with her work which feeds off of direct observation. Bethany's husband Jim is the drummer for the "Milk Carton Superstars" which is a rock group I sketched several times before. They also performed at this opening. Bethany, Jim and guitarist Guy Larmay came to my art opening the other night. It is so encouraging that artists support each others exhibitions.

Lucy Sky performed first on guitar and he was then joined by his wife Heather Ashworth Pereira. Heather is another artist I have met at artist critiques. The last painting she showed featured a man holding a gun and the barrel of the gun felt uncomfortably close to the edge of the painting. Ironically I'm working on a movie poster right now which had the same issue. I had no idea Heather was also a talented singer.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Taste of the Nation has helped fight hunger for 25 years.


On August 9, 2014 I went to the Orlando World Center Marriott (8701 World Center Drive Orlando FL) to sketch Taste of the Nation which is the nation's premiere culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid grows up hungry. Each spring and summer, the nation's top chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 Taste of the Nation events across the United States and Canada with the goal to raise critical funds needed to end childhood hunger. No Kid Hungry, Share our Strength, organizes the events. The beneficiary's in Orlando are, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

Second Harvest Food Bank secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year with the help of donors, volunteers,  and a caring community, the food bank distributed nearly 64 million pounds of grocery products- the equivalent of more than 53 million meals. On average more than 55,000 people receive assistance provided by Second harvest every week. Second Harvest recently moved into a new 100,000 square foot hunger relief center. This puts the bank in a position to fill the gap of what our community really needs.

Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1987 by concerned citizens who noticed the growing problem of homelessness in our community. It has grown into the largest provider of homeless services in Central Florida and the largest residential facility for children. Their mission is to transform lives of homeless men, women and children by providing critical services to end their crisis of homelessness. The Coalition has three residential facilities and an off site community housing program. Case managers develop individualized self sufficiency plans which include educational opportunities, job skill training, budget management, counseling and more. Services are provided to over 600 people each night including 150 children. They served over 300,000 meals and provided over 245,000 nights of shelter last year.

I decided to sketch the Captains Grille (Epcot, 1700 Epcot Resort Blvd., Orlando, FL) as they set up and served patrons. They served a plate that had cauliflower puree topped with pan seared scallops. Mixed greens were mixed with spiced rum raisins with hazelnut vinaigrette and placed on top. To say it was delicious is an understatement.  The chef shared the recipe but I can not share it for legal reasons. I plan to try and make it myself someday since this culinary army made it look so easy.  The scallop dish was ironically the only plate I got to taste. By the time my sketch was done all the food vendors were packing up. $301,317 was raised at the Orlando Taste of the Nation to fight hunger.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hank Williams comes to life in "Lost Highway".


Andy Matchett left me a message to let me know tech rehearsals were in progress for Hank Williams "Lost Highway at the Sonnentag Theatre at the Icehouse in Mount Dora. Andy stars in the show as Hank Williams. The show opened with Hank's mom sitting in a rocking chair on her porch reminiscing about her son's childhood. He was a mamma's boy. Opposite her on stage, a blues man sang a soulful tune. Hank went to this singer and played an early song he wrote about a UPA worker who was disgruntled. Hanks mentor asked, "Did you ever work for the UPA?" "No" said Hank. "Well, why you singing about someone Else's problems?" "You have to use your own experiences." Hank took the words to heart and is songs blossomed,

Hanks wife was an interesting character. She recognized his talents and helped promote him. Then she decided she needed to step into the spot light and sing. The trouble is, she was tone deaf. I grimaced when I first heard her and thought, how did they cast such an awful singer? But the actress probably had to rehearse many times to hit those notes.  Hank let her sing beside him and even write a few bad songs. But his talents would drown her out until she would stomp off stage in a huff. His earnings he would hand over to her and he would never see a dime. He loved her dearly but also wanted to kill her at times. The attention she craved, she found in the arms of other men and eventually she left hank.

Hank Williams flame burned bright and he achieved all his success in his 20s. But he turned to drink and even performed drunk sometimes. He had a mean streak when drunk and his band mates just had to put up with it. A truck stop waitress tended her bar for much of the show. She acted as the narrator, explaining Hanks influence on the people of Alabama and the whole country. As Hank performed she would be bobbing her head or sweeping the floors to the sway and beat of his songs. Her love and appreciation of the music was contagious. She dreamed of one day escaping the waitressing and driving off in a fancy car. That dream came true when a drunk Hank Williams entered her cafe. She left with him that night and drove his Cadillac while they howled at the moon. Instead of being a romantic interlude however, he passed out. She stayed with him until morning but that was their only night together.

While being driven between gigs, Hank passed out in the back seat of his car. The driver thought he was sleeping, but he had died at the tender age of 29. There was enough alcohol and drugs in him to pickle the man, but the coroner politely wrote it off as a heart attack. The band released several albums after Hanks death and those sad songs were more popular than ever. It is as if people need a performer's sadness to feed off of even after death.

Hank Williams "Lost Highway" written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik Directed by Darlin Barry runs from March 20 to April 12, 2015 at the Sonnentag Theatre in the Icehouse 1101 North Unser Street Mount Dora FL.

Tickets:
$20 All Adults (Fri- Sun)
$18 All Adults (Thursdays)
$17 Groups (15 or more)
$15 (age 18+ with student ID)
$10 (ages 5 - 17) Showtimes: Thursdays: 7:30 PM

Showtimes:
Fridays: 8:00 PM Saturdays: 2:00 PM or 8:00 PM
Sundays:   2:00 PM
Call for Saturday show times

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 21 and 22.

Saturday March 21, 2015  Downs Syndrome Awareness Day wear crazy socks.
9am to 6pm Free. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Central Park South Park Ave, Winter Park, FL. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Local, and National artists share their art in tents.

 6pm to 8pm Tickets $10 presale or $15 at the door. Emotions Dance Annual Cocktail Benefit Fundraiser. The Venue 511 Virginia Drive. Orlando FL. The company will be showcasing some of its best-loved works at the cocktail benefit, while guests enjoy refreshments from Fat and Happy Orlando, music, raffle items, and a large silent auction with over 20 different items from Orlando’s finest organizations. The company is still graciously accepting silent auction items, and organizations interested in donating items should contact Artistic Director Larissa Humiston directly (larissa@emotionsdance.org).

8pm to 10pm Free. Happy Birthday, Jack! The Imperial 1800 North Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL. You can meet other Kerouac fans to celebrate Jack’s birthday. This is not a Kerouac Project event, but it should be fun!

Sunday March 22, 2015
11am to 2pm. Lauris Vidal for Sunday Rejuicination Brunch. Maxine's on Shine, 337 Shine Avenue, Orlando, FL. Great food, great art from Analog Artist Digital World to adorn the walls. Brunch is meant to be delicious, lighthearted and whenever possible shared with friends and loved ones. What better way to enjoy the day than with soothing and grooving sounds played live from some of the area’s best soft rock and folk musicians from 11am to 2pm while we rejuvenate the very essence of your well cocktailed souls? Full and eclectic brunch menu, ginormous hand crafted Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and sangria.  RSVP’s Strongly Suggested! Maxine’s welcomes one time Orlando resident, now living in Tennessee multi-instrumentalist, luthier, singer/songwriter Lauris Vidal back to Orlando and back on our stage playing laid-back original and cover tunes to ease your weekend.

1pm to 3pm  Free Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Every week.

7pm to 10pm  Peyote Moon for Serendipity Sunday Supper Club. Maxine's on Shine, 337 Shine Avenue, Orlando, FL. Great food, great art from Analog Artist Digital World to adorn the walls. Serendipity Sunday Super Supper Club is an early Sunday evening at Maxine’s providing a surprising yet relaxing, savory experience for all senses while enjoying inspired organic music, before you start your week.
Peyote Moon is an Orlando based quartet who play and sing a variety of songs from classic rock to country – plus original songs. Vocal harmonies and positive, upbeat lyrics are stressed to help you enjoy and de-stress. RSVP’s Strongly Suggested!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marriage Equality Eve at Lake Eola.


January 5th of 2015 was the Eve of Marriage Equality in Orlando. Ashley Inguanta organized a Marriage Equality Celebration and Reading which were to take place in the green across the street from the Lake Eola Panera Bread. She advised everyone in the invite to bring a blanket or chair. The evening would be a literary celebration of 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. Ashley Inguanta was the host.

I arrived early and started sketching the green across from Panera's. The plan was that I would populate the scene with the crowd as they arrived. The event was going to start at 7pm and as that time grew near, I was surprised that no one had yet set up on the lawn.  Tisse Mallon arrived with a microphone and speaker and she advised me that she planned to set up in the small amphitheater right next to the field. I quickly added color washes to this sketch resigned to the fact that there would be no huge crowd. This happened once before in this same field. Jessica Early organized a human cinnamon roll hug. This hug works great with a large crowd with people spiraling outward in a nautilus or Cinnamon bun pattern. The people in the center of the hug are completely enveloped. Anyway on that occasion I sketched the same field and only three girls stood together and hugged.

Eventually close to a dozen people did show up for the Marriage Equality Celebration. I finished this sketch and then joined them for the readings. Perhaps I am naive to have hoped that thousands of people might show up to celebrate love. I wasn't disappointed with the readings however because it was a heart warming and uplifting on an otherwise chilly evening.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Danny Rock presents "The Urban Art Forger."

I went to the studio of artist Danny Rock in Casselberry as he put finishing touches on ten forgeries he will be showing at Loft 55 Gallery & Boutique (55 West Church Street, Suite 120, Orlando, Florida)."Urban Art Forger" will open this Thursday March 19th as part of the Downtown Third Thursday art scene.
 
Danny explained that the work "Is a recreation of classics done in a new world trying to relate to what is real verses what is not. The point of this exhibition is to bring the awareness that fine art collectors and patrons  would rather spend millions on forgeries than support local fine artists with real skill and poise. All  the reproduction made are open domain."
 
On his work table was a book about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by a former staff member, Vincenzo Peruggia. He didn't steal the painting for profit. He loved the painting and wanted it for himself. His tiny garret had a wooden stove and the Mona Lisa leaned up next to it for years. Pan drippings and spatter from boiling soups might have splashed the painting. After two years, he took the painting to Italy and kept it in his Florence apartment.  He wanted the painting returned to it's homeland. Magazines had just come into vogue and the image of Mona Lisa circled the world until she was found.  Vincenzo only served two months in an Italian jail when convicted. Now behind bullet proof glass, it must be the most visited and photographed painting in the world. I went to see the painting and was shocked by the crushing crowd of tourists all viewing her in their digital devices. It was a surreal scene, which I call the digital salute. A digital picture takes a second to create and then is forgotten on hard drives or lost. Danny on the other hand is taking the time to apply delicate glazes and trying to understand the subtleties of the masters. Recently a second Mona Lisa has appeared painted on canvas. Da Vinci usually worked on wooden panels. In this painting there are two columns on either side of her. Some experts claim that this was a study done by Da Vinci for the final painting. Others believe it is a forgery. Danny decided to create a forgery of both.  Digital 3-D printers can now duplicate a painting with all the thick impasto paint and color. Though accurate it would still lack the human touch. It also could not replicate the deep pools of glazes applied. Perhaps we are becoming a society that only wants reproductions instead of originals. Everyone expects Wall mart prices even in art. Danny's forgeries are available for only a couple of hundred dollars each.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Orlando Shuffle offers fun for the whole family.


Old Game, New Year! The Orlando Shuffle  is being played on renovated courts at Beardall Senior Center (800 Delaney Ave, Orlando, Florida) on the first Saturday from 7pm to 9pm and third Saturday from 3pm to 5pm of every month. The Orlando Shuffle is free, and it’s family-friendly.  Retro attire is encouraged. The courts are located just south of downtown. This family friendly sport is gaining in popularity. Many shuffle board courts sit abandoned all around Orlando.  There are shuffle board courts at the Maitland Art Center but those courts are covered with dead leaves and I was told they are set to be demolished. There were some leaves on the Beardall courts but a young volunteer whisked them clean with a broom. City Commissioner Patty Sheehan was proud of the recent renovations to these courts that she helped spearhead. After speaking to me for a bit, she went off to play a heated match.

The game was played and gambled over by King Henry VIII of England, who prohibited commoners from playing; evidently he did not always win. The objective of the game is cue, called a tang to slide, all four of one's Weights alternately against those of an opponent, so that they reach the highest scoring area without falling off the end of the board into the alley. Furthermore, a player's Weight(s) must be farther down the board than his opponent's Weight(s), in order to be in scoring position. This may be achieved either by knocking off the opponent's Weight(s), or by outdistancing them. Horse collar, the most common form of the game, is played to either 15 or, more typically, 21. Only the weights in front score.

I watched a husband, wife and their two children play. The wife was fiercely competitive and she won every game by a rather high margin.   There was some controversy about weather a weight on a line counts as a score. I couldn't pick up all the basics just by watching and sketching. One gentleman really embraced the retro attire look with a sporty cap and vest. If you are looking for something playful to do on a Saturday night, I would definitely put the Orlando Shuffle on your calendar. I considered playing a game to see if I had any shuffle skills but instead decided I should get home to Terry to finish off my Saturday night..

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Fringe mural dies.


Last year Scottie Campbell contacted me about doing a mural on the facade of the Fringe offices. The building had been painted black which made it a heat magnet. I had done a sketch of Orlando for a mural that was later painted by drunk patrons of a Downtown Orlando Arts event. Needless to say, that painting didn't turn out as expected. It hung in the lobby of the hotel for a while and then disappeared. I decided to resurrect that sketch for the Fringe facade.

My plan was to paint the wall white and reproduce the sketch with only the sky as a painted element. That assured that the mural would be as bright as possible reflecting away any heat. The problem was that the Fringe had no budget for the mural. United Arts of Central Florida has a crowd sourced fundraising page called Power2Give which is similar to Kickstarter. The advantage of Power2Give is that funds go to the arts organization even if 100% of the funds are not raised. The disadvantage is that United Arts takes 12% of the funds. A page was set up to raise $5000 for the mural's creation. I set up a progress chart that showed the funds raised. At the end of the campaign only half the funds had been raised. Then came the nail in the coffin, a developer plans to demolish the Fringe offices, the Thursty Topher and several other buildings to make room for a high rise condo.

George Fringe Wallace, executive director of the Fringe, asked me to hold off on reporting the condo debacle until the deal was public knowledge. About a year from now, all the warehouses along Alden Road will be demolished to make way for a mixed-use development with 585 apartments and buildings as tall as nine stories. Developers said that they want to honor the area's roots by incorporating art studios, performance space and an industrial feel into its design. Artists in the area however doubt they will find a home in the new development plan.  I am not sure yet where the Fringe offices will relocate after they make way for the wrecking ball.  I'm thankful work never started on the mural because it would be hard to see my work destroyed. Murals are only as permanent as the walls they are painted on. Hopefully the several thousand dollars raised will be used by the Fringe to continue bringing cutting edge and sometimes weird theater to Orlando. At least the Fringe building has been painted white which means a cooler summer as the Fringe searches for a new home. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the mural. My proposed mural depicting sky rises will be replaced by  actual highrises.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bart celebrated it's two year anniversary in style.

Bart (1205 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida) is a small pub on Mills. It features local art, play some classic arcade games and of course craft beer. The two year anniversary party was held on August 29th of 2014 at the Orange Studio next door which was rented to make room for more arcade cabinets and pinball machines. Many of the local artists who have shown their amazing art on Bart's walls donated pieces for a silent auction to benefit A Gift For Teaching. Also, a collaborative art piece was painted during the event by Parker Sketch and then auctioned off live. Soul Brother Kevin and Angel from SBK Live filled the air with music throughout the evening. This event was free. There was a supply drive set up for A Gift For Teaching as well as the auction. If you brought in school supplies we will reward you with a wristband good for happy hour all night!

I sketched the long line of arcade games and pin ball machines that had been brought in for the event.  Game play was free. When my sketch was done, I tried my hand at a game of Space Invaders. I should have pretty good eye hand coordination, but within minutes I had been blasted to pieces. I dusted myself off and tried again only to meet the same sure weightless death. That was enough for me. I stopped over to see the huge painting that Parker was working on. He slaps down paint as fast as I sketch and he was pretty far along in completing the five foot high canvas.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

AADW work on view at Maxine's on Shine.


Sketches from Analog Artist Digital World are now on display at Maxine's on Shine (337 Shine Ave, Orlando, FL), through mid-April. Maxine's was recently voted the best neighborhood restaurant and also best place for a date night. The opening for the exhibition was on April 12th. Complimentary cheese, crackers, fruit and vegetables were in a private quaint back room that resembles a mini temple. I was told that wedding ceremonies were indeed once held there.On the 2nd Thursday of every month guests are invited to "Meet the Artist, Meet the Winery, Meet the Brewery” as part of Thornton Park’s Art and Wine Walk.

Friends came out to share their support. I had a small table set up outside with some books, cards and information about the art. Jessica Pawli was set up beside me offering free samples of wines. The white wine had a faint scent of oak that I rather liked. Sam Ewing, a former Disney Feature Animation, and Full Sail colleague came out to check out the show. He might be helping out by teaching my Elite Animation students while I travel to Turkey this year. Wendy Wallenberg posed by the doorway several times. That part of the sketch was already finished however. I joked with her that she was blocking my view of the dog.

When the sketch was done, I joined a large group of artists, authors and musicians who were gathered at a large round table outside. Maxine pointed out that this is how she always envisioned this place being a melting pot for the arts. Michael McLeod, came up with the catch phrase that this was the "Max Scene." Maura Lucchese, had her work on the walls of Maxine's the month before my show. She was taking down her pieces as I put mine up. It was like a whirlwind, Grand Central Station day as we rushed in and out the front door. Maura's work is bright and sensual being created from thousands of bits of magazines assembled onto canvas. We traded cards. I did a sketch of her show and she gave me a sensual nude in greys, reds and blues. Some of her work showed couples kissing. The pieces are large and bold, and come together seamlessly from a distance.I'm a fan of her work now.

There was a long conversation about a live action feature film that featured angry chickens. The chickens were Hollywood executives who would pray on the innocent souls who sought fortune and fame. The puppet chickens were based on real life characters whose rude behaviors were exaggerated. It sounds like this is a film I should see. There seemed to be just one degree of separation between each person at the table. For instance Maura's friend had worked on the sound track for Carl Knickerbocker's latest film. She had done the sound effects and yet this was the first time that they met in person. Wendy mentioned that Maxine had once been Miss New York State. I'm always amazed at peoples brilliant histories.

Donna Dowless spoke to everyone at the table, saying that we are the core group of people who always show up at events. Each of us contribute to the arts scene in our unique way. It is through the dedication of our efforts and the efforts of others that this city is becoming an exciting place to live. It was a heart warming thought, coming from Orlando's Ambassador of Love. Her heart shaped pendant necklace caught the evening light. I felt the love on this warm southern night and felt grateful to be among such amazing artists.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 14th and 15th.

Saturday March 14, 2015
3pm to 9pm. Tickets: $10 (Presale) $15 (Door) Pi Day Celebration (Hosted by Canvs & Nerd Nite Orlando). p Canvs in Church Street Station 101 S Garland Ave, Suite 108, Orlando, Florida. To coincide with Pi Day and the 2-year anniversary of the very first Nerd Nite in Orlando, we will be co-hosting a special event with Canvs on Saturday, March 14th at the Church Street Exchange. The afternoon/evening will compile a diverse group of classic nerd nite talks along with new presentations and additional programming that includes trivia, a drunk science nerd-off, and a dry t-shirt contest; along with music, games, pies, and of course drinks! Click here to get your tickets. Everyone that purchases their tickets during presale will be able to get $10 off the door entry for Church Street District's annual craft beer event, Downtown Brewfest (which will be happening right next door to our event).

7pm to 9pm $5. Second Saturdays in Sanford. 202 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL.

7:30pm to 9:30pm Free. The Geeek Easy with Amy Watkins and Open Mic. 114 S. Semoran Blvd
Winter Park Fl . Amy Watkins and Superhero Poetry Open Mic. Open to all: Musicians-Lyricists-Artists-and Poets of all kinds. Bring out the cape and have some fun. http://poetry.meetup.com/362/

Sunday March 15, 2015
 Noon to 3pm. Free. Casa Feliz to Celebrate their 10 Year Anniversary. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. The entire community is invited to join us at Casa Feliz to celebrate our 10 Year anniversary as a historic home museum!  That's right, it's been 10 years since we opened our doors to the public, after a highly publicized move across Interlachen Avenue and years of painstaking restoration.  We had over 500 visitors that first day, March 5, 2005.   Since that time, over 100,000 people have crossed our threshold for our weekly open houses, weddings, programs and special events!
Listen:  Spread out a picnic blanket, bring the kids, and make yourself comfortable on our front lawn to enjoy the classic Latin sounds of the Don Soledad Group!  Inspired by the gypsy music of Andalucia, Don's musical path, vision and original compositions journey through the borders of Spain, Latin America and beyond.  The Don Soledad group delivers an authentic, soulful flamenco guitar sound with a touch of Latin jazz and a hint of bossa nova.   The music will be ongoing from 12 noon to 3 pm.
Learn:  Have you ever taken an architectural tour of Casa Feliz?  Our trained docents will be on hand to lead group tours of the authentic Andalusian farmhouse, the signature residential work of architect James Gamble Rogers II.
Enjoy:  a special retrospective slide show of highlights from the last 10+ years!
Raise a toast with us-anniversary cake and sparkling cider will be served!

5:30pm to 7:30pm $5 Southern Fried Sundays St. Paddy's with Hymn For Her, The Mud Flappers, The Getbye, Lauren Galant & More! Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida. This Year St. Patrick's Day is on a Tuesday. We thought our friends would rather celebrate on a Southern Fried Sunday with great Bands, Brews, Specials on Irish Whiskey and a Complementary Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner and Absolutely NO Green Beer! On the stage: The Psychedelic Dosed & Distorted Country/Rock of Hymn For Her, Indie/Folk/Gypsy Rock of The Getbye, Depression Era Soaked Blues/Country Swing of The Mud Flappers, the sweet voiced storyteller Lauren Galant and other St. Paddy's Surprises. Expect specials on Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's new NOONER Pilsner & Jameson Irish Whiskey! The $7 Cover includes Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner, chef'd by Mykal Williams & complements of Will's Pub & Sierra Nevada. FREE After Show at lil indies!
Come share in the Sláinte spirit with us!

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bookmark It celebrated Florida Bookstore Day at East End Market.


In conjunction with Florida Bookstore Day’s statewide celebration of Florida writers and independent bookstores, Bookmark It is (3201 Corrine Drive, Suite 201, Orlando, Florida) delivered a free day-long program featuring nationally published Central Florida authors, along with three creative writing workshops. Between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., authors took to the Courtyard stage for casual readings, Question and answer sessions, and book signings. Three 2-hour workshops were offered to those wanting to engage their creative writing skills.

When I arrived,  David James Poissant was reading some of his award winning essays and short story's. His debut short story collection, The Heaven of Animals, has garnered national attention. His second book, a novel, is due out this spring. The writing was crisp and personal describing a relationship that was stretched to its limits. Across the street, there were tree trimmers with chain saws hacking down branches and then shredding them to mulch in a loud chipper. David had to read over the weekend warrior war zone noises.

The next author to read was Lynn Waddell. Her non-fiction book was, “Fringe Florida: Travels Among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles" was the winner for National Book of the Year (bronze- travel essays). I liked her journalistic approach. She sought out Florida's unique and quirky side. An article about The Holy Land Experience theme park was hilarious. It pointed out that the actor playing Christ could easily double as the model Fabio on dime store romance novels. When young girls talked of surrendering their souls to him, there was more than a hint of sexual innuendo. Lynn's research lead her to Cassadega, a town devoted to psychic mediums, and somehow she convinced her husband to join her at a nudist colony. I don't know if I'd sacrifice my clothing for the sake of a sketch and an article, but her humerus writing made me think twice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

National Dance Day brought out a huge crowd.


On July 26th of 2014, National Dance Day hit Orlando. It was held at the Orlando Ballet Central Campus (2201 McRae Avenue Orlando FL). The Free event featured 15 classes with 13 styles of dance in 3 dance studios. This was the second annual celebration that aimed to educate, inspire, and promote the Orlando dance community. This event was specially designed to promote progressive development of dancers, celebrate the diversity of Central Florida's dance professionals, and further connect the Orlando dance community. This year’s event encouraged dancers and non dancers alike to participate in a variety of 15 free dance workshops. These classes were taught by local Orlando dance company directors, choreographers and fitness instructors who lead participants through body conditioning, dance technique and choreography at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. National Dance Day Orlando brought opportunities to those who love the art of dance by encouraging ongoing education.

I parked in the Theater parking lots on Princeton and walked towards the dance studios. I've never been inside this dance space before, so I didn't know what to expect as I approached.  The dance studios are in a large building right next to the railroad tracks. There were a few dancers standing outside the entrance chatting. I was amazed when I entered. The entry hall was packed with dancers taking a break between classes. Holly Harris who was instrumental in organizing the event, welcomed me. She gave me a quick tour showing me the 3 huge dance studios. Every dance studio was packed. Hundreds of people had showed up to dance. To say that the event was a success would be an understatement.

I settled in, sitting in the back corner of a studio. Sketching a crowded group of dancers, all doing the same dance moves is probably the greatest sketch challenge there is. I contented myself with catching each dancers unique gestures and body proportions. The instructor further complicated the sketch by insisting that dancers in the back rows should move up while the front rows moved back. This allowed everyone a chance to see the dance moves up close and added a sense of panic and chaos to my sketch. I stayed for the duration of the samba class and then packed up my kit. I could have stayed all day capturing dancers but I keep my sketch habit to one a day. Otherwise I'd get lost in the process and never come up for air. Art requires some balance to work its way into becoming a life.

As I was leaving I bumped into Larissa Humiston who is the founder and lead choreographer for Emotions Dance. She was with Taylor Shepherd, who is one of Larissa's incredibly talented dancers. On stage Taylor is fierce and commands attention. They were about to teach a beginning and intermediate Contemporary dance class. Larissa understands the advantages of collaborating with artists of all kinds. I worked with her doing a series of paintings that were projected before each dance piece for a show titled "Art Evolution". It was a very rewarding experience.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jammin' Drum School offers a weekly class in worldbeat hand drumming.


There is nothing more primal than the beat of hand drums. Greywolf offers weekly classes every Friday at The Orlando Aikido Dojo (3764 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL). At 7:00 pm the beginner Jammin! drumming class starts with with Greywolf and Mark DeMaio. They offer insights into proper dembe hand technique; drills and fundamental orchestrated multi-part rhythms. In the class I sketched, there was one beginner, Susan, and soon she was holding her own. Judy, in a pony tail, seemed like a regular beside her was Mark, who I've seen perform at Earth Day for Heather Henson's Ibex puppetry. Greywolf I have seen many times at drum circles and at world beat gigs around town. Sven who was right beside me had a fascinating intricate tattoo on his bicep.

At 8:00 pm Intermediate class Jammin! class appropriate for all levels begins. All levels are welcome. Greywolf offers insights into Samba drumming with  Djun-djun and other stick techniques along with more complex rhythms. Dun-Dun parts and solo phrases for basic rhythms are covered. I found it funny that Djun-djun and Dun-Dun sound just like the beats created on the drums.  This class is all Sambas, all the time thanks to the insistence of students.

At 9:00 pm the Advanced Jammin! course with Greywolf offers Additional instrumentation and yet more complex rhythms; odd time signatures; performance breaks and leads along with Ensemble pieces. As an example of complex rhythms Greywolf showed us a You Tube video he helped produce based on a ticking beat. Sketching to these complex rhythms is a real pleasure. The beats set the pace as lines danced on the page. People often tell me, "I can't draw a straight line." I bet some people feel that they couldn't keep a beat. But after one session with Greywolf, they would be proved wrong. If you are looking for a fun date night. This would be it.

Any class is $12.
Any two or more classes on the same night is $10 each.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Miller's Field House had so many TVs, it was hard to know where to look.





On July 19th, Terry and I went to Miller's Field House (7958 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL) to watch the Chargers battle against the Chiefs in the playoffs. Well, Terry watched the playoffs and I sketched. Terry grew up in San Diego, so she always roots for the Chargers, even if she is the only person in the room doing so. The place was packed with fans, Many wearing the jersey of their favorite team. I ordered a burger and a beer and got to work.

The game was pretty close for a while, but by the second half, Terry was groaning far more than she was cheering. The Chargers lost which sealed their fate for the season, they would not be going to the Super Bowl. On my several trips to the bathroom, I realized that the bar also had seating outside, and it was just as crowded out there. People would come in shifts, watching a game and then heading out. The bar must do a brisk business since the drinks kept flowing as long as there were games and commentary.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A curators preview of Real Life Observations by Dale Kennington at the Mennello Museum of American Art.


On January 22, I went to The Mennello Museum of American Art which was undergoing preparations for the January 23 opening of Real Lives: Observations and Reflections by Dale Kennington. This is the first exhibit in the museum's yearlong series devoted to "Storytellers of the South: Voices of Women."  Curator Dr. Lee A Gray offered insights as guests followed her through the museum. I sketched Executive director Frank Holt who had just announced that he planned to retire at the end of January. Holt was instrumental in widening the museum's scope from simply folk art to all American art, and in establishing the Mennello's affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. Virginia Mecklenberg, chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, has called Holt a "visual genius." As the group of about 20 guests moved gallery to gallery, I stayed sketching the main reception desk. Frank seemed pensive, perhaps reflecting on the influences brought to the museum. He always seemed to understand and respect my sketching obsession. So I'm sorry to see him go. This sketch was done on top of another sketch so that I could give the sketchbook a consistent flow.

Realist painter Dale Kennington is now 80 years old. She does large oil paintings of people engaged in everyday activities. She takes a series of photos of any given location and then pieces together her composition from those many visual elements. For instance a painting of people in a swimming hole featured the same bather in multiple places in the same painting. I do the same thing when I sketch on location. Often I will follow one person, sketching them multiple times to populate a scene. Dales paintings are all inspired by luminous light and often feature reflections. She married Don Kennigton, a successful business man so making a living as an artist was not a concern. She started painting because she wanted portraits of her children. In the mid 80's she gave up portraiture and switched to becoming a studio painter. In 2009 she was recognized by the Alabama State Council on the Arts with the Governor's Arts Award, and the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel as one of Alabama's "Master Artists". Seeing so many large light filled paintings made me want to start working large myself. I'm working on a 30 inch high piece right now but it is a real challenge to sit alone all day working on one painting. I'm used to sketching in the hectic chaos of life and those sketches only take 2 hours. Committing to spend a solid week with one image is a real challenge.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

United Arts is offering Artist in the Community Grants.


I went to a workshop offered by Mary Giraulo, the United Arts of Central Florida Manager of Grants and Arts Education at the Maitland Arts Center (231 Packwood Ave, Maitland, FL). The room was pretty full and the Power Point presentation was already started. An author had read about my Life Sketch project where I went to retirement homes to sketch people and get their life stories. I had collaborated with several authors in the past. While they conducted the interview, I sketched. This worked for me because once I start a sketch, I'm lost in the moment until the final wash and lines hit the page. Any conversation is a distraction that takes me cot of my "zone". One author I worked with took her own life and the other decided it was too much work after a few write ups.

I decided this grant would help pay for the author's time as well as my own. She was considering a grant for another project as well. I asked at the workshop if an author could collaborate on one project and also get their own grant and it is possible. The tricky loop hole in this grant is that United Arts would only fund half the amount needed. The rest of the funding would have to come from private sources.  The maximum grant amount is $2,500. So I would need to match that amount.

Via e-mail the author let me know that she decided against collaborating on my project. I have 3 days to decide if I will apply for the grant on my own. Perhaps I don't need an author but instead I could use a tape recorder. When I'm sketching people, they tell me stories even when my attention is mostly on the sketch. Perhaps I could ask a few questions and keep working. I have to finish a large illustration in the next few days and then maybe I'll fill out all the paperwork. I've started keeping track of all the opportunities that are available as I move ahead and this is just one of many. As an artist, you have to pick your battles as you learn to survive as an artist.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 7th and 8th.

Saturday March 7, 2015
10am to Midnight $59 Circus World II REUNION. International Palms Resort & Conference Center Orlando, 6515 International Dr, Orlando, FL. Clown meetings, dancer meetings, etc. Contact Dan Stapleton at magicdanstap4u@aol.com.

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

8pm to 10pm Free. Shuffleboard at Orlando's Beardall Courts. 800 Delaney Ave Orlando FL. 1st Saturday of each month. Free fun! https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoShuffle?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite

Sunday March 8, 2015
9am to 1:30pm Porche Rally. Advanced registration is $40 per car. Day of rally registration is $45 per car.
Millenia Motors, 1020 Charles Street, Longwood, FL. The 29th Annual Challenge / Charity Rally to Benefit the Russell Home for Children. Registration form on our website.
You will be given the chance to drive your car through some of the best roads and unspoiled areas in Central Florida. Schedule for the Rally: 9:00 Registration begins. 9:30  Continental . Breakfast and Concours.  10:00  Drivers Meeting. For questions, email Bill Davis @ wmd968@gmail.com.

Noon to 5pm Free but get a drink. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ spinning tunes.

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

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mystery Sketch Theater has moved to the Falcon Bar.


Mystery Sketch Theater is a monthly sketch group. Models are usually dressed in elaborate cos play costumes. The sketch session is just $5 for the night. The sessions have moved around over the years. The first time I went it was held in a tiny Japanese bar called Tatame near Rollins College, it was then held in Comic Shop on Semorian Boulevard and then in a warehouse near Fairbanks. Its newest home is The Falcon Bar ( 819 E Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Florida). I like to go when I can. Having a model pose for any length of time is a real luxury.

Tonight's model is Brooke. She will be coming out of hibernation on stage right in front of your eyes! I suggest you buy a drink to thank The Falcon for hosting. The bar doesn't serve food so feel free to order delivery from a nearby restauraunt. I haven't sketched Mystery Sketch Theater at the Falcon yet, so I plan to go tonight to loosen up and relax.

Mark your calendar! Mystery Sketch Theater is tonight, Thursday March 5, 2015. The sketching starts at 8pm until 10pm. You don't have to be an artist, just come out grab a drink and be a voyeur. Sketching is $5. Its free to watch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kelly celebrated his birthday in style at Pilars.


Kelly Dewayne Richards is a prodigy on the piano so it made perfect sense that he performed while his friends sang for his birthday on November 13. Pilars Martini Bar (146 Plant Street Winter Garden FL) is located right next to the Winter Garden Theater and Kelly has been performing there once a week for the past couple of years. It seems that Kelly's friends are not your average karaoke singers. These folks belted out the tunes with Broadway quality voices. Trudy Petersen was the singer who I decided to sketch. Love was brazened on her shirt and it was easy to love her voice. One singer introduced as "Joy Top Dance" sang a Louis Armstrong song, "What a Wonderful World". She lowered her voice and managed to sing with Louis's gravely vibrato.

As I was packing up to go, an artist named Rod Reeves introduced himself. We sat outside and shared sketchbooks. He sketches on location like myself so it was an unexpected surprise.  He advised me to look up Francis Marshall, an English Illustrator. Marshal's location sketches are fluid and bold with a flair of fashion. I could learn much studying his work.  I collected a card from my fellow sketcher, but for the life of me, I can't find it.  Hopefully our paths will cross again. Inside the bar, every voice was singing "Seasons of Love" from Rent. With so much talent in the room, it was an inspired performance that could give the coldest heart a warm glow.

Mark your calendar. Kelly performs at Pilars every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DRIP never fails to amaze.


DRIP (8747 International Drive Orlando FL) is an in-your-face explosion of color and movement backed by a live rock band, all in an industrial bar. You may get wet … you may get messy … you WILL have an awesome time. Grab a colored beer (orange, yellow, red or blue!) or glass of wine from our bar and let DRIP assault your senses. For this sketch, I thought I might be out of the splash zone because I was standing close to the stage. I was wrong. This sketch was hit multiple times by uncontrolled tsunamis of color from the show.

This explosive dance show follows the story of three dancers, Yellow, Blue and Red. Yellow and blue fall for each other and when they touch their colors mingle to create green. Blue cheats and has a hot purple affair with Red. In a ferocious strobe scene Yellow discovers the truth and trashes the place in anger. In the spotlight she experiences isolation and sorrow. In the end though, she recovers as she washes away the residue of her former relationship in a bright yellow shower.

This local dance company has been bringing this show to tourists on International Drive for over a year. This is a place where adults can get away from the child themed parks and get a little nasty. DRIP is much like a speakeasy. It is located in a dark alley behind a Denny's and Senior Frogs. You enter via a loading dock.  If you haven't experienced DRIP yet, what are you waiting for. Spring Break shows are coming up starting March 6th. DRIP will blow the roof off. Be sure to dress down.

Tickets:
Student with ID $35.00
Party Rate for groups 8+ (includes DRIP t-shirt) $39.00
General Admission $44.00
Florida Resident with ID (includes DRIP t-shirt) $49.00
General Admission (includes DRIP t-shirt)$54.00

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Marble Bar in Sydney is a popular retreat for locals.

In Sydney Australia Terry found the opulent Marble Bar (488 George Street Sydney NSW 2000) where we relaxed over several drinks between our tourist rushes. The bar was first built in 1883 in the former Adams Hotel on Pitts Street. The entire venue was painstakingly dismantled and moved to it's present location at the Hilton Sydney. The original George Adams Bar was built for the then astronomical price of 32,000 pounds. The money was secured through the Tattersall Sweeps, one of a series of horse races held in New South Whales at the end of the 1800s. The decoration of the bar followed the traditions of the Italian Renaissance with Corinthian columns capped by solid brass capitols. 100 tons of marble were used from the best Belgium and African mines. Decorative stained glass panels can be found everywhere giving the room a warm magical glow.

A few people were curious as my sketch progressed. Locals are proud of this historic bar. A women stopped to tell us the bars entire history. I ordered a tasty Charlie Chaplin simply because I like the silent era comedian. The Charlie Chaplin Cocktail was one of the premier drinks of the Waldorf-Astoria prior to 1920. It has an equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin and is documented in A.S. Crockett's The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and it's a nice, gentle mix, which is sweet and tasty.

A huge party of well dressed patrons soon filled the bar. They might have been from a wedding or business group, I couldn't decide.  The dress code of the bar is "smart casual" and Terry and I might not have met the code since our dress code wan "casual tourist." We and I returned upstairs to the busy modern streets of Sydney stepping from the romance of this historic time capsule.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Getting a Sim Card in Sydney was a nightmare.


Terry wanted to keep her phone connected to the internet while we traveled in Australia. This would allow us to use the GPS on her iPhone to keep from getting lost. To avoid roaming charges she had to purchase a Sim Card in Sydney so that her phone could be hooked up to the local network. The Optus store was maybe a quarter mile walk from our hotel in downtown Sydney. The store is under staffed and while she was getting her phone set up, several people walked in and then left in a huff because they weren't getting helped. Perhaps an hour later, we left and she was hooked up.

The next day, we decided to return to replace the Sim in my phone. We figured it helps to be able to text or call each other especially since I'm often doing a sketch.  On this day Brad decided he needed to see my passport. No one had asked Terry for her passport. It seems like the sales clerks invent loop holes on the fly. Apparently Terry shouldn't have been sold her Sim without a passport. I wasn't about to walk back to the hotel just to satisfy this sales clerk. I suspect he gets pleasure from infuriating costumers. He's been at this dead end job for years and his only power comes from infuriating people who need help. As it turned out Terry still had a plethora of question and she kept Brad occupied long enough to do this quick sketch. When people specifically go out of their way to waist my time, I can get my anger and frustrations to channel their way into a sketch.  I took all of Brad's business cards and distributed them at tourist destinations all over Sydney with "Don't use Optus" scribbled on the back. It was my one public service while I was there. My advice, if you travel to Australia, don't use Optus. Terry told me that the phone bill was astronomical as well, so the fight to get a Sim didn't result in savings. I kept my phone on airplane mode for the month and just checked a few e-mails using hotel internet connections at night. Being free of the hive can be a blessing. Perhaps Brad did me a favor.