Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fun Home

The cast of the New York production of Home Fun presented a stripped-down concert performance of the Tony Award-winning musical as a benefit at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. One hundred percent of the net proceeds of the performance will go to the LGBT nonprofit Equality Florida and the victims of the Pulse shooting. Half of the money raised will be distributed directly to victims and their families, and half will support Equality Florida's work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"I think that it's one thing to raise money, which is important," said "Fun Home" actress Judy Kuhn. "But I think it's also important to show up and say, 'We're here and we're here supporting you." During the introduction, the words, "We are so sorry." brought back the tears. As the cast walked onto the stage, they got a roaring standing oration.

Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechel, the show is about a lesbian cartoonist named Alison,  who looks back at her childhood and her sexual awakening in college. Throughout the play, her adult self holds a sketchpad as she sketched the scenes of her past. It seemed appropriate that one person in the audience should be sketching as well. Three actresses perform as Alison. The youngest dreamed of taking flight, and yearned for her father's attention. The Tom boyish middle Alison intellectualized her sexual confusion until the right girl, Joan, kissed her.  The eldest Alison looked back on her past actions in ever scene often embarrassed by her own diary entries.

The woman seated next to Betsy, was wearing a tuxedo shirt and suspenders. She said, this was the first time she had seen a character on stage who reminded her of herself. The play addresses universal underlying themes of wanting a parent's acceptance and love only to get their narrow minded ideas of what they consider best. As Alison was discovering she loved women, her father was seeking out young men to have affairs with. As she began to soar, he began to crash. The harsh reality was gut wrenching.

My favorite scene featured  young Alison, Gabby Pizzolo, who sees a woman unlike any she had scene before. The woman was masculine and beautiful, no handsome. For the first time she saw a woman who seemed strong and she saw herself. Her father wanted her to wear a dress and keep her hair back with a beret, but she just saw who she could be. I loved her, for finally loving herself. In a talk back after the show the young boy actor, Zell Steele Morrow, summed it up nicely. You can be who you want to be, and love who you want to love.  The two women seated in front of me held each other close. In the wake of tragedy, love still finds a way in Orlando.

The GoFundMe to help Pulse victims families has reached over 7.3 million dollars breaking all records for the internet startup. Survivors from other mass shootings have come to Orlando to show their support. Some were in the audience. There is no life outside of the need to connect. Theater like this brings a community together and this shared story, about us all, can help us come together and face what we all must overcome, to rise above hate. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Orlando Brewing One Pulse Sounds of Our City concert.

All day, acts got on the outdoor stage at Orlando Brewing (1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, Florida) for the One Pulse Sounds of Our City benefit concert. It was x relaxing afternoon of sipping beer and enjoying music.  I believe this is a sketch of Aaron Fox Marshall. His soothing acoustic vocals eased me into the event. This is a fine example o the grass roots fundraising that rose from the ashes of the Pulse Tragedy. Artists of all kinds rose to the challenge of placing love above hate. It is a quiet well spring that gradually gathers strength to become a raging river. 

Rain threatened and rumbled on the horizon but for the four performances I saw, nature withheld it's wrath. [ would bet there were misty rainbows rather than torrential rain.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Picks for July 30 and 31

Saturday July 30, 2016
8:30am to 11am Free. National Dance Day opening performances. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando, FL.

12:30pm to 8pm Free. National Dance Day Orlando South Campus. Marshall Ellis Dance School 1300 La Quinta Drive, Orlando, Florida. National Dance Day Orlando is thrilled to launch its fourth year of free dance programming with increased educational experiences and community engagement. NDDO is most noted for its free dance classes that engaged 1000+ Central Florida residents and tourists last year. The 2016 celebration has formed a new partnership with Marshall Ellis Dance School to offer more dance and healthy living opportunities through free classes taught by local Orlando dance company directors, choreographers, dancers, and fitness instructors.
Ballet Barre 12:30-1:30
Contemporary 1:45-2:45
Body Core/ Conditioning 3:00-4:00
Stretch 4:15-5:00pm
In addition to free classes offered at Marshall Ellis Dance School (South Campus for National Dance Day Orlando), there will be a free showcase from professional and pre-pro dance companies.
 7:30pm at ME Theatre. All classes are open to ages 7 to Adult.National Dance Day Orlando
National Dance Day Orlando is proud to announce its fourth year of free dance programming with increased educational experiences and community engagement.
Kick off the morning of July 30 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts as they partner with Dizzy Feet Foundation for a dance extravaganza that will move and shake the heart of our city! The morning dance celebration will take place at Seneff Arts Plaza from 8:30-11AM. Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer from So You Think You Can Dance will lead the official National Dance Day routine for all ages and abilities to participate in together. Interactive dance programming, choreography demonstrations, and featured performances from Orlando Ballet, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, and many more will take the stage.
NDDO is most noted for its free dance classes that engaged more than 1000+ Central Florida residents and tourists last year. The 2016 celebration has formed new partnerships with Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, Emotions Dance Studio, Marshall Ellis Dance Studio, and Studio K to offer more free educational opportunities to the Central Florida community. More than fifty dance classes of various genres and levels are available for non dancers and dancers to participate and celebrate together. Participants can register for free afternoon dance classes hosted at the four campuses below:
North Campus: Emotions Dance Studio
Central Campus: Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts
South Campus A: Studio K
South Campus B: Marshall Ellis Dance School
For more information regarding the Orlando Celebration at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

8pm to 11pm Free, but order food or drink. Jazz Saturdays. Cork & Fork American Grill5180 S. Conway Road, Belle Isle, FL. Jazz Saturdays will feature live entertainment by Jazzanova musicians.

Sunday July 31, 2016
All day. Free. Random Act of Kindness Day. Do something nice for someone you don't know.

1pm to 5pm $50.  Pints for Pulse: a community event. Orlando Drink and Draw is being held at this event. Festival Park 2911 E. Robinson St., Orlando, Florida.
beer | art | music | you
A craft beer community event that raises moneys to help the pulse nightclub victims 80+ breweries, food trucks, food tents, burlesque shows, drag shows, and many more amazing and wonderful things - all to help raise funds for those affected by the pulse night club tragedy.
All proceeds from this event will go to OneOrlando
Where can I buy tickets?
Online pre-purchase only at the following link:What does my $50 ticket get me?
+Unlimited pours of beers from the breweries listed below
+Live Music
+Samples of small bites
+On site raffle of rare beers (1 raffle ticket included with entry)
+All proceeds of the entry will go directly to the pulse nightclub victims, victims families, and employees.
Food can be purchased on site from the following food trucks, all of whom will be donating a portion of their sales to OneOrlando:
+Da Kine Poke (Hawaiian poke bowls)
+Little Blue Donut
+Jamaica Jamaica (Jamaican jerk + curry)
+Treehouse Truck (burgers, cheesesteaks)
+Dixieland Diner (cajun cuisine) 
Various baskets containing rare beers will be raffled off donated by members of the Florida beer community. These baskets will include and not limited to beers like:
+Cigar City Hunahpu 2016
+Cigar City California Brandy BA Hunahpu
+Cigar City Kalvipoeg at the Gates of Hell
+Cigar City Cheers! b1 (2012)
+Cigar City Cheers! b2 (2015)
+Westvleteren 12
+Cantillon Iris
+Snowed In
+Last Snow
+2011 Black Ops
+2013 Black Ops
+2014 Black Ops
+Black Tuesday 2015 
+10 Barrel
+B Nektar
+Barley Mow Brewing Co.
+Barrel of Monks Brewing
+Bell's Brewery
+Big Storm Brewing Co.
+Big Top Brewing Company
+Bold City Brewery
+Boulevard Brewing Company
+Brew Bus Brewing
+Brew Hub
+Bugnutty Brewing Company
+Cask & Larder
+Central 28 Beer Co.
+Cigar City Brewing
+Concrete Beach Brewery
+Coppertail Brewing Co.
+Craft Brewers Alliance
+Crooked Can Brewing Co.
+Daytona Beach Brewing Company
+Dogfish Head Brewery
+Dunedin Brewery
+Elysain Brewing Company
+First Magnitude Brewing
+Florida Beer Company
+Goose Island
+Green Bench Brewing Co.
+Green Man
+Harpoon Brewery
+Highland Brewing Company
+Infinite Ale Works
+Intuition Ale Works
+JDub's Brewing
+Keel and Curley Winery (Madman Ciders)
+Lagunitas Brewing Company
+Left Hand Brewing
+Lexington Brewing
+Lost Coast Brewery
+Magic Hat Brewing Company
+MIA Brewing
+Motorworks Brewing
+New Belgium Brewing
+Orange Blossom Brewing
+Orlando Brewing
+Oskar Blues Brewery
+Peak Organic Brewing Co.
+Persimmon Hollow Brewing
+Red Cypress Brewery
+Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour and Brewery
+Samuel Adams
+Southern Tier Brewing
+Tampa Bay Brewing Company
+Ten10 Brewing Co.
+Tomoka Brewing Company
+Two Henry's Brewing Company
+Uinta Brewing Co.
+Vermont Hard Cider (Woodchuck)
+Victory Brewing Company
+Wynwood Brewing Company
Peace, Love, Pulse!

10pm to Midnight Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out and laugh, or give it a try yourself.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One Pulse Sounds of Our City

On Sunday, I went to One Pulse Sounds of Our City at Orlando Brewing (1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, Florida). The concert promised stellar local musicians with the proceeds to benefit the victims of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. This musical event was hosted by Shadow Pearson and featured some of Orlando's best musicians, writers and artists. It was exceedingly hot. The One Pulse Logo above the stage consisted of Mylar balloons. A large tent was set up in front of Orlando Brewing, and an ice cream truck offered cold refreshments.

The highlight of the afternoon's performances was the Orlando Gay Chorus. They have been been performing non-stop at benefit after benefit. The chorus perform in two parts, the all male chorus and then the mixed gender chorus. Both sang uplifting songs that had the audience singing along. The Orlando Gay Chorus is the face of love, and they are the voice of hope. Don't be afraid of the dark.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Monthly FAVO Art Market

While at the monthly FAVO art market, artist Denisse Berlingeri was nice enough to compliment the sketches that Imdo day to day. I ultimately decided to sketch in her studio since she appreciates my work. Her work is bold and colorful with plenty of primary colors. I caught a patron in a very fancy hat as she admired the work.
Denisse was born and raised in Orocovis, Puerto Rico and is an award winning fashion designer and artist. Known locally for her ceramic sculptures, paintings and mosaic art. Her work has been exhibited throughout the USA and Puerto Rico. Her artwork is very much a reflection of her personality, coming from a small town and a large family, inspired by nature and her roots. Her technique has evolved as a result of experimentation and her extraordinary talent and sensitivity of design. She has focused her work on the combination of bright colors with rich texture surfaces, incorporating glass mosaic and other materials into it, creating a unique effect that has gave her unlimited possibilities for exploring, the result has been an intriguing expression of her love and passion for what she does.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The first exhibit of 49 portraits at the Orlando Science Center.

On July 3, 2016 Orlando artists gathered at Falcon Bar to create portraits of the 49 victims of the Pulse tragedy. The goal was to create 49 portraits in one night. Eighteen artists answered the call and the portraits were completed. It was an emotionally charged and creative labor of love. On July 19th, the collection of portraits was exhibited for the first time at the Orlando Science Center during their OneOrlando fundraiser.

I dropped off all the portraits and the hanging hardware. The sketches were simply hung, clothes line style on fishing line with electrical clamps to suspend them. I had prepared labels the evening before, but the museum printed even better labels on vinyl. I got choked up just counting out all the clamps. Precious human life was reduced to the number of clamps needed to showcase the art.

When I arrived at the museum, staff were quickly putting up the name tags. Each person's name was listed along with their age. I have re-written the list of names several times and the shear number is always overwhelming. People would stop in groups to look at the display. Plenty of cell phone photos were taken, One woman walked by and purposefully touched a portrait which must have been someone she knew. Terry, my wife, stopped by to let me know that the portrait exhibit was a good idea. I was at a loss for words so I continued to sketch.

Siclaly M. Santiago-Leon, is the sister of Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon whose life suddenly ended along with his partner Jean Carlos Mendez Perez at Pulse. Siclaly came to the exhibit to see the portrait done by Plineo Pinto of her brother for he first time. I was excited to meet her since she has followed the portrait project from the start. I was about to leave the exhibit to go upstairs and sketch another aspect of the event. I bumped into her on the steps. She held out her hand and said "People call me Lolly." She introduced me to her husband and then they went down to see the exhibit. Her brother's portrait was right on the bottom row next to his partner. Lolly walked up to the portrait and then leaned against her husband as she cried. He held her close. I got choked up as well and wiped my eyes on my sleeve. I looked at Jennine Miller, who had helped coordinate the exhibit, and we both smiled as we fought back the tears.  The couple continued to embrace and I finally realized I should slip away so they could soak up the exhibit in private. This moment made all the hectic planning worth while. Lolly later found me as I was sketching a rainbow colored dinosaur. She hugged me and thanked me for the exhibit and once again I had to wipe away tears. My contribution seems so small compared to the unimaginable loss.

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Rumor del Viento"

The last performance at Love By Design was singer, songwriter Ka Malinalli along with Leo Aether who's latest album "Vuelo al Sur"is being released this month. It was getting close to dusk. The audience had thinned out, and volunteers began packing away tables and chairs.  

As part of the Swamp Sistas Songwriters Circle, a gathering of women under the lead of  Beth McKee, Ka had written a song about the Pulse Tragedy. The song was written in Spanish, so before it was performed, she strummed the chords, as Leo read the translation. With Ka's permission, I will share it here. 

"Rumor del Viento" (Whispering Wind)

The voices of the ones who fell travel in the whispering wind. 
The loves were silenced under fierce attacks of fire.
Joyful advocates of unconditional equality, transcendental essence of love.
They are victims of hatred deeply embedded in our history, invoking the light of humanity.

The grief of the ones who remain is kept by the whispering wind. 
They keep in their breath the names that inspired a grand movement, of strong defenders of unconditional equality, transcendental essence of love. 
And those who hate without thought,
will be blind as we march together,
beaming with this immense light of humanity.

We'll be a great mountain. 
We'll be a great wall. 
We'll be a great canyon.
The whispering wind will find a refuge in the hearts
of those of us that can still appreciate the time given and look for reason.
And we will transform the songs of love,
into echoes of fight and revolution. 

Sung in Spanish the song was even more beautiful. Looking around, I realized there were only a handful of people experiencing this amazing moment. The lyrics quietly faded away in the early evening breeze. I was so glad that I stayed as long as I did. This song encapsulated the day. My eyes burned as I stood and clapped. There was a quiet beauty in the moment. Creativity flourished even if largely unnoticed.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Circa at Love By Design.

In response to the tragedy at Pulse, AIGA Orlando invited the entire city to Love by Design, an event that will inspire and empower us all to stand against discrimination. Even more than a reflection on this tragic event, Love by Design will be an all-day celebration of The City Beautiful's talent, diversity and resilience. Local artists and designers will donate original work for sale and auction. Food and entertainment will be provided by local musicians and food trucks. Proceeds will benefit OneOrlando, the fund formed by the mayor’s office to respond to the needs of our community in the wake of the Pulse Tragedy.

Circa was a solo act with plenty of heart. What made the performance so endearing was the fact that every song was directed to the performer's girl friend seat in the front row. She beamed with pride as he sang and he looked he " the eyes with every romantic note. Perhaps love can someday overcome hate.

I was drinking pear ciders and by this time, my sketches were loose and fluid. I got to enjoy the performance with Ka Malinalli and her daughter. Ka was the next performer in the line up. She referred to her daughter as the "barnacle" since the two of them are inseparable. Little did I know that it would be Ka's performance that would bring home the meaning of the day's fundraiser. Her original song "Whispering Wind" written in the make of the Pulse tragedy caused all the emotions to flood back...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trajan's Temple in Pergamon Turkey.

Roman Temples are found all along the coast of Turkey. The Temple of Trajan, also called Trajaneum, is one of the most spectacular structures in Pergamon's Upper Acropolis area. It is also the only Roman monument in this location. The construction of the temple was initiated under the Roman emperor Trajan (hence it's name) and completed by his successor Hadrian. The purpose of the temple was to provide a venue for the religious cult of both rulers as well as Zeus. Since Hellenistic times, the worship of rulers as gods had become customary in Asia Minor. As the monument of Roman domination, the Trajaneum's purpose was to strengthen the bonds of Pergamon with Rome and with the Imperial family. The Trajaneum's position, dominating the summit, was like a propaganda statement concerning who was the ruler of the city and the province. The Temple of Trajan was the fourth imperial cult temple to be built in the province of Asia.

The Temple of Trajan was uncovered and examined in the years 1879-1880 and 1885 by an architect H. Stiller, but for decades the ruins were left as they had been found. In the 1960's the Turkish Administration initialized the process of its restoration. The challenge was taken up by German Archaeological Institute (DAI) that provided the initiative to re-examine the building. Preparations started in 1965 and in 1976 the restoration program was approved by the Turkish Directorate of Antiquity. The reconstruction started with the halls which would be easier to re-construct because of the weight and dimensions of working pieces. Due to the preservation of complete pieces, columns in particular, the northern hall offered the most promising preconditions. The reconstruction lasted until 1994 with the cooperation of architects, archaeologists and stonemasons from various European countries working with numerous Turkish specialists. The Trajaneum was splendidly reconstructed through anastylosis (the reassembly of existing, but loose parts) by German archaeologists.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Picks for July 23rd and 24th

Saturday July 23, 2016
7pm to 9pm Free. Get Lei'd at Fairvilla: A Summer Surf Party. Fairvilla Megastore, 1740 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida. Get Lei'd at Fairvilla Megastore as we celebrate summer with a retro-themed surf party.
Enjoy complimentary cocktails, groovy games, a sexy swimwear fashion show sponsored by Mapale by Espiral Lingerie, raffles and kisses at the Pug-Kissin' Surf Shack to benefit the Pug Rescue of Florida, a retro-surf-themed burlesque by Lexii Rose of Blacklist Babes Cabaret and so much more.
Let your creativity shine in a homemade bikini contest: Put together a bikini using anything BUT traditional fabric and we'll reward the best of the best with awesome prizes, including Fairvilla gift cards, a Fifty Shades of Grey by Lovehoney prize pack and more!
Your co-host for the night is Josh Pinkman from Real Radio 104.1's Philips Phile. When you see him, say, "Hey bud, let's party!"

7pm to 11pm Free. Ybor City Art Walk. Featuring a number of arts organizations and artsy businesses, be sure to R.S.V.P. here to get the official map for the walk!
This event will begin at 7pm and end at 11pm (or maybe there will be an after party!)
Here are the participating locations:
The Bricks of Ybor
Bloodline Tattoo
Ybor Arts Colony
Hot Wax
Wandering Eye Art Gallery
Dysfunctional Grace
Moon Over Havana Arts Gallery
Live Arts Labs
There will be other businessess joining the lineup so stay tuned! For any questions please feel free to contact the Ybor Art Alliance here through Facebook.
Expect to be wowed!

9pm to 2am Free but get a drink or two. BAD SANTA & the ANGRY Elves: XMAS in July (One Night Only!) with special guest DJ Sleigh. St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden 1300 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida. Bad Santa and the Angry Elves are getting the f*ck out of the North Pole and coming down to O-town to blow the doors off St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden! ONE NIGHT ONLY! Join Bad Santa (Christian Kelty), CC DeElf ( Craig Cobb), Elfie Nicks (Steve Hebert), & Elf Playcool (Daniel Wilkerson) for what is promised to be a legendary night in the annals of "XMAS PUNK ROCK BAND HISTORY"!
DJ SLEIGH (Kris Kokopelli) will be in the house spinning tunes to get you in the xmas spirit and there are bound to be more than a couple surprise guests!
So come on out and get your stockings stuffed!
You don't even know how bad you need it.
Ho. Ho. Ho.

Sunday July 24, 2016
Noon to 2pm Free but order food. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

2pm to 4pm Free but get a coffee. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 N Bay St, Eustis, FL.

7:30pm to 11pm  Suggested donation . Living Room Screening - The Man with Elephant Hands. Homegrown Local Food Cooperative 2310 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida. Jack Graham, Banks Helfrich and Tisse Mallon present independent local films in your living room. Living Room Screening events go beyond movie night and into a shared experience which includes the film, the creator and the reflections and thoughts of the audience.
This intimate experience consists of a number of previews, one short film, a feature and a conversation.
A few things for you to know:
- Due to the nature of this performance space, no late arrivals can be accommodated.
- While not lewd or vulgar, these films are recommended for ages 18 and up.
- The films lasts approx. 80 minutes.
NOTE: Due to limited space, we can only accommodate a certain number of people. If you have a plus one, we welcome them with open arms but please let your host know so that we have space for everybody!
The Man with Elephant Hands
Sid hates his hands; he thinks they look like elephant feet; so he hides them from everyone including himself.
Teaser 1- Meet Clyde

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Temple of Apollo in Didim Turkey.

The Temple of Apollo has to be the most impressive old world architecture that I have ever seen. The columns have such a large circumference that they seem like they have to have been made by giants. A large stone hallway still leads to the center of the temple. There is no way to truly convey the vast scale of the site, When you get dos to the still standing columns, they are over whelming. There was a large puddle at the base of the steps to the temple. Thousands of tiny tad poles swam in the puddle frantically. I imagined the sun must be evaporating the water making it an imperative that they sprout legs an adapt to life on dry land. A turtle lumbered along across the path I wag on, as I sketched.

The ruins of Didyma are located at a short distance to the northwest of modern Didim in Aydin Province, Turkey, whose name is derived from Didyma's. Greek and Roman authors refer the name Didyma to temples of the twins, Apollo and Artemis, whose own cult center at Didyma was only recently established.  Excavations by German archaeologists have uncovered a major sanctuary dedicated to Artemis, with the key ritual focus being water.

The 6th century Didymaion, dedicated to Apollo, enclosed a smaller temple that was its predecessor, which archaeologists have identified. Its treasury was enriched by gifts from Croesus. To approach the temple, visitors would follow the Sacred Way to Didyma, about 10 miles long. Along the way, were ritual way stations, and statues of members of the Branchidae family, male and female, as well as animal figures. Some of these statues, dating to the 6th century BC, are now in the British Museum, taken by the British archaeologist Charles Newton in the 19th century

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kayaköy Turkey.

Kayaköy is a deserted village in south west Turkey. Terry's niece, Alison Brown joined us for this leg of the trip. She worked for the US embassy in Turkey, and this village was on her bucket list of places she wanted to see. In ancient times it was the city of Lycia, Later, Anatolian Greeks lived here until approximately 1922. The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly standing Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and serve as a stopping place for tourists.

At the end of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) Greek inhabitants, mostly elderly women and children, were forced to leave through a march of fifteen days. During that death march, the roads were strewn with bodies of dead children and the elderly who succumbed to hunger and fatigue. The exiles of the next year were no less harsh. In September 1922, the few remaining Greeks abandoned their homes and embarked on ships to Greece. Many of the abandoned buildings were damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake.

Many of the exposed interior walls Still have warn coats of paint that serves as a reminder that this village was occupied not long ago. I imagined residents going about their lives in the narrow Stone alley ways. As Terry and Allison hiked ahead, I stopped to sketch on a bluff overlooking the ruins. I thought that this was a view that a painter like Cezanne would have appreciated. In September of 2014, the Turkish government announced plans to develop the village. It plans to offer a 49-year lease that will "partially open 's the archaeological site to construction" and anticipated "construction of a hotel, as well as tourist facilities that will encompass one-third of the village.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Anatolian Houses in Goreme Turkey.

This is a view from the grass covered roof outside our room in Goreme Turkey. We traveled to Derinkuyu, an underground cave city. Snow began to fall as the taxi driver drove us to the caves. Rooms, passage ways and an air shaft were all carved into the rock deep under ground. You couldn't have claustrophobia and live in this underground city. The tube shaped passages were just large enough so you could walk through while hunched over. Extending to a depth of approximately 200 feet, it is large enough to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several underground complexes found across Cappadocia.

 The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large stone doors. Each floor could be closed off separately. The city at Derinkuyu was fully formed in the Byzantine era, when it was heavily used as protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180). It was at this time that most of the chapels and Greek inscriptions were added. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. Some artifacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. When the Christian inhabitants of the region were expelled in 1923 in the population exchange between Greece and Turkey the tunnels were abandoned. The tunnels were rediscovered in 1963, after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home. Further digging revealed access to the tunnel network. It was opened to visitors in 1969 and about half of the underground city is currently accessible to tourists.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dovecotes in Goreme Turkey.

Freud would have much to say as to why women, and men,are so fascinated by these naturally formed pillars, called dovecotes, that populate the valley near Goreme Turkey. Terry and I hiked the valley exploring several ancient christian Churches and then climbing a sandstone cliff to get an overall view of the valley. Some of these phallic pillar had been carved out to make cave dwellings but they were no long occupied. One lone window is visible in the sketch. They are formed from thousands of years of erosion. One stone at the top resists erosion allowing water to run down the shaft gradually eroding a way sandstone.

In ancient Greek mythology the dove represented Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, and figures in the holy books of the major monotheistic religions. The earliest reference is in the Old Testament, where Noah releases a dove to seek land, and it returns with an olive branch showing that life had been restored following the deluge. From then on the olive branch and the dove became symbols of friendship and peace. In the New Testament, when Jesus is being baptized, the Holy Ghost alights on his head in the form of a white dove, which is why in Christian iconography the dove represents the Holy Ghost.

In the Koran, when Mohammed is fleeing from the Qureysh, he hides in a cave. Spiders weave webs over the entrance and a dove makes her nest, so his pursuers do not bother to look inside and he is saved. In consequence, the generality of Muslims regard pigeons and doves as sacred and do not hunt or eat them. From the same motive buildings in Islam countries often incorporate dovecotes. The earliest examples of nesting houses for birds in Turkey date from the 16th century and can be seen in mosques, bridges, libraries, and other public buildings. The dovecotes in these pillars, can be seen high up just at the lower edge of the head.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Anatolian Houses Hotel in Goreme Turkey.

On our trip to Turkey, Terry and I stayed in the Anatolian Houses Hotel (50180 Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey) in Goreme. Our room was in the stone building attached to the large sandstone structure on the left: The living room was in the building and the the bedroom and bathroom were carved out in side the sandstone. It was like living " a very modern well a point cave. The bathroom had large jacuzzi tub and very tiny windows that can be seen on the cliff face. The walls had plenty of carved out niches for storing towel and clothes. In one section of the bathroom, the floor dropped and and a glass plate was used to maintain the flat floor surface. A light was placed down in the crevasse to illuminate the ceiling.

On one occasion, I had to run back into our suite, because I forgot something. While running out of the bathroom, I smashed my forehead against the bathroom doorway. I was dazed for a bit but recovered, simply cursing my stupidity. Goreme is well known for it's hot air balloon rides. We didn't splurge on the balloons, but they brightened up the sky every morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fourth of July Fireworks over Lake Killarney.

A week before July 4th, I sat on the end of a dock with my toes in the water admiring a gorgeous sunset over Lake Killarney. The underbellies of the clouds turned a bright watermelon color and the horizon was bright yellow and orange. As the last of the color faded away from the clouds, I heard a series of pops on the far shore. It wasn't the quick hectic sound of a pack of fireworks going off. It sounded more like a series of shots from a rifle with a pause between each trigger pull. Should I keep sitting at the end of this dock, I thought. How far could a bullet travel if shot across the lake. The wood around me didn't splinter, so I lay back and watched the stars. At least a horizontal target was harder to hit. The sound probably was fireworks, but after living through several weeks of Pulse related vigils and fundraisers, I must have experienced a mild case of post traumatic stress disorder. Any loud noise would be associated with an assault rifle.

On July 4th, I returned to the dock to watch fireworks as they illuminated the sky and water. In Orlando there are fireworks every night at Disney, Universal and Sea World, so I had no desire to fight traffic to get close to Lake Eola. Lake Killarney offered a relatively peaceful alternative. The distant fireworks had to compete with a far more inspiring display of heat lightning in the clouds. Odin ignited severe bright light in bolts to the ground which was as impressive as any fireworks burst.

A young couple began setting off mortar tubes which just set up fountains of sparks maybe ten feet high on the boat ramp near where I was sitting. It was fun to watch their childish delight as they would light the fuse and run away. Although not as impressive as a profession show, these smaller fireworks were just as fun. The wildlife, I usually see, were nowhere to be found. The ibis, egrets and a large grey owl were probably as far away from the fireworks as they could be. This human instinct to blow things up isn't part of the natural order.

Friday, July 15, 2016

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

Saturday July 16, 2016
4pm to 8pm Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL. Classic cars and rods.  Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night! INFO: & for showing your car 386-738-0649

8pm to 10pm Free. The Orlando Shuffle. Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL. The Orlando Shuffle is always free, family-friendly, and fun. It takes place the 1st and 3rd Saturdays every month. Come play, learn, or just hangout 7 to 9 p.m. at the Beardall Courts, at 800 South Delaney Avenue between Orange and Delaney Avenues. Retro attire is encouraged.

10pm to Midnight Free. #Otown Get Down. St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden 1300 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida. Good people of Earth, hello and welcome to #OTownGetDown!
This is a gathering of local Artists and Entertainers who will be donating their time and talents for #PulseNightClub.
All proceeds from the ART AUCTION and RAFFLE will be given to Pulse Nightclub and the renovation of their establishment.
This is a FREE EVENT. All that we ask is for you to enter the auction and raffle!
Sounds by:
Featured Artists:
Rip Halsi
Chris Tobar Rodriguez
Alexander Ray Watkins Jr.
Edward Seymour II
Frankie Messina / #ApartmentE
Bernard Cruz
German Lemus
Performances by:
Eturn Azar Javaheri
Kaleigh Baker
Phraydoe Peans
JaWaan LaRue
Raffle donators:
Orlando Weekly
Red Bull
Juice Bike Share
We The Seeds

Sunday July 17, 2016
10pm to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. South East section of Lake Eola Park, North Eola Drive, Orlando, FL. Weekly.

Noon to 3pm Free. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. Alborea Dances Flamenco  Alborea Dances is a multicultural Entertainment Dance Company, created and directed by Jenny and Ernesto Caballero, who have been dedicated to the world of dance for more than 20 years.
They have combined their experiences as dance educators, performers, choreographers and events coordinators, to present dances from Spain, Bolivia and Middle Eastern countries.
After many years of performing in International festivals and important venues around South America, Europe and the United States, life brought them to Florida to delight their audiences on the stages of Universal Studios, Sea World, Walt Disney World, Resorts, Hotels and Conventions.
Also, they have been featured on The Travel Channel's Great Hotels Series and Orange County TV's "Central Florida's World of Dance" series.

2pm to 4pm. Free. Yoga. North East section of Lake Eola Park, Near Red Pagoda 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Weekly.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beartoe at Love by Design in the Milk District.

Love by Design held in the Milk District, (2424 E Robinson St, Orlando, FL) was an all-day celebration of The City Beautiful's talent, diversity and resilience. Local artists and designers will donate original work for sale and auction. Food and entertainment will be provided by local musicians and food trucks. Proceeds will benefit OneOrlando, the fund formed by the mayor’s office to respond to the needs of our community in the wake of the Pulse Tragedy.

Beartoe was the second band to get on stage a fly I arrived. It was a scorcher with the limited audience sitting under a tent in a parking lot. I was devouring a "Thor" from the Swedish Food Truck. A Thor, is basically a hotdog in a wrap surrounded by mashed potatoes and those crunchiest I usually only experience on Thanksgiving on top of green beans. It was a very filling meal washed down by a pear cider. It felt good knowing that proceeds would go to OneOrlando.

 Beartoe has been writing, performing and touring from The Historical DeLand florida for over 10 years. With a 4 piece outfit they bring soul, blues, country and folk together in a powerful way. They are very quickly becoming recognized as a Florida staple. Look for them on the festival circuits and around Florida. This is an act you don't want to miss.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Inspiration for the World Mural Pulse Orlando.

I went to The Falcon (819 E Washington St, Orlando, Florida) to meet International Mural Artist Michael Pilato and learn about ways to be involved in the new large-scale Pulse Orlando Mural being created in honor of the 49 souls. Michael's talent for painting and passion for transforming the grief-experience into a creation of beauty, inspiration and healing has now led him to Orlando. He gave a brief presentation about his (and his painting partner Yuriy Karabash) unique murals Titled Inspiration soon to be a global movement. Michael explained the creative process in which our entire community will be involved. Local artists of all styles are needed! Michael's deep desire to connect with human spirit inspires his murals to transform beyond his own brush. The entire Orlando community is invited and encouraged to participate in the creation of what will be the largest public art display of Remembrance, Healing, Acceptance, Beauty and LOVE, yet!! All who are wanting to be a part of this endeavor are encouraged to attend. No idea, paintbrush, pencil, crayon or hand print is too small... This is your art. This is our voice. This is Orlando's mural.

Michael was at my 49 portraits event. He was inspired by the varieties of styles seen that night. the Orlando more is still in a state of flux but there is huge support to make this project a reality. H will like take the form of many murals which can also be experienced interactively. If a cell phone is pointed at the mural, software will cause a square to pop up over certain faces on the wall. Interactive media then will tell more of a person's story. Amazingly, when I entered the Falcon,  Michael asked me to be on the board for this project.

There are many layer of meaning behind Michael's murals. He got choked up a he spoke about his daughter, who he was very close to. She died unexpected at the tender age of 19. After her death, a red tailed hawk visited Michael, and he painted the hawk for her in murals. She appears in several places in recent murals, as a flower, and her childhood picture appear behind another larger portrait. A tattoo of d falcon on Michael's wrist remind him of his daughter as he paints. Grief is transformed it beauty. The Orlando mural faces the monumental task of transforming hate into love. I will help in any way I can with this project while continuing my every day sketches try it to understand I tragedy. It is important to note that artists who assist with the mural will be paid. Michael is searching for various styles an each artist is given a panel, or panels to work on in the air conditioned comfort of their own studios. The ideas are still taking form.

Three little girls at the meeting handed out paper hearts with crayon rainbows on them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ragtime at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

I went to a dress rehearsal for Ragtime the Musical at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts presented by Encore! Cast Performing Arts. Entering through the stage door I got lost in the maze of backstage hallways and found myself backstage for Pecha Kucha. The whole audience was holding up glow sticks while Bob Kodzis stood on stage inspiring them to follow their dreams. What an amazing sketch opportunity.  I had gone to the wrong theater and so had to backtrack. Ragtime is a musical with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty. The music includes marches, cakewalks, gospel and ragtime. Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime tells the story of three groups in the United States in the early 20th century: African Americans, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; upper-class suburbanites, represented by Mother, the matriarch of a white upper-class family in New Rochelle, New York; and Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia.

Coalhouse Walker Jr. dreamed of finding his lost love Sarah. When he discovers she is living with a rich white family in New Rochelle, he immediately goes to the home. Sarah refuses to see him. Despite this, he returns each week to play Ragtime on the family piano in hopes that someday she will come down to see him. Hearing Coalhouse's music, Sarah finally descends to forgive him, and the lovers were joyfully reunited.

 The musical includes cameos by many of New York City's historical greats, like Houdini an JP Morgan. The rich and poor mingle in the vast city. Tateh , a Jewish immigrant sells paper cut out silhouette to scrape by with his young daughter. One day he creates a stack of silhouettes, that when flipped come to life by moving. Someone offers to buy the book for a whole dollar. Tateh vows to create more moving pictures. The next one he would sell for two dollars.

Ticket sales on July 9th and 10th, Benefited USO Central Florida. The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to our nation. That mission is accomplished on a daily basis thanks to the dedication and generosity of the American people. Whether it is a commitment of time from a volunteer or a contribution of dollars from a donor, USO Central Florida turns this generosity into centers, programs and services that reach troops across 14 counties in Central Florida.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Love by Design in the Milk District.

In response to the tragedy at Pulse, AIGA Orlando created Love by Design, an event that sought to inspire and empower us all to stand against discrimination.  Love By Design was for civic leaders, creative professionals and anyone else who cares about the future of our city. Representatives from the LGBTQ and Muslim communities shared their stories as we all begin the process of healing from our collective heartbreak. Together, we will determine how to move forward as a city that lives with more love every day. Even more than a reflection on this tragic event, Love by Design was an all-day celebration of The City Beautiful's talent, diversity and resilience.

Local artists and designers donated original work for sale and auction. Food and entertainment was be provided by local musicians and food trucks. Proceeds will benefit OneOrlando, the fund formed by the mayor’s office to respond to the needs of our community in the wake of the Pulse Tragedy.

AIGA Orlando is a professional association for design and creative professionals. Formed in 2000, the association currently has about 250 members, and grew 68% in 2015 alone. Their mission is to nurture a thriving creative community and serve as a hub for creatives in the area.

When I arrived, Beemo was the first band to get on stage. It was a scorching hot day and [ ordered a pear cider to quench my thirst as I sketched. Anna McCambridge Thomas helped organize the art available for sale. A tent helped keep the small audience coo in the parking lot behind the Milk Bar. Partial proceeds of all drink sales went to the One Orlando fund as well. "Is there light? Is there time? To set our world to right?"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

50 Angels in the Dr. Phillips Plaza.

After the "Beautiful Together" Pulse Memorial Concert, John DiDonna directed a moving tribute to the victims by having 50 angel's wings made at the Orlando Shakespeare scenic shop out of white fabric and PVC. Similar wings had been used by a hateful out of town Baptist group that planned to protest at victim's funerals claiming that the shooter was sent by god. Hundreds of locals went to funerals where the Baptists might protest to keep the hate mongers from disrupting a families peace of mind as they had to grieve the loss of a son or daughter. Unfortunately passing cars honked their support for the loving counter protesters, which in itself became a disruption.

I left the concert early to start the sketch. Two silent lines of 25 angels each walked to the plaza from behind the Performing Arts Center. They encircled the plaza which was now full of candles, banners flowers and grieving messages of support from around the country and around the world. A light drizzle began to fall. John quickly staged the angel so that they formed an even phalanx around the plaza. Each held a candle. The 50th angel was to honor "The Voice" singer Christina Grimme who was shot days before the Pulse Tragedy at the Plaza Live in Orlando. I sketched from under my umbrella. As if on cue, the rain stopped as the huge audience flowed out of the theater and into the plaza.

The silent vigil moved so many to tears. One reader thanked me for being a witness to all that has been happening these past weeks. Her sincere gratitude finally caused me to start crying. Betsy Brabandt was in tears as she stopped to say hello. I think it was impossible to experience this outpouring of love and grief without being overwhelmed. Wendy Wallenberg did her best, joking with me and even joking with  two women who were crying in front of a large rainbow colored flower display. She managed to make them chuckle even as they cried. "Life is like that," she said. "It keeps coming at you from all angles."

City Commission Patty Sheehan spoke with Wendy explaining that the loss of a partner and other losses had helped prepare her for the incredible losses felt this week. She has been an emotional rock and voice of reason through out the week. A woman in tears came up to Patty and hugged her, thanking he for all she has done. I looked away, trying to keep from once again breaking down. There were 49 wreaths in the City Hall lobby and the flowers are now dead. Patty was going there after the concert to pick the flowers to use in 49 shadow boxes being prepared for the grieving families. She did this task alone, another silent and lonely vigil for those who had died.

I joined Wendy and several of her friends at the Grand Bohemian for drinks afterwards. Due to a waitress mix up, I ended up with a second drink on the house. I needed it. I usually rush back to my studio to do a write up before midnight. I couldn't do it. I needed to numb some of these feelings if only for a moment. We all have so much grief, some of it unrelated to the tragedy, but it all bubbles up to the surface to be faced during evenings like this.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Beautiful Together

The Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts had a sold out house for the Pulse victims concert titled "Beautiful Together". I sat in the isle on my artist stool so I didn't have to worry about sitting in a sold out seat. With minutes to go before the show, Mayor Buddy Dyer and his entourage sat center stage. From my vantage point, I had a great view of the sign interpreter. I couldn't see huge chorus but I had sketched them earlier during the rehearsal.

Once again, white flower pedals fell from the rafters as names were read for the 49 victims of the terrorist attack at Pulse. The emotional response was just as heightened on the second viewing. This time more pedals fell in a constant cascading stream set to "Lord of the Dance", by Sydney Carter . A poet named Fredy Ruiz came out, and recited a poem by Maya Angelou titled "And Still I Rise". It was a magical moment when words written 40 years ago seemed to perfectly address the tragedy and how we all must rise up despite the loss.

The ballet was still lyrical and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and chorus lifted every soul. The audience response completed the magic of the evening. Everyone was hungry for any message of hope and the best way to express that longing is through the arts. Orlando has an incredibly vibrant arts community and on this evening 50 plus organizations came to get to help Orlando heal.If you missed this powerful evening, it is worth seeing on You Tube.

Friday, July 8, 2016

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

Saturday July 9, 2016. 
 4pm to 6pm Free. Young Voices. JB Callaman Center 102 North Parramore Ave Orlando FL. Teen Open Mic Every second Saturday of the Month.

7pm to 11pm. Free. Second Ybor City Art Walk. 7th Ave Ybor Tampa, Florida. Officially beginning the second Saturday of July (the 9th) we are bringing back the Ybor City Art Walk! Featuring a number of arts organizations and artsy businesses, be sure to R.S.V.P. here to get the official map for the walk!
Here are the participating locations:
The Bricks of Ybor
Bloodline Tattoo
Ybor Arts Colony
Hot Wax
Wandering Eye Art Gallery
Dysfunctional Grace
Moon Over Havana Arts Gallery
Live Arts Labs
There will be other businesses joining the lineup so stay tuned! For any questions please feel free to contact the Ybor Art Alliance here through Facebook.
Expect to be wowed!

10pm to the next morning. Free. Creative Sleep Over. Defined Enterprises 279 Douglas Ave, Altamonte Springs, Florida. You ever wondered what would happen if a bunch of creatives got together and slept under one roof? No need to imagine anymore, every second Saturday Defined Enterprises opens it's doors for all the creatives to spend one night out of the month together. Feel free to bring your own set of tools that allow you to create. Bring your own pillows and blankets. Food and beverages will be served through out the night.
Creatives, artist, dancers, directors, photographers, musicians, engineers, gamers, techies, models and innovators, you guys are all welcomed.
Every second Saturday.
Bring board games and things that will help us collect memories.

Sunday July 10, 2016
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. South East corner of Lake Eola.

Noon to 2pm Donation based Community YogART class: 7 Chakra series. Artegon Marketplace 5250 International Dr, Orlando, Florida. Every 2nd Sunday of the month YogART will be hosting FREE Color Therapy Yoga classes for the community at Artegon Marketplace (located in the community room across from section B6 - use movie theater entrance)
We are excited to bring you our "7 Chakra Series" that will focus each class on each individual chakra: breaking down it's color, meaning, location and function. This particular class will revolve around our second major energy point known as "The Sacral Chakra".
Color Therapy glasses will also be provided for those who wish to experience the effects of color therapy. Orange will be the primary focus for our Root Chakra but you may wear any color you want to work with.
This is an ALL LEVELS class which incorporates stretching, breathing exercises and light yoga poses geared around the Sacral Chakra.
We also have a color wheel on our site that explains the benefit of each color (glasses) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
Please bring your own yoga mat and prepare to unwind
Check out our lovely YogART instructor's website for more info on her, and some great articles.

 4pm to 6pm Free. Art X Social Change Night in the Milk District. Art X Social Change Night in the Milk District. Proceeds of Art X Social Change Night will benefit Equality Florida's Pulse Victims Fund and ArtReach Orlando, a local nonprofit arts outreach program that works with children in under-served communities exploring the nexus between art and social justice in Orange County, Florida. Donations are accepted at the door.
Art X Social Change Night is a summer session of local art revolving around the theme of social issues and community action held at The Milk District's Spacebar. The goal of this event is to encourage civic participation and create communities that are engaged with social issues and change through art. The event will feature visual art, music, song, spoken word, poetry, plays, dance, print graphics, and more all around social themes such as the environment, gun violence, lgbt rights, justice, women's rights, equality, world peace, civil rights, education, mental health, and more.
Don't forget to purchase some frosty beverages from Spacebar and support the local Milk District!
To submit as an artist/performer, email with name, issue subject, descriptions, video/jpeg files if applicable, scripts, etc by Wednesday June 29th. We also have space available for vendors and advocacy organizations. Send us an email!
Art X Social Change Night event pre-registration and mini art project - get involved in a little interactive art project we are doing that day by filling this form out before Sunday.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pecha Kucha at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

On January 8th Pecha Kucha moved into the grandeur of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida). Eddie Selover  took to the stage to introduce the speakers in the brand new Disney Theater. Pecha Kucha means chit chat in Japanese. The concept is simple. Speakers present 20 slides and they can only speak for 20 seconds with each slide. There is no stopping, no going back or revising one's words. What results is a concise easy to digest presentation without extraneous and pointless verbiage. The presentations become a for of pure poetic communication. Even poets could learn to ed and extract just the heart of the subject.

On this evening the presentation that left the biggest impression was by Evan Miga. In high school, Evan was told the the dollar bill is s well designed, that it could not be reproduced. Evan took that as y challenge and us" his computer and Photoshop , he set about producing a bill that was indistinguishable from the original. Friends were impressed and asked for then own copies. The problem was that one of this friends spent the bill. Soon, the FBI came knocking on Evan's door. He had to answer so me serious questions. The agents must have realized that the young student was n, a criminal mastermind and he got off with a slap on the wrist.

The next Pecha Kucha titled "Breaking the Surface" is Friday July 8th at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida) starting at 6pm.  Tickets are $24.25.

Andrae Bailey, CEO of Central Florida Commission on Homelessness
Julian Chambliss, Rollins History Professor
Michelle Jones, Bandleader of Violectric
Kostya Kimlat, Magician Extraordinaire
Bob Kodzis, Cheerleader and Creative Catalyst
Ama McKinley, HuffPost Contributing Blogger
Marc Middleton, Founder and CEO of Growing Bolder
Alejandro Musa, Getaboard Foundation
Shawn Welcome, Performance Poet and Founder, Diverse Word

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beautiful Together before the show.

After the Beautiful Together rehearsal at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, all the performers were served dinner and some waited in the loading dock area. The fellow in the foreground was with the chorus that was in the upper platform on stage. The conductor gave him a compliment saying he had the most impressive facial hair.

After eating, many performers posed for photos and selfies. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra storage crates cluttered the space. Several women eating dinner were at a table near a large electronic door. A stage hand hit the button to lower the steal door and the surprised performed dodged away to avoid getting crushed. In the green room down the hall, a TV showed dance in on stage performing an improvised dance. I thought in was a recording but it was actually a live stream of Yao dancers on stage as a pre-show at the audience entered the Disney Theater.

I was sitting with Carolyn Blice, a Philharmonic French Horn player. When she saw orchestra members walking on stage on the TV, she realized she better gel on stage. I used that as my clue to go into the theater as well. I was excited to see the performance along with a full audience.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

49 Portraits, One Night.

Once a month I host an event called Orlando Drink and Draw. After the tragic event at Pulse, I decided to ask artists to come together to produce 49 portraits in one night. I was running late and managed to leave the list of victim's names back in my studio. When I got to the Falcon Bar (819 E Washington St, Orlando, FL), Melissa Marie quickly helped me set up a method of assigning names to artists so we could get to work. A chalk board was used to write the artist's name and then the name of the person they were to draw. Everyone had cell phones, so they did a search on Google Images to find the needed photo reference. 

After all the artists were assigned, I was assigned, Cory James Connell age 21. I knew nothing about Cory, but he was an athletic looking young man with a warm smile. His T-shirt said, "Built Not Born." As I was starting to add color washes, a man stood behind me and said, "That's Cory. My daughter knew him in high school." He was a graduate of Edgewater High School and was studying at Valencia College while working at the Publix in College Park. Cory hoped to be a firefighter some day.
At the funeral, Orange County Fire Rescue firefighter/paramedic Lori Clay told the crowd that Cory  was a regular at the firehouse and was interested in pursuing a firefighting career when he left college, even after he was warned that the profession wasn't the most lucrative. Cory told her, "I don't care about money," Clay told the gathering. "'I want to do it because I want to save lives. I want to help people.'" Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs made a proclamation during the service that officially made him a firefighter. After friends and family carried the casket carrying Connell out, three fire engines followed a procession of more than 20 cars. When that was all clear, nine motorcycles pursued the caravan as they transported Connell to the cemetery.

According to the man standing behind me, Cory Connell went to Pulse that evening to dance with his girlfriend Paula Andrea Blanco.  When the gunman went inside he fired off several rounds one of which struck Paula in the forearm area. Her teammate managed to grab her arm to apply pressure and pull her down to safety. They patiently and quietly waited to get out to safety. Little did they know that Paula was not the only member of the group injured. Paula's boyfriend Cory Connell was also gravely wounded. With the help of her teammate Paula got up and ran outside holding her wrist where she was met by an officer and the teammate who was outside trying to get to the other members of the Anarchy group. Her forearm bone was shattered. From that moment onward I felt sorrow and intense gratitude for all the artists who had gathered to do these 49 portraits. I experienced heart break and joy all at once. The bar as full of love and hope as we all rushed to complete the work at hand. These faces all had stories and since Orlando is a small town, those stories were close at hand. 

Javier Jorge-Reyes, age 40, was a salesman at Gucci which arranged for the body to be transported and for the family to go back to Puerto Rico. Jorge-Reyes had a flair about him and went by the name Harvey George Kings on Facebook. It's an English translation of his Spanish name. Friends knew him as "Javi" and on Facebook recalled his smile, sass and energy.

 Juan Carlos Nives Rodriguez, age 27, started working at McDonald's at the age of 15 to help support his family. He was recently made a manager at a check cashing store. He purchased his first home this spring so that his mother could live there too. A friend called him a big teddy bear who was most happy when everyone depended on him. His funeral was in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, June 20, 2016.

The last portrait I did was of Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velasquez, age 50. He was the oldest of the
victims. As I did the sketch, I could not shake the idea that he looks just like me. Fearing it was turning into a self portrait, I turned the sketch multiple times to try and view the features more abstractly. Franky worked at Forever 21 as a visual merchandiser, a crucial role for a retail store. He joked that he was older than the store's demographic. In his younger days In his younger days, he traveled the world as a professional Jibaro folk dancer. Velazquez lived in Orlando at the time of his death. But his original home was in Puerto Rico, more specifically San Juan. A native Puerto Rican, according to his Facebook he attended Josefina Barcelo High School in Guaynabo. From there he returned to San Juan for university, attending the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, at the Metro Campus.

As the evening wore on the his of names grew smaller and the art began to pile up on several tables inside the Falcon Bar. Melissa who we handling the artist assignments signaled that we were getting close and she gave me an air high five. Much of the magic that evening came from walking around and seeing the wide variety of artist styles. The evening gave me faith that art do have the power to bring people together and to heal. Orlando is a vibrant city with so much talent and this collaboration among 18 of Orlando's best artists.

Contributors included:
Andrew Spear
Betsy Brabandt
Bob Hague
David McWhertor
KC Cali
Charles Richardson
Colin Boyer
Jamie Gibson
John Hurst
Lauren Jane
Lisa Ikegami
Mitch Scott
Plinio Pinto
Shelaine Roustio
Thomas Thorspecken
Tony Philippou
Wendi Swanson

Now I need to find a place to exhibit these 49 portraits. If you have any suggestions or know a curator who would be interested, please let me know. Three of us are pursuing leads to get this amazing work viewed in public.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Beautiful Together, An artistic journey toward hope at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Through a variety of art forms, over 50 local Orlando arts groups joined together to honor the lives and sacrifices of those involved in the tragic events in Orlando. Proceeds go to OneOrlando Fund. I stopped in early to sketch the rehearsal. Getting so many acts onto the stage in such a short amount of time must have been a monumental undertaking.  Cole Nesmith helped bring together all the arts groups at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. of course it takes a small army to pull together so much talent in one place. 

The most emotionally wrenching moment of the rehearsal came as the orchestra played a mournful symphonic piece I have heard before, but as not name. As the soothing notes fill the large empty theater, someone began to read all the names of the victims of the Pulse terrorist attack tragedy. White flower pedals fell from the rafters into a cool pool of a spotlight. One pedal fell for every name. It was impossible not to become emotionally overwhelmed. Afterwards, a beautiful ballet dancer performed in the pool of light. Her thin form stretched and reached yearningly for answers.

The gay chorus performed an inspired rendition of "True colors". The attention to detail was in itself amazing. A huge chorus was high above the stage on rafters. Every chorus member wore a bold shirt that was one color of the rainbow. Two chorus members in red shirts were asked to separate to create uniformity. It became clear that I was witnessing a historic collaboration that might help bring hope and healing to a grieving community. I had hoped to write up an artist by midnight and post it the next day, but all me nerve endings are fried. I collapsed as soon as I got back home.

All of the flowers and candles from Lake Eola were moved to the memorial outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The History Center is collecting items from the memorial to preserve the history. I was told that all dead flowers would be returned to Lake Eola as compost, but I'm not so sure that is true now. The memorials were removed from Lake Eola to make way for the July 4th fireworks.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Urban Sketching Class goes to the Hair Salon.

I teach an Urban Sketching Course at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL). This semester, I have just 3 students which is an advantage, since it allows me to get the students into venues which might not work with a large class. The first half of the class was spent in the Elite Academy classroom, where I had the students do four drawings from different angles of one of the Disney Feature Animation desks. After those drawings were done, I posed four times and they had five minutes to work my pose into each sketch. This mimics my work routine, since I often arrive at a venue early to sketch the setting and then I sketch people as they arrive to the event.

For the second half of the class we went downstairs to Cavallo Hair Designers (894) Conroy Windermere Road Orlando FL.) I asked employees and costumers if it was alright to sketch, and every one was on board. My students sat in the waiting area chairs far from the action and I had to coax and encourage them to get closer. Helen, who must be in her 90s, was getting her hair curled. Her hair designer, James, was chatting away the whole time as he made her beautiful. It is a shame we arrived late in the process, because he said we should have done before and after sketches. His sister runs an arts organization in Brooklyn called Fiercely Curious.

When Helen's hair was done, the designer used a hand held mirror to show her the results. "Oh, is that me?" she said. Her daughter and brother in law came into the shop with a wheel chair. It took quite a while to get her from one seat to the next. She was a very satisfied customer. I sensed that my students were a little frustrated that everyone kept moving. I tried to let them know that they should focus on some aspect of the scene that is stable once that frustration sets in. Sketch results varied, but it was a good lesson that we need to feel beautiful at any age. A second customer was having foil put in her hair. That would have been another great sketch opportunity, but we were out of time and needed to get back to the classroom.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Fringe Closing Ceremony and Awards.

On the final night of Fringe, Awards are handed out to all the best shows.On this 25th Anniversary of the Fringe Festival, over 50,000 tickets were sold. That resulted in $400,000 going to Fringe Artists. There were 119 sold out performances this year. The Fringe keeps getting bigger and better.

The out door Stage Tent got crowd for the ceremonies. Those who couldn't fit inside the tent, sat in lawn chairs on the lawn of fabulousness. As awards went to the show with the most sold out performances the sky grew dark and it began to rain. Performers crushed inside the tent. I had been sitting on the outside of the front row but the wind whipped the rain onto my sketch page. I decided to move into t center of the tent and I sketched Beth Marshall and those around her as they watched the ceremonies.

So many awards were given out that I started to feel like I was the only person in the tent who didn't get one. A new award was created for a Fringe Patron of the year, Dewey Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch presented the award. They reminisced about a. Fringe show that was going great, Dewey had the audience entranced in the palm of his hand, when a drunk audience member got sick and had to be escorted out of the theater. Dewey  tried to make it appear as if this was all part of the show. When the sick patron was gone, silence enveloped the theater. A very old lady sat the front row, and Dewey said to her, "If you are going to pick a moment to die, this would be the perfect time." The audience couldn't stop laughing and the show u back on track. Douglas then explained that Helen, the woman in the front row, then wrote the performers often, encouraging them to keep the faith as they struggled in New York City. Dewey got choked up as he spoke about her generosity. It took her some tin to get on stage to accept the award with her walker and the supporting hand of friends. It was a heart warming moment.

Edgar Allan performed by Katie Hartman, and Nick Ryan was named the best show by local critics. Other Critics Choice Awards winners included...

Best play — comedy: 'The Animatronicans'
Best play — drama: 'Thomas Jefferson: My Master, My Slave, My Friend'
Best play — musical: 'Simpleton: The Legend of President Trump'
Best solo show — comedy: 'Stewart Huff: Sense Ain't Common'
Best solo show — drama: 'Rocket Man and Kaleidoscope, by Ray Bradbury'
Best solo show — musical: 'From Broadway to Obscurity'
Best dance show: 'VarieTease: Carnivale'
Best physical-theater work: 'Trick Boxing: Swingin' in the Ring'
Best original script: 'Inescapable,' by Martin Dockery
Best female performance: Katie Hartman ('Edgar Allan')
Best male performance: Jim Braswell ('Thomas Jefferson')
Best ensemble performance: '5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche'
Technical achievement: 'Space'

Patrons Picks resulted in each show having an extra show added on Memorial Day.
Blue – Sex With Animals
Blue – Shirley Gnome: Real Mature
Brown – 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Brown – Slut Like Me
Gold – Simpleton: The Legend of President Trump
Gold – Taffy and Tonya Live! At the Ramada Inn Key West
Green – Fruit Flies Like a Banana – Alphabetical Disorder
Green – Doro & Diega Explore Middle Class America!
Orange – VarieTease: Carnivale
Orange – Lil Women: A Rap Musical
Pink – Bella Culpa
Pink – The Foreplay: An Exploration of the Birth of our Nation
Purple – 21 Chump Street – The Musical
Purple – Murder Sleep
Red – Inescapable
Red – Women Behind Bars
Silver – The Road To Zamboria
Silver – God Is a Scottish Drag Queen IV
Yellow – The Animatronicans
Yellow – Peter Pan-ish: The Musical