Friday, September 30, 2016

Free Your Head with AHHA Dance.


Rokaya Mikhailenko was kind enough to let me sketch a late night  rehearsal of Free Your Head. This is her first effort choreographing as AHHADance. It is a joint effort with the Coby Dance Project with a guest artist from Afro-Latin Project. The rehearsal started at 9:15 at The Center for Contemporary Dance on Aloma. I went to a mindful meditation at 7pm to slow down and clear my head. When I arrived at the dance studio they were just about to get started. 

The show has a play for 60s vibe mixed wit some surreal Alice in Wonderland trippiness. Cool aid will be served along with M&Ms in pill bottles. The choreography is hip and modern with underlying expressive story lines. In one routine, thin dancer walked up to me and politely suggest that I should read more. Now that I don't have a TV that is a very reasonable goal. I do read myself to sleep some nights. 


Some choreography is playful an joyful. A song about sweet pink elephants had the dancers gesturing toward each other with doll-like mechanical movements. As usually happens with me, I began to follow one dancer's movements. Though dancers might move in sync, there is often some subtle magic that makes a dancer's movement purely expressive. There is a mindfulness and purity of intention. That purity manages to shine through even in a rehearsal at the end of a long exhausting day. That is what I like about rehearsals, dancers can fall without ever being concerned about how they will look when they hit the ground. There isn't the concern of showing off to an audience, there is just the joy of moving in the moment. 

AHHA Dance presents their first full evening of modern dance, with a playful nod to 60's counterculture. Aliens, go-go dancers, a rabbit named Lady and more! Expand your mind to free your head.  Pre-show at 8 featuring Fat Martha and the Mamalukes
Ages 18+


Free your Head will be performed September 30, 2016 in the Orange Studio, 1121 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. Tickets are $12.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Mennello Museum Indie-Folkfest.


The final assignment for the Valentines Day Sketch Tour was for all the artists to explore and sketch the very crowded Mennello Museum Indie-Folk Festival. This was a chance for me to finally get out my own sketchbook. I immediately sat in front of the outdoor stage l sketch The Brown Bag Brass Band. I had just danced the night away several nights before, listening this band at a Mardi Gras celebration at Dexter's in Winter Park with a friend. We danced to the point of exhilarated exhaustion. That same energy was very much alive at this outdoor performance. Dancing however seemed reserved for the kids.

Indie-Folkfest puts a twist on the Mennello Museum's traditional Orlando Folk Festival turning it into a Valentine’s Day-themed family folk picnic that features local music, art and food. The museum partnered with East End Market for food, Joseph Martens for the music lineup, as well as local bars to throw a fun-filled picnic in the beautiful Sculpture Garden of The Mennello Museum of American Art. Approximately 3,000 guests, including plenty of dogs and kids, spread out picnic blankets, made Valentine cards and enjoyed a daylong lineup of music against the backdrop of Lake Formosa in the winter sunshine.It was the second annual day dedicated to Music + Art + Picnic + Love.

All the artists gathered back at our lakeside classroom to share our sketches and experiences. Sketching on location always opens the possibilities of meeting someone new or learning something new. It is a way exciting to go out in to the world and do what you love and share it with others. This is the message I keep trying to convey to a new generation of artists. We all posed for a group photo before class was adjourned.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rock of Ages at the Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts.


Scott A. Cook invited me to sketch a tech, dress rehearsal for Rock of Ages at the Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts, (445 South Magnolia Avenue Orlando FL). The sound check took quite some time to balance the levels between the casts head mics and the band. Regina's mic was not working. The battery had to be replaced but it still didn't work. She had round glasses, rosy cheeks and long dreads tied neatly behind her. She wore a flowing rainbow striped dress and a long orange crocheted vest. Because she was such a highlight of the sound check, I assumed she must be the heroine of the story. I empathized with her plight of not being heard. The rehearsal covered just part of act two, so I'm not sure how important her story arch is to the overall show. In my mind there should always be more Regina. She reminds me of the 60s movement towards positive change.

Rock of Ages is a rock musical, with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, built around classic rock songs from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of that decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe among other well-known rock bands. Mixed into this is the story of an aspiring actress who joins a strip club to make ends meet. She wants to develop a back a story for her character and understand her motivation. Her first over acted attempts at being sensual are quite hilarious. The other bored dancers give the costumers exactly what they want (Any Way You Want It) without any effort. Despite her awkward beginnings, the new girl is a natural and she catches the eyes of several sleazy record producers.

A construction foreman plays an important roll in praising the ceaseless construction. In a German accent he shouts, "Isn't it beautiful?" Two scaffolds are wheeled out and dancers perform scaffholdography, by spinning and then dancing a round the scaffolds. Protesters arrive with signs and there is a squirmish with riot police. Regina is front and center in the protest. So she is the heroine I imagined. She and the entire cast sang a rousing rendition of We're not Gonna take It and I was humming the song on the long walk back to my car.

Rock of Ages runs from September 28th to October 9th at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  

Show Dates/Times
WED SEPT 28 - 8PM
THURS SEPT 29 - 8PM
FRI SEPT 30 - 8PM
SAT OCT 1 - 2PM & 8PM
SUN OCT 2 - 2PM & 7PM
TUES OCT 4 - 8PM
WED OCT 5 - 8PM
THURS OCT 6 - 8PM
FRI OCT 7- 8PM
SAT OCT 8 - 2PM & 8PM
SUN OCT 9 - 2PM & 7PM

Rock Of Ages - Ticket Prices:
Tue/Wed/Thu performances: $26.75, $29.75, $32.75
Fri/Sat/Sun performances: $32.75, $35.75, $38.75
There is a 12% DPC handling fee for all online/phone orders.
The 12% DPC handing fee can be avoided by purchasing tickets in person at the DPC Box Office.

Online Tickets: http://bit.ly/2bbTnaU
Box Office: 844.513.2014
Group Sales (8 or more): 407.455.5550 or groups@drphillipscenter.org
Mon-Fri 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

GET READY TO ROCK, ORLANDO!
#iwannarock #roatwf2016 #roapartytrain #orlandosbiggestpartyever

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pulse employee Neema Bahrami.


Pamela Schwartz, the Orange County Regional History Center program manager, is conducting Oral history interviews with people associated with the Pulse incident.  Neema Bahrami never wears red. Yet on the night of June 12, 2016, he wore a red shirt to his job as the Latin Night event organizer at Pulse. Someone joked with him that he should change his shirt since red is the cause of evil. Toward the end of the evening he walked to the front of the club to cash out. There are chains that hang over the entry. He  didn't see the shooter enter the club. He thinks he must have entered by the back gate. He later learned the gunman's car was parked back there. Then he heard the bangs. There is a DJ that incorporates the sounds of gun shots into his music mix, but he was not the DJ that night. Neema looked into the dub and saw muzzle flashes. People ran toward him. A young boy fell on him. He gathered the employees up front and got out. There was a policeman right outside, who told everyone to go to Dunkin' Donuts. The gunman came to the entry at a glass waterfall and began shooting towards the cop. Neema wrote on Facebook "Omg I can't believe this please God." Followed by, "I am safe everyone give me a minute trying to make sure the staff and guest that are with me are safe."

When police arrived, they began firing into the club entry. Neema was concerned about friendly fire. Outside, he got a cell phone call from an employee still in the dressing room. He informed police that he was on the phone with someone inside. People inside had to live through three hours of the worst fear imaginable. Dancers hid in cabinets. he realized, that if an air conditioner unit was removed, then the employees could crawl out through a hole in the wall. He drew a diagram for police. There were nine employees trapped in that room. Police didn't take his advice. He says he was near the AC unit when he heard a loud explosion. Police had blown open a wall to the bathroom. Moments later, the gunman was shot dead.

Unharmed survivors were herded into a bus to go to the police station. Neema's interrogation took just 5 minutes. No phones were gathered as evidence. After the interrogation he was released with no ride, out into a sea of waiting reporters. His dear friend Eddie Sotomayor didn't make it out alive. When he finally got home Neema collapsed and cried. He sees signs of Eddie everywhere he goes. In the weeks that followed, a comfort dog sat in his lap. The dogs name was Eddie. A tree had the names of all 49 victims and, as he stood looking at the tree, Eddies name fluttered free and dropped to the floor at his feet.

The next day, he found a paper heart taped to his door. It said,"Love is free, hugs are free, we all love you." Because of this sign of hope Neema decided to create the Hang a Heart Foundation, which promotes love regardless of religion, race or gender. He feels that, if any good came from that horrible night, it is that people are learning to accept the gay community. It has opened peoples hearts. Churches invite them in to make paper hearts.

Neema has been traveling with Pulse club owner Barbara Poma to NYC Pride, Memphis Tennessee Pride, and Palm Springs Pride along with a endless string of fundraisers. He said, that if Barbara rebuilds, Pulse will be bigger and better than ever. He showed a photo of a gorgeous rainbow colored tree. "Wouldn't that be gorgeous in the club" he said. In the meantime his life is on hold. His only income is from donations. He is angry at officials who said they would help. He filled out form after form seeking help. However only people who were shot will eventually get funds.

One month after the shooting he returned to the club. In the empty space, he felt the souls touching him. The place was stripped bare. "They took the TV, they took the money." He walked into the dressing room and all feeling left his body. In the bathroom he could feel the trauma. There is no greater terror.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Valentines Day Sketch Tour notes.


These are thumbnail studies made at the Valentines Day Sketch Tour. Kelly Medford from Rome was offering advice on making simple value studies. I used a blunt black colored pencil to quickly fog in some grey valves and line work. Although the exercise wasn't about color, I couldn't resist adding a few watercolor washes. The color swatches were added to show the colors available with the palette we gave each student. First a thick swatch us added with plenty of pigment. Then the color was thinned with to of water to show how light values cool be achieved. Our lakeside classroom felt a be in like a Colosseum with the gentle arch of the shoreline.

After all the mornings sketches, we all took a lunch break an found food from vendors in the Mennello Museum's Folk Festival. After lunch it was my turn to inspire artists to try and populate their sketches. I posed and the had several students pose to give everyone an idea of how to quickly block in a figure. Then I explained one and 2 point perspective and had student create a for grid plane. They then took the figure studies the Did and added them to the grid plane. Large figures were is the foreground and small figures were is the background. Then we all explored the crowded Folk Festival, with the objective to incorporate as mane figures in one sketch as was possible. We agreed to return to our quiet lakeside classroom to share the results.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Valentines Day Sketch Tour.

On Valentines Day, Kelly Medford, a plein air painter from Rome came to Orlando and co-hosted a Valentines Day Sketch Tour at the Mennello Museum Museum of American Art. The Mennello Museum was having it's annual Folk Festival. All the artist met by the lake close to the foot bridge.

We gave each artist a Strathmore Sketchbook, a travel sized watercolor palette, a pencil, pen and water brush. Kelly began the morning by introducing the supplies and getting everyone started doing Blind contour drawings. From there we started doing simple thumbnail studies. It was nice to sit back and be a student again.  I did these two sketches using just watercolor washes followed by minimal line. I usually finish the whole drawing in line be for I start adding watercolor, so this was a liberating departure. of course with more time, I could refine and ad detail, but I like the freshness of splashing watercolor first. My challenge now is finding ways to mix larger puddles of color to cover more of the sketch at once. I'm considering just using a bowl as a palette.

We had a good crowd of artists show up for the day. It is wonderful to see everyone unique approaches. The Folk Festive was just setting up as we were doing these sketches. You can see the first tents popping up just on the on the other side of the wrought iron fence. All of these loose instructional sketches were shared with everyone in the workshop online. I will not post them all on this site. There are far to many events and news to report on.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sketch Orlando Workshop at Lake Eola.


I co-hosted a sketch outing with Greg Bryla, a Senior Landscape Architect at Dix.Hite + Partners. Viviana Castro and Kristen Koehnemann helped organize the event. Every artist that attended, got a small travel size watercolor palette, sheets of watercolor paper, a pencil and water brush. We all met outside the Eola House (512 E. Washington St, Orlando, FL). The newly formed Orlando Urban Sketcher's group joined with landscape architects for a morning of sketching a the Lake Eola Farmers Market. We met in the open field next to the Eola House and all the supplies were placed a folding table for artists to pick up. A bicycle cop stopped by and told us the table wasn't allowed in the park, so it was broken down and supplies went on the ground. Artists are all about breaking rules.

Greg and I gave short talks about how to catch a quick scene in a sketch. Then we all scattered to do a 20 minute sketch. I usually take an hour to two hours to complete my sketches so I really had to pick up the pace. Luckily the sheet of watercolor paper was small allowing for just a quick thumbnail study. I focused on the BBQ guy setting up for the morning. He had to stoke the fire and put out all his wares. I just sketched him over a over again to populate the scene. There was only enough time to throw in a few light washes before heading back to the base camp.

We all placed our sketches on the lawn to see what worked and what might need improvement. It is always wonderful to see how different and unique each sketch is. Variety is who makes sketching so exciting. Two artiss couldn't draw the same scene the same way if they tried. Each sketch involves millions of decisions that make each sketch unique. Any advice is just a guiding suggestion. I would never want to change the way an artist interprets a scene. Instruction is just a way to help artists truly see. Most of sketching is patience and perseverance.

Then it started to rain, so we all ran to World of Beer (431 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL) where we sipped beers and sketched on the outside patio. I sketched the artists on the couches refining their sketches. The shower was short lived, just long enough to down one beer and pay up. The landscape architects had one more surprise up their sleeve. Across the lake they had a table set up with a delicious Polynesian pulled pork lunch spread.  I must say that landscape architects really know how to organize a sketch outing. Remnants of the Pulse memorial items still surrounded the lake. There were tons of candle holders and dead flowers everywhere. Had it not rained this emotional refuge would have certainly been the topic of my sketch. A bicycle cop once again stopped to inform us that it is illegal to serve food in the park. The table was broken down and the buffet was dropped in the grass. Once again the artist, anarchists were caught trying to picnic in the park. After the mass murder of 49 people I would think the police might have loftier goals.

Friday, September 23, 2016

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

Saturday September 24, 2016 
10pm to 4pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL.

7pm to 10pm $15 49 Portraits opening. Gatlin Creative 4940 S. Orange Ave. Orlando 32806. The 49 Portraits were created by Orlando artists on the evening of July 3rd, 2016.
Thomas Thorspecken, of Analog Artist Digital World, hosts a monthly drawing event called ODD (Orlando Drink and Draw).
For the July event, they decided to create 49 portraits of the Pulse Tragedy victims in one night.
Over a dozen artists answered the call and they each had to complete about 4 portraits to finish by the end of the evening.
All the artists worked in silence, focusing on the task at hand. It was a creatively challenging and highly emotional evening.
Now to honor them, Thomas, in collaboration with The Gatlin Creative, will be hosting an exhibit of the works of art. These portraits are to be given to the families in memory of their loved ones.
There will be a $15/person donation at the door with a portion of the proceeds going to support the victims and families of the tragedy.
Beer, wine and entertainment will be provided
Entertainment TBD
All ages
For questions call: 323-420-8663
The participating artists include:
Betsy Brabandt
Colin Boyer
KC Cali
Bob Hague
John Hurst
Lisa Ikegami
Lauren Jane
David McWhertor
Tony Philippou
Plinio Pinto
Charles Richardson
Shelaine Roustio
Mitch Scott
Andrew Spear
Wendi Swanson
Thomas Thorspecken
Yuki


10:30pm to 12:30pm Order food or dink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded flamenco dancing live on stage. 

Sunday September 25, 2016 
Noon to 2pm Order food or drink. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday. 

2pm to 4pm Order coffee. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 N Bay St, Eustis, FL. http://www.oliviascoffeehouse.com/

2pm to 4pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Prints at Art Systems.


When clients order prints of my work I get them made at Art Systems (1740 FL-436, Winter Park, FL 32792). The great thing is that the store is just a 10 minute drive from my Winter Part Chateau. Nadia is an animation major at UCF and is an artist. She likes to flip through my sketchbooks when I have them on hand, which is always. She gives me prints with perfect color matching to the original. Watercolors are tricky because color is created from light shooting through thin layers of pigment and then bouncing off the white page.  When I paint opaque paint on the same sketch it throws of the color that the scanner and computer see. It takes a keen eye to spot and correct the limited senses of a computer.

There has been a change in the print shop. The former reprographics manager left and all the prints were removed from the walls. A new manager, Sarah Jane Rozman  took his place. She is an artist who loves to paint birds. She is a pretty amazing artist. She handled the print I brought in and got the colors spot on. A person running the print shop is much like a barber or bartender. The client waits as the print is being made and conversation lightens the wait. Sarah and I started talking about events following the Pulse shooting, and I found myself in an emotionally charged conversation that I didn't expect. Sarah listened with compassion and understanding. Hopefully this is happening all or Orlando as the city heals. Three months after the tragic event I am more caught up in trying to understand what happened than ever. I am sketching Pulse employees and survivors from that night and the conflicting stories keep me thinking as I lie awake and try to sleep at night. 

I leave behind some piece of myself  everywhere I go. I forgot my umbrella at Art Systems and Sarah held on to it for the three weeks or so when I returned to make another print. Nadia was there as well and she insisted I see an animated film by Leica Studio called Kubo. I took her advice and it as an amazing film. Go see it! Characters are given time to breath and think. Stop motion, CGI and traditional animation are all used to breath life into an incredible hero's journey. I went to a late night screening alone and was blown away. " When we grow stronger the world gets more dangerous." 

So my trips to the print shop for clients are not just business as usual. I go knowing I might learn something new, become a bit more emotionally grounded, or be inspired. A trip to to the print shop is an adventure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

History is collected at Pulse.

Pamela Schwartz, the curator of exhibitions and collections at the Orange County Regional History Center has spearheaded the effort to collect and preserve items left at the Pulse Memorial. She let me know that September 16th was a big day of collection. TV news cameras were there in force. They surrounded Pamela as she explained the collection efforts.

That morning I saw a Facebook post from a citizen who was concerned that the American flags at the site might not be disposed of properly. He wanted a boy scout troop to collect the flags. I can say without a doubt that the History Center Staff know how to collect, restore and preserve better than any boy scout.

Barbara Poma, the club owner was on site to oversee the collection. I have been sitting in on interviews with her employees and vastly admire the way she has supported her staff since the Pulse shooting.

A new silk fence shield has been created that features work from local artists. Amazingly no one told Barbara about this new addition. It is colorful but it will be ripped and tattered by tourists and locals who want to see the building. People have a macabre need to see bullet holes. The new fence will be moved closer to the club so that there is less need for the cement barricades that now are in the road to protect tourists

Items were collected and stored in custom museum boxes. The staff will then clean and restore items as best they can. Of course it rains almost every afternoon, so water damage is prevalent. They also clear away wax, and catalogue everything. Organic items like dead flowers are recycled as mulch in local city gardens. Pamela and her staff are doing an amazing job.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Orlando Urban Sketchers outing to Pulse.

On September 11th, I hosted a sketch outing for local artists to the Pulse nightclub. This was the site of the horrific shorting that happened on the morning of June 12, 2016 that left 49 people dead and 53 injured from the gun shots of a madman.  The fence that was put around the nightclub has become a memorial where people come from around the world to pay their respects to those that died.

I chose the date because September 11th was the date that 9/11 happened in New York City and September 12 would mark 3 months since the June 12th shooting. I decided to set the time at 6pm since sunset would happen at 7:30 that evening. It would be cooling down and there would be shade from the fence.

I started sketching as soon as I arrived. One other sketcher, Viviana Castro stopped by with her boyfriend.  When you sit with a sketchbook in your lap at a site like this, people consider something of an expert. A man in green military shorts told me that he had visited the site often and he had brought his girlfriend from Ohio to the the site for the first time. "It changes every time I come here." He informed me.

He shot cell phone photos of the items that he liked the best. As I was rustling through my art bag for supplies, I came across a gold foil butterfly that a fashion designer had given me a while back. For the first time, I decided to leave something behind, and I let the butterfly flutter to the ground. I noticed a ten year old girl writing in a notebook and her dad watched what she was doing. It turns out she was sketching and her dad brought her out to the sketch event. She drew teddy bears, a heart and a church. Beautiful Latina women inspected the site. one wore a tiara. There must be millions of cell phone photos shot of items at the memorial. Two large cable spools formed a shrine in wh7ch wooden panels honored the 49 lives lost. Hours could be spent reading all the notes left behind, but soon it becomes emotionally overwhelming.

Monday, September 19, 2016

MVG League at Gods and Monsters.


Gods and Monsters is a large Comic Book shop located in Artegon (Suite E8, 5250 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819. One one visit, I found the back of the Store converted into An MVG Tournament arena featuring Pot Bonuses, High Octane Players, HD Live-Streams, food and drinks.
This event followed the CEO rulesets for each game.This seemed to be an Olympic style multiplayer competition with announcer giving commentary for onlookers. To be quite honest I had no idea what was happening as I watched the big screen. Having never played any of these video games, I couldn't tell who was fight in who and why.  

Photographers took photos of the competitors, action. Several people asked y take photos over my shoulder of the sketch in progress. The event was referred to as "Energy" which provides a bold take on the "Spirit Bomb," an iconic phenomena from the Dragon Ball Z series, in which Hero "Goku," calls for energy from the entire planet, in order to deal a a catastrophic, world-ending, blow to his enemy.

As a viewer, you'll have the chance to "Lend Your Energy" to your favorite player. In return, the player that generates the most "energy" will be given the effect of "Powering Up." This element, with the addition of other Easter eggs, we believe will enhance the experience by closing the gap between players and viewers. Although a bit confusing for me, it was all quite exciting.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Christopher Hansen's one and only night at Pulse.

The air conditioner unit had been turned off so we could hear Christopher Hansen (Chansen) talk about that horrible night at Pulse. The heat became unbearable so it was turned back on and Chansen moved closer to the camera and microphone.

"You don't go out thinking you might not make it out." he said. "You don't go to a club to become a rat in a cage." Being in the limelight has had it's toll. He has been accused of being someone he is not. Strange online conspiracy theorists claim he is an actor, director named Bjorn Jiskoot Jr. Some people need a life. 

However the city of Orlando's response has made him realize that this is city is his home. "Orlando has come together with love and unity." Chansen was told by his father, "You need to find a community, if you don't have a community who is going to miss you?" Since that night at Pulse Chansen has begun to find a network of friends, his knights of the round table.

Pulse has had such an impact on his life. It was his first time in the club and he was new to Orlando. The benefits and fundraisers still continue although the fervor is slowly dying down three months since the shooting. The money raised however isn't for survivors who were not shot. It is intended for the 53 survivors who have physical wounds. Most of the attention is turned to the 49 victims, while survivors are largely overlooked.  Some fundraising money is lost in the cracks and will never go to those in need. The number of people who claim to have been at Pulse that night is impossibly high. It is very clear that Chansen was there and he helped others survive. It is impossible to know what any of us would do in that situation. Who knew that a night out could change so many lives forever.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Christopher Hansen remembers the Pulse Nightmare.


Artists working an a Pulse Mural being spearheaded by Michael Pilato spoke with Christopher Hansen, who goes by Chansen, at around 2am on September 12, the three month anniversary of the tragic Pulse shooting.   Red wine and coffee kept us all up for a 49 Hour Pulse Mural Marathon Project.

Chansen grew up in Ohio. As a 14 year old, he remembered hearing of Matthew Shepard, a student of the University of Wyoming in Cheyenne, who was robbed, pistol whipped and tortured by two men for being gay. Mathew was found 18 hours later by a bicyclist tied to a fence, left for dead. He died two days later from his head injuries. That happened not far from where Christopher lived at the time He moved to Cheyenne from Ohio. Working at TGI Fridays brought him North to Wyoming. Because of that horrible crime Chansen knew from a very early age, that people hated him just for who he was. On a trip to Orlando, Chansen went to Universal Studios and saw beautiful Cherry Blossom trees in bloom beside the pristine lake. He knew at that moment that he would live in Orlando. He resigned from his job in Ohio and immediately moved to the City Beautiful.

At 11:07pm on June 12th, Chansen entered Pulse wearing an American Flag T-shirt. He had never been to Pulse before. He remembers the exact time because a $10 cover started at 11pm. "Come on," he pleaded. "It's just seven minutes past, no one will notice." He had to pay the cover. Being new to Orlando, he just wanted to relax, have fun, dance and hopefully meet new friends. "Everything about Pulse was amazing." he said. Since it was Latin Night, there was plenty of dancing. Although he doesn't speak Spanish, music is the universal language. He had some drinks. Towards the end of the evening, he ordered a drink at the bar since it was last call. He sank down into a cushy sofa. He remembers not wanting to lean all the way back because he might tumble over backwards. Then the loud bangs started. He thought that the DJ must have been kicking it up a notch. The guy next to him collapsed. There was blood, chaos and pleading.  Glass shattered behind the bar. He dropped to the floor and crawled on his stomach. If he stood and ran, he would make a big moving target.  He considered the bathroom, but remembered a movie in which a date went wrong and someone had to be rescued from the bathroom. No, he had to get out. "Had I been sober, I might have froze." he recalled. Chansen's hand was trampled as he crawled out to the back patio. Once he felt concrete below him, he knew he as out.

On the back patio 10 to 15 people were trying to push open a gate. He is convinced someone was holding the gate closed from outside. Angel was shot down beside him.  He saw Jose Martinez (Junior) lying on the ground, and he reached down and touched his leg, His leg was wet and when Chansen looked at his own hand, it looked like he had dipped it in a bucket of red paint. He threw Junior's arm over his shoulder and made his way across the street. Shots continued to ring out. He saw the shooter walk and shoot Angel a second time. In the blur of activity he believes there could have been a shooter outside as well as a shooter inside. He never saw the shooter's face. He left his glasses at home.

Junior wasn't just shot in the leg. He also was shot in the back. Chansen took off his bandana, tied it in a knot, and shoved it in the hole to slow the bleeding. Outside he also found Alecia who was shot in the arm. Sitting on the sidewalk, he had Alecia lean back in his lap. She just wanted to close her eyes but he kept her alert. He asked her name and asked her questions to keep her focused. He told her, "I'm not leaving you, until someone comes for you." They were both born in May, and she had also just moved to Orlando from Ohio. She loved lions, so he told her she was a king of beasts. He said "Hakuna Matata" which means no worries, "you will survive this." It turns out Alecia was also shot in the back. The pressure of his leg on her back wound may have kept her from bleeding out.  Chansen's blood soaked pants were his first hint of her second wound. She said she was having heart trouble. He hasn't seen Alecia since that horrible night. He did get to speak to her briefly on the phone to find out that she was OK. Chansen called his dad to let him know he was alive. Gunfire was still ringing out in the background. "We were the lucky ones, most people were shot multiple times. We were all directed to go to the hospital." Chansen stayed with his charges, fearful that they wouldn't get the help they needed.  In triage they might be overlooked. Shooting victims were tagged with red or yellow. Yellow shooting victims we loaded into pickup trucks first, since there weren't enough ambulances. He helped carry Alecia to a vehicle.

That night, Chansen helped save two lives, he is a hero, yet still there are haters and trolls who call him a crisis actor. There are even conspiracy theorists who claim the Pulse shooting is a hoax. These arm chair haters are very much the reason such a horrific act could happen right here in Central Florida. Chansen's response is, "We celebrate love because hate attacked us. We don't answer hate with hate." When he got back to his apartment, his American Flag T-shirt was stained with blood.

Friday, September 16, 2016

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

Saturday September 17, 2016. 
1:30pm to 3:30pm Free. Storytelling Traditions of Sweetgrass Basketmaking Workshop. Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Learn the basics of sweetgrass basketmaking with Barbara McCormick and LaQuetta Smith. Open to adults and children ages 8 and older accompanied by an adult. Seating is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Limited to 15 participants.

7pm to 9pm. Free. The Orlando Shuffle. Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. 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. Retro attire is encouraged.

8pm to 11:30pm $15.95 Live from Orlando, It's Science Night Live! Out of this World Space Edition! Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton Street Orlando, Florida 32803. This Adults-Only Night Featuring Space Presenters, Exploration in Space exhibitors, a Silent Disco and More! Orlando Science Center’s final Science Night Live night of 2016 promises to be out of this world! The Science Center is reserved strictly for adults on Saturday, September 17 from 8–11:30 p.m. with grown-up-inspired programming. Stargazers rejoice — this night is all about space! It’s social, it’s science, it’s 21 and up!
For one night only, hear from two unique guest speakers! Shuttle commander and three-time spaceflight veteran Andrew M. Allen will present “Journey to Mars: An Astronaut’s Perspective.” In this can’t miss presentation, attendees will hear what a manned flight to Mars may be like from Allen’s unique perspective as someone who has logged more than 900 hours in space! Also, meet Dr. Humberto Campins and discover the latest news on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission in the Our Planet exhibit before hearing his formal presentation on the revolutionary study!
Additional space-themed programming includes Exploration in Space exhibitors from the NASA Center for Life Cycle Design, Kennedy Space Center, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Jacob Aerospace & Defense Contractor, NASA Solar System Ambassador, University of Central Florida’s College of Science, Indie Galactic Space Jam and more!

Sunday September 18, 2016. 
Noon to 3pm Free. Music at the Casa. (as a Feliz 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Lisa Ferrigno and Friends. Lisa Ferrigno has been Concertmaster of the Brevard Symphony in Melbourne, Florida since 1999. A native of New England, she received her musical training at the New England Conservatory in Boston, the Eastman School of Music in New York, and Florida State University. Ms. Ferrigno has appeared as soloist with Trujillo’s Orquesta Sinfónica and Orquesta Camara del Festival Internacional Bach as well as the Florida Symphony and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestras. As a chamber musician, Ferrigno has performed in recitals and festivals in New York, California, Florida, Vermont, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Colorado. Internationally she has performed in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany.
Ms. Ferrigno has served as Concertmaster of the Walt Disney World Orchestra since 1996 and was Concertmaster of the Orlando Philharmonic from 1993-2003. She was a member of the Florida Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras, Concertmaster of the Heidelberg Castle Opera Festival in Germany, Principal Second Violinist of the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra in New York, and Principal Second Violinist of the Palm Beach Pops.

5pm to 7pm Free. UCF Faculty Recital George Weremchuk Saxophone. Rehearsal Hall, Mercury Circle, Orlando, FL 32816

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






Thursday, September 15, 2016

Liftoff.

We sat in the grass with the NASA vehicle assembly building behind us. with fire minute remaining in the countdown for the  OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission, we stood and moved up to a yellow rope than marked the safest distance from the launch pad. Everyone in the field stood as the system checks began. Fuel systems... GO. Telemetry ... GO. Guidance... GO. It seemed like 50 different systems managers had to announce, GO. With all system go, the ground launch sequencer was go for auto sequence start and then the main engine started.

We were next to speakers, so we heard the rocket fire up. Then a few seconds later, a blinding light lifted up from the horizon. The sun was setting behind us, and it helped illuminate the smoke trail a bright orange. Then the sound wave of the rocket hit us. It was deep, resonant and it could be felt rumbling through us. One person described it like the sound of a dentists suction device. It was a picture perfect launch.

OSIRIS-REx separated from its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 8:04 p.m. The solar arrays deployed and are now powering the spacecraft. “With today’s successful launch, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft embarks on a journey of exploration to Bennu,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team that made this mission a reality, and I can’t wait to see what we will discover at Bennu.”

In 2018, OSIRIS-REx will approach Bennu – which is the size of a small mountain – and begin an intricate dance with the asteroid, mapping and studying Bennu in preparation for sample collection. In July 2020, the spacecraft will perform a daring maneuver in which its 11-foot arm will reach out and perform a five-second “high-five” to stir up surface material, collecting at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of small rocks and dust in a sample return container. OSIRIS-REx will return the sample to Earth in September 2023, when it will then be transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for examination.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

OSIRIS REx to intercept asteroid.


Naomi Butterfield has started working for NASA in Cape Canaveral doing coding. She works in the building right across from the Vehicle Assembly Building (in sketch). She invited some of her Kerouac House friends out to witness the launch of OSIRIS REx. NASA is a sprawling city unto itself. 900 people work in Naomi's building alone. Long stretches of swamp lined roads separate the different areas. We stopped at the security check point where an armed guard checked Naomi's badge and waved us through. An armored assault vehicle was parked on the side of the road. The vehicle assembly building was at the end of a long road. It always appeared to be the same size as we approached it. The building is huge. It is one of the largest buildings in the world based on it's volume. The American flag painted on the building was the largest in the world when added in 1976 as part of United States Bicentennial celebrations. The blue star field  on the America flag is the size of a regulation basketball court. Each star is six feet across.

We drove into a grass field and parked. About 8000 people showed up to watch the launch. The bleachers faced the wrong way. Back in the days of the space shuttle launches, the crowds were much larger. Press occupied a spot at the top of a small hill. We arrived several hours early which gave me time to face the wrong way and sketch the assembling crowd. Naomi and Janna conducted some Kerouac House business and the two teenage boys who had joined us explored.

OSIRIS REx, which is short for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. Try saying that 5 times fast. It is on a 7 year mission to intercept the asteroid Bennu, collect a sample and then return back to earth. The vehicle will not land on the asteroid, instead it will fly next to it, spray nitrogen, and then touch and go to collect the sample of about 2 ounces. This asteroid could revolutionize our view of the beginning of the early solar system. Asteroids like Bennu are remnants from the formation of our solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists suspect that asteroids may have been a source of the water and organic molecules for the early Earth and other planetary bodies. That's right they may have sparked life. An uncontaminated asteroid sample from a known source would enable precise analyses, providing results far beyond what can be achieved by spacecraft-based instruments or by studying meteorites.

The countdown proceeded at a glacial pace, and then there was a 15 minute delay. Regardless, It was nice to sit with friends, and watch the sun set behind the vehicle Assembly building. I finished the sketch with ten minutes remaining in the countdown and I turned East to face the launch pad...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Black Rock opens on Conroy Windermere Road.

I teach an Urban Sketching Course at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32835). The main premise l to encourage students to keep a sketch pad with them at all times, so they can document the everyday moments of the lives. How often have you gone to a restaurant and found the wait time intolerable? If you sketched then it would see like the service is always too good since you don't quite have enough time to finish the sketch you started. To a sketch artist sitting still, I work seems to us by. The challenge is to catch enough of those moments to bring the sketch alive. In this sketch, those two servers in aprons never actually stood and spoke to each other. Each was speaking to some one else who walked away before they could be captured. As the artist, I get to decide who interacts to each other in my world.

Service was actually very good at Black Rock (8965 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32819). The restaurant gets it's name from the sizzling steak it serves on literal hot rocks. I think the rock keep the steaks hot longer. I didn't order a steak. I was here with my three Urban Sketches to sample an appetizer and to sketch. This was the final class so we pulled out all the stops using co to as well as line. Watercolor doesn't hold up very well on | thin animation paper use in class, so I encouraged the student to try colored pencils to add color. I played along with them doing this sketch to show how I might approach the scene. The scene incorporate foreground, middle ground and background.

We had guacamole which was also served in a black rock dish. I can say that the appetizer was quite good, and I hope to return someday to try a full meal. The food certainly smelled delicious as servers walked past with the sizzling meals.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Giddy Up Go at the Wedding of KC and Bob.

After the quick wedding of KC Cali and Bob Szafranski in the back room at Elixir (9 W Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801), the wedding party moved up into the bar area. There the order of business was socializing and Country music. Giddy Up Go began to perform on the small stage at the front of the room. Most guests kept their distance and shouted above the music. I talked to the artists that KC had invited. Then I walked into the bar to survey the scene. I'm recently separated, I should work the room and try and meet some new people. I never quite feel comfortable in loud shouting matches at bars.  Instead, I nestled up close to the band, leaned against a pillar and sketched. Any stress melted away.

Kelly and Courtney Jean Canova arrived during the reception, and began to shoot wedding photos. The large group family photos were shot just to my left. I had to watch my feet to avoid tripping anyone up. Two women at the end of the bar were loving the music. They shouted and whooped. I was surprised no one danced while I was working on the sketch. I tapped my toes the whole time. There is something reassuring about Old time country music. You don't have to think too hard.

Giddy Up Go's music hearkens back to the style of country that was played in smokey ol' honky tonk bars for patrons tryin' to forget their troubles. From Waylon to Willie, from Buck Owens to Hank Williams, they travel back down that "lonesome highway".

I had to rush off to Hamburger Mary's to meet and sketch a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. It was a whirlwind day of celebration and reflection of unity, love, and loss.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Wedding of KC Cali and Bob Szafranski

KC Cali is a local artist who is a member of Orlando Urban Sketches. Her paintings range from country scenes to bold and large nudes. She and Bob Szafranski have been together for years, through rough times and good times. She confided that when Bob asked her to marry him she cried. As she put it, this wasn't her first rodeo. She has two daughters from her first marriage, Kit and Liz Cali. Both girls have left the nest and are making their own way in the world. Bob also has a daughter from his first marriage.

The wedding was at Elixir downtown (9 W Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801). There is a quaint, barn like room in the back of the bar. KC warned me that the we did was going to be fast, no more than 7 minutes. What?! I usually take two hours to finish a sketch! I immediately sat down and started blocking in the room. KC's daughter Liz, was thankfully 20 minutes late which bought me the time needed to set the scene.

When the wedding march finally began, everyone stood and turned to watch the bride walk down the aisle. I kept sketching. Every one kept standing through the entire ceremony. I was faced with a wall of backs. I decided to move my seat out in to the aisle. I was probably a fire hazard but, I had a sketch to finish.

It is reassuring to see a couple reach out to each other once again putting their faith and hopes in marriage. Life is short. We all need to believe in the power of love.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thea's Golden Life in When Shadows Fall.

When Shadows Fall is an exciting new form of interactive entertainment that combines live performance with high-tech interactions and immersive environments to create a unique experience like no other. You explore a hyper-real world with shocking visual elements, live professional actors, couture costumes, a rousing original musical score, cinematic lighting, and high-tech interactions that bring familiar video game mechanics to real life.

I have been sketching at each performance, situating myself in one spot rather than exploring the entire labyrinth. Golds are the elite of Penumbra, an ideal futurist society. They are intellectuals and artists. I should fit right in. To my right was a table with a bowl of half used oil paint tubes. Whoever resided in this room must be an artist herself, or have artist friends.

Thea, (Laura Lewis) entered the room, sat on the couch and began reading a book. She wore a gorgeous gold dress and her skin glittered. She turned to me, and said, " You are my artist friend." My roll was cast. Several new citizens entered the room and Thea showed them her room. She was very welcoming. One new citizen started looking through books and tried to piece together ripped up shreds of paper. I was asked if the paper was an important document and I respond that it wasn't important to me. I didn't even include it in my sketch. One citizen wanted to see my sketch, so I turned it around and showed everyone. Thea was impressed with how I sketched her donkey. She then opened a drawer on her dresser to show her guests that she had been sketched many times before.

A golden angel held a small vile. It contained a potent drug and Thea offered some to her guests. One guest described it as "pure bliss." They then went in to the next room of Thea's flat. I had peeked in before I started my sketch. The room contained a large wooden X with leather wrist and ankle straps. Assorted whips and other sexually deviant toys were scattered around. The door clicked closed. I continued to sketch but was distracted by screams of pain or pleasure.  I heard the whoosh and snap as the whip met flesh. After an eternity of screams, Thea returned with her guests. She was so pleased that they had been so willing to play along. I wasn't sure it they had been voyeurs, whippers or whippies.

K. Alexander was the founding father of Penumbra. His sudden death swept through the society. A representative from the office entered Thea's suite and asked her to come in for questioning. She left feeling elated that she was finally taking a greater roll in the society. I continued painting the now empty room alone. Two members of Security entered the room. One asked "Are you a citizen?" I responded, "I am." She said, "Wait outside, Harlan (Brett Carson) might have questions for you."   Harlan glanced at me with my iPad and didn't consider me a threat. When his minion returned, I re-entered the gold quarters and got back to work. I worked until all the lights went dark.

Out in the public town square everyone was assembled. I'm amazed that the outcome of each evening is completely unique. I will not give away details, but I was upset to find out that Golds had been tortured. Thea had seemed so radiant when she left.

Only two performance remain of When Shadows Fall. Every show has been selling out.  Tickets
Friday September 9th, at 8pm is a new show that was just added.
Saturday September 10th at 8PM is SOLD OUT

Friday, September 9, 2016

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

Saturday September 10, 2016 
7:30AM to 9:30AM Free to observe. Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk. Cranes Roost Park 274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701. The Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk Series was created to honor the heroic life and death of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001 after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
Honor all of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and support our first responders and military who make extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty! For more information on the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation please visit www.tunnel2towers.org

2PM to 6PM Free. Snap! Space presents : 'Corpus' Artists Talk. Tickets 
2:30 PM : Marwane Pallas (France)
3:00 PM : Cristina Troufa (Portugal)
3:30 PM : David Cata (Spain)
4:00 PM : Roger Weiss (Switzerland)
4:30 PM : Jorg Heidenberger (Germany)
5:00 PM : Nicolas Senegas (France)
‘CORPUS’ : A contemporary representation of the human body, reflected by six international artists. The body has figured prominently in the creative expression of nearly all cultures from the beginning of civilization. Through art, the body becomes a site for defining individual identity and experimenting with the nature of representation itself, sometimes with the artists using their own bodies in their creative process.
View exhibition and artist info.

8PM to 10PM Tickets $45.95 or VIP $74.84 When Shadows Fall, takes place in an undisclosed private location in Orlando, Florida. Upon buying a ticket, you will receive the address.  
Explore 15,000 square feet of shocking visuals in a groundbreaking first-person experience.
When Shadows Fall is an exciting new form of interactive entertainment that combines live performance with high-tech interactions and immersive environments to create a unique experience like no other. Explore a hyperreal world with shocking visual elements, live professional actors, couture costumes, a rousing original musical score, cinematic lighting, and high-tech interactions that bring familiar video game mechanics to real life.

Sunday September 11, 2016 
Noon to 2PM Donation based Community YogART class: 7 Chakra series. Artegon Marketplace 5250 International Dr, Orlando, Florida 32819. 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. http://www.yogartinc.com/color-therapy-chart/
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. *Any children who attend must be able to participate in the session quietly to respect the space of other guests. If your child is unable to partake without disruption we ask that you please refrain from bringing them. Thank you! Namaste ~
For more info contact us.

1PM to 4:30PM Free Family Day on the Second Sunday. The Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803. The make-and-take craft table is open from noon-2:30 p.m., and docents are available to give mini-tours of the museum. Then it's open house in the galleries until 4:30 p.m.

6PM to 9PM Free. Orlando Urban Sketchers Pulse Sketch Outing.  Pulse 1912 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806.  With the sunset at 7:35 pm this evening should offer time to sketch during this golden hour.
Bring your sketchbook, sketch pad, colors, pens and pencils and join us for an evening of reflection and creativity. Also consider bringing a folding stool along.
We will meet At the Pulse sign. The makeshift memorial occupies the entire sidewalk in from of the nightclub. Cement construction baricades protect people from the Orange Avenue traffic. There is no shade, so bring a hat, sunscreen and maybe even an umbrella. The site has become a place where tourists and locals pay their respects and leave something behind.
Pulse is a gay bar, dance club, and nightclub in Orlando, Florida, founded in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler. On June 12, 2016, the club gained international attention as it was the scene of the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the events of September 11, 2001. 49 people were killed and 53 were injured.
We will look for stories to document in our sketchbooks, sharing three hours of inspiration with people with the same passion for drawing. No previous experience in sketching is required. Invite friends or family members, whoever likes to sketch from direct observation.
This gathering does not include onsite instructions and it is free of charge to all participants. Thor, of Analog Artist Digital World, will be hosting this sketch outing.
After we are done sketching we will head across the street to Einstein Brothers Begals (1901 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL) to get a drink and or bite, and share our sketches.
Looking forward to seeing you,
The Orlando Urban Sketchers team

Thursday, September 8, 2016

When Shadows Fall, the Minotaur's Madness.


The redrum appealed to me the first time I experienced When Shadows Fall. I had been assigned to assist Daedalus (Joe Hall) when I first became a citizen of Penumbra. My tasks never brought me back to this hidden sanctum. I discovered it later as I walked room to room during the first evening's cast party. I needed to sketch this red asylum and thankfully the producers (Sarah Elger and Ricky Brigante) were on board with the idea.

The Minotaur, named Nathanael, (John Reid Adams) was in character from the moment he entered the room. I was cast as an artist, a member of the gold caste of the society, sent by the office to observe his activities. He paced the room and dug his nails into the wall, carving in sayings like "Why" and "What is the point?" Eyes mere everywhere to watch in his movements. When he heard that K. Alexander, Penumbra's founder, had been killed he became quit distraught. Nathanael had been a gold member of society and a close friend of K. Alexander. Alexander's son Nikolai, (Barry Wright), became jealous of the attention his father bestowed upon Nathanial. Nikolai convinced his father to have Nathanial become part of the Citizen's Project, to be transformed in to a Greek godlike being. The surgery went wrong, and Nathanael, now the Minotaur, became mentally unstable and was banished to the Labyrinth.

Despite his abandonment and isolation, the Minotaur remained faithful to K. Alexander, and hoped someday to return and become a productive member of Penumbra society. In a sudden fit of rage, the Minotaur punched the a hole the wall. His knuckles were covered in blood. Much of his angst went unobserved by other citizens. He suffered silently alone, except for the watchful eyes of an artist. Odessa, with hair like Medussa, (Cassandra Heinrich), entered. She was startled by my presence. The Minotaur explained that I had been sent to observe. She saw his bloodied hand and was concerned. She turned to me in rage, "You saw him do this to himself and you did nothing!" I sheepishly explained that I was just there to observe. Odessa had also been a member of the gold caste of society. She comforted so many who suffered and share her fate. I was surprised that this tender moment went unobserved except by me. 

The Minotaur was forcibly removed from his red room and dragged off to surgery. The thugs tried to calm him, "It is for your own good." He returned much late and his broken horn was now restored. Perhaps the surgery had indeed been to his benefit. By remaining still, I managed to discover that the Minotaur wasn't a monster. He was an intellectual, and a romantic idealist. He envisioned Penumbra as the perfect society even though that society cast him aside. 

When Shadows Fall tickets have been selling out.
Only two performance remain of When Shadows Fall. Every show has been selling out. 
Friday September 9th, at 8pm is a new show that was just added.
Saturday September 10th at 8PM is SOLD OUT
Don't miss this unique interactive theater experience. Leave your material and spiritual insecurities on the outside. Consider Penumbra your new home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Auditions for "Dracula" by Steven Dietz.


Auditions at Carmine Boutique (2708 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida) were a grim and macabre affair. A skinned raccoon was draped over an ottoman. Skulls of every shape and size were tucked away in a curio cabinet. Outside it was pouring rain. Lightning and thunder sparked life in the cadavers on display. This is probably the type of scene that runs through every actors mind as they face the horror of a cold read. Many of the women wore black dresses as if for a funeral. A store salesman offered to show me any item up close. This place really is a sketchers paradise.

Actors filled out forms and then waited for their moment to get on stage. Groups of about ten actors at a time were called to the back room. When they returned they were pumped for in formation about what by in the back of the store. Some actors were asked to stay, while others faced the elements as they rushed back to their cars on this grey miserable and wet day. When the potent-is cast had been narrowed down, all the actors sat in the back room, Edwardian Bar and scenes were rehearsed, with each actors trying out different rolls.

This October, Jeremy Seghers will direct Steven Dietz's adaptation of "Dracula" at Carmine Boutique. Staged in an Edwardian fetish bar surrounded by oddities and antiques, this "Dracula" is dark and creepy and, unlike other versions, stays very faithful to Bram Stoker's novel. This macabre and twisted tale will be told in a twisted and unique boutique. This is the show to catch this October as we approach Halloween.

Tickets
Dates are: 
October 6, 2016 at 8pm
October 7, 2016 at 8pm
October 8, 2016 at 8pm
October 9, 2016 at 8pm
October 10, 2016 at 8pm
October 13, 2016 at 8pm
October 14, 2016 at 8pm
October 15, 2016 at 8pm

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dracula


I went to Carmine Boutique (2708 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida) to sketch auditions for Dracula. If you haven't been to Carmine Boutique, you need to experience it for yourself. They have a wide assortment of the odd and macabre. Behind me were pickled baby pigs in jars, a skeleton in the corner was of Siamese twins. In the back of the store is this stage along with an Edwardian fetish bar. A large poster behind the stage had an average man and a tiny woman, no taller than the penguin pictured. The poster announced, "They are married" My own marriage was crumbling. It was pouring rain outside. The loud thunder rattled the oddities adding to the mood.

I got to see how different actors fleshed out the same parts. I don't know how a director decides with so many talented options. Yet in some moments, an actor no longer seems to be acting. They are the character. I always fall in to I always fall in love with certain performances and I am hopeful to see them in the final production.

Jeremy Seghers will breathe new life into Bram Stoker's Gothic horror classic with Steven Dietz's critically acclaimed adaptation of Dracula. Set exclusively at Carmine Boutique - an antiques, oddities, and taxidermy shop featuring an Edwardian fetish club - this immersive staging will bring the count, his brides, and the blood dangerously close to the audience. Due to the intense nature of the production, no one under the age of 13 will be permitted without a guardian. 

If you are a Halloween fanatic like myself, then this is the perfect way to warm up to the horrors of the season.

Tickets
Dates are: 
October 6, 2016 at 8pm
October 7, 2016 at 8pm
October 8, 2016 at 8pm
October 9, 2016 at 8pm
October 10, 2016 at 8pm
October 13, 2016 at 8pm
October 14, 2016 at 8pm
October 15, 2016 at 8pm

Monday, September 5, 2016

Young Frankenstein at the Historic State Theater


Only two days after the shooting at Pulse, I went to the Historic State Theater, (109 N Bay St. Eustis, FL) to see a dress rehearsal of Young Frankenstein directed by Brendon RogersCrysta Marie, made the arrangements to have me come and sketch. She made me feel right at home. Brendon told me about an animated project that was still in the development stages.

I am quite familiar with the Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein film, but had never seen the music at stage production. The set wasn't complete, and some props were still needed, but it was a clean run of the show. In my sketch, I focused on , doctor's sexy assistant, and then when I drew his wife, she turned out to be monstrously tall. She is as tall as the monster himself and therefor they seem a perfect match.

The Monster's soft shoe stage routine might have made a more iconic image, but I catch what I catch in the heat of the moment.  I worked from the upper balcony which is just used for lighting equipment and storage. The riot of wires and lights would have made for another great sketch. There just wasn't enough time. Distracted by the barrage of Pulse related vigils and fundraisers I unfortunately didn't post this sketch in time to promote the show. Those who went most have had a fun time.Shockingly, I wrote this article on the d that Gene Wilder died at the age of 83. I didn't know it at the time, it just showed up as I was doing other research. Rest in Peace Gene, you we a comic genius.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Ryan Dustin at the Kerouac House.

Ryan Dustin has been the resident author at the Kerouac House for the last several months. Writers are given a three-month residency. Each writer is provided free lodging at the house, along with a food stipend so they can concentrate fully on their work. To date 51 writers-in-residence from the United States and several other countries have spent time at the Kerouac House working on their projects.

Ryan is working on his first novel, called, "The Horse Mender." It is set in a post apocalyptic world where people are trying to find ways to farm sustainability. A blue sketch of Jack Kerouac peered out over Ryan's should as he read. Prior to starting this novel, Ryan strictly wrote poetry. A poem might take several hours to complete and then he needed to find something to do for the rest of the day. A novel however is a project that is ruthlessly on going.  He might complete six pages a day if he focused completely for the entire duration. As he put it, "Writing a novel is a bit crazy." In the morning as he is lying in bed, thoughts might occur to him about what he should write about that day. Having uninterrupted open expanses of time can change your perspective. It is easy for the usual everyday chores to get in the way of a steadfast focus.

Ryan's shirt was exquisitely wrinkled. I have no doubt that Jack's shirts sported the same level of abandon. I don't want to give away any aspect of the book, but the female lead was a romantic who had grown accustomed to living alone. This character appealed to me. She seemed to fit in perfectly with the sun scorched landscape. Her heart, being so protected seemed to hold the most promise in such a harsh world.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Mid-summer Night's Dream at the Stonewall Bar.


I went to sketch a dress rehearsal of the William Shakespeare classic, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" presented by Howler's Theatre and Unseen Images T at Stonewall Bar (741 W. Church St. Orlando FL). While walking to Stonewall y was shocked to see the new MLS Stadium half build in the heart of the Parramore district. Gentrification is spreading fast, west of downtown. Stonewall is right next to the stadium with rainbow colors projected in column on the facade.

The play opens with Lysander (Nick Lubke) deeply in love with Hippolyta, (Tiana Akers). He pursues her, but he heart is not so easily won.  Each time she refuses his affections his adoration grows stronger. When this love is lost, she is confused.

HERMIA
Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
Sweet love?

LYSANDER
Thy love! Out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathèd med'cine! O hated potion, hence!

These lovers are in my sketch, as Lysander restrains Hermia who is at a loss to see why her lover has abandoned her, and accuses Helenus (Scott Browning) of stealing Lysander away from her.  This production features plenty of gender bending with men taking female roles and women taking men's roles . This gives the plot a modern twist and ads plenty of colorful fun to the plot.

 Oberon, king of the fairies (Monica Mulder), dressed in black, calls upon Robin "Puck" Goodfellow, (Charlie Wright) her "shrewd and knavish sprite", to help her concoct a magical juice derived from a flower called "love-in-idleness", which turns from white to purple when struck by Cupid's arrow. When the concoction is applied to the eyelids of a sleeping person, that person, upon waking, falls in love with the first living thing they perceive. This potion applied to the wrong eyes leads to lovers previous affections to melt like the snow as they pursue a new love. Both Lysander and Demetrius, (Domino Thomas), fall desperately in love with Helenus and since all three are men, the lover's triangle becomes as physical as a football match.

Although the performances will take place outdoors, the audience will be completely covered from rain and all performances will go on rain or shine. Due to the location of the show, only guests 21+ will be admitted.

The production will run for 8 performances on the following dates and times:
Friday and Saturday evenings September 2 - September 24 at 7:30 pm. Please note that the Saturday 9/10 performance will begin at 7:00 pm instead of 7:30.

Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at:
https://unseenimagestheatre.ticketleap.com/midsummer/

Friday, September 2, 2016

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

Saturday September 3, 2016 
 4pm to closing Free but get a beer. MYTHIC. The Hourglass Brewery 480 S Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood, Florida 32750. Fables and Fantasy offer the ultimate exploration of the depth of human experience. Our monsters take the form that terrifies us most--will you meet yours on a Mythic journey?
Featuring ALL NEW works inspired by legendery creatures and archetypes from Morgan Wilson (Lux Nova Studio).

8 pm to 10pm $45.95, VIP UPGRADE $74.84 When Shadows Fall. Takes place in an undisclosed private location in Orlando, Florida. Upon buying a ticket, you will receive the address.
We are located roughly 15 minutes from Downtown Orlando, 15 minutes from Universal Orlando, and 20 minutes from Walt Disney World. But you’re not just buying a ticket to experience When Shadows Fall. You’re obtaining a visa to become a citizen of Penumbra, leaving your material and spiritual insecurities on the Outside. Penumbra is your new home, your new life.
 When Shadows Fall™ is an exciting new form of interactive entertainment that combines live performance with high-tech interactions and immersive environments to create a unique experience like no other. Explore a hyperreal world with shocking visual elements, live professional actors, couture costumes, a rousing original musical score, cinematic lighting, and high-tech interactions that bring familiar video game mechanics to real life.

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

Sunday September 4, 2016 
All day. September 1-10. Free. St. Pete Mural Festival. Check the map to see where international and local artists are painting murals all around St. Pete.

2pm to 4pm Free Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL (Near the Red Pagoda). Weekly.

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

When Shadows Fall, Hawthorn's agony.


I have been documenting each performance of When Shadows Fall. Since I've become somewhat of a fixture, the cast works around me as if I were a member of the futuristic society of Penumbra. I am cast a a member of the gold cast of society which consists of the intellectuals and artists.  I dress up a bit to look the part. On this evening I focused on Harlan the Engineers lab. Hawthorn (Robert Cunha) is both a pastor as well as an engineer. As I sketched in his lab, I heard him preaching in the chapel behind me. He asked the congregation to close their eyes and imagine what he described. His vision was so cynical and disturbing, that it sounded like the ravings of a madman.

After the sermon, he quickly entered the lab, and grabbed a bottle of booze from the cabinet on the right. He offered me a cup, we were long time drinking buddies. On his stool, was a mechanical device, it was the final piece of something he had been working on for a long time. Two of the new citizens were assigned to his lab. He instructed them on the final steps to complete the devise. Plans on the walls showed all the inner workings. Before the manufacture was complete, or the devise tested, a member of the office came in and confiscated all that he had been working on.

An orange glowing shackle on Hawthorn's ankle kept him under house arrest in his lab. His assistants however were not constrained. He gave them both walkie talkies and asked them to find a fail safe that could disarm the device.  If the assistants failed, all of Penumbra could be in jeopardy. Harlan's daughter, Odessa was used as bait, to keep Harlan on task. There were spies, espionage, and at times it was hard to distinguish the new citizens from the cast.

What choices the new citizens made could dictate how the story might unfold. With so many story lines unfolding at once, you never get a complete picture of what is happening everywhere. You would never see the same story if you returned. Some scenes unfold without any witnesses. I was the only person who saw the tender relationship between  Hawthorn and his daughter Odessa, (Cassandra Heinrich). Just as in everyday life, the tenderest scenes can only be witnessed by slowing down and being perfectly still. When Shadows Fall is a truly unique evening of interactive entertainment. I for one, am highly addicted.