Saturday, November 26, 2016
Michael Pilato held a 49 hour painting marathon in his new studio above Anthony's Pizza on the corner of Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue. Kara Martinez stopped by to help with some of the paintings done of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. She remembered two of the victims, Juan Rivera Valazquez, Luis Conde who owned D'Magazine Salon down in Kissimmee.
Kara was nervous about how she would look, going to her high school prom. She turned to Juan and Luis and they reassured her and made her feel like a princess. Actually, Kara is a princess. She plays the part of Ariel from Disney's Little Mermaid for a local talent agency. She goes to parties to play the part. She talked lovingly about Juan and Luis describing how playful they were and how much she will miss them. Juan and Luis had been a couple for 14 years, and they owned the salon for seven years. Today the salon has shut down, another vibrant beacon that has gone dark in Orlando.
As we painted the 49 portraits, she began singing Ariel's song. The music by Alen Menkin and Howard Ashman is contagious. Kara sang about her trinkets and baubles from the people who lived above the water. "I want to be where the people are, I want to see them dancing. Wish I could be part of that world." We all sang along as we painted, but under the joy lingered pain. On June 12th so many people were joyfully dancing. Then in a split second of madness, loves were cut short. Some died quickly, while others slowly bled out in agony. Others would survive but be left with scars and nightmares. This is not your typical Disney ending.