Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Decades Rewind played a musical review for Baby Boomers at Fringe.


Decades Rewind performed the greatest music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It was described in the program as, a rocking extravaganza featuring a live 15 piece show-band performing medleys of your favorite hits, spanning 30 years! Take a ride through Decades of American culture, featuring a combination of sight, sound, and video! Over 50 songs in 6 medleys, with visual accompaniment on a huge video screen.

The show at tempted to be upbeat and high energy, but never quite delivered. Now this was a press preview and the huge orange venue was pretty deserted. Perhaps with a larger, livelier audience the show would be more fun. I kept hoping for some story line or structure but it never came. Some reviewers in the back of the theater left early. Since I was sketching I stayed behind to the bitter end.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Space explores the horrors of living in space at Fringe.


Space, written and directed by Cory Volence  and produced by Hubris Theater Company and the Dark Side of Saturn is a hard hitting psycho drama set in the confines of a colony ship on a 15 year mission to establish biological life on a distant planet. In the pre-show, crew members described their feelings about the mission in a promotional video. Their accounts are idealized visions of a future of possibilities.

The show opens with Chief engineer Hightower (Trini Kirtsey) in a spacesuit unable to get back into the spacecraft. The heated debate about the risks of letting him back in, sets the stage for seeing Commander Copeland (Chaz Krivan) as a power hungry despot. The commander is married to Science officer Chesky (Ashleigh Ann Gardner). She is pregnant and the commander is pleased that his family name will live on.

Living together on a tiny tin can of a ship has the crew on edge and at each others throats. The commander treats his wife like he does the crew with authoritarian disrespect. When Chesky visits Medical officer Novak (Brenna Arden), the doctor shows concern and the women kiss, free of any male domineering. The doctor herself is troubled with dreams of suicide.

A video diary station allows crew members to express their true feelings although they often have to erase their entries from the ships official record. The videos are projected on the large screen at the back of the stage allowing the audience to see jumbo tron sized close ups of the crew members faces. Dark circles show the increasing stress of living in confined close quarters with crew members who all hate each other. The crew members were all trained to perform one specialized roll on the mission. There was no cross training. That makes every member of the crew indispensable. That makes if difficult, when crew members truly want to kill each other.

I loved the show. The dark vacuum of space is nothing compared to the darkness found in the heart of a human soul. A special shout out to Chaz Kriran and Ashleigh Ann Gardner, who gave particularly noteworthy performances.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

21 Chump Street at the Fringe.


Located in the round patrons room (Purple venue) in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (810 Rollins Street Orlando FL), 21 Chump Street written by Lin-Manuel Miranda creator of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In The Heights’, turned out to be a high energy musical about being entrapped by love.  The show is based on a new report on NPR’s This American Life. A male high schooler falls desperately in love with an undercover cop. He would do anything to win her affection and a though he doesn't use drugs, when she asks him to get her a fix, he asks everyone how to get the drugs she wants.  He doesn't want her money he wants her love. She can't convict him unless he takes the money. She sealed the deal with a kiss and slipped the money in his hand. Frozen and elated he couldn't refuse.

Was the undercover agent just doing her job or did she arrest and convict an otherwise good kid? The music was edgy and hip. Short and sweet, this could be fleshed out to become an amazing show. It was well worth the admission price.

Venue: Purple | Length: 15 Min
Price: $7 (Disc: FA)
Rating: 13 & Up – Language

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sugar Cash Kids and the Forgotten Island at Fringe.


I had sketched a Sugar Crash Kids and the Forgotten Island rehearsal, so I knew this was going to be a fun show. Blue glowing orbs sat on the stage as the audience entered the theater. I took a seat in what I call the Lincoln booth. Seth Kubersky and Genevieve Bernard joined me. Dancers tumbled and somersault on to the stage, to interact with the glowing orbs. The show opened with an inspiring song in which a young woman (Mary Hannah Butler) yearned to overcome her fears and sour into the world of the imagination. as the song reached its pinnacle, she soared on the wings of an eagle. The story was cut short when young Mei (Kennedy Mason) yelled at her father (Bert Rodriguez) to stop telling the story. She was too old for such fairy tales. She only wanted to hear about what is real and can be touched. It had all been a bedtime story. Her father left, but left the book behind.

When she fell asleep, the bed transformed into a doorway to another world. A child in the audience whispered "Whoah!" And adults in the audience laughed in appreciation for his sense of wonder. Dancers played with Mei making sounds in the dark to startle her.  She was finally greeted by a member of the ensemble (Cole Nesmith) who sang a rousing song titled "You are here!" Where is here, you might ask, "Well, here of course." Mei was in a tropical forest and to find her way back home she had to consult with a robot. It had been inactive for years since the forest sprites didn't know how to activate him. " Did you try tuning it on?" Mai asked. She pressed a button and the robot, named Boltz (Gregory Coleman) booted up sounding like an old Apple computer.

The bed transformed into a pirate ship, and it took Mai and Boltz on a magical voyage. The once cynical Mai now imagined magical creatures inhabiting the sea. She was finally swept away in the world of the imagination. On the lawn of fabulousness I was asked if an adult should see this show. I answered yes. If you have an ounce of  imaginative shirt left in your soul, then you will love this show. The songs are well written by Joshua Pearson, and Jeremiah Dunlap. I find myself humming them even now. The audience stood and cheered. I whistled since I was still scribbling away.

I bet that this show will become a patrons pick and get an encore performance. If so, don't miss it!


Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Fringe Picks for May 28th and 29th.

Saturday May 28, 2016 
5:45pm to 6:45pm A Long Time Ago: The Eighties Strike Back. Orange Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. The show is a retelling of the Original Star Wars Trilogy blended with the Neon-nougat center of the 1980's. Classic characters are skewered by 80's archetypes and all the moments are captured in 80's song parodies. Relive the only three Star Wars movies in a whole new way.

6:15pm to 6:30pm $10. 21 Chump Street: The Musical. Purple Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. A high schooler falls in love with an undercover cop. 21 Chump St. An action packed, 15 minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Creator of 'Hamilton' and 'In The Heights' and from NPR's This American Life.

10pm to 11:30pm $11. Joe's NYC Bar. St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden
1300 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803. Joe's NYC Bar is thrilled to return for the 25th Anniversary of the festival and our 6th year of being a part of the Orlando Fringe. This year we will clear 40 performances during Fringe (2001-04, 15-16) and our 100th performance of the show over all. During our run, over 150 of Orlando's finest musicians, painters and actors have made Joe's their home.

Sunday May 29, 2016
7pm to 7:15pm Donation. Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales. Jamie Mikens theater (a closet) John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803.  Creepy true stories of the American Presidency told to you by puppets. Held in an dark intimate theater filled with the macabre. It’s the stories you wish they would have taught you in school.

7pm to 8pm $10. Douchbags. Yellow Theater in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. Step inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males as we explore the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships, "Douchebags" is sure to raise eyebrows and bring the laughs.

9:30pm to 10:30pm $11. Phantasmagoria: Wickeder Little Tales. Orange Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. This show thunders into the Fringe  with its evocative, haunting and whimsical tales of horror, “Phantastical” dance, music, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry and enthralling storytelling. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Triassic Paraq features singing Dinosaurs.


Triassic Parq roars into the Brown venue inside the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. This is a music or about Dinosaurs. There are two dinosaur musicals at Fringe the year, so don't mistake Triassic Parq for Dino World. All of the dinosaurs in Triassic Parq are female to avoid breeding. One dinosaur however grows a large limb between her legs. Prior to the rehearsal, [ was
with the cast in the parking lot and overheard y actress say, " Does this deck be make my as look big?" This is a question you you might only hear at Fringe. It was hilarious watching y actress trying to navigate h way around the stage. If you sit in the front row you are very likely going to get slapped be it. To get close to another actress, she had to sling it over her shoulder.

This musical has plenty of energy and in the intimate venue, the actors did it need to wear mics. During the rehearsal they went over the choreography of severe numbers with Crysta Marie, before doing a full run through of the show. The dinosaurs live an insular life that sanctions new going beyond the fence. The lead dinosaur character wears your pie striped pants while his parents wear blue and red stripped pants. Mix blue and red and you get purple, get it?   A funny musical meditation on faith, science, and love. This show is well worth seeing.

Venue: Brown | Length: 90 Min
Price: $10 (Disc: FA)
Rating: 18 and up – Language, Strong Sexual Content
Remaining shows: 
May 28, 1pm to 2:30 pm
May 29, 11am to 2:30pm

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at Fringe.

Jeff Ferree presents Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at the Orlando Fringe Festival. This 15 minute show is located in the most intimate venue at the Fringe. It is located in closet near the volunteer staging area in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Hanging from the ceiling are tortured presidential heads shot through wit arrows. The blue curtains lining the space along with a presidential seal, are reminiscent of a White House press conference.

The program describes the show as, "Creepy true stories of the American Presidency told to you by puppets. Held in a dark intimate theater filled with the macabre. It’s the stories you wish they would have taught you in school."

The two primary puppets are male and female Native American corpses. They are incredibly believable as decomposed mummies. The story centers around Curse of Tippecanoe an Indian Curse that has caused an American President elected or re-elected in the last 100 years, Every U.S. President elected in 20-Year Intervals Has Died In Office. Among those affected were from William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840), Abraham Lincoln (elected in 1860),  James Garfield (elected in 1880), William McKinley (elected in 1900), Warren G. Harding (elected in 1920), Franklin D. Roosevelt (elected in 1940), through John F. Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was wounded by gunshot but survived and George W. Bush (2000) survived an attempt on his life unharmed.

When a hanging was mentioned a tiny rag doll with a tiny penis fell over the stage and hung in the glow of a red Christmas light. there were other multi media effects that shocked the packed in audience (up to 13 people can cram into the closet). This was the first Fringe show for one volunteer crammed into the venue along with me. Be sure to find the closet and, experience the horror for yourself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Douch Bags brings testosterone fueled date rage to the stage at Fringe.


Douchbags, Produced and Directed by Adam McCabe steps inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males, exploring the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships. Three guys meet at a bar. One has just lost his high school sweetheart to a neanderthal that looks like a shark. One guy, dressed like a yuppie convinces the jilted youth that his life has just started, that he can play the field. He has a line for every woman and is convinced he can sleep with them all. Another guy is the moral sounding board of reason. He talks of the virtue of finding on woman to wake up with every day.

Much of the dialog is filled with rage filled hate for the women who wronged them. The yuppie claims he slept with the barmaid in the bathroom, and the jilted youth considers him a idol while the other guy is disgusted. It turns out that the moral sounding board hasn't slept with his partner in a very long time. The Yuppie had just lost his mom. All three of them are emotional wrecks without solid heart felt relationships. As the three guys get ready to go their separate ways, they realize that they don't even know each others names.

Since my life is less than perfect, the show resonated with me. I heard that women in the audience were less pleased. It is clear the show is taking chances when there are two polar opposite reactions.  I loved the gritty offensiveness of the show.

Venue: Yellow in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL
Length: 60 Min
Tickets: $10 (Disc: FA|FV)
Rating: 18 & Up – Language, Offensive Humor, Adult Themes
Remaining show times:
May 24,  10:45pm - 11:45pm
May 26,  8:30pm - 9:30pm
May 28,  11:59 pm - 1pm
May 29,  7:00pm - 8:00pm

Monday, May 23, 2016

Space will have an amazing set and costumes.


Local playwright Cory Volence wrote Space which is being presented at this years Orlando International Fringe Festival  by Hubris Theater Company from Brooklyn New York.  On the edge of the universe, in the darkest corner of our galaxy, four people will discover that the space between love and hate is as thin as a razor and twice as sharp. This dark science fiction drama follows the crew of a ship bound for a distant planet as they slowly realize that the only thing more dangerous than space is each other.

Evan Miga was working hard on a space suit for the show in the weeks before the show opens. He covered the actor in duct tape and pealed it off which gave him a mold the exact size of the actors body on which to build the suit. He fabricated it first in cardboard and then the pieces would be laser cut out of sheets of foam that were hanging on the garage wall. The show probably has the most sophisticated set at this year's Fringe. The space ship consoles have illuminated dials and keypads. All the pieces are modular fitting together quickly with slots and groves. Everything when disassembled fits neatly in the back of Evans smart car. The set pieces were designed in the computer and then cut by a robotic arm at FACTURE  (520 Virginia Drive Orlando FL) a non-profit maker space here in Orlando.

After designing one leg of the space suit, Evan explained that he could replicate what he had done in the computer for the other leg. The suit will also incorporate glowing electronic pieces reminiscent of Tron. He then went on to design a space boot. He build the boot out of cardboard around a black leather boot. He was a bit concerned because he was using his own boot and the actors feet were bigger. He needed a size 12 which just happened to be my shoe size. I gave him one of my hiking boots to check if the sole of the space boot was big enough. It was. The tricky part of the boot design was to allow for the boot to deform when the foot rolled during a walk. Trial and error resulted in multiple attempts with the cardboard boot breaking apart rather than deforming. In the end, he found a design that worked.

Evan explained that the crew of the ship were on a 15 year mission to travel to another planed and set up a terra form device that would bring life to the new world. Being together for 15 years can challenge any relationship so the crew begin to get on each others nerves. It is a great concept and I suspect this will be one of the best shows at the Fringe this year. I can't wait to see it. These shows will sell out These shows will sell out.

Tickets are $10. Brown venue in the Orlando Shakespeare Center 812 E. Rollins Street Orlando FL.
Remaining show dates:
May 24,  7:15pm - 8:15pm
May 26,  11:15pm - 12:15pm
May 27,  11:15pm - 12:15pm
May 28,  8:45pm - 9:45pm
May 29,  7:00 pm - 9:00pm

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Living room Theater takes the Fringe Festival by storm.


Living room Theater has 13 performances at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. As the title suggests, they happen in a living room at 1314 Chichester St, Orlando, FL, a few blocks north of all the main action at Lock Haven Park. When I arrived, there were a few people waiting on the porch. Matt Palm who writes for the Orlando Sentinel pointed out that the paper's obit section is usually a couple of columns long, but for the past few weeks it has run on for several pages. He guessed that perhaps people just couldn't face another hot Orlando summer. Another person joked that perhaps they just couldn't face yet another Fringe festival.

The living room is large and spacious. It had once been used as a ballroom in the homes early days. Banks Helfrich walked back to the green room with a cup of water. His wife wondered why they weren't out socializing with people like they usually do. Perhaps since this was Fringe, they wanted to maintain the theatrical fourth wall. I have sketched several Living room theater performances in people's homes and every performance has always been different. Tisse Mallon, Banks Helfrich and Jack Graham have created an immersive theater experience that fosters community while focusing on fun, connection and authenticity. The show consists of a series of short vignettes that are both serious and absurd.

Banks came out holding an orange checkered shirt and he handed it to a woman seated in the front row. Matt Palm tapped me on my shoulder and whispered to me, that's my shirt. Sure enough, he was wearing the exact same shirt. Was this theatrical magic, or just coincidence? Jack performed a solo on his acoustic guitar. After his performance, birds chirped to mark the transition to the next scene. This chirping gave the scenes a sense of being part of a timeless ongoing tapestry of human interaction. The next scene had Banks and Tisse both texting on their phones. They sat down beside each other, both focused on their phones and it gradually became apparent that they were texting each other. Tisse leaned against Banks and they intertwined while the text conversation grew tense. Tisse finally just decided to call, But, Banks couldn't bring himself to pick up. This hilarious scene pointed out how we grow further apart as we embrace technology rather than each other. Since every performance is different, you r experience will be unique. I can say that you can expect surprise, wonder and honesty of emotions as the cast interests. Each scene is just a sentence written on a sheet of paper.  The scene then unfolds, being mostly improvised.

Tickets are $10
Remaining Living room theater performances:
May 22,  5pm - 6:10pm and 8pm to 9:10pm
May 26,  7:30pm - 8:40pm
May 27,  6:30pm - 7:40pm and 8:30pm - 9:40pm
May 28,  5pm - 6:10pm and 8pm - 9:10pm




Saturday, May 21, 2016

Phantasmagoria brings horrific tales to the Orlando Fringe.


Phantasmagoria: Wicked Little Tales fills the Fringe Orange venue at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center, (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL) with horrific whimsical tales of horror, Phantastical dance, music, stage combat, large scale puppetry and storytelling. Before a complete run through of the show, actors practiced a sword fight that they had just learned the day before. The swords were real, so there was a true there a of danger as they parried.  Other actors on the stage had to be warned to stand clear. Though rehearsed at quarter speed, the adrenaline still pumps an they had to b coached to slow down.

The show commence with a grand flair. The whole acting troop crouched around the ring master as he enticed the audience to listen in with a grand flourish. Once a story begins it must be told until it is finished. The tales come to life and the horrors pose a real threat to the tellers. The first tale was one of my favorites, The Tell Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. To recreate the hideous beating heart, the entire (2 beat their palms on the stage floor creating a deafening thump.

Another memory tale was of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Two dancers acted as the horse with grace and style. Actors and actresses would more into the audience during the telling of a tale, and you never knew if a sinister laugh might ring behind you, sending chills down your spine.

Mary Shelly's Frankenstein brought to life a giant skeletal figure that threatened it's creator. The creature demanded a bride and when that hope was gone the monster turned on his creator and master. Love lost is the most horrific motivator for murder.

It was good to see this at in troupe in such a large venue. With so many act of and actresses, they easily utilize every inch of the deep space. If you have a taste for the macabre then Phantasmagoria is the show for you.

Phantasmagoria shows are on May 21, 22, 28 and 29.
Tickets are $11.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Fringe Picks for May 21st and 22nd.

Saturday May 21, 2016 
Noon to 1pm $11 Plus a Fringe button $10 good for all shows.  Phantasmagoria: Wicked Little Tales. Orange Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL.    The show thunders into the Fringe with its evocative, haunting and whimsical tales of horror, Phantastical dance, music, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry and enthralling storytelling.

5pm to 6:10pm $11 Livingroom Theater. Pergande home, 1314 Chichester St Orlando, FL Paths of absurdity, raw truth and love intersect as Bear, Otter and Dog invite you into a living room to share vignettes reflecting on our humanity. Through pensive to comical conversations, experimental performance pieces and live instrumentals a story emerges. “A primal, playful joy in the moment…” – analogartistdigitalworld.com

7pm to 7:15 pm $721 Chump Street. Purple venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL.  A high schooler falls in love with an undercover cop. 21 Chump St. An action packed, 15 minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Creator of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In The Heights’ and from NPR’s This American Life.

Sunday May 22, 2016 
12:45pm to 1:45pm $10 A long Time Ago: The 80s Strike Back. Orange Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. The show is a retelling of the Original Star Wars Trilogy blended with the Neon-nougat center of the 1980's. Classic characters are skewered by 80's archetypes and all the moments are captured in 80's song parodies. Relive the only three Star Wars movies in a whole new way.

3:30pm to 4:10pm $10. O.K.: Physicality of Mentality. Pink Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. Close to 1 in 5 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health issue, yet the subject remains taboo. In effort to raise awareness and encourage understanding, members of Red Right Return delve into their personal experiences with mental illness. Through contemporary dance and spoken word, “O.K.: physicality of mentality” offers audiences glimpses into life with depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction.

10:30pm to 11:30pm $10. Douchbags. Yellow Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. The show is a bold new powerhouse production with bravado to spare: Step inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males as we explore the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships, "Douchebags" is sure to raise eyebrows and bring the laughs.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Long Time Ago: The Eighties Strike Back.


It is time to Fringe! The 2015 24nd Annual Orlando Fringe Theatre Festival takes place May 13th-25th in Orlando’s Loch Haven Park. Venue locations are within Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando Rep (corner of Princeton and Mills)-812 East Rollins Street, The Venue (Virginia Dr.), and several site-specific location in the area. Kid’s Fringe is located at the Menello Museum (across Princeton from Loch Haven).

100% UNCENSORED
100% UNJURIED
100% ACCESSIBLE
100% of $ from ticket sales go directly to the ARTISTS

There are more productions than can be seen, so pick your poisons wisely. Of the productions I saw in the first few days, the Star Wars music at parody written and co directed by Simon MacDonald called A Long Time Ago: The Eighties Strike Back, was my laugh out loud favorite. The classic Star War characters are re-imagined as 1980's pop stars, and movie stars. For instance Artoo (Melina Smart) is portrayed as Olivia Newton John in Xanadu and Threepio (Lauren Anne Anderson) is portrayed as Madonna with her golden ice cream cone bra.

Singing performances by Lauren Culver as princess Leia and Melinda Smart as Artoo were particularly outstanding. The Chewbacca themed song Was hilarious and Joseph Fabian did an amazing job replicating the throaty roar. If you are a fan of the original two Star Wars movies, and you old enough to have lived through the 1980's you will love this show. I still have "Hoth is a Battle Field" running through m head, set to y music of "Love is a Battle Field" by Pat Benatar.

The plot and characters are deeply en-grained in our minds, but this musical parody is absolutely hilarious. Don't miss it!

Orange Venue - Orlando Shakespeare Theater 812 E. Rollins Street, Orlando, FL 32803.Shows are on May 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, and 28. Tickets are $10.
  • No Button = No show entry (no exceptions). The button costs $10 and is a one-time purchase. Button proceeds go to support Orlando Fringe.
  • No Late Entry to shows (no exceptions).
  • No refunds given for any reason other than show cancellation (no exceptions).
  • No ticket exchanges made (no exceptions).
  • No outside food or beverage is allowed inside any venue.
  • Alcoholic beverage purchased in the Green Lawn may not leave the fenced lawn area.
  • No food or drink allowed inside the Orlando REP (GREEN, SILVER, and TEEN Venues).
  • Beverages are allowed in our Lowndes Shakespeare Center venues (PINK, BROWN, RED, PURPLE, YELLOW, ORANGE, and BLUE) and may be purchased in the Darden Courtyard. Beverages are sold and allowed at the Venue (BLACK) and many other BYOV locations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sugar Crash Kids and the Forgotten Island offers family friendly fun at Fringe.

Based on the World and Characters of Sugar Crash Kids created by Jeremiah Dunlap and Joshua Pearson, this original family friendly musical will bring a spark of fun to the Orange Venue. Imagination, discovery, and wonder take flight when a cynical young girl, Mai (Kennedy Mason) is suddenly thrust into a fantastic, whimsical adventure in a world she never thought was possible.

I went to the final rehearsal at City Beautiful Church on Alden Road in Ivanhoe Village. Blue illuminated orbs were placed on the stage. Director and choreographer Holly Harris explained that they represent hope, wonder, and imagination. Mai has reached an age where anything that isn't tangible isn't real. She discovers that the world of the imagination is very much real.

The ensemble picked up the orbs and danced and interacted with them with fluid graceful movements. The cast must have a blast at each performance. Much of the movement is pure joyful play. Actors did somersaults, rolled over, and bumped into each other and genially had plenty of immature fun.  Cole Nesmith sang an exuberant song titled, "You're here!" "But where's here?" Mai asked. "Why it's here of course!"

The show features original music, lyrics, and characters, from The Cramazingly Incredifun Sugar Crash Kids Podcast which comes to life on stage for the first time ever. The musical brings to life a fantastic, whimsical adventure through music, movement, and large scale puppetry.

I didn't see the full show, but the songs I heard were amazing, and the scenes were filled with playful  joy. I have no doubt that this is a must see Fringe show. Bring the whole family!!

Tickets are $10.
Location: ORANGE Venue - Lowndes Shakespeare Center - Margeson Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL
Performances:
Thursday, May 19 - 6:15 PM
Saturday, May 21 - 3:45 PM
Sunday, May 22 - 2:30 PM
Tuesday, May 24 - 7:15 PM
Wednesday, May 25 - 5:30 PM
Saturday, May 28 - 1:30 PM
Sunday, May 29 - 11:45 AM

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Live Urban Sketch Class at DRIP.


I offered a Live Urban Sketch Class at DRIP (8747 International Dr #102, Orlando, FL). You enter DRIP from a loading dock giving the venue a mysterious speakeasy vibe. My eyes had to adjust to the dark black light interior. I was running about 15 minutes late thanks to rush hour traffic. There were close to a dozen artists in the bar area.

A volunteer agreed to model. She was tall and chiseled with beautiful dreadlocks. We discussed basic human proportions which I break down into four units. Half way between the head and feet is the waist. Half way between the waist and the feet are the knees, and half way between the head and the waist is the heart. I discussed how your eye line should relate to the figure and I had everyone draw this line on the page.

We did five minute poses and each time I asked student to make each drawing smaller than the last, while keeping one aspect of the models body lined up with the eye line. The result was receding figures that looked like they could be standing on the same floor plane. We then moved to longer poses where the model sat on the couch and looked at her iPhone. I encouraged everyone to include background elements.

Our model had to leave, so Jessie Sander, a DRIP dancer, took over. She offered the class plenty of action lines and gestures to work with. I came up with a new exercise in which everyone broke up the page into four panels to create thumbnail or storyboard sized panels. I had everyone just draw the background, or staging elements. They were encouraged to find interesting new angles for each sketch. Then Jessie returned to the set, and students added her to the scenes. Some really fun work came out of the exercise. I  plan to recreate the exercise for my younger Urban Sketch students today.


Finally, we went on a field trip to the parking lot next door, to sketch The Boston Lobster Feast car. It is a tiny red beetle that has a huge mean looking lobster on top of it. Anytime people entered the restaurant, the sweet buttery smell wafted outside. Every tourist walking down International Drive has to stop to take a photo of the huge lobster. The artists scattered around the monster and began to sketch. Some tourists were curious about what we were up to, so it was a good initiation for beginning artists to realize that no one ever judges your work when sketching on location. I was pleased that one artist was asked, "Are you an artist?" I'm always tempted to come up with a snarky remark, but end up responding, "Yes."

Overall, I had fun giving the workshop and it would be fun to repeat. Jessica Mariko, DRIP's founder suggested having the model under a sand shower or paint can chandelier while artists sketch. The possibilities for fun, wet, spontaneous sketch opportunities is endless.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Punslingers livened up SAK after the Holidays.


Punslinges is a game show for word nerds held at SAK Comedy Lab (29 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida). Diana Rodriguez Portillo the theater operations manager at SAK Comedy Lab arranged to get me in to do a sketch. The audience was full of poets who I recognized from other poetry readings around town. The two hosts were soon to be married, and the coup seated in front of m snuggled during the show. 

Character and personality see just as important as slinging just the right puns. On the back wall of the stage, was a plastic gun which was the prize for the best punslinger. A pun is defined as a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. After the first few bouts the audience quickly warmed up with groans and laughter.

The next rodeo of Punslingers will be on Memorial Day, Monday May 30th!  Punslingers is a comedy game show where contestants come up with puns to win the favor of the audience through laughs (and groans)! The winners walk away with the title of Champion Punslinger and a mystery prize!

Lovers of poetry, wordplay, Shakespeare, and good-old-fashion 'dad jokes' will love it! Strap on your best western clothes, saddle up, and be part of history at Orlando Punslingers!

Questions / Comments?
shammers@gmail.com or call (317) 426-6372

TICKETS: can be purchased at the door, or reserved online: *TICKET LINK COMING SOON*
TIME: Sign-Ups start at 7:00, show is at 7:30 so get there early!
PLACE: SAK Comedy Lab 29 S. Orange Ave. Orlando
PARKING: Bring your ticket from the Plaza Parking Garage and have it validated to bring the cost down to $4!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Rally for Heroes in Winter Park.


Operation American Dream officially launched in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama on December 11, 2015.  The "Rally for the Heroes" was a salute to military, law enforcement, and fire rescue personnel who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.  The program featured patriotic music, a 21-gun salute, speeches by Orlando Chief of Police John Mina, Winter Park Fire Chief James White, and OAD Founder Chuck Nadd.  Displays from local law enforcement and fire departments provided a backdrop for the event.

On February 11, 2014, Orange County Florida Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine sacrificed his life in the line of duty while pursuing a burglary suspect. Deputy Pine is survived by his wife and three young children. As a native of Orange County himself, Operation American Dream Founder Chuck Nadd felt called to support Deputy Pine's young family and rallied the local community together to raise over $6,000.  Since then, Chuck has watched other American heroes fall in the line of duty and has felt called to build similar campaigns across the United States. This is how Operation American Dream began.

 Operation American Dream invests in children of America's fallen heroes. Funds are used for scholarships for the children of U.S. military, law enforcement, and fire rescue personnel who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. The organization rallies local communities around the gold-star families, reminding them that the sacrifice they have made will never be forgotten.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ethos offers amazing vegan food and live music.


Between sketch opportunities, I decided to have dinner at Ethos Vegan Kitchen (601 S New York Ave, Winter Park, FL.) A three piece band was setting up, so I sat at the end of the bar so that I was close enough to sketch. The bass players wife was at the bar next to me with her daughter. They had just been to the Orlando Science Center to see the Mummies Exhibit. The young girl had purchased tiny dinosaur pills that would grow when placed in water. She unwrapped the package and desperate waited for the waitress to bring her z cup of water. I of course warned her that dinosaurs are unbelievably large and it might not fit in the restaurant. The spongy dinosaur only grew to about an inch or two.

I had sketched the bass player before. He had a sheet of cardboard on the floor, and it was puncture full of holes from the bass stand. The music was in full swing, when the food arrived. I had a Sheppard's Pie which consisted of mashed potatoes filled with vegetables in a dark gravy. It was tasty, but a bit dry. It came with extra bread which I couldn't imagine eating since the dish was so large.

With the sketch done, I lingered a bit to hear the end of the set. The musicians then came | the bar to eat and I share the sketch. After they ate, they were going to do another set. I packed up and headed out.

Friday, May 13, 2016

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

Saturday May 14, 2016. 
Noon to 10pm. FREE Admission. FREE Parking. End of Days Film Festival. Gods and Monsters 5250 International Dr, Ste E8, Orlando, Florida. Screening Action, Sci-fi, Horror, and Comedy short films from around the world. View the schedule of films online.

7pm to 9pm. Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

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

Sunday May 15, 2016. 
10am to 4pm. Free. Lake Eola Farmer's Market. South East Corner of Lake Eola Park.

1pm to 6pm Free. Ten10 Art Market. Ten 10 Brewing Company 1010 Virginia Dr, Orlando, Florida. Art..music..food..beer ...plus other interesting things...
Every 3rd Sunday.

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 and; laugh, or give it a try yourself.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Last Speakeasy.

July 25th was the last Speakeasy at Will's Pub. Tod Caviness has hosted this monthly drunken literary event for years. At this final edition, someone had created cardboard cut out photos of Tod's face on Popsicle sticks to be used as masks.

A documentary was made about the speakeasy when it went the way of the Dodo when Will's Pub closed down years ago.The speakeasy rose from the ashes like a phoenix when Will's re-opened in it's present location (1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL).  

The Speakeasy is usually about poetry and spoken word but Tod introduced Drew who has performed his original acoustic guitar songs on the Speakeasy stage throughout the years. A Tod mask was shoved into the speaker. 

Drinks flowed and the poetry got edgier. I've sketched at a number of these events and sometimes the line between art and anarchy has been crossed. Some history need no be repeated. 

The Speak ease was form when there was a dis time vacuum in the Orlando Literary scene. Over the years however, spoken word events have popped up like mushrooms all over town. If only the visual arts community had a similar event to get artists out to meet and share ideas. There is a monthly artist critique, and an Artist's Social but p true longstanding event hasn't yet taken form.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bombshell Creations presented, Why Do Fools Fall in Love.


Bombshell Creations presented Why Do Fools Fall in Love, the Rockin' '60s Bachelorette Musical Created by Roger Bean.  The show was presented at the ME Theatre (Marshall Ellis Theatre) 1300 La Quinta Drive, Suite 3, Orlando, FL. Unfortunately, I had written the wrong time in my calendar, so by the time I arrived, the show was more this half over. What I did see was infectious fun. The actresses belted out the tunes with plenty of heart.

Millie’s getting married! At her impromptu bachelorette party, Millie and her best friends dive into age-old questions about love, marriage, and the overwhelming dating game. As the celebration picks up steam and the drinks flow, the girls reveal scintillating secrets about their love lives as they poke fun and challenge each other to take control of their lives. Featuring smash pop-hits from the 1960s such as “My Boy Lollipop,” “I Will Follow Him,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Hey There Lonely Boy,” this uplifting show reaffirms that during life’s struggles, true friendship will unveil its everlasting strength, often with a real rockin’ beat!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Third Thursdays at Avalon Island Gallery.


On Third Thursdays, the Orlando Downtown Galleries all have art openings. I usually stop at Avalon Island Gallery (39 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL) since Patrick Greene hires musicians to perform on the small stage in the historic building. On this Thursday Transparent Trio was performing. This is a rare as where I simply drew in pencil rather than using a micron pen. I rather like the look. I need to sketch this loosely more often.

This room has small cabaret style tables, usually with a single rose in each vase. The tables make for a perfect spot to sketch from. There is a decorative wrought iron railing a round the stage, but I decided to leave it out of the sketch. From here, I walked over to City Arts Factory.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Art of Breast Feeding.


On a recent trip to New York City, Terry and I met with Leigh Anne O'Connor in a bustling lower East side bar.  Leigh Ann was a dear friend when we lived in NYC over 20 years ago. She is now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Parenting Expert with over 17 years experience working with families. She is the past President of New York Lactation Consultant Association, a member of International Lactation Consultant Association, United States Lactation Consultant Association, and a past member of the Bank Street Head Start Health Advisory Board. When I expressed an interest in sketching nursing moms, she pulled out her phone and put out a message to that effect on Facebook. The next day, I was sketching Rebekah Grossman and her beautiful 11 week old, Harper. Leigh Anne's job is to help moms who have difficulty getting the child to start feeding. Little Harper didn't have enough suction at first. Rebekah told me that this was a perfect sketch opportunity because they could sit like this for hours. Once Harper was finished feeding he fell a sleep on her breast. After a long nap, he might feed again. The family dog slept at Rebekah's feet.

Rebekah's husband is an artist. He painted the walls of  baby's area purple with white billowing clouds. Rebekah is facing the prospect of having to return to work as a political consultant. She wished she could stay home longer to bond with Harper. European countries give working moms much more maternity leave. Her mom is going to babysit while she is a work. In preparation she has been bottling her milk with a breast pump and storing her mill in the refrigerator.

Breast feeding is the most natural way to supply the needed nutrients to an infant. In the 1960s moms turned to bottled formula served in bottles with plastic nipples. There was no added benefit to the bottle feeding other than to the corporations who sold the formula and bottles. I suspect This is how I was fed as a baby.  Breast feeding has made a huge come back with working moms often having to feed on the go. There is some controversy as to weather it is appropriate to feed a child in public. Americans can be such prudes.What could be more natural? I heard of a case where a mom was asked to stop feeding her child in a fast food restaurant. The next week, 50 moms showed up in force to feed their children in the restaurant.

It was such an honor to sketch Rebekah and Harper in this quiet intimate moment. New York City is such an amazing place. I hope that I have the opportunity to do similar sketches in the future.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Robert Johnson performs at his Wedding Reception.


Robert and Maria Johnson's wedding reception was an informal home grown community effort at Kimberly Buchheit's Farm in Sorrento, FL. Robert's mother made delicious Filipino food, and a few other award winning "chefs" added to the menu. Kim's garage functioned as the bar and a large tent covered all the picnic tables. A bonfire was lit after the sun set, an the hard core guests settled around the flames late into the night.

The stage was cobbled together I believe from former mushroom planters thus being known as the Mushroom Stage. The stage was just the right size to be covered by a single tent which was illuminated by strings of lights. Robert performed solo and then was joined by other musicians on strings and drums. One song that rang true for me was about an artist painting his masterpiece. Another rather funny original song, had to do with getting stuck in I-4 traffic. Between the fiery blaze and , music, it was a magical night.

Many guests were staying the night, laying sleeping bags in the grass, or finding shelter on Kim's floor inside.  Some people simply stayed up all night, watching over the flames. The next morning there were muffins and mimosas at sunrise. As the day heated up, the stage tent was turned into a misting parlor to keep cool. I set up an outdoor lounge chair and enjoyed the wet spray. We all chipped in a bit with the basic clean up work but a crew would later rewove all the tables which were rented. The wedding couple had camp in Robert's van and they looked so happy on their first day as a married couple together.

Guests could take home candles nestled on sand inside mason jars. Each candle had a saying tied to it with a ribbon.
"For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." - Carl Sagan,
"Have courage to trust love one more time and always one more time." - Maya Angelou
"Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame." - Henry David Thoreau
"Come on baby light my fire." - Jim Morrison
"All you need is love!" - John Lennon

Saturday, May 7, 2016

El Potro Mexican Restauranl in Winter Park.


I arrived in Winter Park an hour early before a sketch opportunity at a shaman healing workshop. I decided to get dinner at El Potro Mexican Restaurant (501 N Orlando Ave Winter Park, FL) in a nearby shopping mall. There is a daily lunch time buffet for a little under $13. The buffet was empty when I arrived so I ordered tacos and re-fried beans, it was decent meal at a very affordable price.

The paintings on the walls were by Dominican artist  Jose Calcano.  They depicted rural scenes with scarecrows and migrant workers in the fields in the fields. The Scarecrow was painted in 1974.he colors were hyper saturated. I must have arrived before the dinner rush because the couple in front of me were the only other people in the place.

I recently moved my studio to Winter Park and ironically this restaurant is right within walking distance. Another restaurant in the same shopping area however has caught my taste buds. It is an Indian Restaurant called Tamarind Indian Cuisine, (501 N Orlando Ave #149, Winter Park, FL). This place has a Vegetable Jalfrezi that is to die for.  It is a medley of fresh vegetables with onion pepper and curry sauce. If I was to be sent on a space mission spending five years travel.' to another planet, the the Jalfreizi is what I would wan to lire on.  The Malai Kofta is also good, being mixed vegetable balls cooked in a rice green cream sauce. I tried a Dosa, which is a thin crispy crepe, but it was rather dry compared to the other dishes. I almost tasted Dosa once before but my sketching got me kicked 8 of the Indian Market, before I could taste it. My curiosity about Dosa has been satiated.

Both restaurants are incredibly affordable, with enough food as leftovers to last as lunch and dinner the next day.

Friday, May 6, 2016

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

Saturday May 7, 2016
 11am to 6pm Free. Big Bang Bazaar - INDIE ART, CRAFTS and VINTAGE BAZAAR. 625 E Hibiscus Blvd, Melbourne, FL. We are pleased to announce that Big Bang Bazaar (Indie Art, Crafts and Vintage Bazaar) will take place at a new indoor venue! The event is family friendly and appropriate for all ages! Admission and parking are free to all guests!
Big Bang Bazaar will feature a curated selection of over 200 local Indie artists and crafters, along with a free photo booth, and movies playing all day! Shoppers will find a wide variety of goods, all handmade by local artisans! Products such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, original art, art prints, housewares and much more will be available for purchase!
Interested in VENDING?

Noon to 11pm $10 Online Ticket Smashington 2016. Mills 50 District 1200 Weber St, Orlando, Florida. Soul of the City has started an exciting new partnership with Local Music and Art culture! Our vision is to bring a diverse, and interactive art experience to Orlando for the 4th year in a row!!
Smashington 2016 Art & Music Festival, is an all day celebration of progressive music and art culture.
This years' festival will feature over 80 Music acts, live performance art by Perego of The Art Army, dozens of local business vendors, plus more fun and exciting activities making this one of the biggest mix of Central Florida’s up and coming artistic talent.
We will be showcasing Urban and Street Art styles by incorporating graffiti walls, community art walls, a chalk walk and spray painting a school bus!
There will be live performance Art, Acoustic duos, Bands, HipHop acts and a collection of Central Florida’s rising artistic talent featured across 5 stages. With the help of an exciting lineup of Performers, Creators and Progressive brands to share the stage with, we are displaying a new look and feel on community culture events.

8pm to 11:30pm Free but drink and donate. Jazz Jam and More! Bar Louie 7335 W. Sand Lake Rd. Orlando, Fl. TOP Musicians and Vocalists...
Some Internationally known!
Featuring Joseph Jevanni-Keys, Jacqueline Jones-Vocals, Carl Lewis-Sax and many more. Hosted by Yvonne Coleman, MNJJ Co-Founder and Radio Personality Jazzy103.com
Great Music, Great Food & Drink,
Great People, Great Ambiance.
A Sophisticated, Casual Atmosphere. 
Plenty of seating and they have an
Outdoor Patio with a Fire Pit!
Bar Louie will donate 20% of net sales to 
HAPCO Music Foundation, our charity for the month.
This event has provided great entertainment and supported charities since 2008.
THANKS to all of the Musicians, Vocalists and Supporters for making this event a HUGE success.

Sunday May 8, 2016 
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. http://www.yogartinc.com/color-therapy-chart/
Please bring your own yoga mat and prepare to unwind.

1pm to 5:30pm Free Family Day. The Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL. 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. Every second Sunday.

2pm to4pm Free. Script Reading Workshop. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Read and workshop plays.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Eco - Action Cleanup cares for Orlando's lakes while being hindered by city red tape.


I went to Eco - Action Cleanup number 845 at Lake Concord. Jef Shelby organizes this intrepid group of volunteers who use canoes to help clean up the garbage from Orlando's lakes. The Mission of ECO-Action, Inc., is to protect and preserve the natural environment by encouraging, creating, and supporting ecological education, responsible consumption, development of alternative energy sources, and public participation in addressing environmental issues.

The GPS brought me to Central Christian Church. Across the street there was a lake, but I didn't see any volunteers. Thinking I was in the wrong place, I drove up and down the street and then I drove behind the church. This is where I found the truck with a trailer full of canoes. People were already in canoes and on shore placing trash in yellow bags. By keeping the lake clean, wildlife is being protected. Fishing line in particular can strangle a bird who becomes entangled. Birds and turtles can also eat the fishing lines, which is a health hazard. On some cleanups birds have been found and turned over to the Birds of Prey Center for medical care. There is no shortage of garbage, bottles, beer cans, plastic cups, fishing line, grocery bags, cigarette butts, and even condoms. Despite the endless effort it seems that garbage is dumped faster than it ca be removed. These volunteers are true eco-warriors.

Rather than support these environmentalists, the city decided to impose restrictions and permitting. It seems politicians need to know exactly what lake is being cleaned and when. Jet ski's and power boats are fine, but having volunteers out cleaning the lakes in canoes was considered a bit too anarchistic for city officials.  Now Jef has to apply for permits and wait up to four months for approval. The added bureaucracy is causing the Good Samaritan effort to be too much trouble. Jef hopes someone else will take on the effort because he doesn't have the time for all the paper work.

Morgan Steele had volunteered to stay behind and watch the remaining canoes. He stopped over to see what I was working on. It turns out he is an artist himself. He loved that I was documenting the cleanup effort with sketches. He searched in the reeds next to me and pulled out a hypodermic needle. "Can you believe someone would shoot up behind a church." he asked. He then walked over to a shady spot under a huge live oak, sat down, and leaned back against a large cross. Jef wrote me a Facebook message a few weeks after the cleanup.  "Since Morgan Steele's passing, I've thought about some of the Jungian signs that prophesied his death - and I think of that last painting you did of Eco-Action's clean-up at Lake Concord where he was taking a rest under the cross." On April 23rd, Morgan lost control of his car while driving back from Stardust Video and Coffee. His car slammed in some concrete constructions on Bumby. A memorial will be held for him around Memorial Day. The Herculean task of cleaning Orlando's lakes lives on. More Eco Warriors are always needed to stem the tide of a wasteful consumer society.

A whistle sounded and the canoes returned. Each canoe was filled wit yellow bags full of trash. The bags were stacked in a pile and everyone lined up for a group photo. Probably 30 full bags of garbage had been removed from the lake. More remained. The most unique finds, were a laptop computer, and a three foot white sign that said, "Church Parking Ahead." If anyone had followed that sign, their cars would be found on the bottom of the lake. If you ever want to make a difference while canoeing on a central Florida lake, be sure to look up Eco -Action Cleanup.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Les Mamelles De Tiresias at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.


Les Mamelles De Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias) presented by Florida Opera Theater is a comical opera that was basically written to encourage people to go home and make more babies after the war. Therese is a housewife who is tired of her domestic life and wants the exciting life of a soldier. Her husband keeps interrupting her singing to come effect by demanding bacon. She unhooks her apron, and her breasts float away like balloons and she becomes a man. After she goes off to war, the husband puts on her apron and becomes the wife. As the wife he has to fend off the affections of a police officer who is taken in by the female attire. The improbable changes of sex seemed to ignite a heightened desire.

In the second act, the husband (wife) has given birth to more than 40,000 babies. All his children had successful careers in the arts making him a rich man. As a finale, the two large balloon creatures I sketched, floated over the audience. Phallic appendages gave the creatures a surreal appearance. Each had trap doors in their under bellies and those doors opened, raining balloon babies down on the audience. I had hoped to sketch the stage hands work in the pulleys that hoisted the balloons over the audience. I was asked to move twice and then to to leave the upper balcony by the spot light operator. Only staff were allowed. I finished the sketch on the ground floor in my assigned seat in row L.  Of course I was in a foul mood, but I managed to complete the sketch. To add insult to injury, I lost my bag of art brushes in the theater. I checked with lost and found, but they were never turned in.

General Tiresias wage war on childbirth. But her former husbands success in raising so many children thwarts her plan. There is a playful scene with dozens of children singing and playing hide and seek in a nursery. This was definitely one of the strangest Operas I have ever seen. I'm still not sure what to make of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Polihale Beach in Kauai.


The wonderful thing about Kauai is that you can drive  a few miles and find yourself at a deserted beach. It can only be reached via a poorly marked, dirt sugarcane road. We felt we the first people to ever walk on this sand. Known for its 7-mile stretch of white sand beach and hot cloudless days, Polihale is the spot to dry out when the rains come. Framed by the west end of the Na Pali cliffs, sweeping sand dunes and a Ni'ihau capped ocean, Polihale can be a breath-taking experience. On this cloudy day sunlight forced its is through the rare gap in the clouds creating a theatrical spotlight effect.

Polihale has been translated in many instances as the "House of the Po", where Po is the Hawaiian after world. By this account, spirits are said to travel to the coastal plain adjacent to the beach, and stay in the temple, known as the heiau. From there, they would climb the cliffs to the north, jump off into the sea to get to the mythical Po. The story further indicates that this belief was so strong that all the homes built in the vicinity of Polihale would have had no east facing doors, so that no traveling spirit could become trapped within.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Frankie mixed the vinyl at the wedding reception.


The wedding of local singer, songwriter Robert Johnson to Maria happened during a beautiful golden sunset at Playa Linda Beach. It is a place where they find peace and center themselves; to look to a new future, one far beyond earthly desires and wants. This stretch of pristine, protected beach is also where man has reached for the stars since NASA started. It is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped beach on the East Coast of Florida (24miles) and is breathtakingly beautiful. Robert has made a tradition of watching the sun rise on the new year for over a decade and shared this experience with Maria in 2014. Maria came to love this place when Robert was still only "this cool musician guy" singing Rainy Day over the stereo at her host family's house.

The wedding reception was a home grown community effort. It took place at Kimberly Buchheit's Farm in Sorrento, Florida. This celebration of the couple's love on the first day of their marriage was meant to kick off the rest of their life in a manner that hopefully will set the tone for all their future endeavors. They want to invest in experiences rather than objects and most importantly, experiences they can share with the people they love. The DIY party relied on the talents of everyone. Frankie Messina mixed the old school vinyl all night long a people danced on the grass. Early in the evening , h huddled under the tent with the support legs half retracted. It made an intimate compact music fortress. He taught others how to mix from one record to the other seamlessly.

Robert's mom prepared an amazing spread of delicious Filipino food. A large tent was set up Amish style where everyone could eat drink and chat. The drinks flowed and the party got lively. After the sun set, the forest around Kim's farm loomed black, and then a large bonfire was ignited, offering a tribal community circle with faces glowing orange in the night. After all the festivities, Frankie went to sleep under the table in his musical fortress. He had other worldly dreams that on the surface might seem scary, but he just went along with the flow.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Urban Sketching at Elite Animation.


For the Urban Sketching Course I teach at Elite Animation Academy, I take the kids down to a local pond. We sketch the ducks who have just had chicks. If you stay very still, the mom a duck brings her chicks right up to you, assuming I suppose that we will feed them. It is a great opportunity to get quick sketches of them.  They never stay still of course, so getting a sketch is a challenge.

the students are also instructed to sketch the architecture of the shopping mall that i n eat to the lake. Finding the vanishing point is a challenge to many beginning Sketchers, but I point out the visual cues to each student one on one. Some kids just put the sketchbook aside and enjoy the sun. [ can lead them to water but I can't make teem drink. A little day dreaming is also part of the artistic process. When we get back to the classroom, we tape our favorite sketch on the board and have a mini art show.