Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PeeVira's SCAREavan at Fringe.


I went to a press preview for PeeVira's SCAREavan at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. The van pulled up in front of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. A chauffeur wearing a black cap came out and welcomed the audience. She guided us ti the back of the van and opened the doors. A blood spattered curtain welcomed  us. This felt a bit more like a kidnapping rather than a show. we piled in and wedged ourselves up against the walls of the van cabin. I started sketching the cramped quarters immediately. We lurched forward and the show was on the move.

The van was driving over cobblestones. It made sketching a real challenge. Then PeeVira opened the curtain and sate back in the cabin with us. She got a phone call from a menacing third party and was told that if the people in the van didn't answer trivia questions, then the van would be blown up. Each of us were given a microphone and we began singing a series of 70s and 80s TV theme songs. Luckily one passenger knew her stuff. Each right answers was awarded with some smarties candy. I managed to win one round by knowing the theme song for Sex and the City.

Most pop music trivia however eluded me and I kept getting soaked with a penis water pistol being fired by PeeVira. periodically there was a loud scream and we all wondered if the chauffeur had run over a pedestrian. From my sketching vantage point, I could see that we were circling the Shakespeare parking lot. The show was an unexpected change from the usual Fringe performance. It was fun if a little unnerving.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

ThanksKilling the Musical at Fringe.


ThanksKilling the Musical is based on the motion picture, "ThanksKilling" written by Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart. The musical features music and lyrics by Jeff Thomson and Jordan Mann. With songs like "Boobies", "The Jock and the Hick and the Nerd and the Slut" and Gobble Gobble Mother Fucker", you know you are in for a fun ride. A stereo typical group of teens take a jeep on a road trip. It breaks down leaving them stranded. They make the best of the situation and build a campfire. The teens are terrorized by a killer turkey that began his killing spree because of some totem pole desecration.

One by one the students and then their parents are picked off by the killer turkey. One particularly memorable number featured Ali (Kayla Alvarez) having sex with her boyfriend the Hick (Johnnie Maier) . Greg is taking Ali from behind. Te turkey sneaks up behind Greg and slits his throat and then rapes Ali who is singing a song about Jon Benet Ramsey. She didn't seem to notice the turkey as being any different than her boyfriend, until the turkey snaps her neck.

The remaining students do research and discover that they must remove a talisman from around the turkeys neck before they can murder the beast in a fiery blaze. All the music was campy and over the top. As one boy dies in the nerd's arms they remember the amazing times they had together and sing a song of man love. Both are killed by the turkey and find themselves dressed in white singing a reprise to man love. If you like gore, sex and plenty of campy weird horror, then this is the musical for you.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Show Up at Fringe.


Pete Michael Marino from New York City, grew tired of seeing solo Fringe shows about a person's life. He decided to instead create a show built around the lives of members of his audience. He pointed out a quote by Woody Allen that said "Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both." Since we had shown up for his show, he felt we were all 80% of the way towards an amazing and entertaining show.

Pete picked out a cute young woman from the audience and he dubbed her his stage manager. Her job became to reorganize the chairs and table for each scene. On the back wall of the theater there were large post it notes that were used to define the basic structure for the stories to follow. The audience was asked questions that then became the underlying structure for each scene.

Pete confided that he had been diagnosed with an early case of Alzheimer's.... by his friends. He therefor was fine with staying "on Book" referring to loose notes he had scribbled on a sheet of paper. Much of each scene however was pure long form improvisation and he flew by the seat of his pants. According to him, he had no idea what he was doing which added to the allure that the show could potentially self destruct at any moment. He managed to keep the show light and entertaining despite the challenges.

After the last scene he divided up the audience into sections and invited us all to mingle on the stage for a party. I was assigned to serve imaginary drinks which I did with gusto. Once everyone had imaginary drinks in hand they felt comfortable to mingle and mix on the stage. A string of Christmas lights was unfurled among the party goers. It was certainly a fun and unexpected way to end the show.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There aint No More; Death of a Folksinger, at Fringe.


Death of a Folksinger is a one man show based on the legends of American Folk Music and the early vaudeville stage. Willie Carlisle took the audience on a high energy romp through the history of the music genera. The scene opened with Willie wearing an old man mask as he sang a lonesome tune. Different characters played banjo, violin, and a squeeze box.

He did a quick series of snippets as if performing with the USO for troops over seas. He would hold the banjo suggestively to his hips and thrust if forward announcing his presence at hill 69. Of course the hill had another number instead. A scroll behind him was turned to show a series of black and white shadow illustrations that visualized the characters in a song.

Described as a haunting and heartfelt hootenanny, the multi layered show had Willie exhausted and sweating as he danced and performed his heart out. The mask he wore had a skull painted on the inside surface and when he saw that he performed with even more gusto to try and save off death. I had fun documenting this very American musical performance.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Beau and Arrow: Crash Landing at Fringe.


A Little Bit Off, from Portland, Oregon presented Beau and Aero: Crash Landing, a show featuring a whirlwind of acrobatic and slapstick antics. Pilot Beau and his sidekick Aero,two bumbling aviators,have crash landed, and will try anything to get back in the air. These foolish pilots live in a world where balloons are bountiful, laughs are abundant, and hardly a word is spoken.

After hearing a plane crash in the darkness of the theater, Beau stumbled out wrapped inside a parachute. A rag doll version of Arrow was thrust up and over a black backstage curtain. The house went black Beau tried to revive his side kick. she was fine, but playfully slid back to a reclined position any time Beau turned his back.

Much of the involved playful uses for balloons. Beau offered a balloon to a young girl in the audience and right before she grabbed it, he let go ad the balloon spit out air and flew away in s spiraling trajectory. A woman picked from the audience held a fool wide hoop which Beau shoot a sputtering balloon through. The balloons always flew off course. Somehow a ping pong ball was thrust inside arrow's balloon. She squeezed the balloon and it shot the ping pong ball right into Beau's chest. He then went into slow sequence in which he acted out his horror ad shock about being shot. He stumbled over to the woman from the audience, and she held him much like the Pieta as he faded away. The sweat on Beau's brow reminded me that all the antics aren't easy.

As a giant 5 foot high red balloon was inflated, the audience was covered with the parachute. Amazingly both Beau and arrow crawled inside the balloon. The audience was warned that there would be a loud noise, and the balloon popped To show that Beau and Aero had both changed into brightly colored acrobat's jump suits. It is rare for a show to make me feel a child like wonder, but Beau and Arrow accomplished that.

Remaining show times,
Sunday May 28, 2017 at 4:30pm in the Green Venue 1001 East Princeton Street Orlando FL.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

We Don't Play Fight at the Fringe.


I was surprised and pleased to see an entire wrestling ring set up inside the Orange Venue at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803) for We Don't Play Fight. Professional wrestling is a form of theater in itself with each character having a back story. A wrestling promoter introduced the show explaining that he was searching for new talent to bring to the wrestling ring so that he might earn his way back into the big leagues. A female wrestler built like a tank wanted to begin training. The trainer like a drill Sargent didn't allow her to training in half measures. She had to be all in or she should  get out. He yelled at her and berated her trying to get her to bring some anger into the ring. Her sister who never spoke a word, watched every move. These sisters had been in a car crash that killed both their parents. The shy sister watching the ring hadn't said a word since the accident.

After an extensive slow motion training sequence it was finally time for the brick house sister to have her first match. She was doing great against a low class hick when the referee blew his whistle to end the first bout. she was clearly winning. When her opponent fell to the mat, it made a loud drum like resonating thud. When she turned her back to her opponent to walk to her corner of the ring, he blindsided her and broke her arm in a clear act of unsportsmanlike conduct. The silent sister came roaring into the ring to save her sister. She whaled on the hick who specifically hurt her sister to end her career. He was helpless against the silent sisters fury. She jumped off the ropes to pin him down and then she held him in a menacingly long choke  hold. The promoter desperate for a new wrestler had found a Tasmanian devil the the silent sister. When he offered her the job, she shouted with delight.

People in the audience played along shouting, cheering and booing when needed. The spectacle verged on the edge of art imitating life. An evil clown, whose sloppy make up reminded me of the Joker from Batman,  wrestled against a gold masked Adonis. Story fell to the wayside as the wrest;ling bouts heated up. I had hoped for a solid linear story, but action usurped story structure. Still, it was fun to watch the wrestlers throw themselves at each other in the loud tympani of a ring. Wrestling is big in Orlando right now with Full Sail hosting the WWE. A large wrestling logo blocked views of Lake Eola last month and people were always shooting photos of themselves in front of the garish monolith. There is no accounting for taste. 

Tickets are $12
Remaining show times for WE DON'T PLAY FIGHT:
Sunday May 28, 2017 at  4:30pm


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 27th and 28th.

Saturday May 27, 2017
11:15am to 12:15pm $12 Beau and Aero: Crash Landing. Green Venue at the Orlando Fringe Festival. 1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803. Two pilots perform comedy with balloons and other props. Get it, props...

12:30pm to 1:30pm $12 O-TOWN: Voices from Orlando. Brown Venue 812 Rollins Street Orlando, FL Collected stories from the weeks and months following the Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando. Created and Directed by David Karl Lee, recipient of The Orlando Fringe 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award
13 and Up - PG-13 Adult Language and Situations.

4pm to 5pm $10 La Reina Yolanda. White Venue at the Orlando Fringe festival. 2121 Camden Rd, Orlando, FL 32803. La Reina Yolanda is one woman's life from childhood adventures to her battle with Alzheimer's. Sometimes the greatest journeys are the ones in our own mind.

Sunday May 28, 2017
11:00am to 12:00pm $12 Evacuated. Pink Venue at the Orlando Fringe Festival. 812 Rollins Street Orlando Fl. Forced to flee Indonesia! The unforgettable true story of a strange girl in a strange land.
2014 Best Female Performance Award winner Erika Kate MacDonald (Tap Me on the Shoulder, Tales Too Tall for Trailers) returns! This new storytelling adventure won the Critics’ Award at the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe.

11:15am to 12:15pm $12 O-TOWN: Voices from OrlandoBrown Venue 812 Rollins Street Orlando, FL  Collected stories from the weeks and months following the Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando. Created and Directed by David Karl Lee, recipient of The Orlando Fringe 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award
13 and Up - PG-13 Adult Language and Situations.

4:30pm to 5:30pm $9 Trading Soles. Breakthrough Theater at Fringe. 421 West Fairbanks Avenue Winter Park Fl. 



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Last 5 Years at Fringe.


Really Spicy Opera produced "The Last 5 Years" at this years Orlando International Fringe Festival.Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown, the musical followed the course of a Marriage over 5 years. Cathy (Suzie Juul) begins by entering the stage and finding a note on a table, announcing that their marriage is over. It is from her lover who has left. it is the bitter ending to what must have been a beautiful relationship. Each of her songs progresses back in time moving towards the sweet memories of the idealistic beginnings. On the other hand, Jamie (Austin Stole) sings his songs in chronological order, beginning with his first glimpse of Jamie and ending with his need to leave a note announcing his departure.

Cathy is an aspiring actress and Jamie an aspiring author. Her career stagnates through a series of auditions while Jamie's manuscript is accepted propelling his career forward. These different trajectories create friction and conflict that wears down their idealistic love. The songs in the show are gorgeous and it is one of my top picks from this years Fringe so far.

The audience gets to experience the rush of first love, a proposal, an affair and the hurt of separation all over the course of two opposing time lines. When Jamie is hurting and given up on the relationship, Cathy is in the feeling the rush of their first date. These highs and lows combined give the play an unexpected resonance and power.


P.S.
I went to the final performance and was surprised to find two new actors filling the rolls. The female actress (Nicole Kobrich) did a great job but I found it hard to watch the male actor (Steve Halloin) who wasn't projecting and was often off key. He did a great job with "The Schmuel Song" which seemed to be his most polished performance. I've never loved a show, and returned to be disappointed before. As much as I liked the show, it ended its Fringe run with a whimper.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Martin Dockery's Delirium at Fringe.

Delirium is a one man show starring Martin Dockery from Brooklyn New York at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. He is an amazing story teller. His high energy delivery is unrelenting. He has the most expressive hand gestures of any storyteller I have ever seen. His gestures are as expressive as the story being told.

He told a story about his desire to set up a restaurant at Burning man that only served strawberries. The irony was that he wanted the restaurant to have a huge staff of waiters, maitred' and sous chefs. He had a year to plan but when burning Man fast approached, he realized he hadn't done a thing to make his dream a reality. He finally decided to do it himself with a few throw pillows and a cooler. Embarrassed, he set up shop one night as everyone else was partying. He decided to call out to a hulk of a man in a black trench coat and dark hat. He though he had made a mistake as the man approached. however the man sat down and ordered a strawberry dish. Martin realized as he served up the dish that he should make small talk since he was sort of like a bartender. The conversation turned serious as the man related a story about that last time he was at burning man.it involved a relationship with a tragic ending. Just the act of listening helped the man in his healing process. A simple and silly concept served just one costumer, but the interaction changed both men.

Another vivid story revolved around the loss of Martin's dog. His description of why dog ownership is so enticing had me wanting to get a dog for myself. There is something about walking down a street with a dog that is so excited about everything he encounters. As Marti  sat at his computer doing human things, he could look across the room at the dog and there was a realization that they were is that space and time together. Martin was there when the dog had to be put down because of a cancerous growth. The loss was devastating.

So many of his stories were about love and loss. With the loss still fresh in Orlando after the Pulse shooting that took 49 lives we all need to be reminded that love is possible despite the darkness of the infinite universe. It is the one thing that makes sense when facing an indifferent world. The frantic delivery of each tale makes the telling of the stories seem imperative and desperately needed. This is theater at its best with a storyteller relating stories that can touch and perhaps change and inspire anyone who listens.

Tickets:
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 10:45 pm EST at the Pink Venue $12 plus a Fringe button.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trading Soles at Fringe.


I went to a rehearsal of Trading Soles written by Franco Colon. This show is a Bring Your Own Venue production. BYOV venues allow for more choices off of the usual Fringe lawn epicenter of the festival. The rehearsal space was off set from the road so it wasn't easy to find. Actress Crysta Marie guided us in. The empty showroom had a two beds and several night stands. Bodies were lying on the floor.

Director Joseph Adam Gonzolez quickly explained the shows premise. BEN (Justin Cortes), an awkward freshman, meets his new roommate in college, ELI, (Franco Colon)an arrogant, charming sophomore. BEN and ELI are complete opposites and do not get along due to their differences. Ben has enough and tries to move out of the dorm, but that's when the chaos begins. Just when things couldn't get worse, they switch bodies. ELI sleeps in his shoes and then they talk about walking in someones steps. They wake up to find they are in each other's bodies, more like trading souls.

BEN and ELI have no choice but to come together and figure out what in the world just happened. ELI is a closeted gay, and towards the end of the play while in his friends body, he comes out to Ben's, mom (Crysta Marie). Her scream scared me half out of my whits. I wasn't expecting it.

I only got to see the last few scenes of the play. I'm not sure why bodies littered the floor. The sketch was finished in a panicked flash.

TRADING SOLES remaining show times:
Thursday, May 25th, 10 PM
Saturday, May 27th, 7 PM
Sunday, May 28th, 4:30 PM

TICKET PRICING:
$10.00 Fringe Button (Sold at Breakthrough Theater
421 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789) $9.00 + $1.25 ticketing fee (ONLINE or AT FRINGE BOX OFFICE ONLY. TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT BREAKTHROUGH)


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 22, 2017

La Reina Yolanda at Fringe.


Leesa Castaneda, a a playwright, director and actress veteran of the Orlando theatre scene, is bringing her one woman show entitled La Reina Yolanda to the Orlando International Fringe Festival.

Written and performed by Leesa Castaneda and directed by Paul Castaneda, the play is about one woman's life from childhood adventures to her battle with Alzheimer's. The affection between the actress and director was evident as they talked during the tech. Sometimes the greatest journeys are the ones in our own mind. Yolanda, is a fierce Latina who we follow from childhood to old age. Beset by tragedy, she leans on her sharp mind and family to land on her feet. An advocate for her family and the less fortunate, her mind becomes ravaged by Alzheimer's. She's faced with the fight for her mind, sense of self and the family she has fought hard to protect. When who we are begins to disappear piece by piece, how do we hold on to the essence of what defines us?

Two painting on stage were done by La Reina herself. one showed a priest walking past a gorgeous woman in a red dress and high heels. it was as if the priest were considering abandoning his robes to turn and follow the woman. the other painting was probably a self portrait of La Reina. She looked stoic and strong. This was a tech rehearsal, which involved lots of lighting adjustments prior to a complete run through of the show. We had forgotten to bring tissues from the Shakespeare Theater bathrooms. It wasn't until the last scenes when sleeves had to be used. To see such an inspired and active woman loose her sense of identity was painful to watch.

La Reina Yolanda will have performances in the WHITE Venue
Remaining show times:
Monday, May 22nd 5:30 PM
Wednesday, May 24th 5:30 PM
Friday, May 26th 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 27th 4:00 PM
Sunday, May 28th 6:00 PM

The Orlando Fringe runs through May 29, 2017 in Loch Haven Park. Go to the Orlando Fringe website at orlandofringe.org for tickets and the Festival Dates and location.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

#Kander and Ebb at Fringe.

This musical cabaret featured the works of Broadway composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. They wrote music for such musicals as Chicago, Cabaret, Zorba, Fosse, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. The Canadian singer, Ryan G. Hinds, came out with bright red glitter lipstick, his suit and skin glowed orange in the hot stage light. The pianist seemed bland by comparison, only lit by the glow of light off of the sheet music. I couldn't catch the lipstick in my sketch. 

The show combines musical theater with celebrity gossip. He had Liza Minnelli as a mentor and she inspired his career. Chita Rivera was also a major source of inspiration. The songs were romantic and funny. He told the story of a musical set at the sea shore. When he heard the musical as a high school student, he suddenly realized that the lyrics could be interpreted as being rather dirty. Songs about splashing in the waves could be reinterpreted as being about pleasure filled orgasms and maybe a golden shower. 

The singer met both Kander and Ebb loving one and being snubbed by the other. It was a fun cabaret and the final song seemed to come too soon. When the audience stood for a standing ovation, the singer shouted out, "Oh sit down! Of course I'll do another song." It was typical of the light hearted humor that was laced throughout the show. If you love old school Broadway musicals, then this is the show for you.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Phantasmagoria's Wickedest Tales of All at Fringe.


Phantasmagoria: Wickedest Tales of All will hit the Orlando International Fringe Festival with a vengeance. I sat in on a  tech rehearsal in the Orange Venue (Margeson Theater) inside the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. I sat in the top row of the theater. The huge cast was rehearsing a waltz. With so many actors on stage, the challenge was to keep couples from bumping into each other.  Once the dance was worked out, the actors were released to go back stage, and get into make up and finish their elaborate costuming. John DiDonna came up to the back row to say hi and offer me a chance to sketch the back stage chaos. However, I had to run in order to get to another show.

Stage hands started sweeping the stage and then someone discovered a quarter sized hole in the stage floor. It was fun to watch actors, stage hands, the tech and director all standing around the hole to figure out how to patch it up. should a performer's heel get stuck it could be a tragic moment. The fight choreographer stuck his finger in and said, "This will seal it up, I'm sort of like the Dutch boy." Someone else suggested that they should get an actor to stick their finger in and then rip it off leaving it behind in the hole. Corks were considered and of course Duct Tape fixes anything. I didn't stick around to find out how the mysterious hole was eventually patched.

The driving premise behind the show is that any story that is old must be told until it is complete. Some stories are so horrific that the cast can find themselves in mortal danger. There was a drone perched on on of the boxes, so I am left wondering how it might come into play.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 20th and 21st.

Saturday May 20, 2017
1pm to 10pm Accidental Music Festival Marathon! 80 West Grant Street, Suite 11, Orlando, FL 32806. Accidental Music Festival's Marathon AMF celebrates the emergence of Orlando as a hotbed of contemporary classical and creative music on May 20th. Featuring 18 ensembles and soloists performing a day-long concert of music almost exclusively by living composers at the Sodo Shopping Center, the event seeks to highlight the work of new and established groups dedicated to new music. This year there will also be family-friendly events during the day, including acoustic and electronic instrument petting zoos, where kids of all ages can test out instruments and learn about making music.
Lineup:
1:00p - Valhalla Quartet (student ensemble)
1:30p - Opera Orlando
2:00p - nullstate
2:30p - UCF Percussion Ensemble
3:00p - Yen-Yaw
3:30p - Alterity Woodwind Quintet
4:00p - Elizabeth Baker
4:30p - Continuum Quartet
5:00p - Helena
5:30p - dbDuo
6:00p - Luis Guerrero
6:30p - Belt & Ramirez
7:00p - blacksunblackmoon
7:30p - Lush Agave
8:00p - Hippocrene Saxophone Quartet
8:30p - Moloko Plus
9:00p - Thomas Milovac Unit Colossus
9:30p - Ensemble AMF

3pm to 11pm Free. Swamp Sistas La La at Orlando Fringe 2017. Outdoor stage Lock Haven Park. Orlando songwriter Beth McKee and Park Ave CDs are co-presenting the fifth annual Swamp Sistas La La, a family friendly, musical gathering of female-fronted acts, on May 20 from 3 to 11 p.m. on the Fringe Lawn Stage in Loch Haven Park. The musically diverse lineup ranges from singer songwriter to folk rock, a capella, rhythm and blues (both kinds) and Hip Hop, plus Orlando's best story teller.
The event is part of the Orlando Fringe Festival and will raise money to help Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida fight local hunger with a virtual fund drive at www.lalasummerhope.com. Funds raised will go to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Summer Hope for Kids program to feed kids from low income families this summer, when no school means no school breakfast or lunch to many who need it. The campaign will run from April 26 until the end of the day on May 20th, cash and check donations will also be accepted at the La La.
Performing at the La La are:
LUVU, E-Turn, Terri Binion, Lynn Drury Music, Beth McKee, Sybil Gage & her Catahoulas, O-Sky, Helena, Renee is a Zombie, storyteller Madeline Pots, Kayonne Riley Music, Ka Malinalli and Loi Jeannette.

7pm $12. O-Town: Voices from Orlando. Fringe Brown Venue Orlando International Fringe Festival 812 Rollins Street Orlando Fl. David Lee, recipient of the 2016 Orlando International Fringe Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award has created an original theatrical event that shares stories and experiences from the days, weeks and months following the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub attack that occurred in Orlando on June 12th, 2016. Interviews, blog postings and stories from the Orlando Sentinel newspaper come to life on stage in a very personal and intimate way through a company of 18 local Theatre Artists.

Sunday May 21, 2017
11pm to 5pm. Free. Streetscape Arts Market on Pine Street. CityArts Factory 29 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801. We are starting a quarterly arts market downtown on Pine Street. We are looking for artists, artisans, crafters, jewelry makers, musicians, and food vendors.
Our goal is to continue growing the arts scene downtown. This will be a fun outdoor event that happens once a quarter. Spread the word and get in on the ground floor. 10x10 spots are going for $10. Email today for an application.

2:30pm to 1pm $12. Phantasmagoria's "Wickedest Tales of All". Fringe Orange Venue Orlando Shakespeare theater, 812 East Rollins Street Orlando Fl. Called “One of the most unique theater troupes in the country.” by Good Day Atlanta, Phantasmagoria returns to Fringe with its all new touring show “Wickedest Tales of All” - Haunted Storytelling, Phantastical Dance, explosive stage combat and puppetry all woven into a tapestry of macabre and whimsical horror. Featuring works by Poe, Dickens, and tales of legend and folklore, this acclaimed Victorian Horror Troupe is sure to chill and thrill all audiences!

10:30pm to 3:30pm $12. Corsets and Cuties- A Burlesque Cabaret- #Flawless. Fringe Black Venue, The Venue 511 Virginia Drive Orlando FL. Corsets & Cuties are back for round 3 of Fringe in an all-new review. Listed among the Best of Orlando Burlesque (Orlando Weekly), the Cuties are celebrating the best of the City Beautiful bringing their unique mix of talent & cheeky humor to the stage. Sponsored by Premier Couples Superstore, audiences have the chance to win fun take home prizes. With a different guest star featured each show- we invite you to see why the Cuties are #flawless. 18 and Up - Nudity, Sexual Content. 60 minutes.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Corsets and Cuties - A Burlesque Cabaret - #flawless


Corsets and Cuties has a Fringe show this year titled Flawless in the black venue which is in "The Venue", (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803). When I arrived for the dress rehearsal, everyone was working their way through the final dance number. With that worked out they then started to get into their outfits. Corsets had to be laced. Barbie Rhinestone leaned forward as another dancer pulled the laces tight. "Can you breath?" she was asked. When she said "Yes", the laces got pulled tighter. Each corset had a different letter on the front, like an O, and a T. The letters finally made sense when all the dancers lines up on stage and spelled Strong.

Some numbers were outright hilarious. This is burlesque with a comic twist and it will shock and amaze you. The group numbers celebrated all that is good about Orlando. You kind of expect delays and some glitches in a rehearsal and there was a problem back stage between numbers. A workman in a black hoodie came out tightening screws with a drill. Well the worker turned out to be a performer, and a sexy one at that. In one dance, a guy sat in a chair and a female performer did a handstand and leg split right in front of him. He was supposed to grab her hips but he grabbed her legs. They had to do the move over again, and then one more time during the performance. 

If you want a lighthearted and fun Fringe evening, then I would suggest  stopping out to the Black Venue for Flawless.

Show Times:
Price: $12

Thursday May 18, 2017 at 11:59pm
Sunday May 21, 2017 at 10:30pm
Wednesday May 24, 2017 at 9:00pm
Thursday May 25, 2017 at 11:59pm
Sunday May 28, 2017 at 9pm


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

O-Town: Voices from Orlando


I was still reporting about the Orlando International Fringe Festival last year when the horrific shooting at the Pulse nightclub happened on June 12, 2016. Fringe is once again going to burst onto the Lock Haven Park complex bringing drama, and comedy for a solid week on unrelenting theater and fun. Last year after the shooting I asked Orlando artists to go to the Falcon Bar to create 49 portraits of the innocent lives lost at Pulse. Those 49 portraits were then exhibited at the Orlando Science Center and on that evening I was interviewed about the project. That interview then became the source of inspiration for a monologue in O-Town.

Prints of the 49 portraits hung behind the stage giving the somber impression of prison bars. The play is based on a series of interviews conducted mostly by David Lee, of people who have been affected by the tragedy. It opens with a monologue inspired by Our Town written by Thornton Wilder. The opening described Orlando on the eve of the shooting. People and places would be very different the next day. A homeless man would be lighting candles at the Dr Phillips memorial site each night, a costume shop owner would soon be creating thousands of rainbow ribbons...

I spoke with Christopher Hanson multiple times about how he survived that night at Pulse. The actor playing Christopher told the story of survival and personal responsibility with humor and lots of heart. Then the actor playing me took to the stage. I was surprised to find myself tearing up based on things I had said a year ago. It seems like a lifetime ago. People in the audience were also getting choked up. One woman cried through the whole show. I had just one paper towel I had decided to bring in from the men's room.

Other monologues described fighting hate with love using Angel Action Wings made of PVC and and white fabric. People who planned to protest the funerals of Pulse victims were blocked by these angels who would sing to drown out their hate. A first responders wife described how her husband was changed by his evening in the aftermath of Pulse. He would experience PTSD from that night onward and there was no disability for the mental anguish. Had be broken his leg then there would be help.

These stories are all part of the larger picture of an entire community trying to recover from a horrible act of violence. A year later and the scars are still there, but Orlando had answered with love and acceptance. Hateful people still thrive, feeling invulnerable in a country in which politics encourage hate and accusations.  They try to cause senseless harm, but love is stronger that hate. It was an emotional night. After the show. I was hugged by several people who recognized me. I shut my eyes and felt the warmth. Tears streamed down my face.

All the monologues in O-Town: Voices from Orlando will be presented together on the Eve of the one year mark of the attack on Pulse Nightclub on Sunday June 11, 2017 at 7pm at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in the Margeson Theater. Profits will benefit the onePulse Foundation.org.

I can't recommend this show enough. The monologues focus the audiences attention on aspects of the tragedy that never made their way to mainstream media outlets. It is a human and multi layered fabric. I met the actor, Daniel Cooksley, who played my part on stage. He said he had never performed a part with the subject sitting in the audience.

Fringe Show Times:
May 17, 2017 at 6PM
May 20, 2017 at 7PM
May 22, 2017 at 7PM
May 26, 2017 at 8:15PM
May 27, 2017 at 12:15PM
May 28, 2017 at 11:15AM


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My FAVO Pulse exhibit.


On the first Friday of each month, FAVO, (221 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32801) a former motel on Colonial Drive becomes a place to check out the latest visual art from local Orlando Artists. Jennifer Gwynne Oliver rents a ground floor studio, and at the last minute, an artist who planned to exhibit their work in her studio backed out. I had given Jennifer a call asking if I could hand one piece just to tests the waters. She responded that I could hang as much work as I wanted. So I packed about a dozen Pulse themed sketched in a granny card and transported the work to FAVO. The nails were already in the wall and amazingly there were just enough nails for the amount of work I transported. The traffic was slow to start but my last minute Facebook invite brought out my trusted friends who showed their support. The corner studio was offset from most foot traffic. I was told that placing a stuffed panda outside the door used to attract potential viewers. I passed the time sketching. I had a few of my Urban Sketching books on hand and one book sold. That was the one sale for the night. I am satisfied that new people had a chance to see the Pulse related work that I cintinue to produce each week. Once it was time to wind down, all the art went back in my granny cart and it was wheeled back to my car. It was a good night to catch up with friends and share my work. Who could ask for more?


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Festa Itlaiana


I went to Lake Lilly Park in Maitland where there was an Italian Festival. The festival was in the venue right on Lake Lilly. I parked a few blocks away at the Maitland Art Center and hiked the short distance to the festival. New cars were parked on the grass from a local dealership. I decided to sketch a food tent that was doing a booming business. They were selling freshly made cannolis. Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. The heavy set guy was stirring the cannoli custard. I believe they filled the cannolis on the spot as they were sold. I was sitting next to an Italian family. The young boy was running everywhere and the petite wife seemed to be always trying to wrangle him in. They didn't seem to mind my sketching.

Once the quick sketch was done, I scouted inside. There were expensive slices of pizza. and I ordered one. On stage was a singer who was crooning Frank Sinatra classics. The next act was an accordion player. In the corner of the venue were exotic Venetian masks. Another table offered travel plans to Italy. The audience relaxed at the round tables. By the time I made my way back outside, the cannoli vendor had run out of cannolis. I was devastated. How could I write about my experiences without at least tasting a cannoli? There was an Italian ice vendor who still had product, but I didn't decided to try any.

The scene inside reminded me of the wedding scene in the Godfather movie in which classic Vegas performers entertained the guests. This small event just lacked that level of professional polish. In general the vendors were commercial and not necessarily Italian themed. For instance Verizon was offering information about their Internet packages. I was desperate to get rid of At&T which gave me horrible reception in my apartment. They also never figured out how to mail me my bills, so it was stressful to have to double check to make sure i was paying them despite never getting billed. Probably because of this Italian Festival, I ended up switching to Verizon and Now my reception is better and they send me monthly bills. Life is much easier. it was satisfying to get rid of AT&T which offered literally no costumer service. In NYC there were always lots of these ethnic street festivals. I miss just running into festivals on the fly. Festivals do exist in Orlando, you just have to keep an eye out to find them.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Eye Surgery


Artist Linda Sarasino had cateracts. Surgery was arranged for each of her eyes on separate days. Since the surgery would leave one eye with a highly dilated pupil, she needed to have someone take her to the surgery and get her home safely. I volunteered to drive. In the waiting room Linda had to fill out legal forms that pointed out every possible thing that could go wrong with the surgery with results such as blindness and death. She signed away her life and we waited. There were the usual doctors office golf and lifestyle magazine, but I decided to sketch.

Finally she was called back to the surgery room and I waited alone. She left behind her bag glasses and jacket. Time moved slowly. Surgery would involve inserting a corrective lens inside her cornea to correct her vision. She had to use eye drops 4 times a day for two days leading up to the surgery. The procedure itself would take just 15 minutes and she would be given anesthesia. The anesthesia can cause amnesia which means many people do not remember the procedure. She has had a bad reaction to the drug that causes the amnesia so they had to reduce the amount given to her. She wasn't knocked out and she was able to see the knife cut into her eye and the lens inserted. A bright light distorted and gave her the impression that she was experiencing an LSD trip.

This is a procedure done every day and considered quite routine. But it isn't routine for the person having it done. I sat waiting for well over 15 minutes and the legal forms had my mind wandering to worst case scenarios. When I was called back, Linda was in a wheel chair. A plastic mesh eye patch was over the affected eye. Being transparent if kept her from looking like a pirate. She was wheeled to the back door and then we walked to my ca in the parking lot.

That night, I asked her to go outside to look at the sunset overlooking a golf course. She covered her eye that had the surgery and looked at the sunset and then covered that eye to look through the new lens. She started to cry. She had never see the colors so vibrant and pure. The cataract caused everything to have a yellowish dull cast. She pointed to some subtle wisps of pink clouds  on the northern horizon. I couldn't see the same pink. Her vision was now better than my own. as the sky darkened, I took a picture of her with her arms outstretched looking like Julie Andrews on a mountain top. As an artist sight means everything, and she had been given the gift of being able to see the world in a brand new way.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pink Hair.

Denna Beena and Travis Fillmen sometimes have friends over at their College Park home. They host outdoor screenings on their lawn of quirky classics like "Goonies."  Denna has appeared in quite a few of my sketches. She is easy to pick out, because of her bright pink hair. As a matter of fact. I keep a second palette m my art bag specifically because it has just the right hot pink.

I sketched Denna and Travis' wedding. A mannequin stood on stage with the wedding couple, and I was glad to to see that he had a permanent place in their home.

On this evening, Denna was helping a friend put pink streaks in her hair. Her black cat had a full run of the place from it's high cabinet perch. A cross country sky exercise machine dominated the room. Travis has a gorgeous fresh water planted fish and gorgeous. It kind of makes me want to get back into the hobby.

Outside there was a Barbecue of hot dogs and hamburgers with plenty of time to mix and mingle before the movie screening. I had never seen Goonies before and I enjoyed the adolescent humor and simple quest for treasure. Simple pleasures like this make it fun to live in Orlando.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for May 13th and 14th.

Saturday May 13, 2017
4pm to 6pm Free. Young Voices. JB Callaman Center 102 North Parramore Ave Orlando FL. Teen Open Mic Every second Saturday of the Month.

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

10:30pm to 12:30am Free, but get food and drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco dancers.

Sunday May 14, 2017 Mother's Day
Noon to 1pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola near the red gazibo. Bring your own mat.

2pm to 4 pm Free. Script Reading Workshop. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Read and workshop plays.

10pm to midnight. Free but get a coffee. Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. Natura Coffee & Tea, 12078 Collegiate Way, Orlando, FL.



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sunset "Paint In".


The week long Winter Park Paint Out culminated in a Sunset "Paint In" held at the Winter Park Racquet Club, 2111 Via Tuscany, Winter Park FL 32789. The public was invited to see Paint Out Artists gathered on the shore of Lake Maitland as they captured a beautiful Florida sunset from the west-facing shores Lake Maitland.

This event has become incredibly popular. I arrived right on time and had to search the entire racquet club parking lot for a spot. I believe I found the very last parking spot in the grass. And even so, two tires were on a gravel path. A line of female artists were lining the path approaching the entry to the event. I passed them and decided to get closer to the water. I settled in and started sketching from in front of a hedge. It offered some privacy since patrons couldn't stand behind me and look over my shoulder. Since I wasn't officially a "Paint In" participant, I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. Even so, I had some pleasant conversations with friends.

 Artwork was available for sale the night of the event and patrons could also see the evenings completed artwork in the Polasek’s “wet room” gallery the following day. There is a definite challenge to staring straight into the setting sun. I used my baseball cap to block the sun while I sketched the artists at work. I started my sketch because I liked the heroic stance of Patrick Noze as he blocked in his canvas on the far right. His broad stance suggested a confidence with his brush strokes being driven by his arms and shoulders. In contrast, Jeff Ripple was executing a small intimate painting on the left. His piece required the delicate details of tiny brush strokes. Vladislav Yeliseyev arrived later, and set up between the two artists. Vladislav is the one watercolor artist among the 25 or so plein air painters. His loose watercolors have a limited palette and have a full value range with little use of line. I vastly a mid every piece of his that I saw in the Polasek wet gallery.

Some artists who finished their paintings had frames that they used to store The is still wet panels. I had never thought about the notion that a frame is a good way to store and transport a wet painting. many paintings were sold right off the easels. A patron could walk away with a still that night. The me were free drink samples available. I tried a coconut rum mixed with pineapple juice. H was delicious, but the shot glass sized plastic cup left me wanting more. Hal Stringer offered me two drink tickets and I cashed them in at the end of the evening for two red wines. This paint out week is a fun event I really should be a part of next year as they celebrate their 10th anniversary.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Photographer J.D. Casto remembers Pulse.

J.D. Casto is a filmmaker turned photographer. The day before the Pulse night club shooting on June 12th 2016, he was dog sitting. That evening he started to get texts asking if he was safe. He immediately started checking online news sources and once he found 3 sources that confirmed that there was a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, he packed his camera in his bag. at 10:07pm he found a report that the first shot was fired. at 11:20 he found a report that five were dead and others injured. He rushed out to shoot photos. He caught an amazing series of photos at The Center as everyone watched the news in disbelief. He watched the entire city go through the stages of grief. All city organizations became fatigued. As an artist he had a war board to keep track of all the events he shot photos of. He worked 20 hour days. The camera offered security. For him photos give some form of closure.

After Pulse crazies crawled out of the wood work. One con-artist used the outpouring of generosity following the Pulse shootings to convince organizations to give him money which he then pocketed. The same thing happened after the Boston Bombings. On Facebook, angry people sent survivors photos of victims. Gift cards were donated for victim's families and the FBI sat on them. Peoples moral compasses were off. On his right arm, JD got a rose pattern compass tattooed on his arm. The tattoo faces him and he considers it his moral compass. An event like this rips the blinders off and says look, the world is shit and I see it, but how do we make it better? He. wanted to be the one who who says no and stays on course, due north, while others manipulate an already horrific situation.

There was an after party for a Cabaret on the evening of the shooting. Two members walked out as the shooter walked in. A fraternity brother of J.D.'s escaped, but he lost a friend named Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado that night. He became extremely active n the Orlando Gay chorus after Pulse. He talked about a huge chorus gala held in Colorado shortly after the shooting. When the Orlando Gay Chorus arrived they found banners of support hanging everywhere. The performances were in a huge opulent opera house. When the Orlando Gay chorus performed "You Will Never Walk Alone", the entire audience of 5000 people sang along. Shocked by the outpouring of love, there were unexpected tears on stage. The Orlando Gay Chorus has performed over 400 times since the Pulse shooting. They sang at just about every event I sketched.

Six months after the shootings J.D. was still in triage mode, still shooting photos. Being gay shouldn't define a person. Intolerance is intolerance, is intolerance. This horrific event forced peoples hands so that perhaps some good can come of it. He hasn't had time to settle in here in Orlando. He still doesn't have a couch. However, Orlando has become his home. He has found his groove and is rooted in Downtown and found his place in the community.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cabaret at the Bay Street Players in Eustice.


I had never seem Cabaret before, except for a you tube video clip of the song "Willkomen". It was a long drive from Orlando and I arrived a few minutes late. The theater was already dark and I stood in the back of the theater to let my eyes adjust. There was no chance I would find my seat number printed on the ticket. I asked if a seat was open and I believe the director David Gerrard suggested I find a seat in the back of house left.

The story is straight forward but exotic. American Clifford Bradshaw, (Austin Langford) arrived in Berlin hoping to live cheaply and write his first novel. His landlady, Fraulein Schneider, (Terri Lea Myers) begrudgingly allowed him to rent a room for a reduced rate. Her solo, "So what?" describes  her life of pain and compromise. She was excited to get a tenant who wasn't a prostitute. Cliff is quickly invited out by another tenant to a club where the exotic and sensual nightlife became the norm for life in the big city on the verge of World War II. At the club, Cliff met dancer and singer Sally Bowels (Gabby Brown). She quickly found her way into his life, becoming his roommate and then lover.

Sally's title song "Cabaret" is towards the end of the show and it is filled with lost hope and longing. Gabby's singing was inspired. Sally hit rock bottom because she was unable to see the horrors to come and escape when a window of hope opened. Though a seedy life, being a cabaret singer has the false allure of fame. Kit Cat girl Crysta Marie helped get me in for the sketch opportunity, so of course I watched her every dance move on stage. Some girls had lipstick lips painted comically large but the excess was just enough.

The shows menacing central theme surfaces when Herr Schultz (Lloyd Holder) and Fraulein Schneider have an engagement party. One party goer was a member of the Nazi Party and his intolerance and hatred broke up the festivities. The theme hit close to home because today in America hatred and divisiveness seem to the the norm.

I have to applaud choreographer Amanda Warren who worked out some sensual and inspired dance routines, which are the cornerstone of the production. The Emcee (Eduardo Rivera) gave  a sensual and playful performance. He mocked authority and delighted in the decadent.Thick stage make up and scanty outfits made him a delight to watch. When the Nazi forced the crowd to sing a German anthem, the emcee lifted his trench coat to show a huge swastika drawn on his right butt cheek. The audience gasped and laughed.

The final number, "Willkomen" was about how the club was a safe place where everyone could be themselves, playfully lewd and lascivious. Everyone was beautiful, from the dancers to the piano player (Eric Branch). This sentiment mirrored words I have heard so often about the Pulse nightclub. There people felt safe to be themselves, but hatred made its way inside. Hate in the play was symbolized by a single brick dropped to the floor that reminded us all of Krystal Nacht when German youths destroyed Jewish merchants businesses. The implied threat of violence to come, reminded me of the violence that took 49 lives in one night here in Orlando. Herr Schultz ignores the threat believing it will pass and in my gut I am screaming, "Wake up!" The ever playful and sensual emcee dropped his trench coat to the floor to reveal a tattered concentration camp outfit. In Orlando life has returned to normal for most as their life goes on. Although there have been so many signs of love and acceptance since the Pulse shooting, The GLBT community still faces hate and intolerance daily. I keep hoping Orlando is moving towards a brighter future, but it is so much easier to repeat history. Will it be a profit of doom or a celebration and escape in a cabaret?

The show runs through May 14th. Tickets are $18 to$21.
Put down the knitting, the book and the broom
It's time for a holiday
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Creative Momentum Gathering: What You Need to Know About Publishing.


Lezlie Laws hosted a creative momentum gathering at Cocina 214, (151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, FL). The gathering was for authors working on a writing project or dreaming of one. Leslie first emphasized that her goal was to shape the art that we were born to create. No matter where each of us was, on our creative journey, the potential to bloom is always there. She introduced Writing Your Life founder Patricia Charpentier, who helped in each step of the journey, as Leslie self published her book.

Patricia explored the next steps for publishing work. She outlines the publishing model in which it is important to know, who is doing the work, and who is paying. In the traditional model, the publisher does the work and pays. In traditional publishing today, you can't get to a publisher without an agent. In self publishing, you do the work, and you pay the bills. There is now an indie publishing hybrid in which the publisher does the work, and you pay. Patricia does the hybrid model. If you decide to go the hybrid route, it is important to see samples, get the name and contact info for your project manager, and ask about how editing is done. There is line editing, developmental editing, and some hybrid publishers don't even read what you submit.

You need to find out if your preferences in design are considered. How are changes made? When do changes start coating you more money? You need to find out about production. Can you approve a digital proof? Can you see a hard copy proof? Are changes allowed after a proof? How many copies of the book should you order? What is a minimum order? You need to get ISBN numbers and register your book for copyright and register the book with the Library of Congress. Do you want to create an e-book? How will you distribute and market the book? This last question is probably the most critical, and most overlooked.

You need to be an informed writer. You need to have a completed manuscript before you consider the publishing options. Finishing the book is often the hardest task. There are authors who nurse, write, and re-write a book for years. What message do you want to convey? The design of the book is critical. Not every graphic designer is a good book designer. You need to make decisions slowly and deliberately. You have to remain open to the magic. The final cost of self publishing a book might run along the lines of the cost of a really nice family vacation. As a hybrid publisher, Patricia might open the door, but it is up to the author to walk through.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

One Orlando Task Force Announced.

On May 4th, a small stage was set up inside the protective fencing at Pulse nightclub. A long line of TV cameras was already set up to catch the early morning press announcement.  Getting to go inside the fenced area involved a metal detector and a full search of all my art supplies. The micron pens were inspected closely and as I raised my arms for the final metal detector wand sweep, a photographer shot photos. For the next half hour reporters milled about. I set up in front of a large container of ice. I figured  it might offer some air conditioning as the sun rose higher in the morning sky. I was blinded at first, but knew the sun would rise up behind an overhanging branch that would offer shade.

A chorus sang, Bridge over Troubled Water, Somewhere over the Rainbow, and Seasons of Love. Then Andrea Day's voice sang Rise Up, offering hope and inspiration in the abandoned lot. Angels were on stage and at the back of the lot near the TV cameras. Barbara Poma and a board member took to the stage. Several videos gave the crowd a felling for how Pulse had been a place of acceptance and a place where anyone could be themselves. Barbara briefly talked about how important Pulse had been to her. She lost her brother to aids and that loss became the inception of the club's name. Now that the scene is the site of a horrible loss of 49 lives, Barbara recognized that the site must become a memorial that serves all of Orlando's communities.

People from around the country are rising up to support this task force. Rock stars and Hollywood actors are among the names that are behind the process of building something that might bring healing to the city. For some reason Cindi Lauper's name sticks in my mind. But this morning wasn't about politics or the of names of celebrities, it was about giving back to the community as it comes to terms with immeasurable loss.  Barbara read a long list of the people she needed to thank for getting the task force to where it is today. I felt pride for friends and co-workers who were on the list. Although the meeting was for the media, it was also for families directly affected by the tragedy.  Each chair in the audience had the name of someone who was a member of the task force, or whose voice might inspire the new creative initiative.

Family of victims, survivors, and first responders are all being given a questionnaire crafted by artist Jefri, that asks their opinions about what they hope to see on the site where the dark empty shell of a building now stands. Questions might range from, What emotional impact should the site leave on a visitor? Should it inspire hope for the future or should it express the loss that the community still feels and will feel for years to come? Should the site have water features, trees, color or be monochrome, how can a memorial best serve the community? An international design competition is being considered to help find the design that will best express what the community feels. All family of victims have a voice, and meetings have begin to set the process in motion. Barbara acknowledged that they are learning as they go and the process will be a long one. Barbara and others went to the 9/11 memorial, and  Oklahoma City memorial to get a feel of what can be done and ask how to accomplish the task. Some of the audio at the Oklahoma site was too hard to hear so soon after Pulse.

This meeting was just the first step on a long road to find beauty and perhaps hope in such a scene of devastating loss.  Outside, at the curb facing the street, three people held a long rainbow banner that said, Gays Against Guns. I considered a second sketch but was l was ready emotionally drained. The fence was again the site of many items left behind by people coming to terms with the tragedy. We are fast approaching 525,600 minutes since the shooting that began around 2am on June 12th at Pulse, Orlando has rallied and continues to answer the tragedy with love.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You Should Do...


One year ago today, Brian Feldman hosted a series of five minute, in-person, one-on-one meetings in a small elevator inside the Orlando Shakespeare Center. He maneuvered two full length mirrors into the elevator creating a visual infinite loop. I sat in on a series of these short meetings with the egg timer reminding me of the swift passage of time. For the first time in his career, Brian will genuinely consider all pitched project ideas to him during this one-time-only event, without his standard “You should do it” response. Interested participants registered for one of the 36 available meeting times on May 6, 2016.

Over the course of his 13 year career as a performance artist, people would regularly approach him with ideas of their own for projects that he should do. His response has always remained steadfast: “You should do it.” ... Until now. He genuinely considered all pitched project ideas during this one-time-only event, without his standard “You should do it” response.

At the time of this performance, Brian was recovering from a horrible mugging in Washington DC which resulted in multiple broken bones.  Among the many things he struggled with at the time was an inability to devise any new project ideas. While friends and family members assured him that these ideas will return to him in due time, he was impatient for the muse to strike.

By participating in “You Should Do,” participants acknowledged that Brian Feldman only agreed to genuinely listen to and consider the proposed project idea. It did not imply an agreement that any project would actually be produced. Note that any projects sent through Twitter are public and may be produced by anyone, at any time, worldwide and without your permission.


I didn't have any inspired ideas other that having an artist document each performance. The space got cramped once three people sat in the tiny elevator meeting room. Seth Kubersky had some wonderful ideas that would tie in with a certain local themes park's anniversary. His suggestions seemed to hold the most weight. As of today, one year later, none of the projects have been produced but there is always a chance that they will surface and bloom, even years later. Case in point, this sketch sat tucked way in a sketchbook until today.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 6th and 7th.

Saturday April 6, 20
4pm to 8pm Derby on Park $69 General Admission. Winter Park Civic Center 1050 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, Florida 32789. Orlando’s Premier Kentucky Derby Party:
Presented by Mercedes-Benz of Orlando and Anthony Dinova, Realtor. As a guest at Derby on Park, Central Florida’s Premier Kentucky Party all you have to do is enjoy the best Derby Day party experience! Dress in your favorite derby attire, eat, drink, and cheer for your favorite horse. During the 4-hour event, Orlando’s top merchants set up to offer unlimited complimentary food, wine, specialty EG Vodka cocktails, Mint Juleps and Craft beer. Meanwhile, The Dana Kamide Band performs their Las Vegas show plus special guest on saxophone—all leading to a fun evening.
$69 General Admission Includes:
  • Being greeted with a mint julep or champagne
  • All the drinks you want (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • All the fun you and your friends can have
  • Music Featuring The Dana Kamide Band + Guest sax
  • Best Hat Contest – $500 in cash and prizes for top 3 voted hats
  • Viewing the most exciting 2 minutes in sports (the Kentucky Derby) on multiple large screen TVs while rooting for your favorite horse. 
  •  
     7pm to 10pm Free.  PechaKucha v20 Celebration! The Orange Studio 1121 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. 20x20! Please join us for a private invitation-only party to celebrate reaching our 20th PechaKucha Night in Orlando! We're inviting every one of our past speakers (135 of  you!) to come celebrate with us (and some surprise guests). A chance for you to see old friends and for us to say Thank You! There is no charge, but please follow the link and register with Eventbrite to help us estimate crowd size.

    8:30pm to 10:30pm Free. The Geeek Easy with Amy Watkins and Open Mic. The Geek Easy 114 S. Semoran Blvd Suite #6, Winter Park, Florida 32792. Open to all: Musicians-Lyricists-Artists-and Poets of all kinds. Bring out the cape and have some fun.

    Sunday April 7. 2017
    10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. South East corner of Lake Eola.

    Noon to 1pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola near red gazibo.

    Noon to 3pm Donation. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Beautiful Music String Quartet.


    All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Plein Air Painting Demo at the Kerouac House.


    Plein Air painter Cory Wright offered a free painting demonstration at the Kerouac House, (1418 Clouser Ave, Orlando, FL 32804). The painting demonstration was one of many offered this week as part of the Winter Park Paint Out hosted by the Albin Polasek Museum. When I arrived, Museum Curator, Rachael Frisby was setting up an information table and setting out some lawn chairs.  A tall banner announced the Paint Out. It took the evening breeze like a sail held up by a mast. Once a table leg was planted on the base, it was secure.

    A young couple arrived with a blanket which they spread on the lawn for a picnic. They ate chicken and sipped wine, while Cory got her easel and palette set up. I liked how she had a paper towel roll neatly hanging from her easel. She held a fist full of brushes, but told us that she tended to just use two on any given canvas. She pointed out that if you want To become a good painter, then the best thing to is draw all the time. She talked quite a bit about painting into the effect which means, having an understanding of the light direction and using that knowledge to inspire the direction the painting takes.

    Cory described her process... "The beauty of plein air painting for me, aside from the obvious delight of simply being outdoors observing nature, is communicating the energy, immediacy, and sense of feeling about a particular place through painting. I find I'm constantly on the lookout for interesting patterns and contrasts in shapes, values and color, be it a shadow cast on the sand or the reflection of a rock in the water. Driven to make the most of sharing the beauty I experience in my surroundings, I aim to snatch a moment of changing light and reveal that fragment of time to others. In doing so regularly, my hope is to become evermore skilled and masterful as an oil painter."

    As the sun set, and the golden light faded, Cory finished up her painting adding some dappled light she had observed earlier in the evening. She thanked the dozen or so patrons who had come out to watch her work and there was a moving round of applause.


    All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    The Composers Salon Concert at the White House.


    At the 4th annual Composer’s Salon Concert, held at the Timucua White House, (2000 South Summerlin, Orlando, FL 32806) I was tasked with hanging the 49 Portraits done by 18 local artists a month after the mass shooting at Pulse. The portraits were created in one evening at Falcon Bar with each artist creating a bout 4 give or take. The portraits were hung on wooden ceiling beams in the entry the home. drink wine and share potluck dishes. It was a challenge climbing up and the ladder multiple times to try and get the portraits hung before the doors opened. The 49 portraits to exactly fill the beam space.

    The concert featured seven local Central Florida composers: Eric Brook, Stan Cording, Paul Harlyn, Dr. Chan Ji Kim, Dr. Seunghee Lee, Sharon Omens, and Rebekah Todia, who featured original compositions including local and world premieres in a diverse array of musical stylings. Instrumentation included, piano, violin, flute, saxophone, bassoon, bass guitar, percussion, and electronic music. The most magical and relaxing sound came from a large Tibetan meditation bowl.

    After the concert it was rewarding to see people talking about the portraits floating above them. People took iPhone photos of familiar faces. The show came down much faster than it went up but I had to work around people who lingered to the bitter end. Betsy Brabandt helped by removing the electrical dips from each sketch, and slipping the sketches back into the used to carry the collection. It is kind of nice to be the last one to leave such celebration of creativity and community.


    All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Grand Opening for Art on Orange!


    ART on Orange (1211 North Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida 32804) had its Grand Opening Day on March 15th. People stopped by, signed the guest book, browsed  the open studio and gallery featuring artist Ginae Lee Scott. The artists original artwork is be available for decor, art collectors and gifts in original canvas, prints and Giclee canvas. You can stop by and meet the artist as she paints in her studio. Also available at Art On Orange, is Rob Bacon Jewelry.

    It was a cool evening, with a brisk breeze. The gallery itself was constantly crowded and thus warm and cozy with the buzz of conversations. The La Empanada  food truck was outside offering dinner options. The great thing about this intimate studio was the view from the front window which overlooks Lake Virginia. I sat across the street to take in the overall view of the gallery. Behind me the sun set behind the lake warning the scene with the warm light of the golden hour. I adjusted colors constantly as I chased the light.

    Tables were arranged so people could stand outside and chat as they ate dinner or had drinks, which were free. After the sketch was done, joined in at a table where artists were gathered. We discussed an incredibly detailed masters thesis project, and laughed about how it might be simplified. Then the conversation turned to the romance of the streets of Paris.

    The gallery will be open from 10-5pm on most days. Check the website for hours.


    All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Music at the Casa.


    The Orlando Urban Sketchers group met at Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, (656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789), to sketch. I work on Saturdays, and this was the first time the group met on a Sunday. When I got there, I didn't notice any other sketches, so I went inside The historic home and set up in the parlor where chairs were set up facing the bay windows. Michael Blumer was just setting up his electric bass. A small amplifier was set up behind his seat along with a recorder that played some supporting rhythm and background music. The tracks were all shuffled and his biggest issue was finding the supporting track he wanted.

    I'm starting to really like the line quality I am getting from the digital pencil on an iPad Pro. Color is more vibrant than I would get with watercolor a ad I'm starting to get better judging color and value on the tablet. The digital medium seemed appropriate since the instrument was electronic. It kept the general outline of the traditional instrument, but really he could have played just the central column and the sound would have been the same.
     
    Mike Bloomer’s world changed recently when an MRI showed he developed glioblasoma brain cancer. It came as a shock to those near and dear to him. Mike has already undergone brain surgery to remove most of the tumor and has started an aggressive chemo and radiation plan, with positive results. Fellow musician and friend Stephanie Doucette has created a compassionate crowdfunding web page at YouCaring.com to raise funds for Mike and his family while he is unemployed and fighting cancer. A benefit concert was recently held to raise funds for Mike, but the fundraising efforts are continuing. Visit the Mike’s crowdfunding site to contribute funds for his medical needs, to show your support, or find out more information.

    Noga Grosman who organized the Urban Sketchers outing, sat several rows behind me. She finished a quick sketch and left while I was still working. When I was done, I we at outside to see how many sketchers showed up. About eight artists were on the grounds sketching the historic home. They all gathered in the courtyard to share their sketches. In the bright sunshine, my digital sketch was barely visible, another disadvantage of the digital world. One artist showed me how to use a simple sketch program that is integrated into Notes which is on every tablet. Had I known about that program I might have taken up digital sketching a long time ago.We all stood for a group photo. As a new chapter to the international Urban Sketchers organization, the Orlando USk group is growing steadily. The Orlando Urban Sketchers group just passed 100 members! If you know of a friend, a co-worker or anyone who loves to draw, will you mention our Orlando Urban Sketching group and invite them over? Life is short, capture it with a sketch.


    All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.