Saturday, December 16, 2017

An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith.


Anna Deavere Smith is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominated American actress best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. Anna Deavere Smith’s theater work has become an inspirational source for civil discourse. She began the evening by playing the part of the man who video taped police brutality which resulted in death of Eric Garner by compression of neck, due to a choke hold, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.  Anna interviews people and then recreated that interview through a theatrical performance.  The result was an infuriated outburst by someone who is shocked and horrified by the continued police brutality that is rampant today.  Sometimes witnessing improper use of force is all that can be done. 

Through a short performance and interview, audiences heard about the process of combining a passion for social causes with documentary style theatre making. Ms. Smith seeks to “discern the American character and to capture its politics.” The discussion focused on how she finds the authentic voice of the people she interviews and then creates on stage.

Her brief performance was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Not having a TV, I haven't seen any of the shows that Anna starred in. I admire the premise of her one woman shows which are a combination of documentary and theater.  Her discussion on how she conducts her interviews was insightful.  I clearly see the need of hearing peoples' stories, because every voice has its place in history. 


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Friday, December 15, 2017

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

Saturday December 16, 2017
5 PM to 9:30 PM -  Free.  Orlando Zine Fest 2017(Will's Pub, 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803).  Orlando's local zinesters, artists, and writers--plus some folks from farther afield--celebrate and support independent publishing and DIY/T with what they think may be the tenth consecutive annual Orlando Zine Fest outside of Will's Pub/Lil Indie's in the ambitiously appellated Dirty Laundry Amphitheatre.
Accessible venue - swap and/or buy!
Bar at lil indies just inside where we'll be hosting.
Record store pop-ups and screening movies again!
Coffee/tea by Danny ~food trucks - vegan options
REGISTER HERE: https://goo.gl/CTHSZN no registration fee.
All are welcome growing list of participating zines:
Citrus Beat Press/ troykodycunio.com, Event Horizon/Orlando Area SF Society / oasfis.org, Gnome Comics / instagram.com/gnomedraws, Love Your Rebellion / Loveyourrebellion.org Nickname / nicknamezine.com, Reflections on Gun Control Street Type Zine / streettype.bigcartel.com/product/gdm, Florida is Loud will be ongoing throughout the weekend and Saturday night at Will's.

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM -  $10Orlando Cringe IX - The Holiday Show! SAK Comedy Lab, (29 S Orange, Orlando, FL 32801.) For the last show of 2017, Cringe is teaming up with SAK Comedy Lab for a very special Cringemas Show! They are bringing back a very special reader from Cringe's and SAK's amazing team will be performing improvised scenes completely based on their journals. They also have other surprises, so naughty or nice, it's going to be a great show!

2 PM to 11:30PM - Free.  Kaleidoscope Open House - Yoga, Music, Drawing, Painting Event
Kaleidoscope Venue For The Arts (1991 Corporate Square #1, Longwood, FL). 
Kaleidoscope will be having their first free 'Open House' in conjunction with the Surrealistic Dreams art show on Saturday. The Open House begins at 2:00pm with Free Yoga at 2:00pm and at 6:00pm, Live Model Drawing with Music begins at 7:30pm, the Art Show is from 7:30pm to 11:30pm and they may be adding more things to see and do to this event as it draws closer!

Sunday December 17, 2017
10 AM to 7 PM - Free.  Grandma Party Bazaar 2017! Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 Winter Park Rd, Orlando, FL 32803.) It's the fifteenth Grandma Party Bazaar and you're invited! Bring your friends for the best Sunday of the year. Grandma Party is you and me and all of us making it happen, so you'd better be there because it just won't be the same without you. As always, the party will be held in the parking lot of Stardust Video and Coffee starting at 10 a.m. and closing at Sundown. You can get a taste of what good ol' Gran has to offer this year by following her on Facebook and Instagram (@Grandma_Party). Orlando has some seriously creative artists and makers that were hard to choose from, but she has picked some of the best of the best to share their craft with you. There will be a raffle,  interactive booths and DJ sets by Nigel John and Oled Dad and live music from Von Nacht, Tiger Fawn, TV Dinner and MORE! Of course, lots food and drinks too.

If you are new to the bazaar, be sure to bring your cash (most vendors take cards too), and finish up your holiday shopping with one of a kind treasures. While you're at it, buy yourself a little something too! Parking can be a challenge on this day, but it's a good thing they are located in the great neighborhood of Audubon Park where there are lots of streets. Other options are carpooling, biking and Uber.

4 PM to 9 PM - Free. Winter Garden Christmas Golf Cart Parade. Bradford Park (220 West Division Street, Winter Garden, FL.)  Are you ready for the 2017 WG Christmas Golf Cart Parade?! They will begin their 5th annual Golf Cart Parade by gathering at Bradford Park early to socialize and compare decorations before heading out to tour Downtown Winter Garden and ending near Walker Field near the Plant Street Market. They will have prizes for the best decorated golf carts so take this seriously. All money raised will be graciously donated to the Edgewood Children's Ranch as they have done in past. Golf Carts only and all traffic laws still apply.

7 PM to 9 PM - $10 donation Give ME Cheer. Marshall Ellis Theatre (1300 La Quinta Dr #3, Orlando, FL 32809.) Get in the Christmas spirit and join Give ME Cheer, ME Dance’s first charity ball benefiting local dance organizations, events and scholarships. Enjoy performances, food, drink, meet-and-greets, a silent auction and raffle.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ludovico Einaudi in concert.


On a recent tip to Princeton, New Jersey, I arranged to sketch a concert by Ludovico Einaudi at the McCarter Theatre Center (91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540).  Ludovico Einaudi is a renowned pianist and composer. The Italian musician was born in Turin, Italy where his classical career began, before he moved on to create music for film with influences of pop, rock, and folk music.

Einaudi began his career performing classical music in the 1980s after training at the Conservatorio Verdi, when he began composing orchestral and classical pieces, before progressing to more main stream music heard in popular culture in the mid 80s. As well as piano, he plays and composes for guitar, in which he is incredibly skilled and proficient. Although Einaudi is influenced by classical artists, his style is unique with the fusion of classical and popular music bridging the gap between the two genres, making his music extremely accessible to many types of listeners.

From his eclectic back catalogue of tracks he has won several awards, including Best Film Music at the Avingon Film Festival and Best Soundtrack at the Italian Music Awards. His music has also appeared in popular culture worldwide, composing the trailer music for the movie Black Swan.

His album Le Onde written for piano and performed as a solo was the best selling album in the UK and Italy, sending Einaudi to success. Still producing charting music, his latest album "In A Time Lapse" has taken him on a giant US and Canadian tour, as well as landing him a slot at the prestigious iTunes festival.

The house lights were dark for the entire evening, so I struggled to see my sketch by the dim light of my cell phone.  Through the first half of the concert, he was joined on stage by a guitarist, violin, cello, a second electronic pianist and a percussionist.  The lighting was stark with spot lights on each performer. The music is mesmerizing, leaving the impression of a dream state.  The other performers left the stage and then Ludovico performed a solo that lasted forever.  There were periodic pauses where he held his hands suspended over the keys and then the music resumed.  The percussion in one piece had a sheet of metal suspended in a vat of water.  The metal would be shaken to produce thunderous sounds muffled by the liquid.  It was an experimental way of producing unexpected mysterious sounds. Overall it was an amazing concert and if we ever have a chance to see him in concert again, would jump at the opportunity. 


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Museum of Osteology


The tenth Orlando Urban Sketch Workshop was held at the Museum of Osteology (8441 International Dr Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819) a few days before Halloween.  The goal of the workshop was to get artists to capture the posed skeletons with simple fluid shapes and gestures.  They were asked to not render each bone with precision, but to focus on the actions of the poses.  The museum is perfect for this since every skeleton is posed as if the creature were alive.

  My favorite example was a small critter digging into a box of Milk Duds.  As an added bonus children were trick or treating at the businesses around the Orlando Eye.  The author Chad Shea of a children's book called, "The Skeleton in the Closet" was in the Museum of Osteology gift shop.  As we were waiting for workshop attendees to show up, he pulled me over to his table to show me his book.  The book comes with a pose-able plastic skeleton that is in line with the tradition of a Christmas Elf on the Shelf.  Parents for generations have hidden elves in their homes for the children to find at Christmas.  Well they took that tradition and have a skeleton in the closet which can be hidden.  It is a clever idea.  The author knew of Analog Artist Digital World and he said he really liked an article I wrote called "The Otter and the Gun." Chad ended up giving me the book and skeleton package, so this will become part of my Halloween tradition in the future.  Some skeletons had a realistic human skull, and others have a skull stylized like the illustrators depiction in the book.  The author popped off a realistic skull and popped on a stylized version to give me. Unfortunately withing a minute of opening the package, I decided to check the mobility of the head and I busted the skull off the spine.  Artists, especially animators,  are the worst on toys. 

The workshop was three hours long and I encouraged students to try and complete a more finished sketch with multiple skeletons together for the last sketch.  Since I was giving each student sketch suggestions I didn't have time to finish up a more finalized sketch myself.  I was content to do a series of studies.

I settled on a a pair of sea otters for my final quick sketch.  I was planning a computer animated film about a sea otter and a sea lion.  I have modeled sea otters in the computer and even modeled their entire skeleton, so I am familiar with their quirky long forms.  I liked the yin and yang posturing of the skeletons.  One otter had his paws behind his head, a pose that isn't often seen in nature.  Since they preen all the time however, it isn't an impossible anthropomorphic pose.

There were some great sketches done that night by attendees.  If you have relatives visiting this holiday season, I would suggest a trip to the Osteology Museum.  It is a rare gem right here in Orlando. 


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

IMMERSE by the Creative City Project.


On November 21st, the downtown street of Orange Avenue was shut down from just north of Pine Street, down towards South Street.  IMMERSE is an invitation to unexpected creative encounters in the heart of Downtown Orlando. You’ll find yourself truly immersed in art, performance, and interactive installations.

With collaborators like Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Philharmonic, Orlando Ballet, and the Central Florida Community Arts Orchestra, you won’t want to miss this evening which is unlike any other.
In 2016, the Creative City Project brought nearly 1,000 performers to the streets and public spaces of Downtown Orlando for more than 20,000 patrons. IMMERSE 2017 continued the tradition of growth and excitement by bringing you more large scale WOW moments and unexpected, intimate creative encounters.

From Classical to Hip-Hop music, murals, dance, acrobatics, interactive installations, artists from Orlando, around the country, and the around the world converge on Downtown Orlando for one of the largest showcases of innovation and creativity in the performing and installation arts in the country.

I hosted one of the Orlando Urban Sketch Workshops during this incredible event.   With so much going on at the same time it was difficult to decide on a single subject to sketch.  I offered personalized instruction to each Urban Sketcher and then dashed off to do a quick sketch myself.  I decided to focus on performers waiting to get on the stage next.  This gave me some time to focus on them before heading off to see the twirling dancers on the stage. 


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Art of Medicine Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art.


First Green Bank and The Art of Medicine Foundation invited health care professionals and brain injury survivors to submit artwork to be auctioned for charity. This event is educates and inspires awareness about the impact that brain injuries and other neurological disorders can have on those affected. Proceeds from the event benefited the University of Florida Trauma, Concussion, and Sports Neuromedicine Program.

The gala is in honor of Dr. Cindy LaRoe, who sustained a traumatic brain injury during a competitive biking accident. The injury paused LaRoe’s career in medicine, but also led her down a path of discovering her artistic talents. During her recovery, LaRoe found painting therapeutic, and now, six years after her injury, she continues to paint. She paints in vibrant bold colors. Cindy is standing in front of her painting of clown fish in my sketch. 

In a video presentation Cindy remembered the day of her accident at a bike race.  There were incentives with each lap which incited racers to sprint. She was in a group of racers heading up a hill.  Some of the girls started to sprint to pass and Cindy let them. They crossed the lines which is against the rules.  There was a big crash in front of Cindy.  She recalled a flash of bodies going down in front of her.  After the accident, she couldn't see for a while, there was twitching in her right eye and blurred vision.   She couldn't handle the over-stimulation of live music and crowds.  She always felt she was seeing movement to her right side.  Memories were gone.  She woke up and was a different person.  She doesn't want anyone to ever have to experience that.  She likes to think that things happen for a reason.  Color was more intense and vibrant. Creating art gave her life a new meaning.  In some ways she feels she might be a better person that she was.   It doesn't all suck.

Her recovery and her talent were the inspiration for she and her husband, Ken LaRoe, the founder of First Green Bank, to create the Art of Medicine Foundation. Ken took to the microphone.   He explained that after the accident, his wife developed a seizure disorder.  There were days where she had over 100 seizures.  She was put on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals but they had no effect.  One day one of Ken's biggest clients said randomly that he smokes dope.  He smokes so that he can get to sleep at night and has done so since he was 15 years old.  He has a net worth of over 60 million, so clearly he isn't just a stoner.  He invited Ken over to his Isleworth mansion to pick up a joint.   Ken reluctantly agreed and hid the joint in a baggie under his car seat.  A week later he told Cindy that she needed to try it.  She said, "No."   He said, "Look, you are a doctor, this is a medical experiment." He took a couple of tokes to cut the ice.  After she took her 4th toke off the joint, her seizures stopped.  They stopped all night and into the next day.  It worked day after day.  Her neurologist couldn't explain it.  Over 6 months she got off the pharmaceuticals. In the interim, medical marijuana became legal.  Cindy finds a silver lining in every situation.  The gala is an example of that.  


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cutting the Turkey.


Thanksgiving in Iowa was a crash course in Midwestern hospitality. The family farm occupies 16 acres but is land-locked on three sides by neighbors' farms. The red house is at the top of a hill which allows epic views of sunsets and sunrises. It is the end of bow hunting season, but that didn’t stop a lone doe from standing at the edge of the woods about 100 yards away from the back sliding glass doors. Up in another clearing about a quarter mile away wild turkeys foraged at the edge of the field.

Ron Schwartz was responsible for carving the turkey and I couldn’t resist sketching the Norman Rockwell moment. First, all the stuffing was removed and then carving commenced. Ron is skilled with knives, so the carving went quickly. The kitchen behind him was alive with activity as the other Thanksgiving sides were prepared. Green beans had crunchies, potatoes had gravy and four different pies waited for desert. No one at a Schwartz dinner table leaves hungry.

Once the Turkey rib cage was cut free of all the white meat, Ron put the bird and platter on the back porch where four outdoor cats picked it clean. The cats must have even swallowed some of the bones. Later, after we ate and were playing board games, the black cat hauled a huge dead squirrel up on to the porch and dropped it down by the sliding glass doors like some sort of reciprocal peace offering. The cats had celebrated Thanksgiving in grand style, and even enjoyed a squirrel for dessert.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Board Games in Iowa.


After the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinnr, the Schwartz family plays board games for the rest of the day into the night This game called "Quelf" was rather strange. The board has characters that move around a rainbow brick road using a die to set the number of moves. Different spots would have players pick up cards much like in a game of Monopoly. Some cards in the deck insist that a player perform an action throughout the length of the game, "Roolz Cards." For instance, Pam Schwartz had to say "Wacka Wacka" any time another player laughed. Of course when she said "Wacka Wacka" we would all laugh again. Another card had Pam shout out commands like a drill Sargent, which she did with some gusto.

I pulled a card that said I must pinch the flesh around my belly button to manipulate it like a mouth to say something like, "Well this is awkward." I thought long and hard before performing that task, but ended up doing so to avoid paying a penalty. Another card insisted that I must stand in slow motion and point at the player to my left and say, "You have sabotaged my plans for the last time, en guard!" The simple goal of the game was to get to the end of the rainbow paved rainbow first. I didn't win.

Another board game called "Baker Street," based on the Sherlock Holmes books, had four players trying to solve a murder on the streets of London. Once again, a die set the pace of game play. I thought I was being clever by bypassing many possible clues to get to the scene of the crime first. The clue at the scene was no better than any other spot on the board so I had to backtrack to learn what the other players already knew. I knew that the crime had to do with the value of a bible. So I had my suspicions about the murderer and his motive, but I wasn't able to find the weapon used in time. Each player was on their own private quest and didn't have any reason to interact. After the  boisterous insanity of Quelf, this seemed far too tame a prospect.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Friday, December 8, 2017

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

Saturday December 9, 2017
11 AM to 5 PM - Free.  Santa Con 2017! (Thornton Park District, 617 E Central Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32801).  Santa Con is celebrated all over the country and is simply a gathering of people dressed as Santa that go as a group from restaurant and bars celebrating the Holiday Season with some tasty adult libations!
This year they are again encouraging participants to bring musical instruments, Example: Tambourines, Harmonicas, Guitars what ever you have to bang, play on, and make some joyous noise!

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM - $10.  Orlando Cringe IX - The Holiday Show.  (SAK Comedy Lab, 29 S Orange, Orlando, FL 32801).  For their last show of 2017, they're teaming up with SAK Comedy Lab for a very special Cringemas Show! They'll be bringing back a very special reader from Cringe and SAK's amazing team will be performing improvised scenes completely based on their personal journals. They also have other surprises, so naughty or nice, it's going to be a great show!

7 PM to 9 PM - Free.  The 5th Annual “Violectric Holiday Show.”  (Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park, 99 N Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801). Rock Into The Holiday Season with Violectric, Central Florida’s Top Strings Rock Group.   This is a fun and free LIVE concert featuring classic holiday tunes with a twist and more. Bring a pet supply, donation and your furry friend to support Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

Sunday December 10, 2017
11 AM to 5 PM - Free.  Day 2 of Santa Con. (Thornton Park District 617 E Central Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32801).   Santa Con is celebrated all over the country and is simply a gathering of people dressed as Santa that go as a group from restaurant and bars celebrating the holiday season with some tasty adult libations!  This year we are again encouraging participants to bring musical instruments, Example: Tambourines, harmonicas, guitars what ever you have to bang, play on, and make some joyous noise!

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM - $30.   An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith.  (Orlando Shakespeare Theater, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803).  Best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie, Anna Deavere Smith’s theater work has become an inspirational source for civil discourse. Through a short performance and interview, audiences will hear about the process of combining a passion for social causes with documentary style theatre making.  Ms. Smith seeks to “discern the American character and to capture its politics.” The discussion will focus on how she finds the authentic voice of the people she interviews and then creates on stage.

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM - Free.  A Picture Perfect Christmas.  (Maitland Presbyterian Church, 341 N Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL 32751).  Performing Arts of Maitland sponsors the Maitland Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Concert: "A Picture Perfect Christmas". Guest performer Joshua Messick is a National Hammered Dulcimer Champion performing premier selections with the MSO: “The First Snowfall” and “Blue Ridge Sunrise”. MSO also performs “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” by Jessel, “Maltese Winter” by Hayen and more.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Playing Canasta.


Playing cards and board games are a family tradition in the Schwartz household in Iowa. Grandma Schwartz, and Pam's other grandparents, have been carrying the card game Canasta on as a family tradition for decades. I followed along trying to understand all the rules. Two team members sit diagonally across from each other, the cards are put down on the table in groups and the first team to get rid of their cards wins the round. Any cards remaining in players' hands are then added up as negative points.

These card games can go on until three in the morning. I sat in on several games with Pam Schwartz offering advice over my shoulder. For the kids, we played Gubs, which is a card game in which you try and collect as many Gubs (bugs) as you can. The trick is that opponents can steal your Gubs, entrap them, or even kill them. I never did manage to hold on to all my Gubs.

Thanksgiving was a week long event in which family slowly arrives in a crescendo until Thanksgiving day when there were 24 people in the Iowa household. Then over the next several days people slowly disappear. When the house was full, everyone shouted out their story over each other. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but then I adjusted and just enjoyed the variety of exchanges. All the board games reminded me of Thorspecken family games that I have sketched in the past. My family however has scattered to the winds and no one household hosts large holiday parties.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.


Frank Capra's iconic holiday film,"It's a Wonderful Life" was adapted for the stage by Joe Landry.  The theater lobby was abuzz with activity when we arrived at the theater.  A newspaper boy was hawking his papers, then a man in uniform wandered through the crowd announcing that there was a telegraph for Al, then two girls in uniform offered popcorn.  The time and place were the sound stage at WOST radio in NYC in 1946.  The stars of the radio play were announced and screaming teens rushed them for autographs.

After George Bailey (Duke Lafoon) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Brandon Roberts) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there. George dreamed big and wanted to escape from the small town of Bedford Falls.  On graduation night in 1928, George talks to Mary Hatch, (Sarah French) who has had a crush on him from an early age. They are interrupted by news of his father's death. George postpones his travel plans in order to sort out the family business, the Bailey Brothers' Building and Loan.

Georges future looks bleak when his absent minded uncle looses $8000 which he was supposed to deposit at the bank.  Today that amount would be equal to $100,000.  When George contemplated suicide, he was saved by his guardian angel. Most actors play several parts in the radio play so in some ways it is better not to see the actors since it can get confusing as to which part they might be playing at any given time.  Since I was sketching, I experienced the play by listening as I sketched. I didn't catch all the actors on stage, but focused on George and Mary as they fell in love. 

The story is a Christmas classic and it was very fun to step back in time to become part of a 1940s radio studio audience.  The applause sign triggered just the right amount of applause when needed.  I wish I had been closer to the sound technician who slammed doors and walked shoes in the sand to recreate the sound of walking in fresh snow.

If you need a heart warming classic to get you in the mood for the holidays, then "It's a Wonderful Life" is your ticket.

"It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play"
By Joe Landry | Original Music and Musical Arrangements by Kevin Connors
Orlando Shakes - November 29 - December 30, 2017

For tickets and more information, visit http://ow.ly/73BW30fprCM  


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told by Paul Rudnick and Directed by Tommy Wooten, is now playing at Footlight Theater at Parliament House (410 North Orange Blossom Trail Orlando FL.)  Tim Evanicki productions backed out of producing the play, so the cast and crew are now producing the show themselves.  This same show appeared on the Footlight Stage way back in 2001 and was the first published play to appear on the stage. 

A stage manager, (Beth Marshall), headset and prompt book at hand, brings the house lights to half, then dark, and cues the creation of the world. Throughout the play, she's in control of everything. In other words, she's either God, or she thinks she is. Beth brought just the right amount of arrogant and bored attitude to the part.  I was laughing out loud through most of the first act. 

Act One recounts the major episodes of the Old Testament, only with a twist: Instead of Adam and Eve, our lead characters are Adam (Brett McMahon) and Steve (Tripp Karrh), and Jane (Sara Jones) and Mabel (Camilla Camilo), a lesbian couple with whom they decide to start civilization (procreation proves to be a provocative challenge). My sketch might imply full frontal nudity, but Adam and Steve wore tight bathing suits with fig leaves and then puppet floppy bits. A hilarious scene involves Adam talking to a seated Jane and his bits are hardly hidden by a loin cloth inches from her face

Act One covers the Garden of Eden, an ark, a visit with a highly rambunctious Pharaoh and finally even the Nativity. Along the way, Mabel and Adam invent God, but Jane and Steve are skeptical. This brings about the Flood, during which Steve has a brief affair with a rhinoceros and invents infidelity. No longer blissful, Adam and Steve break up only to be reunited as two of the wise men at the Nativity.

Act Two jumps to modern day Manhattan. Adam and Steve are together again, and Steve is HIV positive. It's Christmas Eve, and Jane is nine months pregnant even though she always thought of herself as the butch one. The two women want to marry and want Adam and Steve to join them in the ceremony. A wheelchair-bound, Jewish lesbian Rabbi from cable access TV arrives to officiate. The ceremony is interrupted as Jane gives birth, and Steve confides to Adam that his medication isn't working and that he'll probably not survive much longer. Bound by their long life together, and the miracle of birth they've just witnessed, the two men comfort each other even though they know their remaining time together will be short.

THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVER TOLD
by Paul Rudnick
Directed by Tommy Wooten
At Parliament House Footlight Theatre, 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32805
Fridays and Saturdays, December 1 - 22
Special Industry Night Performance on Monday, December 11.
All performances 7:00PM.
Tickets: $20 at phouse.ticketleap.com or 888-202-1708


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Installing a Winch


Pam's dad, Ron Schwartz repairs large farm equipment in Iowa. So when he has time off for Thanksgiving, he can't resist tinkering and repairing his own equipment. One of the first things we did when we got to the family farm was to go out to the work shed and help Ron install the winch. At first he worked solo, but eventually he relied on his daughter for assistance. As Pam says, he has huge bear paws for hands and the task involved getting some bolts lined up in a very tight space.

I started the sketch as Ron drilled holes in the winch support assembly he had custom built. Then he spent the rest of the time at the utility vehicle so I switched gears mid-sketch. The task of installing the winch was harder than expected, giving me plenty of time as father and daughter worked on the install together. In random spots around the work space, deer skulls could be found in buckets or mounted to light bulbs. Pam's niece Destiny sat behind the steering wheel of the Rhino utility vehicle the entire time, as if she would drive off the second the install was complete.

After the install, Pam took me on a spin around the 16 acre property. There is a pond in the ravine and some steep hills that I felt might tip the vehicle over if approached at the wrong angle. The lake had a thin sheet of ice over its surface and the wind made the ice sing. There was what looked like a stabalized stick shift bar and grip on the roll bar that Ron referred to as "OH shit!" grips. I clutched those grips tight the whole time.

Ron needs the utility vehicle and winch to haul hunted deer back to the work space where they can be dressed and cut up as a winter supply of meat. The deer is field dressed where it is shot, leaving all the stink and weight of the innards of the animal behind. After being brought back the deer is skinned, hanged in a cooler for a few days before being processed. Each evening Ron would go out to shoot a deer but they eluded him all Thanksgiving. One faced him and was just six paces from being shot. That buck eluded the bullet by standing strategically behind a tree before bounding off just in time.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Winter Wonderettes at TheaterWorks


I went to a final dress rehearsal for "Winter Wonderettes," written by Roger Bean and presented by TheatreWorks Florida at the the Davenport Community Campus  (8 W Palmetto St, Davenport, Florida 33837). This is the second production in the inaugural season of Theatre Works Florida. Scott Cook founded this new production company and I am always excited to see a new cultural hub pop up like a mushroom in the woods of Florida.

The Wonderettes offered a scrumptious musical confection of holiday hits. This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Happening but when Santa turns up missing, the girls must use their talent and creative ingenuity to save the holiday party! Featuring great ’60s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Winter Wonderland,” the result is, of course, fun and fabulous. This energetic and glittering holiday package is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages.

I felt self conscious going in to the rehearsal since I seem to have an unending cough. I had to step out in the second act because I needed to get a drink of water to stop my hacking. A hitch in the rehearsal came when one of the Wonderettes had an intense migraine so she had to be driven home, but the rehearsal must go on. I decided to sketch one of the Wonderettes twice to account for the missing actress. The assistant director or stage hand read her lines to fill out the full run through of the show.

This was a high energy production with the actresses in constant motion, dancing and singing with endless 60s kitch. In an interactive bit with the audience they asked "Who is the most famous elf singer of them all?" Pam Schwartz guessed correctly, which I think they didn't expect, but it could very well happen with a full audience. The actresses seemed relaxed in the roles which required tons of energy. With the right audience this could be a hilarious night. Bring the whole family.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fluffing the Christmas Tree.

For Thanksgiving, Pam Schwartz and I traveled to her parent’s home in Iowa. Thanksgiving in the Schwartz home involves 25 or more relatives playing games and having a huge Thanksgiving meal. Kids of all sizes run about and everyone talks at the same time. After the big meal, everyone plays board and card games at the kitchen table. The card game Canasta can last until three in the morning. As I am writing this, a board game of Malarky has just begun. Everyone has to come up with answers to little known facts, including reeling a story about why an octopus is thrown on the ice during a playoff hockey league game. Three answers were made up and one answer was correct.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree is set up. The family used to cut their own live tree but that tradition ended when two mice were smuggled into the house within it. The artificial tree was tightly bound and wrapped in a green drop cloth. Pam untied the multiple knots and then set up the compressed mess of branches. Each branch had to be spread and then fluffed so that all the needles were spread out. When tree was first set up the trunk which is wrapped in a garland didn’t look very convincing, but by the time Pam had the whole tree fluffed out, it looked reasonably real. She also set up all the lights and hung tinsel. She has a very specific technique in her tinsel hanging. Individual strands were hung creating an airy cascading effect.

There is a family tradition that the tree came with strands of Christmas lights already pre-hung, but one year Pam couldn’t take down the tree because of her scheduled flight out of state. Her dad took down the tree that year and instead of remembering that the top two pieces of the tree don't come apart, he ended up cutting off the strings of lights in annoyance. It should be noted that he actively denies this family accusation.

Every year Pam’s eyes swell the next morning from the dust and the make of the tree branches. That doesn’t stop her from taking care of this traditional chore. The rest of the family sits on the couch and watches or wander throughout the house with other decorations. A new angel went on top of the tree this year since Pam destroyed the previous one attempting to retrofit it to a different light bulb. The new one has translucent violet and green illuminated wings that sparkle.


Due to my impending divorce, I am no longer ALLOWED to sell my artwork. I therefore have no means of income. I apologize to any interested buyers. I will post when I am again allowed to earn a living.