Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Valentine's Concert at Leu Gardens.

Pam Schwartz and I went to Harry P. Leu Gardens, (1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803) to see a concert featuring  Ricky and the Buzzcatz. We packed a picnic basket and a couple off lawn chairs along with a sparkling red wine. Although members, we found out that the members parking lot was blocked off from use. Street parking was packed and we ended up parking a few blocks away on Iowa Place. Pam is from Iowa so that seemed a happy accident.

The stage was set up in front of a small hill which is usually set up as a botanical clock. Two red hearts made from illuminated tubes defined the heart shapes. Most of the stage lighting was red for the first set, and I stayed with the limited palette since I could barely see the sketch page. The songs in the first set were mostly mobster ballads by crooners like Frank Sinatra and  Tony Bennett. Between songs the musicians would occasionally break into the Godfather theme song and everyone was supposed to take a drink. The wine we had was sweet, bubbly and delicious so I looked forward to the Pavlovian Godfather theme.

I finished this sketch in the first set and when done, we broke open the picnic basket. It was an old school basket with the two hoop handles and a flip open hinged top. Those two handles however aren't comfortable to hold. They pinch the palm as you carry it. We ended up lamenting not bringing the roller cooler (as it seems less romantic than a woven basket). Regardless we had a handsome feast of sandwiches and fruit.

The second set was far more lively with contemporary songs that got us up and dancing. Theatrical smoke billowed out from behind the stage and stage hands ran around with fans trying to contain and direct it. The evening's billowing breezes had other plans and being close to the stage, we were engulfed. The sidewalks leading to the stage became the dance floor. Only occasionally would someone dance on the grass. One lady just darted around on the lawn, she was comical to watch. It was a very cool night, and I felt bad for the women who decided to dress in tight skirts and high heels. Pam and I tried a few spins and danced traditionally for the slow songs. We joked that we might knock another couple out with our gesturing. If I wasn't  graceful, at least I was having fun.

A female singer sang "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. It was announced as an anthem for women but any man experiencing separation and a new life can be equally inspired to dance with abandon and conviction. When the music ended we all walked out of the gardens in formation. It was a fun night and Ricky and the Buzzcatz must be a very popular wedding band.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Juggling Spaghettti in Box 10.

27 Blue Boxes are painted on sidewalks in Downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking is possible only during day light hours. Although set up for panhandlers, police often insist street performers must be confined to the blue boxes. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Using a map of the Downtown Core District, I am documenting each blue box with some of Orlando's most unique performers.

Blue Box 10 on the corner of Orange Avenue and Robinson Street no longer show any signs of the original blue dotted lines that define the boxes. It must have been spray washed clean. The city ordinance however states that a performer can use the blue box even if the lines can not be seen.

Jeff Ferree who works at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater volunteered to juggle. He deftly juggled bowling pins but the crowning act came when he juggled spaghetti. He placed a message on Facebook announcing his performance and several of his friends showed up to watch. Drivers passing by also got to witness this spectacular performance. Juggling cooked spaghetti is a challenge, because you can wad the noodles up into balls to start, but those balls break apart in mid-flight becoming a sloppy mess of wet strands. Jeff tried wrapping the noodles around juggling balls but the same chaos ensued. The joy in the performance wasn't his success, but the chaos and slop in the attempts.

This area where Jeff juggled has a nice grass covered empty lot and I have heard that food trucks might be able to set up shop there soon.This is only rumor however. I looked up the City's policies on food trucks downtown, and it is not likely downtown workers will be offered the variety that food truck vendors would offer.

Which areas prohibit mobile food vending?

The City of Orlando cannot approve vending along International Drive or Semoran Boulevard; there are special zoning overlays that prohibit vendors.

The City prohibits the selling food or merchandise on city streets and sidewalks (Sec. 54.27).

The City prohibits sales of food and drink within public parks, recreation areas and facilities, except under concession agreement approved by the city council; these are requested at the City’s discretion.

The City prohibits vending, services and sales of goods on any public or private street, public parking lot or public property.

Special events with an 18A permit approved by the Police Department may include food vendors ancillary to events.

I did not find any city ordinance that prohibits the juggling of spaghetti.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Inbetween Series at Avalon Island.

Elizabeth Baker presented "Headspace/I Found a Pearl in the Wall This Morning" at The Gallery at Avalon Island, (39 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801). This was a new work by new renaissance artist Elizabeth A. Baker, which unfolded as a sonic and movement ritual exploring the meditative state of opening the mind and vulnerable action of opening one's heart. The work incorporated interactive electronics, fixed media, lighting, dance, Indian harmonium, toy piano, and found objects.

For the first half of the performance the artist, dressed in what appeared to be a bathrobe moved from instrument to instrument.I  sketched her in the various locations incorporating her multiple times into the sketch. The audience sat in two rows of chairs on either side of the open performance space. As it grew dark outside, the dozen or so candles on the floor were the only illumination. Sounds were recorded and repeated to achieve hypnotic effects. 

The program described the performance of an "Autonomous Controller" who prompted  the Automaton range from musical instructions to movement instructions to interaction with the audience and performance space. The Automaton constantly carried a tablet to see the prompts from the Anonymous Controller. I can't claim to understand what was happening, but it was visually fascinating to sketch. Pam Schwartz and several other members of the audience were given drum sticks to tap a beat on the floor. I passed on the interactive opportunity since my hands were occupied.

There was a short intermission and then Elizabeth came out dressed head to toe in a golden jump suit with a Mexican wrestler style golden hooded mask. She performed on the tiny piano like the one used by Schroeder in the Peanuts cartoon strip. Red lights projected patterns on the walls. Wires snaked everywhere on the floor. I left scratching my head, but, perhaps that was the point.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 25, 2018

12th Night at the Shakes.

At the opening night performance of 12th Night by William Shakespeare, the director, Carolyn Howarth and the costume designer Jack Smith sat on stage for a pre-show chat. Carolyn explained that what we were about to see was an effort to present as historically accurate a production of the play as is possible. In Shakespeare's day there was no stage lighting, so the house lights never went dark. As an artist this was a real blessing. Electric candles hung from the ceiling to illuminate the space. They seemed to float magically as if in Harry Potter's Wizarding School.

In the day, a play could be seen for a penning which was also enough to buy an ale and some bread. For that price they would be a groundling, standing in front of the stage. More expensive cushioned seats were of course more. The church did not allow women to perform on stage, so this production is as well performed by all male actors.

The costumes by Jack smith were absolutely gorgeous. He spent time hand embroidering things right until the curtain opened. He did however praise the entire costume shop staff. Pink was a popular color for men in Shakespeare's day and the women preferred blues and teals. All of the costumes were lush, with highly researched detail. This has to be the most well crafted production I have seen in Orlando for a long time. In Shakespeare's day there were no sets, just a few benches and the expanses of the wooden stage. Most of the architectural elements of the previous production "Shakespeare in Love" like the arching ceiling joists, were left in place. At the end of Shakespeare in Love, Queen Elizabeth asked the young author to come up with something new "for 12th Night". It is believed that this play was first performed for Queen Elizabeth in 1602.

The play began with a foppish Shakespearean actor pounding his walking stick to the floor. The buzz of the audience silenced and the magic began. Shakespearean accents were a melting pot of Irish, Scottish, West Country and American and the actors were carefully coached to recreate the sound and flavor. The director joked that we might catch a flash of pirate in the accents as well. The acting was over the top and comical which seemed odd at first but then I grew to love each character.

The plot involves two shipwrecked twins who both believe the other to be dead. Viola (Thomas Leverton) dressed as her brother Sebastian (Austin Larkin). As a man, Viola is caught in a rather awkward love triangle. To avoid any spoiler alert, I'll just say that love finds a way in the end. Olivia (John P. Keller) who is mourning the death of her brother becomes infatuated with Viola who was sent by Orsino (Timothy Williams) with a message of love. Olivia's steward Malvolio (Jim Helsinger) had a hilarious performance. He was tricked into thinking that his Olivia was in love with him and his attempts at appearing happy were endearing and over the top hilarious. Sword fights were foppish and comical. honor being served by who surrendered first in terror. Throughout the show I was laughing out loud.

This show highly deserved the standing ovation. This is one of the most polished productions I have had the honor to enjoy and sketch. We left the theater glowing. Shakespeare's genius still shines bright 416 years later. For several hours we were magically transported back in time.

12th Night runs through March 23, 2018.
Twelfth Night runs approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Something Fishy Seafood Restaurant.

Pam Schwartz and I went to a media tasting at Something Fishy (2107 E Semorian Blvd, Apopka, Fl 32703) organized by Ilene Lieber of Passion PR. This small restaurant is a family affair organized by the team of chef Terence Phillips and his wife Patrice Phillips. Their niece created the logo and handles the marketing. The chef grew up in New York and used to travel often to the Hampton's and Montauk where he got the idea for the theme for the restaurant. The restaurant is celebrating its two year anniversary and the staff that started on day one is still helping the restaurant grow today. There will be a block party at the restaurant this weekend Saturday, February 24th from noon to 4PM in celebration and all are welcome!

The evening started off with a cup of red wine as we waited for the appetizer to arrive. The opening course was a light and subtle Lobster Bisque. There were a few chunks of lobster on top. I happen to be a fan of bisque so I sampled it as I started the sketch. Patrice kindly offered Pam a vegetarian taco since she is not a fan of sea food or cilantro (both prevalent in the menu). The second course was a fried fish slider with cilantro mayo, hush puppies, and fries. The sandwich was light and crispy. The hush puppies were sweet and delicious with actual sweet corn inside, some of the best Pam said she had ever had. I let Pam eat most of the hush puppies and fries since her main course hadn't come out yet.

The next course was a pan seared shrimp taco with house slaw, back beans, corn salsa and avocado aioli. This was my favorite item from the night. I sampled a couple of the shrimp separately and they were delicious. Tthen I ate the soft shell taco as it should be eaten and the flavors blended nicely. The next item was a mini crab cake with slaw. They offered wasabi slaw but I didn't want the heat, so they substituted a more tame slaw. The crab cake was sweet and flavorful. Pam's spicy cauliflower taco with aleppo pepper arrived and she let me have the avocado slices that were on top. This was her favorite item from the night. The cauliflower tasted perfectly spicy, adding a nice warm crunch to the taco.

The one item that I didn't manage to finish eating was a seared Ahi tuna bowl over a bed of jasmine cilantro lime rice. The tuna was spicier than I can handle so I let the dish sit. The evening was capped off with cupcakes which came in carrot, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I sampled the carrot and got a surprise when I bit into it. The center was hollowed out and filled with a light cool frosting. Apparently there were, in fact, carrots and even raisins in the cupcake, but I ate it so fast I didn't see them.

The bottom line is that Something Fishy is a restaurant that I would return to.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, February 23, 2018

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

Saturday February 24, 2018
8 AM to 1 PM Free. Parramore Farmers Market. the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View. The Parramore Farmers Market will be open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View.Purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

11 AM to 5 PM Free. Sanford Porch Fest. Sanford Residential Historic District.
Sanford PorchFest is a grassroots festival built to unify neighbors and friends through music. Set up within walking, biking or golf cart distance, six porches throughout the Sanford residential historic district will transform into stages and front yards take on the meaning of "concert lawn seating".
A diverse mix of bands and artists will perform. Load up your bikes, pack a picnic, and join us as we transform the historic district into an artistic gathering space!
SCHEDULE AND MAP COMING SOON! Make sure to like our Facebook page (Sanford Porchfest) to keep up to date on all festival information.

7 PM to 10 PM Free. Vanishing Points: A Glitch Art Show. Digital Collective 1225-B N Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida 32804. GLITCH ART // DIGITAL PRINTS // IMMERSIVE VISUALS and SOUND // PROJECTION MAPPING.

Sunday February 25, 2018
11 AM to 4 PM Free. Dragon Parade. starts at the corner of N Thornton Ave and Oregon St and will end at N. Thornton Ave and Colonial Drive.
Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival in Orlando to celebrate the Year of the Dog on February 25, 2018
The Year of the Dog marks the 7th annual Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival held in Orlando, Florida. This event has received overwhelming response from local and distant communities alike.
The festival parade starts at the corner of N Thornton Ave and Oregon St and will end at N. Thornton Ave and Colonial Drive. The parade will be followed by five hours of the Lunar Festival that will take place at 728 N. Thornton Ave., Orlando, FL 32803. The Lunar New Year Festival will feature Asian entertainment including Dragon dancing, Lion Dancing, cultural dances, martial arts, taiko drummers, arts and crafts and Asian food. In 2017, over 8,500 patrons attended the event. We would like to invite you or your organization to be part of this community event by becoming a sponsor, a vendor, or a participant. Join businesses like Amerasia Bank, Florida Hospital, Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), Payas Payas Payas LLP, Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce Greater Orlando, City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation and Universal Orlando and become one of our event sponsors.
Unity and Harmony - Celebration of Diversity
For more vendor and parade information, please visit

2:30 PM to 4:30 PM Winter Barlympics.  The Other Bar 18 Wall St, Orlando, Florida 32801. Do you and your drinking crew think that you have what it takes to win the 6th Annual Winter BARLYMICS? Join us Sunday, February 25th as we crown the champions of the ultimate winter drinking party! Registration starts at 12:30pm day of. The games kick off at 2:30pm. Teams of 4 are $40. Cash and prizes for 1st place: $500. Drink specials and more! Sign up now, contact

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM Free. Georgio Valentino. Timucua Arts Foundation 2000 S Summerlin Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806. Final live performance by nomadic art-rock singer. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ghost and Funeral Party at ME Theater.

Producer Jeremy Seghers presents Ghost and Funeral Party which are two one act plays by Ashleigh Ann Gardner When the audience enters the theater,  Petra (Monica Mulder) is asleep on her couch while music fills the space. She woke and started to tidy up her art studio until she finally started working on a  painting. I admired all the sketchbooks, and the loose references strewn about the studio. For me it was a familiar scene. Monica confided to me before the show that the painting on the easel was by her mother and the photos around the studio are her own. Her quiet moment of creation is interrupted by a loud knock on her door which caused her to spill coffee all over her blouse. A strange coincidence of fate brought neurotic postal courier Lyle (Ricardo Soltero-Brown) to her apartment door.

In the awkward exchange that followed, it became clear that these two knew each other. It turned out that they had been friends who had had a spontaneous sexual encounter in a closet at a wedding, though Petra was engaged to be married to Lyle's friend. After that Petra ghosted Lyle. Ghosting wasn't a term I was familiar with, but it means leading somebody on before cutting off all contact rather than explaining why the relationship might not work. Lyle stayed to demand an apology from Petra, using every avenue available to him, including relating their story to a male model named Sebastian (Jamie Roy). Sebastian turned out to be a self-indulgent prick, dignity is lost, and Lyle and Petra find themselves wondering if two impossibly flawed people might actually be good together. I of course felt a warm glow hoping that an artist might actually find happiness in this flawed world.

The second play, Funeral Party, actually starred the playwright, Ashleigh Ann Gardner as Gwen. She and Trip (Jon Robert Kress) sneak into a crematorium to mourn the death of their best friend, Clay (Jamie Roy on the gurney.) Clay’s sudden suicide has Trip reeling with guilt, but has left Gwen detached and distracted. What was meant as a playful night's adventure turned into a night of personal regrets and revelations. 

They turn to a list they’ve compiled to keep them on track for the evening: drinks, Chinese food, dancing, coffee. To  lighten the mood, the two put on birthday caps and even put a cap on the lifeless Clay. When Gwen becomes reluctant to proceed with the evening’s planned events, a dark secret about her relationship with Clay is brought to light.

This play was hard hitting and unexpected. When Gwen was forced by Trip to touch the lifeless body, she broke down with such a wail of sorrow that cut me to the core. She fell to the floor. I have heard so many stories of the sorrow that filled the Beardall Center after families were told of the loss of sons and daughters after the Pulse Nightclub massacre. Ashley's performance brought that flood of sorrow back. Guilt always follows a suicide but Gwen's guilt had deeper roots. In an emotional exchange Gwen confessed that she loved Trip and that offered some hope and solace in their darkest hour.

I left the theater feeling a sense of pride and joy at getting to see these two plays by a talented local playwright. The second play truly struck me to the core and the first gave me the voyeuristic satisfaction of seeing an artist open herself to find happiness.

Ghost and Funeral Party runs:
February 22-24, 8:00 p.m.
February 25, 3 p.m.
at ME Theatre
1300 La Quinta Dr #3, Orlando, FL 32809

Tickets are $18

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh is definitely not for the faint of heart. This is the 15th and final production by Beth Marshal Presents at the Winter Garden Theater (160 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787.) The play is a very dark comedy about extreme Irish nationalists who are willing to spill blood for the smallest cause. The playwright said of this play, "I was trying to write a play that would get me killed." The program lists a blood specialist and a blood director, so I knew going in that things might get messy.

Padraic (Zack Lane) was a street smart and violent Lieutenant of the Irish Republican Army. His one love in life is his black cat named Wee Thomas. The cat was in the care of Davey (Joseph Fabian) and Donny (Don Fowler), two innocent well meaning fools who open act one as they inspect the mangled body of a dead black cat. Davey brought the cat back to their place on his bicycle and they both realize they are in very big trouble because of Padraic's violent temper. In the next scene Padraic is torturing a suspected drug dealer so his ill temper is confirmed. It was quite uncomfortable watching an actor hang upside down while he is threatened with having a nipple cut off.

Davey and Donny try and gloss over the issue of the dead cat by finding another cat and using boot black to try and make the cat black. On his return, Padraic is met by Mairead (Rachel Comeau) who attracts him by being as violent and crazy as he is. When they argue he aims a gun at her and she aims her air gun right at his privates at close range. The stand off garners respect.

Davey and Donny are blindfolded and bound ready for execution by Padraic as they kneel on the living room floor. Violence is interrupted by more bloody violence. Three "splinter group" IRA foot soldiers are blinded and then shot in the head at point blank range. This was incredibly uncomfortable to watch especially after the recent high school shooting in Parkland Florida. I found myself lurching with each blast of the theatrical guns. It was surprising that many in the audience would laugh as someones brains were blown out. The death of the cat resulted in four other senseless murders. The loss of a pet is a harsh reminder of our mortality. In the last act Davey and Donny discover that Wee Tommy, was actually alive. They both point their guns at the cat ready to kill it after all the violence they had just witnessed. They can't pull the triggers and they give Wee Thomas a nice big bowl of cat food.

The play clearly points to the futility and pointlessness of violence and killing. Yet its comedic tone is confusing. Change the Irish accents to southern drawls and the play could be set in our backyard. Perhaps only in America can we laugh at staged violence a week after 17 children are murdered in a south Florida school. The pointless violence in Ireland has been going on for decades and it is a harsh mirror to look in as we see how violent America is. Our love of guns is a joke to other nations of the world. The play resulted in a long discussion on the drive home followed by a radio broadcast about the gun legislation that died a senseless death. Among the bills that died were ones that would have banned assault weapons sales and expanded background checks.

The play runs through February 25, 2018.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Indie Folk Festival at the Mennello Museum.

Flynn Dobbs invited me to exhibit a few of my painting along with three other artists at the annual family-and pet-friendly event, the Indie Folk Festival on February 10, 2018. The fourth annual Indie-Folkfest was presented by PLR Florida at the Mennello Museum of American Art. Pam Schwartz and I got there around 11:30 AM to get set up. Flynn had the tent ready and there was just enough room for my 6 framed paintings. Sprout, who is Pam's scruffy pup was excited to experience all the new smells.

The event showcased local, national and regional art, music and culinary talent. Last past February, in 2017,  the event welcomed nearly 5,000 guests to the museum grounds. Guests enjoyed beautiful weather, local music, food, beverages and art. This annual free event serves as a gift from the Museum’s City-Appointed Board of Trustees in an effort to promote local art and community. A portion of all proceeds benefit the Mennello Museum of American Art’s education and family-friendly programs.

Each artist in our tent was active painting at some point during the day. I sketched our tent to document the day. Loren Berry set up a table and started doing some marbling. She poured multiple colors on the panel and let the colors swim together as she rotated the panel letting the paint flow across the surface. Then she lay the panel flat and used her gloved fingers to create pointed divots in the flow. This was followed by blowing the paint to create even more pattern. It was a fun process to watch and I sketched frantically. Her results, resemble the cloud formations on the planet Jupiter.

Terri Binion opened up the main stage with her unique folk music styling. She was followed by Beemo who got the folks gathered on the lawn warmed up to dance away the afternoon. The musical afternoon was capped off by Eugene Snowden who brought the crowd to his moving gospel of song and a crowd gathered in front of the stage to dance.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 19, 2018

Cypress Tree.

On rare occasions, I take time off from sketching events to seek out natural forms that are pleasing to my eye. This Cypress tree sweeps upward from the shore of Lake Virginia in Winter Park. Some of the branches are not round but instead shaped like streamlines surf boards. One of my Sketch Tours students, Louis Degni, recognized me and stopped to say hello.He had a painters easel under his arm and was off to sketch some scene lakeside as well.

The challenge in this sketch was to capture all the subtle warm greys and cool grays in the bark of the tree. Other than light pencil, I let go of any line work.

Out on the dock just beyond the tree I was painting was a musician just performing with no need for an audience. With my sketch done, I waded out into the water and enjoyed the unexpected concert. As often happens, I couldn't stop from swaying to the beat. it was cloudy while I was painting the tree, but as the sun set to my right, the lake captured the orange golden glow and fractured it. Blue grey Spanish moss swayed in the breeze. Some bald cypress trees can grow to be up to one thousand years old. That makes my hot flash of a life seem rather short in comparison. That means I need to kick off my shoes more often and slow down to enjoy the natural beauty that is often ignored. I understand the attraction to working plein air, just finding natural beauty with no concern for mad rush of humanity, but I still find myself always drawn to crowds.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Red Bull Wings At Work: Outdoor Workspace.

The Red Bull Wings At Work: Outdoor Workspace was held at Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Downtown workers were invited to grab their laptops and sunglasses for a day of collaboration, inspiration and creativity. This was an opportunity for downtown workers to break out of their everyday routine and work in an unique outdoor location that fostered creativity and productivity. The day included speakers, reverse pitch groups, networking opportunities as well as a relaxing space to get work done.

The Wings At Work pop up workspace was built from scratch. Red Bull brought in a stage and seating for an area to host a Creative Mornings Orlando lecture session as well as additional speakers throughout the day. Red Bull partnered with Factur and Vudoo Wood by John Vu to build out the space with conference tables, seating areas and “living office space” where consumers can host a meeting, work on a project or brainstorm with others.

I settled in on my portable art stool making sure i was in the shade of a large orange umbrella. All the blue umbrellas on the central lawn had Red Bull logos on them. The event was well attended. It would be nice if downtown workers always had the choice to work outside. I kind of suspect the relaxed atmosphere prompted more socializing that work. The gentleman in front of me  however was diligently typing away at his laptop computer.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Blue Box 8.

27 Blue Boxes are painted on sidewalks in Downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking is possible only during day light hours. Although set up for panhandlers, police often insist street performers must use the blue boxes. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. I  set up the Blue Box Initiative to get talented Orlando artists from all creative fields to occupy a blue box while I sketch.

To date, I have completed 16 sketches. I have about 9 more sketches to complete. If you know a talented local performer who might want to share their talents on a street corner for a couple of hours, please let me know. Originally the city ordinance only allowed busking in the blue boxes during day light hours, but now the ordinance was changed to allow their use at night.

Blue Box 8 is located near the Lynx bus station downtown. Local film makers Jen Vargas and Jay De Los Santos occupied the box as a form of protest for how the city discourages film production in Orlando. Most southern films are created up in Georgia since there are tax incentives up that way. It was a blistering hot May day with little to no shade when I  completed this sketch.

A space-themed film titled "Hidden Figures," is about three African-American mathematicians who overcome racial and gender bias to help launch American into space in the early 1960s from Florida's Space Coast. But the irony is that no scenes from the film were shot at Kennedy Space Center, or anywhere else on the Space Coast, for that matter, except for historic stock footage.

Space Coast Film Commissioner Bonnie King said people connected with the film had contacted her to talk about locations for filming on the Space Coast. But, largely because Florida no longer offers incentives for film and television productions, "the higher-ups decided not to film here."

Instead, much of "Hidden Figures" was shot in Atlanta and other locations in Georgia, a state that has "fantastic film incentives" that make it attractive to shoot movies there, King said. Those incentives include transferable tax credits for the film productions. Film Florida estimates that Brevard County's economy lost $10 million because the film was shot in Georgia, rather than the Space Coast. It seems like Florida was on the verge of amazing change in the 1960's but today the state falls back on a lazy status quo as if we are just fine with our heads in the sand.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, February 16, 2018

WeekendTop 6 Picks for February 17th and 18th.

Saturday February 17, 2018
4 PM to 9 PM Free. 4th Annual Sanford Mardi Gras. West End Trading Co. 202 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, Florida 32771. 4th Annual Mardi Gras benefiting Meals on Wheels, Etc. at West End Trading Co. Sashay (walking, golf cart, biking parade) at 4pm sharp at the corner of 6th and Sanford Ave. March down to the 2nd and Palmetto Ave where the party begins! Kid Dutch and his brass Perseverance Band will take the stage directly after the sashay, followed by local bands. Emcee work from everyone's favorite local Michael Nall of Park and Seventh!!! Check out all the vendors and attractions like face painters, stilt walkers and more! Food trucks provided Kona Food Truck Luaus, so plenty of choices!! Party sponsored by Magic Hat Brewing Company!!

6 PM to  Midnight. Saturday and Sunday. Nude Nite Orlando.  Warehouse - Central Florida Fairgrounds 4603 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32808-8158. America's Largest Nude Art Exhibition is more than an art show. It is an annual art and entertainment event showing over 200 juried art works for sale, world class body painters, national burlesque acts, interactive installations, performance art, cirque performers and a cast of strolling characters both in costume and out.... 21+

7 PM to 9 PM Free.  UCF Symphony Orchestra. Rising Star a Local Legend. Saint Luke's Lutheran Church (2021 West SR 426 Oviedo FL.)  UCF Symphony Orchestra. Rising Star a Local Legend - Chung Park Director with guest composer Stella Young.

Sunday February 18, 2018
Noon to 3 PM Donation based. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Members of the public are invited to visit our historic home museum on a Sunday afternoon from 12 to 3 pm, listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM Free. Concert.  Winter Park's Central Park Main Stage. Park Avenue.
Celebrating 10 seasons of Winter park Institute.
Bob James Jazz Trio
Chip Weston and the Gazebos
Will Patrick
Rich Walker
Shannon Caine
Rollins student will play City of Winter Park Fanfare by Dr. John Sinclair.

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

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Things Come Apart at the History Center.

What makes a watch tick? How does a sewing machine stitch? Where does an iPod get its shuffle? For those who have ever asked questions like these, Things Come Apart is a revelation. The Orange County Regional History Center (65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801) is home for this Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit until May 6, 2018.

Through extraordinary photographs, disassembled objects and fascinating videos, Things Come Apart reveals the inner workings of common, everyday possessions. Images of dozens of objects explore how things are designed and made and how technology has evolved over time. For example, the individual components of a record player, a Walkman, and an iPod illustrate the technical changes in sound reproduction over the years, and images of the parts of a mechanical and digital watch demonstrate different approaches to timepiece engineering.

After photographer Todd McLellan disassembles each object, he spends hours arranging its components in the order in which they were taken apart to achieve a cohesive photograph. With the eye of an artist and the precision of a scientist, he then captures a moment in time of the components falling to the ground. Things Come Apart includes four disassembled objects permanently mounted in acrylic for display in cases to be provided by exhibitor, in addition to short videos documenting Todd's artistic process.

The History Center added it's own Central Florida items to the exhibit such as a Disney World Singing Cockatoo animatronic from the Tiki Room. A vintage video from Walt Disney himself introduces the inner working of the mechanical bird. The staff also disassembled a Beefy King sandwich to highlight the inner workings of the local flavor sensation. The youngest person at the VIP opening was particularly absorbed in the Tiki Bird and a slow motion video of a piano being dropped to the pavement.

Things Come Apart strikingly reveals the design and engineering behind some of our most common, useful, and prized possessions.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

DRIP is Closing their Internationsl Drive Location.

I was there sketching as DRIP opened  its International Drive Location with its grunge underground bar vibe, the shows featured modern dance, water effects and colorful paint. The walls were painted black and would get covered each performance with bright splashes of color. After 5 successful years of bringing innovative, edgy dance shows and art events to the I-Drive area, DRIP will be closing the location to focus on new projects.

“Closing this location is bittersweet but exciting for our team.  We put a huge amount of passion into everything created in that space and have amazing memories from the team interacting with the guests. We had terrific experiences over the last 5 years and are eager to re-focus and inject our creativity into the next project."  explains DRIP founder and creative director Jessica Mariko. "We appreciate our fans and are looking forwards to playing with them again soon."

Since DRIP opened their International Drive location, they have produced over 700 shows, artistic events, concerts, festivals, fashion shows, private parties and corporate events. Experiences in the DRIP venue have included a super-hero show during the Megacon Convention, The Blind Date experience for couples during Valentine's Day, the Underground Vampire Bar experience in October, Gay Days events, Local Art Night, BASE Body Painting Art Events, and many more. DRIP has also been commissioned to develop creative experiences for companies such as Timex, Siemens, L'Oreal, Wrestlemania, and Kawasaki.

The sketch above is from a DRIP Art Night which always featured the talents of local artists. Paint the Trail was using cut out stencils to create quick colorful portraits of celebrities. As soon as he was done spraying another artist would blow dry the paint to get it to dry fast. The same portrait might involve 5 different layers which were built up, one on top of another. A pile of the portraits build up to the table on the artists right. People rifled through the art as the artist worked.

I produced a small book about the history of DRIP. I am amazed that it now documents a past history. The venue did so much to help promote the arts in Orlando. It is a bright beacon that will be missed. I hope that the cutting edge dance company will resurface in a new and unexpected form. The loss of Drip reminds me that I need to continue documenting unique Orlando culture. Even the brightest lights will fade or transform.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Corsets and Cuties at the Venue.

I went to sketch a dress rehearsal of Corsets and Cuties Fan-Frickin'-Tastic February Show! along with Pam Schwartz and her sister Jenny form Iowa. We arrived at the Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803) and walked under the tree of light. There was a crowd in the front bar at the venue, so for a moment I thought there might be a show rather than the rehearsal.

The entire cast performed in the opening number which was rehearsed several times. It was set to Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield." The  opening lyrics however rang true to the Orlando rally cry after the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. Barbie Rhinestone rose up from behind the back stage wall and lip synced "We are Strong!"In that moment it felt like a rally cry in the face of recovering from tragedy.

The show is already sold out, so if you didn't get your tickets you will miss this hilarious show.The Divine J-9 sang a song shortly after Teddy had finished an aerial silks act. He tried to introduce Divine to the silks with absolutely hilarious results. She wedged herself into the fabric swing with her arms over the fabric and her breasts crushed under the weight. He lifted her legs and flew her around the stage. She was laughing so loud that she couldn't sing. I was laughing so loud, I couldn't sketch.

Jax N. Augh performed a strip lease wearing bubble wrap. He snapped the bubbles with attitude and emerged from the wrap in a muscle print jump suit. Debbie Dulce performed a classic striptease in white and worked the room and rubbed against me leaving behind some glitter that had to be answered for later.

The cast is always fun and frivolous. The show is not for the faint at heart, but for those with a sense of humor and adventure. There was an intermission half way though the show. There is a full bar available in the front of the Venue for those wishing to imbibe, and the Cuties are always more friendly to those with tips. Everyone has a chance to win fun door prizes from our fab sponsor Premier Couple's Superstore.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 12, 2018

Loose Lips at Lil Indies.

I stated the new yer off with a trip to Lil Indies (1036 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803) to sketch Loose Lips. Hosted by Tod Caviness, Loose Lips has Local writers read works inspired by current events. Authors all read their text in their digital devises before taking to the stage. The humble typewriter or pen and paper seems to have fallen to the wayside. For most of the time I spent sketching, people struggled to get the microphone system working. The lighting situation at Lil Indies is less then perfect anyone at the mic is lit from behind making them appear as a black silhouette.

Lil Indies reminds me of my parents basement in their small post WWII home. My older brothers artistic endeavors consisted of paint by number clown portraits. These same creepy clowns adorn the walls of Lil Indies along with a classy nude behind the stage. I don't think she was paint by numbers, but I didn't get close enough to tell. This sketch was a digital experiment to use different colored pencils to start the sketch. It came about after seeing the work of Howard Brody. He used just three colored pencils to do his sketches and he achieved so much with so little.

With Trump in office, it seems there is endless material for lampooning the news. As frightening as the news might be, there is plenty of room for laughter.  I don't understand how people can lock themselves at home staring at insipid stories with laugh tracks on their TVs when there are such amazing stories being related at our local dive bars.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Festival of the Arts at Epcot Center.

Crealde School of Art invited me to offer a one hour workshop at the Festival of the Arts at Epcot Center. My workshop proposal was titled "Sketchbook Savvy." This was the first time I had been on Disney property since Orlando Disney Feature Animation closed its doors in 2004. I parked in the back stage blue lot which was set aside for instructors. There was a bread trail of signs leading to the place where the workshop would take place. Unfortunately, I lost track of the signs and ended up lost underneath the test track attraction. The cars on tracks rumbled by overhead. A cast member offered to guide me but he ran into a dead end because Disney landscapers had added a hedge blocking our route since the last time he passed that way.

Like a scene from Goodfelles, I walked through the kitchen and made my way to the hostess who guided me back stage. I was about half an hour early, and rather than wait back stage, I decided to sketch the Disney artist sketching a character for the audience. Based on his description, it sounded like he was drawing Donald Duck, but I can't be sure. The workshop attendees followed along every step of the way. Actually, one of the attendees wearing the mouse ears contacted me and she might correct me if I am wrong.

I was set up with a mic as I sketched and then the tech crew told me to walk on stage as soon as the introduction music started. My goal was just to share a couple of sketchbooks and then talk about how carrying a sketchbook everywhere you go can become a lifestyle. I started off with the story of my first day at Disney in what the animators called "The Fishbowl." A glass wall was set up to overlook the artists at work and as a new artist my animation desk was right next to the glass. Work on my first day became frustrating because people kept knocking on the glass and giving me a thumbs up. The guard who ushers people through was pointing down into my work space. Since the glass was thick, we couldn't talk. I finally realized that he was pointing at the bottom ledge above my head that supported the glass wall. I found some tape there and peeled it up. It said, "Hi my name is Tom, if you like my work, please knock on the glass and give me a big thumbs up." The animator next to me laughed. I was initiated. This story always gets a laugh and it warmed up the crowd.

I talked about my last 9 years sketching everyday here in Orlando and how this habit of remaining curious and sharing my experiences has changed my life. I introduced the idea of sketch crawls and the Orlando Urban Sketchers. Then I showed the audience the sketch I had done of the venue we were in. It was rough and incomplete but that is the definition of a sketch. Afterwords there was a line of about 10 people who wanted to share their sketches and shake my hand. A Disney intern asked my advice on how to prepare a portfolio to get into a movie studio. My Disney portfolio had been sketches much like the sketches I do everyday today. They liked what they saw and then asked me to prepare a portfolio of just sketches of animals. I went to the zoos around NYC every day for months and sketched. That portfolio got me into the studio to work on the Lion King. Of course today, everything is digital, so it is a Whole New World. I sang that song to myself as my plane flew through the clouds on my way down here to Orlando. I measure my success today by the fact that I remain artistically productive, not by an appraised value to every sketch I did over the years.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Shakespeare in Love at the Shakes.

Shakespeare in Love is based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. It was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall. I was just familiar with the movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes. In Shakespeare's day only men were allowed to perform on the theater stage. However Viola De Lesseps was in love with the bards poetic words. She knew how to breath life into his words better than any man, so she dressed as a man named Thomas Kent to audition for a part in his latest play which was being written for the queen (Anne Hering.) Shakespeare (John Keller) was drawn to her performance in the audition but she ran away when he wanted to see her without a hat. Shakespeare follows Kent to Viola's house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. Shakespeare sneaks into Viola's garden, finding her on her balcony, where they briefly confess their mutual attraction to each other before he is discovered by her nurse and flees. Inspired by Viola, Shakespeare writes quickly, completely transforming the play into what will become Romeo and Juliet.

Some of the biggest laughs come when "Thomas Kent" has difficulty kissing a man dressed as Juliet. She gives him a peck on the forehead instead. In an attempt to get the scene right Shakespeare himself steps in as Juliet and Romeo finally kisses with gusto. Thomas (Viola) pauses for a moment and then jumps up on the bard wrapping his legs around the playwright. The theater is shut down when Viola is discovered as a true woman. However another theater owner who saw the play in progress decides to allow the production to open in his theater. Viola can no longer perform as Romeo so she sits back stage. Shakespeare himself takes the part of Romeo. Then the actor playing Juliet looses his voice. It turns out that Viola knows every line, so she is thrust out on stage to perform as Juliet. The star crossed lovers perform the final scene which mirrors the fact that they can not stay together despite their love, because Viola is promised to a Lord Wessex (Duncan Bahr). She sails off with a man she doesn't love looking back at the love of her life.

This romance tragedy is a reminder that sometimes love is not enough and that sometimes a couple is torn apart due to obligations and different life paths. It is a bitter sweet pill to swallow.

Shakespeare in Love runs through March 25th and shows are selling out fast.
Where: Orlando Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803.

Tickets are $25 to $50.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, February 9, 2018

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

Saturday February 10, 2018
10:30 AM to 230 PM. Free to sketch, $8.00 to watch the 1950s movie Born Yesterday. Sketching at the Enzian.  Enzian Theater 1300 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, Florida 32751.
Orlando Urban Sketchers is sketching the Saturday Matinee Classics at the Enzian, and we will be there to capture in sketches a time, an era and a space. Surrounded by weeping oaks, a bubbling fountain, and a beautiful courtyard, Enzian is a unique cinema-going experience, a dine-in theater packed with old-time charm we wish to document into our sketchbooks.
We plan on sketching in the Eden-Bar garden outside the theater at 10:30 am first.
At 12:00 pm the 1950's film Born Yesterday will be featured inside the theater. We plan on moving indoors as soon as doors open to sketch the theater interior where we can also grab lunch bites and watch the movie.
At 2:00pm we'll meet back at Eden Bar garden for our traditional Sketchbooks-throw down ceremony.
Watching the film is not mandatory. Sketching can be kept going outdoors to capture the moviegoers, the Eden Bar crowd, and Enzian's garden views.
There's an $8.00 general admission for those who wish to watch the film. Tickets can be purchased at the box-office or online (recommended) @ All skills are welcome. Bring your sketchbook and sketching supply of your choice.
Invite your friends and family and anyone who likes to sketch, or to spend a quality morning at the Enzian!

11 AM to 4 PM Donations. Paws in the ParkLake Eola Park 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801, pet lovers from all over Central Florida will gather at beautiful Lake Eola to support Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s mission to educate, shelter, place, and heal pets and their families with compassionate, responsible care.
This community wide fundraising event provides support for the more than 8,000 homeless pets who will be cared for at our two shelters this year. 
Schedule of Events Stage Schedule
11am - Welcome and Memorial Bubble Release hosted by The Pet Loss Center
11:15am - Walk Start led by Commissioner Patty Sheehan and The Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band & Color Guard
12pm - Fundraising Awards
12:15pm - Best in Show Contest with Celebrity Judges
1:15pm - Dog & Owner Look-a-Like Contest
2:15pm - Best Dog Trick Contest
3:15pm - Sit & Stay Contest
3:30pm - Raffle Winners Announced
Ongoing throughout the day
Splash Dogs Dock Diving
Disney Kids and Family Zone
Canine Sports Arena
Lucky Dogs Lure Course
Food Trucks
Beer Garden featuring Tito's Vodka, beer from City Beverage and Barefoot Wines
Sign up, form a team and invite your friends and family to join us for a day filled with fun for everyone including, of course, your pets! Register and raise $75 or more and on event day, you'll receive a commemorative event t-shirt and a Pet Alliance dog bandana.
Top Fundraising Prize:
Four-Two Day Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World
Additional top fundraising prizes include:
Gift Baskets
Chefs Table for 8 at Earls at Mall at Millenia (includes appetizers, main course, dessert, cocktails, beer and wine).

Noon to 5 PM Free. Mennello Museum Indie folk Festival. The Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803.
The Indie-Folkfest presented by PLR Florida will  bring the community together again and showcase local, national and regional art, music and culinary talent.  The family-and pet-friendly event promises to be the biggest yet!
 This past February, we welcomed nearly 5,000 guests to the museum grounds for Indie-Folkfest 2017.  Guests enjoyed beautiful weather, local music, food, beverages and art.
This annual free event serves as a gift from the Museum’s City-Appointed Board of Trustees in an effort to promote local art and community. A portion of all proceeds benefit the Mennello Museum of American Art’s education and family-friendly programs.

Sunday February 11, 2018.
10 AM to Noon Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources.

1 PM to 3 PM Free. Hidden Medicine Class with John Two-Hawks. Christ Church Unity Orlando 771 W Holden Ave, Orlando, Florida 32839. Grammy® nominated recording artist and author John Two-Hawks is a victim and a survivor of child abuse. It has taken him 30 years to arrive at the place in his life where he could finally tell his story. His new book and CD is a revealing window into the inner sanctum of John's very personal life journey from severe child abuse to victorious triumph, and how the sacred ways of indigenous wisdom revealed a profound truth hidden within. John wrote the book and music with the hope that it would help others to bravely blaze a path through their heart to find their own Hidden Medicine. In this class/workshop, John Two-Hawks will share his inspirational insights about how to be fully liberated from hurt and empowered by what we find within. There are three phases of that journey, and the third is often not realized. John will share the pathway of all three, with an emphasis on how to take that final step. An enlightening and uplifting experience for all.
* learn how your experiences can be your vehicle to transform
* feel empowered through deep acceptance and Native wisdom
* learn to rise above past trauma and experience joy

1 PM to 4 PM $5 Film Slam. Enzian Theater, South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL. Film Slam continues to be a popular outlet for indie and student filmmakers throughout the State of Florida.
Film Slam will usually be held on the second Sunday of each month at 1PM at Enzian.
This month we've booked the craziest Film Slam line up of the year.
Experimental Films, Puppet Films, Art Films, Bartenders throwing bottles, Gangsters, a Music Video....this has to be the most amazingly eclectic line we've had for all of 2012.
Program starts at 1pm sharp.  Q and A with the filmmakers to follow screening.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Death Day Players.

Sunshine (Mallory Vance) of Phoenix Tears Productions, invited me to a dress rehearsal with an audience in Davenport Florida which is just west of Kissimmee. The Death Day Players offered an evening of fun and exciting interactive theater.  This acting troupe of ghosts  travels around performing the night of their death for living audiences. Audience members are invited to interact with the players as they take on characters from the Ghost of the Evening's death. For those just wishing to be onlookers, the amount of interaction is up to you. In my case, I quietly sketched the entire time. Miss Clara White (Michelle Jacqueline Papaycik) asked me about the digital tablet I was using to sketch. I explained that it was like drawing on paper, but the paper was behind glass. Being from the Edwardian era, she didn't understand. She gently poked the surface to feel the paper's surface and left quite confused.

The evening was a Valentines Part in Clara White's honor. Each ghost in the cast was from a different era. Sunshine was a flower child from the 60s. She spun under the ceiling fan in the center of the room enjoying her the way her dress billowed. Ghost Lord Ernest Bray was played by a modern day ghost with a leather jacket (Logan Blake). On slender woman in a black pants suit looked like she was from the 80s. An argument erupted between her and Lord Bray in the middle of the party. Everyone in the room listened. In this production, the audience is as much a part of the action as the cast. I would have discovered more about the story had I interacted and asked questions of each of the ghosts.

Clara's story takes place in England on the evening of Valentine's Day in 1907. Travel back to the Edwardian age of ragtime, horseless carriages, and courtship as the cast recreates the evening of Lord Ernest Bray's (Logan Blake) Valentines Party. All of the rich young ladies around have been invited to the party at the Bray Estate, Hensley Court, in hopes of finding Ernest a wealthy wife to save the failing estate. Enjoy the romance, courtships, and music as the events of the evening of Clara’s death unfold before your eyes. Was it a scheming sister who wants their inheritance for herself, a poorly treated maid, the very suitor vying for her hand and money, or a scorned lover? The clues will be there for you to find and decide for yourself who you think murdered Clara White.
The show runs Saturday Feb. 10th at 7pm. For Tickets CLICK HERE. Tickets are $15 online and at the door, Or take advantage of our Valentine's Special and buy two tickets for $20 online only.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Healing Sanctuary.

Tara Chiavetta offered free 15min healing sessions, and I went to sketch and then experience a session for myself. Barbara Gagliardi and fellow local healers were offering their services complimentary on a monthly basis so anyone could experience what healing work is. It was also an opportunity to meet the various healers around the area. In general it was a relaxing evening that opened horizons.

The sessions were designed to tune and balance your body allowing you to feel more relaxed, centered, and grounded. I sat in on the Rumi session before my own. One patron was under covers while the other was just reclined on the table clothed. The healers held their hands over each patron moving to different parts of their bodies without touching them. Crystal singing bowls were illuminated by a warm light making them glow. Celestial paintings adorned the walls.

My sessions begin with a five minute meditation. I had been invited to wear white or any other very light color as spirit works best with light colors. The other advantage visually is that white glows in the black light that illuminated the room. Tara asked me to imagine myself rooted to the earth. She described a glowing beam of energy radiating upwards into infinity. I later did a painting of what I visualized based on the meditation.

Then came my 15min table healing session. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what the healer might be doing. I sensed her presence but never quite knew what I should be feeling. I suspect like most things I was probably overthinking the experience to fully appreciate it. I was told that I have a violet aura.  Auras are vibrations of energy that are emitted from the body. They take on the form of a variety of colors, including orange, red, yellow, green, violet, blue and indigo. My violet aura implies that I am a person who is compassionate and calm. The other person had a full rainbow of auras, I couldn't over hear what that meant but it must be good.

The conceptual painting I did is on display at Dandelion Communitea Cafe (618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803) for two months. Stop out get some soothing tea and see Dreamscapes, art that is surrealistic, symbolic, or dream inspired. The show  is hung through April 1st. My piece is insanely cheap, because I have started pricing my prints at $1.62 per square inch. The show opening is tonight, February 7, 2018 starting at 7 PM to 10 PM.

Artists include:
Yeserly Garcia
Thomas Thorspecken
Anne Doyle
Timothy Morton
Veronika Rose
Adrienne H. Lee
Crystal Dombrosky
Cherie Dacko
Charis McCulley
Libby Smith
Lydia Bladen
Lisa Serendipity Simon
Susan Rayne Makky
Carol Makky
Mark Goffee
Andrea Marks
LUYA - Munira Grbic
Summer Meury
Chris Carr
Seema Valentin
Kevin Michael
Kyra Elizabeth
Jonah Cuenco
N.M. Dudack

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rogers Building Celebration.

I was hired to document a celebration at Avalon Island Gallery for Mr. Ford Kiene, chairman of City Beverages, who just donated the historic Rogers building to the City of Orlando under the condition it be used for the arts for the next 20 years. I worked a bit larger that I usually do in an 18 by 24 inch sketch pad. Earlier in the day I purchased a frame and cut a white mat on which people could share their thoughts and well wishes for Mr. Kiene. At the end of the evening, I framed this sketch in the mat and it was presented to him as thanks.

This celebration was well attended which made the sketch a challenge. When Mayor Buddy Dyer took to the podium, I was faced with a wall of backs. I stood on tip toe to get the sketch of him and Mr. Ford at the microphone. The mayor pointed out that it is rare for the city to receive such a donation. Built in 1886 by Englishman Gordon Rogers and investors, the iconic green tin sided building, which sits at the corner of Magnolia and Pine, will officially be renamed  the Rogers Kiene Building. When Mr. Kiene took to the microphone, he described the painstaking work that went into preserving the 1886 floor boards.

The building is now managed by the Downtown Arts District (DAD) but their management agreement only runs through June 30, 2018. Barbara Hartley, the DAD executive director said that the building will remain a hub for the arts. Patrick Greene, who oversees the gallery, hosts monthly cutting edge music sessions in the venue between the hanging of art shows. This, "Inbetween Series" brings experimental contemporary music to downtown. It is unclear if the venue will keep producing such edgy programs after June. I have sketched so often in this venue over the years, that I could easily compile a retrospective book that documents the arts events held here. Just sketching every day, I have seen far too many arts venues fall to the wayside. Hopefully the building will continue to further our city's efforts to expand our arts and culture scene.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 5, 2018

“Violectric Rocks OCSA” Benefit Concert For Osceola County School.

Violectric, the internationally acclaimed electric rock string quintet, plus keys and drums, rocked for a cause and performed a special benefit concert put on by the Thespian Troupe #6640 of the Osceola County School for the Arts in an effort to help them raise funds to be able to attend their annual state conference held in Tampa, FL. I went to the Osceola Performing Arts Center, (3151 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Kissimmee, 34744) to sketch the benefit concert. All proceeds raised from the show went directly to the students for the student trip.

Five years ago, Violectric hosted a workshop and concert at Osceola County School for the Arts and one of the violin students named Mohammed took a special interest in the emotions evoked during their performance. While at the mere age of 11-years-old, Mohammed Kahn had a fire lit beneath him and he began diligently working towards his goal. Now, years later, he is using all that he learned during Violectric’s workshop and his passion for show production to host the benefit show.

Formed in 2008, the accomplished members of Violectric have been performing in various groups, orchestras and together for over 20 years across the globe. Led by esteemed musician, violinist,  Michelle Jones, the group is a unique fusion of the passion and beauty of classical string instruments with the excitement of cutting-edge modern technology and effects. They are committed to music education offering programs throughout the United States and Asia including master classes and performances combining their unique sounds with student string groups, which they produce in partnership with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and School for the Arts as their artists in residence. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Memorial Task Force Potluck and Annual Review

A Task Force Potluck and Annual Review was held at Christ Church Unity Orlando (771 Holden Ave Orlando, FL 32839) in December of 2017. There were several posters at the front of the room that showed the design Dix Hite had proposed for an Interim Memorial, which helps to clean up the site and added some new landscaping. The interim memorial will provide areas to leave messages and will include seating, shade, lighting and trees. The iconic sign will be enhanced but not removed. A new fence will be placed around the perimeter of the nightclub itself, which will remain standing until a decision is made in the future regarding the permanent memorial design. The new fence has a section which allows visitors to see the damage to the building from the police breach of the wall on the evening of June 12, 2016. Much of the labor involved will be completed off-site and new elements will be installed at the site with minimal impact on the surrounding community.

The Task Force is working towards keeping the meetings inclusive. Pam Schwartz set up Zoom (a digital video conferencing system) which allowed distant survivors and families of victims access to the meeting. Many of the faces in the room were familiar and I was pleased to be seated at a table with Terence Hickey who was involved in the comfort dog program at Orlando Regional Medial Center after the shooting.

Results from the memorial survey sent out to families and survivors were complete and the results would be discussed at the next Task Force Meeting. The survey was set up to gauge what families and survivors felt they would like to have done at the site. The task force is still in its infancy and they are working towards completing their mission and vision statements for the future memorial and museum.

Nikole discussed the events planned for 2018. Town hall meetings would be held at regular intervals to keep everyone apprised of the progress moving forward. Also on the calendar are a Family Day, a Community Rainbow Run, the Annual Remembrance Ceremony and of course PRIDE. The Orlando One Pulse Task Force will also be involved in bringing the Laramie Project to Orlando.

The Laramie Project (2000) is a play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the reaction to the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members' own journal entries, and published news reports. It is divided into three acts, and eight actors portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes. The play will run June 1, to July 1 of 2018.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Viatnamese Tết Festival at the Orlando Fairgrounds.

(Thor) When Pam Schwartz and I arrived at the Tết Festival, I immediately sat down to sketch the preparations for the dragon dances. As a drummer and symbol set the beat, the acrobats practiced leaps and standing on each other's shoulders. They all put on bright green t-shirts and bright pants which matched the colors of the dragons. There was a blue, red and yellow dragon each. A red rope was hung from a bamboo tree with a red beam that had two red tassels. Long red strips were unrolled on the ground and each was tied up to the rope from the bamboo tree. At the top of everything were octagonal firecrackers. An electronic firing device was rigged up in a Tupperware and the fuses snaked to various places on the field. After rehearsing, the dragon dance performers told everyone gathered to go to the main hall to see the show on stage. Pam and Lesleyanne Drake went on a food tour as I sketched.

(Pam) While Tom sketched the fantastical dragon heads outside, Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps offered a free food tour at the Central Florida Fairgrounds during the 2018 Vietnamese Tết Celebration. He gave a small group of foodies a bit of background on Tết before taking us inside the food court. As we browsed from stand to stand he pointed out different dishes and Vietnamese specialties. I tried to pick up and remember each of the unique names as he said them, but it was nearly impossible through the roar of the main stage to our backs. From colorful gelatin desserts and fried banana cakes to pork on stick and a variety of delicious looking noodle soups, the stands were an absolute feast for the eyes.

Lesleyanne Drake and I, both incredibly passionate about food, began making a mental list of all the things we NEEDED to try before we were too full to go on. We began with a few light bites because we knew Tom could join us for the main course. The more friends you bring to a food fair, the better. You get to try more dishes at a lower cost and don’t fill up quite a fast as you would otherwise. It’s a win-win situation for all! The first thing we ate I had no anticipation of liking, was Chuoi chien, or fried bananas. It was light and crispy on the outside but warm and gooey on the inside. It was surprising because I really hadn’t planned to like it, I like bananas…just not things made from bananas. We also tried a pork skewer (there were just pans and pans of them all over the place) and egg rolls to start.

For the larger portions of our meal we divided and conquered, myself getting Mi Quang (a pork and prawn noodle soup with delicious chewy turmeric noodles, topped with peanuts and these incredible little sesame crackers that soaked up the broth and tasted delicious), Lesleyanne got Nam Vang (a Cambodian-Chinese inspired soup with assorted types of noodles, a quail’s egg, a little heat, and all sorts of fixings), and Tom focused on two types of pork, one from the north (the favorite choice) and one from the south, as well as a Bánh Tôm (a sweet potato and shrimp fritter). We were all surprised by how “airy” the fritter was. There were many MANY more things we wanted to try, but we will have to reserve those for next year. I grabbed a Cà phê sữa đá (coffee with sweetened condensed milk) and we all got a bag of Chuoi chien to go.

(Thor) As I tried dishes with Pam and Lesleyanne the dragons took to the main stage but their performance was brief. They were followed by groups of female dancers and then the Vietnamese national anthem and the United States national anthem. Everyone in the audience remained standing for a long ceremony for the ancestors. When we went outside there was a large crowd gathered where I had sketched before. It was time for the main dragon dance ceremony. The crowd surrounded the field. It was too crowded to see from my previous vantage point, so we went to the far side where the crowd was thinner.

The dragons came alive, with one acrobat in the head and one in the rump. A fourth dragon was animated by a group of acrobats with poles. It is the year of the dog, so an actor in a dog costume rudely sniffed and bumped the rumps of the dragons.

The fuses were lit and the entire field erupted with the rapid blaze of firecrackers. All of the red streamers were long lines of firecrackers wrapped in red paper. A huge plume of smoke engulfed us, and I could feel the hot shrapnel hitting me. We had misjudged the wind direction. We turned away from the smoke and many ran back for cover. Pam and I stood our ground squinting into the smoke. The rapid fire explosions seemed to last forever. Then they all lifted upwards towards the top of the bamboo tree. The silence afterwords was deafening. Then the dragons danced among the ruins looking down at the red carnage. They then broke free into the crowd and made their way back to the main stage. Our small group decided that we had seen enough for one day.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at