Monday, April 23, 2018

Jill's Cash Box at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Jill's Cash Box is a Country Band that performed on the lawn in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from 5 7 p.m. on  Saturday night in April. The lawn was surrounded by a temporary metal fence for the occasion. To get inside this free concert, I had to go through a metal detector and bag search. My art supplied always raise suspicions so it takes me a bit longer to get through. This concert was two months prior to the June 12, 2916 attack on the Pulse Nightclub that left 49 people dead and forever changed our city.

AT the time of this country concert I thought all the heightened security was crazy since less that 24 people attended the concert in their folding chairs. However now looking back after Pulse and the mass shooting in Las Vegas I see that this is the new reality. Perhaps this amount of security wasn't actually enough. I am in Las Vegas right now and once I finish this article I will be going to sketch the makeshift memorial set up by the Mandalay Bay Hotel. At that mass shooting the set up was very similar to this concert. There were security fences and bag checks to get into the concert but the entire field was exposed to the elevated rooms of the hotel across the street. This lawn in Orlando is also exposed to the Grand Bohemian hotel right across the street.

At the vigil held for victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in this same grass field, there were no fences, no bag checks and no metal detectors. Concerns that a copycat shooter might attack the candle light vigil must have been a very real concern but inclusion, acceptance and trusting love were far more over riding themes that night. I  found myself scanning roof tops and there were police snipers to be found. The new reality is that we can be shot by a gun toting lunatic at any time, and stripping down and being searched is not really any form of protection. In the Federal Courthouse, covering the Noor Salman Trial, I walked through the building holding my shoes, belt and possessions since I had to go through a second metal detector and search right outside the courtroom. Going to the bathroom required its own search. Security footage showed the gunman entered Pulse with his assault riffle up and ready to shoot . He walked right past security, entered the club and started immediately shooting people at point blank range.

Was Jill's Cash Box a good concert? I honestly don't remember. But it was certainly a more innocent time. One of the memorial phrases to come from the Las Vegas mass shooting is "Country Strong."

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

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