Thursday, October 31, 2019

Breaking Bad Poetry

This Breaking Bad Poetry Show was held in Troy Cunio's house which is an old bungalow.

There were performances from Breaking Bad Poets, Joy Stokes, Nathaniel C. Bek, Mata Dor, Leigh Fields, and Troy Cunio. Jazz guitarist Syoma Klochko accompanied many poets, adding to the hip vibe.

The event will preceded by a flash tattoo session by Bruce Lea. I decided to start my sketch of the tattoo session. Sine I started my sketch in the living room, I stayed there while the poets read in the dining room. Thankfully I could see the poets but I couldn't see the crowd listening. There was no cover, but authors had books, buttons, and other fun stuff for sale.

There will be a Halloween Poetry Slam Hosted by Lee Fields, at The Milk Bar Lounge (2424 E Robinson St, Orlando, Florida 32803). Happy Halloween! Come fright up the night with us as only poets can, with words! We'll be relaxing the rules as props are allowed, and an extra half point for all competitors in costume! We're also giving a half point for all Halloween related, spooky, or persona pieces. Come see spoken word performed live, feel art made in the moment, experience slam poetry for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Winner gets $50!

Special Event Rules
$5 to enter
No New Piece rule
3/5 judges scoring 0-10
Clean Slate
3:10 time limit (-1 per second over)
1st Round 15 poet cap
2nd Round 5 poets
All original content.
Props and costumes ARE ALLOWED
Poets who come in costume get a +.5 points added to their score
Poets who do pieces that are persona, Halloween, or spooky related get +.5 points.
Highest scoring poet at the end of the night is the winner!

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, October 30, 2019

Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is a professional golf tournament in Florida on the PGA Tour. It is played each March at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, a private golf resort owned since 1974 by Arnold Palmer in Bay Hill, a suburb southwest of Orlando. This was in my old stomping grounds. I used to walk or jog past this golf course all the time but this was my first time watching a tournament.

"Formerly the Bay Hill Invitational, the re-named Arnold Palmer Invitational bears a special aura in professional golf. The tournament, one of the premiere-event jewels on the PGA Tour, annually attracts one of the strongest fields of the season to one of the circuit's finest courses with the entire production overseen and directed by one of the game's all-time greats" - Arnold Palmer.

Large crowds follow their favorite golfer from hole to hole and some stake out a spot ahead of the pack to watch all the golfers on one particular hole. I decided that second option had to be my strategy to capture the crowd at one spot. I sat in the shade of a tree and got to work. The golfers are the tiniest of specks from this distance but I could tell if a putt was good or bad by the gasps from the audience.

This was my favorite spot because there was a nice water hazard and bleachers had been set up close to the hole. An anhinga aired his wings in the sun oblivious to the human activity around him. I didn't follow the scores. I don't know a birdie from a bogie, but I love the spectacle. It was an awesome day of people watching and sketching. Rory McIlroy gave an amazing performance on this day. You  have to admire this almost inhuman level of accuracy. He won a purse of  $8,900,00.

The next Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament will be March 2-8, 2019. Tickets are available online.

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, October 29, 2019

Commissioner Patty Sheehan

This post discusses the shooting that took place at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It contains difficult content, so please do not read on if you feel you may be effected. 

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously. 

Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan has just won her bid for re-election when her opponent dropped out of the race. I know her as a strong supporter of the Orlando arts scene and that was exemplified by the art decorating her office in City Hall. It was encouraging to see art by local artists that I admire, and of course Patty is also an artist.

In 2016 she also had just been re-elected and sworn in. She was working on an initiative using left over campaign funds to cut back on graffiti, there was a duplex ordinance in the works, and she was battling puppy mills. Then Pulse happened and everything shifted. When something that horrific happens there is so much to do. Someone can make less than a $700 investment and do millions of dollars in damage in minutes. No one should have that kind of power, but Orlando had to deal with the aftermath. There are so many things that you can never ever prepare for. No other city or any other community, should have to go through this. It was horrific.

Pulse was formerly an Italian restaurant. It was such a pretty club. Ron Legler, was Barbara Poma's partner at the time it opened. Ron loved theater, one room was like the Moulan Rouge, it had a huge chandelier, a dance floor, it was beautiful. Then there was a darker bar in the back, then you had this white room. There were planters and LEDs would change the entire color of the room, it was so cool. It was so theatrical and amazing. They remodeled it a couple of times since then. Barbara's brother had died of AIDS and that fueled Barbara's passion and why it was called Pulse. It is unfair that something so awful happened to someone who is so good. She had to deal with much of the anger from families.

On June 11, 2016 Patty remembered going for a walk, painting, it was a typical day, but Sunday morning June 12 will stand out for as long as she lives. Her phone was off and she got up around 7:30am to 8am that morning. She went to check her phone and she thought, "Damn, my phone is blowing up." Everybody was calling. Just then the phone rang, the house phone. It was Frank Billingsley the chief of staff. He said, "Are you sitting down?" He said "I don't know how to tell you this but 21 people have been shot at Pulse Nightclub." She relied, "No, no no, please tell me it is not the largest mass shooting. I'll be right down." She called Eddie, her police liaison. Eddie used to work off duty at Pulse. He had just stopped since he had other commitments on Sundays. Eddie picked her up. The car pulled right up to Kaley and Orange Avenue by Einstein Beagles. This was about 8:30am.

All the officers faces were ashen. It was very raw. She looked over and saw two people wrapped in tarps. Eddie didn't want her to see that. She looked down and saw the blood. There were places where people had fallen, and you could  tell they were dragged across the street. There were bullet casings and and she thought "Oh my God, this is Orange Avenue."  She looked down, and realized she was standing in blood. There was blood everywhere. She walked over near the club and saw Jim Young. He had been her police liaison for a few years, so they were close. She asked, "Where is Barbara?" he said,  "We don't know yet." She thought, "No, no, no." She thought Barbara the club owner was inside.

Mayor Buddy Dyer and several other commissioners went into a command center for an update. It was an air conditioned tent. They said 21 people had died at the time. They were really matter of fact about it and she was devastated. They didn't understand what she was going through. Thank god Eddie was there. She walked back out with Eddie and Jim, they were her safe emotional space. The governor was there and she just didn't want to deal with him. He had never been supportive of the LGBTQ community. Terry DeCarlo got there. She just hugged him. Pastor Kevin Cobaris came over and asked if he could prey with them. A picture of that moment went everywhere. Joe Burbank took that picture.

Later at a press conference they said 50 had died including the gunman in the count.  There was a hush. Media are usually always talking but everybody gasped. Media are usually don't react they are trying to be professional, but she remembered that audible gasp. Everybody was shocked. The  number was unbelievable. She just hugged Terry. So multiple politicians got up to speak and she thought , "No one had said the word, Gay, they didn't say Latino." So she got up there and said, "We are a gay lesbian, bisexual, transgender community and we are united. If you think you are going to destroy us you are not because we are a strong, resilient, decent, loving people. This is who we are." She was mad because she didn't want them to be erased.

Patty's phone blew up after her remarks. Everyone wanted to talk to her and a PR person stepped in to handle the deluge. She was told, "You need to be the voice of this, because others will take advantage and you are going to say the right things to help your community even if they are not." This became her roll. She started doing interviews. She was concerned about Barbara and found out that she had been in Mexico and she was coming back. Thank god she was not inside. But then she thought, she will be devastated that she wasn't there.

She remembered seeing Christine Leinonen who kept asking, Where is my son?" Patty could only relate "I didn't know, and that I'm sorry. It was so hot, and people were sitting on the sidewalks crying. They had nowhere to go. They were taken to the hotel but there was too much of a scene. People were just looking for their kids. That was so heartbreaking and there was no information yet. Finally they opened up the Beardall Center so they had somewhere to go, looking for some answer.

Then she would get shocked back into anger since CNN wanted to do an interview with Pam Bondi and Patty together. So Pam walked right up to her and said, "You know Patty we have to do something to help the LGBTQ community." Patty responded "I look forward to the change." She needed to  be diplomatic since State benefits were on the line and the families were going to need the funeral benefits. Patty was already set with a mic. She thought, "I can't do this." A producer walked up and asked if she was OK with doing the interview and she said no. The FBI brought resources, the State people brought resources, they were helping. As much some politicians did not help, Senator Bill Nelson was getting families visas and all the things that were needed. Not all families were here they had to come from other places.

Patty met Christopher Hanson on the street. She had seen him on the news. She told him he needed to go to the Center, to get help, there were counselors there. There was another young man, he came up to her between media interviews and said, "My friend is in my apartment and he has been shot. He is undocumented." She grabbed him by the arm and said, "You have to promise me, Immigration is not going to come, ICE is not going to come, promise me you will take your friend to the hospital." Stuff like that was heart breaking. Patty went from media tent to media tent. Her goal was to talk about the LGBTQ community, The Latin American community, the people of color who were impacted. She wanted to talk about victims and to get blood to the blood banks, and to raise money to help. Equality Florida had a Go Fund Me already in place. She wanted to be sure people gave to a trusted source. There were many scams afterwards.

She had been on the street from 8:30 in the morning until 11:30 that night. She stayed the next day all day as well. It was so hot. Her feet were burnt from the soles of her shoes. It was a frenzy. She finally got back to her office later that week. She expected a pile of complaints about the streets being closed, hundreds of people were being inconvenienced. There was only one complaint from a guy that hadn't bothered to renew his drivers license. Everyone else was offering help. There were people on the street with food. All these restaurants that were loosing business brought out food to all the people at the scene. Ace hardware was was cooking hot dogs for everybody on their grills. They were closed they lost thousands of dollars in business. The church put out drinks for everybody. We recharged our phones at the church and they put pastries and food out for everyone. Everyone was so kind. If there is a message to this, it is that love wins, that we all came together. You can never just turn the lights off, that says that darkness wins. You want to be a light to the world you want to show love. That is what Orlando did.

Equality Florida wanted to have the vigil right away. The city tried to discourage them for as long as they could, and they had the vigil that following Monday. Patty wasn't even planning to go. She was honestly mad at them because they still had officers on the street. There were so many resources that were needed elsewhere. She decided to go just to find Eddie because there were just no cops. Should something happen she wanted to be there with Eddie to help protect people. She wasn't planning to go on stage but when she walked up, people were clapping and she was overwhelmed. She didn't feel worthy of the applause, because they had died. People told her she did a good job but it wasn't about her getting attention, it was about the 49 it was the worst moment of her life. She doesn't remember what she said. Everything said those first 4 or 5 days was all off the cuff. She wanted to tell the story of Orlando, many people have this idea of Orlando being the theme parks, but we have a downtown. As mad as she was at Equality Florida it was a beautiful thing that happened. She remembered the bells ringing 49 times. She approached a news cameraman and asked how long it took to ring the bells 49 times. It took eight and half minutes. An eternity.

Patty lost half her friends to AIDS between the age of 25 and 30. she dealt with some horrific things in her life, but it prepared her so she could be on that street to try and help those families.  Don Price put aside 49 cemetery plots at Greenwood Cemetery in case they were needed. There was a family with a divorce, and the dad took all the money and he buried his son in a paupers cemetery. So they are trying to get him back to Orlando but he has to be cremated and they are Catholic, there are all these issues.  It is still going on. It was great of the hospital to forgive the bills. But there is continuing care. The money raised by the one fund was enough to bury victims but it wasn't enough to help the most horrifically wounded victims. There are about ten of them that have injuries that are going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Patty has become friends with a lot of the survivors. They are amazing, beautiful, loving, and forgiving people. They did not deserve what happened to them. Many people have moved on. One survivor went to work and sat down and the incision in his stomach opened up. He doesn't get to move on. We are still healing from Pulse. We are probably never going to be the same.

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, October 28, 2019

Parkland Collection Effort Townhall Meeting

On Valentines Day, February 14, 2018 a student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida and began a shooting that killed 17 people and wounded 14 others. In March almost one month after the shooting Jeff Schwartz from the Parkland Historical Society invited Pam Schwartz from the Orange County Regional History Center went to Parkland to give advise on how items left at the Parkland Memorial might be collected and archived.  Several memorials had formed in Parkland following the shooting. One was at the high school along the fence that ran along the road in front of the school and another at the main stage at Pine Trails Park. An event was planned for the park so the memorials needed to be removed. A similar situation was faced in Orlando following the Pulse shooting in that makeshift memorials at Lake Eola had to be removed because of July 4th fireworks the following month.

The Parkland Historical Society is a small organization so they did not have the same resources that the Orange County Regional History Center had in Orlando. Instead of trained museum staff they needed rely on volunteers to collect and store memorial items. Pam offered practical advice on how to collect and preserve. A City hall employee took notes and a discussion began on the best practical approaches. Emotions ran high at the meeting since there is no one right answer about what is best for the community.

Volunteers dismantled the makeshift memorials on March 28, 2018. They took away the 17 white crosses and Jewish stars bearing the names of the students and faculty killed in the Valentine's Day shooting. At this City Hall meeting it was decided that it made sense for students, parents, and friends and family of victims, to take part in the effort. Teddy bears, posters, and hand written letters and poems were stored in cardboard boxes. They went to climate controlled storage at Florida Atlantic University and will be saved so that 100 years from now the memories will always remain alive.

Zachary Knudson, a sculptor who has done several public works of art and memorials, teamed up with other volunteers to donate their time and resources in planning a permanent tribute. There was talk among Parkland Historical Society members of vacuum sealing some memorial tribute items inside a glass container. However humidity and the intense Florida Sun make even vacuum sealed items impractical to preserve. This sculpture proposed by Zackery is more like a 15 foot tall prism or stained glass sculpture. Kevin Roth, the CEO of the Vistaglass Direct, a glass fabrication company is donating glass for the project. There have been talks of possibly placing the sculpture at Stoneman Douglass High School.

On February 14, 2019, one year after the shooting the community gathered at Pine Trails Park (10559 Trails End, Parkland, FL 33076) to remember and honor the 17 victims with a moment of silence. The City also hosted a brief Interfaith ceremony for the community. The park was be open both before and after the ceremony. Therapy dogs and counselors were be onsite throughout the day. In lieu of mementos, cards, flowers, pictures, or other such expressions of condolences, people were asked to bring a canned food items to support efforts as a day of service.

The Legislature passed a package to address school safety in wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the package included $1 million for a permanent memorial to the 17 victims at the high school in northwestern Broward County.

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, October 27, 2019

Story Club: What a Mess

Orlando Story Club is a live storytelling competition which takes place at The Abbey in downtown Orlando. Anyone can enter by putting their name in the story hat, where 10 names are randomly selected to compete. Each storyteller is given five minutes to impress the audience and the top three tellers take home prizes. All proceeds benefit local charities. It’s a night of laughter, fun, and connection!

Judges are randomly selected from the audience and special story prizes are awarded at the end of the evening. Other audience participation opportunities abound.

I enjoy sketching knowing I will have only five minutes to catch one of the competitors. Despite that challenge I enjoy pushing the sketch to a finish as best as possible. These are everyday stories from peoples lives and you never know how strange, surreal or common a story might be. Most tug at my heart strings since we all are making it through this game of life together, despite the challenges and setbacks.

At specific events around town, Danielle Ziss and Bobby Wesley set up a story wall. Event attendees fill out note cards with “one-liners” – short stories that fit with the story themes. One-liners can be as short as a word or as long as the note card allows. It is a fun way for audiences to participate in Orlando Story Club, even if they haven’t attended a show!

One-liners are a huge part of Orlando Story Club live shows. Between each randomly selected storyteller, our hosts read the one-liners to the audience. They are completely anonymous and fit with the selected theme of the evening, allowing all storytellers and story listeners a chance to participate.

Example one-liner:
Theme: What a Mess!
I woke up to find my toddler holding a pair of scissors and a handful of hair. It was my hair. Who knew I could pull off bangs?

The next Orlando Story Club: Best of 2019, Homecoming, will be on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 7 PM – 9:30 PM at The Abbey (100 S Eola Drive, Suite 100, Orlando, Florida 32801). Tickets are $5.

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, October 26, 2019

Call Responders Audrey Davidson and Evalyn Casper

This post discusses the shooting that took place at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It contains difficult content, so please do not read on if you feel you may be effected. 

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewees. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously. 

Audrey Davidson stated that, training to become a 911 operator took five weeks followed with on the floor training for three months. Over 1000 hours of training were involved. She was a 911 operator when Pulse happened. Evalyn Casper used to watch Rescue 911 as a child religiously so growing up she thought 911 operators were pretty cool. She knew someone at the sheriffs office and they suggested she apply. Milestones in her career always seem to surrounded big events. She was hired at the sheriffs office on September 11, 2002 one year after the attack on the World Trade Center. She liked that this job allowed her to really apply herself and work her way up. All the training was offered on a platter. She was hungry for everything taking every course offered. She started training others. On June 12, 2017 she was promoted as supervisor on year after the Pulse shooting.

Being a 911operator is a stressful job. The highest stress comes when operators are inundated with a high volume of calls.  Everyone has cell phones now, so that even a back up on I-4 can generate a huge number of calls that can shut them down. An operator is supposed to systematically treat each call the same. When there are so many calls rolling it it becomes difficult. Even if you had 300 calls about the same incident you still have to process it like it is a new call. The next call might be the one that saves a life.

The day before Pulse they worked a similar overnight shift from about, 6:30pm to 6:30am. Evalyn was training a guy, it was his third day, so she was on the 911 desk. She let her trainee know that Saturday nights can get a little crazy. She advised her trainee that if things got fast paced she would move him over so she could process the calls faster. Everyone has a cell phone, and everybody is a witness so they could get flooded with calls. Most calls are verbal arguments and batteries.

Typically with a shooting there is a spurt of calls and usually the police are there within minutes. People see the lights and sirens and the calls stop. Most who call haven't seen the incident as it happened. A 911 Operators questioning is very limited. First get the address, get the suspect description, see if the suspect is still there. The police make sure the scene is clear for fire and rescue to come in.

Audrey said that on June 12, 2016, the phones were ringing off the hook.  The fist call she got was from a guy that said, "There was a shooting at Pulse." Pulse is not in Orange County Sheriff's jurisdiction, it is in Orlando Police Department's jurisdiction. So she transferred him over to Orlando Police. While she was waiting for Orlando Police to pick up, she thought to herself, "Pulse is a really weird place for a shooting. Pulse is just not the kind of place where a shooting would happen." The call rang back into their com center. When OPDs phones get overwhelmed their calls all roll over to the Sheriffs call center. Their lines were overwhelmed so calls sent to them just bounced back with other another Sheriff's operator picking up. The first time she realized it was an active shooter was when a supervisor stood up and told everyone, "There is an active shooter at Pulse." Information needed to be picked up for every call, then move on to the next call. All the calls blurred together, "Do you have any information you can tell us? Can you tell where he is? Can you tell me what he looks like? If they said, no, the caller would be told that Sheriffs were on the way and the operator had to move on to the next call.

One call stood out for Audrey.  A woman was calling from a 7-11 in the heart of OPD jurisdiction. She was calling about a man who was drunk outside of her store. Obviously the operators had bigger problems at the time. Her information was gathered, what he looked like what he was doing. Audrey had to inform her that they were responding to a very large scale incident at the time. She told the woman to lock the door if he was outside. The very next call was from someone inside the bathroom at Pulse. Operators were informed to collect information and then hang up the phone, but she couldn't hang up the phone on someone who was dying in a bathroom. He was someone she could have known. That could have been her, she had been to that nightclub. While talking to him, she started crying. She told him, "I'm sorry this happened to you." She just wanted him to know that someone cared about what happened to him. She couldn't get his name because he was whispering and the shooter was in the bathroom. It was hard. She stayed on the phone until it went silent. The call was maybe a couple off minutes but it felt like an eternity.

911 operators talk to people all the time who are very hysterical and have been in horrible situations, who have been shot, but the reality is they never speak to someone who is dying. Usually it is other people calling in. That call from the Pulse bathroom was difficult. She is glad she got a chance to let him know she cared. But it was the worst day of her life. It was the worst day for many people. It was hard.  Many family members were calling in wanting to know about their loved ones. A list was started of family names and phone numbers so families could be contacted if needed.  But they still didn't know how many people were in the nightclub. About 4am the calls started dying off. On a short break, Evelyn called some friends to make sure they were OK. On the beak it all seemed surreal. It was so big, it was hard to process what had just happened. They were still in this limbo of not knowing the official count. They had to go back to their desks and start taking other calls until the shift was over at 6am.

Evalyn remembered that for two solid hours, no one took a break. There are 15 lines. Nobody got off the phones, no one broke down and left. It was upsetting, but everyone kept processing the calls. Usually when an operator takes a difficult call they can walk off the floor for a bit and regain their composure, but there just wasn't time. All the calls were coming from a particular cell tower on Esther Street. So they all knew that all the calls were related. Evalyn took over for her trainee. The first call was from Duncan Donuts, They claimed that a shot came through their glass or they were hearing shooting. That call was transferred to OPD. All the circuits were busy. The next call was a mom, who was hysterical, wanting to know where her son was. She could not help her. She just wanted to stay on the phone and cry, but she couldn't. The next call was a guy hiding in a closet inside Pulse, he kept saying, "Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?"  The guy Evalyn was speaking to was whispering. He was in the upstairs closet. She told him "Just stay were you are. Don't move, don't move, don't move." What else could she tell him? There is no script.

Many were worried it would take some time to get inside. In reality compared to normal it took them very little time. Afterwards they found out what happened. At the time they didn't have any information to give people. All they could say was, "We are there, we are coming, we are going to help you." There had never been a active shooter in Orlando on that scale.  There is no protocol. Hang ups were not called back which they usually do. There were too many calls. They had to change their gears and triage things themselves. 400 hours of training stipulate that operators should stay on a call in an emergency situation until deputies arrive and are with the caller. But no call that night could be completed in that way. That left operators having to hang up the phone.

While Audrey cried, Evalyn remembered shaking uncontrollably. The adrenaline was running through her. She tried to make herself stop shaking but that made it worse. Despite this, she kept typing, and talking. She was on auto pilot. After their shift was over they had a debriefing. The critical incident stress management team came in and everyone talked about what just happened. It was quiet and surreal. Everyone felt numb. They stressed that it was alright open up to the feelings that would come. They shouldn't mask anything or hide anything. There were people crying. Management also advised them to not watch the news.

When Evalyn got home she texted her mom who was asleep. "You are going to see something on the news, we worked this call, we are OK." Around 7am they fell asleep. When they got up the next day for the next shift, they found out that a lot more people than they thought had been killed in the club. Evalyn woke up to about 27 missed calls. They didn't go in to work the next day. They started seeing just how many people had been shot and the reality sank in. They were angry.

They went to the vigil at Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. It felt good to be out in the community. It was somber, but also it was good to see that everyone was together. There was a feeling of collective support. The shooting directly affected everyone in that we are all Orange County citizens, not everyone was from the LGBT community but they were still there. Muslims, Hispanics, Pastors, all gathered together. It seemed that everyone came and converged into Orlando from other parts of the country. Then the church bells rang 49 times. That was brutal. That was probably the worst feeling listening to that. They went back to work the following Thursday still feeling a bit angry.

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance. It was like a circus. Many wanted to reach out and congratulate them, thank them for their service. Politician, Rick Scott, went to their com center walking around while they were taking calls. Audrey couldn't shake his hand, she was so mad. There was no sense of normalcy. For the longest time they were getting recognition. It felt like they were getting too much attention. While they shook Rick Scott's hand, HR was telling them that they would have to have therapy. They were required to go to 3 sessions of therapy with a psychologist. Its not just about the trauma of the shooting but everything else bubbled to the surface. They gave different ways of coping, like grounding yourself. Mainly they said, "Don't beat yourself up for feeling the way you do."

At the one year remembrance at Lake Eola, they got to hug the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They saw the Mural that was painted. They sang and then the angels came out and then they announced the names again. It was cool to see the families cheering when their loved one's name was called. They recently stopped by the Pulse temporary memorial and walked around. They cried when they saw the breech in the wall, from the swat team, it was surreal to see how they it was showcased. It suggested that this how lives were saved but this is also how it all ended.

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, October 25, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 26 and 27, 2019

Saturday October 26, 2019
10am to 6pm Free. 14th Annual Central Florida Veg Fest. Festival Park, 2911 E Robinson St, Orlando, FL. . Central Florida Veg Fest is an exciting day of colorful and educational exhibits and activities! Veg Fest is a family-friendly, dog-friendly, alcohol-free, and smoke-free event. Veg Fest, now in its 14th year, is one of the biggest and best vegan festivals in the country!
Central Florida Veg Fest will draw both committed vegetarians/vegans and those who want to learn more about how veg-living enhances our health, the planet, and its inhabitants. Come enjoy a diverse cross-section of vegetarian cuisines and lifestyles. Discover new products and ideas from over 200 vendors and 100 contributors and enjoy a wide variety of presentations and food preparation demos. Not a vegetarian? Whether you're looking for new ideas to add color and variety to your meals or you're a "seasoned" vegetarian interested in expanding your knowledge of nutritious and ethical foods, this is the place for you. Please RSVP on the Veg Fest event page and join the Veg Fest community page for regular updates about the event. And please share these pages with your family and friends.

10am to 4pm Free. Sanford Farmers Market. First and Magnolia Sanford Fl.  

8pm to 10pm Free but get a drink or 2 and enjoy. Music Mount Dora. One Flight Up 440 N  Donnelly Street, Mount Dora FL.

Sunday October 27, 2019 
9:30am to 10pm Members $225 Non-members $275. Crealde Urban Sketching Class. First of 6 Urban Sketching classes taught by myself. Learn to sketch from subject to the environment. Classroom sessions will focus on sketching clothed models and progress towards sketching the model and classroom environment. Learn how to incorporate storytelling into your sketches in our location sessions. These trips to local venues will challenge you to use your sketchbook the way a photojournalist uses a camera. The six-week goal is to produce finished sketches using pencil, pen, and watercolor within two hours. Skill level: Intermediate
6 week class.
Thomas Thorspecken (Thor) studied animation and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He worked for ten years at Walt Disney Feature Animation. In 2009 he made a new year's resolution to do one sketch a day and share it with a worldwide community of urban sketchers through his online site Analog Artist Digital World
Suggested supplies:

  • #2 pencil with an eraser
  • 05 and 08 micron pens
  • Stillman and Birn 9 x 12 inch spiral bound sketchbook (Alpha or Epsion series)
  • Travel sized watercolor pallet (mine is a Windsor Newton with 14 color pans)
  • Pentel water brush (water goes in the handle)
  • Black Prismacolor pencil
  • Compact artist stool

  • Noon to 2pm Free. Bobby Koelble Presents Jazz in the Garden. Mead Botanical Garden 1300 S Denning Dr, Winter Park, FL.  Join us as we enjoy an afternoon of electric Jazz music, tasty food, craft cocktails, and shopping in a beautiful, serene setting all while helping to benefit Mead Botanical Garden.
    The shows, that will fall on the last Sunday of the month from September thru November, will consist of world class musicians performing a collection of your favorite Jazz standards with a twist.
    October's concert will include two bands. The first being The Bobby Koelble Quartet featuring Michelle Mailhot playing from noon till 2pm followed by legendary Hall and Oats Saxaphonist "Mr Casual" Charlie Dechant and The Kings.
    November's concert will include an opening band (TBD) from noon till 2pm followed by the Music of Charlie Parker and Django Reinhardt performed by Bobby Koelble, Jeff Rupert and a cast of top notch musicians. 

    There will be food and beverages available for purchase, a shopping area curated by Suzette's One Of A Kind Finds, as well as a limited number of VIP passes which will include an Italian lunch buffet catered by Bites and Bubbles and VIP restrooms.

    10pm to Midnight Free but get a coffee or bite. 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, October 24, 2019

    IMMERSE: The Art of Athleticism

    Pam Schwartz and I explored IMMERSE on Friday night. We started at the north end and walked our way down Orange Avenue towards the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The first stage had a monumental Red Bull truck parked behind the stage pumping out the tunes. Red Bull BC One Cypher dance performances didn't start until 7pm so we continued on our way south. In the former entry to City Arts Factory, Ha'Ani Hogan had set up a tall wall of paper flowers which made a great photo backdrop. A mom was photographing her son as we walked by. Quite a few artists were working on free standing 6 foot tall walls creating murals.

    The next block had the large Massey Stage with an exuberant dance company which I believe was the LMHS Unity Step Team.   As we walked behind the stage the dancers moved to the loud drum beats of The Mood Designers. I noticed a volcano belching flames and smoke a block further south so we kept moving forward. The volcano seemed like it should make a good sketch subject but it was fenced off on all sides, keeping any people out of the scene and possible sketch. Since I had sketched Architect of Air the day before we headed that way. An aerialist was spinning on some silks in front of City Hall but it seemed like a rehearsal not drawing any crowds as of yet.

    I had sketched the inflatable structure that housed The Art of Athleticism the year before but noting was happening inside. There fore I was extra curious to see what it was all about this year. When we entered we saw a crowd of people dancing in front of a large screen. Each persons silhouette could be seen on the screen in bright colors like orange and blue. When they moved their arms, arcs of brilliant blue, orange and magenta would be drawn on the screen following their moves. If they moved fast enough blue sparks would shoot across the screen along with vibrant yellow splatters. This was a great opportunity to people watch. Most adults lost interest rather fast but the young at heart and kids could be entertained for an  extended time. As I sketched Pam watched the Dr Phillips Stage which had a Raymi Dance Company. She had never seen anything like it so I was a bit sad that I didn't catch that performance. When I finished the sketch the Orlando Ballet was performing a lively modern dance routing along with fast paced turn of the century french tunes. Robert Hill has done an amazing job of transforming the dance company so that they appeal to a younger audience. There was sass and attitude that I loved. Vampires ball is coming up at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the ballet director let the crowd know that it is a show not to be missed.

    It was dark by the time my sketch was done so we explored Immerse by waling our way back north, seeing each staging area a second time but now in the romantic mysterious night. Between Jackson and Church streets, there was a black structure covered with chalk drawings done by everyone passing by. Every square inch was covered in brightly colored chalk drawing. Inside was a series of rooms that were intending to explore the senses. The first room smelled like a camp fire. We ducked under a black cloak into the next room that was filled with sounds. Another room was covered in mirrors and had bright Chinese lanterns. Then a final room had spices, fruits and various farmers market items each of which could be touched.

    We waited for a dance performance to begin at the Church street stage but there were technical difficulties that kept the dancers just stretching on the stage. Further down Church street there were several areas set up like live TV recording studios. A band was set up and playing really loud so the broadcasts must have been on hold. A narrow alley way was set up with collages by Christie McLennan that seemed to be a statement about pop culture. Butterflies spread their wings and took flight from this collage world spreading up the walls. The title of this piece was Wasteland. Despite spending several hours exploring IMMERSE, I know we only got to see and experience a fraction of what was there.

    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, October 23, 2019

    Architects of Air at Immerse

    This huge Luminaria appeared on the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Seneff Plaza for this year's Immerse. To me it looked like an odd space craft had landed or it looked like a spiked Madonna of Katie Perry outfit. Regardless they were colored like bright balloons. Since 1992 more than 3 million visitors in over 40 countries across 5 continents have been welcomed into Architects of Air’s monumental Luminaria, immersed in radiant color that comes simply from daylight shining through the fabric.

    Designed by company founder Alan Parkinson, the Luminaria is inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, Islamic and Gothic architecture. Each new creation is a maze of winding paths and inspiring domes where the visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss. Each section consists of opaque area and then translucent area that act like stained glass that glows bright in the strong Florida Sun. I imaging the set up must have resembled the raising of a circus tent.

    I went to a media soft opening a few days before Immerse opened. I assumed that the plastic might not be conducive to the legs of my artist stool, So I sketched the domes from across the street. Media crowed into the yellow entry staging area and they each had to take off their shows and put them in racks for safe keeping while they explored inside. The various room structures seem to be zippered together like a sleeping bag. The media crowds had dispersed so I got to wander around inside with on crowds to add any sense of claustrophobia. Air conditioned air was pumped in to keep the structures full and comfortable. The round halls connected the various larger rooms in flowing lines and bright light. It was tempting to just sit and relax and read a book but I knew that the preview was drawing to a close.

    I quickly found myself disoriented and decided to keep turning left figuring it would lead me back to the room I entered.  I didn't recognize the entry room but  the attendant opened a portal to let me back out into the real world. The attendants outside wanted to see my sketch and were appreciative of my efforts. I later earned that a ticket to wander inside cost $20, so I am more grateful for the chance to experience this structure firsthand. Should Architects of Air ever return I hope to allow time to sketch inside to capture people as they are mesmerized by the light and color of this organic flowing space.

    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, October 22, 2019

    Tasty Tuesdays

    A rotating roster of the best food trucks in Orlando gather in the back parking lots of The Milk Bar-Etoile Boutique, Spacebar-Sandwich Bar, and The Nook every Tuesday night. The entrance to the parking lot is between the Iron Cow and C and C Dental Lab in The Milk District on Robinson Street, east of Bumby, right across from the T.G. Lee Milk Factory. A new mural of cows is going up on the T.G. Lee. It seems the Milk District is doing some good work to revitalize this neighborhood.

    Pam Schwartz looked for a deal among the food trucks while I worked on this sketch of glass blowers who were demonstrating their craft. We were there a bit late since we came from another event. Unfortunately the lines were really long and by the time Pam got to the front of any of the lines she was in, the food truck was out of the item she wanted to try. She decided to get me a shrimp quesadilla...which they didn't have the sauce or most of the toppings for, and decided she would pass.This has happened before. I don't understand why food trucks can not stock adequately to meet demand at these types of events especially when they do it every week.

    The two glass blowers were working beside 2422 East Robinson Street, which I  believe was a smoke shop. The beads of glass glowed like a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere. A full moon added to the atmosphere.

    Tasty Tuesdays is in the Milk District every Tuesday night from 6:30 - 10pm. Go early or you might not get to eat.

    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, October 21, 2019

    Black Bottom House of Prayer Historic Preservation Dinner

    Pastor Dana "Action" Jackson has a dream. The Black Bottom House of Prayer (921 Bentley St Orlando Fl) has been abandoned for years, falling into disrepair to the point that the the red-tiled roof leaks and needs to be replaced. Once the roof is replaced then renovation can begin inside.

    In 1916 a few black families settled in an area of Orlando called Black Bottom. The name came from the fact that when it rained, water settled and remained for so long that residents had to use canoes for transportation. Before the church was built families worshiped in neighborhood homes.

    Construction of the church began in 1925 and was financed through a stock purchase from the Orange County Building and Loan Association. Thirty shares were purchased at $100 per share, for a total of $3,000. It was designed in the popular Spanish Mission Style with exterior stucco finish, arched doorways, and casement windows. The thick brick and stucco walls were thought to have a cooling effect in the Florida sun in the days before air conditioning. The building, now 92 years old, is possibly the oldest church building in Orlando's black community.

    Action Jackson fought hard and won to approve the building for historic preservation. Once that designation is established, guidelines prohibit the property from being destroyed. She is now praying for the community’s support in restoring the church. Normal wear and tear over the past 92 years have taken their toll, but Jackson’s most immediate focus is on securing help in replacing the roof over the sanctuary. “Estimates to complete the renovation come in at around $250,000,” Jackson said. “It’s a large, but not impossible amount to raise. We welcome angelic underwriting and favor.”

    Pam Schwartz was invited to speak at a fundraiser for the renovations and I joined her to sketch the occasion. Evangelist Patricia A. Akshabazz presided. There was an invocation and then commissioner Regina Hill of District 5 welcomed everyone. In the midst of one dignitary's praise for the project Dana and the crowd burst into dance and song. Joy and exuberance rushed through the crowd as they celebrated to raise the roof!

    Takeriya and Queen, who are action Jackson's grand daughters, bravely gave a dance routine involving twirling batons called Miracle Worker, by Youthful Praise and JJ Harston. They faltered a bit but members of the congregation got up to dance with them and coach them to the finale. Pam spoke about the importance of preserving history and how the Orange Regional County History Center is working to preserve everyone's story. After a blessing of the food, each table got up in turn to load their plates with a chicken, macaroni, collared greens, and corn bread dinner. 

    A basket appeared on the stage and everyone was encouraged to donate towards the $250,000 goal for the roof repair. Checks can be made at Chase Bank to the following account, ASPAP Law PLLC IOLTA Account - 3883990897. The memo section of the check should mention Black Bottom House of Prayer. Donations may be sent to The Black Bottom House of Prayer, PO Box 547882, Orlando, FL 32854. If any information is needed call 407-285-0415. Considering a billion dollars was raised to help rebuild Notre Dame after its fire, it seems reasonable to hope that enough can be raised to help put a new roof on this Orlando historic gem. Action Jackson hopes to restore the the building as a place of healing, help, and hope for Orlando's Parramore community.

    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, October 20, 2019

    Career Fair

    I head out to Career Fairs periodically since I need a full time job to help make ends meet. This one was at Four Points by Sheraton (5905 International Drive, Orlando, FL.) The invite stressed that it was FREE to Job Seekers.

    It was billed as a great opportunity to meet local, regional, and Fortune 500 Companies with immediate job openings in your area. Their events are open to executive level experienced professionals as well as entry level and recent college graduates. This was your chance to meet directly with hiring managers! Participants were encouraged to register so that companies can review your resume prior to attending the career fair.

    Many career opportunities included the following:
        Base salary plus commission
        Flexible schedule
        Opportunity for advancement
        Car/Gas allowance
        Health care
        Stock Options
        Retirement Plans
        Sales Awards/Bonuses/Trips

    Participants were encouraged to bring updated crisp resumes to the fair, prepare to interview on the spot, dress to impress, professional attire was required.

    As I entered, an older gentleman was exiting and told me to not even bother going in. He said that only commission jobs were available. Since my primary concern was to get a decent sketch, I went in anyway. The day did not result in any amazing career opportunities, but you never know.

    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, October 19, 2019

    Donut Central & Fuelpresso

    I am always on the hunt for fun places to bring my Crealde School of Art students on our urban sketching outings. We sketched a car show in the parking lot outside Donut Central and Fuelpresso (495 N Semoran Blvd Unit 1, Winter Park, FL 32792) and the owner invited us to sketch inside, so the following week we stopped inside for some donuts and sketching. I ordered some caffeine and a round shaped sugar bomb and got to work as my students sketched. I kept my sketch simple, knowing I would be going to each student to offer suggestion on composition, line value, and color. The sugar rush kept my lines flowing quickly.

    Staff and locals seemed to congregate together at the central table and I was quite taken by the giant teddy bear in the corner of the room. Much of the purpose of the course is to get students comfortable with the idea of sketching in public. Venues we go to are friendly and supportive of the arts. This place is a real gem and my students created some stunning sketches. My hope is that they will continue to sketch each day and share their work with the world.

    My next Urban Sketching, Tips and Techniques class starts Sunday, October 27, 2019 and runs for 6 consecutive weeks on each Sunday from 9:30an to 12:30pm. The cost is $275 for 6 classes.
    We learn to sketch from subject to the environment. Classroom sessions focus on sketching clothed models and progress towards sketching the model and classroom environment. Students learn how to incorporate storytelling into sketches in the location sessions. These trips to local venues will challenge you to use your sketchbook the way a photojournalist uses a camera. The six-week goal is to produce finished sketches using pencil, pen, and watercolor within two hours. See the online course description and sign up if you are interested.
    Skill level: Intermediate

    Suggested Supplies:
    #2 pencil with an eraser.
    05 and 08 micron pens.
    Stillman and Birn 9 x 12 inch spiral bound sketchbook (Alpha or Epsion series).
    Travel sized watercolor pallet (mine is a Windsor Newton with 14 color pans)
    Pentel water brush (water goes in the handle)
    Black Prismacolor pencil
    Compact artist stool

    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, October 18, 2019

    Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 19 and 20, 2019

    Saturday October 19, 2019
    All day. $18.85 Architects of Air Immerse. Dr. Phillips Center Lawn, Downtown Orlando. Through October 27, 2019.

    10am-1pm Free. Young Artists Urban Sketching Workshop Ink and Twig: Sketching Brutalist Architecture. Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd, Orlando, FL.  
    Learn to sketch with only ink and twig to capture the Brutalist ”raw” architectural style of
    The Orlando Public Library. This workshop is part of the Young Artist Workshop series
    sponsored by Orange County Regional History Center and Urban Sketchers Orlando.
    Workshop includes admission to Orange County Regional History Center, tour of the
    exhibit: The Accidental Historian, and materials.
    Learn more & register. Instructors: Art Esteban and Gay Geiger.

    7pm to 9pm Free. The Orlando Shuffle. Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. The Orlando Shuffle is always free, family-friendly, and fun. It takes place the 1st and 3rd Saturdays every month. Come play, learn, or just hangout. Retro attire is encouraged.

    Sunday October 20, 2019
    10am 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. 

    11am to noon. $5 Yoga. Lake Eola near red gazebo. 

    Noon to 3pm Donation based. Music at the Casa. George Grosman. 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 to listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

    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, October 17, 2019

    25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

    Winner of a Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

    An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of outlandish words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! The losers get a juice box. A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius!

    From the start I was rooting for a young girl who hoped her father would come to the bee, but he never showed. Her love of words and bravery to be a part of the bee despite not having the $25 entry fee won my heart. One boisterous kid made his own outfits and had a cape shaped like a leaf. A rigid straight-faced young asian girl spelled each word with absolute surety, but realized she was not really living her childhood and misspelled a word on propose feeling absolute joy in the defiant act. Another young speller had a magic foot that he used to trace out the spelling of the word on the stage before him. There is something very fun about watching actors relive their childhoods.

    I was laughing the whole time. I am not the greatest speller. Vowels seem to blend together for me and subtle spelling rules are a mystery to me other than, "I before E except after C." Every article I write must have at least 5 spelling mistakes and I just hope the computer spell check, or Pam, can keep things from getting too weird.

    Tonight is the last performance. Stop out and see this show if you love to laugh. I left feeling elated and ready to take on life's next challenge. This was a fun night of theater.

    Tickets are $25 to $35. Tonight's performance is at 8pm at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 445 S. Magnolia Avenue Orlando, FL 32801.

    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, October 16, 2019

    Bryan Fulwider: Faith After Pulse

    This post discusses the shooting that took place at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It contains difficult content, so please do not read on if you feel you may be effected. 

    This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously. 

    This post summarizes Bryan Fulwider's responses during an interview. On the day after the Las Vegas Harvest Festival mass shooting, Reverend Bryan Fulwider, one of the Three Wise Guys on NPR's Friends Talking Faith spoke about his experiences following the Pulse Nightclub massacre here in Orlando. He mentioned Thomas Lynch, a poet, writer and mortician who said, "There is nothing like death to cause people to press their noses up against the windows of their faith." This is the reality that can cause us to ask the ultimate questions like, why am I here? What is life all about? What happens when I die? In every religion there is some idea of death and what it means. They all seem to conclude that death is not the end. There is always hope built into the reality of death. Life is not meaningless.

    That person who perpetuated that heinous act in Las Vegas, if they ever made any meaningful contribution to society, that no longer matters. You think about how you live your life, and the things you do and you would hope that the sum total at the end would contribute positively to the world. These acts of barbarism, and viciousness and hate simply erase an individual. In all traditional religions it sends you straight to hell. Maybe hell for those who don't believe, is simply to cease to exist. We don't use the name of the Pulse shooter in our community. He is not a person of consequence. He is not worth remembering as a person. That is the sad reality if your life ends in treachery.

    Bryan was called to the Winter Park First Congregational Church in 1999. It was not yet an open and affirming congregation but it was welcoming. Before he left, it became open and affirming to the LGBTQ community. In 2012 he made the transition out of local church ministry into a broader community ministry. Together with Imam Muhammad Musri, and Rabbi Steve Engel, he helped found Building Us which now houses the Interfaith Counsel of Central Florida. They also started the radio show Friends Talking Faith. 

    When discussing the rights of women there is an across the board understanding among religions that women should have basic human rights. They stand pretty much unanimously against policies that are anti-women. While they may not all agree about reproductive health issues, they do agree that woman should be treated with respect and that they have the right to their own decisions.

    On June 11, 2016 the Three Wise Guys were getting ready for a show the next day where they would visit a Turkish family for their Iftar dinner, which is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. On June 12, he got up early, around 5 am, and was getting ready for a sermon at the Unitarian Church. He rotated out of bed and put his feet on the floor and immediately picked up his phone to see if there were any important messages. The Pulse news flashes lit up his cell phone screen. He subscribes to the New York Times and they were reporting about a shooting at an Orlando club. He was immediately on high alert. He wondered if there might be someone there that he knew. The reports at that point were very sketchy. The siege had just ended and they were rushing people to hospitals. He immediately texted half a dozen friends who might have been there. Little by little he got responses back that they were waiting to hear from others they had not heard from yet.

    He could not fathom all that had occurred. By the time worship started at 10 that morning, the report was that 20 had died and a number injured. The sermon became all about Pulse. His phone was on the pulpit next to him. As the worship ended, a news report confirmed that 50 had died. They included the shooter in that number. Disbelief prevailed. He was shocked and stunned and could not process the news. As that news sank in there was a pall over the congregation. 

    The Three Wise Guys debated whether they should go to the recording session at the Turkish home that night, but the family had prepared, and were planning for them to be there. The Imam had been out in the hot sun all day because he had been called immediately when the shooter was identified as being from the Islamic community. Bryan drove down after church but felt there was nothing to be done. Later he realized he should have driven to the hospital. He doesn't speak fluid Spanish but he could have gotten by. Perhaps the shock kept him from thinking about that. People were bereft, not knowing if loved ones were there or not, alive or dead. The whole day was a blur.

    After sun down the three men went to the Turkish family home for Iftar. All the conversation that night was about what happened at Pulse. There was a prevailing feeling of depression, the small children thankfully did not understand. All the adults were somber. There had already been some kind of call for harm to the Islamic community because of the shooter. Candidate Trump was focusing on the shooting as an act of terrorism. Yet this kid was born in Queens not far from where Trump grew up. Like Las Vegas this was domestic terrorism. 

    That night the 3 wise guys shot a video offering condolences, sympathy, love, and compassion for the community. There was so little that could be said other than to be a sign of hope in a very dark and uncertain time. The community quickly decided that we will not be defined by the hatred that this act represents. We will define ourselves by love, by compassion and by embracing one another. The LBGBTQ community was opening a dialogue to remind people who was most affected by this. It was the beautiful, full of life youth who had been dancing there that night. The community began to stand together rather than allow itself to be torn apart.

    A radio show was recorded and ready to air the week after Pulse. Bryan called the executive producer and asked them to not run the pre-recorded show. He wanted the show to be recorded live so they could address what had happened. The Rabbi was leaving for Tel Aviv, but he was ready to call in. Michael Farmer from Equality Florida, and Reverend Kathy Schmitz from First Union Church joined Bryan and Imam Musri in the studio. The show was broadcast state wide. It was a raw program with people trying to make sense of the unfathomable. It was a chance to grieve together, think together, and to call for a community of love and compassion.

    Bryan and the Imam opened the ceremonies at the Dr. Phillips Vigil. Someone from the Mayor's office called saying they really wanted everybody to rethink being there for security reasons. They could understand the concern for public safety, the police force was stretched thin at that point. The organizers pleaded, saying that we really needed to have this. People are hurting and they need to be together. The mayor's office said, "We will make it happen." They hoped to offer a bridge of faith and life, helping people find their way through the early hours of the aftermath. The vigil at Dr. Phillips was remarkably hopeful. Bryan took a photo from the stage of all the candle light going all the way back to City Hall. It was such a powerful moment of the community saying we will not give in to hate and violence.

    Bryan and the Imam were also the religious presence at the 50,000 person vigil at Lake Eola. Joe Saunders called them to be a part in that vigil. A Muslim group was handing out water shoulder to shoulder with an LGBTQ group. The work of the media that week was well done and thoughtful. It opened up conversations like, who are the LatinX community, the LGBTQ community? The wise guys would lead the conversations. They reached out to families and survivors being sure to be non-intrusive, but being available. Every show on the radio for the next 3-4 weeks was Pulse related. Dan Kirshank who wrote, "The Bible Tells Me So" said that religion ran all through the Pulse shooting from the young people who were at the club, that might not be welcomed in their own religious communities, to the shooter who was identified as Muslim, to the preachers who may have had anti-LGBTQ sermons who now had to face their own bias. Promoting an anti0gay rhetoric in a house of faith is a bad idea. The horror of Pulse triggered the ongoing religious conversation and there is a lot of work to do. 

    Bryan prays that, "We will not rest until we have put an end to this kind of unspeakable violence and this kind off violence is worn in our hearts, its worn in the way we think, and the way we think about others, its worn out of our own sense of self destruction, and the need to force that upon others. He  wishes that we would have an honest conversation in this country about gun violence and sensible gun legislation. And that we would have an honest conversation bout mental illness and about the things that need to happen if someone is teetering on the edge, and that we would have a continuing conversation with religious communities about how dangerous some of the rhetoric can be. If you are feeling isolated, depressed, lonely, come talk to us. We are here to help with the problems you are facing. If we don't address this continuing issue, in our society, and culture, we are going to be in ever deepening waters of trouble."

    Post script: Bryan Fulwider was arrested on October 2, 2019 and booked into Seminole County Jail following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor who reported being sexually battered by the pastor between 2005 and 2010 while he was in a position of authority at Winter Park First Congregational Church. He faces 30 counts of sexual battery of a person younger than 18 years old. Bail was set at $700,000. He committed suicide.

    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, October 15, 2019

    Grand Opening: Cholo Dogs Mexican Street Dogs

    Co-owner Chris Delahoz invited me to the Grand Opening of Cholo Dogs which is the newest resident in the Mills 50 District. They officially opened at Wally's Mills Avenue Liquor on September 26 from 7:30pm - 11pm. A sizable crowd showed up to celebrate the fun food-filled fiesta. Cholo Dogs offers all beef, veggie, and vegan Mexican themed hotdogs.

    • El Borracho: Nathan's All Beef (or Veg), Elote (Mexican Corn), Cotija Cheese, Tajin, and Cilantro. • La Pelirroja: Nathan's All Beef (or Veg), Avocado Sauce, Crema, Tajin, Red Onions.
    • El Chicano: Nathan's All Beef (or Veg), Pickle Slice, Crema, Cotija Cheese, Tajin.
    • Cholo Dog: Nathan's All Beef (or Veg), BBQ Sauce, Ancho Chipotle Sauce, JalapeƱos, Tajin.

    As the crowd waited for their hot dogs, I sat "back stage" behind the cart to watch the hectic action. A bell would ring as soon as a dog was ready. Franco Furtero manned the grill with a small army of assistants at the opening. Orders were coming fast and furious. As an added bonus we heard there would be a Mariachi band to add to the festivities. My fear was that they might set up right in front of me and block my view, so I sketched quickly.

    Pam tried the Borracho and I tried the La Pelirrojo. Mine came smothered in avocado and crema, which made it difficult to eat while sketching, but it was delicious. I managed to keep the sauces off the sketch for the most part. I actually liked Pam's hot dog better, so I ordered a second with the elote and cotija cheese. I never would have thought to order corn on a hot dog but it tasted great. Pam then tried the El Chicano which had a pickle on top. I didn't taste it, but she said that from now on any hot dog she is served must come with a pickle on top.

    I didn't realize until I was half way through the sketch that a photographer was set up beside me. He was offering Polaroid photos of families and kids for $25 or so. Several boys posed wearing Mexican wrestling masks. He tried to convince another family to pose but they balked at the price. The response was, "But that is more than a hot dog!" Dear god, I live in a town that values art less than the price of a hot dog. Well these were some mighty fine hot dogs, I have to admit. They bumped up the culinary art of street food a notch in Mills 50.

    The Mariachi band was late and there was concern that they would never show, so Pam and I headed out after the sketch was done and we had downed the hot dogs. We saw a video later that night of the band performing. Oh well, another sketch another day. Besides Wally's Mills Avenue Liquor, the Cholo Dog Cart has been spotted at at  Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company, The Veranda at Thornton Park. Check the Cholo Dog FB page to see where they might pop up next. A marriage made in heaven of American hot dogs and Mexican toppings. Grab a loaded dog!

    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, October 14, 2019

    Orlando Super Kids Classic

    Pam Schwartz and I went to Special Soap Box Derby Races with special needs children at Manheim Central Florida, (9800 Bachman Road South, Orlando, FL.) This story began in 1980 with the #34 Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. That year, the group took on a community project; they chose to work with the Akron Soap Box Derby. Veteran Dave Mitan was working with the racers when a tug on his shirt caught his attention. As he turned around, Dave came face to face with a special needs child. Sitting next to a brother who was competing that day, the child asked, “Why can’t I do that?” Dave’s heart was so moved and his spirit so touched that he shared the experience with his fellow veterans.

    Together, the chapter immediately scheduled a meeting with the All-American Soap Box Derby to design and build cars for these special children. The following year, in 1981, the first race was held in Akron, Ohio. Through the smiling faces and positive attitudes of these special children, the veterans were able to overcome many of their own debilitating war experiences. Thus the event was named the “Super Kids Classic.” 

    Dave travels the country with his sons, transporting the cars and ramp equipment in a truck. There is a heart warming level of glee among the kids who participated. One girl took the lead in her race and her car veered off course until she gently coasted to a stop just short of some fencing. One enthusiastic young boy kept pressing his father to let him race in the eagle car. When he won his race he desperately wanted to try another car. Granted the cars probably never went faster then 10 miles an hour and they coasted to a stop after just 50 yards, but the joy and contagious enthusiasm was overwhelming. On this particular race day a child with special needs was paired with another child in foster care. It was fun to watch everybody interact and have such a great time all afternoon!

    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, October 13, 2019

    Castrol Sales Force Convention

    Stacey Paul Barabe hired me to work at the Castrol Sales Force Convention here in Orlando. Jeff Hollis and Roger Edwards wanted me to do some live sketching during their training session. Castrol is a British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants offering a wide range of oils, greases and similar products for most lubrication applications. The goal was for me to create 20 sketches live that would fit into their Powerpoint presentation. Michele Bires kept everybody on track and saved my butt when I realized I had no script for the next day. She sent over the latest slides and I cobbled together something for the next day.

    The day before we all met for a walk through of what they planned to present. The basic flow of the presentation was to start with introductions, compare technical and adaptive approaches, Reactive versus creative approaches a mindset shift and then a final commitment. From the meeting I learned that the presentation would move quickly. Some of the sketches were to be dome in less than a minute which presented technical difficulties for me since any sketch worth its weight would take longer than a minute.

    The night before I set up each of the 20 sketches on my iPad Pro so I would not have to deal with layers and some writing was done before hand which I could swipe into place when needed. The rehearsal the next morning proved that even with this plan the sketches could not be done as fast as needed. With Powerpoint the presenter has full control of transitions at the click of a button. I was positioned in the back of the room and knowing exactly when a transition was needed was problematic. Some of the early images were only on screen for 30 seconds. I am fast, but not that fast.

    My responsibilities shrank from 20 images sketched live to 4 or 5 sketches done live. Also several that were planned to be done live were instead rotated into the Powerpoint presentation. I don't believe anyone realized that when sketching live that I would have to open pallets when changing colors. I followed the presentation sketching each of the 20 images live and did mange to keep pace, but none of that work ever went on the screen. The sketches I did do live went well. I learned much from the process and realize now that what would be needed to fit into an established presentation would be for me to create the sketches before hand and send the client 30 second lime laps animations of the drawings being created. Those animations could then be fit into their Powerpoint presentations and played at the press of a button. Watching art being created for more than 30 seconds at a time is like watching grass grow for most people.

    There were team building exercises in which teams had to support a bamboo stick with just 1 finger and then everyone had to work together to try and lower the stick to the ground. It seems simple enough but in practice it proved difficult. Participants also had to stand in order of height without talking or pointing. It was news to me that a new CEO had been tasked with leading Castrol into the future. Paul Waterman, is an American businessman and the chief executive officer of Elementis Plc. Paul was Global CEO of BP Lubricants, a part of the BP Group.

    The final Powerpoint slide I got to create live and it consisted of a box. After a break, everyone returned to find boxes had been set behind each seat. On each box people were asked to write a commitment about how everyday business might be done better or more effectively. All these boxes were then stacked at the front of the hall to create a large wall. On my sketch I got to play with a reference to Pink Floyd's "The Wall." My biggest take away from the inspirational afternoon was that great teams value differences. Live on the edge folks!

    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