Saturday, November 30, 2019

Beefy King Reopens

Beefy King (424 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL) is a family owned restaurant that has been an Orlando landmark since 1968. They have been serving the best roast beef sandwiches in Orlando for over 50 years. They offering a variety of mouthwatering Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Bar BQ Beef and Bar BQ Pork all served hot, fresh and made to order.

The restaurant had to close down after a fire behind the property. The manager of Drunken Monkey, the coffee shop that neighbors Beefy King, called police officers about a man disturbing customers Tuesday night. One Drunken Monkey employee told police she also saw someone behind Beefy King holding lighters.

Police arrested a man they say started the fire at 1am Tuesday November 11, 2019 at Beefy King. John Huff, 36, was arrested after police said video from a nearby business showed him behind the building at around the same time the fire was reported. Huff admitted in an affidavit that he set the fire. Police found him at the Drunken Monkey. He uttered twice that he set the fire as he was being transported in the police vehicle. No one knows why he set the fire.

Beefy King owner Shannon Smith - Woodrow could not understand why someone would want to hurt a small local business. The fire caused an estimated $3000 of damage. Luckily most of the damage was outside along the back wall of the building. Huff was booked into the Orange County Jail early Wednesday and was being held on a $3,500 bond. He was expected to appear in court o the same day.

Beefy King reopened on Wednesday November 20, 2019. Contractors offered to do the repairs and the city of Orlando sped up inspections. Customers were waiting in line before the restaurant even opened. Hundreds of dedicated costumers went to dine there on opening 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

Friday, November 29, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 30 and December 1, 2019

Saturday November 30, 2019
Noon to 9pm Free. FusionFest. Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
FusionFest is coming back to downtown Orlando on Thanksgiving weekend. Come share a smile and your heritage and “you may discover just how different other people really aren’t!” Discover the world through interactive experiences and contests for food, fashion, spoken word, music, dance, short-films and more.

10am to 4pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL. 

10:30pm to Midnight. Get some food and drink. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801. Passionate flamenco dancing set to acoustic guitar.

Sunday December 1, 2019
9am to 11pm Admission: $10 for Guests, $5 for Mennello Museum Members. Yoga in the Mennello Museum Sculpture Garden. Mennello Museum of American Art 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, Florida 32803. Fall is in the air and The last Sunday of every month is Yoga in the Sculpture Garden. Start your Sunday morning out blissfully with a relaxing lakeside flow. Practice is suitable for beginner to moderate levels and will be led by certified instructors from Full Circle Yoga, Winter Park. Don't forget to bring your own mat and water to practice.
May Tickets and Yoga 3-Class Pack.
Learn more about becoming a museum member.
Your practice also includes a complimentary pass to enjoy the museum’s indoor exhibitions at your own leisure during our operating hours.
Full Circle Yoga Instructor: Sarabeth Jackson.

Noon to 3pm 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 to listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

Noon to 6pm Free. FusionFest. Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
FusionFest is coming back to downtown Orlando on Thanksgiving weekend. Come share a smile and your heritage and “you may discover just how different other people really aren’t!” Discover the world through interactive experiences and contests for food, fashion, spoken word, music, dance, short-films and more. 

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, November 28, 2019

The Dreyfus Syndrome

This small Winter Park home has sported red white and blue for years. Grover C. Walker was a former army and air force intelligence officer who also served as a special agent for the Pentagon. In September 1965 he was assigned to the secretive 7113th Special Activities Group at Rhein-Main, Germany. He soon found reason to suspect there were corrupt and subversive activities being carried out possibly by his superiors. he threatened to “blow the whistle” on what was going on, he was whisked-off under guard to a superficial psychiatric exam that lasted only a few hours but branded him "chronically paranoid." He was as sane as any man and in an instant had been labeled crazy. He says it was a conspiracy to discredit him if he spoke out. “Who will believe you when you’ve been labeled?” His story parallels closely the 1894 case of Alfred Dreyfus, Jewish lieutenant in the French army, who as the result of a conspired political injustice was sentenced to Devil’s Island.

A sign on the front lawn defines the Dreyfus Syndrome: Character liquidation. As a tyranny in the midst of freedom. It stands as a treat to us all. Assassination of the mind where conscientious sanity is cast into the hole of inanity, and there is no way out. Whistle blowers in government are the primary target. It is alien to the norms of the American System and recognized human rights. Hundreds of thousand of American lives have been destroyed spanning decades.

The large American flag used to be hung upside down as a universal sign of distress. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center it was decided to hand the flag right side up again. For decades, Walker flew a giant flag upside down on the 90-foot flagpole in front of his Winter Park home, painted red, white and blue, and staged loud protests and publicity stunts that often ended with him, and his children, behind bars.

His family stamped protest messages on millions of dollar bills that circulated around the world. When the county threatened to take his home after he refused to pay steep fines levied for his protests, Walker threatened to fill the house to the rafters with concrete. An Orange County official once asked Walker when he would end his protest, and he answered, "When the world ends! When hell freezes over!"

There used to be far more signs on the lawn but the city of Winter Park fought the family at every turn to downplay their private property protest. Only 2 signs remain. The family was brought to court multiple times and Grover Walker and his wife were arrested and put in jail. His wife collected seeds from the food in jail and planted her own garden she also swept up the cell block every night. She was missed when her incarceration was over. The son I spoke with had also been in jail over this protest and while incarcerated he found that he had a talent for sketching.

When Grover Walker died in 2005 several of his seven children wanted to sell the property but one son, decided instead to take up the charge and keep the property and it's display of protest in tact. He chatted with me as I sketched. He showed me a photo from the 1970s of the entire family raising their hand in oath as they faced a court hearing about their property. Grover said that someone can take your property and you can recover but if they take your identity than there is nothing left to recover. I was seated in a small triangular park between three streets and found out that it had been landscaped beautifully by the present home owner. There were milkweeds to attract the many Monarch butterflies and Bromeliads which had red flowers that attract hummingbirds every afternoon. This property is a reminder of an American protest over 50 years old while also being a quiet and beautiful oasis if  you take the time to soak it in.

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, November 27, 2019

Harry P Leu Gardens House Museum

Kathy Miller Patages organized Weekly Paint and Sketch, a local sketch group that held a sketch outing to Harry P Leu Gardens (1920 North Forest Avenue Orlando, FL), and I decided to stop out on this sunny hot day to sketch. I never did notice any other sketchers, but I focused on the task at hand to capture the historic home.

Harry P Leu Gardens is an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further their mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The garden and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane Leu.

The roof of the Leu Home was still covered with a blue tarp because a tree limb had crashed through the roof of the home during Hurricane Irma. I had helped Orange County Regional History Museum staff one day as they volunteered to help the Gardens move bedroom furniture in the upstairs bedroom, so that it would not be further damaged by the rain leaking through the roof. It was an easy enough task, but a drop in the bucket compared to all the damage done. The smell of wet mold already was prevalent upstairs. The home repairs had to wait while the damage repair in the garden kicked into high gear after the storm. The gardens lost 175 trees, mostly hickory and magnolias, to the storm. 100 volunteers and staff helped clear up the debris.

As of May 2018, Leu Gardens was still seeking contractors to do exterior repairs to the historic home. Needed were replacements of structural members, siding, re-roofing of all shingled areas and repainting of the structure. The Leu House Museum is a restored 19th century home that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1994. The museum was closed because storm damage by Hurricane Irma and has since reopened, but repairs are ongoing.

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, November 26, 2019

Aloma Bowl

Towards the end of my six week Urban Sketching course at Crealde School of Art I like to bring my students to Aloma Bowl (2530 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL 32792) only 2 blocks from the campus. On Sundays Bowling leagues are competing and most of the lanes fill with talented bowlers who are serious about their game. My hope of course is that my students will feel just as serious about their sketch game. There are bars made out of the bowling ball holders at the end of the lanes and those high top bars make a great perch for the sketchers to work from.

I dash off a sketch as a demo to show students how I time the various stages of my sketch to finish in the several hours allotted. These bowling sketches are not as finished as my usual work since I also visit each artist multiple times giving advise and tips. The end of the bowling lanes where the pis are lined up offers a perfect horizon line which is something I talk extensively about when discussing perspective and composition.

Students are also encouraged to just do a sheet of studies of peoples gestures so that they loosen up and are not worried about the final composition at fist. Prior to the trip to the bowling alley we did a series of quick gesture drawings in the classroom. By goal is to loosen up the students enough so that they have something on the page from head to toe in the first 30 seconds and use the remaining time to add the "Icing" or detail that makes each sketch unique to the person being sketched.

The most challenging pose if of course the final "release" post as the bowler sends the ball down the lane. Everyone had their own stance as they release the ball and the pose is gone in an instant. The great thing is that they get up every few minutes and repeat the movement making it possible to attack the drawing multiple times and considering each angle and curve individually. This takes patience and perseverance and the realization and acceptance that no drawing is perfect.

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, November 25, 2019

Dinos In Lights!

Stan the T-Rex and his fossil friends in DinoDigs have been outfitted with Christmas lights that change color in synchronization with music as they show off their twinkling talent in a festive display of music and light  at the Orlando Science Center (777 E. Princeton St. Orlando, FL 32803).

Dinos In Lights will be the Science Center's feature attraction over the holidays. The show lasts about 5 minutes which of course made catching a sketch a slight of hand challenge. Three separate dinosaurs were outlined in colorful Christmas lights and when the music started the lights blinked and changed color. One song, Sleigh Ride by Arthur Fidler, featured the sound of a whip. Whenever the whip cracked the ceiling ice-cycle lights would flash white and bright. AS a grand finale snow was pumped into the space. This was my first time experiencing Dino In Lights and it was a blast to sketch.

WHEN: Shows begin every 30 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily from November 23, 2020 - January 7, 2020.
WHERE: Orlando Science Center 777 E. Princeton St. Orlando, FL 32803
COST: Dinos In Lights is included with daily general admission to Orlando Science Center, which is free for members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). Parking is available for $5 per vehicle in the Orlando Science Center parking garage.
INFO: For more information, please call 407.514.2000 or visit

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, November 24, 2019

Pulse Temporary Memorial Dedication

The interim memorial design was created by the team of by Kody Smith, Christina Hite, and Greg Bryla, of the landscape architecture firm of Dix.Hite + Partners, and David Stone of Phil Kean Design, all of who worked closely with onePULSE Foundation’s memorial task force. Pam Schwartz of the Orange County Regional History Center worked on supplying the hundreds of photos from the history museum's collection used on a winding wall that surrounds the club. Many of local photographer J.D. Casto's photos cover the wall. He was at the GLBT Center on the morning following the shooting and his photos document the outpouring of love and support that followed this horrible tragedy.

The scene was already crowded when I arrived at the club. Families of victims and survivors were seated. Since I had my own artist stool, I set up in front of one of the new trees on site and started to sketch. I focused on Christina Hite while she spoke at the podium. Greg Bryla is a dedicated Urban Sketcher, so I was pleased to know he had a hand in helping design this temporary memorial. An unexpected aspect of the temporary memorial is that there is a window in the surrounding wall allowing visitors to see the spot where the club was breached by the swat team so that the hostages held in the bathrooms could escape. Bullet holes litter the brickwork around the blast hole. This is where the terrorist was finally killed.

The architect firm of Coldefy and AssociƩs has recently won the deign competition to create a permanent memorial at this site. Their design surrounds the Pulse Nightclub building with a pool and fountain that has 49 colors in concentric circles radiating from the pool's center. The typical rainbow, (ROYGBIV) only has 7 colors. If you multiply that by 7 you get 49 colors. Another aspect of their design that I like is a circular canopy that supplies shade for anyone visiting the site. They also had elegantly incorporated a wall separating the quiet space from the sound of traffic on Orange Avenue. The most striking feature is that the club is cleaved in half, creating a canyon like space that people can walk through. 49 trees will cover the site creating a garden to celebrate life.

The Pulse Museum design looks a bit like a futuristic reactor. It has a slatted white exterior that is squeezed in the middle with an undulating roof profile. Glimpses inside show a twisting staircase and plants, echoing features of the memorial, and a large circular opening that floods natural light into the space. There are large public areas where the community can gather to learn and have events. It is an exciting design that would immediately become a defining landmark of the SODO area. Green spaces radiate from the club beautifying the district. Only time will tell how much of this amazing design will become reality. The Museum and Memorial are both intended to open in 2022.

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, November 23, 2019

Corsets and Cuties Kick off the Holiday Season

Corsets and Cuties a Burlesque Cabaret will kickoff the season Sunday November 24, 2019 from 8pm to 10pm with a little teasing plus guest stars and treats from Premier Couples Superstore at Theater West End (115 West 1st St., Sanford, Florida 32771.) Final touches are being added to costumes. The cuties always deliver their burlesque with a strong dose of humor and I consider thus the best way to kick off the season.

This sketch is from a rehearsal at the Venue. If you have not experienced the Cuties yet you are missing a treat. Lovely ladies and some not-so-gentle men sing, dance, and tastefully strip down for your entertainment pleasure! Whether you're celebrating with the one you love or out on the prowl, the Cuties are ready for ya! You can be sure of a fantastic night out!

NOTE: The show is intended for adult audiences, as it contains adult content and nudity. So leave the little ones at home and get ready for a night of laugh out loud fun. I'll be sketching in the back row, documenting this lively side of the Orlando Arts scene.

Tickets are $18 General Admission.

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, November 22, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 23 and 24, 2019

Saturday November 23, 2019
2pm to 5pm Free. Sketch Crawl at Ivanhoe. Washburn Imports, 1800 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804. Come sketch with us along the historic stretch of Orange Ave near Lake Ivanhoe once known as Antique Row. This area offers glimpses of Orlando’s past with it’s 1900-era shop buildings built along a railroad and also offers glimpses of the future with construction of new high-rise apartments across from beautiful Lake Ivanhoe. Unique shops, restaurants and bars line the stretch of this easily walkable area.
Sketch crawl along Orange Ave from Washburn Imports towards Virginia Dr. If you miss the meet up at 2pm, you will find us sketching along this 3 block stretch.
Sketchbook Throwdown: 4:30pm at The Lucky Lure, 1427 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL.

Parking -lot on corner of Orange and New Hampshire across from Washburn Imports, street parking along Orange Ave, NE Ivanhoe, Alden Rd, and a small lot at Gaston Edwards Park at Lake Ivanhoe. Be aware, parking may be time limited.
Tip: You may find yourself wanting to stay a bit longer as Virginia Drive Jingle Eve begins at 5pm. Along Virginia Drive there will be shopping, Christmas events, music, fireworks, and food. After the meetup, a few of us may walk to this area to get food/drink and sketch some more.
All drawing levels and skills are welcome.
Bring your sketchbook and sketching supplies of your choice. As this event is OUTDOORS be prepared with drinking water, a hat, portable chair/stool, and appropriate clothes for the weather.

5pm to ? Free. 2019 Jingle Eve.  Ivanhoe Village North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32804. 12 Wines of Christmas, Santa's Village, live music, food trucks, vendors and more! Last year we had over 3,000 visitors on this night to remember.

5pm too 7pm Free. McRae Studios Open House to Feature Guest Artists Victor Bokas and Matthew Cornell. McRae Art Studios 1000 Arlington Street in Orlando. On-site parking is available. McRae Art Studios’ 2019 Holiday Open Housewill serve up art works by its 22 members and former McRae members Victor Bokasand Matthew Cornell. The annual event at McRae ( gives artcollectors and gift-givers a unique opportunity to browse artist studios, visitwith the artists and purchase original art. Hundreds of original art works willbe available including paintings, pastels, drawings, photographs, mixed media,sculpture, jewelry and ceramics. The open house is free and open to the public.

Sunday November 24, 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. Brian Hayes. 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, November 21, 2019

Roller Derby Match 2

Since I was sketching a double header, I decided to do a second sketch during the roller derby. Game 2 at Orange County Barnett Park (4801 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32808) was between the Orlando Sun Blockers and Rockin City. In the second match the Orlando Sun Blockers lost with a score of 87 to Rockin City from Texas's 175.

Besides the action on the truck I was also fascinated by the half time action which consisted of kids making paper airplanes. The plane that flew the furthest would win. It was a fun as a minor league baseball game mid inning stretch. Planes spiraled and did loop de loops. Over in front of the bleachers a woman dressed in a sun costume danced in front of the crowd.

The huddle in my sketch occurs often in a match as one team tries to roadblock the other team from lapping them. If there is no opening then the roller derby athlete wearing the star on her helmet would have to try and press her way through he crowd. Living in a big city like New York would be the best place to develop these tight squeeze tactics. 

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, November 20, 2019

Legislative Town Hall Featuring Representative Smith and Representative Mercado

I went to Acacia Banquet Hall (1865 Econlockhatchee Trail Orlando, FL 32817) to learn what I could about the 2018 Legislative Session. I had seen the invitation from Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith  Representative Amy Mercado for a Legislative Town Hall. They provided an update on priorities, issues impacting our community and they took questions directly from constituents. Special guest Monivette Cordeiro of the Orlando Weekly will be moderating this important event. Montivette has since moved on to become a court reporter for the Orlando Sentinel.

Carlos Guillermo Smith is a community activist, lobbyist, and politician from Orlando, Florida. He is a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives . Upon his election in 2016, Smith became the first openly gay Latino to serve in the Florida Legislature. I was very pleased to see he recently got married.

The Florida Legislature meets in session every year for sixty consecutive days. Legislative proposals may be in the form of bills, resolutions, concurrent resolutions, joint resolutions, or memorials. A bill is a proposed law, and it may be either a general bill or a local bill.   A general bill would have a general impact within the state; a local bill would affect only a particular county, city, or town named in the bill. A majority vote is required to pass a bill, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution. The Florida Legislature is largely Republican so proposals for progressive democratic bills have an uphill battle.

The bill, cited as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, sought on its surface, to comprehensively address the crisis of gun violence, particularly gun violence on school campuses. Components of the bill included, among others, provisions to enhance school safety policies, procedures, and personnel on the state and local level, to improve and expand mental health services, and to revise laws and empower law enforcement and the courts to limit access to firearms by young adults or by individuals exhibiting a risk of harming themselves or others. The bill also created and or revised operating and  capital funding policies and provides appropriations to implement the provisions of the bill.

Endangers positive school climates by: 
Allowing school employees, including some teachers, to carry guns; 
Requiring the placement of armed personnel in every school; 
Requiring educators to “consult with” law enforcement whenever a student commits more than one misdemeanor or “exhibits a pattern of behavior . . . that would pose a threat to school safety;” Creating an anonymous reporting mechanism without proper due process protections.

The one take away for me was that the Florida Legislature feels bad that students were killed in Parkland, and therefor it is important to get guns in the hands of volunteer school employees and or teachers. It would seem $400,000,000 was appropriated to get more guns into more hands. Carlos voted against this bill which fights gun violence by providing more guns on school campuses. The bill was approved by the governor on March 9, 2018. Welcome to the Gunshine State.

Newsweek reported that "More children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook than U.S. soldiers in combat Since 9/11."

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, November 19, 2019

Talk Radio

Theater on the Edge (5542 Hansel Avenue Orlando, FL 32809) is presenting Talk Radio by Eric Bogosian and Tad Savinar. The set by Samantha DiGeorge is amazing in all it's nostalgic splendor and detail. The space is divided into two rooms with a glass divider so that the soundboard guy can see the talent. The date is May 8, 1987 at WTLK in Cleveland Ohio. Spike (Christopher Ivers) who was in charge of running the ads was leaning back in his chair reading his Playboy. One radio show was winding to a close with a financial expert giving lofty and hard to follow financial advice to a confused listener. I started my sketch by getting him in place with his glasses and mustache. I wasn't aware that he was about to be replaced by the star of the next hour of talk radio Barry Champlain (Marco DiGeorge). Champlain's sound man was Stu Noonan (Alex Jackson). The two had worked together for years as Barry's career skyrocketed. On this night the manager Dan Woodreuff (Christian Wienker) informed Barry that his show was about to go national and that the new sponsors would be listening in.

I grew up listening to talk radio in high school, So I was familiar with the insipid callers who would say, "Long time listener, first time caller." It seems many would call in just to hear their own voice. Marco DiGeorge gives an amazing performance as the hardened talk show host who puts some callers down just to stay sane. Each character in turn had a blue illuminated cameo in which they relate their experiences with the radio talk show host. We learn about him from those who have to deal with him daily.

The soundboard used on stage must have been live because the calls came in quick succession. One caller claimed to have been partying for two days and his girlfriend was unconscious. There was some panic in the studio by Barry saw it as a prank call. On a second call in the high strung caller admitted he was making it all up. He then insisted on stopping by the studio to meet his talk show idol. Kent (Adam Minossora) had spiked up hair and his panicked manic performance caused me to stop sketching and just enjoy the performance. Kent was hilarious with his high wire antics and I thought for sure the executives would want him to have his own talk show. He rushed at the talk show host as if intent on murder but quickly shot a photo. Barry was actually a bit of a scholar before becoming a talk show host and Kent represented the lowest common denominator that Barry now had to accommodate.

Linda McArthur (Elaitheia Quinn) with a clipboard in hand produced the show. She wore a vibrant colorful jacket with neon colors. A raw and intimate moment came as she related how she felt about the talk show host. She decided to call in and she asked the host advice about how she should deal with her boyfriend. As they looked at each other through the glass window he told her she should move on and she stormed out of the studio visibly upset.

The entire show was an amazing roller coaster of emotions as the talk show host handled racists, bigots, and quiet fans who worshiped him yet really had no idea who he was. It all pushed him to the brink of giving up on humanity. Before social media and 140 character tweets, talk radio was where you got to experience trolls and desperate lonely people looking for attention.

I stood quickly for a standing ovation. Many of the cast were the callers who nettled the talk show host all night. The show was an existential rush felling claustrophobic with so many people calling with so many needs. This was a stellar show and should not be missed. The small theater had you right on top of the action. It felt like the host might fall into the abyss at any time and yet it was just one night that looked at a thin slice of crazy disturbing humanity.

Tickets for Talk radio usually run from $22 to $26. Every seat in the house is amazing. The show runs through December 8, 2019.

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, November 18, 2019

Roller Derby

I went to Orange County Barnett Park (4801 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32808) to sketch an amazing Double Header. Game 1 was between the Orlando Ozone Slayers and the Molly Rogers Roller girls. Game 2 was between the Orlando Sun Blockers and Rockin City.

There was  a 50/50 raffle, along with shirts, tanks and koozies at the merch table. There was a pie eating contest followed by a paper airplane contest during halftime.There were bleachers for the crowd but I decided to sit with my back to the auditorium wall for a view down the length of the roller derby oval. The oval was put in place using white tape to outline the track. Volunteers had to periodically fix the tape with fresh tape since the athletes would often scuff and fall onto the lines.

Roller Derby is a fast paces exciting sport to watch. Points are gained then one woman with a star on her helmet manages to lap the bulk of the pack who jockey for position. The action would build to the final moments of each match. Derby  athletes would knock each other over as they bumped an gyrated for position.

The Molly Rogers from Melbourne Florida won the first match 138 to the Orlando Ozone Slayers 135. It was a crazy exciting finish to the match. It was an exciting afternoon of sketching. I need to get to these matches more often.

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, November 17, 2019

Las Vegas Rememberance Wall and Healing Garden

October 2, 2017 the day after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Brad Jerbic a city attorney, one of his friends and an employee of the city, Cameron Robinson was attending the concert where the shooting happened. His friend did not show up to work. At 7:15 that morning they got the call that confirmed that Cameron was one of the 58 who were killed that night. One of the attorneys advised that they should go and take a walk to stop and reflect. But where? At that moment he got a call from Stonerose Landscapes principal, Jay Pleggenkuhl, who advised that the city find a piece of land not to sell or donate but just loan so that a memorial garden would be created immediately. By 10 am they had agreed on a piece of property which is away from the strip at 1015 S. Casino Center Blvd. By 4 pm Jay and Daniel Perez had drawn up a plan for the garden on a napkin. The city decided to step aside and let Jay and his volunteers create the garden.

By Tuesday morning all 58 trees were donated by Boon Valley Nursery and all the shrubs were donated by Star Nursery. Along with the 58 trees there is one more tree called the tree of life. When searching for the spot to plant the tree of life, the soil was kicked and and a medallion just happened to be buried ch was medallion of the tree of life buried in that spot for who knows how many years. Siegfried and Roy donated the Tree of Life tot he garden. In just 4 days the volunteers managed to open the garden. The original Wall of Remembrance which I sketched was made from pallets covered in photos and memorial items. One year later it was removed and stored in the Clark County Museum to be replaced with a more permanent wall of remembrance. The names of the 58 souls lost that night are on the wall.

The community came together in an amazing way to make the garden a reality. The number of volunteers swelled over the days. One man came with coffee for the volunteers and a pizza shop next door donated pizzas. The garden became a path back to life and creation.

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, November 16, 2019

Eiffel Tower on the Strip

The Eiffel Tower on the Las Vegas strip is part of the Caesars Casino in Paris Las Vegas (3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas , NV 89109). At the top of the tower is a viewing deck located 46 stories up in the half scale replica of the world-famous Paris, France landmark.
As an artist, all the magnificent architectural detail was fun to draw. As I worked on this sketch, a guy was going though his bag in front of me. He seemed really upset that he had picked up the wrong sun glasses. The impression I got was that he lifted the glasses, threw then in his bag and walked out of the store. He had stolen the wrong brand. I should have done a quick sketch of his face  in case the police were interested but I was in the midst of all the detail on this sketch and didn't want to side track.

This was done several blocks closer to the Mandalay Bay Hotel where the mass shooting happened. My sketching experience was getting me used to huge throngs of people pressed together on the side walks that were separated from traffic with cement stanchions. On this day I made it as far as the New York, NY facades one block from Mandalay Bay where shots were fired on a crowd on October 1, 2017 killing 58 and wounding 413 others. About one month after the shooting, all of the preservable memorial items were gathered, boxed and taken to the Clark County Museum, (1830 S. Boulder Highway, Las Vegas Nevada) to become part of the museum’s permanent collection. The county has cataloged more than 12,000 items that were used to create makeshift memorials following the Oct. 1 shooting. On October 1, 2018 one year after the shooting the strip went dark at 10:01PM in remembrance of the 58 victims and hundreds injured in the senseless shooting.

The moments during and just after the shooting rampage were recorded on multiple cell phones. For some the effects of that night will last a lifetime. Memorial sites sprang up but most concert goers were from out of town. And the hotels on the strip wanted to get back to business right away. On September of 2019, In the spirit of helping the community heal, MGM Resorts announced that the 15-acre plot where 22,000 people gathered for a country music festival that ended in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history is being converted to a community center and parking lot. In coming weeks and months, Las Vegas visitors will notice construction activity near the shooting site, which has remained unused since the tragedy. The company said it will also support any effort to install a permanent 1 October Memorial.

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, November 15, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 16 and 17, 2019

Saturday November 16, 2019
9am to 1pm.  $10 to enter your chili $5 to eat. Coffee With Pat and Matt Chili Cook-off. The Nook on Robinson (2432 E. Robinson St., Orlando). Fundraising chili cook-off. Our friend Patrick Greene is heading off on another adventure. This time to do Vienna's prestigious Monochrome Q21 residency! The chili cook off event is a fundraiser for his art venture and a farewell-for-now party. First prize is a $25 bar tab, 2nd and 3rd prize winners get a Pat Greene for Mayor t-shirt.

10am to Noonish. Children under 3 are free. Admission is included with your $10 ticket. To enjoy free admission present your Annual Pass Member card at the gate.  Owl Be Home for Christmas Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (1101 Audubon Way, Maitland Fl). Holiday kick-off event with holiday crafts, meet-and-greets with bird ambassadors, tasty treats and Santa. (407) 644-019.

5pm to 7pmish. Free. Star Wars Masquerade Gods and Monsters (5421 International Drive, Orlando Fl). celebrating the Disney release of The Mandalorian, with a Star Wars Masquerade in VAULT 5421. The Empire Strikes Back at 5pm, followed by Return of the Jedi and other Star Wars films and shows on our big screens throughout the night, with spacey tunes playing, themed cocktails, and Cosplay Cage-Dancing by Jacqueline Obsidian from 8pm-12am! If you go in Star Wars cosplay or SW themed masquerade attire to receive 1 FREE SHOT or soda at the bar and 15% off store wide inside Gods and Monsters! (Just mention your attire, at the bar, for your FREE shot or soda and at the register for store discount.)

Sunday November 17, 2019 
Noon to 2pmish Free for kids 12 and under. Regular Ticket Pricing $12.00.  Peanut Butter Matinee: My Neighbor Totoro. Enzian Theater (1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland Fl). One of my favorite of Miyazaki's films. Backgrounds are gorgeous. Two girls move to the countryside and befriend playful spirits and a cuddly giant in this animated film from Hayao Miyazaki. 407-629-0054.

 2pmto 4pmish $62 to $37 Macbeth.  Orlando Shakes 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando. Shakespeare's cursed play about a Scottish thane who, under the urging of his wife, murders his way up the ladder of success. 407-447-1700. 

3pm to 5pmish $42 Boesman and Lena. Mad Cow Theatre  (54 W. Church St., Orlando Fl.) Tale of the struggle of two refugees who encounter a stranger while wandering the South African wastelands. 407-297-8788.

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, November 14, 2019

The Strip

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Everything seems normal until it is not. While Pam Schwartz was at a museum archivists conference in Las Vegas, Nevada I explored the Strip with my sketchbook. A block from the hotel where the conference was held was a MacDonalds and I ate there each morning as I walked my way over to the strip. I got plenty of exercise on this trip hiking many miles each day. Across the street from Casino Royale and Harrah's Casino I found a recessed nook by a hotel wall where I was out of the way of the hoards of tourists wandering up and down the strip.

There was plenty to take in among the riot of color and false opulence. A huge McDonalds Arch dominated the scene between the casinos so it seemed fitting since this was my breakfast choice each morning. Other fast food choices included Outback and Panda Express. Barricades were set up all along the strip so that cars could not drive into the crowds on the sidewalks. Pedestrians were carefully sequestered from possible danger but that made no difference on October 1, 2017 when a shooter high up in Mandela Bay Hotel room fired more than 1,100 rifle rounds into a crowd enjoying a Country Harvest Music Festival. 58 people were shot to death and this became the largest mass shooting in America surpassing the 49 shot to death in Orlando just 16 months earlier. One survivor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Telemachus Orfanos, a navy Veteran, was later shot to death at the Borderline Bar in California where college students were line dancing.12 people  including a police officer were killed at the Borderline.

My goal sketching each day was to do a series of sketches as I walked my way down to the site of the Las Vegas Mass shooting. I never actually entered a casino but Pam and I did take in one amazing Circue show. More of our time was spent seeing that ways that Las Vegas has responded after the mass shooting. The strip was crowded and back in business immediately following the shooting but locals still struggle with their new reality. Like Orlando Las Vegas has a tourist driven economy. It seems that these tourist getaways are very attractive for the insane looking to make a name for themselves by pulling a trigger.

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, November 13, 2019

Conservation after the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

On the night of October 1, 2017, a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. He killed 58 people and wounded 413, with the ensuing panic bringing the injury total to 869. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the history of the United States. This horrible incident came just 16 months after the mass shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people.

Cynthia Sanford the curator at the Clark County Museum took on the responsibility of having to archive the memorial items left for those lost. Volunteers sifted through items collected, took photos and carefully documented and archived every item that entered the collection. Pam Schwartz of the Orange County Regional History Center flew to Las Vegas to offer any advice she might have after collecting and archiving in Orlando.

The two collection sites were vastly different. In Orlando humidity, heat and daily rains soaked and degraded items left at memorial sites in Orlando. Las Vegas literally has no rain. The concert site however was next to the Las Vegas airport and Cynthia said that anything left on the site was literally blown over by planes as they landed or took off.

The Clark County Museum (1830 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, NV) includes the Anna Roberts Parks Exhibit Hall and Heritage Street which contains eight historic buildings from the county.  In a building that was once a railroad station behind the museum, volunteers were hard at work even 6 months following the shooting. The woman taking photos of each item choked up as she described how proud she was to be taking part in the process.

The October 1st collection at the Clark County museum is made up of tens of thousands of artifacts that help to tell the story of how the community reacted to the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The artifacts will be cataloged to record information such as physical descriptions, dimensions, and conditions. Each artifact will also be photographed or scanned for identification purposes. As museum staff and volunteers process these artifacts, you will be able to follow our progress by viewing identification photographs.

Museum curators across the country have formed an informal support group. Knowledge gained after one mass shooting is passed on the curators in the next city overwhelmed by tragedy and the super human effort needed should that community decide to collect memorial items. It is a small community that no one asks to be a part of. 

On September 28, 2018 The Clark County Museum opened  "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the 1 October Memorials". Items put on display included flags, stuffed animals, rosaries, artificial flowers, signs, letters, banners, candles, art works and a portion of a Hawaiian lei that was used as a symbol to promote world peace. The Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando has also mounted an exhibit each year to remember those who were lost.

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, November 12, 2019

Chris Cortez at Blue Bamboo

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts (1905 Kentucky Ave. Winter Park FL) consistently brings cutting edge music to Central Florida. Chris Cortez one of the founders often offers solo shows about once a month featuring selections from his many CDs and all time favorites from the Great American Songbook to the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Chuck Berry and more. I love the intimate setting and it is one of my favorite spots to sketch musical acts. Something about the setting gets my creative juices going.

Blue Bamboo is part venue, part recording studio, part art gallery. This unique space offers live performances most evenings, state of the art recording studio, and gallery space. More concert hall than night club, they're open to all ages and present all kinds of music, theater, dance, and spoken word events. They're also available for private parties. You can browse the online schedule for tickets or call 407-636-9951 for more information.

They have limited seating so patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance or make reservations. Tickets are also available at the door, based on availability. Most shows begin at 8:00 p.m. and the lobby doors open at 7:00 p.m.. A small bar offers wine, beer and soft drinks.

Thursday Night Hang: Dave Sheffield Trio
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts, 1905 Kentucky Ave, Winter Park
Free admission!
The trio has been performing together for almost 30 years, and the group is regarded as one of the finest jazz trios in the central Florida area. The group features Dave on piano, Jeff Green on bass, and Don Sanderson on drums. This is an authentic jazz trio with repertoire consisting of standards from the American song book. The group can easily crossover from easy listening dinner music, to hard bebop.
This event is sponsored by the City of Winter Park.

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, November 11, 2019

Up the Ladder Down the Slide

PlayFest at the Orlando Shakes (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803) is a two-weekend festival, where patrons get to experience seven readings of new plays in development and participate in the creative process with post-reading playwright talk backs and surveys. Each reading is $10. I stopped in for a rehearsal of Up the Ladder Down the Slide by David Valdes. The play shares the story of three longtime best friends and their aging parents.

Three boxes were placed on stage to represent three ladders. The music stands which held scripts were numbered from one to six so actors knew where they would be staged during this first  staged reading of the play. The three characters who were taking care of their aging parents would commiserate over drinks sharing stories that were both humorous and sad.

In one scene a young daughter, Vee (Alanna Fagan) was trying on her wedding dress which was in her opinion way to short and relieving. Her mom, Karen (Tiza Garland) snapped a photo on her cell phone and shared it with her friend Oscar.  He responded with a photo of a far worse wedding dress fail.  Texts flew back and forth and we were left wondering just how absurd the exchange got based on the reactions on stage.

Laurel (Avis-Marie Barnes) cared for her father with autism (Michael Morman), Oscar (Bert Rodriguez) cared for his aging mother Mamita (Blanca Goodfriend) as they searched the stage for a stray cat, And the mother caring for her argumentative mother Joann (Karin Amano) won my heart as they drove each other crazy. Only laughs with friends and some stiff drinks kept these friends sane.

Towards the end of the play each aging parent sat on one of the boxes with their care givers behind them. With baby boomers aging, these stories become more common with this generation caring for the one before. The play has plenty of heart but I didn't get a chance to stay to the end. I am left wondering what the next step is towards the beyond and how it will affect those who invested so much of themselves. These friends seem capable of navigating even the worst times with some drinks and laughs.

Creative Team

Director: Nick Bublitz
Stage Manager: Jazlynne Williams
Stage Direction Reader and Dramaturg: Laura Swindoll


Laurel: Avis-Marie Barnes
Karen: Tiza Garland
Joann: Karin Amano
Mamita: Blanca Goodfriend
Vee: Alanna Fagan
Oscar: Bert Rodriguez
The Commodore: Michael Morman
Lonnie/Nurse Mike/ Bar Back: Sean Andric

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, November 10, 2019

Mozart and Dvorak

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performed with Benjamin Hochman, Pianist and guest Conductor, at Saint Luke's Lutheran Church (2021 West SR 426 Oviedo FL). It was a bit of a drive but well worth it for this concert. If fount it visually fascinating how Christ floated above the orchestra with his staff and lambs. The stained glass grew dark as the sun set.

Pam Schwartz and I managed to get a front row seat near the cello section. The church was packed yet few people ever choose to sit up front. Dvorak is widely regarded as the most distinguished of Czech composers and of course the prolific Austrian musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was among the most versatile, and popular composers of all time.

The program included Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major and Dvorak's: Serenade for Strings in E Major.

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, November 9, 2019

Barks, Bubbles and Brews

Digress Wine, formerly Cavanaugh’s in College Park (1215 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, Florida 32804) hosted Barks Bubbles and Brews along with Woof! Orlando. I had to go to sketch this pet friendly event which was a night to mingle with fury friends while sipping spectacular wines and craft beer.

Woof! Orlando provided goodie bags filled with treats, free nail trim coupons and more.Digress Wine hosted with delicious drinks, food trucks and the perfect ambiance under twinkling lights on their patio.

I ordered a red wine and settled n to sketch any dogs I could. A husky puppy was at the next table and became my subject. Her huge paws indicated how young she was. She spent most of her time tugging at her leash to try and get to the dogs inside Digress. She was a whirlwind of frenetic activity but that didn't seem to phase the couples at the table. The wine helped loosen me up to the challenge of sketching this frantic pooch. I am glad I  went.

Digress Wine is a casual neighborhood wine bar and retail shop that features artisanal wines and craft beers combined with old fashioned hospitality. Enjoy a bottle of wine with friends on the outdoor patio, our indoor lounge, or in our temperature-controlled wine cellar. 

Woof! Orlando is an urban oasis for the pampered pooch. Their award-winning grooming salon is the first Green pet spa in Orlando. A tired dog is a happy dog, so play care is a dog’s dream come true. No waiting around for the humans to return from a long day at work or people play. They also offer boarding.

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, November 8, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for November 9 and 10, 2019

Saturday November 9, 2019
10am to 5pm $10-$15 Orlando Maker Faire. Central Florida Fairgrounds 4603 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32808. If you like combat robots, you'll LOVE Robot Ruckus. The signature event during Maker Faire Orlando 2019 will feature robots from 150 grams to 250 pounds in two arenas, and special appearances from your favorite televised robot battle teams! Learn more: 
For 2019 we are expanding the Combat Robot event at Maker Faire Orlando 2019 with a new name, twice the space, more seating, and more of your favorite teams from TV!
The Maker Faire Orlando 2019 ticket includes Robot Ruckus!

8pm to 10pm $10 Emily Dendinger’s play The Grand Illusion Show (which will involve some magic). Orlando Shakes, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803.

In Emily Dendinger’s The Grand Illusion Show, Adelaide Hermann must fight her nephew Leon with wit, will, and magic to win the rights to her dead husband’s magic show. “This play is a magic trick, and like all good magic tricks, what you think is happening in the text isn’t necessarily what’s really happening in the story.”

10:30pm to Midnight Order a drink of food. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801. Hot blooded flamenco dancing set tom acoustic guitar.

Sunday November 10, 2019 
11am to noon. $5 Yoga. Lake Eola near red gazebo.

1:30pm to 4:30pm $5. Accidental Historian Urban Sketching Workshop: Sunday in the Park with Thor. For students 14 to 24 years old.
Bridging past and present, this workshop guides students to capture the present day in a sketch beside the photographic past. Inspired by a 1920s photo by T.P. Robinson, we will sketch the Sperry Fountain at Lake Eola. The fountain is made of wrought iron and has a duck base with water flowing from the ducks’ beaks and an acanthus leaf.
Students in this workshop are tasked with creating a modern interpretation of the fountain. The sketch will begin with the same sepia watercolor tones that exist in the photo. In the distance, however, is the amphitheater, which is brightly painted with the colors of the rainbow. Trees will likely block your view of the fountain, but you will learn how to walk around to catch a view and add it to your sketch.
All skill levels are welcome. Sketching materials will be provided by Sam Flax Orlando. The sketching portion of the workshop will take place outdoors. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and bring water and a snack. Participants can bring a folding chair or stool to sit.
Workshop schedule • 2 p.m. Meet inside the Orange County Regional History Center
• 2:05 p.m. Introductions
• 2:25 p.m. Tour of The Accidental Historian exhibit
• 3:15 p.m.Sketching instruction outside at Sperry Fountain at Lake Eola Park
• 4:30 p.m. Sketchbook Throwdown
About the Instructor: Thomas Thorspecken
Thomas “Thor” Thorspecken is an illustrator and journalist working in and around Central Florida. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In his ten years as a freelance illustrator in New York, one of his assignments for the Daily News included sketching historic buildings throughout the city for a column called “Undiscovered Manhattan.” Thor relocated to Orlando in 1993 to work for Disney Feature Animation. After a decade, the studio closed, and so he continued to pursue his passion for art through teaching and sketching.
His website and blog,, began in January 2009 with a resolution to post a sketch every day. He describes it as “his way to finally put down roots, to become part of a community, one sketch at a time.” More than 4,000 sketches later, he’s still capturing our community.
Follow Thor on Instagram: @analogartistdigitalworld, Twitter: @analogartist, Facebook: Analog Artist Digital World, and subscribe to his blog:
About the Series: The Accidental Historian Young Artists Urban Sketching Workshops
Catch the world around you one sketch at a time! Join Urban Sketchers Orlando for any, or all three, sketching workshops in downtown Orlando for artists aged 14 – 24. In conjunction with the History Center’s newest exhibition, The Accidental Historian, these classes for all skill levels will get you sketching on location and capturing history as it happens. All art supplies are included, courtesy of Sam Flax.

4pm to 6pm Free. Morgan Samuel Price Art Opening. The University Club, 150 E Central Blvd, 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