Showing posts with label Grand Bohemian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grand Bohemian. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2016

Drinks at the Grand Bohemian.


I went to the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando (325 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida) to meet Greg Dobbs who wanted to share a children's book he had written. I first met Greg when I sketched Santa Claus from a distance at the Millenia Mall. Security chased me off, since apparently creating a sketch at the mall is verboten.  I wrote a poem poking fun at the situation, and months later Greg wrote me a poem in response inviting me to sketch Santa up close and personal. I showed up on Christmas Eve to witness the last minute crush as parents waited in line in hopes that their children could sit in Santa's lap before the Mall shut down. Getting the children distracted and delighted was Greg's job. Not an easy task give the high stake stress filled situation.

Greg's story was a delightful tale of a young boy and his grandfather who worked for a fire house. It would be a fun story to illustrate, if I could entrench myself with an old established fire house with the old fashion pole and some historic trucks. I have this idea of casting for the book much as actors are cast for a play or a movie. I would storyboard the book just like a movie and then pose the cast for each scene.  Their is no publisher set for the book yet so any work I do would be on spec. The project remains on the back burner.

Greg's daughter Flynn Dobbs also met me for a drink that day. She is now the youngest curator to ever work at the Grand Bohemian. Both of her parents are artists, so she has grown up in a creative environment. Greg's wife does monumental figurative sculptures and of four Greg is a photographer and writer. We discussed the possibility of my sketching events at the hotel. It is an exciting possibility. The Grand Bohemian could become my Moulin Rouge.

Tonight on March 7th at 7 pm I am hosting ODD (Orlando Drink  and Draw) at the Grand Bohemian. Orlando Drink and Draw ventures to a new bar each month to sample beers and sketch. There is no model fee and no instruction. This is just a chance to get out, meet fellow artists and draw. I have an infinite accordion sketchbook that artists have contributed to since the first Drink and Draw. Also I like to have artists face off for quick 5 minute portraits. Artists change chairs until every artist has met and sketched every other artist. I'll dress up a bit for this evening among artists.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grand Bohemian


I went downtown to the Grand Bohemian Hotel to meet Terry after work for a drink and appetizer. My plan was to go to the Amway Center afterwards, perhaps to sketch plastic bucket drummers on the street. I had several happy hour drinks however and decided it was too cold outside to be sketching. The Grand Bohemian is where the visiting Miami Heat players were staying. Terry told me she looked out her office window and saw a huge crowd of fans surrounding the team bus. The basketball game started as we were sipping our drinks.  We could see the commentators and behind them the Amway Center looked more than half empty. I don't think the Orlando Magic fans knew their home team would be trounced. The bartender changed the station to a college game once the Magic took to the court. Artist Donna Dowless was dropping off one of her paintings in the Grand Bohemian Gallery. She waved as she was leaving.

Terry left and decided to scout out the activity around the Amway Center. Happy hour ended as I was working on the sketch. The waitress offered me one more Blue Moon at the happy hour rate anyway. I got a text from Terry and she let me know that I had made the right decision to sketch the hotel bar, the streets around the Amway Center were deserted.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Feels so Good!

I've been feeling disconnected from friends and family lately, so on Monday night I decided I needed to treat myself to a sweet taste of jazz at the Grand Bohemian downtown (325 South Orange Avenue.) Jazz is performed every Monday night starting at 8pm, and there is no cover. A collection jar is kept out and any tips go towards the needy in the community. When I entered the bar, Yvonne Coleman, who organizes the jazz jams, gave me a warm welcoming hug. She is such an amazing champion of my work. Between sets she introduced me to the crowd. I ordered a Blue Moon and got to work.

The performers I sketched were Joey Pegram on the drums, Joseph Jebanni on the sax and Don Black on the keyboard. The spontaneous flowing riffs swept over me and caused the lines of my sketch to dance and vibrate. I didn't have to second guess or worry, the music allowed the lines to flow with simple spontaneous joy. Miss Jacqueline Jones got up to sing. As the sax screamed it's pleasure, her body vibrated electrically to the sound. Several minutes passed as the sax continued its joyous conversation. The crowd shouted back and Jacqueline shook harder. The place erupted. This was my first time seeing her perform and I wish I had caught her in a sketch. I am sure I will be seeing her again. Outside a firetruck pulled up in front of the hotel. Its red lights flashed in time to the music which flowed unhindered.

A performance of "Feels so Good" had me swaying to the beat my spirit lifted. Dr. Otto Gomez stepped in and livened the performance with his awesome trumpet playing. One of the final songs of the evening was, "This Masquerade." I was completely lost in the moment. I left after this set, my sketch complete. The beat stayed with me affecting my walk back to the truck. I didn't turn on the radio on the drive home, instead I hummed and tapped my foot to the beat that was stuck in my head and like a heart beat wouldn't stop. When life offers no resolutions, jazz is my anchor and joy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Juneteenth - Jazz Jam


Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. In honor of this holiday the Grand Bohemian (325 South Orange Avenue) hosted a Jazz Session Jam. Yvonne Coleman, the coorfinator of the event said, "Our Jazz Session Jam has been going on every Monday for almost two years and was selected to be a part of the Juneteenth event. The founder was the late keyboardist Billy Hall along with co-founder, saxophonist Don Black. The purpose of starting this awesome night of music was to have a venue to bring musicians together so that people could enjoy great music. Most important, proceeds in the tip jar goes toward needy families, and charities. "
I dressed up for the occasion and headed downtown. The jazz was to be flowing from 8 to 11 PM. I parked across from City Hall and walked down Orange Avenue to the Hotel, my dress shoes snapping crisply on the pavement. I entered the Bossendorfer piano lounge and asked where I could find the Jazz. I was led to the bar area. I didn't hesitate to find a place up front from which I could sketch. There was an empty table but it was being reserved for Dick Batchelor, a notable former Congressman and businessman and community leader, and his friends. I decided to place my small tripod camping chair next to a thick pillar and leaned back to start sketching.
There was much shuffling as people moved chairs from one table to another and at times photographers would stand in front of me to get their shots of the performers. Patience and perseverance paid off. I get a visceral thrill out of drawing while listening to jazz. The beat and rhythms add a spontaneous flow to the line work. The whole time I drew I was tapping my feet and swinging my body as I quietly let go to fully experience the flow and surge of the music.
People kept coming over to compliment me on the sketch. I'm always surprised to be complimented on something the is only half finished. I was talking to a woman on my right when someone tapped me on the shoulder making me swing around to my left. As I looked up at her my body kept falling to the left. My left leg had fallen asleep and I crashed to the floor. The woman tried to catch me but I went down anyway. I then tried to stand up to get some circulation back in my leg but then I stumbled again and began hopping up and down on my one good leg until I could do a sort of shuffle step to the beat of the music. When I had stopped my contortions, the woman said she had been watching me work the whole time I was sketching and she was amazed. I thanked her and then sat down to finish what I had started. I tapped both feet to the music to be sure not to loose them again.
Sultana Fatima Ali showed up for the final set, dressed in a black sequin dress. She and Washington-based Jazz musician, Marcus Johnson, both sat tapping on their respective cell phones with the warm glows from the screens illuminating their faces. I assumed they were tweeting or updating their Facebook statuses. I was shocked and delighted when I found out she had been inspired by the art-themed environment to write, and she shared her musings with me.  I believe through the visual elements and written word, an experience can truly be captured.