Showing posts with label Jeremy Seghers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeremy Seghers. Show all posts

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This is Our Youth.


This is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Lonergan is running at Macbeth Studio, (37 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL) through February 25th. Billed as a comedy, the show, directed by Jeremy Seghers is actually quite dramatic. Set in a 1980s NYC apartment, the show looks at the relationship between two young men, one a domineering former high school jock, and part time pot dealer named Dennis (Jack Kelly) and the other, Warren (Austin DavisJack Kelly) just trying to escape from his father.

The play is set in Dennis's apartment. The theater is actual a photographer's studio on the 9th floor of a downtown office building. The audience watches the scenes unfold in the round since they are seated along a wall and in seats lining the other side of the room as well. David Horgan on of "Dem Guys" the hardcore Fringe patrons, sat beside me and we debated about the year the play was set in. The rotary phone predated cell phones. A TV guide on the floor placed the time around 1982. Books on the bookshelf further verified the detective work.

The play began with Dennis sprawled on his mattress watching TV.  The intercom rang repeatedly. He wanted to ignore it, but couldn't. He buzzed up Warren, who had just left home and hoped to find a place to crash for a bit. Dennis buzzed with adolescent energy. As the two threw a football around the apartment, Warren managed to throw the ball into the book as breaking a sculpture that Dennis had of his girl friends. Dennis lost it, and wrestled Warren by the neck and punched him when he was down. The entire friendship was build around his bullying and belittling Warren.

Dennis was also schemer and he arranged to sell of his friends collection of vintage toys to raise cash. When he was gone, One of Dennis's girlfriends,  Jessica (Monica Mulder) came up to the apartment. She was beautiful and Warren stumbled all over himself trying to impress her. His attempts were comical. Of course I was rooting for the geek to get the girl. Through all the awkward exchanges they were surprised that they have very common tastes. Warren stole money from his father when he left home, and he decided to use that money to take Jessica on a expensive night on the town, including an expensive hotel stay.

After the date Jessica stopped by the apartment a second time to see Warren. Although it was clear these two cared about each other, they started fighting. Intimacy sparked before they knew each other, so they were both defensive, trying to maintain boundaries. Warren's favorite possession was a baseball hat from his grand father. Of all his possessions he asked his friend Dennis not to sell the hat. Jessica knew how important the hat was, and when Warren offered her anything for love, she asked for the hat. He was glad to give it to her. But he couldn't find it. He searched the apartment in desperation. It was gone. So was any hope of winning Jessica's love. They exchanged bitter words and were driven apart by a hat. It was painful to watch.

When Warren is bullied by his friend Dennis in the third act, I kept hoping that he would fight back. He would loose a physical confrontation but he needed to stand his ground. Friendships and relationships seemed to be about nothing but taking and steeling from one another. For a comedy, this is a dark view of the world. Politics however imply that this is the American way.

Remaining show dates are, February 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25
All performances @ 8:00PM

Tickets available.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Auditions for "Dracula" by Steven Dietz.


Auditions at Carmine Boutique (2708 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida) were a grim and macabre affair. A skinned raccoon was draped over an ottoman. Skulls of every shape and size were tucked away in a curio cabinet. Outside it was pouring rain. Lightning and thunder sparked life in the cadavers on display. This is probably the type of scene that runs through every actors mind as they face the horror of a cold read. Many of the women wore black dresses as if for a funeral. A store salesman offered to show me any item up close. This place really is a sketchers paradise.

Actors filled out forms and then waited for their moment to get on stage. Groups of about ten actors at a time were called to the back room. When they returned they were pumped for in formation about what by in the back of the store. Some actors were asked to stay, while others faced the elements as they rushed back to their cars on this grey miserable and wet day. When the potent-is cast had been narrowed down, all the actors sat in the back room, Edwardian Bar and scenes were rehearsed, with each actors trying out different rolls.

This October, Jeremy Seghers will direct Steven Dietz's adaptation of "Dracula" at Carmine Boutique. Staged in an Edwardian fetish bar surrounded by oddities and antiques, this "Dracula" is dark and creepy and, unlike other versions, stays very faithful to Bram Stoker's novel. This macabre and twisted tale will be told in a twisted and unique boutique. This is the show to catch this October as we approach Halloween.

Tickets
Dates are: 
October 6, 2016 at 8pm
October 7, 2016 at 8pm
October 8, 2016 at 8pm
October 9, 2016 at 8pm
October 10, 2016 at 8pm
October 13, 2016 at 8pm
October 14, 2016 at 8pm
October 15, 2016 at 8pm

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dracula


I went to Carmine Boutique (2708 N Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida) to sketch auditions for Dracula. If you haven't been to Carmine Boutique, you need to experience it for yourself. They have a wide assortment of the odd and macabre. Behind me were pickled baby pigs in jars, a skeleton in the corner was of Siamese twins. In the back of the store is this stage along with an Edwardian fetish bar. A large poster behind the stage had an average man and a tiny woman, no taller than the penguin pictured. The poster announced, "They are married" My own marriage was crumbling. It was pouring rain outside. The loud thunder rattled the oddities adding to the mood.

I got to see how different actors fleshed out the same parts. I don't know how a director decides with so many talented options. Yet in some moments, an actor no longer seems to be acting. They are the character. I always fall in to I always fall in love with certain performances and I am hopeful to see them in the final production.

Jeremy Seghers will breathe new life into Bram Stoker's Gothic horror classic with Steven Dietz's critically acclaimed adaptation of Dracula. Set exclusively at Carmine Boutique - an antiques, oddities, and taxidermy shop featuring an Edwardian fetish club - this immersive staging will bring the count, his brides, and the blood dangerously close to the audience. Due to the intense nature of the production, no one under the age of 13 will be permitted without a guardian. 

If you are a Halloween fanatic like myself, then this is the perfect way to warm up to the horrors of the season.

Tickets
Dates are: 
October 6, 2016 at 8pm
October 7, 2016 at 8pm
October 8, 2016 at 8pm
October 9, 2016 at 8pm
October 10, 2016 at 8pm
October 13, 2016 at 8pm
October 14, 2016 at 8pm
October 15, 2016 at 8pm

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Timucua White House is granted a Conditional Use Permit.


Benoit Glazer and The Timucua Arts Foundation has been providing world class art and music to the Orlando community free of charge for a long while. In 2007 Benoit built a custom home that was built around an acoustically perfect music hall with two levels of balconies overlooking the stage. The living room concert venue is completely soundproof so that neighbors never hear the music. Dozens of performances happen each year, most of them free of charge. Guests bring wine and food to the venue for each concert which cultivates a true sense of a community potluck. The Timucua Arts Foundation, is a benefactor to cutting edge music organizations like the Accidental Music Festival and the Civic Minded 5. The White House has established itself as a culture beacon for the Central Florida Music scene.

The home is in an area zoned for residential use, so the Orlando Municipal Planning Board demanded that Benoit apply for a conditional use permit. That type of permit is typically issued when the city wants to allow an activity beneficial to the community despite zoning restrictions. Without the permit, one of the most enlightened cultural lights in Orlando would be be extinguished. An online petition was established to try and save the White House. Over one hundred people signed it in the first hour. In all 832 people signed the petition.

At 8:30am on April 19th, Benoit and his wife Elaine Corrivev, sat in the City Counsel Chambers to hear the Planning Board's verdict. The Chambers were packed full of supporters for this home spun cultural institution. Jeremy Seghers sat in the row in front of me and Diana Rodriguez Portillo sat next to me to chat. There were so many friends of the arts in the room. The chair, Jason Searl, said he had to abstain from the vote since his little daughter takes piano lessons at the Benoit's house. He clearly couldn't be impartial. With in a matter of minutes, the Conditional Use Permit was granted. There was an audible sigh of relief and then most of the people in the room got up to leave. Exited conversations began and the celebration continued just outside the chamber doors. The concerts will continue with some conditions: Glazer will have to formalize a parking agreement with the city for use of nearby spaces at Wadeview Park, limit attendance to 99 guests and guarantee events end by 10:30 p.m. In some small measure, the bureaucrats won, but music and art will continue to shine at the White House. 

This, we believe:
Art and music belong to everyone.
Art and music are the highest manifestation of our humanity.
Art and music should be enjoyed in the most intimate venue: the living room.
Every community is better when art and music are performed and nurtured within it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spring Awakening


I decided to finally post this sketch because a dear friend Jeremy Seghers left Orlando to go to New York City. Jeremy directed two productions of Spring Awakening in Orlando and he was always open to the idea of letting an artist sketch the process. He invited me to the auditions for Spring Awakening and I watched the halls of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater fill with young hopeful actors. The first production was a direct staging of the original play set in a turn of the century German high school. The second production was to be based on a Broadway musical adaptation.

I heard a young girl singing in the woman’s room. For most of the actors, this was a chance to chat and catch up of theater gossip. There was a woman seated at a table and she took names. Actors were to have a musical number ready to sing. The pianist hadn’t arrived yet, so actors that had musical accompaniment on a CD moved to the top of the list. When they entered the theater, I could barely hear their muffled singing from my vantage point in the hall. Some actors left the auditition feeling elated that they had nailed their performance while others had doubts. Even so, art is a fickle process and a directors choice involves more variables than just talent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paul Strickland: Jokes, Songs, a Hat, Etc!

Beth Marshall was the producer of Paul Strickland's show at the Orlando Fringe Festival and she suggested I see and sketch the show.There was a line of people outside the Brown venue in the Shakespeare theater and I muscled into line. A volunteer scanned my ticked and then asked, "Do you have a button?" I said, "Of course." and pointed down at my bag that was covered in buttons. Looking down, I realized my Fringe button had fallen off. Thankfully she didn't notice.

I sat at the center of the top row of the bleacher seats. Jeremy Seghers and members of his cast from Mysterious Skin sat around me. The author of the play had been sent a link to the blog post and apparently he loved the sketch. I was flattered. A green light from the lighting tech booth illuminated my sketch as the room grew dark. Actress Sarah Villegas was visiting from out of town with her boyfriend. She had been in Fringe shows since she was 14 and this was the first time she came as a visitor. She said she missed Orlando and the Fringe in particular.

Paul's show combined comedy and music in a perfect blend. Many jokes centered around his feeling old at 30 yet they resonate even more when you hit 50. The woman seated directly in front of me laughed so loud that she set off a chain reaction of laughter. I identified with that strange feeling he got when a child stared at him. For some reason, children always stare at me on airplanes or in supermarkets. It is unnerving. Anyway he decided to warm up to this particular child and he made cute faces and said "Where can I buy one of you?" That would be fine he realized, unless the child was black! He performed My Way which is a song any artist who forges their own path can identify with.

You have one more chance to catch his show today, Sunday May 27th at 12:30PM. Tickets are $11. This show can be an exclamation point to your Fringe experience.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mysterious Skin


Mysterious Skin is a play by Prince Gomolvilas based on a novel by Scott Heim. This Fringe production was directed by Jeremy Seghers and produced by James Brendlinger. The show's promotional materials left plenty to the imagination showing a black and white photo of a mans naked belly. When I ran into Jeremy, I shouted "I'm ready for some Skin!" He laughed and said "Calm down."

The show follows Brian Lackey, (played by Anthony Pyatt Jr.) as he seeks the truth behind a childhood memory that forever haunts him.  In the opening scene, he sat center stage withdrawn and introverted. His mannerisms vividly reminded me of a nephew of mine who committed suicide. I was mesmerized. Avalyn Friesen (Marcie Schwalm) sat on her bed talking to him. She was a firm believer that aliens had abducted her when she was a child. Brian began to believe this might explain the memories of his past.

Neil McCormick,  (Michael Martin) New York City found himself draw to gay men and began to "turn tricks" which it turned out is a dangerous, and ego crushing way to make money. After seeing an old little league photo, Brian realizes that Michael played a part in the fractured memory of his child hood. Brian eventually finds Michael. Brian is awakened to the truth that he wasn't abducted by aliens when Michael shows him their baseball coaches abandoned home. The image triggered a flood of memories. In a moving scene near the end of the play Avalyn wrote Brian to describe her abduction. Her intense recreation made it seem that she and Brian had experienced a similar fate. When Brian finally faces the truth, his legs give out.

There is no clean resolution or moral to the story. The characters and their plights lingered with me. The play was haunting and hard hitting. Anthony, Marcie and Neil gave amazing performances. This play certainly got under my skin.

Show times:
Friday 5/25 at 9:15PM
Saturday 5/26 at 3:15PM
Sunday 5/27 at 7:15PM

The show is in the Orange Venue and tickets are $10.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Jeremy Seghers invited me to sketch the dress rehearsal for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Abbey. I was excited because Joshua Eads-Brown who plays Hedwig had agreed to let me sketch as he put on his make up. When I entered the Abbey, a rock band was warming up on stage. I didn't know where the dressing room was but, I assumed it had to be back stage. When I tentatively peaked around the back curtain, I practically ran into Joshua who was wearing a knit cap over his hair and not much else. His whole body seemed to be covered with a white dust. The stage manager took me back to the dressing room.

Janine Klein who plays Yitzhak was working on getting her hair tied up. She was dressed as a man. The dressing room was cramped. I stood right behind Janine as I sketched Joshua's metamorphosis from a man to a woman. He had a bright pink zebra patterned makeup case and open pans of color were scattered on the counter before him. The face makeup was applied thickly. He darkened under his jaw line and boldly accentuated his cheeks with Alizarin Crimson. He put crimson and blue around his eyes then bright red lips outlined in black. His lips and eyes sparkled. The fingers of white gloves draped over the counter's edge. Janine was getting into a leather jacket and Joshua delicately used an eyeliner brush to give her a mustache and goatee. She became handsome and rugged while he became gorgeous. Large fake eyelashes, the wig and a red white and blue gown finished the transformation. She slipped on the star shaped sun glasses and went on stage.

The dress rehearsal was delayed because a guitar player hadn't arrived yet. I used the time to block in a second sketch. Hedwig came out wearing a large red white and blue cape. He raised his arms and on the inside of the cape, the words, "Yankee Go Home", "With Me!" was emblazoned.

The show is staged as Hedwig's musical act in which he tells his life's story. He was born in the divided city of East Berlin. A U.S. Soldier falls in love with Hedwig. To get out of East Berlin, a sex change was needed. As he put it, "You must give up part of yourself for love." The operation is botched leaving an "Angry Inch." The soldier leaves Hedwig after a year for a man. Recovering from separation she form a rock band called, "The Angry Inch". She meets Tommy Speck and they write music together. Tommy never accepted Hedwig and he leaves her taking all the songs becoming a very successful pop star.

Yitzhak was a cross dresser. Hedwig insisted he must never again wear woman's clothes if they were to be together. He would have to give up that part of himself. All her life Hedwig searched for her other half. She couldn't find anyone who could make her whole. The revelation is that she needed to accept herself. Once she did that she was whole again. We can't fall back on others to complete ourselves. In the final scene Yitzak came out on stage dressed in a gorgeous black gown with a slit reveling her left leg. She was resplendent and whole. The audience went wild.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is being performed at the Abbey through January 23rd. Check the website for dates and times. This musical will blow your socks off!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spring Awakening

The Greater Orlando Actors Theater is presenting "Spring Awakening" at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater through September 4th. This is a musical based on a play written in the 1892 by Frank Wedekind in Germany. Having seen the play in its original form I thought I knew what I was to expect. Entering the Mandell Theater I was surprised to find it had been turned into a theater in the round. Seating bleachers lined all four walls creating an intimate square staging area in the center of the room. A single wooden chair with a young girl's night gown draped over its back sat in the center of the stage as the audience filed in. The house went dark and then actress Melina Countryman stood on the chair and she was bathed in a spotlight wearing only her turn of the century undergarments. I was hooked from the moment she sang "Mama Who Bore Me." She was soon joined by a chorus of girls who stomped to the lyrics in a sensual anger. The shows over riding theme was shouted to the rafters. These were women in full bloom who had to deny their sensuality.

I resisted the urge to sketch these young actresses and instead focused on the boys in their school uniforms who were being forced to learn using rote memorization. Adam McCabe as Moritz began to doze off. When the instructor prodded him awake he came alive as an electric live wire, frenetic and disheveled. He began to sing "The Bitch of Living" and all the boys joined him as they expressed their yearning and sexuality which was repressed and as of yet only a dream. I was surprised when audience members stood and started dancing. The choreography by Jessica Mariko was driven and sensual. During the course of the show several members of the audience changed into turn of the century garb becoming part of the cast. Simple effects like using a flashlight to illuminate a singers face were beautifully understated and intimate. Sarah Villegas as Ilse reacted against the sexual abuse of her father by running off to an artist commune where she posed for artists. She was attracted to the quirky Moritz but he was to blind to see her advances. When she sang "Blue Wind" it became clear she was to beautiful for such a cruel world.

Melchior played by Anthony Pyatt Jr. wrote a long scientifically accurate and occasionally illustrated description of the sexual act for his friend Moritz who was experiencing tortured sexual dreams. When this document was discovered by authorities he was accused of warping his friends mind and hastening his suicide. I've been told I avoid intimacy, yet when I write, I tend to express myself without inhibition and more than once what I wrote was unearthed and used as evidence against me. Yes, I wrote that. My soul is not my own. I am "Totally Fucked." "Lets discuss what you meant in paragraph two, sentence five." Blah, blah... blah, blah... blah, blah, blah.

The director Paul Castaneda and assistant director Jeremy Seghers did an amazing job of bringing this show alive in such an intimate setting. Simply stated, I was bowled over by this show and the young talented cast. There are only three performances left. Friday and Saturday's shows (Sept. 2nd & 3rd) are at 8:30pm and Sunday's show (Sept. 4th) is at 7:30pm. GoatGroup.org for tickets or call 407 872-8451 for information.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spring Awakening Auditions

Jeremy Seghers invited me to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater a while back to sketch young actors as they gathered to audition for "Spring Awakening". A woman at a folding table had the actors and actresses fill out a form. Then they waited nervously in the hall. When actors gather for an audition it is like a reunion. The hallway filled with exited conversation. I had seen one production of Spring Awakening produced by Jeremy Seghers that stayed true to the original script. The play followed the lives of students in a turn of the century German University as they discovered their sexuality. A mother stumbled awkwardly as she tried to relate the facts of life to her daughter. She was unsuccessful. The daughter then ends up getting pregnant. Serious issues of rape and homosexuality are dealt with. I'm curious to see how music of Duncan Sheik and the lyrics of Steven Sater might ignite this story.



Since this production was based on the Broadway musical, each actor and actress came prepared to sing. The accompanist was late, so actors who came with a music CD to sing to got to go first. An actress went into the women's room where she started singing. When she was called into the Goldman, she turned to her friends and said, "Wish me luck". Behind the closed doors of the Goldman Theater I could hear her muffled singing. Actors who impressed the director, Paul Castaneda, would be called back another day for another audition.



Spring Awakening runs through September 4th at the Shakespeare Theater. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 7:30pm. Tickets are $18 and $15 for students and seniors. Call 407-872-8451.




Friday, June 3, 2011

Andy Matchett & The Minks


I had seen Andy Matchett & The Minks perform once before at a RIFF fundraiser at the Cameo Theater. They performed late that evening and I had put away my sketchbook. I had so much fun at that concert just dancing and jumping. It was a playful rave experience. Ever since then I have been looking for a chance to sketch this band in action. Andy told me about a concert at the Social and I leaped at the opportunity to see them again.

I had just finished an afternoon of sketching people for the Mennello Museum mural. Angela Abrusci had posed in a beautiful vintage dress as she applied lipstick and James and Jasmine Barone had me in stitches, joking and teasing as I worked. She held a parasol and he was in a kilt. When the sketches were done, I walked across the street to the Fringe festival's green lawn of fabulousness to get some dinner. I bumped into Jeremy Seghers who was also going to see Andy Matchett & The Minks that night. He told me the group would be performing around 11pm so I had time for a Fringe show. He told me all about the show he had created called "Squatters" and it was about to begin so I rushed over to the theater. Jeremy told me the Social was on Orange Avenue just south of Colonial Drive.

I parked downtown in my usual "supersuprimo" spot and started walking towards Orange. I passed a cheesy mural which offered no inspiration. When I got to Orange I made the mistake of turning right to walk north towards a club I had been to before. After five blocks I realized I was lost. I looked up the Social address on my cell phone and went the other way. I was a sweaty mess when I got to the Social, where I was issued a green wrist band and ushered inside past the bouncer. I immediately saw Betsy Dye and Emma Kruch and my spirit lifted. Another band was performing and they were LOUD! I shouted a greeting to Betsy and she shouted out that this was a rare night out for her. Jeremy waved me over and I gave up trying to shout over the music. I found a spot where I decided to plant myself to sketch. I used the band on stage to block in where the Minks would likely be once they performed. Then I sketched the dancing crowd.

As Andy Matchett & The Minks set up, I continued to sketch. Before they played, a band member handed me some confetti. Jeremy found some seats and I joined him. The performance was pure unbridled fun. The second they started playing, confetti cannons sprayed vast clouds of heart shaped confetti over the crowd. Hair driers kept the confetti and streamers airborne through the whole show. Blowers sent streams of toilet paper into the crowd. Betsy collected the paper and wrapped herself into a fashionable cocoon. The lights flashed various colors on my sketchbook page. I imagined the Japanese animation that caused seizures in children. A parachute was unfurled over the cheering audience. Britt Daley had performed earlier that night and she introduced me to her mom, Gazelle. Jeremy kept getting bonked in the head and we laughed. Robbie Senior, a giant red robot from "Dog Powered Robot" invaded the stage. An epic laser and confetti battle followed. The crowd went wild. A wine glass crashed to the floor. A woman who had been sitting demurely all evening, was now dancing up a storm. The next day when I opened my sketchbook to see what I caught, a pink confetti heart fluttered to the floor.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Squatters

Squatters was conceived by Jeremy Seghers. This was one of the few improvised shows at Fringe this year. Jeremy built the idea around the premise that a sitcom about people living through hard times can be funny. I arrived a little early and blocked in the set in my sketchbook since I knew the show was only half an hour. Logan Donahue was a guest star. Every performance of Squatters at Fringe would be unique. Jeremy said he had given prompts and suggestions the evening before in a prior performance and he suspected the actors had too much time to over think the possibilities. On the evening I sketched the actors were given prompts just moments before they went on stage.

I found myself doing improv once when director Aradhana Tiwari insisted I join her group of actors. I was way out of my comfort zone yet the thrill of scenes taking on a life of their own is a thrill. Therefore I was rooting for the cast with every quirky turn.

The show started with a stage hand wearing a head set came who out to announce the beginning of the show. We were the studio audience. The set consisted of an ugly lime green rug and furniture that looked like it was from the 60's. Hints that the family was squatting were subtle, like when Cody Bush bragged that he had landed a job at Walmart. Logan added a real spark when he entered as a new age guru with a purple mask painted on his face. Scenes where he seduced Ashli Conrad were inspired.

There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and some outright strange surreal moments that were so campy I had to laugh. The laugh track added another layer to the humor. I must say, I had fun and this show took many chances many of which paid off. This is what Fringe is all about.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Snap!

Cris Phillips-George, the marketing director for Snap, invited me to a media roll out for this year's Snap events. Jeremy Seghers introduced me to Cris as soon as I arrived at Urban ReThink. Cris introduced us all to the five day event called Snap! Snap is a celebration showcasing the work of local, national and international photographers. Starting today, there will be over a dozen exhibits, artist appearances, workshops, lectures and parties. The theme this year is "Perception & Reality." Tonight Snap's kick off event is a larger than life projection of photos and 3-D animation onto the Kress building (130 S. Orange Ave.) There will be four hourly shows between 8 and 11pm. Admission is free. Cris showed a sample animation to the group and the effect is stunning. The first screening will be hosted by Mayor Buddy Dyer.

On May 5th a "Homegrown" photography exhibit will open at The Orlando Museum of Art (2416 N. Mills) from 6-9pm coinciding with 1st Thursdays. The theme is "Perception & Reality."

May 6th is the official Snap Opening Night gala and Exhibition honoring the 2011 international artists. This huge 25,000 square foot exhibition space is in the GAI Building (618 South Street) at 7pm. Tickets are needed.

May 7th is Fashion Night with two art inspired fashion shows. There will be guest speakers and lectures at UCF and CEM (500 West Livingston Street) from noon to 5pm. Tickets are needed.

May 8th is Mothers Day with a youth art reception at the GIA Building from noon to 5pm. (Ticket) There are also photography workshops at Orange Studio (121 North Mills Avenue from 10am to 6pm. (Ticket)

Cris showed us samples of some of the photographers work being exhibited. One photographer, Dan Eldon, was known for creating journals of his work. He traveled to Somalia photographing the famine and human rights violations happening there. The idea hits home to my love of the sketchbook journals I use for the blog. I can't wait to see his work. He used his art as an activist to spearhead change in the world and unfortunately he was killed at a very young age in Somalia.

There is an online Instant Snapification competition that invites anyone from around the globe to submit digital images taken with their cell phone. Approved images are posted online almost instantly. So whip out those cells and start snapping! Snap is a huge celebration of creativity. It promises something for everyone. I will sketch as much as possible, but get out and experience it for yourself. Feed your eyes and fan the flames of your creativity!

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Gandi

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Louder Than a Bomb

I began my evening by going to the Regal Cinemas in Winter Park. I arrived an hour and a half early in order to have some time to sketch before watching films. I walked back to the two theaters that were set aside for the Florida Film Festival. In the hallway student volunteers were waiting around between screenings. Their job was to collect tickets and hand out ballots so the audience could rate the films. While I sketched, Jeremy Seghers and a friend stopped to say hello. Jeremy told me I HAD to see Louder than a Bomb! He was adamant, and he told me I would love it. With a spirited review like that, I had to see this film. I rushed from the Regal to the Enzian theater.

Mr. Happy Man by local filmmaker Matt Morris was screened first. I met Matt, Emma Kruch and Betsy Dye in the theater lobby. Matt wanted to get in early to get a seat for his screening. The volunteers turned him away offering no VIP treatment. This offered me the chance to meet him and shake his hand. He complained that the shoe laces on his sneakers were too long. Betsy dug into her bag and pulled out a crochet needle. She kneeled down and shoved the needle under the crossed laces and then she pulled the looped ends of the knot down underneath. It was a sudden inspired solution that very well could cause a national fashion trend. Mr Happy Man was about an inspiring character, named Johnny Barnes in Bermuda, who stood at a busy intersection each morning shouting out his love and blowing kisses to everyone who drove by. People came to depend on him and were reassured by his constant presence. A sculptor did a life sized bronze statue of him to commemorate his message of love. Here was a man with a simple message we all can learn from. Life is beautiful, don't waste it being upset or stressed. Let people know you love them.

Louder than a bomb was a documentary about high school students who compete in a spoken word competition. The film followed four students from two different high schools as they prepared for the competition. Steinmetz high was located in an underprivileged section of Chicago. In their neighborhood there were few opportunities. The first year they competed in the slam, they won. They hoped to repeat that performance. Oak Park high school was in the quiet suburbs, a privileged school in comparison.

What made the film so vibrant and vital was the creative spirit and drive of the students. Nova Venerable, a young Indian girl had a father who was a substance abuser. She basically had to raise her little brother since her mom had to work multiple jobs to keep the kids away from the father. Nova had not spoken to her father in years yet her poetry about him was filled with both anger and love. She started high school angry, often fighting with other students. She said, "My life seemed to fit once I started writing." Her brother, Cody, had special needs, with a form of autism. Her poem about him was filled with the purest love and yet she feared he might forget her when she went away to college. Her poetry was so raw and honest that it would silence the audience.

Adam Gottlieb felt he had grown up privileged since his parents supported him allowing him to pursue his dream. A poem he wrote about the simple act of writing sparked with life. Every line flowed forth, a constant stream of expression, the words piling up in the rapid need to be expressed. The poem poured out of him with such force that he was short of breath. Then he paused for the longest time and said, "poet breathe now." The audience breathed with him. The audience on the screen erupted in applause as did the audience in the Enzian theater.

Because of the challenges faced by the students from Steinmetz, I found myself rooting for them. Five judges scored the poetry from one to ten points. High and low scores were removed. The final competition came down to a matter of one tenth of a point. There were tears of joy and sorrow. Nate from Steinmetz stressed that the world is bigger than a poetry slam, that the poets should not be afraid to step beyond the papers edge. All the students were learning to be inspired by people that were different than them. They were becoming true students of life. Louder than a Bomb explored the pure joy of students striving for creative expression. They left their hearts on the stage and that is inspiring, a gift to anyone who would listen! The movie audience stood and applauded. I wanted to jump and shout ready to wrestle my own need for creative expression. You need to see this film!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rocky Horror Rehearsal

Jeremy Seghers who plays Riff Raff invited me to a dress rehearsal for "The Rocky Horror Show at Theater Downtown (2113 North Orange Avenue). The show runs till November 13th. Steve MacKinnon, the director, introduced himself and he offered suggestions on the best vantage point to sketch from. The show opens with the cast sitting in front of a movie screen with the lips projected. I started blocking in the sketch and tried to resist putting in the red curtains since I knew they would be coming down. I couldn't resist drawing the lips and dripping lettering. In the first act Jeremy sang "Over at the Frankenstein Place.". He looked like Frankenstein with his high platform shoes dressed in formal black. All of the singing leads were given headset mics and the sound levels were crisp and clear. More important was the fact that the songs were belted out with sincerity and bravado. This is a talented cast that really throws their hearts into every song.

The set was pretty minimal with golden columns and picture frames hung at odd angles. This cast shines brighter than gold. Atmospheric fog added to some really nice lighting effects. The whole show was sensuous and fun. Culminating in an orgy group dance number that makes the movie seem tame. The Time Warp dance is so energetic that I can not imagine an audience that wouldn't want to join in. Jeremy confided that he split his pants the first time he did the dance at a dress rehearsal. The final song sung by Adam McCabe as Frank-n-Furter, "Don't dream it, Be it" is uplifting and inspiring. This show is campy, and over the top fun. It is time well spent to ring in the Halloween season!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spring Awakening

Jerehmy Seghers directed Spring Awakening, a Children's Tragedy at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. I sketched a reading of Spring Awakening many months ago in the Broadway Across America offices. Much of the cast had changed since those initial readings. Sarah Villegas who had read the roll of Wendla Bergman, now had a roll in "9 Parts of Desire." I am sure this conflict was the reason she no longer played this lead roll in Spring Awakening. At this rehearsal she sat right under the large oval shaped theater light. She laughed and applauded the work of her fellow actors.
There is now a musical version of this play but Jeremy went back to the original German translated script for this show. All of the sexual repression and the difficult transition from child to adult have strong relevance today. The play was written back in 1891 but remains very much relevant today. A scene where Melchior rapes Wendla in a hay loft is brutal and unexpected. In another scene Wendla asks a friend to hit her with a stick since her parents never beat her. I am reminded of a Eurythmics song that shots out "Some of them want to use you, some of them want to get used by you."
Unrequited love and uncertainty about sexual identity causes major tragic events to unfold with authority figures flapping their lips about moral order. Children are expected to discover their sexuality while blind folded.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

WPRK 91.5FM - Out and About

Via Facebook Mark Baratelli contacted me and asked if he could borrow my printer so he could print photos for an upcoming show. Every third Thursday of each month Mark puts on a "Mobile Art Show" in a U-Haul truck parked outside City Arts Factory. This month he plans to showcase all the photos that have been take for thedailycity.com. We bounced ideas back and forth on where we could meet and we decided to meet at WPRK a radio station located on the Rollins College campus. Mark would be there to showcase upcoming arts and culture events as listed on thedailycity.com. I arrived early so I would have a full hour to sketch. Jeremy Seghers, the Out and About host, greeted me and then got his guest situated for his on air interview. Seated in the guest chair was Jesse Nager who is now appearing in Xanadu at the Bob Carr Theater. Jesse also discussed a cabaret show he organized with friends of his. An album is being released called "The Broadway Boys" that features hits from this group of talented singers. He wanted to stress that that even people who don't usually listen to show tunes would like these performances. He expressed how fun it was to collaborate with so many of his friends.
Jesse and Jeremy discussed the plot line of Xanadu at some length and now I am really curious to see this Broadway musical. It seems the play pokes fun at itself and it's 1970's culture and should be very campy and fun. The music to this show I have heard many times many times on the radio, not realizing it was from a Broadway show.
Zac Alfson was also on hand to promote the Cabaret House Party at Mad Cow Theater featuring K. T. Sullivan. I will be going to this Cabaret performance tonight and I hope to get a good sketch of K.T. Zac pointed out that there will be cabaret performances every night through May 16th. The Mad Cow offers an intimate setting in which to experience these one of a kind acts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WPRK 91.5 Front Porch Radio

I had met Jeremy Seghers at several events around town. I finally asked him if it would be alright to come in sometime and sketch the radio station he works at. WPRK is located in the basement of a Rollins College building. When I walked in there was no secretary, I just walked towards the conversation I heard in the next room. Jeremy was behind the mic. He and Julie Norris were talking to John Rife about Community and the Media. The topic of discussion is one that is fresh on my mind after covering IZEA Fest a few weeks ago. I started talking about how I, as a blogger, have a responsibility to support the artist community and through discussion, influence and improve the public's view of the arts. I stressed that a blogger's responsibility is to bring others into the spotlight. The discussion, which I am passionate about, was so natural that I didn't even realize I was on the radio.
Also in the room were a photographer and writer from Winter Park Magazine who were doing a piece about the show. The photographer was everywhere getting shots of everyone from every angle. I sat back and relaxed into my sketch. I had to work fast since I had arrived late and was worried I might not finish. As it turns out I ended up having plenty of time to sketch since the next show's host didn't show. Jeremy had to head off to another job and Julie suggested that I sit in the hot seat and we started to talk. She was so gracious that I immediately felt at ease. She held her new born the whole time we talked which also had a soothing affect, like I was in her home. If you listen to the audio podcast I come in around 43 minutes and 40 seconds into the show. At first I was nowhere near a mic and later on Julie sat me down in front of the guests mic. I had no idea Analog Artist Digital World would become the topic of discussion but regardless I had a fun. I discovered it is possible to sketch and be interviewed at the same time. Oh and it looks like Jeremy and Julie cornered me into doing a show at Dandelion Communitea Cafe. I will certainly let you know when that happens.