Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Toddler Town is open.

The Orlando Science Center (777 East Princeton Street Orlando FL 32803) invested about five million dollars in building a New Kids Town. There are five or six main play areas along with Toddler Town. This half moon shaped play area is set up so moms and dads can sit on the cushy retaining wall and was their toddlers at play. Kids can assemble floor puzzle pieces, crawl through house shaped foam tunnels, and crawl in side a foam sewer drain pipe.The most used toy was an abacus shaped wire roller coaster with colored beads.

Other isolated stations had windows into a Styrofoam snowstorm and a two way window which could fog over. All day there are bursts of energy as kids explore and discover for the first time. This is also the perfect place for parents to rest amidst the playground madness. Circular mobiles mirror the floating circles on the walls, and shadow patterns on the floor add to the circular theme.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Drip Drop Splash at the Orlando Science Center.

I went in to sketch the new Kids Town as it was being constructed once a week this past October. Drip Drop Splash has three illuminated water columns with hand cranks. When the cranks are turned by kids the water rises up and trickles down a series of blue kite shaped shingles. The water empties into a clear bowl and then rains down into a round pool below. It is possible to crawl under this pool reception and stand up in a donuts hole opening in the middle. Standing the r it is possible to be surounded by rain, yet remain perfectly dry.

Water cascade down from this center pool down three ramps which each have a maze of mind bending inventions. Kids can plumb and divert the water or build a series of dams. Each Rube Goldberg contraption teaches the kids how to harness and use the power of water.

At this point in the construction plumbing was still being worked out. Workers joked with each other calling each other "Cuz". Walls were being painted and things fell together quickly. Kids Town is now open at the Orlando Science Center (777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803) and trust me, the kids love it.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Wicked After Dark at the Abbey.

The Broadway National Tour cast of Wicked came to The Abbey(100 S Eola Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32801) for a one-night only charitable cabaret concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity fights AIDS and the GLBT Center of Central Florida. Net proceeds (ticket sales included) from the benefit will specifically help fund counseling for the community, survivors, and family members affected by the Pulse tragedy. Counseling services will be needed for at least the next five years, and The Center Orlando has pledged that it will make these services available to the community on walk-in basis, free of charge, for as long as it is needed.

The opening act was by Wicked Alumna, Broadway veteran, X-Factor star, Nashville recording artist and Florida native Rachel Potter with her band, Steel Union. Rachel had a new born and she said that the baby had slept through the night for the first time ever on the evening before the performance. She had worked at Disney World as The Little Mermaid for five years after college. After a full set with Steel Union she offered to sing as Ariel. The audience joined in as she sang, "I want mooore." Her Disney roots won the audience. She played down her X-Factor experience saying that at least s gained a few twitter followers. Rachel went on to perform a solo from Wicked that got a standing ovation.

Song and dance performances by the cast members of Wicked followed. The Abbey house lights went black, and I had to stop sketching for fear that my tablet glow might ruin the experience for other audience members. The opening number featured wicked actresses in sexy black lace and garters dancing to the sexy and risque Cabaret. "We have no troubles here. Here life is beautiful!" Rosy, Lulu, Frenchy, and Texas gyrated with abandon.All our troubles were left outside.

Wicked After Dark was produced by the company members of Wicked themselves. This post-Wicked performance cabaret was an opportunity for cast members to step out of their roles in the musical and kick up their heels performing some of their favorite non-Ozian material. On actor who is the understudy for OZ took to the stag with a guitar and cowboy hat. His microphone had to be adjusted endlessly. As a tech struggled, he said, "Well this had better be worth it. No pressure." The audience laughed. He then sang an original balled about love lost. The gentle lyrics bemoaned his confusion and pain. Then be paused. The next line was something like. "What I wish for you is... Herpes." The audience went crazy. Michael Wanzie shouted out, "It was so worth it!

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. It offers an ongoing, committed response from the American theater community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of this community, The organization raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, 
more than $150 million has been raised for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV and other serious illnesses. For more information, visit www.broadwaycares.org.

The Center was the first agency on the scene of the Pulse Orlando tragedy on the morning of June 12, 2016; within two hours had more than 600 volunteers and community members inside its doors, had rallied more than 600 crisis counselors to the area, and had coordinated the distribution of supplies to first responders, hospitals, families, blood banks and more. Since that day, as well as its regular operations, The Center now also staffs the Orlando United Assistance Center which is the mail portal for the survivors and the families of the deceased; The Center was described as “Ground Zero for victim and family recovery” by President Obama. For more information, visit www.thecenterorlando.org.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Vinyl Bar Art Night.

Vinyl Arts Bar, (75 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32801) is located next to a tattoo parlor near Orange Avenue. A group of artists spent the night painting in an artistically nurturing environment with other like-minded individuals where they can network and inspire one another. Expect all original works.

Those who weren't artists got to see artists at work, and watch the creativity happen. Tables each sported hookahs for smoke, And the bar offered wine to sip. The evening was about chilling, networking. And getting to see art being created. t he evening was hosted by Swirlz and Diego Inkusual. With Christmas the corner there were a couple of elfs in the crowd besides the standard sleek black dresses.

I arrived at the designated start time which was early for this art crowd. The place was deserted. I ordered a beer and sat on a couch to start blocking in the sketch. Slowly artists started to arrive and set up easels. One artist recognized me, and we chatted for a bit. In the front room, artists were painting on vinyl records. Each circular painting would the be hung up front where they were illuminated by black light to make the paintings glow. I want to return to sketch the unique side room which each have a unique colored lighting scheme. A digital sketch would be the best way to capture the strange glow.

Friday, February 3, 2017

WeekendTop 6 Picks for February 4th and 5th.

Saturday February 4, 2017
9am to 5pm Free All weekend. 42nd Annual Mount Dora Art Festival. Downtown Mount Dora.

 6pm to 8pm Free. Dr. Deborah Willis Talk. Rollins College 1000 Holt Ave, Box 2720, Winter Park, Florida 32789. This lecture, at Rollins College, is in conjunction with the ‘Posing Beauty in African American Culture’ exhibition at Snap! Space (on view January 13 through February 11) curated by Dr. Deborah Willis.
Professor Deborah Willis is a theorist and historian of African American photography, as well as a photographer herself. Dr. Willis is chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has an affiliated appointment as Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, the Infinity Award in Writing from the International Center for Photography, and recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography”.
PLEASE NOTE : Eventbrite ticket does not guarantee entrance. This is a free event, eventbrite helps us to gauge numbers. We recommend that you arrive early, as entrance will be granted according to arrival and capacity. Thank you!
Free admission. Tickets

7pm to 10pm $35 Trash2Trends. Ports of Call Sea World 7007 Seaworld Drive, Orlando, Fl 32821. Trash 2 Trends is a Keep Orlando Beautiful, Inc fundraiser that brings the fashion and art of local artists together with the environmental community to promote sustainability in an innovative way. The show features local designers who create runway looks from items headed to the landfill. A complimentary dessert and coffee bar will be provided during intermission for all guests. Must be 18 or older to attend.

Sunday February 5, 2017
10am to 4pm Free.  Lake Eola Farmers Market.  South East corner of Lake Eola Park.

7pm to 9pm Free. Erotic Poetry Night V: Smut, Actually. Vinyl Arts Bar 75 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32801. The Drunken Odyssey presents its annual live show of erotic poetry, erotic prose, amorous thoughts, and smut, this year in the posh bohemian confines of Vinyl Arts Bar.
The Drunken Odyssey All Stars will feature
Naomi Butterfield
Ephraim Scott Sommers
Diane Turgeon Richardson
Wilson Santos
Stephanie Rizzo
Brian Downes
Rachel Kohlman
Teege Braune
Lisa Roney
Madison Strake Bernath
& your host, John King.

7:30pm to 9:30pm Free. Helena - contemporary vocal ensemble. The Timucua Arts white house 2000 S Summerlin Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806. A sisterhood of six of Central Florida's most dauntless singers, Helena is an ensemble committed to irradiating gems from all genres of vocal music.
Helena will be performing choral and vocal works by David Childs, Gwynneth Walker and John Prine, among others. They will also perform Libby Larsen's song cycle Try Me Good King, in collaboration with pianist Lynn Peghiny Mells.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Memorial for Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, Shot Jan 9, 2017.

Markeith D. Loyd accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend last month,  shot Sgt. Debra Clayton multiple times when she confronted him outside a Walmart near the Pine Hills area west of Orlando, police said. Loyd then fled the scene. After a massive manhunt, Loyd has finally been captured.

Debra's police cruiser has been Parked on the sidewalk in front of Police Headquarters surrounded by black tape as a memorial. Flowers were left on the wind shield and in the first days driving by I noticed large for are wreaths. The car was covered in graffiti one night but the next day Police had it spic and span again. The re was graffiti on , retaining wall I sat next to as I did this sketch. It said, "God Bless U R in our prayers. Much Love." People need to write when faced with death.

The cruiser was defaced just one day after Debra's accused killer appeared in court. The blue marker graffiti didn't offer condolences and flowers from on the hood were knocked to the ground. Police officials said they hope the incident, which happened sometime overnight, was caught on video, adding that an investigation is underway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lilian Verkins Atmospheres at Lake Eustis Museum of Art.

The Lillian Verkins Atmospheres opening was on January 6, 2017 at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art, (1 W Orange Ave, Eustis, FL 32726). Opened in 1995, the Lake Eustis Museum of Art exhibits historic, contemporary artwork from local, regional, and national sources. LEMA is the first art museum in Lake County dedicated wholly to visual art.

Several dozen canvases  hung on the walls of the rooms in the small museum. I suspect the back room overlooked the lake, but since it was pitch dark, the water couldn't be seen. I asked Lillian an the curator if it was alright to sit on a center bench and sketch. They were both open to the idea. The curator even fell that carrying a sketchbook should be every artists goal.

The Atmospheres consisted of bold loose brushwork that seemed to define clouds and storm formation in other - worldly environments. At times the skys seemed to ignite on fire. Some canvases also featured square patches of color that floated above the tempestuous cloud formations. I n the ca room there we a few smaller pieces that were more representational. They were priced to sell, and several did.

Atmospheres remains on display through February 4th.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mystery Sketch Theater at Falcon Bar.

Mystery Sketch Theater is a live figure drawing session that takes place once a month, on the first Thursday of the month at an awesome artsy bar and gallery called The Falcon (819 E. Washington Street, Orlando, FL 32801). The cost is just $5 which goes to the model. The models are superheroes, burlesque performers, retro housewives, belly dancers, drag queens! It's a hoot! About a dozen artists will show to sketch quick one minute poses to start and gradually work up to longer 20 minute poses. I like to sketch the artists at work as well as the model. One artist brought in his dog, and they sketched from their spot on the floor.

The next Mystery Sketch Theater Presents, Sunny Cummings. She is a yoga instructor so expect to see some super human flexibility.

We provide you the most ravishing, exotic and fascinating models our fair city and beyond can provide. Elaborate costumes, fabulous makeup, and amazing personalities. On that note...if you have a pair of fishnets or a sequined bra, you might want to contact us for modeling opportunities. We'll pamper and worship you.

Artists of all skill levels and occupations are welcome to come. Even non-artists who just want to hang out, get their geek on and have a good time with good people are more than welcome too. Artists are asked to pay a small fee of $5 for the evening to help cover costs for running the event. Oh, did I mention we have contests? Silly! Ridiculous contests! With prizes!

First Thursday of the month, every month from 8-10 PM! Come early to get a great seat and snag a drawing table before they're all spoken for!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Corsets and Cuties 2nd Annual Amateur Contest & Holiday Kick Off.

 I was invited to a Corsets and Cuties dress rehearsal on Wednesday 8-17 at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803) from 8pm to 10pm. It was three months since the Pulse shooting, and the venue was richly decorated with rainbows, and an Orlando Rising banner. Even as performers stripped, the banner reminded one, to never forget.

The Corsets and Cuties performers always bring lively tongue in cheek humor to their performances. Laughter, set them apart from other burlesque troops I have sketched. Rainbow skirts flew off of hips and fluttered to the floor. This see me an appropriate way to honor the spirits  of the young men and women who were dancing and celebrating life when insanity cut their lives short.

The next Corsets and Cuties performance is the 2nd Annual Amateur Contest & Holiday Kick Off, on November 18th. Doors open at 9 pm. Tickets are $18 in advance, and $20 at the door. The Cuties are opening the show, and then inviting contestants to the stage for audience votes. The audience chooses the winner who earns their place as the Cuties guest star in our Spring Show! Then the Cuties take over to kick off the holiday season!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

There will be Madness # 5 - A Flash Fiction Slam.

There will be Madness  # 5 - A Flash Fiction Slam was held at The Gallery at Avalon Island (37 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801). Eight writers faced off head to head in three rounds and there was only one winner. Jessie Bradley was the MC. What does it take to compete?
1 - No greater than 250 word story for the first round
2 - No greater than 500 word story for the second round
3 - No greater than 1000 word story for the final round
The last writer standing will received a copy of both There Will Be Words chapbooks for 2016.

In this town where poetry readings are a dime a dozen, it is nice to let some prose develop characters and plot. The best part: the audience decided who wins each round (which means, feel free to bring as many friends as possible to help rig the competition in your favor). I felt that my vote counted. Only take eight writers could compete. To sign up, e-mail twbwsubmissions@gmail.com or on the invite page. The show started around 7:00. Connie Cassia Heinz took home the grand prize.