On my way from the parking lot to the office one day—one of the many cubicles found on the second floor of the Winter Park Village shopping center—I spotted a patch of large mushrooms emerging from the grass. As I got closer and examined further, I discovered they weren’t live mushrooms at all, but instead someone had…** Read More
I don’t know many people who do not appreciate the arts. Music, theatre, dancing, architecture and design, writings, fashion, food, art shows—we can’t escape it. Creativity is everywhere. It’s in our cars; it’s on billboards; it’s on TV; it’s what we wear; it’s what we think about; it’s what we look forward to; it’s a way of living; it’s what we do when we can’t afford to do anything else; it’s a welcomed vacation from our everyday lives. Without art our lives would be dull, boring, uninspiring, without sound and color—truth be told, I can’t imagine it. So every time I hear another legislature group moving to cut the arts budgets, I cringe.** Read More
It’s true—some of my best ideas have come about while I’m at the bar. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s just that, unfortunately, most of these epiphanies have never made it to see the next day, except for this one time.
About six months ago, in the dirty, smoke-covered booths of Burton’s in Thorton Park, there was a meeting of the minds. In attendance was, yours truly, college student, free-lance writer and Page 15 volunteer, helping mostly with the downtown literacy arts center’s summer camp, and also Michelle Cameron and Chris Stephenson who were on the break of starting a film company, only they had no projects, no name and therefore no existence yet. Over a few draft beers, it slowly came to me that Page 15 needed a promotional video to gain sponsorships and also that Michelle and Chris needed a good-hearted project to film. It only seemed natural that I connect the two organizations; and so I did. And pretty much, that night, as a bunch of ideas scribbled on dirty napkins, the concept of Cam Road Films was born.** Read More
The first time I saw Matt was on a poster, an advertisement for his upcoming book signing of Dumbfounded at Urban Think!. I was drawn to his picture because he seemed youthful and—do I dare say it?—cool, which are two stereotypes that I never associate with authors. Not that I think all authors are old geezers who swaddle in rocking chairs next to cozy fireplaces, because there are known bad asses like Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut and Augusten Burroughs (It’s a shameless plug, but you’d know I’d have to put my favorite author in here). It’s more that being a writer, at least it seems like it to me, sounds a lot cooler than it actually is.** Read More
I was on my way to the infamous Coconuts, located just outside Orlando at Cocoa Beach, when I first stumbled upon Rick Piper. Among a few other artists, he was sitting on the side of the street selling original art. His work, in particular, caught my eye and caused me to immediately pull over. I needed to see the paintings up close and personal. There were two pieces that immediately drew my attention, both were his. One was of a beach scene that had a Buddha type character carved into a rock. The other one was a much darker piece of a lonely mermaid that was chained to the floor of sometime type of cell, depicted mostly in shades of blue and grey.
I purchased “The Call” that day, my first piece of original art named after the waves that appeared to be calling out from the Buddha’s stone-cold mouth. Although, the mermaid still haunts me to this day. I often wonder if I made the right decision, considering it’s been six years and I still debate it. The choice to endanger those in the vehicle with me when I nearly wrecked the van pulling over that day, however, appears to have been the right choice (Sorry Casey!). Because I now have six pieces of Rick’s work living in my house. The latest one I acquired, I feel most certainly was meant to be mine, even though I missed the opportunity to buy it during its first release.
For five years, I have continually asked about this particular painting titled “Earth Moved.” I had no money at the time Rick was selling it, and so it slipped away. Since then, I’ve asked Rick things like, “Do you think it is inappropriate to approach the new owner and ask if it’s for sale now?” Rick usually laughs at my ridiculous attempts to claim what I tend to think is mine. One day, he gave me a print of it—I imagine out of sympathy.
Then, last week, due to unforeseen circumstances, the painting suddenly became available again. When news of this popped up on my e-mail, along with a picture of the piece, I nearly fell over. I called and e-mailed Rick simultaneously, hoping he had saved it for me. And he did, “Earth Moved” is now mine. It’s something that I—never in a million years—imagined happening. Because when you miss out on good art, you never get the opportunity to get it back. Unless you are me, then things usually have a strange way of working themselves out.
“Hey! Do you want to come over on Wednesday,” asked my friend Shelby. She is my neighbor that lives on the 9th floor; I live on the 10th. “I am making lasagna and Jozlin is getting his tattoo worked on.”
“Um, yeah! Do you think the tattooer will want to tattoo me? And then, let me interview him at the same time?”
“I can ask.”
“That’d be sweet. I was going to go do that this week.”
“Do what? Get tattooed?”
“Yeah. And if I don’t have to leave the building to do it, even better.”
“I don’t see why he couldn’t. I’ll call you.”
Before Shelby had stopped me at the pool over the weekend, I was narrowing down tattoo shops to visit. I felt I needed more ink, but mostly I wanted to interview a tattooer while he tattooed me. Thanks to her, I no longer have to leave my building for this to happen. She’s having a tattooer come over to her house, just a present for her boyfriend that I’m totally going to invade on.** Read More
One night a group of us went to Anthony’s Pizzeria in Thorton Park for dinner. “Beer, beer, beer … let it flow like water,” sang my friend Mandy. Our waiter had just asked us what we wanted to drink; we wanted Orange Blossom Pilsner.
Ever since this dinner, I find myself singing this little ditty all the time—in the car, in the shower, at breakfast, while getting ready to go out. I’ve even professed this tune to other waiters—without even realizing it—when recently asked for my drink order. This has made me think that something is either seriously wrong with me or something is seriously right with beer—let’s just assume it’s the latter.** Read More
Interviewing strangers is a lot like going out on blind dates, except worse. Not only do you not know what to expect but you have to ask all the questions. Then, even if it doesn’t work out you still are forced to create something out of it for others to enjoy. Nothing good has ever come of any blind date that I’ve been on and so it surprises me that good things come from these types of interviews.
Enter Brook Pifer. Before the interview, I had never talked to her besides a quick call to say that I was on my way to her studio. I found out about Brook from my friend Carlos. He had e-mailed me a week earlier with a web-site link and a brief note that said, “Interview this girl, you’ll love her!”
From her site, I learned that she shoots musicians for a living [with a camera, not a gun] and that most recently, she shot Sean Kingston for the cover of JAMROCK Magazine. She has also worked with Hip-Hop artist Akon by his request. How does one do this from Orlando? I was intrigued. So I blindly asked her for an interview and graciously, she accepted.** Read More
I first saw Swam perform on stage with SoLilliquists of Sound before I ever officially met him in person. I was blown away by his performance for three reasons. 1. I didn’t know any sort of Hip Hop scene existed in Orlando and that me and my friends were capable of stumbling upon it. 2. I had never seen a show with so much energy. Not the jumping around, throwing equipment, we’re crazy kind of energy; but a thoughtful, listen to our message, we care about the world moxie. And finally 3. I wondered how Swam could pack so many eloquent words into one rhyming session without (a) stopping to take a breath and (b) mumbling. I could hear every pronunciation of each carefully chosen word, which seems nearly impossible to me considering I can’t help but run all my words together when in normal conversation, nevertheless when I’m excited and attempting to proclaim a message.** Read More