No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, October 20, 2006

So it begins….

October 20, 2006

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Kathy trys the headgear!

So Fantasy Fest is finally here, today the first official Fantasy Fest events begin with the Caribbean themed Goombay Festival in Bahama Village and the Coronation Ball for the official King & Queen of Fantasy Fest. We have gotten busy on our costumes and float construction is moving along nicely. This is no doubt the most interesting and exciting time of the year in Key West. By next weekend, upwards of 100,000 visitors will descend on the island for the party’s culmination, the Mardi Gras style parade next Saturday night.

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There is so much going on in Key West, it is impossible to participate in everything. Our time is limited and we have been trying to squeeze in as much as possible. In addition to all the Fantasy Fest activities, there is a wonderful writer’s conference in town sponsored by Florida International University. A number of wonderful writers are here and each evening this week, there has been a free public reading. They include Les Standiford “Hell or High Water”, John Dufresne “Louisiana Power & Light”, Dennis Lehane “Mystic River” and Dan Wakefield.
Dan Wakefield’s classic semi-autobiographical novel; ”Going All The Way” documents the exploits of members of my father Bill Blades friends at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis during the 1950’s. Bill & Dan were high school classmates and the novel is a wickedly good recreation of the experiences of their generation. Made into a film, starring Ben Affleck, the book is worth checking out.

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So today, Goombay Fest begins; many Key West locals find this to be their favorite of the many festivals held each year. Goombay is a local’s event and often you will see friends and acquaintances that you have not seen in ages despite living on a small island. Our float group is planning to dress in costumes and take a section of the float down to the popular corner in front of Blue Heaven restaurant tonight, but I doubt Kathy & I will be able to participate cause other commitments at which being dressed as an alien may not be appropriate. I think our float is going to be a huge deal, mostly because we are combining efforts from two of the most creative and interesting float building groups from past years, our group, led by the eclectic and talented Rick Keith & Steve King and the Lazy Dog group headed by Dave Richard & Dave Hutchinson.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Steve paints a Saucer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fantasy Fest Countdown

October 17, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting India at Dog Beach

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Janine, Kathy, Neal, Bonnie & Gae

Fantasy Fest is the biggest event of the year in Key West. More than a week’s worth of parties and frivolity culminating in the huge parade featuring crazy costumes, beads and floats. This year marks the 28th anniversary of Fantasy Fest and once again, Kathy & I will be joining our friends to build a float. The theme of this year’s party is “Key Weird on the Dis-Oriented Express” and it fairly accurately depicts not only Fantasy Fest but life in Key West in general.

The past week or so, we have been busy planning and getting ready for the big event, as well as trying to go about the normal crazy Key West life. This past week has actually been relatively subdued. As always there is a plethora of things to do here and we had enjoyed a little “Conchy” life by attending both the Key West High School homecoming parade and the football game on Friday night. The Fighting Conchs defeated the evil team from Ft. Lauderdale, with the assistance of some fortuitous calls by the hometown refs much to the chagrin of the parents and fans of the opposition who had to be restrained by police to keep from physically attacking the officials.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Conch Football

We also entertained some friends from Massachusetts, Kathy & Steve Fields (who own a rental place here), and were down for a little getaway from the rapidly chilling Northeast. And yes Al, they did get the bathroom tour. I also had took our dog India for a nice morning romp at Key West’s small but awesome Dog Beach, a beach reserved for canines, where she was able to frolic in the water with the collection of dogs who are almost always present. The weekend was also the eighth birthday party for our good friend’s Bonnie & Neal’s daughter Lauren. We attended her pool party on Saturday and spent a fun afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather poolside. Speaking of birthdays tomorrow is my mother Marta’s birthday….she is 39 in case you were wondering. We just finalized plans for her to come down next month to attend the Miami Book Fair, one of the premier literary events in the nation. Happy Birthday Marta!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Kathy, Steve & Kathy

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Finally we went out to a final farewell dinner for Janine, who is actually leaving tomorrow. Sadly just in time to miss all the Fantasy Fest excitement. She is moving on to brighter pastures, literally I think, in Wisconsin. No doubt she will become a world famous architect and will forget and deny all her silly Key West friends. Good Luck J9. Now we need to get busy on the float. You can check out the design idea for the float at the lazy dog link below.

On a sad note, the infamous birthplace of punk rock, CBGBs in New York City closed this week after 33 years. Home to such rock Legends as the Ramones, Richard Hell, Lou Reed & others this institution closed after a final blow out show with the legendary Patti Smith. They hope to reopen in a new location after the landlords refused to renew their lease.

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Fantasy Fest Official Website

2006 Fantasy Fest Float Concept