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, March 29, 2013

Spring Break Shake

March 3, 2013

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Spring Break Shake

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The annual mass migration of college students hit with full force for two weeks in early March, with thousands of students packing the island to take in the sun, fun, drinking and carousing that make spring break such a timeless ritual. This year, the crowds grew to levels that we have not seen here since the early 90s when MTV used Key West as the location of their spring break Beach House and this was a must see destination for the young revelers.

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For two weeks – which happen to coincide with the breaks at UF and FSU, the two largest schools in the state, a mass rush of kids headed down to Smathers Beach all day to party and then packed the likes of Rick’s and Fat Tuesday’s every night to cut loose. Generally it has become a time for most locals to avoid those locations like the plague. Spring Breakers don’t have the best reputation from the vast majority of locals.

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Of course, Kathy & I are not what most would consider the average local, so we found ourselves both out downtown and hanging out at Smather’s Beach during Spring Break. Two reasons for this- we have friends who are actually college students home on break and enjoying the fun and we have older friends who just act like college students on a perpetual spring break.

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Two of my interns were in town during the break as Lee was down from the University of West Florida in Pensacola and Effie brought a group of friends down from Florida State University in Tallahassee.  Being a good “boss” as Effie is fond of calling me, I obliged when she and her friends asked me to come out with them one evening while they were here.

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I managed to avoid the traditional spring break spots, though I am sure they all spent a good deal of time there. Instead I accompanied them to Mallory Square to watch the sunset and then later took them to the Porch and later to the 801 bar for a real piece of Key West as we attended the nightly Drag Show. I went home relatively early after the show concluded, I could neither keep up with nor did I want their friends to wonder why they were out with their father. It was fun nonetheless.

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My own friends tend to act like spring breakers on a fairly regular basis and there were a couple of instances this month that illustrated the point. First up was the birthday celebration of our friend Trevor, who is slightly older than the average spring breaker. We joined a group of friends on the Top of the LaConcha Hotel where we caught the sunset then went down to La Tratoria for a wonderful birthday meal. Then we turned spring breaker and headed down to the newest beer joint in town, the fabulous World of Beer that features thousands of beers from around the world to close out the evening.

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The last example this month was yet another birthday of someone who may just be considered the perpetual teenager of our island community, our friend DJ Top Jimmy who in true spring break fashion decided to celebrate his birthday in true spring breaker style by having a party on Smather’s Beach. Not only did he have a party, he incorporated the latest viral sensation by asking everyone to join him in filming a Key West version of the “Harlem Shake”

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I never would have imagined that Kathy & I would be participating in what is fast becoming annoyingly overkilled on the internet, but there we were along with a crowd of friends, me in a bunny suit and Kathy wearing a Fantasy Fest mask, dancing along as the Harlem Shake ditty played over and over.
It was actually pretty fun, and I think it turned out pretty well, easily as good a many of the viral hake videos that you can find on-line. The entire process was really enjoyable and it turned in to yet another fantastic crazy Key West party. The spring breakers partying just down the beach, learned a thing or two about how to throw a great party.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Off to See the Wizard

February 25, 2013

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Off to See the Wizard

Entertainment options run the gamut in Key West and we like to take in just about all manner of the available options which is why one night you might find Kathy & I at a burlesque show, the next night you mind find us taking in a performance at the high school auditorium. That is exactly what happened recently when we followed up the burlesque variety show with a viewing of the latest Keys’ Kids presentation, “The Wizard of Oz’.

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The production held at Key West High, was another in the annual series of productions featuring local kids of all ages performing classic theatre. This show featured a huge cast (actually two casts as there are always two complete casts performing on alternating evenings), of kids ranging from the very small to high school age.

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Most of the younger kids played adorable munchkins, leaving all of the main roles to more experienced older kids. The mix can be at times unpredictable and you often get a mixed bag, but the effort is always good and we always enjoy the shows. Seeing the really young kids is performing is always fun simply because they are so imperfect and watching them earnestly making mistakes is fun.

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This particular performance was not only among the most popular, judging by the packed house, but it was also one of the best Keys Kids productions that we have seen. The acting and singing was good across the board, a rarity in many kid’s plays and the entire production was well done and professional. The sound and lights, music, sets, costumes, choreography and performances were all top notch.

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The classic story of the adventures of Dorothy in the land of Oz followed the original story fairly well, the play even reintroduced the “Jitterbug” number that was famously dropped from the 1939 film version. Kathy & I really did not have too many friends with kids that were in the cast that we saw, but we thought they were fantastic and we are looking forward to see the nest production, another classic tale, Snow White.

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The Kids play wasn’t the only entertainment option in Key West this month, as once again famed Country Music superstar Kenny Chesney choose to play a “surprise” free show at a small intimate bar in town. This week he chose the outside stage at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. It marks the second time in the last few years he has played there and it is also the second time this spring that he played a free show in Key West. The last time was a show at Margaritaville that was a poorly kept “secret” if the line of hundreds down the street for that show was any indication.

 photo 11150_10151270731070666_1932299395_n_zpsa9ad51cb.jpg Kenny Chesney

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It is pretty cool that he does this and his fans and fortunate bystanders both can enjoy a free, very intimate show, where he plays his hits as well as a cool selection of covers. I am not a huge Chesney fan, but I do admire that he does this sort of thing and it is always cool to see any artist of his stature playing before a couple of hundred people rather than the multiple thousands at their big stadium shows.

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