Feast of Saint Valentine
February 15, 2016
Feast of Saint Valentine
Valentine’s Day weekend in Key West was yet another crazy busy and fun weekend for us here in Key West. We had a couple of birthdays to attend, another wacky Key West Bone Island Variety show, a concert by the Midtown Men and visits from friends all to keep us active in what was a packed schedule full of amazing friends, fun and frolic. Sometimes there is just so much going on that it is difficult to choose what to do, the good news is they are mostly all good choices and Kathy and I manage to keep as active as we want.
Effie and Greta
The first event of the weekend was a surprise birthday gathering for our friend Ian. We all waited inside The Other Side cocktail lounge until Ian’s girlfriend led him in to find a large group of friends waiting to surprise him. It worked like a charm and Ian was suitably surprised and a great evening ensued as we all celebrated another trip around the sun in Ian’s life. I was happily surprised to find a good friend and former Key West resident, Jenny Zeller at the party. Jenny and I took photos classes together at FKCC once upon a time and she has since gone on to become an amazingly talented artist. She is in town teaching art workshops at the Studios of Key West, returning after moving away to Louisville where she has gained well deserved great acclaim in the art world.
Ashley and Jenny
Gretchen, Jenny, Ian and Natalia
The next birthday party we attended was for our good friend Beth, who once again this year threw a themed birthday party. This year’s theme was Games from our Childhood and it made for a fun night with people dressing up as the games of their youth or even playing those games as Beth had large scale versions of games like connect four on hand for guests to play. Perhaps the funniest game was a life-sized reproduction of the game Hungry, Hungry Hippos that utilized small inflated beach balls, laundry baskets and people laying on skateboards being held by their legs as they attempted to snare as many beach balls as possible in the laundry baskets in a two minute period. It was hilarious to witness and a lot of fun for those competing. The entire party was a ton of fun and we can’t wait for next year to see what zaniness that Beth comes up with.
We had to duck out of Beth’s party a little early as we had tickets to see the latest Bone Island Variety Show at the Key West Theater. The show is part of a semi-regular schedule of Variety Shows at the theater that are hosted by the funny and talented Landon Bradbury. The show collects a mélange of Key West’s most talented and interesting acts including comedians, musical talent and any number of wacky other skills to perform. This two night showing was in honor of Valentine’s Day and was a weird, wacky, raunchy and hysterical as you might imagine.
The show featured a great cross-section of entertainment from across the island community including a couple of musical acts, a burlesque performance, a pair of amazing comedians and even a circus of performing rats…yes you heard that correctly. It was all lead by the furious Mr. Bradbury who in addition to performing his amazingly funny readings of terrible Yelp customer reviews from some of Key West’s best restaurants also acted as host between acts. One of the funnier continuous bits was having the performers read highlighted sections of an erotic romance novel. From being completely embarrassed to relishing the reading to delivering the entire thing in the voice of Christopher Walken, the performers all gamely read aloud in hysterical fashion.
Not sure what was our favorite act, the comedy was great, the dazzling burlesque tribute to David Bowie by Velvet Garcia was great, music from the likes of Tony Baltimore was excellent is well, but I think perhaps the trained rats jumping through hoops of fire and completing mazelike acrobatics was our favorite. The whole thing was yet another fantastic evening at the Key West Theater. I look forward to the next incarnation of the Bone Island Variety Show.
We also found time on Sunday to attend a performance by the Midtown Men at the Tennessee Williams Fine Art Center. The Midtown Men are a group of singers who comprised the original cast of the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, the play that depicts the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. As the Midtown Men, the actors/singers have formed their own group to tour the country singing not only Frankie Valli songs, but all manner of songs from the era of the 60s and early 70s. They are fantastic singers, one having won a Tony Award and a second member who was nominated for a Tony as well. The show was fun, especially once they got going in the second act, and they had the mostly older crowd singing and dancing along.
There was also one bittersweet moment of the weekend and that was attending the Key West memorial service for a good friend, Dorothy Lee Witwer. Lee passed away last summer and while a memorial service had been held in her home in Indiana, she and her husband George spent most winters at their home here. I came to know them through Lee’s involvement as a Board member for Reef Relief where she served throughout much of the time I worked there. While her passing was a sad moment, it was really good to see her granddaughter Dolly and her husband Simon who came from their home in Norway for the service. Dolly worked for me as an intern while she was in college and she has continued to visit and we have remained friends over the years.