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, July 20, 2018

One Night Stand

July 6, 2018



One Night Stand

This year marked the return of one of our favorite theater projects, “One Night Stand” at the Studios of Key West. First conceived in 2007 by Mark Hedden and Elena Devers, the lightning fast project of writing, creating, rehearsing and producing four ten minute plays in twenty-four hours was back for another go this year.


“One Night Stand” features some of the most creative people in Key West who must be at once spontaneous, brave, talented and somewhat silly no matter what task they are assigned. Actors, writers, directors, prop specialists, stage managers, set designers and anyone else interested in participating gather at 7:00 PM on a Friday night at TSKW where they literally are combined into teams by literally drawing out of a hat.


With the clock ticking, dozens of people work together at a wickedly fast pace to make the project come to fruition. Playwrights write all night to deliver freshly penned scripts to The Studios on Saturday morning, just in time for actors, directors, and artists to pick up the creative baton. Actors spent the whole day learning lines and getting into character, artists create canvas backdrops for each of the new plays, and directors play ringmaster, working to keep focus and momentum throughout the day.

Each writer is given a common line and a prop that must be incorporated in to the play and each is given a setting where and when the play takes place and after that they are on their own. They are assigned actors in a random draw that mixes experienced with total newcomers which adds to the zany fun.



So many of our friends are involved each year and we love to watch what they come up with. This year, I attended the opening night selection process and then did not see any of the participants until the first of the two sold out performances held the following night and it truly is amazing to see what they come up with each year.




The four short plays were MCed by the amazing Marky Pierson and were created and performed by some of the funniest and most talented creative people in Key West. Each ten minute show seemed funnier and more outrageous than the previous one and taken together, it was a fun and wonderful night of theater. Even when there were obvious flubs or forgotten lines, it only added to the frenzied nature of the endeavor.

This wasn’t the only creative burst in Key West this month, over at the Custom’s House Museum a new exhibit opened highlighting another group of Key West’s most creative artists with the opening of “Islands, Imagination and Instance: Florida Keys Folk Art” The new exhibit features some of the Keys best and most respected Folk Artists including Stanley Papio, Makiki, Ronny Bailey, Frank Balbontin, Mario Sanchez, Jack Baron and Papito Suarez.

The beautiful exhibit displays both current and past artists who have contributed to the Folk tradition in the most unique way. I was especially pleased to see our friend Ronny Bailey included. I have contended since first meeting him that his work deserves to be show in museums especially here locally. Ronny creates incredible tiny replicas of famous Key West properties using recycled wood from some of the very buildings he is recreating.

Finally I want to give a shout out to the Marker Resort. If it is a sunny weekend day, chances are you might find me lounging poolside at the beautiful local friendly resort. Their twin pools, wonderful bar and yummy food are too enticing on a hot summer day to stay away from and both Kathy and I spend a good bit of time there.


KWLS Young Writers Studio

July 2, 2018

Emily, Victor, Judy, Lori and George

Victor LaValle

KWLS Young Writers Studio

One of the great joys that I have living in Key West is the opportunity to be a board member for the wonderful Key West Literary Seminar. Each January it gives Kathy and I the amazing opportunity to rub elbows with some of the preeminent literary figures in the world and is always an incredible experience. The seminar hosts the annual gathering of writers in Key West each January, but recently has expanded the mission to include more outreach into the local community, a move that I wholeheartedly support.

Rosi,  Kerry, Kathy and Diane

This summer, under the guidance of our Executive Director Arlo Haskell, our teachers the amazing Kate Peters and Nick Vagnoni and perhaps most importantly our visiting writer Victor LaValle, a dozen young students from the Keys High Schools were the first ever class of the Young Writers Studio.

Victor and Kate

Kate, Arlo and Nick

The free five day immersive program was open to any Freshman- Junior student at any Monroe County high school and twelve applicants were accepted for the first class, “Islands in the Works”. Students spent five full days exploring Key West and learning about authors who have lived and worked here, including Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, José Martí, and others. The program emphasizes journaling, close observation, and site-specific writing exercises, together with constructive feedback and group critique.



Daily classroom exercises were paired with visits to local historic sites such the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum; and investigations of rare archival material at the Monroe County Public Library. Site-specific writing exercises took participants from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and as far west as Fort Jefferson and Dry Tortugas National Park during a special daylong excursion.

Student with Judy Blume

Each afternoon featured a writing workshop led by esteemed visiting writer Victor LaValle. A former Guggenheim fellow and member of the writing faculty at Columbia University, LaValle’s most recent novel is “The Changeling”, which was selected as one of the ten best books of 2017 by” USA Today” and “Time magazine”. Together with LaValle, a skilled and caring group of KWLS educators supported the young writers as they explored the relationship between identity and place and discovered the joys and challenges of the writing process.

Stdents and their families

The theme of the first Young Writers Studio references James Merrill’s poem, “Island in the Works.” Written from his Elizabeth Street home in the 1980s, the poem is rooted in natural phenomena and vernacular language that are distinctive to Key West. Full of observed imagery, a relish for language, and a great sense of humor, the poem represents the ethos of the Young Writers Studio.


Kathy and I brought our young neighbor CJ for the final event of the Young Writers Studio a reading featuring each of the young students as well as a reading and book signing from Mr. LaValle at Judy Blume and George Cooper’s wonderful local bookstore, Books and Books at the Studios of Key West. The readings were spectacular and we deem the initial effort a complete success.

Victor LaValle and CJ

This week also brought Kathy and I to the Pier at Higg’s Beach, though still closed due to damage from last summer’s Hurricane Irma, the Pier still provides a fun opportunity to snorkel from shore and there are all sorts of large fish, coral and other critters living along the remnants of the previous old pier and the pilings provide habitat for all manner of wildlife and it is all mere blocks from our house.

We have been trying to take more advantage of the island community we live in, especially during the summer when the water is warm and calm. The beach is so close, we need to take advantage of it and the fun beach floaties which we have, but seem to seldom use.