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!

Monday, September 17, 2018


September 17, 2018

Shastina Chiles 

Raven Cooper

The Porch 

Kristen, Raven and Shastina


Last night saw the premier performance of a wonderful new music series here in Key West with the inaugural Songwriter Speakeasy Series at the wonderful intimate back room at the Key West Theater. The first edition was by any measure a wonderful success as it featured three wonderful women each a gifted Key West based singer/songwriter performing all original music in a traditional Nashville style songwriter round. Kathy and I always support local music and we had a VIP table up front to celebrate and enjoy this fantastic addition to the local music scene.

Kristen McNamara

The brainchild of Nick and Kelly Norman, this was the first in what will be an ongoing tradition of similar songwriter events to be held in the great space that is the back room. To kick things off they featured a trio of talented Key West women, Kristen McNamara, Raven Cooper and Shastina Chiles. Each of these talented women is a force in their own right and yet they were different enough to create a really wonderful and well-rounded performance.

Shastina Chiles

Kathy and I have had the good fortune to see Raven Cooper and Shastina Chiles perform, in fact I often watch and listen to their live broadcasts on facebook while working and they were the reason that we bought tickets but it was our first exposure to Kristen McNamara. McNamara was easily the most polished as she has had a lot more experience in this sort of venue, having been a contestant on American Idol and had plenty of experience and much wider exposure. She was fantastic, we really enjoyed her songs and fun and easy banter with the crowd.


Kristen, Kelly, Raven and Shastina

We knew we would love Raven, as she is one of our favorite Key West performers. She has the most amazing and unique voice that reminds me a little of Janis Joplin, world-weary yet powerful and seemingly soaked with honey and whiskey, she was amazing as always.

Kristen McNamara

Probably the nicest surprise was how great of a job young Shastina Chiles did, she more than held her own with the two older and more experienced performers and was a real revelation in that she has written some truly wonderful songs and performed them to a wildly appreciative crowd who listened attentively to all the music performed. It was a pretty solid nearly sold-out audience that was so lucky to get to experience such a great evening. 

The rest of this week has been a little low key, we had a nice visit from our friends Howard and Najada and their family, so it was really great to see them. They formerly lived in Key West and now are living up in Miramar, Florida. Howard works with me at RPM Nautical Foundation and recently returned from spending the season overseas aboard our research vessel the R/V Hercules.

Michael and Howard


We also shared a nice night out with our friends Martina and Jen, going for delicious pizza at Clemente’s before heading over to the Porch to try and enjoy as much time there as we can before they ultimately close for good next week. They got in to a dispute with their landlord that could not be resolved so they are closing up shop, meaning my favorite bar and home to some of the best memories of the past eight years will soon be no more. 

Jen, Martina and Kathy

The Porch 

It is a sad time in Key West for those of us who love the crazy, kooky place that has been home to so many happy times. Thankfully the Porch has served as a seed of sorts with its influence stretching across the island to other venues that are related to it such as General Horseplay, Kojin, MaryEllen’s, The Tiki Hut, The Roost, The House of Wu, 2, 2 & Company  and The Key West Sandwich Company. 


It was a fun night, but somewhat bittersweet as the Porch’s days are numbered. We closed out the evening in what is sure to become our new hangout, General Horseplay which has taken the spirit of the Porch and moved it across Caroline Street in what was once the crazy dive bar Red’s Place but has now been fixed up into a wonderful showcase establishment that I have a good feeling will be home to many future shenanigans.

Fuzzy and Jack