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, November 02, 2018

Stay Human

October 22, 2018


Stay Human

I have been a huge fan of Michael Franti since way back in 1990 when he was the lead of a little hip-hop group that was known as The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. They released two amazing albums including one, “Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury” which I still consider one of the best hip hop records of all-time. I remember seeing them open for U2 on the Zoo TV tour along with Public Enemy and I was hooked. Franti disbanded the socially relevant hip hop band in 1992 and went on to pursue a much different style of music with his new band, Spearhead, yet I remained a fan.


We have seen Michael Franti and Spearhead a number of times, multiple shows when they were part of the Counting Crows Saturday Night Rebel Rockers Traveling Circus & Medicine Show tour and also as solo headliners a few additional times in the past decade, but I never really even imagined that they would be playing in Key West. I was beyond thrilled when a show was announced that had them playing at the beautiful and intimate Sunset Green Event Lawn. Thanks Ram’s Head for booking this one.

The fact that the show was happening smack dab in the midst of Fantasy Fest week was ok with me as the town was already in a party mood. Franti shows are an experience full of good feelings and a positive vibe that was just what Key West needed after a rough end of the summer and early fall season. The show opened with a pair of young singer/ songwriters, Dustin Thomas and Victoria Canal. Thomas is a free-spirited, big-haired singer songwriter who plays acoustic sets with a singalong format; Canal is a singer-songwriter who plays piano, guitar and ukulele, noted for her vocal talent and feel-good songs. She would join Franti’s band as well for the majority of his set.

The show was just as magical as ever with Franti spreading the love, often venturing into the crowd, hugging and singing along with many audience members. He also pulled a number of members of the audience on stage to join him, especially children and it was just so cool to see local kids that we know up there on stage having the time of their lives. It was another wonderful evening of music,

hope and happy feelings and the show was another triumph of the burgeoning Key West music scene.
Tuesday of Fantasy Fest week has taken on a life of its own since the humble beginnings of the Tutu party ten years ago. Back then there were perhaps 60-75 of us in attendance at the small space of Martin’s restaurant on Duval Street. Ten years later and the Tutu party has literally outgrown the three previous spaces it was held and this year had a sparkly new location, the large complex that included the bars General Horseplay, Club A, Teaser’s and 2,2 & Company.

The party has not just grown as a party, but the entire day has become known as Tutu Tuesday and almost everyone who is out during the day or night can be found wearing a Tutu, whether they have any intention or even know about the actual Tutu party. In fact last year an un-named bar even hosted their own tutu party. I guess imitation is the best form of flattery, but nothing will ever challenge the original tutui party.

Larry and Bernie

Before the Tutu party, I had to make a quick stop at the official Fantasy Fest poster signing party at the LaConcha hotel. This annual event honors the poster artist and this year’s artist was on hand along with the Fantasy Fest King and Queen to introduce the artist and official poster. After a quick stop there, I was rushing home to get my Tutu costume (Michael Myers from the Halloween movies) and pick up Kathy who had created yet another costuming masterpiece for the party.


We headed down to Mary Ellen’s bar, where the Tutu pre-party and parade was starting. The parade took early tu-tu costumed revelers from Mary-Ellen’s to a number of stops including First Flight and the Tiki Hut before heading over to General Horseplay to enter the actual party. I would estimate that there were a couple of hundred pre-partiers, which is a good number, but a fraction of what was to come once the party got going.

Jeremy and Kathy

Heroes and Villains

October 21, 2108


Heroes and Villains

The first weekday of Fantasy Fest has traditionally been something of a slow day, but in the past few years it has really revved up as more exciting and fun new events have been added to the schedule. This year the schedule kept me hopping between events as I was out on assignment, taking photos of various events to document the fun. The events that I attended included the Perry Hotel’s Ringmaster Pool Party, the Heroes and Villains 5K Run and the Womankind Brazaar decorated bra auction to benefit women’s health.

I started the day out on Stock Island at the Perry Hotel. This relatively new hotel was hosting a pool party with a circus theme that featured games, performers and live music with Patrick and the Swayzes, one of the best bands that plays Key West on a regular basis. It was a perfect day weather wise for a pool party as it was beautiful, sunny and hot and the music and entertainment was awesome.

This was actually a great little pool party and the Perry did a fantastic job with the circus theme, I am sure it was not as well attended as they might of hope, but horrible road construction on Stock Island may have dissuaded people from coming out. I had to drive around a maze of detours to get to the Perry and I know that it could not have been scheduled at a worse time for them.

 The people who did make it out were treated to a fun time and another spectacular performance by Patrick and the Swayzees and the event has plenty of room to grow if they continue it in future years. I hope they do as it provides a great daytime diversion and a fun way to get the week started.


Monday evening has been the purview of our friends at theme runs for the past few years and this year their annual Fantasy Fest event, the Heroes and Villains 5K run once again was among the dominant events on the calendar. Each year since its inception a huge mass of people have shown up dressed as their favorite heroes and villains to walk or run a route that begins at the Southernmost Hotel, loops past the Southernmost Point and onto Duval before heading out past the Casa Marina to Higgs Beach and back.

As always there were plenty of Superhero costumes and people dressed in all manner of fun costumes who walked or ran in the event depending upon their inclination. The event includes both serious competitors and those who just enjoy dressing up and getting a little exercise and there is a great mix of people of all ages and skill levels as far as being runners go. I think it is one of the largest of the many cool events that the folks at Theme Runs organize each year and it is certainly one of my favorites to attend.

In past years both Kathy and I have participated, but this year’s tight schedule prevented our being a part of it or attending the fun beach luau and awards presentation that follows the event. I was sorry to miss out on that, but happy that I got to be around before the runners took off and to watch a little of the race itself.

I had to rush over to the Key West Theater next where Womankind was hosting their annual Brazaar event, this evening of entertainment is centered around a bra auction of creatively decorated bras created by some of Key West’s best artists which raises money for Womankind and the wonderful work that they do in providing women with important health options.


Again, I was not able to stay for the entire event, but I was thrilled to learn after the fact that the event raised over $20,000 for the wonderful cause. What a spectacular and fun way to help out an amazing community based organization that works year round to provide to women in our city. I am so proud of and happy for all my friends at Womankind for hosting such an amazing event and for all the work they do year round. It is so cool that so many Fantasy Fest events are not just about having a good time, but actually doing good work.