Every Key West evening is good. Some are just better. Last night was one of the better ones.
The early evening was at Joy Gallery. The Jack Baron exhibit. Over 50 paintings. Several mine.
The gallery was packed when I arrived. Owner/curator Jim Wallace and his wife Theresa. It was the first time Theresa and I met. She was aware of me initially from the devastating operation I underwent in Key West about nine years ago. I lost 25 per cent of my colon needlessly. She had recently undergone some sort of stomach surgery with the same doctor. A disaster also from her perspective.
Some of my friends were in the crowd. Tom and Kathy from Connecticut. Larry and Christine with England’s John and Ali. I was honored Christine attended. She is a for real artist. Her works are selling well. Whereas, I did not paint. I merely collected.
People were taking pictures of me with their spouses or alone in front of some of the Baron’s. I met Ed Krane for the first time. He took pictures of me with Jim and Theresa Wallace. Ed was at one time with the same TV station I had been. We had interesting war stories to share.
I ended up explaining certain of my Baron acquisitions and how they came to be. Everyone had an interest in Jack Baron.
Jim Wallace did an excellent job showing Baron’s paintings and bringing out the crowd he did last night.
My next stop was the Chart Room. No one I knew. A bunch of younger guys whooping it up. I had one drink and left.
Last night would have been Emily’s night to work. She is in Lexington for the Kentucky Derby later today. She has attended many. She is originally from the area. She told me before she left that she was making the hat she will wear herself.
Larry let me know as he left Joy Gallery that they were heading over to the Key West Pub. A new place. Across the street from La Te Da. In my 26 years in Key West, I have seen several businesses come and go in the building. They all start with a bang. Hard to survive, however. The rent! The last tenant was paying $14,000 a month. You have to sell a lot of booze to cover that nut!
Perhaps this place may make it. I hope they do The inside is different. Multi colored walls and bright lights.
The Pub was jam packed. Fortunately, there was an empty seat at Larry’s table. The booze was flowing. Food was free. Huge sliders. Everyone spoke well of the sliders.
I was impressed with the greeting crew. There were two men standing on the sidewalk outside the entrance. One said hello Louis. The other…..Key West Lou. I do not recall having met either before.
Met Sean the manager inside. A hug and big kiss on the cheek. He was kissing everyone. As I was leaving, the owner came up and introduced himself. Stephen Pointer. Garbed in a sharp tuxedo. He is from England. I wished him well. Time will tell. The fact that La Te Da is across the street does not hurt. People tend to enjoy both. They will move from one bar to the other several times a night.
Then it was across the street to La Te Da. There was new owner Christopher standing in the entrance. Christopher is the former owner of Antonia’s. You will recall I stopped going to Antonia’s several years ago. It had nothing to do directly with Christopher. It was, if you will excuse the vernacular, his asshole manager at the time. Christopher gave me a big hug.
It had been several years since I was at La Te Da, also. No reason. Just stopped going.
I ate at the outside bar. I have been a customer at La Te Da off and on for 25 years. Tonto has always been the outdoor bartender during that time. Love Tonto and her partner. Old friends, we generally meet in Publix while grocery shopping.
Twenty five years ago and ten years ago, I always enjoyed La Te Da’s lacquered duck. I enjoyed it again last night. Wow! Outstanding!
After dinner, I grabbed a snifter of Grand Marnier and walk into the inside bar. Sassy no longer bartending. He was a mainstay. A Key West icon. Casey is the new bartender. A lovely. She said Sassy now lives somewhere in Pennsylvania.
I was hoping to catch Debra and Patrick. Regulars at La Te Da for more than 20 years. They were away for the weekend. Instead the Spectrelles were entertaining. If I recall correctly, they used to appear in the Utica area at the Turning Stone casino. Absolutely outstanding. I stayed at the bar listening to them longer than I had intended. The three ladies wore wigs. The bouffant style of the late 1950s and 1960s.
Randy Roberts was at the other end of the bar. We nodded hello to each other. He is a female impersonator at La Te Da. He has been performing there more than 20 years. It must have been his night off. He was dressed casually. He looked amazing! Younger than when I first met him years ago.
Today, the Kentucky Derby. I have not paid attention this year. Have no idea who is running. I will watch the race at Don’s Place. The ladies will all be wearing bonnets of sorts.
Sorry this blog is a bit long. It was a long evening, however. Filled with all kind of good happenings.
Enjoy your day!