Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve Key West

Just a quick post to wish everyone a good new year. Hoping for a quiet 2006 hurricane season (despite the fact that a new tropical storm formed yesterday...the latest on record).
And if you'll be on the island for the big celebration, have a happy Key West New Year's Eve. If not, look for us on CNN as Anderson Cooper fawns over the drag queen Sushi being lowered over the Duval Street crowd.
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Friday, December 30, 2005

Real World Key West Business Goes Bust

What a fitting end to MTV's version of the real world.

We all know that in the real real world, no one hands us a job, a free swanky pad, and an unlimited bar tab. Apparently, MTV doesn't think that a show titled the "Real World" needs to have anything based in reality.
As such, the producers of the show went as far as creating a spray on tanning business named Mystic Tan for castmembers to work at while taping the upcoming season in Key West, going as far as opening an entire business for their benefit. Many locals shrugged at the idea of needing a tanning business this far south into the Sunshine State. And from the looks of things, they had very few people through the door.

Now it appears that the whole idea had about as much sense in reality as bringing sand to the beach. The whole tanning business is gone...not a trace of it left. Here are photos of the now empty building. I wonder if they'll include Mystic Tan in the plot line. Oh wait, there isn't a plot least according to court testimony by the producers of the show.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Real World Key West Cast Works Wedding

Not sure how this fit's into the plot line, but the cast of the Real World Key West were employed to work as servers at a wedding here on the island a couple days ago.

Guests were told that the camera crew were hired by the family to film the wedding keeping the cast's identity a secret.
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

More from Fantasy Fest 2005 Key West

Last night's big parade for Fantasy Fest was nicely attended and too much fun. Maybe it was the more manageable crowd, or the good company, or the free-flowing refreshments, but I found it more enjoyable than the last few years. And the floats were very creative and funny. Many beads were tossed, and I even managed to catch few that bounced off my head.
One thing fully annoyed the crowd and me: a group of religious extremists that show up each year to yell, with bullhorns, at everyone for being such heathens. At one point, everyone started throwing beads at them, which was a light punishment for being such a party pooper.
For everything these people were condemning (drunkards, fornicators, yada yada yada), I thought it strange that pedopheliacs weren't on the list - given the church's penchant for buggery, especially with alter boys. To me, anyone yelling about how everyone should live their lives are more likely to be hiding (compensating) for something sinister.
Key West Travel Guide has posted some more excellent 2005 Fantasy Fest Key West photos
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Fantasy Fest 2005: Light Crowds for Key West's Big Event

Maybe it's no suprise, but the rescheduled Fantasy Fest has seen some very light crowds. Events are generally seeing less than half the normal attendance. For example:
  • The Homemade Bikini contest at the Hog's Breath Saloon drew only 3 contestants. Normally there would be more than 10.
  • Pretenders in Paradise, a competition of large elaborate costumes, only had 10 entries...less than a third of normal.
  • The Headress Ball had more open seats than filled.

For a Festival that has grown into something a bit overwhelming, the mellower scene reminds me of years past and, so far, has been very enjoyable. Key West Travel Guide has just posted some pictures from today's street fair. Here is the link: Key West Fantasy Fest 2005 photos

More will be added as events continue.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

MTV Real World Key West Still Filming

Finally, Key West is celebrating Fantasy Fest 2005. Hurricane Wilma caused the event to be cancelled from it's regular schedule around Halloween. Fantasy Fest was started over two decades ago as a way to drum up business in what was typically a slow part of the Key West calendar. These days, it's a big bash, with many revelers wearing body paint for costumes and uniquely Key West events (like the Homemade Bikini Contest). The whole thing culminates with a massive street Parade which draws tens of thousands of people.

Fantasy Fest is also the biggest fundraiser for Aids Help, a local organization dedicated to "ensure and maintain a respectable and comfortable quality of life for persons living with HIV/AIDS in Monroe County". Funds are raised for the non-profit organization by candidates seeking to be crowned King and Queen of Fantasy Fest. The candidates that raise the most money are crowned King and Queen. And that brings me to the MTV Real World Key West connection. After seeing some Real World cast members surrounding the winning King at last weeks Goombay Festival, you couldn't help but wonder how did they become part of his entourage? Word is two of the male Real World cast members have been helping with Stripp's campaign and contributing money. Supposedly, they frequently accompany him - especially to anything public and film-able. Expect Fantasy Fest to be a real part of the Real World Key West, and the Real World cast to be riding on a float during the big parade.

By the way, Stripp's website credits Mystic Tan, a new Key West business created by MTV producers for the cast to work at, as a sponsor. So, did MTV buy the cast's way into the Fantasy Fest spotlight? I hope's for a good cause.

Also heard on the 'coconut telegraph': cast members went to Spain when Hurricane Wilma hit, allowing producers time to fix the flooded Real World house.
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