Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Key West Party Weekend


Key West's BUBBA SYSTEM
Originally uploaded by kwshoes.
A couple of days ago, Julie, a member of the writers group that I joined a while back, gave us a pass-along invitation to a pig roast to be held on Friday afternoon/evening. "Free food", she said. "Free drinks", she said. "We'll be there", I said. It turned out to be an interesting evening.

The pig roast was actually the (first annual) Pearl Street Christmas Block Party. Pearl Street is in New Town, off of United Street. The block was closed off. Two pigs were being roasted in a large, closed cooker, and sides of rice, yucca, and black beans were spread on the table. Alongside, primarily for the children present, hamburgers and hot dogs were cooking on a grill. There were two bars set up, one at each end of the block, serving beer and wine. A stage and sound system were set up at the far end of the block.

I ordered a beer at the further bar while Janet checked out the music set-up. I asked the server what the party was all about, and she told me that it was courtesy of two of the streets residents, Louis and Tandy, who were paying for everything in celebration of their commitment ceremony which was to be held later on in the evening.

We got some food and joined Julie and her friends at one of a half-dozen large, round tables for 10 set up in the street. The roast pig was excellent. The band stage was set up for an appearance by a local band, The Bubba System, who play regularly at venues around town like Virgilio's, Sloppy Joe's and Schooner Wharf. I had heard good reports about them, but had never actually heard them play before.

Mayor Jimmy Weekley was present to perform the commitment ceremony for Louis and Tandy. It was a first for us, and was done tastefully and with an appropriate level of solemnity, followed by congratulatory applause and greetings. Then it was time for music.

As usual, I remained on the sidelines while Janet led off the dancing. The Bubba System are good, and they rocked (and funked) well into the evening. While Janet was dancing, she found a couple of dance partners. One of them, Colleen, came up to me later in the evening and told me how much she enjoyed meeting Janet. She introduced us to her friend, Connie, and we chatted for a while. By the time the conversation was ended, we had given Connie our e-mail address in exchange for a promise that we'd be invited to their next party, tentatively sometime in January.

Tonight is the Schooner Wharf Lighted Boat Parade. It's a big event and brings large crowds to the Key West Bight. We're going with some friends, early to get a good viewing spot and something to eat. I should have a report on that tomorrow.

Sadly, we're going to miss some other really good music events that are going on this weekend. Nicole (Nicky) Yarling was back at the Green Parrot last night, followed tonight and tomorrow by Papa Grows Funk out of New Orleans. And, there's yet another event going on this weekend that kind of snuck into town with not very much advance notice.

The Paul Butterfield Fund and Society is putting on some sort of mini blues festival at various venues, including Tropic Cinema, about which there isn't a whole lot of information. To quote from the PBFS publicity:

"It is our goal to assist those who have chosen a creative approach to life, by assisting struggling artists and art groups whose living situations make it difficult to pursue their creative endeavors."

And,

"Our mission is to preserve and revive the memory and benefaction of the legendary Blues Harmonica musician---Paul Butterfield of the renowned "Paul Butterfield Blues Band" and to carry on the rich tradition of the Blues styles of music through the support of the arts and those involved with the arts.

So much music, so little time.

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