Thursday, March 23, 2006

Great People

I would like to introduce you to the people that make our day's great at the Coffee Shop, Key West's finest...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Life's Most Rich Palette

2006-03-21 CP Palette Art with King Mongo 052

Considering the number of renowned painters and artists all of us here at Coffee Plantation are fortunate enough to be able to serve our coffee drinks, teas, smoothies, and our soups and baked goods . . .

bakedgoods . . . yum! . . .

. . . it is always a pleasure to describe the selecting and arrival of a newly-effected piece of genuine art, craft, or treasure.

Yet this story has an even better tagline than most, and it is a story beginning at our original location in Bahama Village.

In part to announce our arrival in a new community (the "left" side of the island), and also to show our appreciation for our friends who helped us move to our present glorious and wonderfully new location on Caroline Street, Coffee Plantation's first order of business was, of course, to throw a party!

At that special and well-regarded party, one of many wondrous moments contributing to the overall success of the afternoon-long affair (aside from the fountain of chocolate) was the music performance of Key West icon Trumpet Bob.

So that's a little of the background.

Flashing forward a bit, where a present-day work of art, one swiftly gaining legendary status amongst the denizens of our lovely island community (for reasons beyond the scope of this posting . . . more on this detail at a later date, perhaps?), was in the midst of being formally created.

Said work of art is an oil-painted dispensation of well-regarded Key Wester musico Trumpet Bob, performing at the intersection of Southard Street and Margaret before the front of Italian restaurant Mangia Mangia.

(Incidentally, Trumpet Bob is the subject of a number of paintings and works of locally-based painters, photographers, and artists.)

As it happens, Theo, happened upon this happening moment.

Look closely in the photos of the event, here and in the above links.

Notice on the ground, at the foot of the two artists, Trumpet Bob and painter Tapdancer Billy (everyone in Key West has names like that, go figure), is a board-of-sorts, being used to display the breath-taking array of colors of paints being used to capture Tapdancer Billy's vision of this moment. A flat, unlikely, and significant board, a veritable work of art, very much like this . . .


. . . and as the sharp-eyed can see, in the background, behind this as-yet-unframed marvel of texture and color, is, yes, the steps leading to our coffee shop. In other words, the above piece, Palette of Tapdancing Billy's Painting of Trumpet Bob #1, is indeed the most recent acquisition in our Coffee Plantation's Key West-related artwork collection.

To the untrained eye, is it merely magnificent, this mind-reeling happenstance of both nurture and nature? But to those of us in the know? Those of us who actually live here, what is it about this emotionally-resonant article which cause it to transcend itself beyond commonplace or work-tool?

What it is - and you are welcome to come in and see for yourself - is an unlikely casual yet surprisigly joyful amalgamation of the unique magic which every so often happens here and around this coffeshop called Coffee Plantation, Key West Island, somewhere further than Florida.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Street Scenes

Not all street theater in Key West takes place on Duval St. Here's a picture Theo took in front of Mangia Mangia on Southard St. a few days ago. That's Trumpet Bob playing, and a friend of his tap dancing. With real tap shoes, with those metal taps!

Theo was riding his scooter on Southard and spotted them. He took a few shots, of which this is the best. Notice the double-toe shuffle going on? I'm off to New York, Queens, for a short visit home. Drop in to see how Theo is doing this weekend while I'm gone.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wreck Ashore!

During the four months of 'season', Schooner Wharf Bar sponsors what is called the Wrecker's Race. The race is open to any sailing vessel that chooses to enter, but usually involves the commercial sailing fleet berthed in and around Key West, those which offer a sailing experience to visitors to this fabulous island. The race commemorates the days when the cry, "Wreck Ashore!," went up and those early Key Westers engaged in the business of salvage raced to the reef to be the first to claim salvage rights and the financial rewards that went with that.

I (Theo) joined the hardy crew of the schooner Appledore Sunday for this month's race. At the crack of the starter's pistol, we and the other boats in the race dashed off the starting line and made for the reef. Our crew, like those on the other vessels, hauled sail, pulling lines hand-over-hand.

It was a beautiful day for sailing on Sunday, unlike the previous week when the race had to be postponed due to high winds and heavy seas. (Surely, the prize would still be on the reef next week, it was thought. And no blackguard would attempt to sneak out early -- would they?) As our Captain settled in for the sail, our steward Jeff brought up a plate of meat slices for the crew to strengthen themselves for the long sail home, and adult beverages to slake the mighty thirst that followed the extreme effort to haul sheets (sails) to just the right trim.

Among the schooners, Appledore would this day arrive at the reef triumphant, winning bragging rights and more than its share of the fantastic prizes awarded at the post-race party hosted by Schooner Wharf.

It was a great day for me, giving me a break from the Coffee Plantation for an afternoon. My thanks to Diane, my soulmate, for taking over the shop so I could make the sail, to Jeff for arranging for me to be aboard for the race, and to my Captain and fellow crew members for the thrill of victory.

If there had been a wreck ashore, we no doubt would all be worn out from the effort of securing the wreck, but satisfied at the economic prize that would soon be ours.