It’s hard to believe that 2013 is rapidly drawing to a close. It has been quite a year here in Key West, as it has across the U.S. and throughout the world — which seems to be much smaller now that we get access to news almost as it happens.
Gay marriage, a political football for many years, is gaining enthusiastic support across our nation. This past July I wrote about honeymooning in the Keys, mentioning 13 states that have legalized same-sex marriage. The number now stands at 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, and 16 countries recognizing same-gender marriage. The Key West Gay & Lesbian Visitor Center, located at 513 Truman Ave., has seen countless honeymooning couples come through its doors in the last couple of months.
Planning your wedding? If you missed my honeymoon tips this summer, one click on the Internet will open up my musings: “Eat, Drink … and Be Married,” “Keys Honeymoons — From Laid-Back to Luxurious” and “Honeymooning in Key West.”
With convenient daily flights from Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and several other major cities, getting to the island couldn’t be easier.
The countdown to New Year’s Eve rings in on Key West with four unique takeoffs on New York City’s Times Square ball drop, each appealing to both locals and visitors.
At the Ocean Key Resort, the all-star cast of Key West Burlesque will have you laughing and loving every minute till the giant Key lime “drops” into an oversized margarita glass.
Around the corner at the Schooner Wharf Bar, live entertainment prevails as everyone’s favorite pirate wench, bar owner Evalena Worthington, is lowered from the mast of the tall ship America 2.0. On lower Duval Street, crowds gather at Sloppy Joe’s Bar awaiting the annual “dropping” of a massive manmade queen conch shell.
A bit further up Duval, you’ll find iconic drag queen Sushi preparing to “drop” while perched in a six-foot red stiletto heel. This 16th anniversary event began as a fun local celebration and has grown to be a globally televised “welcome to the new year,” featuring Sushi (a.k.a. Gary Marion) dressed in a dazzling handmade gown and ensconced in the shoe, presiding over events outside the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex while thousands watch and cheer.
The evening includes chiseled male dancers, performances by colorful drag queens, and an explosion of confetti and laser lights as we applaud the end of 2013 and Sushi’s “descent” in the shoe — broadcast live on CNN. Check with Bourbon Street to see if any VIP tickets are still available to experience the celebration from the balcony of the popular complex.
As we begin the new year, Key West is also celebrating the new owner of the historic La Te Da. A guesthouse, restaurant, cabaret and piano bar — and the site of weekly tea dances and more fundraising events than I can count — La Te Da will now experience a renaissance spearheaded by owner Christopher Rounds.
La Terraza de Marti, best known as La Te Da, has been a focal point for gay life in Key West since 1977 when the late Lawrence Formica brought mixed elegance and grand style to the property. New owner Christopher formerly owned and operated the island’s popular Antonia’s Restaurant, and we’re excited that he will be sprinkling his class, style, fairy dust and magic over this beloved property.
Therefore … I hope to see you at Sunday’s tea dance!
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