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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Radio Show and Some Bad Business in Key West

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                          (Looks like an electric palm tree!)

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my girlfriend Dani Hoy and I are doing not one, but two radio shows all of the sudden!

Stop by our pages on Facebook for each show, which will have airing schedules listed. I know a lot of you are in Europe, the times posted are Eastern Standard Time, which is -5 hours GMT and -6 hours for the continent.

For the Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers:

For the The Key West Music Show - Conch Rockin in the Keys:

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I really don't care what people do behind closed doors. That's their business, not mine and frankly, I have a lot more to be concerned about than being a busy-body, sticking my nose into other peoples personal affairs.

However, if it's a business and when the buisiness is being unethical, that's where I draw the line, especially if it's a detriment to the town of Key West.
The Key West Adult Entertainment Club ( formally The Scrub Club) at 1221 Duval St. seems to always be in the news... albeit not so much in the LOCAL news and the news is ALWAYS bad. Very, very bad.

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Lets set the stage: The Key West Adult Entertainment Club is a strip club that features only private rooms.

The story here is always exactly the same. A customer goes in, must sign a waiver and is charged something in the range of about (hence to referred to as "@")$200. After that runs out, everybody is naked and the guy hasn't achieved what he went in there to begin with for. They have an ATM, but it's down the hall. The guy being naked, takes the advise of the girl there and gives her his card to take out an additional amount of agreed money. Lets say it's another @ $200, for arguments sake. He stays in the room and she goes and gets his @ $200 from their ATM. Naturally, he doesn't see that the ATM fee is not$2.50, $3.00 or $4.00, but rather@ $50.00! The girl will NEVER come back with a receipt either. "Oh! I forgot to get your receipt and the transaction's already closed" Of course if they did the customer would see the @$50 ATM charge.

 Now here comes the fun part. Every report carries the same M.O. Only the amounts are different. What they are said to do next is put in for another withdrawl! There's another $50.00 fee and the ammounts withdrawn reports say are $600.00, $800.00, $1000.00, $1,500.00, $6,000.00... and so on! Meanwhile, the guys, more often than not, find out about this after they get back home, to Chicago, New York, Atlanta, New Orleans... You'll see it in their local papers and once in a blue moon, maybe, just maybe, in a Key West paper, albeit, just in passing. Every report says that it cases are being investigated, but that no charges have been filed.

It does seem odd that all of these cases that pop up continuously, from all around the country, never have anyone charged. While I grant you for thinking that the clientele are pretty stupid for giving out their ATM codes to begin with, one has to consider the fact that A) the establishment knowingly is stealing their money and no doubt violating the trust and responsibility issues of having an ATM, a.k.a. a remote bank, there on premiss and in their control in first place B) The clientele is usually inebriated to some extent or another, C) At this stage of the game they are 75% - 99% of achieving nirvana and in their condition, clearly not thinking rationally. I'm amazed that the city of Key West doesn't have the owners tared and feathered, then run out of town. However, they continue to operate.

There are police cars, often two or three, there responding to  issues there at minimum of once a day.

The word of mouth is perhaps the worst. What happens here is that these people go back home after being fleeced by this rat's nest, and allow me to ask the question: Do you think they're thinking of coming back to Key West? I doubt it. Likewise, can you imagine what they might be telling friends and acquaintances  of their overall experience in Key West? Granted, they may refrain from where they had their disastrous experience at this slut hut, but believe me, they're not trumpeting the fabulous virtues this town actually does have to offer.

Additionally, having known a previous manager,  I was brought up to speed on a few things. They put up for housing a lot of their female employees. There are "requirements" they have to follow in the business and if they didn't fulfill these "requirements" in any way, they are "fined". The fines would be levied on them for being late, not hanging out on their front porch hoping to lure in customers, not doing their required one hour strut down Duval St. in attempt to solicit additional  business ( this is against city code, by the way,) , and for not moping up the floor after their customers achieved what they went there to begin with for.


(Regarding the required hour long strut down Duval attempting to bring back business to the hovel, you may have noticed that it's mentioned that this is against city code? Well, they were cited for it in 2012. They had court date after court date postponed and put on to continuance until this week when it was all supposed to finally be heard. I'm not sure what happened, but the docket no longer has any record whatsoever of there ever being any kind of a hearing, or it ever even being on the record books at all. Unusual, to say the least.)  

There were cases when said previous manager worked, where some of the girls owed more than they actually made! Additionally, as they actually housed the women, they had them entirely over a barrel, so to speak. The girls didn't have any money, as they had to pay off their fines and the establishment applied and deducted them against their earnings. How can they leave? They can't. So they're stuck there. Yes, this is happening in the United States, not a back alley brothel, where the streets smell like urine, in Bangcock, Calcutta, Shanghai, or Mumbai. It's happening in Key West folks. This is a problem. This is a major problem.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sir Peter Anderson

Sir Peter Anderson

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Thirty years ago a man named Peter Anderson arrived in Key West and Key West has been the benefactor ever since. Several years after his arrival, Peter Anderson  was appointed by the mayor, saloon owner Captain Tony, as the Secretary General of the Conch Republic. He was also knighted by the King of the Conch Republic, Mel Fisher, thus carrying the title of "Sir Peter Anderson", of which he was very proud indeed.

His first main focus in being the Secretary General first was to ensure the floundering Conch Republic Days, the celebration of the independence of the Conch Republic, would continue on. This he did extraordinarily well and because of his gallant efforts over the years, to this day the festival is booming! He also started the Conch Republic Days Parade! Yahoo!!!

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(Sir Peter Anderson leads the 1998 Conch Republic Parade. Picture by Rob O'Neil)

My first introduction to Sir Peter was in 2006, I think it was? Because of the idiotic rules that the U.S. has for Cuban immigrants.( if they come here by boat or raft as immigrants, they must land on U.S. soil. If intercepted on water, they are repatriated to Cuba) In this case, a group of Cubans sailed on a raft to the U.S. and landed on one of the abutments of the Seven Mile Bridge here in the Florida Keys. Because they didn't reach dry land, but rather one of the supports for the old bridge, they were collected and sent back to Cuba. Sir Peter consequently went to the Seven Mile Bridge and declared it Sovereign Conch Republic Territory. The rest of the Conch Republic territory, from the Dry Tortugas through all of the Keys, is joint U.S.and  Conch Republic. However, as the U.S. did not recognize the old Seven Mile Bridge as territory and sending the Cubans back, Sir Peter claimed is as sovereign Conch Republic. Additionally, his proposal was to build affordable housing on top of it! Apparently, somewhere there are architectural plans drawn up for it!

For me, a songwriter living in Miami at the time, with a serious eye on moving to the Keys, this was too good to pass up, so I wrote a song about it! It actually was supposed to be on my album "Shanghai'd and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)" but on the day we were completing the rhythm section of the tracks on the CD, I was just completely out of gas, so to speak and when Richard Crooks said "Ok! What do we have next? The Seven Mile Bridge" I was just too tired and it never was recorded.

I do have a demo however and here it is:

While writing the song, I contacted Sir Peter for the first time. What I found was a man who possesed the very rare combination of a completely off the wall sense of humor, combined with an intelect that was very clearly far into the genious level. Now, take these two very uncommon attributes and add to it the fact that the man was anchored, as solid as concrete, with, get this: common sense and logic. Plus, he was a great proponent of having fun and incorporating fun into everything he did. 

After I moved here, one of my first order of business was to meet Sir Peter Anderson in person. This didn't take too long as he was a part of the 2008 Phlockers Gone Wild party at the Blue Heaven restaurant's outside stage area. He swore in the entire crowd there , with beer in hand, as Conch Republic citizens! The lead off picture of this blog, is him doing so that day.
Here's another picture from that day, Sir Peter can be seen in white at the bar.

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Sir Peter also came up with all of the utterly fantastic sayings you'll hear regarding the Conch Republic. Things like "A Sovereign State of Mind",  "We Seceded Where Others Have Failed", and "The Mitigation of World Tension Through the Exercise of Humor". Sir Peter also got the Conch Republic passports rolling. I am a proud holder of one of these.

He also set up the Conch Republic website. Be sure to check it out!

The Conch Republic flag was also Sir Peter's doing. Back when I made my business cards I asked permission to use it for the card. Naturally, without hesitation he said "Of course!" after a moment he said "Would you do me a favor? Would you mind putting 'Used with permission' under it? It can be microscopic if you want. All I ask is that it's there". I immediately said absolutely and it's been on the cards since they've first been printed.

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Sir Peter was as well, a great proponent and organizer of good causes and charatible events, such as Reef Relief, of which he was elected president and  Habitat for Humanity.

I don't think I would get any arguments at all if I stated that Sir Peter Anderson was the biggest proponent of the Conch Republic itself. He actually was able to make a living out of it. He was a true ambassador for this silly little country, this "fifth world state of mind" as he also acronymed it.

(Sir Peter Anderson explains the history of the Conch Republic at Schooner Wharf Bar)

His actions tought me a lot. As this little archipelago of islands, I quickly came to believe, having a long extensive sales background, that it is all of our responsibilities, to do our part in promoting the Conch Republic. That's why I write this blog for the most part. Chances are actually maybe one in a hundred that individually we might gain somthing ourselves out of it. However we don't do it for ourselves, we do it for all of us who live on these islands. "The needs of the many out weighs the needs of the few" as Mr. Spok had said. Being the wise, logical, man that I saw him as, when I spoke up on a subject Sir Peter spoke on, I'd always bang the same drum. Sir Peter always had the best interests of all and the Conch Republic at hand.

On a funny note: I recall several years ago I had heard that Mel Fisher had been the King of the Conch Republic, however he had passed away and I couldn't find who was the current king. So, naturally I asked Sir Peter and he gave a very quick answer, without hesitation. "Mel Fisher!" was his retort. So I said "Well, Mel Fisher has been gone for several years." and he answered "Yeah, so?" and I naturally replied "So even though he's dead, he's still the king?" and Sir Peter answered "Of course!!" I laughed my ass off! It's that sort of humor that just encompass the Conch Republic.

Any conversation I've ever had with Sir Peter was always peppered with laughter, from both of us. Humor was one of our similar attributes and in our conversations it reared it's ridiculous head all the time. His favorite regular spot to watch the Key West sunset was always Louie's Backyard and he was always enjoying a quality beer... another similar attribute we shared!

On Tuesday, 16th of July, 2014 we lost Sir Peter Anderson to cancer. Back in October he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Ironically, from a man who never smoked. Unfair as it was, he fought a gallant battle and won on many fronts.  He was back from the hospital and was in at least two parade events and a ridiculouse running event that went across the Cow Key Bridge from Key West to Stock Island... about 100 yards!

On my next batch of cards the release will be augmented to:
 "Used with permission of Sir Peter Anderson"

Godspeed Sir Peter! It was an honor ato know you and you were a true inspiration. Thank you!

Sometimes when in the presence of greatness, one only realizes after they are gone. This was never the case with Sir Peter Anderson. I knew it from the start. For this man knew how to have FUN!!!

And in closing I will quote Sir Peter Anderson:

"Long Live The Conch Republic and Long Live  Every One of You"

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(Picture by Ralph DePalma)

To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dateline: Key West

Dateline: Key West

A lot of fun things happening as of late, here at the Conch Rock Shanty ( what we call our house) in Key West. We moved a couple of months ago, fortunately only a block away from where we were. We used to be "90 miles and three blocks from Havana" now we're 90 miles and two blocks from Havana! We now have a small yard, which facilitates a place for the dogs to run around, a garden, a hammock, a deck, and of course, a bar b. que! So, we're off to the races, so to speak!

Media #1 - The Beer Show
Over the last  year and several months,  I've been involved with a small segment of a radio show up in Cleveland, Island Time Radio Show, hosted by Dennis King (DK) and Amo Bennett. My segment there is a small one. Ten minutes every four or five weeks. The subject was beer! It's always been a lot of fun! I have a lengthy background on the subject, going back to when I was of legal drinking age, so I'm not someone who just hopped on a somewhat new bandwagon. I've been at it for a while. I collected over thirty books on the subject, both from the US and Great Britain, so it wasn't merely a drinking  education either! HA HA!

When the show first started,  I did it in a small craft beer bar here, which was kind enough to allow us to do it there, "The Porch". The first show went well, however it was done over the phone and a bar being a bar, there was too much noise from the background for the radio show to hear us clearly.
I was subsequently at my local bar, The Cork and Stogie, and was speaking to the owner, Dave Bevens Sr. about our situation with the show. He mentioned that The Cork and Stogie closed at eleven and if I would like, we could do it there after they closed! It worked out perfectly! Additionally, I had two great side-kicks with owner Dave Sr. and bartender and brewer "Cowboy Mark" Straiton!

The show was a blast! We had a great time and took it quite seriously actually. Around last September, Dave Sr. and I were at the Key West Brewfest talking with various vendors to see if they would be interested in backing us doing our own show. Everyone expressed interest! The issue was how would we do it?

Over the months that followed, there was little progress made in that direction, although the subject was often at hand. In December my girlfriend, Dani Hoy, moved to Key West and started contributing to the show. This was not a move made by nepotism, but rather a great and worthy addition to the show. In an age where beer interest is booming with new enthusiasts, Dani's addition was perfect. Here was someone who really appreciated a quality beer, but didn't know much about it. So, she asks the questions that the rest of us don't see, but so many people are curious about!
We've continued the show with Dani and on a completely different subject, Dani and I get contacted by local musician and radio personality, Bo Fodor, about doing a music show for his internet station, KWOM (Key West Original Music). As Dani and I are both musicians, this seemed to be a great idea! However, when Bo offered the music show to us, I realized that here was the exact platform we were looking for with the beer show as well!

With the beer show we decided we'd have a video of the shows that we could make available to the public, sometime after the stations air the shows! To help us with this we took on Dave Bevens Jr. who has a background in audio/video to help us out in that department. In addition, Dave Jr. is also a bar tender at the Cork' and adds a lot of fun and humor to the show!

We've done three of the beer shows so far and the very first one has just aired! In addition, we're also picking up new stations!

When you tune in, be sure to have a beer in hand and you'll be drinking a beer with us in Key West!
Here's the current schedule and where it's being aired:

KWOM - Every day, twice a day 10am and 10pm EST

Radio A1A - Mondays at 7pm

 Radio Trop Rock - Sundays 5 - 6

Media #2 - The Key West Music Show - Conch Rockin' in the Keys

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As I mentioned, Dani and I were approached to do a music radio show which we jumped and named it "The Key West Music show - Conch Rockin' In The Keys". We're doing it from our house, The Conch Rock Shanty,as we call it,  over here on Thomas Street in Key West. For our first show we had ourselves as guests, We had never done a pod cast before and felt that using ourselves as guinea pigs would be the best option. Before the first show aired, we had three stations lined up! Bo's KWOM, of course, then Radio A1A with Harry Teaford hopped on, then The Shore, up in New York State, our first terestrial/internet station. Shortly after that we had Tiki Island Radio come aboard, from Punta Gorda, Florida followed by Steven Youngblood's Radio Trop Rock up in the Pensacola area. Next thing we had The Tiki Beach Shop up in Chattanooga, Tn. Things are growing!
Our next guest was local musician and the guy who gave us the platform for both of our shows, Bo Fodor. The following show featured transplanted Hawaiian, here by way of Hawaii, Marine brat growing up, all over the US including California, Nashville, Arizona and the last twenty years or so, ... Norway!

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(Renn Loren being interviewed at the Key West Music Show - Conk Rockin' in the Keys with Dani Hoy)

The future of the show is pretty open. We just interviewed Eric Stone, owner of the Dockside Tropical Cafe up in Marathon Key. Eric is a great musician and songwriter who bought the establishment and re-opened it at the end of last year. We interviewed him as an owner of a bar/restaurant for a twist from always interviweing only musicians thus far. Also, we did the interview on location at The Dockside, which for us at least, is a first. Also in the very near future we plan on interviewing Daryl Brooke, owner of the Grateful Guitar music store, here in Key West and I'm sure we'll also grab Wayne Sorbelli who owns the other music store on the island, Bone Island Music.  The field is wide open for us and there's all sorts of things we have for both the music show and the beer show... in the hopper! Pun intended!

Feel free to listen in at any of the stations airing our podcast! All times listed
are EST  ( -5 GMT)

KWOM Key West Original Music  -  8am  and  8pm every day

Radio A1A - 10PM every day

The Shore -  Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon

Radio Trop Rock -    Tuesday @ 5pm, Thursdays - 5pm,  2 am Saturday’s and Sundays

Tiki Island Radio - 10:30am  and 6:30 PM Tuesdays

Tiki Beach Shop  - Times TBA