The dog days of summer are just around the corner. The Romans referred to the dog days as dińďs caniculńĀrńďs, and they were believed to be an evil time when the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid. In the summer Sirius, the Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun.
In Key West, we celebrate the dog days with Tropical Heat. Beginning Aug. 16, this event for the guys features boiling seas (okay, not really!), snorkeling, kayaking, pool parties, toga parties, drag shows, steamy late-night gatherings and Gay Bingo.
This event is celebrated at different venues across the island, each with its own personality and flavor. The Blu Q offers daily snorkel and kayaking adventures complete with all snorkel gear, beverages and lunch. They also have daily sunset sails that welcome gay men, women, friends and families.
Big Ruby‚Äôs kicks off the Tropical Heat weekend with the ‚ÄúUna Noche Caliente!‚ÄĚ clothing-optional meet-and-greet party. Starting at 6 p.m., look for a great DJ, open bar and catered hors d‚Äôoeuvres. Tour the gardens and hop in the pool or Jacuzzi to cool off (or raise the temperature!). After the party, cross Duval Street to Club Aqua for the ‚ÄúReality is a Drag‚ÄĚ show followed by dancing to the music of a resident DJ.
Friday‚Äôs Splash pool party at Bourbon St. Pub‚Äôs garden bar will be filled with games, fun, DJ Neil, and a chance to soak up some Key West sunshine at the pool. Then grab your toga and stroll down Fleming Street to the Equator Resort for ‚ÄúToga in the Tropics.‚ÄĚ This annual party includes prizes for the most creative and the most revealing togas, and we will crown ‚ÄúMr. Toga 2012.‚ÄĚ
Among them is Nine One Five, located at 915 Duval in a historic Victorian house and offering meals prepared by Chef Stuart Kemp, who was twice invited to serve his cuisine for the members of New York‚Äôs prestigious James Beard Foundation. (Inside tip: Nine One Five has specially priced appetizers and libations during happy hour.)
Since 1971, Louie‚Äôs Backyard has offered oceanfront dining and a Caribbean/American menu. Sample Chef Doug Shook‚Äôs cuisine, seasoned with culinary influences from around the world and served on the restaurant‚Äôs multi-level oceanfront deck. From fresh Key West pink shrimp to chorizo-stuffed Berkshire pork, there are dishes to tempt every palate.
Tropical Heat‚Äôs Saturday and Sunday schedule is filled with dancing on four dance floors at Bourbon St. Pub with DJ/VJ Gary Nolan, foam parties, pool parties at the Island House and Gay Bingo at the 801 Cabaret with our own Q Mitch Jones.
Before you head home, try breakfast at Croissants de France. Now celebrating 25 years in Key West, this favorite eatery features authentic French pastries, soups, and sandwiches served in a tropical courtyard.
I‚Äôm on the move this month too. Look for me in Las Vegas at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convention Aug. 2-4, and at Northalsted Market Days in Chicago Aug. 11-12. See you next time, when I‚Äôll talk about Womenfest 2012!