Coast Blog
October 02, 2019

It’s been more than five years since we hosted our first show at the original COAST shop on Stock Island. We built the stage by hand the night before the Hackensaw Boys took to it. The show that followed — a wild, ground stomping, hootenanny changed the course for us at COAST.

As the dust settled, so did we — on our mission to bring new and relevant live music to the end of the road. Since then, we’ve hosted dozens of amazing concerts with world-class artists at venues — large and small — from the other side of the tracks in Stock Island to the tip of Sunset Pier in the heart of Old Town.

We don’t do it for the money. If a show sells out, the money from ticket sales scarcely covers the artist’s fee and production expenses — stage, sound, lights, etc.

It’s a lot for us and the pay off has nothing to do with a pay day. We do it because we love it. We do it because we feel a responsibility to our community and to those within it who have supported these shows from the first to the latest.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 @ Gates at 7:00pm

We’re stoked to welcome our good buddy G. Love back to the island for his annual Beachside Blues Tour of Florida.

This time, we’ll host it right on Southernmost Beach — quite literally the “coast” of Key West — so come join us for a night of music and dancing in the sand and under the stars. The night will kick off with Florida’s own dynamic duo, The Ries Brothers at 8:00pm and G. Love will hit the stage at 9:15pm.

This is a ticketed event and gates will open at 7:00pm sharp.

Hope to see you all there!

April 03, 2019

​He’s been our shop boy, product tester, photo model, skate rat, and all-around cool kid from the very start of COAST.

And today the one and only Kristian turns 11 — successfully completing his first decade on this planet.

He first stepped onto a skateboard when he was three years-old on the mean streets of Copenhagen, and he took to it immediately. In the beginning, he’d ride boards I’d make for him — small, flat boards reminiscent of 1970s surf-style cruisers. I told him he needed to learn to ride around the neighborhood before he could try any tricks, so in short order he became fluid on the little board, weaving on and off the sidewalk, bombing hills and developing a style all his own.

When we moved to Key West, he was eager to take advantage of riding in the nice weather. But at that time, we were spending a lot of time on Stock Island where the streets were pretty beat up, so he asked for a mini ramp at the old COAST shop on Front Street.

Well, that seemed like a good project for our crew of washed-up skaters (with a shop full…

January 01, 2019

SEEKING QUALIFIED CREW MEMBERS…

As we enter the new year and start a new chapter in the COAST story, we are looking to expand our retail and online efforts at The COAST Outpost in Old Town while we explore new options for studio and venue space on Stock Island.

Considering this, we are looking for one full-time employee (or a couple part-time employees) to help manage daily operations at 803 Whitehead Street.

Duties & Skills Required Include:

- Opening and closing the shop in a timely manner. The shop is open daily 10am-5pm.
- Organizing and merchandising products and inventory in a creative and effective manner.
- Keeping track of inventory and ordering goods from our factories and vendors.
- Receiving and stocking new inventory.
- Interacting with and selling to customers — both locals and tourists alike — in a brand-appropriate manner.
- Organizing, packing and shipping web orders.
- Helping with social media and other promotional efforts.
- Creating and updating spreadsheets for inventory, concert tickets sales, etc.
- Handling customer service emails and inquiries on a daily basis.
- Maintaining and keeping the shop tidy…

December 12, 2018

By Billy Kearins

This Saturday, December 15th — six years to the day after we officially took over a ragged boatyard on the wrong side of the tracks in Stock Island, with absolutely no plan and a sack full of dreams — we’ll host our final, farewell concert at the space. Fittingly it will be with Nashville songwriter Rayland Baxter, a fellow weirdo who became a good friend of mine a few years back because of that very space.

Two weeks after Saturday’s show, we’ll be a displaced band of artists and adventurers.

The place our crew has called home for the better part of the last decade, 6404 Front Street, and the spot where we worked to make that bag full of dreams come true will no longer be ours.

We were unable to come to an agreement for a long term lease at the current space and this month was the deadline. And while the timing seems particularly challenging, I’m not sure there would have ever been a great time to leave that space. Truth is, sometimes we hang onto things because they are comfortable, not because they are…

December 06, 2018

It’s just past midnight and I’m now a 40-year-old man.

If you go by the stats, I’m starting the second half of my life right now.

But I’ve never been one for stats and measurements. I’d rather eyeball cuts and use my guts.

Fifteen years ago, I’d have looked at those life expectancy charts and laughed. Then said “I’ll live to be a hundred” as I drank another beer on the way out for another night on the town.

But seemingly overnight — and most definitely out of nowhere — reality came knocking and through a series of both tragic and also incredibly amazing events, I became aware that life can be fleeting but it’s also something to behold.

In the fall of 2006, a freak infection attacked my heart valves while I was building a boat in the Caribbean. I was saved only by an emergency med flight from St. Croix to Mass General Hospital, a last-minute open heart surgery on Thanksgiving Day, and the love of those surrounding me.

After months of recovery, I headed south back to Key West to pretty much gather my belongings and start a new chapter. I quit the late nights, simplified my…

June 13, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Twenty six hundred eighty five point four miles separate Key West, Florida and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Another ninety two point ninety six million miles separate those charming little hamlets from the jumbo orb of spurting, belching gas and flames we call Senor Sun.

Along with the yawning distance between the remote settlements, there are other disparities. Elevation, for instance. Key West is but nine feet above sea level. That’s not much. And it often becomes apparent come June through September hurricane season, when backstroking can become a necessary pastime. Nestled amid the aptly named Grand Tetons, JHole stands a majestic, near-celestial 6000 ft. above sea level. No tsunami concerns there.

Then, of course there is the matter of snow. Regarded with deep reverence in the ski Mecca, snow generously is issued in powdery shrouds averaging some 12 ft. annually. None of it goes to waste, either, as rippers and gapers from around the planet descend on the toney outpost to cut and run the myriad manicured trails that line the towering terra. Snow in Key West? Flake one has yet to arrive. Not bloody likely to, either.

May 10, 2018 - May 11, 2018 @ Doors @ 7:30pm

On May 10, we welcome back our buddy G. Love to COAST for an evening of boatyard and beachside blues. The concert is part of G. Love’s annual swing through the Sunshine State and this particular show is the smallest of the entire tour. Local favorites, The Skank and national touring artist Kristy Lee will open the night.

This is a one-night-only show and G’s shows always sell out quickly, so grab tickets while you can!

Doors open at 7:30pm with opening acts to follow.

*PURCHASE TICKETS*

April 16, 2018

​For a few months — before and after Irma — we were on-site at the newly renovated 24 North Hotel doing everything from building stages and swings to maneuvering Cuban chug boats and scaling six story walls to paint one of a number of large-scale murals on the pristine property.

Keeping the hotel’s solid branding in line, our pieces offered a mix of Key West contemporary and historic Habana complete with literary references, vibrant colors, graphic patterns and reclaimed wood constructions.

The final product is a full scale installation that flows from the lobby to the pool bar and beyond and helps to tell the story of the imaginary line that floats in the Gulf Stream between The Florida Keys and the island of Cuba — just 90 miles away.

April 11, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

She had a ventriloquist dummy perched like a parrot on her shoulder. And it looked a little like her. Actually, a lot like her. Smoother complexion. And a bit more rigid. But the similarity was undeniable.

Otherwise, there was nothing particularly unusual about the cross-eyed blonde who moseyed into COAST digs on Whitehead Street the other day.

She seemed to relish the attention her little ringer commanded. And when the focus reached a peak, the mannequin’s head turned and the mouth moved.

“What are you guys looking at?” the synthetic little chick seemed to bark. ‘What?”

Indeed.

The crack immediately triggered raised eyebrows and startled yuks. The desired effect had been achieved. And the woman introduced her “sister,” Ginger.

There is no shortage of such interesting characters who find their way onto our Bahama Village premises. And it’s always a treat checking out the mix of nationalities and personalities that find their way to Mile Marker 0 for a taste of paradise.

For the most part, they are a curious bunch, draped in their idea of subtropical cruise wear while spouting queries regarding the island, its…

February 14, 2018

​Over the past few months we’ve had the pleasure of hosting Diane Barthelemy as an artist in residence out at the boatyard on Stock Island. Originally from Brittany (Breton) in the Northwesternmost coastal region of France, Diane spent most of her formative years in the port city of Bordeaux in southwest France before moving to Brooklyn to pursue a full-time career as an artist in 2016.

While here, Diane has focused largely on her impressive and distinctive large-scale abstract paintings — her stroke is unmistakably confident. By day you can find her spread out on the deck of the COAST stage with canvases the size of roof tarps and cans of acrylic paint with a jar full of brushes at her feet. Always smiling, usually covered in paint, and generally laughing with her distinctive raspy giggle, Barthelemy has made an imprint not only on those who surround her on our Stock Island property, but she has come to find her place in the Key West community as a whole.

By morning or towards sunset, you can usually find her roaming the back streets and side alleys of Old Town on a 70s Schwinn bicycle — blue and red,…

February 14, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

As yours truly continues to explore the wonder years (that magical time triggered by the Big FiveOh), It becomes increasing apparent I am placing limitations on unnecessary physical exertion.
Some of it is subconscious. Sort of a survival instinct. Some is intentional.

For instance, just the other day, en route to part-time work as demonic exorcist to the stars, I tossed some trash into a local dumpster and inadvertently let slip a ziplock bag I had packed for lunch.

It contained a disappointing tangle of linguini and meatballs I’d prepared the previous night. And although the sloppy repast wasn’t exactly three-star, it still was edible and would serve to eliminate the expense and inconvenience of ordering to-go grub. Which isn’t always easy in the exorcism biz.

Demons are not amenable to lunch breaks, quiet time or accordion recitals. And so much more, for that matter.

After requisite I-can’t-believe-I-did-that cussing, spitting, head-shaking, eye-rolling and foot-stomping, I stared deeply into the stinking dumpster abyss and realized considerable acrobatic skill would be required to retrieve that packet of pasta and piquant orbs.

In more youthful years, I may…

January 24, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Soon it will be a month since Christmas 2017 became yet another Christmas Past.

Time tangos by so very quickly.

Nevertheless, my take on the annual festivities continues. I just can’t help myself. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it occurred to me there might not be an actual Santa Claus. Most likely, it was in my mid-to-late thirties. In that vicinity. Although the era does remain a bit blurry. And mysterious. Due, perhaps, to a numbing dose of coconut tree trauma.

Surprisingly, the revelation wasn’t quite as distressing as I would have imagined.

There was no need for specialized counseling. Nor heavy sessions of electroshock therapy. Although I did consider - albeit briefly - becoming a ventriloquist. (I simply could not find a partner willing to take turns being the dummy.) Considering the enormity of Santa Claus in my life, particularly during those early formative years - 1 to 35 - it seemed the demise of such a merry, old soul would be thoroughly and irrevocably traumatic. But, as heard tell ‘round a campfire - often featuring the faint aroma of performing seals -…

Nov 30, 2017 - Dec 01, 2017 @ 5:00pm

We are getting a lot of requests for the schedule and lineup each day and while it’s still an evolving situation, here’s where we are currently…

During the week of the concert, starting Monday 11/27, anyone who has purchased passes can pick them up at The COAST Outpost in Old Town — 803 Whitehead Street. We are open daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm and will be open later on Thursday, 11/30.

Coast Is Clear, Day One: Thursday, 11/30 in Bahama Village

  • 11:00am: Will-call opens at The COAST Outpost — 803 Whitehead Street. Pick up wristbands, t-shirts, etc.
  • 4:00pm: Poolside set with local music and happy hour at The COAST Outpost. Open to all pass holders.
  • 5:30pm: Soundcheck at The Green Parrot with Patrick & The Swayzees. Open to all pass holders. There will be a $10 cover for anyone without a wristband.
  • 7:00pm: Blue Heaven dinner set with Cayman & Friends. Open to all pass holders and dinner guests. Drinks and dinner available for purchase.
  • 8:30pm: Blue Heaven “Singers in the Round” with Langhorne Slim, Rayland Baxter and Rorey Carroll on the back stage. This is only open pass holders and is…
November 05, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

I had one of those signature, full-drool BLTs the other day. The kind with lightly toasted White Mountain bread - crust removed. Blue Plate mayo. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes and undercooked bacon. The real good kind.

It was the first such foray into snackdom since Big Irm blowed through with Cat 4 force, leaving a nasty trail of desolation, heartbreak and abandoned curbside appliances.

In a way, that tasty munch marked a return to normalcy for yours truly. Welcome respite from the rigors of hurricane diets based on Chef Boyardee’s shut-up-and-eat, dining-in-the-dark postulate.

And it’s not just that BLT. Other signs of a return to the good old days are popping up all over. Not the least of which are water, air conditioning, gasoline and the emergence of greenery from our wind-singed foliage. And, lest we forget, availability of the occasional on-street parking spot.

In an effort to accelerate and commemorate this well-earned return to the way we were, the crack staff here at Coast has meticulously assembled a benefit concert intended to rival the like of Woodstock and Monterey Pop.

Indeed.

And with such headliners as Langhorne…

October 22, 2017

Okay, so a lot of folks are asking about line-ups, schedule, ticket pricing, so here’s the deal…

As many of you know, we currently have the following performers confirmed: Langhorne Slim, Rayland Baxter, Rorey Carroll, Patrick & The Swayzees, and The Skank. We are also awaiting confirmations from a few additional national acts and we’ll round the schedules out with more of your favorite local bands.

Right now we are only selling the two-day all-access “Coast Crew” passes (for $100) which get you into any and all shows. This option is, of course, the best value and you won’t be kicking yourselves for missing any of the amazing performances. They are available for purchase at The COAST Outpost, 803 Whitehead Street this weekend — through Sunday 11/22. Then starting Monday, we will put any remaining tickets on-line, right here on our website.

Once the all-access passes are sold-out, we will offer Friday-only passes for the Stock Island shows.

Currently, the concert has evolved into a two-day, multi-venue festival taking place in both Bahama Village (Key West) and Safe Harbor (Stock Island). The line-up and times are subject to change, but for the moment, it’s…

October 15, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

There is something especially wild about a Cat 4 storm. They are so rare. So fearsome. Truly one of Mother Nature’s most traumatic, awe-inspiring displays. The harrowing howl of hurricane banshees sweeping, shrieking and hammering the terra. Malevolently seeking to impose their suffocating embrace on all manner of the realm. Their incursion and departure set the stage for a dizzying array of uncommon sights, sounds and assorted shenanigans. Not to mention all manner of bodily emanations. There just seems to be no end.

Nevertheless, as we find ourselves submerged here In the continuing wake of Big Irm, still doggedly extricating ourselves from the staggering heaps and snarls of debris, respite from the drudgery is available. Necessary ingredients include slightly skewed perspective and taste for the bizarre. Humor and a few bushels of optimism don’t hurt, either.

Such qualities, of course, abound here in paradise.

Just the other day, for example, I found myself lazily spooning creamed corn from a can into my drooling chops, all the while perusing long-awaited removal of a battered old Chris sloop washed ashore on the beach of a local resort. There was a…

September 27, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the best thing we as a community can do is to rebuild with the help of our neighbors — and that comes in many forms. Right now, many of us are — and have been — knee deep in the actual devastation that the storm caused to our island homes in the Florida Keys. Cleaning, cutting, tossing, trashing, repairing and rebuilding have occupied our time and space for the past few weeks. For many this will continue in the days, weeks and even months to come.

But amongst the debris and the darkness we need to look for the light. If nothing else, there’s been a stronger sense of community since Irma passed here a few weeks back. People have set aside their differences and what were once their priorities, in an effort to help out those in need — and the community as a whole. Restaurants offered free food, neighbors offered a helping hand, first responders offered time and expertise and together we all benefited in the midst of what was otherwise a disaster.

But as we get further from the eye of the storm and closer to our everyday obligations,…

August 28, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

As many already have noticed, time on Earth doesn’t always proceed in the desired fashion. Indeed, bumps, ruts, snarling, snapping wolverines, lightning bolts and the occasional steaming pile patiently await as we pedal our way along life’s challenging path.

Just the other day, for example, an acquaintance residing in the hinterlands of central Florida watched his backyard, and freshly lined badminton court, dissolve into a yawning, sucking sinkhole. And this, right after learning his dog, Tex, a three-legged pug with short fuse, needed back surgery.

There is no shortage of head-shaking as we hobble through our appointed rounds. But often head-shaking just isn’t enough to assuage the cringing double-crosses that beset existence.

The soothing sting of a Bullard’s dry gin martini doesn’t always do the trick, either.

Nor does a heavy session of electroshock therapy. A Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film bender. Or apple pancakes with lemon honey (although that one does come close).

But when all else fails, just when the sky seems most bleak and hope a distant, diminishing glimmer, always — always — there are hats.

Not just any hats.

Hats that…

July 31, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Here at our little emporium on Whitehead Street in Bahama Village, we at COAST enjoy contributing to the well-being of our island community. We consider it a labor of love as much as our civic duty.

Such contributions may be offered in any form that assists in the negotiation of daily routine here in paradise.

So when word came down that a considerable chunk of ice had separated from the continent of Antarctica and currently is backstroking its way toward the Atlantic — perhaps even the Gulf Stream — our antennae went up.

At 2,200 sq. mi., the frosty flow is about the size of Delaware, contains roughly the same volume of water as Lake Erie (my favorite Great Lake) and has a 700 ft draft. So the likelihood of it sneaking-up unnoticed is considered slim, although it IS said to be a relatively quiet iceberg. At least, compared to those inhabited by polka bands.

The daunting news hardly went unnoticed here. Especially in the eyes of our seaworthy captain “Dollar” Bill Kearins.

Fortified with the mandatory mariners’ meal of Harpoon Harry’s acclaimed bloody Marys and bacon, and…

July 17, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Some years ago, it was written that yours truly is “a cat who doesn’t take serious things seriously.”

I didn’t mind the cat part. That was cool. Although I suspect cats may have taken issue.

I didn’t mind, either, that time and some — albeit limited — thought had been applied to address my own bad self. Someone had considered me worthy fodder.

But what did stick in the craw a bit was the notion I did not take serious things seriously. Could this be so?

Moi?

After 29 seconds of massaging the gray matter and descending precariously into deep thought — all the while assembling a magnificent BLT on lightly toasted whole wheat, sans crust, and generously slathered with Blue Plate mayo — acceptable rationalization emerged in the form of another query: And just WHO IS IT that decides “serious”?

Much like beauty, determination of all that is “serious” rests solely with the beholder. I reckoned.

And what, you may be wondering, is cause for resurrection of such “serious” blasts from the past.

None other than the toast of Coast, himself,…

July 10, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

It is an interesting story. Interesting enough, at least, to invest precious moments pecking it out here on the front porch of the Coast digs on Whitehead Street.

Sweltering July heat in Bahama Village is attention-getting. Even the old in-and-out (breathing) can be challenging. So if I can just get my little buddy, Grumpy here, to occasionally mop my expansive brow, I shall get on with it.

A while back, a quaint gent from the Red Hook neck of the Brooklyn woods, found his way into our studios on Stock Island and rented space. Said he wanted to train homing pigeons.

Nothing unusual about that. Right. At least not compared to a previous tenant who was trying to develop practical flip flops for chickens. That project, incidentally, never really got off the ground. Although it did pique considerable local interest.

At any rate the pigeon guy, doing business as Duke Riley, moved in, and soon had his project off the ground. In no time the feathered flappers were airborne over Key West and zooming in and out of the island on…

June 26, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

There’s a lot to see from the front porch of Coast. Not the least of which is the eclectic mix of funky architecture lining Whitehead Street. It’s called Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Craftsman and amalgamations thereof. There’s the Key West Lighthouse, too. The towering beacon that would lead Hemingway home - a block from Coast - after evenings of cocktails and lively repartee on the stools of Sloppy Joe Russell’s Greene Street bar. The same sturdy edifice also is said to have provided inspiration for a lilting ditty titled “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper, So I Can Do Light Housekeeping.” How about that.

And then there are the tourists. The endless bebop of sweaty out-of-towners ambling in and out of Bahama Village, slurping, chirping and rubber-necking as oppressive humidity strives mightily to buckle their knees. But sometimes such distractions aren’t quite enough.

Sunday, the quest for amusement took me inside our little (circa 1850) shop for a closer look at the ever-enchanting inventory. Ah yes, lovely. Lovely, too. Then, aha, the venerable pocket tee. The only such style in the elaborate mix. You just don’t see that many…

June 19, 2017

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Finding comfort on the wood and stone porch of Coast’s 150 year-old digs deep in the heart of Bahama Village is not easy. But certainly worth a try. Especially on a sweltering Fathers’ Day in Key West. Often, in the midst of this quest, passersby will notice and stop to peruse the activity in hopes it is being offered as gratis warm-up for Punch & Judy episodes.

Sometimes, amid the backdrop of tasteful Hemingway likenesses framing my chiseled visage, not to mention the fact Papa’s one-time shanty is but a block down Whitehead, they will notice a similarity in appearance between yours truly and the late Key Wester. Especially if they have been snorkeling in the sea of rum in which our island constantly is awash. Testament to such tippling often is in the form of failed but dogged attempts at making music by blowing, cross-eyed, into conch shells. Occasionally even the inhabited variety.

On a recent Sunday, for instance, a dapper octet of Asian visitors — replete with the most charming array of parasols — happened by. Obviously in no particular hurry, they lingered before the porch casually observing…

June 19, 2017

Well, we’re starting another series. Probably not a big surprise to our cherished following — we’ve started about a dozen or so over the past four years. Some still in effect, some doomed from the start. You never really know where ideas will go or where projects and prototypes might end up, but I guess that’s kind of the beauty of it. So we cast them off the dock with a certain sporadic regularity to see if they’ll float.

​This particular series will feature the pensive pondering, reverie and cries for help from my old pal Mark, aka The Coast Bard. Never to be confused with actual deep thought, Mark’s reflections basically will be a blog series — hopefully once weekly​ and ideally available on Monday mornings so you can get your work week off on the right foot. Or left, if you prefer. But again, we’ll see. At any rate, before we drop the first episode on you, I thought it might do some good to offer the backstory, so here goes…

I met Mark reluctantly in 2002 — about a week after I started scrubbing decks on a couple of boats down at what was then…

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