Key West WomenFest!
Photos: Courtesy WomenFest; Courtesy Key West CVB
Story by Joseph Alexiou
Key West, a historic destination for LGBT voyagers, will drive away your end-of-summer blues lesbian-style by hosting the 22nd annual Womenfest, a week-long celebration of the fair sex from September 2-7. Sure to please queer ladies from all walks of life, the almost innumerable number of activities include daily sunset sails, kayaking, parasailing, reef snorkeling and dolphin watching. Janis Joplin-esque rock singer Jen will perform 6-9 p.m. every night at the Hog’s Breath Saloon.
Some of the highlighted activities begin with a kick-off opening night party, featuring performances by Caribbean American artists Lenore Troia and Laura Wood and the all-female band Sister Funk (6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, at Chelsea House. The party also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Key West Business Guild, America’s oldest LGBT “Chamber of Commerce,” who is also sponsoring a luncheon earlier in the day.
Wednesday will be a favorite those who love Sappho and Elizabeth Bishop at the Art Exhibit Poetry Reading and Open Mic on September 3, in the Crystal Room at La Te Da. Thursday, although chock-full of day activities, could be the most scandalous (or messiest) lady’s night at the Body Paint Dance Party at Club Zu (the “demure” are offered the option of wearing a t-shirt as a canvas for this event). Friday will be, more than any other, concert day at Womenfest, with Lori Michaels performing at Aqua (one of several scheduled appearances throughout the week), high-energy Sister Funk, and hip hop duo God-des and She performing in the Sunset Rock Concert at Dante’s in Marina Conch Harbor.
The big weekend finish-off starts with the Womenfest Street Fair, with the celebrated Duval Street transformed into an open-air market from noon to 7 p.m. Lady’s all-day pool parties on Saturday and Sunday are at award-winning lesbian resort Pearl's Rainbow and the Southernmost Hotel.
Lightening the evening mood will be lesbian comic Lisa Koch, Womenfest’s headline performer and Olivia Cruise staple, who will keep the crowd in stitches at the Tropic Cinema, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. Finally, for the romantics on Sunday there will be a group commitment ceremony followed by a champagne brunch, starting at 1 p.m. at Pearl's Rainbow (for more info call (305) 292-1450), and bringing the festival to a close is DJ Harmony spinning on the Floating Tea Dance, hosted on the Fury Catamaran.