Fest offers everything from a kinky carnival to the Smallest Parade in the Universe.


THE MULTIPLE NEWS RELEASES HAVE been published and scrutinized.

The organizers want you to know that Fantasy Fest indeed is still happening. Modifications included, but still happening!

No famous Zombie Bike Ride. But bring your finest Dia de Muertos and Walking Dead garb. There will be no marquee Saturday night float extravaganza. But there will be a miniature version complete with pocket-sized sober revelers.

As for the locals-oriented masquerade march? Forget it. However, you still can wear a mask to the occasional kinky affair and, naturally, to all the businesses requiring you to don the medically appropriate sort. It would not be accurate to publish a definitive guide to this year’s antics given the fluctuating state of beads and bacchanal. However, we can point out a few activities that stand a better chance of remaining in the lineup for this year’s Fantasy Fest. These being the days of COVID-19, be sure to check the website, www.fantasyfest.com, to confirm events are happening before attempting to attend.

Tom Flip will host Tom Flip’s Top Floor Takeover on Oct. 29 at Effusion Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

Tom Flip will host Tom Flip’s Top Floor Takeover on Oct. 29 at Effusion Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

¦ The sixth annual Smallest Parade in the Universe — This fundraiser for the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens or MARC House, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 23, is one of the more creative intensive activities. The live-streamed and hosted (look for local funny people) event will feature handcrafted miniature floats aligned with this year’s holidaze theme. Expect a lot of ironic snow as the entries are conveyed past your screens. Submissions will then be available for purchase and viewing in the ensuing weeks, which means you can take home a pretty unique festival souvenir. Granted, it’s not comparable to the traditional and famed parade night escapades nor should it be. Finally, you can enjoy floats in Key West without fear of losing an eye to colorful projectiles and gyrations you cannot unsee. Free. www.TSKW.org.

¦ Heroes and Villains Run/Walk 5K — Move it, people. You’ve been in lockdown for a year and the pandemic might very well thrust you back into another Netflix centric captivity. I recommend “Squid Game.” At 6 p.m. Oct. 25, take this opportunity to gather outdoors while paying homage to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, characters from “WandaVision,” and the fashionable populace of Wakanda while you still can. Some choose to compete in rippling Wonder Woman and Captain America get-ups. We get it. You pretend to do CrossFit. Others put on inflatable T-Rex costumes for a ridiculous romp past spectators and historic neighborhoods. Either way, this themed run is best enjoyed at your own pace. You don’t even have to finish so long as you’re leaving for a really good happy hour to render any lost calories useless. $25-$35. www.ThemeRuns.com.

¦ Kinky Carnival — Making masks fashionable long before unmitigated plagues — at least the leather kind. Not to mention pup and sensory deprivation ones, too. This voyeuristic jaunt features multileveled spectacles including bondage, fetish, vac cubes, and last I saw, electrostimulation with sweeping views and a sprawling open-air dance space below. This event, set for 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at First Flight (301 Whitehead St.), is typically hosted by fetish lifestyle aficionados who do a good job at providing offerings for both the seasoned and unexposed. Kinky attire, which is so much more than leather, is required for entry. Leather Master and Fairvillas should satisfy any last-minute “shibari” x “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” crossover outfits. You’re welcome for the idea. $50. www.fantasyfest.com.

¦ Harriet Potter and the Enchanted Tassel: A Burlesque Parody — Hufflepuffs to the back. Just kidding. This show, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 26-29 at the Key West Theater, promises to be the right amount of scandalous even for members of one of the more virtuous houses. Once upon a time in Key West, the burlesque scene cornered the creative events space. Now, one of its founders, Christa Hunt aka Tata DuJour, returns as Harriette Potter with enchanted tassels. Actually, just one as the pair seem to have been separated. Audience members can join her on this “saucy” search and take comfort in the fact that the wizarding world caters to adults too. As Hunt explains, “If you’re new to burlesque, expect to see much more than a variety show with a series of bare-it-all strip teases. This troupe is unlike any other in the country, offering full theatrical productions and parodies of well-known material including wildly creative interpretations of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Star Wars,’ and ‘The Nutcracker,’ with bedazzling costuming, sets, and choreography and a full scope of entertainers that command your attention with or without a birthday suit.” Exciting. $50-$125. www.thekeywesttheater.com.

¦ LUV2GLOW — The ninth annual LUV2GLOW party is moving to a bigger and, crucially, open air space upstairs at Rick’s (8 p.m. Oct. 27, 204 Duval St.). While we will miss the intimacy of the previous venue at Mary Ellen’s on the enchanting and somewhat grungy Appelrouth Lane, migrating to more spacious digs might do wonders for attendance and personal space. Previously, it was hard not to ruin the meticulous glowing body paint jobs of others as you squeezed past illuminated Van Goghs and circus performers on your way to the bar. The awesome tunes will continue. DJs Jevne and Top Jimmy promise a night of electronic house music. It’s a genre in demand but not particularly easy to seek out on the island. Consider it a treat. Understandably, organizers are keen to utilize their black lights so as the rules state: no glow, no entry. $20.

¦ Tom Flip’s Top Floor Takeover — In 2019, Tom Flip gifted the revelers of Fantasy Fest with snapshots of their costumed splendor for free in what amounted to the most fun visual mementos of the year’s events. Flip previously developed a reputation as a portrait aficionado and member of the local creative collective with his popular series Heads Up Key West. Its black and white headshots still resurface across social media today. Now, there’s a debut book, hanging art, and an entire loft’s worth of work on display at the artist’s first show in years. Come for the downtown cool crowd and hopefully subversive imagery. Stay for Flip’s tales of the island and at times delightfully biting commentary on a world he’s reluctantly helped create. It’s 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at Effusion Gallery, 701 Duval St. Free. ¦

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