The Bamboo Room, Lake Worth, Florida

My favorite place to hear live music is for sale. After running the club since 1998, the current management has decided to move on and no acts have been booked after the end of May.

I am talking about The Bamboo Room in Lake Worth, Florida.

You enter The Bamboo Room through the doors on street level. There, you give your ticket and proceed upstairs to the actual club. The room you enter is near original from when the building was constructed in the 1920s. Wooden floor, bamboo rods serving as paneling, exposed roof beams, wooden ceiling fans, and dim lighting. It’s all seating; you only stand if you arrive too late to get a seat. Tables and wicker chairs close to the stage, high tables at the back, bar stools by the bar. A waitress takes your order. The cocktail recipes date back to the Prohibition Era.

According to the stories, the club room that is The Bamboo Room has Speak Easy roots. And it’s easy to imagine such a history when you venture up that winding, badly lit flight of stairs. Whenever I enter The Bamboo Room, I almost expect to be asked for a password I don’t have.

At The Bamboo Room I have seen some amazing live acts.

I’ve seen Shemekia Copeland. Copeland’s voice is out of this world. She stepped down from the stage and walked around the room, singing without a microphone, and could be heard perfectly from every corner.

I’ve seen Janiva Magness. A late-comer to the blues, but what a power house she is!

I’ve seen JJ Grey. Performing without his back-up band Mofro, JJ Grey treated us to an intimate acoustic performance, fueled by cocktails on the house.

I’ve seen Eddie Shaw. Blues legend who played with Ike and Tina and who was one of the pallbearers at Howlin’ Wolf’s funeral.

I’ve seen Tim Reynolds of Dave Matthews Band fame.

I’ve seen Big Bill Morganfield, son of legendary blues man Muddy Waters, who is striking out on his own.

The Bamboo Room is an intimate club serving up some of the best drinks and some of the best music on offer. When you’re there, you feel the wings of history brush against your cheek.

One day, I will write a story that takes place at The Bamboo Room. It will feature ghosts of Lake Worth’s past.

Visit The Bamboo Room’s website here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

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Ayrton Senna (1960–1994)

On May 1, 1994, I watched on TV as the life of my hero, Brazilian Formula 1-driver Ayrton Senna, came to an end. After a weekend of repeated safety concerns around the Imola track for the season’s San Marino Grand Prix, it was with much trepidation that Senna sat down in the cockpit of his Williams-Renault to begin the race. He never made it to the finishing line.

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Ayrton Senna
Source: Instituto Ayrton Senna

I began following Senna when he was racing for the Lotus team. Acknowledged to be a great racing talent already from his start in the sport, Senna moved to McLaren-Honda where the rivalry between him and his team mate, French driver Alain Prost has become the stuff of legend.

In Sweden where I grew up, Formula 1 has never been a big sport, most likely because there have been few Swedish drivers. The most successful one was Ronnie Petersson, who died in a crash in 1978. Watching Senna race on Sunday afternoon therefore became a weekly hunt for TV broadcasts.

In 2010, the documentary Senna was released. For one reason or another, the only day I had time to sit down and watch it was on Christmas morning. For the first time in nearly two decades, I once again immersed myself in the adrenaline rush of a Formula 1 race, revisiting classic moments of Senna’s career while seeing what went on behind the scene during the years he was racing.

That morning I relived the moment when Senna’s car hit the concrete barrier of the Tomburello Corner. Watching the footage, I was brought back to that late Sunday afternoon when I sat in front of the TV watching the news and waiting for any update on what was happening to my hero. Just as the news anchor was about to sign off it was announced that Ayrton Senna had died from his injuries.

Together with legendary drivers such as Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna’s great talent and passion for the sport proved to be a turning point for Formula 1. Not only did he change how a race can be run, Senna also raised concerns regarding safety around the tracks. After his death, his work on race track safety was continued by others and to this day, Senna is the last driver to give his life to the sport.

Rest in peace, Ayrton. You are dearly missed.

Ayrton_Senna_8_-_Cropped
Ayrton Senna
Source: Instituto Ayrton Senna

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Note:
Good racing movies are hard to find, but in 2013 Ron Howard succeeded with Rush, a motion picture about the rivalry between Formula 1-drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. I also highly recommend the documentary Senna.
The images of Ayrton Senna have been downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.