Captain B (and his first mate)
Captain Brian Branigan is originally from Queens, New York. He’s come a long way from there to here. His life has been one adventure after the other, and the expedition continues. Born in the late 50’s and a product of the 70’s Brian possessed the embodiment of wanderlust; Jones Beach lifeguard, music venue bartender, and before long, major motion picture technician. Brian was a NY / LA grip turned camera crane specialist, which last for nearly 19 years. Brian also wrote and directed a short film at Universal Studios, Hollywood of which clips played on the 1994 Academy Awards opening segment. While based in NY and in between films, (1986 – 1989) Brian would work as an instructor for the Maine based organization, Outward Bound, sea program. Winter courses were based out of Big Pine Key, FL.
This was not his first introduction to the Keys, but it was his longest at the time, 3 seasons. His last film, Meet the Parents, actually coincided with his meeting his life partner, Allison. Together they ran a very unique (for the time) multimedia lounge bar in Soho, NY. It was called vOID, and it specialized in art visuals combined with DJ controlled lounge music, stimulating customers senses, but allowing them to have a conversation too. This four year experience (eight for Allison) came to a close in 2002 when Allison sold the business. They decided to buy a home together in the Hudson Valley of Upstate NY, renovate it, sell it, then another. They opened an art gallery in Hudson, NY www.oliviaonwarren.com in 2008, only to meet the great recession head on.
Brian was a photographer too, www.brianbranigan.com, and Allison, a jewelry designer, www.ruthbeattie.com, and graphic designer. They started Hudson Design, www.hudsondesign.us. But, they also happened upon a perfect recession proof opportunity that they thought fun – a food truck. It was to be the first modern day food truck of Hudson, NY. That lasted five years, and went on the record as “one of the most difficult ways to make a living – ever.” But, it did buy them their home in the Keys, and Brian used the experience to write his first book, Food Truck 411 www.foodtruck411book.com. Allison designed the book. The food truck business was a challenge, no doubt, but it did bring Brian (and Allison) back to the Keys, as they thought it a way to continue making a living in the otherwise off-season.
In 2013, Brian and Allison sold the food truck and their Hudson location, but not the business, www.tortillaville.com. That is still available for purchase. So, what to do? Ironically, a few months after their book came out, Outward Bound asked if Brian was interested in helping to write a 50th anniversary coffee table book, and Allison design it. They did as much until the budget crumbled. They continue with Hudson Design and website clients, which led to a sister business, Island Design, www.islanddesign.us. But, Brian had logged a lot of sea time too, so he decided to finally get his captain’s license. That led to freelance work as mate and captain on various boats, which then led to his own concept, Keys Boat Tours, www.keysboattours.com.
And, that is as they say, where they are at the moment; living in the Keys with two black labs, as well as two motor boats, a sail boat, a vintage truck, paddle boards, kayaks and a business or two. Brian offers rides, tours and rentals, and specializes in teaching motor boat operation, sailing, and Fishing 101, the only hands-on lessons offered in the Keys, and perhaps the country. Brian’s most recent book, The Road To Key West is a where locals go guide like no other. It comes out once a year. He is working on a third book, Expedition of a Lifetime; a conversation about life while on a sailing expedition from Big Pine Key to Key West. And, a boating safety book too. Allison still designs jewelry, and otherwise keeps busy with Island Design and Keys Boat Tours. Her plan is to get a captain’s license and start taking people out. Thanks for being part of the journey.