Shawn DeSear (aka Lisa Renee) was born and raised in Naples, Florida. He tried to live in other parts of the state, but always ended up coming back. “There’s no reason to leave,” he says. “We have sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and Naples is a place that offers so much to do and enjoy.”
DeSear has worked in hospitality for about 15 years. He started as a night auditor and worked his way up to assistant general manager with Marriott. He also worked for Cambria Suites in Fort Lauderdale, and both the Parisian and Geneva hotels in South Beach.
“I have always loved working in hospitality because you get to meet people from all walks of life, and there is always something new to learn,” he says. “My current hotel is owned by a large management company who is in the process of converting our hotel to a Hilton Tapestry. We have obviously had a challenging couple of years, but business is booming here and I am fortunate to do what I love.”
During the last 15 Years, DeSear, has also built a career as an entertainer. “I started performing when I lived in Pensacola, by entering contests during talent night at a club called Emerald City. Now I am a show director.”
He is also the person that entertainers reach out to when they are looking to visit the area and get booked at different venues. “This is a very unique area of Florida, and all of us show directors work together,” he tells us. Currently, as Lisa Renee, he is “South Florida Entertainer of the Year” and will be competing on a national level in July in Louisville, Kentucky.
As the Naples Pride Entertainment Director, he puts together a pageant each year for Miss Naples Pride, and also books and schedules all the entertainment for their annual event downtown.
“We have only had three annual Naples Pride events so far, and have gone from having about 3,000 to 10,000 people in attendance. We are growing and excited about it. Being born and raised here I never thought I would see little ole Naples celebrating Pride. I am so proud to live here and to be a part of it.”
Where are the coolest places for cocktails?
When I am able to break free from my busy schedule, I enjoy a nice cigar and some live music at BURN by Rocky Patel, or happy hour on the patio at Burntwood Tavern (www.burntwoodtavern.com/naples), both of these spots are located in the Mercato. When I can make it downtown Sidebar Naples (www.instagram.com/sidebarnaples) is definitely my favorite, with a neighborly feel and a great drink menu. Even after grabbing a cocktail at any of these bars, you will find plenty to do within walking distance.
What are the best restaurants for a romantic dinner in the city?
The Turtle Club (www.turtleclubnaples.com), which is located in the Vanderbilt Resort, is a very romantic and special spot in Naples. Here you can dine by the beach while watching one of Naples breathtaking sunsets. Bayside Seafood Bar and Grill (www.baysideseafoodgrillandbar.com) is located in Venetian Village on the Bay. They have two floors to the restaurant with a rooftop bar overlooking the water. Be prepared to savor some amazing seafood. Bayside has been open for decades and will not disappoint. Bleu Provence (www.bleuprovencenaples.com) is a unique French restaurant located near Naples Dock downtown. This restaurant has an outstanding menu and a very impressive, award-winning wine selection. It’s also a beautiful place to take a nice walk after dinner and see all the boats.
Who serves the greatest weekend brunch in town?
The Bayhouse Restaurant (www.bayhousenaples.com) offers a truly wonderful brunch. It is located right off the bay and has an open atmosphere that will definitely give you the special ambiance you are looking for. Another great choice is Southern Style Kitchen and Cocktails (www.southernstylenaples.com). You don’t have to be from the South to enjoy their chicken and waffles, or shrimp and grits, and lets not forget the bottomless mimosas!
What are the hottest shows in town and how do I get tickets?
Of course I am a little biased when it comes this question. Bambusa Bar and Grill’s (www.bambusaonline.com) drag show every Saturday night is a must-see. The show starts at 9:30 P.M. with an amazing cast and entertainers from all over the country. We also have Bitchy Bingo every Thursday and Sunday with Lisa Renee hosting. This is definitely not your old school grandma’s bingo. Naples is also home to Off the Hook Comedy Club (www.offthehookcomedy.com), with an amazing Seafood restaurant and wonderful entertainment. They have a unique show that includes comedians and drag queens called Stand Up or Drag Down that is a must see.