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Saturday, December 20, 2014


  Just in time for Christmas,
 Designer shark teeth necklaces from the Mango Republic  
Wearing one will make you feel like the luckiest kid to ever visit a Key West tourist shop.  

This week you can even get one free with a Mango Republic T-Shirt order.

     (Two designs available in both men's and women's styles, $18)

     Our Mango Republic  necklaces are quite affordable, especially for children who want to get their folks something cool for the holidays. 

Prices are as follows,

Regular- $3

       Glow-in-the-dark- $4

And the Ultra Designer Series (some of these glow-in-the-dark as well)           $5


 Note: No sharks were harmed in the making of these products

    All teeth hang from luxurious 100% cotton string. No animals were harmed in the making of the string either, as far as we know.

    Quantities are limited. I think I see kids lining up at the front gate already.  If you'd like to come by our store on Palmetto Avenue (the online store is closed for the holidays),  call or write at 305-448-3775 or

Best wishes for this special time from your Mango Republic
Glenn & Francesca

Saturday, December 13, 2014


This holiday season give the gift of mangos!

 The Mango Republic  will be selling beautiful, soft, 100% cotton t-shirts online for Christmas delivery until 12-18-14

After that, well have them available at our home store. It is located at 3533 Palmetto Avenue in the tropical paradise known as Coconut Grove.
For more information go to .
               Happy holidays,


Francesca and I have been boycotting the Home Depot in the Grove since it opened 7 years ago.

It is our little protest against the Big Boxes that hurt communities and local businesses.
Still, when something interesting occurs in Coconut Grove, I want you to know...

Tomorrow, you can meet the great warrior, 
Judah the Macabbi in Coconut Grove.

EVENT:  The Home Depot, Sunday,        12-14-14            11 am-1 pm
2999 SW 32nd Ave. 
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Go there and you can build your very own Menorah as well as Meet Judah the Macabi himself.  You can crush fresh olives to make oil for your Chanukah menorah. 
 It's a free family event.
Everyone is invited to this hands on workshop.  You can have a special Chanukah experience.  Meet the holiday's war hero, Judah the Macabbi (or someone who looks a lot like him).  
  Please don't ask to sit on his lap. 

Coconut Grove is different, there are no lap Santa's here.  We have the butt-kickin' Judah instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


      Last weekend, if you're anything like us,  you visited Art Basel and got "Baseled out" very quickly.

  The gigantic art fair has us enduring endless traffic and crowds every year to watch the 1% shop.
   Does it make sense? 
     This color-changing robot could have been yours for 30 grand.  

  We began by touring "Art Miami".  The huge art-filled tent in Wynwood is a small part of Art Basel.  Being "The Grove Guy", they send me opening night tickets every year.  This means Francesca and I can see some art while watching waiters zipped past holding trays of sushi high  -out of reach- as they mutter, "This is not my area".  We think they carry the same sushi all night -not giving it to anyone- to save money or perhaps it's some kind of performance piece.
Was it worth it?   With everything unaffordable it was a museum experience for us. Also, we got to shop at a dollar store made out of cardboard...including the bathroom.  

Nearby a lady emerged from a banana.

cigar ring mandala

   After we walked through a field of paper bags we walked out the door and headed home.  

   Our house is filled with art.  Maybe we'll give you a tour of our museum someday.

The Grove Guy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


        Millions of people have been amazed watching videos of Theo Jansen's "Strandbeests", huge  robotic sculptures striding across the beaches of Holland.      They were here this week, one of the many Art Basel attractions.
    On Sunday morning we watched Jansen guide two of his wind-powered plastic contraptions over the dunes and onto the sand. He spoke with a hundred admirers about his "new form of life" 
that will "still be walking" after he is gone.  To walk they need wind.

    We stood waiting for it.  The wind tried to reach us from the Northwest but was blocked by South Beach.
     Staring at the beests, I marveled at Jansen's unique system of sails and struts that capture energy and store it, via air pressure, in plastic soda bottles.  Amazing. 
    Theo dragged one of his babies into a tease of a breeze but it wasn't quite enough.  We had to settle for a demonstration powered by an electrical air compressor.  The sun doesn't always shine and the wind can forget to blow.
   You can see Theo and the beasts marching at .


     Wandering through the Art Basil-Miami experience can leave one jaded but every now and then you're surprised.  On Sunday you could see Theo and his "beests" then,

marvel at the sand prints under them.
   The City of Miami Beach apparently has a cadre of sand stamping machines that wander the shore every morning.  

Careful, don't step on a star.


    For those of you who wonder , "What ever happened to Generalissimo Franco?",
we found him in a Coke cooler at Art Miami.

-More on Art Basel later-


Sunday, December 7, 2014


     Over a hundred friends and family members gathered on Sunday to celebrate the life of
South Florida adventurer, Mark Reno.  He passed away three weeks ago at his home in Kendall, the one he'd grown up in.

      Just last month he had shown me his latest masterpiece, a three-hundred pound bench he'd
crafted from a fallen pine tree. Laying down on it I discovered it was a lot longer than me.  Mark probably had plans to sleep on it.
    Nearby was his handcrafted urinal guitar. He had shown it to me a few years ago while we chatted by his campfire.  He always had a campfire.  He found houses too confining.

Both the bench and the guitar were pure Mark, bold, sturdy, original creations.

   Sunday afternoon everyone had a chance to stand on family compound's back steps to share Mark stories.  His wife Ann remembered how he had courted her with a wildflower bouquet.  She recalled lovingly, "He told me how each variety reminded him of a special part of me".
   Cousin Woody had flown down from Bangor, Maine, to share how as a youngster, Mark had taken him out into the Everglades on a "mystery ride".  They ended up at an Indian village where he traded an old appliance for a hog.  Woody added,  "We we got home he killed it.  My cousin butchered it just a few feet from where I'm standing. I was aghast...and mesmerized".  
    A young mother remarked, "Six months ago, when he was dying,  Mark insisted on climbing up on my roof to cut down a troublesome tree". 
Mr. Reno was a big guy with a big heart (and a big chainsaw).
   Finally, Mark's kids -Doug and Hunter- touched us with their memories as did his granddaughter, Chloe, with song.

  The sun-filled afternoon was long and loving, a fitting to tribute to the cowboy carpenter who lived like no other.


Monday, December 1, 2014


      There's always a body count, city hall officials  counting audience heads  to see how much interest there is in an issue.
They'll be counting tomorrow when the City of Miami's Preservation Board  considers a request to demolish the grand old dame located 3529 St. Gaudens Road.  
Can we count on you being there?
   The developer who recently bought the place wants to replace this perfectly good 1920's historic home with a couple of MacMansions.

    Over 30 of us gathered last Friday to protest his sad but not surprising intentions. the Herald photographer pointed his camera at us someone asked, "Should we smile?"  I voted "no". 

                      Relaxing at the end of St. Gaudens Road 
   Why not come to City Hall to cast your vote tomorrow (Tuesday, December 2nd, 3 pm) ?  Be a part of the upset citizenry supporting the cause. Let leaders know that preserving our past is important.   

Saturday, November 29, 2014


        Nothing says "Miami" like a fragrant, luscious mango. 

    Unfortunately, we never have any to share  during the holiday gift-giving season (forget the cardboard-tasting imports).  Fresh mangos are still  months away so why not give mangos-to-wear?

     The Mango Republic has many ultra cool, 100% cotton t-shirts featuring the Mango King.                Dylan & Natalia

     You can see our selection by visiting our online site,  
    They can be purchased online, or, by coming by The Mango Republic Store (our house) on Palmetto Avenue.

   Last year someone bought 36 of them, one for every lucky mango-loving person on her list!

    Mangos make everyone happy.  When people see you wearing one they smile.

            What could be better than that? 
                                   Adam of Santa Cruz



Thursday, November 27, 2014


      For fifty years the West Grove has been Coconut Grove's forgotten Bahamian village.
That's over. It ended at Kroma last Thursday night.

     "Kroma" is the new art gallery located at 3670 Grand Avenue, just west of the Ace Theater.
   Its grand opening represents the tipping point for a new West Grove. Standing there with dozens of gleeful art fans, I witnessed the future of Coconut Grove.
                                  Opening Night

    No longer are we a wealthy seaside village conjoined with a small, somewhat forsaken African-American community. That's changing  quickly.  We are becoming "One Grove".  Money, new construction and new people are pouring into what some call the "Village West". 

       I saw it all while standing in front of Kroma's large art space last Thursday evening. Just east of me loomed Gibson Plaza, the first new significant structure in the West Grove since 1975. It is near completion. It will have affordable housing (forty apartments) and an education center.  
    They're finishing up the "Cuisine Cafe" across the street.  It is specifically designed to provide job training for young people.
     Near Douglas on Grand Avenue I saw new people passing on foot, bicycles, and skateboards, folks who dared not to visit the West Grove a year ago.  I've seen nothing like this in my forty years here.

      For more than a century there have been two Coconut Groves, one black and the other white.  They have been slowly seeping into each other since the 70's in some residential areas. Business in the white part has prospered while many West Grove businesses failed or stagnated. Potential customers  have not felt safe there.
    Crime has long been a problem west of 32nd Avenue.  Now, with a West Grove police station, that unfortunate situation is improving. I've long said, "When the people who spend money feel safe shopping in the West Grove, the place will take off".

      It's taking off now.  I felt the plane accelerating on the runway last Thursday night and it was exciting to be on it. People of all shades were crowded happily in the new art space.
  Francesca with Homestead artist, Alan Laird No longer do you have to go to the Perez or Wynwood to have an outstanding art experience.  We've got it in the Grove on Grand Avenue.


     Why not join us at the gallery's next big gathering?  We won't miss it.  It's this Friday, November 28th. 

Kroma is hosting it's "Black Friday" event from 7 to 9 pm. 

  The Miami Herald's Carl Juste and Marie Vickles have curated the current photography exhibition that examines the lure of the urban landscape.  It is amazing and runs through January.

  In the back half of the mega-gallery are 12 mini-galleries featuring the works of individual artists.


  In one we discovered  South Florida's own R&B diva, Betty Wright.  While she just finished recording an album with Jimmy Fallon's house band, The Roots, she is a visual artist as well. Francesca has taught three of Betty's grandchildren at her North Miami school.
    The gallery is open from noon to 7, Tuesday through Saturday.         Center Grove's Edith Georgi
    We hope you can join us there tomorrow night to begin this coming week's Art Basil experience.

    The rebirth of the West Grove has started.  Miami's oldest African American community now faces the challenges of gentrification.  How do you keep the area's people and Bahamian charm in the west village?
     Jihad Rashid, president of the West Grove's Collaborative Development Corporation told me, "We're doing what we can to preserve a good part of Village West for our people.  Our group is  limiting the ill effects of gentrification by creating attainable housing and jobs." 
 The CDC is the prime mover behind Kroma.
     The Grove guy with the CDC's Jihad Rashid and Uta. 
Below, paper mache vessels buy Grove artist, Uta.


Looking at the happy faces enjoying last Thursday's art show, I'd say they're doing a good job.  West Grove leaders are working hard to create a new Village West that we all can be proud of.
                        See you at Kroma!

Reporting from West Grand,
The Grove Guy

PS:  Kroma will begin its Art Basel week with a party.  The public is invited. Come to the gallery on Tuesday, December 2, 7-10 pm.
   The gallery will also be open
at its usual hours, Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 7.