The Daily News of Coconut Grove, FL

Monday, March 30, 2015

Miami Jazz Cooperative needs a piano

The Miami Jazz Cooperative (MJC) is a nonprofit organization which presents jazz every Monday night and they hold various jazz events throughout the year. They are looking for a piano for their performance stage.

The Monday night Rent Parties are very popular, musicians like Troy Anderson and Joe Donato, shown here, play. 

The Rent Party are every Monday at 8 pm at the Open Stage Club (2325 Galiano Street, Coral Gables). Admission is $10 perperson. MJC members and students with ID enter free.

MJC's mission is "to establish and operate a dedicated jazz facility in Miami-Dade County for the mutual benefit of jazz students, jazz musicians, and their audience. To this end, the MJC is committed to supporting the appreciation of jazz in the South Florida community through education and outreach."

If you do have a piano to donate, please contact the group at rick@miamijazz.org

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Lots of neighbors came out for the Mary Street Mixer

The Mary Street Mixer could not have been better on Sunday. It was the perfect mix of neighbors, music, food and the weather was perfect. The event took place at the large parking lot at the Coconut Grove Gallery & Interiors location. The Gallery along with Bike Coconut Grove threw the event and everyone came out. Above, one of the chefs from Happy Wine, from across the street, prepared a delicious paella. It was free as were all the goodies. The whole event was free and that's not something you hear in Coconut Grove very often.

The crew from GroveTown Properties, who have an office across the street, served up a delicious vodka punch along with strawberry short cake.
The Memphis Kelly Band performed almost the whole time and our friend Ronnie Brooks stepped in to sing a number or two.
Hank Sanchez-Resnik, left, of Bike Coconut Grove, was a great emcee. He called out the raffle numbers and told people about the event.
There was plenty of food all over the mixer from Dunkin' Donuts to chicken wings and other goodies. Another neighbor from across the street, Pauloluigi, provided delicious trays of Tortelini. I love how the neighbors all come together on that end of the Grove. Leslie's boutique had a tent set up and the Nityananda Center students performed.

We're hoping this is a yearly, or maybe twice-a-year event. It really couldn't be any better.
There was plenty of parking in the area, but most people walked or biked over, the Bike Valet was available for bikers to leave their bikes and I did see many of the Grove's long distance bikers there.

Lots of people walked over with their pets, there were plenty of dogs; all well behaved.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

We made the Daily Mail

Coconut Grove made the Daily Mail. Mentioned is The Barnacle, AC's Icees and Vizcaya, and our wandering peacocks.

It's in an article about Miami called, "From designer boutiques and world class restaurants to super-hip art galleries and nightclubs – Miami has it all. But which area is the most ‘you’? Take our quiz to find out." 

But it's more than just a quiz.

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Family Law Attorney in Miami, Florida

Jeffrey Alan Aenlle is a trial attorney that is based in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami, Florida whose passion and career focus is in the advancement of his client’s interests. He focuses the law firm's practice in matters of Family Law and Civil Litigation.

Mr. Aenlle is an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, as well as the US Federal District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. He is a very proud volunteer of the International Hague Convention Attorney Network and has also had the pleasure to serve as a member of many professional organizations, including the Florida Bar's Family Law Section, Dade County Bar Association, Broward County Bar Association, National Lawyer’s Guild and the American Bar Association. 

Additionally, Mr. Aenlle is a proud brother to three sisters, son, husband, father of two boys and a very grateful owner of an English Bulldog named Charlie. This being the case, he is keenly aware of the high stakes that may be involved in your family law case (such as child custody and divorce), as well as in civil litigation matters that can threaten your family’s livelihood. 

If you have a Family Law question and are in need of a free initial consultation, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey Alan Aenlle, PA at +1.786.309.8588.  Their website is located at https://BrickellLegal.com.  The law firm is located in Brickell, at 1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 900; Miami, Fl 33131.  
This is a paid advertorial.

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Hungry? Don't move; call Delivery Dudes

I saw this blue and red car the other day parked out on Florida Avenue, as I was taking pictures of it, I noticed that it's a owned by Delivery Dudes, a food delivery service for local restaurants. The Bookstore uses them now to have items delivered from their new expanded kitchen.

There are quite a number of restaurants in Coconut Grove as part of the program. You call or place your order online.

You can do more than just order lunch or dinner, you can send someone a bottle of wine or even use them to shop for groceries for you. Out of milk? Call them.

The fee is $5 for cash and if using a credit card the fee is $7. If they are making more than one stop, each additional stop is $5, so if one of you wants a meal from The Grove Spot and someone else wants a meal from George's in the Grove, the cost is $10 for cash and $12 for credit card payment - plus of course the cost of the meals. And a tip for the driver. So it can get hefty if you use it daily. I'm sure it can get addictive. 

So if you're craving Akashi or Barracuda's delicious fish sandwich or salad or Berries in the Grove's mussels - call 305-570-4411 or click DeliveryDudes.com, you can see the participants at the site.

They have other local neighborhoods in their data base, not just Coconut Grove, including Coral Gables, South Beach and Midtown Miami.

The average delivery time is about 45 minutes, same as ordering a pizza, I suppose. They delivery daily from 11 am to 11 pm except for Sunday, which is 11 am to 10 pm.

This isn't an ad, I just love the concept and have talked about having something like this for years.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

And now there are what, seven? eight?

Seth, courtesy of his Facebook page
A message from Seth Sklarey:

I have lived in Coconut Grove for more than 47 years and am a candidate for City Commission in District 2 because I would like to implement some positive changes in Miami. I enjoy Coconut Grove because it is unique and for years have been advocating for some architectural integrity which combines our historical origins of Key West and Bahamian style architecture with American innovation. I like porches, verandas, and shaded areas which reduce the need for constant air conditioning and which utilize the natural breezes. I would prefer that our architecture be recognized as Coconut Grove rather than Coral Gables or Miami Beach.

Shopping areas should be reflective of the community, not a tourist destination of big box stores. Fast food franchises should find other communities to pollute, and I would prefer restaurants that reflected our surrounding fresh seafood and semi-tropical agriculture, exotic fruits and caribbean cultures.

The answer to parking is not expensive high rise parking garages but discrete yet covenient parking facilities. Alternative transportation such as rickshaws (which the powers that be have outlawed in the Grove) are a green alternative to parking problems and getting around.
I strongly advocate for free city-wide Wi-Fi and feel developers should be barred from making campaign contributions, both ideas which have worked well on Miami Beach.

Little Havana is an example of extremely bad zoning which created hundreds of inappropriate buildings crowded together with apartment buildings and historical homes which should be preserved. We need to have the input of planners, architects, designers and citizens to come up with a workable plan to have that area revitalized to reflect its history, including the Tamiami Trail as well as Calle Ocho, the same street with very different concepts, which could become a blend of the past, the present and the future and draw on the best from each, retaining its proximity to downtown, its tourist draw yet retain its worth as a residential urban community without displacing its long time residents but giving them an economic base in which to prosper. Density will be inevitably increased, but it should be based on need and utility, not on greed and making a few developers and insiders richer. There needs to be an overall plan, but not a disaster like Miami 21.

Downtown and Brickell must be made more people friendly for pedestrians, joggers, bicycles and the traffic clogging nightmares and inadequate expensive parking must be resolved.
The Omni area and upper east side also have to be carefully planned or we will wind up with a concrete canyon along Biscayne Boulevard with barely any sunlight able to penetrate the bulwark of concrete.

There are some major projects that will determine the nature and character if the area. The Genting project will define the area and will either the beginning of greatness or the beginning of disaster and we all must be alert to the possibilities.
The upper east side is another unpolished jewel which has the potential for greatness with careful planning and preservation of the MiMo style and possibilities yet retention of scale and overall theme.

Midtown, Wynwood, Little Haiti, Overtown, Spring Garden, Shenandoah, Flagami and dozens of other neighborhoods I will address in future discussions, but I have spent a lot of time walking through them, engaging in historical renovation and preservation as a general contractor, and understanding the dynamics of each neighborhood throughout the City of Miami and not just District 2.

If you have ideas I would like to hear about them at SethforMiami@gmail.com

Seth Sklarey,
candidate for Miami City Commission District 2,
phone 305 525-6982. 

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The tree was too heavy for itself

South Miami Avenue was one lane late yesterday because an old oak tree fell down into the street. It just couldn't hold it's own weight anymore. It had grown around a piece of metal starting decades ago and I guess it finally couldn't take the pressure.

The county crews came out and cleared the way. It's open to traffic again.

Photos by Barry Fellman, Courtesy Center for Visual Communication

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Sunday Gables waterway canoe tour

Enjoy a day out on the Coral Gables Waterway on Sunday, March 29 as part of the Coral Gables Waterway Canoe Tour.

The waterway is a man-made system of canals that added 40 miles of waterfront to the City from Biscayne Bay through the residential section to the grand golf course at the Biltmore Hotel. This is a leisure canoeing experience led by Eco-Adventure and Coral Gables Museum staff that encompasses both nature and history in a delightful blend of unique natural vistas and historic landmarks. 

A surprising amount of wildlife can be seen in the water and on the shore. Registrants will meet at the Coral Gables Museum at 9 am to start with a guided tour of the exhibit Creating the Dream: George E. Merrick and His Vision for Coral Gables. After the exhibit, participants board a bus to the Waterway and into canoes for a two hour paddling adventure.

Tickets are $40 per person. Rain or shine. Advance registration required. Call 305-603-8067 or go to: coralgablesmuseum.org/upcoming.php

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Palm Society spring show and sale

The South Florida Palm Society is holding their annual Spring Show and Sale at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden on Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Hundreds of species of highly-decorative palms and cycads will be offered. In addition, each visitor will receive a free palm seedling while quantities last. And there will also be an information table where you can receive advice about growing and maintaining your new plants. While at the Garden, don't miss the chance to look at the Chihuly Glass exhibit and to tour the Wings of the Tropics Butterfly House. 

Admission to the Garden is free to Fairchild members, or $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up and $12 for children 6-17. Call 305-873-4105. 

Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road.

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Last Gables Farmers Market for the season

This Saturday, March 28, will be the final Coral Gables Farmers Market of the season. I hate when the markets close for the summer, but the Glasser Farms market is open in Coconut Grove all year long and I remember standing in line to pay with sweat dripping down my face, so maybe it's a good thing to close up shop for the summer.

The Gables Farmer's Market is from 8 am to 2 pm in front of City Hall at 405 Biltmore Way.

They offer farm-fresh produce, baked goods, juices, honey, herbs, jams and jellies, gourmet specialty foods, and a variety of plants for the home or garden. Market-goers also can enjoy live music, take a relaxing Tai Chi class or pick up useful tips at the free gardening workshops and cooking demonstration from Seasons 52, while children can partake in fun activities for all ages. 

The Glasser Market in Coconut Grove is at 3300 Grand Avenue at Margaret Street. It's open from 11 am to sunset.

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Will Coconut Grove ever get it right?

This was sent in by a reader. Feel free to send in your own Coconut Grove observations (good or bad) and we will run it as a "Postcard From a Friend." Any observation, long or short, if it's not good, please try not to use names of people or places. Email address is to the right, you can email your "postcard" there. We'll keep it unanimous.

I wish that we were wise enough to save what makes Coconut Grove unique, charming, desirable and attractive. But little by little we keep destroying our beloved Coconut Grove…

Demolish historic homes

Allow the Playhouse to be demolished through neglect

Cut down our old growth trees (Post Office)

Build sky high luxury condos (rezone and TDR)

Try to rezone Mercy Hospital for even more luxury condos (failed thanks to lawsuit by wealthy Vizcayans)

Build waterfront dog parks

Provide exclusive leases to private schools for the use of our public parks

Demolish a perfectly useful film studio for a park that we have no budget to build

Gate and charge fees for Art Fairs and Beer Festival on our public streets and public parks

No other village that celebrates its historical significance such a St. Augustin or Williamsburg would ever consider replacing their sidewalks with brand new pavers

Many of us moved to Coconut Grove in the 1960’s, 70’s  and 80’s because we loved it’s charm and the people that lived, worked and visited here. We thought the Grove was our own version of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Sausalito and Key West, all rolled up into one. This is why we came here and this is what we hoped it would remain. Needless to say, the Grove has been changed and not all for the better. There is nothing unique about more Starbucks, more McMansions, more shopping centers, more luxury condos, more dog parks, more traffic, more high rents, more empty shops and more chain restaurants that promote fast sandwiches (not good ones).

Miami Today has a story about the success of Wynwood. “We curate our tenancies so that we create a unique experience for our consumers” said Joe Furst, managing director for Wynwood of Goldman Properties. “Content is king, and what these tenants are going to do for the area is more important to us than who is going to pay us the most money.” Mr. Furst concluded by saying “We want to keep it hip, keep it relevant, and we want to be the conduit for that conversation.”

How refreshing it is to hear those inspiring words from a developer and property manager! How lucky was Wynwood to have had a visionary developer such as Tony Goldman! How fortunate is the Design District to have a visionary developer like that of Craig Robins! Doesn’t Coconut Grove deserve its very own visionary developers as well? Isn’t the Responcibility of our elected leaders to help protect and secure our community and the desires of its residence and business operators? Who will rise to the occasion?

Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Sausalito, Key West, Wynwood and South Beach all value their uniqueness, which attracts residence, businesses and visitors alike. Shouldn’t Coconut Grove be doing the same?

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

CocoWalk is holding Easter Egg'stravganza

CocoWalk’s Easter Egg’stravaganza is Saturday, March 28 from 2 to 7 pm. Come out and celebrate Easter with an Easter egg hunt, all bunny petting zoo and face painting, a bounce house, live entertainment and much more. Don’t miss a chance to adopt a furry friend from the Miami-Dade Animal Rescue Services. 

There will even be a special appearance by the Easter Bunny himself.

Children up to 10 years of age can begin lining up at 3:00 pm for the Easter Egg hunt. The hunt will begin promptly at 3:30 pm when the Easter Bunny gives the official starting signal. Over 2,000 eggs will be hidden throughout the CocoWalk property, both outside as well as inside the stores and restaurants. The child with the most eggs will win a $50 Cheesecake Factory gift card. 

Partnered with Relay For Life of East Kendall at 6:00 pm, CocoWalk will host a Luminaria Ceremony. Luminaria bags can be purchased prior to the ceremony at the Relay for Life tent where they may be personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend and/or loved one who has been affected by cancer.

For more information regarding CocoWalk’s Easter Egg’stravaganza, please call 305 444 0777 ext. 211.

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Coconut Grove and Brooklyn are similar today

As Coconut Grove goes, so goes Brooklyn.

I came across this column by Vanessa Mártir in the Huffington Post, "Gentrified Brooklyn is not my Brooklyn," and it speaks to the changes in Coconut Grove. So many of us feel the the essence of Coconut Grove is slowly slipping away.

This sort of reminds me of the time a writer wanted me to discuss the similarities between Brooklyn and Coconut Grove and I didn't think they related to each other, I suggested Brooklyn (meaning Williamsburg, Brooklyn from his article) and Wynwood were similar and I told him that I felt that Coconut Grove and Greenwich Village were similar, but now I can see the similarities between Brooklyn and Coconut Grove. Both are changing a lot.

If there was no money involved in building chrome and glass condos and reshaping the shopping district, would any of these changes be on the agenda?

Anyway, check Vanessa's column out, it relates to to what's going on here.

And this is interesting - a very large part of the arts district in Orange County, CA was bought out by a developer, the story in the LA Weekly says the district never had a chance to shine. It's sort of like the Grove or Wynwood being bought out by one big company.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kids concert at MCM Academy

January's concert.
Children will enjoy and get exposed to a diverse range of piano stylings when the award-winning duo Kirk Whipple and Marilyn Morales take the stage at the Miami Conservatory of Music Recital Hall in Coconut Grove at 3:30 pm on Saturday, April 11.  That and they’ll enjoy snacks, an optional baking class and an instrument petting zoo as part of a “concert in three acts of music, food and education” specifically created for young people by Anne Chiheportiche of Musimelange.

 “We want children to enjoy a classical concert and the best way to do that was to create a program that they will want to participate in,” according to Brigitte Kishlar, who is the founder of the Miami Conservatory of Music.  “We’ve added food and an instrument zoo to provide additional entertainment geared for younger attention spans.”

In the first act children will enjoy snacks and participation in an optional baking class, socialize with other kids and then take their seats for the second act piano concert. After the concert a third act that includes enjoying the treats made in the baking class and an instrument petting zoo complete the festivities.  The cost is just $10 for children 4-10 and $15 for 11 and older. The optional baking class is $5 in addition. Admission includes all the food, Piano concert and instrument zoo experience if purchased in advance at musimelange.com.  At the door on the day of performance prices will be $5 higher.

 “This is a perfect way for parents to get their children interested in classical music which can provide a lifetime of enjoyment and pleasure,” Kishlar notes. “And it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon with the whole family!”

The Miami Conservatory of Music Recital Hall is located at 2911 Grand Avenue at Mayfair in the Grove.  The Recital Hall is near the Mayfair Fountain on the promenade between Grand and Florida avenues.

January's concert.

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A response to the Sarnoff article in the New Times

I'm not sure how this concerns the Grapevine, but since it came in our email, was marked, "Press response," and Mike is a Grovite and it concerns the District 2 Commission Race. Here it is.

From Mike Simpson, Candidate for District 2 Miami City Commission:

Mrs. Sarnoff (just as her husband before her) is the epitome of what's wrong in Miami today. When a Cervera realtor (sales/management of almost 100 luxury hi-rise buildings in Miami-Dade) gets $20,000 from the Melo Group (developers/designers/contractors of 13 District 2 luxury hi-rises) and $12,000 from the Terra Group (financing/design/construction/sales of luxury hi-rises, most notably the Bar Napkin towers going up in Coconut Grove) in less than 30 days, it's pretty apparent which of her husband's values she admires and agrees with.  Or, perhaps her stances on crime, education and quality of life will mirror her husband's and we can look forward to many lively Commission meetings making homelessness more illegal for the safety of us all while remaining silent as the County tries to close all our libraries?

If Mrs. Sarnoff was going to be a voice for change in our community, where was that input during the eight years she was married to a Commissioner?  Surely she had ample opportunity to affect change then?  Or, perhaps she did, and the Commissioner has been bringing her views of the future of our city to the Commission all along.  Either way, to reasoning people, four more years with a Sarnoff in that chair does not bode well.  The City Commission should be the referees between the various factions inside and outside our community and not participants; they should be balancing our resources, providing direction, and even occasionally preventing small missteps in the community before they become huge, costly ones.

I'm tired of watching our city fall into disrepair and gridlock as special interests divvy up the millions of dollars of our city's revenue into a few pockets, mostly from corporations and companies that aren't even Miami-based.  I'm tired of Commission meetings where the votes are, for all intents and purposes, pre-determined and where the public commentary is merely for show.  I'm tired of projects being approved that are little more than ideas on paper, only to watch as lawsuits and problems that should have been reasonably anticipated grind them to a halt.   I'm tired of a City Commission that seems to forget that our City is part of a larger community, county and state that we should be active in, rather than just worrying about our four walls, as it were.  I'm tired of single-issue commissioners and candidates who only care about the goings-on of their own backyard and forget the rest of the District.

More than all that, like most of the residents of Miami, rich and poor alike, I'm tired of driving an hour to get to my job seven miles away, then spending 45 minutes looking for parking, all because our civic leaders are so busy looking at the cranes flying high above our city that they aren't looking at the problems of the folks on the ground.

I don't care if I raise my funds $5 at a time, what resources I am entrusted with I will use to make sure that the voices of ALL Miamians are heard in our Commission and that their resources are used to benefit the most of us, not just an elite few.

"She thought none of the current candidates posed a substantial threat"?  Madam, I wasn't counting on your endorsement or your vote in the first place.....

Mike Simpson
Candidate, Miami City Commission, District 2

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Wynwood Life is back; bigger and better

Last year's Wynwood Life.
Wynwood Life is back this April in in the heart of Wynwood. Art, music, fashion and food are all featured at the three-day event.

This year’s new location will feature more artists, fashion shows, art displays, musical bands,interactive features and a new collaborative cooking showcase that will highlight popular Wynwood restaurants and chefs.

A wide selection of featured artists will be organized by world renowned painter Alexander Mijares, who will also design the festival’s 2015 collective poster. For the first time ever, Mijares will have a pop-up gallery showcasing his unique style of art, which finds inspiration in the colorful energy of both this city and heritage. You may remember Alex from the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, where he was the poster artist in 2014.

“It’s unusual to have an artist of his caliber showcasing at a festival. Wynwood Life is a great place to see him in action, and while you’re there, be sure to pick up an original work of art,” said Javi Zayas, co-founder of SWARM, the organizer behind the festival.

The Peroni Style Lounge will once again feature fashionistas at their pop-up boutique, and during the event, it will showcase multiple fashion shows with local boutiques, fashion bloggers and stylists.

Wynwood Life will have the biggest food truck rally ever with over 50 favorites and a number of food vendors ready to please all taste buds. In addition, The Blue Moon Brew Pub will be back with a fully stocked selection of cold brews and mixed drinks. New this year
is the Wynwood Culinary Showcase, which will feature top restaurants and chefs from the area showcasing their cuisine.

This year’s musical line-up is bigger and better, featuring many local favorites including Problem Kidz, Spam Allstar, Suenalo, The Tremends, Danger Flow and Elastic Bond to name a few. For a complete schedule of performances, click on Live Music at www.WynwoodLife.com.

The Wynwood Life festival is
Friday, April 24: 5:00 pm – midnight
Saturday, April 25: noon – midnight
Sunday, April 26: noon – 9:00 pm

The new location is at NW 2nd Avenue and 23rd Street in the heart of Wynwood.
Tickets start at $15. Pre-purchase tickets online at www.WynwoodLife.com, or
by calling 305-461-2700.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To Make a Better World, I will . . .

Three more panels are being added to the "I Will" Wall at Chabad of the Grove. They filled out the first portion in 24 hours.

Rabbi Eli Muchnik, on the left and Ben Temer, show off the wall outside the Chabad's property on Main Highway.

"I will not be quick to judge," "I will be loving," "I will be optimistic," and "I will adopt a dog," are just a few of the postings.

Stop by to check them out at 3713 Main Highway. 

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Martin Nusspaumer featured at concert series

The St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series presents tenor Martin Nusspaumer, shown here, on Friday, April 10 at 8 pm, at St. Hugh Catholic Church. Martin will be accompanied  by Roberto Berrocal, piano, and Emmanuel Trifilio, bandoneon.  

Martin, whose “effortless high notes and full, mature color make him a heartbreaking lead”, will sing Robert Schumann’s masterpiece of poetry and music, “Dichterliebe”, plus songs of Paolo Tosti. He will finish with well-known tangos of Carlos Gardel and Piazzolla, with bandoneón virtuoso Emmanuel Trifilio. Martin has been singing leading roles for the Florida Grand Opera for the past two seasons, starring in Madama Butterfly, Thais, and Nabucco.   

St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series presents concerts in the intimate space of 400 seats at St. Hugh Catholic Church at 3460 Royal Road. The series presents operatic stars in intimate recitals with concert pianist Roberto Berrocal on the piano. A portion of the proceeds support St. Hugh’s Grove Outreach charity, which has provided food and household goods to low-income families in Coconut Grove for the past 25 years. 

Martin Nusspaumer grew up in Uruguay and began his musical training in Montevideo, and later moved to the United States to pursue his operatic career. He is married to lyric soprano Maria Antunez. They live in Miami and have just had their first child. Major publications including Newsweek, the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Arts Paper, ArtBurstMiami and Sinfonica Magazine have written about his “creamy, cultivated lyric tenor which has ring and strength at the top, easily riding over the full orchestra and chorus.” 

Information and tickets at  sthughconcerts.org or call 305-318-5008.
Preferred Seating is $45 and General Seating is $30. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

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The District 2 race

I see by Facebook posts today that there was a reception for Teresa Sarnoff last night. I didn't write about it ahead of time because I didn't know about it. I am not picking and choosing which news to write, but if I don't know about it, I cannot write about it. I would like to write about all the candidates and they are welcome to send me news, events, whatever; whenever they like. I just don't want people to think I am picking and choosing which events to post here. I'm not. I am treating everyone fairly.

I am not taking sides in this election even though I know quite a few of the candidates personally. I have also been asked to donate to campaigns, but I am not doing that either, because I feel that it's either donate to all seven or eight candidates or be seen as supporting one over the other by people surmising who I donated to if I only donate to one, two or three; so I won't donate to anyone. I don't want to donate to anyone that I am against, and I don't want to be forced to donate to everyone.

I had been in favor of one person, but now I have changed my mind because I am no longer a fan of that person, so I would have regretted donating to that person if I had. At this point, I really don't know who I am in favor of but I do wish I had known about last night's networker  because I might have wished to attend and I want to report the upcoming events for the public. And I am sure many other people might like to attend the events to meet the candidates, but if they don't know about them, how can they attend - and donate money and support?

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Mary Street Mixer is final Sunday of the month

The Mary Street Mixer is on! The neighbors are organizing a block party which will be Sunday, March 29 from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. The party takes place in the parking lot of Coconut Grove Gallery & Interiors at Bird and Mary.

Come out and meet your neighbors. Activities include a giant byo potluck, games and dancing, music by Memphis Kelly Band from the neighborhood. Humane Society pet adoptions, sno cones and more.

There's a bike decorating parade at 1 pm. The City of Miami fire department will have a fire truck on display.

The raffle takes place at 3 pm. 

This event is free and open to everyone. No food will be fore sale, neighborhood restaurants will donate some food. Bring your own drinks, there will be tables and chairs. Pets are welcome Rain or shine, it's on. 

11:30-12:30: Event begins—bring your food and drink to the food area and mingle.
Craft area set up for kids to decorate bikes/scooters. We need decorating donations! Anything you
have lying around that can be used for decorations would be great (bows, ribbons, etc.).

1:00-2:00: Parade of decorated kids’ bikes & scooters.

1:30-2:30: Explore the fire truck!

2:00: Dance performance by Nityananda Center students.

3:00: Raffle of prizes and goodies.

2:30-3:30: Winding down, begin cleanup.

Throughout the event: Pet adoptions, games, music, mingling, getting to know your neighbors, enjoying the information and offerings of local businesses.

• Commit to attending and be part of building our neighborhood community.
• Plan to bring food or beverages to share.
• Share your ideas about how to make the event fun for all (see reverse side for contact info).
• Get on our email list by sending us an email and we’ll reply!
• “Like” our Facebook page: Go to Facebook and search for “Mary St. Neighbo

If you would like to help out, please call 786-505-9593 or email marystreet84@gmail.com

Bike Coconut Grove and the Coconut Grove Gallery and Interiors are the sponsors.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Fixing the Commodore Plaza problem

Remember those extended sidewalk islands that were built on Commodore Plaza and then removed? They are back, but so much better. I really like what they did now. Rather than have that gutter separating the extra sidewalk from the main sidewalk, it is one big wide sidewalk now. It's nice. It looks like restaurant tables could be be out there and of course, they leveled it, so it's very safe. There is a slope in the center which allows things with wheels to get up and down from the street, like baby strollers, wheelchairs, and things like that.

The appearance is like a plaza, which of course makes Commodore Plaza an actual plaza, at least in that area of the street. It's very clean, wide and sleek.

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What's the limit when it comes to rentals?

Maybe rents aren't so high in the Grove. I went out to Lincoln Road on Sunday to visit our friends at the Antique Market.  I noticed that the Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma went out of business. My friend told me that they couldn't afford the rent - $100,000 to $115,000 per month! Who could afford that? Nike, that's who, apparently they are taking the spaces to sell sneakers.

I was in a store in New York not too long ago. It just sold sneakers, wall to wall sneakers, starting at about $350 a pair and the place was mobbed on a weekday with shoppers. Maclamore, from Maclamore and Ryan Lewis walked in, but there were so many people he had to leave. People started chasing him down Broadway, about a block away, he and his friend hopped into a cab in front of Grace Church and they sped off.

The Guess store is still up for grabs here in Coconut Grove for about $30,000 per month, I don't know what the former Goose location is going for, but that's probably up there in rent, too.

So sneakers stores seem to be the place that draw people. There's always a line at Soles in the Grove, when new items come out. People are lined up before the store even opens.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Free Alhambra Orchestra Concert on Sunday

I just saw a couple of orchestra members at the Breakfast Club at the Bookstore this morning. They reminded me that The Alhambra Orchestra is continuing its 25th anniversary season, today, Sunday, March 22, with a concert of early works by two prominent composers, Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss. 

Local French hornist Dr. Jon Mayhew Anderson, a member of the Florida Grand Opera orchestra, performs Strauss' popular horn concerto, written when the composer was only eighteen. It will be followed by Mendelssohn's rousing Scottish Symphony, inspired by the composer's tour of the British Isles when he was 20.

Bring your family to enjoy these lively youthful works at 7:30 pm. Free admission and free parking at Ransom-Everglades School, 3575 Main Highway. 

Call 305-668-9260 for info.

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Farm to Table Movement lecture at Science Museum

Learn about your food at a presentation by Positive Alternative Therapies in Healthcare regarding the Farm to Table Movement on Monday, March 23 at the Science Museum.

Do you really know where your dinner came from?

- Is it better to buy local or organic?
- Is family farming still viable?
Unlike mass produced fruits and vegetables you find in most supermarkets, those sourced from "mom and pop" farms are harvested at the peak of ripeness, never altered for prolonged storage via hot water treatment, irradiation, or gassing. Eating local also reduces the carbon footprint that most produce creates en route to it's final destination. By taking a seasonal approach to eating we can ensure that all of our produce retains all of the nutritional value and flavor that is often lost through processing and storage.

Seasons Farm Fresh believes in the concept of farm to table and brings together produce from 65 local partner farms. They work exclusively with small, family run farms to ensure that every piece of produce they handle was grown sustainably and harvested fresh.

Ever since childhood Nicholas Bernal, shown here, has had a passion for nature. What started as an after school hobby in selling lychees roadside across Miami has blossomed into a viable business sharing the bounty of South Florida with all socio-economic classes. Using his extensive training in the biological sciences, Nicholas takes pride in working with the best farmers to constantly improve crop quality while enhancing the surrounding ecosystem.

This talk will discuss the farm to table movement in South Florida, and how to provide the best food for you and your family.

Members free, public $5 donation, the presentation starts at 7:30 pm.

The Patricia and Philip Frost Science Museum is at 3280 S. Miami Avenue.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Come out, meet District 2 candidate Lorry Woods

Meet and greet Lorry Woods, candidate for City Commissioner for District 2.

Lorry and friends will be at Juana M. Brickell Restaurant on Monday, March 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Lorry is the owner of Elwoods Gastro Pub in downtown Miami. She started the business five years ago. Lorry also serves on the Downtown Miami Partnership -- a private sector group that facilitates growth for the businesses and residents in the Downtown/Brickell area. 

Juana M. is located at 923 Brickell Avenue.

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Recreating history

This year, the Coconut Grove Grapevine will be turning 10 (on May 8), so occasionally we'll be posting fun stories from the past. This one is from July 9, 2010, when Lucie and Desi, Jr. came to recreate a famous I Love Lucy photo.
Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. stopped by Coconut Grove again today, (here they are with Mayor Tomas Regalado and City Commissioner Frank Carollo) to recreate a famous photograph. This is how it all happened . . .

In January, my friend Harry (Emilio Gottlieb) and I were having lunch at Focaccia and he told me about a story he read in the NY Times about the Desi Arnaz Orchestra doing some shows in New York City, he said he would love to get them down here where they would have a huge audience. They have always had a history with Miami, even this old photo shows them at City Hall in Coconut Grove in 1954, with then mayor, Randy Christmas, giving the whole I Love Lucy cast the key to the city.

Harry made a couple of calls and managed to track down someone with the New York show, they told him that they would have someone call Harry back to discuss his idea.

Within 20 minutes, Lucie Arnaz called Harry directly, from Connecticut, and therein started their friendship. Harry persuaded Lucie and Desi Jr. to come to Miami for what turned out to be their current performances at the Arsht Center, and he told me about the old photo. His idea was to get Lucie and Desi, Jr. to recreate it when in town. I held the photo and the idea until May, when I published it here, once I knew they were at least coming to town to perform, no one knew whether they would recreate the photo. But here it is above, recreated this afternoon, with the original above that.

Today at 3 pm, Lucie and Desi, Jr. were great sports and they agreed to stand in the brutal summer sun to recreate the famous picture, bringing the whole Lucy/Lucie and Desi/Desi, Jr. image full circle. First there was a press conference inside the City Hall Chambers where they spoke of their history with Miami. Lucie and her husband, Larry Luckinbill's daughter graduated from UM and their grandfather lived in Coral Gables all the years after he arrived from Cuba. They posed for lots of photos with city officials in City Hall and did a bunch of tv interviews and then everyone headed outside to recreate the photo.

Lucie has a great history with Coconut Grove, she actually lived right down the block from me for a bit and she has the dubious honor of performing in the last show at the Coconut Grove Playhouse before it shut down (Sonia Flew, in April 2006). It was having money problems and she put her own money into the show so that the show could go on. Her name was on the marquis for quite some time after the playhouse closed and people would read it daily for months as they drove by. Lucie talked about the playhouse and how sad it is that it closed, hoping that it will reopen soon.

I was thrilled to meet Lucie and Desi, Jr. this Fourth of July at Peacock Park. To meet part of Hollywood royalty was quite an honor and thrill. I have been a Lucille Ball fan probably since the first day my mother sat me in front of the tv as a baby. Today, again, they were very sweet and patient with the crowd on hand and they remembered us and others from the other day.

So here's today's recreation, Mayor Tomas Regalado is there, with the key to the city and Lucie is holding the gift basket and Desi, Jr. has the Diario De Las Americas, just like his father in the original. On the left is Cuban singer Lita Del Real and the older man in center is Horatio Aguirre, founder of El Diario. Commissioners Frank Carollo, to Desi's right, and Willie Gort, second from left, complete the recreation. Desi jokingly asked, "Who's playing Fred?"

Lucie and Desi were great sports and made a lot of people happy today. She told me that she liked the pair of maracas that were in the gift basket and may use them in their concert.

Lucie and Desi, Jr. opened last night, July 8 at the Arsht Center with their "Babalu" concert and will perform through the weekend. Tickets may be purchased here.

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