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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gentrification, it's a national thing

So often the things that happen here in Coconut Grove are just part of American way of life. They happen all over - gentrification, the rise of big white boxy houses, lot splitting, etc.

I just read that there is an almost 20% vacancy on Bleecker Street in New York City, that's a major street in Greenwich Village. Hard to believe the vacancies are so high, but according to the New York Daily News article, it seems that landlords are pushing out local businesses, in hopes of attracting corporate businesses who can afford higher rents.

Encouraging is that the Tribeca community board vetoed renovation plans for a Canal Street building, that they felt would not fit in with the low-rise neighborhood. The board voted unanimously against the developer's design.

If only we could get our own city board to stand up for the community.

Speaking of standing up for the community, there is a meeting tonight, Wednesday, May 24, at the Sailing Club, where the 2030 Group will discuss major upcoming projects for Coconut Grove. I'm not quite sure how we got to this point where there are a dozen or more big projects in our small village, all ready to happen at the same time. We're being inundated with cement.


The 2030 meeting is at 6:30 pm. The Sailing Club is at 2990 South Bayshore Drive.

The above t-shirt is available with mugs at our Coconut Grove store here.


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Bahamian artists and genuine Junkanoo party

Saturday, May 27 is the Goombay Street Party, but first on Friday night, May 26, Join KROMA Gallery for cocktails, conch, and amazing art. There will be a DJ and giveaways every hour.

Featured artists are:


Kourtney Eugene Brown


Kourtney Eugene Brown
Kourtney is an acclaimed visual artist and achieved fame in South Florida from the permanent, public installation of his monumental work "Creos Aetas", a 20 ft x 20 ft permanent clock tower installation on the Historic Borinquen Medical Healthcare Center and "Rainforest" Mural at Parrot Jungle Island Park's Serpentarium, Miami Beach, Florida.

Kourtney was born in Miami, Florida and raised in New Providence, Bahamas, in the capital city of Nassau. He is the youngest of four sons to a Bahamian father a mother of African, Bahamian and Native American descent.

Nadia Desjardins

Since 2011 Nadia has lived and worked in Miami and has exhibited in different venues across South Florida. Her work spans many styles and traditions, from the figurative to the abstract.


Nadia Desjardins
Nadia's creative energy and curiosity have often led her to explore other mediums including digital art, a variety of painting mediums as well as glass and plaster. She is a resident artist at KROMA.

Weldon Ryan


Weldon Ryan
Weldon has exhibited at The Fashion Institute of Technology, The Bronx River Art Center, The Salmagundi, The Harlem State Office Building in New York City, One Police Plaza, Permanent Diorama at the Pelham Bay Environmental Nature Center which he did with Anne Arrowsmith, The Skylight Gallery in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn NY, The Flagler Art League, The Hollingsworth Gallery, Mary McLeodBethune PACVAG,  and The Fulton Street Art Fair. He has appeared on The Riki Lake Show for his art skills (before the reality TV. kick took hold). His art has been shown on The Geraldo Rivera Show, CNN, Nature of The Arts BCAT and has appeared in the April 1999 issue of Nickelodeon Magazine. He was instrumental as President of the Flagler County Art League in increasing membership, moving FCAL to its Cypress Point location joining the Hollingsworth Gallery in their Second Saturday Art Walk.

Charlie Smith


Charlie Smith
A son of the Bahamas, he was there when Lenny Kravitz 'Built His Garden For Us' & 'Let Love Rule'. He survived one month in the desert with Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols) and rattlesnakes (the snakes were less dangerous), and he was there when Joss Stone first found her 'Soul'. Also (but don't tell anyone), he knows 'Who Let The Dogs Out'! Multi award-winning Filmmaker (featured on The NBC Today Show), Photographer & Creative Director, Charles Allan Smith or 'Charlie', as he is better known, has spent most of his life in front of, and behind the camera.



Mark of a true artist, Matthew Wildgoose was born in the small town of Holmes Rock, Grand Bahama in the Bahamas. It was there that he discovered the direction of his life's journey, Art and Acting. After completing high school, Matthew developed his skill in painting and drawing by enrolling in the College of the Bahamas where he obtained a degree in Fine Arts in 2008.
Matthew Wildgoose
 Matthew paid homage to Bahamian Pop Icons to his first two solo art exhibitions. Both exhibitions, "Catch Ya Self" which exhibited May of 2013 and "Bahamian Pop" in August of 2014 highlighted Bahamian entertainers, both past and present. All subjects lived their lives by pursuing their passions and flaunting their gifts while promoting art and Bahamian culture.

KROMA is located at 3670 Grand Avenue.

On Saturday, May 27, out on the street from Douglas Road to Plaza Street, you'll enjoy the Goombay street party from noon to 6 pm, with music, arts, crafts, culture, authentic Bahamian food, Junkanoos, kids zone, face painting and so much more! It's all free and open to the public.


This is all to promote and launch the return of the large Goombay Festival which will return in 2018.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer's coming

The US Flags are going up early this year. They started going up around the village today, May 23. 

Usually they go up Flag Day, which is June 14, but this is great. It gives us more time to be patriotic and add a little color to the village. They will be up in time for Memorial Day weekend, which is this weekend.

The flags going up usually mean one thing - Summer's coming!


Photo by Louis Del Borrello

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Sushi Maki welcomed to the Grove with big party

Sushi Maki recently opened in Coconut Grove and they had a big community celebration to introduce themselves to the neighbors. It seemed as if it was the event of the season. Hundreds of Grovites came out to enjoy free samples, music and fun. Above is CEO and founder Abe Ng with his daughters, in front of a giant sushi roll created for the evening.


Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell were on hand to christen the new restaurant. 


They christened the place by cutting into the giant sushi roll with Bill Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Lots of goodies were handed out to the crowd.




Sushi Maki is located at 2550 South Bayshore Drive, next to Starbucks and Monty's.

“We designed Sushi Maki Coconut Grove so customers could come in, eat and get back to their day,” Abe said. “Want somewhere to eat healthy and sit for a while? Camp out with us. The dining is as customizable as the food itself.”

The menu will feature many of the Sushi Maki favorites – Chicken n’ Waffle rolls, an array of sashimi, ramen, bubble tea and poke bowls – along with a few additions that will only be available in Coconut Grove for now. New are the Volcano Fries, with MSC certified kanikama salad, spicy mayo, eel sauce and seaweed strips. Also exclusive to the Grove will be a beef bowl, Tempura Oreos and a Mochi Ice Cream. Local food artisans will also be featured included Islamorada Chanel Marker  IPA and Juisence. 

“We do what’s best for our customers,” said Abe. “But the one thing that remains consistent at every location is the fresh, quality food and fun and friendly environment. That’s never changing.” 


Photos by Emma Del Rey

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Outside the Grove

Had a busy weekend, but it was mostly outside the Grove.

On Saturday, the big thing was a big birthday party for my sister-in-law down in Palmetto Bay and on Sunday, I celebrated my own birthday on South Beach with friends. So it was a Grove-less weekend for me.

A lot of people were at Saturday's party - maybe 150 or so, she had it at her house. Some years ago, she had a 1960s-themed party at the Woman's Club here in Coconut Grove. Saturday's party was a lot of fun with so many family and friends there. It had a 1920s-theme.

It was weird being back at the house. I think I was only there once since my brother passed away almost three and half years ago. My sister-in-law had moved out of the house for three years after that, but now she's back.

I'll be up north for a large part of of June and July, so things might be sparce in the Grapevine while I'm gone, but maybe not, I've traveled a lot over the years and always seem to have stuff to post.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stuart Sorg memorial service is Saturday


Stuart Sorg passed away Wednesday night. A Navy Seal, protector of Biscayne Bay and the City of Miami waterfront, a civic activist, sailor, diver and Coconut Grove resident and business owner. "Many will miss his quirkiness," said a friend.


His family announced that a service will take place Saturday, May 20 (today) at 11 am at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church 2750 McFarlane Road.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Buy a t-shirt, support the Grapevine!






Here's the new Coconut Grove 33133 t-shirt for men and women, there is also a tank top and a hoodie with the 33133 logo on it.  You can see the options, colors, prices and order here. It supports the Grapevine and will keep us publishing. 


There are a bunch of Florida-related shirts available, too, here.



Other t-shirt and mug options are:
Pets
Comics
TV/Movies
Pot Pourri


Want to support the Grapevine? Buy a t-shirt, or two, or three.

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If I owned the Grove

I would add in Center Grove:

Pret A Manger
Au Bon Pain
Panera Bread
Chick-Fil-A

Chipotle

To start with.

I live in these places when I'm up north.


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Free 'Get Unstuck' workshop at The Bookstore

Tiffany Nicole
Certified Transformational Coach and Creative Insight Journey Teacher Tiffany Nicole will be presenting a 90-minute MasterClass called, "Get Unstuck," on Wednesday, May 24, at The Bookstore in the Grove. The event is from 7:30 to 9 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Get clear on what you want & how to get it. Are you looking around at your life and realizing that you are off course, not exactly where you wanted to be?  Are you ready to get unstuck and make a shift happen in one or more areas of your life?

In this Masterclass you will receive proven techniques and practical tools from the 8-week Stanford University Master’s degree course, "The Creative Insight Journey."

You’ll learn how to: 
Get clear about where you are and what you want so you can live a life filled with purpose; Silence the inner critic so that you can fearlessly go after your goals and dreams; Shift your perspective from feeling like a victim of your circumstances and step into becoming the creator of your own reality; Discover what is blocking you in reaching your highest potential in both your personal and professional life; Discover how you can become the master of your thoughts by creating an easy daily mindfulness practice and learn the tools to live more in the present moment so that you can experience more peace and clarity.

You’ll leave with new and profound insights as to how to get out of your own way, as well as powerful tools that you can start implementing immediately to take your life to a level of unlimited possibilities. 

Please RSVP here.

For more info on Tiffany Nicole & Creative Insight Journey please visit Tiffanynicole.co

The Bookstore is located at Mary & Florida.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Building the new Starbucks; changes at CocoWalk

This new rendering of the new CocoWalk was released today. This is the future.

While this is being constructed, there will be changes in the interim. Starbucks is moving across the street. They started renovating the 3400 Main Highway building for Starbucks today.



This empty space is 3400 Main Highway, the center of Coconut Grove. It will soon be Starbucks! This is the location where Coldwell Banker was and before that, for maybe 50 years, the Coconut Grove Bank.

We're not getting a third Starbucks (one being near Monty's on South Bayshore Drive and the other across from here at CocoWalk). The CocoWalk location will be moving across the street, hopefully by summer.



I spoke to the workers, who were preparing to open up large windows/sliding glass doors onto the street, and while they claim they can work fast and get the job done in no time, it's always the planning and zoning department that holds up most openings in the village.

CocoWalk is going through major renovations and a lot of shuffling will be going on in the next few months. The Cheesecake factory is leaving at the end of the month, they are having their staff farewell party this weekend. Lots of changes in our little village.



So look for a Starbucks sign on this building soon. 

 More of the new CocoWalk. Photos courtesy CocoWalk.


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Lost Spaces Look Club at Vizcaya

Ella Holgersohn Photograph Collection, circa 1920, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Archives.

The Look Club, an open, non-judgmental space to discuss contemporary art at Vizcaya led by Assistant Curator Elizabeth Shannon. The next event is taking place Saturday, May 20 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. 

Each Look Club session is approximately 45 minutes and takes an in-depth look at artworks featured in Lost Spaces and Stories of Vizcaya, Vizcaya’s centennial exhibition as part of the Contemporary Art Program (CAP). By looking and talking about these projects, attendees will build knowledge, familiarity and confidence with contemporary art, learning about how contemporary works can interpret historic sites like Vizcaya in a new way. At Look Club there is no such thing as a silly question!

The second Look Club on Saturday, will focus on works located at the Casino Mound, by Brookhart Jonquil and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, which engage with spaces that are no longer used for their original purpose, or accessible to visitors to Vizcaya. This is a free event for Vizcaya Members. 

To become a member, choose the New Membership option on the Eventbrite ticketing page.

North Arcade, circa 1934, Frank Bell Photograph Collection, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Archives.


Photograph by Alice Wood, Arva Moore Parks Vizcaya Photograph Collection, circa 1910-1920s, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Archives

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Goombay Village Party and art exhibit

The Miami Goombay Village Party is a celebration of culture expression embracing the legacy of a Bahamian-rooted community in Coconut Grove. Vendors prepare to share their authentic Bahamian and American arts, craft and cuisine.

This years celebration will launch festivities that transforms Grand Avenue into a journey across the ocean, creating a perfect harmony of Caribbean culture of the Bahamas and the African American energy of Miami-Dade County.

Join KROMA Gallery the day before, on Friday, May 26 for cocktails, conch, and amazing art. Did we mention there’s a DJ and sweet giveaways every hour? Yep. You won’t want to miss this. Guest Curator is Consul General of The Bahamas in Miami, Ricardo Treco  who will help celebrate Miami's Bahamian cultural presence since 1873.

KROMA is located at 3670 Grand Avenue.

And then on Saturday, May 27, out on the street from Douglas Road to Plaza Street, you'll enjoy the Goombay street party from noon to 6 pm, with music, arts, crafts, culture, authentic Bahamian food, Junkanoos, kids zone, face painting and so much more! It's all free and open to the public.

This is all to promote and launch the return of the large Goombay Festival which will return in 2018.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Discussing the plants of JRR Tolkein's Middle Earth

Join The Kampong on Thursday, May 18, for their Lecture Series, when Dr. Walter Judd shares Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. 

The Kampong will open at 6:00 pm with a wine and cheese reception and mini-tours of the garden. The lecture begins at 7 pm. Kampong Members are free. Suggested donation for non-members $10.

Dr. Judd, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Biology, University of Florida, is an expert on the systematics and evolution of flowering plants. Follow Dr. Judd as he traces out uses of plants and nomenclature of  Tolkien books.

The Kampong will also be offering mini-tours of the garden at one of the loveliest times of day, twilight, or visitors are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the breezes off the bay at The Point.

For more information call 305.442.7169 or email: kampong@ntbg.org

The Kampong is one of five tropical gardens and five preserves of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mission of the National Tropical Botanical Garden is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions.

The Kampong is located at 4013 South Douglas Road.

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Grovetoberfest is returning to Coconut Grove!

Six years ago, Grovetoberfest came onto the scene and quickly became a landmark South Florida event. 

BizBash Florida has consistently put the festival on their Top Events list, and The Wall Street Journal included it in their coverage of iconic things to do in Miami. Recently, Yelp! placed Grovetoberfest and its sister craft beer festival, Sprung!, on their list of Top Ten Festivals. It’s no wonder that last year, locals, businesses and craft beer fans were disappointed when the festival moved out of Coconut Grove, the namesake of the event into Miami Marine Stadium. 

After much discussion organizers and Commissioner Ken Russell have reached an agreement to bring the beer festival back to Coconut Grove, where it belonged. The owners of SWARM, the agency that puts this festival together, met with Commissioner Russell to address concerns from all sides, including the promoter’s perspective, the park needs and what was best for the residents and businesses of Coconut Grove. In the end, it was decided that Grovetoberfest needed to be back in the neighborhood of its namesake. 

“We never wanted to leave,” said Tony Albelo, CEO/SWARM. “As a former resident, I had always envisioned Coconut Grove as the ideal spot for a rather unique event that has been copied, but never replicated.” Much was written about the reasons behind the initial move, but those reasons, have now been ironed out. 

“How could Grovetoberfest be anywhere else?!” said Ken Russel, City of Miami Commissioner, District 2. “I have worked closely with the parks department to minimize the impact of festivals on our green spaces. I was committed to bringing this event back and am thankful that the organizer felt the same way.”

Grovetoberfest continues to be one of the top craft beer festivals in the country and the top festival in Florida. Last year, it attracted 6,500 beer enthusiasts and hundreds of breweries offering over 400 different brews. Many beer companies have used Grovetoberfest as a launching pad for new beers and even new brew houses. “A lot of brewers working here in Miami started off at Grovetoberfest; either as homebrewers or breweries in planning. The festival was the first time for them to meet the masses, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” explained Tony.

So the great news is that Grovetoberfest will return on Saturday, October 14 to Peacock Park in the heart of Coconut Grove. 

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Women's Happy Hour on Monday

The next Women's Happy Hour is Monday, May 29 at the Mayfair Hotel from  5:30 to 8 pm. 

The last Monday of every month is a time for women of all professional backgrounds to meet, network, share ideas, promote their businesses and learn from featured guest speakers.

Enjoy happy hour prices on drinks and complimentary hors d'oeuvres.

The Mayfair is at 3000 Florida Avenue.

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Renovate rather than replace the Grove Playhouse

 Here are a couple of renditions of the Coconut Grove Playhouse and what they could look like without demolition. These are by architect Richard Heisenbottle's office. He feels that the whole Playhouse can be saved and not just the front portion.

As you can see the proscenium and arches and whole layout would remain the same in Mr. Heisenbottle's plans.

I've spoken with residents about the Playhouse and the major concern seems to be the amount of seats. Many feel that less is more and that too many seats will hinder success. I believe there are a little over 1100 seats now. The favored plan by many brings it down to 300 seats and I might agree if the Playhouse wasn't there already with the 1100 plus seats.  But even with the seat count, I get the impression that most locals would like the Playhouse to remain as-is, and not replaced, but renovated.


Lowell J. Kuvin, attorney for  Barbara Lange and Katrina Morris, two Coconut Grove residents who are appealing the recent HEP Board decision, says, "I think what is most important is to preserve the Playhouse (the original) with as few material alternations as possible which would of course include removing many of the insensitive 'renovations' and correcting the neglect it has suffered over its lifetime."

Mr. Kuvin feels that the HEP Boards meeting on May 2, shows the HEP Board wants to do the correct thing – "amend the historical designation of the Playhouse to expressly include the interior as 'historical.'"

"It was a shame that the County attorney and Michael Spring both decided to speak and to advocate for Miami-Dade County even after they were both fully aware that the April 4, meeting of the HEP Board’s decision to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness was under appeal. While they were not under a 'duty' to inform the appellants, it certainly showed bad edicate to not pick-up the phone or to email them or their attorney (me)," says Mr. Kuvin.

He went on, "The County attorney made several 'legal' arguments which I believe are inaccurate, such as that the City of Miami is foreclosed from amending the historical designation because the County has spent vast amounts of money in  architectural drawing based upon the idea that they have already been granted permission to demolish the Playhouse, albeit, not the front faced and lobby. All the County has done in the way of architectural drawings is to add blocking and stacking to several layouts of the property."  


This is Heisenbottle's vision of the exterior.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Community Forum to discuss upcoming projects

There will be no Village Council meeting this month, but on Wednesday, May 24,  the Village Council along with Grove 2030, will be holding a community forum to discuss all the upcoming construction projects.

Coconut Grove is gearing up for more than a dozen large-scale construction and roadway projects in and around the village center.

The forum is at 6:30 pm at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  Please come for an update on these projects – what they are, who's behind them, what kind of impact and disruption to expect, and what you can do if problems arise.

The Sailing Club is at 2990 S. Bayshore Drive.

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St. Hugh celebrates their musical director

Roberto Berrocal

St. Hugh Church is celebrating their music director Roberto Berrocal's 10th anniversary at the Church.

On Friday, May 19, join them, starting at 7 pm for wine and dinner and a surprise performance.

Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased at StHughConcerts.org or by calling 305-318-5008, or just stop by the church office.

The dinner will be in the Parish Hall.

St. Hugh is located at 3460 Royal Road, across from Ransom Everglades school.

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Does Village West need a CRA?

When I heard about the City of Miami extending the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency from the Miami/Omni area into Village West, I questioned it. The first thing I said to myself was that this is a money grab and that the Village West will lose its identity. But I thought, "What do I know?" and I kept my mouth shut. But now I see that one of the community leaders of Village West, my friend JS Rashid, head of the Coconut Grove Collaborative, feels the same as I do.

Recently he wrote about Village West being tossed around from the Bahamian birth of Coconut Grove to being a part of the whole Coconut Grove when it suits certain people and then again, segregated when it doesn't suit them.

Recently I wrote that I didn't want to use the term "Village West" if possible so as not to divide the community, and to make it one. But what Mr. Rashid has to say is quite interesting. 

District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell feels that expanding the CRA to Village West, will help the area gain affordable housing and ward off developers who are circling around like vultures. 

Rashid says the city created a Neighborhood Development Zone (NDZ) for Village West in 1968 but the city never came through with this proposal.

About the current situation, he says:

"With a prospective Community Re-development Agency (CRA) being designated for this neighborhood; designs are being made to divide us up into three different sections and remove our self-proclaimed identity and lump us in with wealthier others, so that they can take part in the unpaid dividends owed primarily to those here that have long suffered the dis-investment, disenfranchisement and suppression. Must we lose our collective cultural-ethnic identity and prerogatives in exchange for a little prosperity? It is only a black community when it is poor but when the money comes we are all one. No! We will continue be a progressive upward mobile welcoming community with diversity but retaining our African American/Bahamian identity and veneer along with our new prosperity."

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Inaugural In-Cider Fest to be held at Spillover

Kush Hospitality and Spillover presenting the In-Cider Fest, the inaugural Cider Fest in all of Miami.

The event is Saturday, June 3 at Spillover patio at the Mayfair Promenade from 2 to 7 pm.

Enjoy:
-Pouring samples of free ciders and meads from no less then five Florida Cideries and Meaderies
-Winner of "best beer" at Hunahpu's Day 2017, Garagiste Meadery will be there
-Live Music
-Raffles and Games
-Specialty Kegs and much more
-Admission is free

The Spillover is located at 2911 Grand Avenue, suite 400D

For info: 305-763-2377

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Author John David Bethel discusses 'Blood Moon'

PI Ed Dubois with author John David Bethel

Last weekend  lot of folks came out to The Bookstore in the Grove to hear author John David Bethel talk about his new book, "Blood Moon." Along with John was private investigator Ed Dubois. They discussed the true crime of the kidnapping, torture, extortion, attempted murder and murder on which the novel is based.  

John signed books and also explained how the novel came to be and the differences between true events and the plot of the book.


John David Bethel signing books.

From the Amazon blurb: "On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors."

Head to The Bookstore in the Grove for the book, I saw copies of it there yesterday.

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