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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Long live the King Mango Strut

Too many negative comments are coming in regarding the King Mango Strut. I'm not quite sure why. If you don't like it, don't go. It's that simple.

The Mangoheads work tirelessly to get the parade done each year through all the city red tape; they accept donations, but for the most part, they raise the money to put the event on the old fashioned way, raffles, parties, car washes, begging the BID for funds, etc. Actually they don't do car washes, they should.

The great thing about the Strut is that it is done for the locals. Almost everyone you know is there, either in the parade or on the sidelines watching. The whole village shows up, people you have not seen all year are right there the last Sunday of the year each year. It's a great way to end the year.

People have been complaining about the strut not being political enough. Maybe they are right, I really don't look for that, I just enjoy the whole atmosphere, it's about the event, not the subject matter for me. To be honest, I have not been to any of the meetings this year so I don't know if certain subjects were taboo, but I really doubt it. I think people chose what they thought would be fun. Each group picks their own subject to parody.

One group was going to do Toxic Parks, but they didn't have enough members, so they dropped out. I didn't understand that since there have been "groups" of one person in the past. I think one lady played the Pope in her own "group" on Sunday and in the past even the Marching Freds had only one Fred. So two or three people mocking the toxic parks would have worked.

Some are questioning funding; if people donated money, were they off limits
 when it came to parody; like developers and politicians and such? 

But again, this isn't the New York Times of parades -- all the news that's fit to parody. It's a small hometown tradition. It's a fun event to end the year.


I find the Strut to be a party for the locals. The fact that others show up and enjoy it is great, but to be honest, it would still go on whether people came from outside or not.  This is one event in the Grove, and probably the only event, where the attendance is not counted. It's about fun. It's about Coconut Grove. And while it brings people here to spend money, that is not the goal and never was the goal. It all started because a small group was denied entry in the big Orange Bowl Parade 32 years ago, so they started their own thing. From that's it's become a year-end tradition. It still lives, the Orange Bowl Parade is long gone.

If it seems to be stale or not what people like, perhaps the complainers should join the committee next year or at least sit in on meetings to see what goes on and where funding comes from. But in the end, it's a parade. Why dissect it?

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19 Comments:

Anonymous swlip said...

As one of those "negative" commenters who gave up on the Strut, years ago, allow me to respond:

"The great thing about the Strut is that it is done for the locals. Almost everyone you know is there, either in the parade or on the sidelines watching."

And therein lies the problem. You see, there are at least two, maybe three, Coconut Groves. When you write that "[a]lmost everyone you know is there," you mean the Grove of the aging, liberal baby boomers who seem to have plenty of time on their hands and who always congregate within their own little echo chamber. They are the ones who run the Strut and set the agenda for just about everything else in the Grove.

There is another Grove, comprised of professionals and business people who are too busy with their careers and families to possibly match the first group's involvement in civic activities. That's just a reality of living in the Grove but working in other parts of the city. But when we do try to give our input, we get shouted down because the only unpardonable sin in the Grove is to express disagreement with the collective opinion of the first group.

People complain that the Strut "isn't political enough"? Really? Just about everything you see in the photos depicts a political statement, and not a very clever one at that. Let's take Duck Dynasty, for example. My 9-year old and I watch Duck Dynasty because it's one of the few shows I can watch with him (and he loves it) that doesn't cause me to blush. It's great fun, and the Robertsons are delightful people. Yet here you post photos of a group of people hurling an insult at the whole Robertson family. Is that supposed to be funny? Is that supposed to be a whacky parody?

And what's the deal with the lady carrying the sign about Texas being run by "Stupid White Men"? What is she talking about? Are we, the audience, supposed to understand that she's just talking about while men in Texas and not Florida? Is that supposed to make me feel better about myself because I don't live in Texas? What's the point? Were there any white men from Texas present to offer an opposing viewpoint?

That woman was not presenting a "parody" or a "satire". Her sign was more of a guttural expression of rage and disapproval (of what, exactly, she disapproves was far from clear), but with a fake smile stuck on her face. In other words, she was presenting the approved wisdom of what I call the "Grove Tribe" so that all the other members of the Tribe could laugh in unison.

The Strut is nothing but a big circle jerk.

December 31, 2013 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Tom,

This year's parade sucked! Be honest about it.

You claim that the parade is by and for the locals, but not a single issue that angered or involved the locals this year was even referenced in passing.

Not only were there no references to the Toxic Parks, but there were also no references to the Coconut Grove Marina fight, nor the tearing down of the Convention Center.

You might get away with claiming that the absence of one of those issues was just lack of interest about that particular issue, but not all 3.

Having had first hand experience with Antoinette Baldwin 3 years ago when she all but threatened to have me arrested if I showed up as the Code Enforcement Director of the City of It's Miami, Bitches!, because I was going to do a parody about making Sarnoff move his illegal law firm out of his house, I have no problem in claiming that I believe that people were discouraged, if not outright told nothing embarrassing to the City of Miami would be allowed in the parade.

With all the craziness that happened in Miami-Dade County this year, from Sweetwater to Doral to Miami Lakes, to Miami Beach to the City of Miami itself, NOT ONE SINGLE reference or participant in the parade touched on any of those issues.

Instead you had David Collins' wife carrying a sign about Stupid White Men in Texas.

Miami was full of Stupid White Men this year, as well as a bunch of Crooked White Men as well, and NOT ONE was referenced.

Then the whole idea of going for laughs with a parody of a Crack Smoking, Whore Mongering Canadian politician as the make-believe Grand Marshall of the parade, with what I can only assume was Sue McConnell playing the part of a Crack Whore as she rode in the car with him, shows you just how far from Mimi the organizers were willing to go to evade dealing with local issues worthy of being parodied.

I'll repeat what I first wrote on Sunday that the Mango Strut is no longer anything other than another attempt to hustle folks to come to Coconut Grove to spend some money, and that the parade and everything that is allowed to take place is severely scripted.

Al Crespo

December 31, 2013 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people running the Strut are no longer light hearted Grovites. Just ask Glenn Terry. When he was there, we could come up with an idea the night before, get ready, and strut! No longer. If it doesn't fit in with Antionette's "vision", you may not strut. If you say anything against Sarnoff, you may not strut. If you don't attend 10 meeting in bars beforehand, you may not strut. This is no longer the parade founded many years ago. It is a giant ego-stoke to Baldwin. And what do you think would happen if Baldwin let someone make fun of Sarnoff? Some else would be running it the following year. It's censored. Sarnoff and Baldwin have taken away the freedom that we Grovites had for so many years to express ourselves as WE see fit.
You might say that everyone was there, but its really not true. I tried the first year that she pushed Glenn out, and we ran into other people from years past. We were all wondering where Glenn was and were the jokes were. We haven't been back since.
Glenn is a founder of the parade. When he tries to do his parade elsewhere, Baldwin tries to stop him. He was even fined for doing a little parade at a car show in South Miami. I say, bring Glenn back!
If the people running the parade really cared about the Grove and not the BID, they would make peace with Glenn and bring him back!

December 31, 2013 12:02 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

If anyone cares for an example of how to do a spoof parade right, check out the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade, which was founded in 1978 as an alternative to the Tournament of Roses Parade. From the Doo Dah website:

"WHAT YOU’LL SEE: Colorful favorites slated to make their appearance are the Mile-High Bed, a parody of not-so-traditional airline behavior, Disco Drill Team (original American Bandstanders), USA Beard Champions, Flying Baby Cannon, Candy Girls, Dr. Steele’s Army of Toy Soldiers, beer-boosting rockers Drunk in the Garage, Kinetic Pastry Science Mobile Muffins, The Billionaires, Vegetables of Laguna Beach, Backyard Skeptics, Human Pool Balls, Petroleum Bonaparte, OC Norml’s Mardi Grass, Songbird Robot Brigade, and the legendary Snotty Scottie & the Hankies leading the pack.

Last year, dozens of inventive, if zany, art cars and floats accompanied a legion of frolickers past the mom-n-pop shops along East Pasadena’s shady tree-lined streets, old and new entries this year also include Easy Acres Chicken Sitters, combined bands of the 35th Dragoon Guards, Boo-Boo Kitty, KidSwap, Auto Focus-Famous Director, A Moveable Feast, Pool Balls, Howdy Krishna, Girls Drawing Girls Pin-Ups, Charlie and Pearl the Unicorns, Horses on Astroturf, Klingon Assault Group, and much, much more! Yes, another Doo Dah is here to help you forget your humdrum existence!"

December 31, 2013 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Was going to make a comment, but after reading the first one from swlip, I stop! My English is not the best and what she/he wrote reflects exactly what I think. Could not agree more!

December 31, 2013 11:12 PM  
Blogger Esteffie said...

My friends and I had a great time at the parade. Thanks to all who were involved. The bands were great!

January 01, 2014 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These comments are what is wrong with the Grove! A bunch of whining complainers. Maybe you complainers should make fun next year of Antoinette and he Mango Strut Mafia, since that what you think. Parody is a form of flattery I am sure she won't mind! As for Al Crespo just show up and jump in the parade, what do you think they are going to do arrest you in front of everyone? If they do arrest you then you will have made your point and you will have everyone behind you !

January 01, 2014 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is sad that people are so negative.I love the Strut. People find time to do what they want to do. No "business person" is so busy they can't organize their schedule to attend a few meetings if they truly want to improve the Strut. Get a sense of humor, people. The Strut is all in fun. Antoinette is no longer in control of the parade. She is just a participant. Get your facts straight!

January 01, 2014 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Crisp said...

All of these comments are so absurd, because they are all so misinformed and misconceived. It's obvious that none of you have any idea of how the Strut is put together. First of all, Antoinette is not involved, she is not on the Board, but merely participates as a Strutter. Meetings are held to come up with ideas, NONE OF WHICH ARE CENSORED. We had dozens of ideas on our website, including the ones you all think were censored, but NO ONE volunteered to do them. There are 2 no-no's: no nudity and no drunkenness while strutting. Otherwise, subject matter is "no holds barred." We got what we got, because what you saw is who came forward. Yes, it would have been great if more Miami subjects were covered, plus many other subjects that were missing. But, those who did strut were creative, and did a great job getting their point across, and made a lot of people giggle.

After putting months of 7-day weeks, and an inordinate number of hours, into producing the Strut, the above comments confirm to me that the stupid line gets longer and longer. Grove businesses do benefit tremendously from the Strut, and what's wrong with that? We all decry the demise of the Grove, with too many empty store fronts. If we bring people here, how can that be criticized? It baffles my mind.

If you want to stay stupid go ahead. Or, next year, get involved, or at least check out our website, kingmangostrut.org, and learn THE TRUTH!

Deborah Crisp, Director
King Mango Productions, Inc.

January 01, 2014 4:58 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

And there you have it. Instead of gracefully accepting criticism and gracefully pointing out how people might contribute, we get called "stupid." Real classy.

January 01, 2014 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No holds barred."

Is this new? If not, why was Al Crespo's idea rejected a few years ago? Especially interesting was the reaction he claimed to have received.

January 01, 2014 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Deborah Crisp well said. Thanks for a great strut this year , we had a blast! Swilp you need to stop commenting you do always write stupid comments.

January 02, 2014 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what about Glenn Terry. Are you guys able to overcome your egos and make peace with him? And who is the one that keeps going after him by trying to get him fined or stopped each time he tries to put on the parade that he founded?
Glad to know we can show up next year without attending countless meetings and make tons of fun at Sarnoff. We can do a whole thing with a Sarnoff look-alike with a crown or Hitler mustache. We can have other look alikes for McConnell, Collins and Nelson playing their various roles with Sarnoff. (Image Collins running around removing New Times from boxes or McConnell, well, you know.) We can have an SS house inspectors unit that go after whomever disagrees with the dictator. And, more importantly, we now have Deborah Crisp's permission to do so. Thanks! Good luck with that permit next year! After that, I promise to never claim that the parade is censored again! See you guys next year! Save us a spot in your line-up!

January 02, 2014 5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we bring people here how can that be criticized?"

Um... It's not you or the current events that bring people here. It is the reputation of the Grove and the reputation of the events that bring people.

For the past few years all of the events have been less than satisfactory and when the residents, locals and visitors make negative comments the response always seems to be that either everyone is just complaining and no one appreciates how hard and expensive these events are to put together, or my favorite, if you don't like it, don't come/leave the Grove.

The Grove has been living off of its reputation from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's for the last decade. The empty storefronts are a kind of testament to those who brought their businesses to the Grove hoping to cash in on the Grove's reputation but failed because they had no real substance or use to the community. Most of those businesses were founded on the idea that the location would be what made them money, not the shop itself.
I think the events are suffering from the same disease. A kind of sense of entitlement where, because it's a well known event (Art Festival, Pumkin Patch, Octoberfest, King Mango, etc) it will be a success.

As much as I hate to agree with swilp, on this subject I must agree. If the event that you were an integral part of organizing is getting a good deal of negative response than perhaps you might consider using those complaints as good indicator of what to avoid next year and what to accent next year instead of calling the messengers "stupid" and complaining how hard a job it is putting the event together.

January 02, 2014 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Dear Deborah Crisp,

On Sunday night, I will post my first stories of 2014. One of those will be about this year's Strut. I will also, having managed to retrieve it, post my story from January 3, 2011, that details with great specificity what happened when Antoinette Baldwin called me before the Strut that year along with the photos that I posted from previous Struts that refuted her claims about "Family Friendly."

And while I don't normally involve others in my fights, when all this happened, Antoinette not only called me, but she also called John El-Masry to complain to him as well.

While I haven't participated since then, I did attend every meeting leading up to the 2011 Strut and it was evident to me how certain topics were "stage managed," during the planning sessions, and I recall with real clarity how at one meeting at Green Streets every single other person was called upon to offer up their suggestions and/or plans except me.

And lastly, I believe that you protest way too much about putting in "months of 7 day weeks and countless hours into producing the Strut."

Get over you self importance. If, after putting on the same dinky parade for all these years it still takes you months to do it, then you all are the ones who are really stupid!

One last thing. How about posting on this site how much money you got from ALL the people who were introduced as donors at the beginning of the parade?

It would be interesting to see how much Commissioner Sarnoff and David Martin contributed to this year's parade

Al Crespo

January 02, 2014 8:30 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Anon at 12:55 AM:

My comments might be stupid, but I know how to use proper grammar and punctuation.

January 02, 2014 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im the most open minded peron youll ever meet and i thought the parade was stupid and a waist of time.im not saying to get rid of parades.i just think this one is stupid.i think a mardi gras type or fantasy fest type would be better and bring people from all over the world

January 02, 2014 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, the KMS parade now sucks up to City Hall, promising not to offend anyone who works there or to criticize any of the things that the City of Miami does. That is sadly apparent.
Mr. Crespo says in yesterday's blog, "The 2013 KMS parade sucked". This is only partially true. It did sell out but managed to entertain thousands of people in the process just the same.
The parade needs to free itself of City Hall, to return to its former glory of its free-wheeling self. Yes, it will have to figure out how to fund itself w/o taking money from the City of Miami and from local developers. Isn't that what most public events do?
The Strut can return to its former glory. It's up to people who care about the unique Grove event to make it happen.

January 06, 2014 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Hey Debra,

Last week I responded to your post above, and in my response I asked: "How about posting on this site how much money you got from ALL the people who were introduced as donors at the beginning of the parade?"

How about it? If you're the community organization that you claim you are, then how about letting the community know how much money you raised, and from whom?

Looking forward to seeing that list,

al crespo

January 08, 2014 9:49 AM  

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