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Saturday, August 24, 2019

We'll have a winter full of arts festivals this year

The Youth Artist Competition at The Orchard Lake Michigan Fine Art Show in July.

As you know, each year in February we have the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen's Art Show and this year, they will be book-ended with the Hot Works Miami Fine Art Show which will be held at Regatta Park on December 14 and 15 and then again, March 21 and 22.

These art shows/festivals are outdoors, they are free to attend and they are known for their high quality, juried fine art and fine crafts where all work is original and personally handmade by the artist in the show. 

As these are boutique-style shows, only up to 150 artists participate - all professionals who depend on the sale of their art for a living. Hot Works established Boca Raton Fine Art Shows – since 2008 – have been voted as one of the top 100 art shows in the country – out of several thousand other art shows – a testament to their efforts and success. 

"We attract cultured individuals understanding of art and are affluent art buyers. These are the perfect community events to be part of as they are all potential customers," says Patty Narozny, Executive Producer of the shows.


A winner at Orchard Lake, MI
The associated 501c3 non-profit arm, Institute for the Arts & Education, focuses on visual arts, cultural diversity, community enrichment and fostering art education among youth. There is $1,500 in Professional Artist Awards - criteria for judging of awards is based on technique/execution, originality and booth appearance.

As of now, there is a call to artists, if you feel you meet their needs, please feel free to submit your work at the Zapplication site here it has all the requirements and fees listed.

"As part of our commitment to bring art education into the community, Institute for the Arts & Education integrates a Youth Art Competition, a program which encourages students in grades 6-12 or K-8 to create his/her original art which is publicly displayed at the event the entire weekend," says Patty. The Budding Artist Competition exposes students to the entrepreneurship of doing something they love for a living – creating their art - as they begin to learn the rules of being part of a professional art fair. On Sunday at 3 pm, there is a presentation with $250 in Youth Art Awards announced. The art show provides these students with an unmatched learning experience and brings families to the art show.  The applications for the youth shows are here.


Some familiar character at the Orchard Lake, MI show.

Hot Works Miami Fine Art Shows plan to be a pleasant and profitable experience for all of the stakeholders, at the same time bringing a wonderful event to Coconut Grove. Hot Works and Institute for the Arts and Education are proud of the success and nationwide recognition they have achieved in their educational endeavors. "We are all equal stakeholders in this endeavor. With our proven method of teamwork, recruiting the best artists in the field, and last but not least, our unique brand of marketing, we at Hot Works hope to not just continue maintaining our current level of success, but to make it even better yet in the years to come," said Patty.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

No regard for the neighborhood, or neighbors

It's amazing that people hear what they want to hear. And how they don't hear themselves.

One resident suggested that the big box houses that defy code should be torn down and made to be rebuilt to code. I love this idea. I don't think he means the houses that people have moved into already, I'm assuming he means the ones in progress that have zero lot lines and are being built without any regard for the laws. This will possibly make developers think twice before they break the law again. 

Just drive up and down the streets and you'll see so many of them in the process of being built. It's almost a race, because there are not many people working on the properties, the goal is to build them as fast as possible before someone at City Hall does something to stop them. One developer from Chicago once told me to "SHUT YOUR MOUTH!" when I asked a question. He found a bunch of fools at City Hall that are allowing him to line his pockets.

A resident who has a big white boxy house has a guilty conscious and he is constantly adding his two cents even if it is totally bigoted and makes no sense. His response to the tear down suggestion is: "Yes let’s demolish the new houses and bring back drugs, rape, shootings, garbage, code violations, overgrown lots."

I don't remember all of these rapes, shootings and garbage that he is referring to. People live there. They and their families have been part of that neighborhood for over 100 years. He's crude, has no class and I could show you emails that he's sent me starting off with, "Hey, are you stupid or what?"

He thinks nothing of destroying an historic neighborhood, because as he told me once, "They wouldn't allow me to do this in Coral Gables."

He talks too much; tries to defend the over-development and broken zoning laws too much. It's the Streisand effect. As far as I know, he broke no laws, built his own house and has nothing to do with the non-stop over-development in the area. But for some reason m
ethinks thou dost protest too much.

COMMENTS ARE HERE

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And then there were three

Jim Fried at City Hall, courtesy Twitter
Jim Fried, a real estate and mortgage broker is the third person running for District 2 Commission seat which is up for grabs in November he registered last Friday. Jim is also host of Fried On Business, a weekly radio show on 880 the Biz.


He specializes in capitalizing commercial real estate transactions, unearthing urban land opportunities and is also a private lender. For many years he's been a real estate broker and investor. 

Jim of course is running against current commissioner Ken Russell and Grovite and realtor, Javier Gonzalez.

He has lived in the Edgewater area of Miami for 28 years. Most of that time he has been a realtor in Coconut Grove and recently downtown Miami. 

I asked Jim about the zoning mess that's been in the news lately, regarding the Grove. "While it’s too late to undo the damage caused by years of poor decision-making at City Hall, I got into this race because there is absolutely no customer service at Dinner Key either. The most important attribute of Coconut Grove as a neighborhood is its character, look and feel. If elected, I will take immediate steps to work with all of the residents to rescue each part of the Grove’s neighborhoods' character from being lost forever," he said.


He went on, "I’m passionate, completely committed to winning this race, and my one desire is to leave my hometown better than I found it. My job as Commissioner will be to deliver common sense representation and facilitate that with an open-door policy. Residents, businesses, commuters and tourists make up the constituents of Miami’s District 2; and all of them are crying out for better customer service from their city, its agencies and districts. I promise to bring customer service back to City Hall."

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Miami does not enforce the zoning code

Why is this ok?

There's an excellent story in today's Herald regarding the big white boxy houses all over Coconut Grove. 

Our friend Melissa Meyer has been all over the issue of illegal lack of proper setbacks and lack of space on property lines. Illegal because it is against zoning codes.

For instance, "houses at 3374 and 3384 Day Avenue, one under construction, one occupied, have a total of 4 feet, 10 inches between them." We wrote about this issue in June.

The Herald article, "Invasion of the white boxes in the Grove," explains that houses will have to be torn down and people who approved this from they city will have to be fired. 

From the Herald: “Unfortunately, developers have a history of circumventing our code in order to maximize square footage and minimize setbacks,” Commissioner Ken Russell said. “However, if the developer and builder acted with the blessing of the city, we share in the blame.” 


Why is this allowed?

And yet, no one does anything to stop the destruction as this has been happening for years and we have been fighting this issue for years. You know what would be good? Ken should stop giving this lip service and perhaps have the City Commission call in these developers to appear before them, you know, like Congress does. Have these nameless, faceless people appear in public and have them explain why they are breaking the laws. I mean, we know it's all about greed. But let's shine the light on these creeps. And let's shine the light on the zoning people who sign off on this corruption.

Let's have public hearings. Bring out the greedy developers, zoning people, city workers - everyone who has their hands in the pot. Illegally at that.


The Grove is ruined in so many areas. While it's true that many of the house, especially in Village West are quite small, there is no reason to overbuild. I was told years ago by developers that people don't want small shotgun houses, they want large kitchens and bathrooms.

But the city is not protecting property rights. This doesn't happen in Pinecrest or Coral Gables. Developers do not have a conscience. It's all about greed.

I have a friend who says, "Developers are only doing what the law allows." When is enough, enough? 


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Changes and rumors at CocoWalk

So many rumors after we posted the new businesses who signed on to be part of the "new" CocoWalk.

One person says the movie theater is gone and not coming back. I heard from the staff at CocoWalk that the movie theater is coming back after the renovations. The problem now is that people weren't going because they thought it was closed and to be honest, it was sort of an obstacle course to get there.

But who knows, I keep hearing "retail is dead" and recently I read that movie theaters are dying off because "Despite record-breaking box office profits and double-digit growth in recent years," millennials are not going to the movies.

"A 2015 New York Post report claimed the share of movie tickets purchased by people between the ages of 18 and 24 fell by a third in just over three years." A big reason is that millennials refuse to pay the high cost of movies just to sit next to people with bad manners and people texting. Plus there is Netflix.

The article I read also said millennials are killing beer, credit cards, gyms, department stores, cars and so much more.

Here's the full list of "30 Things Millennials are Killing Off."

So maybe in the end, a lot of things won't come back, just because it's a sign of the times.

Another thing that is being killed off seem to be the comments here at the Grapevine.


People are not leaving comments here but they have a lot to say over at Facebook, so we probably just won't have comments here anymore since on Facebook people aren't anonymous and they clearly have a lot to say. You can see it all here at our Facebook page

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

CocoWalk announces three more new tenants

Sushi Garage
CocoWalk announced three new retail and restaurant tenants today. Little by little they're adding to the roster. They just completed a large window renovation at the former Cheesecake Factory space, adding large windows that will completely open to Main Highway. I went up with a hardhat, but the place is still gutted, so you can't see much in the way of design.

As for the new tenants - owners of Miami Beach’s  Sushi Garage will bring the Japanese restaurant to the Grove; Palma de Leon, a new brand, will showcase fashions from international designers; and Botanico Gin & Cookhouse will introduce Grovites to all things gin if you were not privy to them already.

Sushi Garage, owned and operated by The Juvia Group, is led by Chef Partner Sunny Oh, Kaoru Chang, and Pastry Chef Gregory Gourreau, they have a restaurant currently located at Sunset Harbour in Miami Beach. The restaurant's goal is to honor Japanese traditional cuisine.

Botanico Gin & Cookhouse will feature modern American cuisine with a bar focused on gin cocktails infused with botanicals, which is the thing in the bar industry these days, lots of vodkas also are adding botanicals to their selections. If you are not into gin, a wine cellar will also be a part of the new restaurant. Mexican Executive Chef and Co-Owner Gerardo B. De Negri says that Botanico will feature an extensive menu with appetizers such as goat cheese dip and octopus carpaccio; brunch includes new dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes to avocado and asparagus toast, and dishes that include a French burger on a croissant bun, filet mignon, grilled branzino, and much more. Botanico, occupying 2,951 square feet, is the eighth restaurant & bar for Chef De Negri, who joins a group of chef-owned restaurants set to open in the new CocoWalk.

“Botanico Gin and Cookhouse is thrilled to join CocoWalk,” says Ricardo Ordonez, co-owner of Botanico Gin and Cookhouse. “Our partners all live and work in or around the Grove and we wanted an experience that would work for a family dinner or a special night out.  Our approachable, yet international menu has something for everyone.” 

Palma de Leon, a new concept making its debut at CocoWalk, will be home to a multi-brand women’s clothing and accessories boutique specializing in clothes from Latin American, European, and Australian designers who are new in their field. The 562-square foot space will ultimately add a wine bar and gourmet bistro. This mashup is the inspiration of a married couple with an idea of trying something new.

This trio, all set to open in phases next year, starting in the Spring of 2020 I'm told, brings the total number of retail tenants announced to eight so far. This list includes Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza, Edward Beiner, The Spot Barbershop, School of Rock and Los Generales Mezcal & Grill.

Related stories

CocoWalk announces new eclectic mix of tenants

Boyne Capital Partners signs lease at One Cocowalk

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A scooter or Freebee gallery tour?

Donna Sweeny and Kent Tate take a trolley to gallery hop in 2011.

We talked about bringing back the Gallery Walk yesterday, and there was lots of interest (many comments here). Many people want to get involved and run it themselves, but I think local artists and Grovites probably should run the show through the BID.

An idea that a friend brought up was to put the scooters to use or possibly the Freebees and have a scooter or Freebee tour from gallery to gallery. It almost reminds me of the time we had the trolley which took people around during a Gallery Walk once.

But a scooter tour or a Freebee tour is an excellent idea and it could work with restaurants and bars, too for a pub or food crawl.



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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chamber presents Wellness Wednesday

The Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce is holding their next Wellness Wednesday on September 25.

The subject is: "Food as Medicine." Sample plant-based dishes with Chef Diego, of Love Life Cafe. The event is from noon to 2 pm at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery at the Mayfair Atrium.

Cost is $5.00 for chamber members and $10.00 for guests. Please register online here.

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Bringing back the Gallery Walk

From 2010: Michael Gardner, Jacob Gardner, Lisa Braverman, AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt and Marcie Ziv. 

I was going to bring this up with the BID, but I guess I can post it here.

It's about the Gallery Walk (as opposed to FAM Night, which really did not brand the night correctly, no one knew what that meant). It's Gallery Walk or Art Walk and we need it back.

It may have to wait until the sidewalk is opened in front of CocoWalk for safety reasons but it needs to come back and while we only have three galleries - the Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery at the Mayfair and FrameWorks and the 
Boswell Mourot Gallery on Commodore Plaza, we can still do it. We just need to fill in the space between these three galleries. We already have the Drum Circle, which meets in front of The Barnacle.

How? By turning various businesses around town into galleries for the night. I once wrote about how Punta Gorda does this. They have no galleries, but local businesses turn into galleries once a month on Gallery Walk Night. Let's do that here.



10 years ago when the Gallery Walk was the Gallery Walk.

Local and other artists from around Miami can come in and take over a business for the night. It doesn't necessarily have to be inside, they can place their art around the outside of participating businesses. Artists can also paint live during the evening. Musicians can be around the village playing live music, too. Artists would set up their own art inside or out; the business owners don't have to do anything regarding the set-up.

One of the guys who works at Panther Coffee is a painter, why not have him set up his work in Panther? Another artist can set up at Books & Books, another few can set up in the Florentine Plaza area near Chugs and so on.


At one point the center of our gallery walks was the Promenade at Mayfair, which can still be. Many artists can fit there but the main idea is to spread out the art around the village, so it's important for businesses to welcome them.

It's just an idea to maybe jump start the Grove again. 


When the Gallery Walk was the Gallery Walk:
Paper Bag Heads at the Gallery Walk
Gallery Walk provides eclectic mix of culture
This month's Gallery Walk (March 2011)
Much more live art at Gallery Walk
The first Saturday stroll is so many things
New Gallery opens at Mayfair Promenade
Peacocks Premier at Promenade Party

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Monday, August 19, 2019

More schools bring more traffic, too much traffic

Traffic backed up for miles on Friday due to Gulliver Academy.

School starts today, which reminds me of last week when there was orientation and the start of some private schools.

One of the worst traffic offenders is Gullver Academy on Old Cutler Road. Traffic on Friday afternoon was backed up from the school at SW 125 Street and Old Cutler Road to the traffic circle at Cocoplum. That's 4.5 to 5 miles! And I'm sure it was all the way backed up on Red Road too, toward South Miami.

This is reason for the city to deny schools to be added to The Kampong and the old Villa Woodbine site at 2167 South Bayshore Drive, which backs up to Tigertail Avenue.

I know it sounds selfish and like we are saying "not in my backyard," but the schools are being selfish with their daily traffic jams. When I bring up the subject of school buses, people get angry. There needs to be a traffic solution from the proposed schools before they are even considered as being added as part of the neighborhood. 

FIU has been granted a warrant by the City of Miami Planning Department to allow for construction of an International Center for Tropical Botany in a residential zone adjacent to The Kampong at 4013 Douglas Road, in South Grove.

That area is backed up daily already. There is a traffic light not too far away which adds to the traffic problem. Miami21 prohibits colleges and universities in a T3-R residential zone, which is where The Kampong is located and Carrollton wishes to add a boys school to the North Grove area between South Bayshore and Tigertail, commandeering two major roadways.

There is a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board on Wednesday, September 4 at 6:30 pm, at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive to discuss the FIU issue. The HEP Board (Historic & Environmental Preservation Board) continued a meeting from July 2 for their Tuesday, September 3 meeting. 

Recently the Village Council postponed a meeting regarding the FIU issue, in favor of holding another meeting where lawyers representing FIU and The Kampong could be present. This does not sit well with neighbors. Lawyers?


FACTS ABOUT THE PROPOSED CARROLLTON/VILLA WOODBINE SITE: 
The new footprint: The New auditorium is 125 feet from South Bayshore Drive. It has has 33 ft. roof ridge and 77 ft. X 119 ft. footprint.

School proposes faculty residences at an existing house north of Villa Woodbine and administrative staff use of historic Villa.

The project's negative impact on the site as a natural resource includes removal of 113 trees, removal of sections of historic coral rock walls to accommodate vehicle circulation and new structures. Proposes obstruction of the protected Silver Bluff by new pool & deck, which HEPB found is in violation of City Code.

Their Traffic study includes an inadequate Study Area, has an unidentified surrogate school of comparable enrollment, grade levels and basis of trip generation - plus has background growth rate to be calculated on historic growth trends which does not consider traffic added to Coconut Grove due to office, retail and residential projects currently under construction.

Project requests a 20% waiver for parking reduction from 82 to 65 spaces. No extracurricular bus parking is indicated.

Driveways on Tigertail Avenue and S. Bayshore Drive exceed the Miami 21 allowable widths. Proposes 24 ft. width for two lanes (max allowable is 20 ft) and 14 ft width for 1 lane (max allowable is 10 ft.

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Flow of traffic will finally improve

Good news. Oak Street is open to two-way traffic after being closed one way for years while the Oak Street Garage was being transformed into an office building.

It's nice to claim our streets back from the developers.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Come out and 'play like a girl!'

The lady Lions football club is doing a free try it out event on Wednesday, August 21 from 4 to 5 pm at Peacock Park. Ages five to twelve are welcome. 

The club is now in its fourth year and still stands as one of the only all girls recreational and competitive soccer clubs in Miami. 

"We are proud to be one of the academies following the parks department and the villages desire to keep a healthy lifestyle for families youth and adults," said Coach Daisy Holcombe. "Our mantra is 'come on out and play like a girl!' "

For more information, visit: playyon.com/ladylionsfc and Facebook @lionsfcgirls. Also, you can email Coach Daisy at daisyholcombe@gmail.com

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There's a new peacock in town

That's Camila Cabrera painting a new mural in the parking lot behind Florentine Plaza. You might remember Marisol Mcewan recently painted a mural of a manatee in another area of the parking lot in June.  The two ladies are students at DASH (Design and Architecture Senior High). The project was a combined effort of Alex Klumpp of Gadinsky Real Estate and Sabal Hill, owners of the property. There is possibly one more mural to be added after this one.


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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Should the scooter pilot program be continued?

Hard to believe but the six month pilot program for scooters is almost up. As you may remember, the scooters all around the village and the rest of Miami are here on a trial basis.

Miami has one of the most successful scooter programs in the country in terms of usage rates. According to Commissioner Ken Russel, "Each scooter is used more than five times a day on average. In the last two months, over 300,000 trips have been made on our streets and sidewalks."

There are almost 1200 scooters on the streets now, you can't miss them and there are six different vendors, you've seen them -  Bird and Bolt seem to be the most prevalent, there is also Jump, Lime, Lyft and Spin. Jump is owned by Uber.

The Miami Parking Authority is in control of the scooters and at a future meeting, possibly in September, there will be discussion of extending the scooter program, but possibly with more regulations. 

Each vendor started with 50 scooters each on the streets, which was increased to 100 and then was allowed to increase even more after that.

They may pare down the amount of vendors and also allow police to stop people who are not riding in a safe manner, which I'm surprised isn't a thing now, they are particularly concerned with adults riding with young kids on the same scooter. I've seen that often.

There are those who love the scooters and those who hate them. I do think that if the program is not allowed to continue, there may be quite an uproar, like them or hate them, they are part of our daily life now. It would almost be like getting rid of Uber or Lyft or even the Freebee with all its warts and all.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Meeting to discuss Carrollton's expansion

There's a meeting on Saturday regarding the proposed expansion of Carrollton school at the Villa Woodbine location.

Carrollton has plans on expanding the site for a boys school and neighbors are not happy. The site is at 2167 South Bayshore Drive and extends back to Tigertail Avenue, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

The meeting to discuss the issue is August 17 at Berries in the Grove, 2884 SW 27 Avenue from 8:30 to 11 am.

RSVP via text to Rose Pujol Palacios at 305-431-0336 or Fabian Diaz-Garcia at 305-785-8013.

All I know is that the would not allow this to happen in Hoboken.

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Call to artists for Mad Hatter Festival

The Mad Hatter Arts Festival is back for it's 15th year this November. The put out a call to artists this week.

If you are an artist, artisan, if you sell vintage items and antiques or crafts and also specialty foods or plants, this is perfect for you.

The Festival is Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24 at and around The Barnacle, I'm sure you've seen it spill out onto the sidewalks surrounding the area.

Tent set-ups out back on the lawn are $90 each, plus there is a $25 application fee. Artists need to provide their own tents; 10' x 10' in size.

Sidewalk exhibitors are $65 plus a $25 application fee, where you will provide your own 6' table or grids.

Request an application at MadHatterArtsFestival@yahoo.com, the deadline to sign up is Tuesday, October 15.

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