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Monday, December 08, 2014

Keeping the Grove alive

The Drum Circle on Saturday night.
"Please, keep the Grove alive!" Those were the last words my friend Mike said to me as he left to head home to Miami Beach after Saturday night's FAM Night here in Coconut Grove. He hadn't been to the Grove for a few years and Saturday night, he fell in love with the Grove all over again. Only he was very dismayed at what he saw. It was interesting to see his perspective as we walked all over town. 

He loved the characters of Coconut Grove, you know, the people; he met so many with me and enjoyed conversing with them and he really got into the flavor of the neighborhood. But he was mortified at all the dark storefronts and offices. He was shocked to see so many offices where stores and galleries used to be. As we walked down long dark areas to get from one section of activity to another, he kept shaking his head. It wasn't what he remembered. But in spite of that, it was a great FAM night and tree lighting. So all is not lost. 

Mike was especially enamored with the Drum Circle, he didn't want to leave the  Mayfair Promenade (shown here) and he must have taken 100 pictures. Of course the night had to end with the police (four cars) coming to shut down the Drum Circle. That seems to be the new thing regarding the circle. It seems that they were too loud in their new location at the Promenade, which is their old location, actually, where they used to play during each gallery walk. It was a few years ago, when the Promenade was the place to be. When the Promenade had art, live music and free food, and lots and lots of people. There used to be a very lively vibe to the Gallery Walk, like this. People didn't seem to call the police then to have anything shut down, the fun went way into the night back then.

Earlier in the evening, we ran into a business owner on the other end of town and he said his wish is for the Drum Circle to be "a thing." A thing that Coconut Grove is known for. He suggested that every full moon, the Drum Circle meet and hundreds of people come out and participate. Their former location is perfect for that on the corner of Grand Avenue and Commodore Plaza. The merchants all loved it, they asked for it to be there, it brought crowds and life to that corner. Unfortunately, they ran into some problems with new owners who don't get the Grove or the vibe or the history. They think with their calculators and not with their heads, I think.

It's just so interesting about the perceptions of people, some want the activities, others want quiet. It's sad but what my friend Mike saw on Saturday was the direction that the Grove is going. Our small village life is becoming a thing of the past. It's almost becoming a bedroom community rather than a lively village.

Our friend, the embattled Karen Deilke, is always trying to keep the Coconut Grove Drum Circle alive. It's a lot of work but she believes in it. They are fully insured and should be returned to their Grand Avenue / Commodore Plaza location.

Our friend Al, is always part of the Drum Circle, too. 

We need to keep traditions like the Drum Circle, Gallery Walk and other events that people like and care about. I just wish more business owners would speak up and declare their support for these events. I know for a fact they would like our village to remain a village. That's why they set up shop here in the first place. 

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

Photos by Liz Gibson, Mike Forte, Tom Falco

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Our small village life is becoming a thing of the past." It has not been a "small village" for some time. Change happens.

December 08, 2014 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would call the police on the Drum circle?

December 08, 2014 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art? Music in the street? Village Bohemia? Forget it. What we want more are more Gap stores, a huge Walmart!, another CVS and more Starbucks at very corner to get really Wired on the new "media"!

We also another big brain-washing Marketing company with plenty of large, hypnotizing TV Pla$ma screens wall-to-wall at every street, to tell us what to buy, delightful stuff everywhere! Just think of all the plastic crap we can acquire for Xma$$!

December 08, 2014 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been to one of these, but do they play to a beat or just wildly bang on drums for hours on end?

December 08, 2014 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Karen Deilke, host, Coconut Drum Circle said...

Thank you, Tom, for what you said. To one of the countless anonymous writers154: we have professional drummers who set the beat for those new to djembe drumming and the way to understand the power of the circle is to come check it for yourself. We love the Grove...but it is becoming increasingly evident that the feeling is not mutual in regard to the new breed of "Grovites" who prefer white bread and quiet to multigrain and music. If this continues, we will leave the Grove for a more friendly environment. This is not about change but about keeping some vestige of excitement and energy in the Grove.

December 08, 2014 3:43 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I agree with Karen, I am tired of having to worry every time we drum. In fact,last month I was part of the Mad Hatter Street Artists, and the police were called on us too. Apparently, a resident didn't want the artists there either. We had permission and have been participating in the Mad Hatter for several years, It seems that it doesn't matter. We are little fish in a sea of sharks.

December 08, 2014 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't the police have better things to do like munch on donuts, drink coffee and talk crap to one another at the convenience store. Since August there have been several murders and shootings in the Grove, get real, hit the beat and behave.

December 09, 2014 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging by the pictures there were more drummers than audience members.

December 09, 2014 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there's something wrong with "white bread and quiet?"

You were playing just yards from condos and apartments, never mind being underneath a hotel. Excuse us if we can't appreciate the art of the music. We too have a right to be able to relax in our homes without the cacophony of the drumming.
Maybe if you understood that, rather than just critique it in pseudo political/cultural terms ("white bread"), than you would understand why you're slowly being boxed out of the Grove.

December 10, 2014 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 6:51 PM
The cold and aggressive weight of your post is evident that you are demanding a fight. Most Grovites are peaceful, tolerant and intelligent folks of every spectrum. Grovites have come here to live in peace, the reason our parents came here are being trampled by an extremist and elitist attitude. We are here to stay, get yourself a one way ticket.

December 11, 2014 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're referring to the drummer who created a dichotomy by posting that some people prefer "white bread and quiet," correct? Because otherwise your comments about picking a fight do not make any sense. There is nothing "cold" or "aggressive" about the follow up to the snippy wonder bread comment made by the drummer. Because apparently since she can't beat her drums wherever she wants late at night, everyone else is lacking in something ("multigrain"?) that makes her special.

There is something elitist about her remarks. But if that isn't obvious to you, then why bother to continue with this thread?

December 11, 2014 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drum circle runs once a month on the first Saturday gallery FAM night, if you want quiet 24/7/365 South Florida is not going to be accommodating that. I suggest you get sound proof windows or move out of the entertainment neighborhood.

December 11, 2014 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...or, at no cost to anyone, insist that noise ordinances are followed and if not, insist that they are.

December 12, 2014 11:54 AM  

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