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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SEARCHING FOR THE TOOTH

    You don't have to go far to get far away from Miami.
  We stopped at a stilt house on Florida's west coast last week.  The two of us had been longing for a quiet holiday, a lonely beach, 

and of course, some old teeth. 
    

   Manisota Key had all this.  While Pi chased sea birds Francesca and I walked the beach looking for seashells and shark teeth.  There are millions of them, leftovers from a millennium of mollusks and those fast, finned creatures inhabiting these waters.


     A few days later, we headed thirty miles north to Sarasota.   We spent a day at "The Ringling", a twenty-acre complex that includes a  Gatsby-era mansion, picturesque gardens, and an incredible art museum.  Here are some of the things we saw...

The historic Asolo Theater, originally built in Asolo, Italy (near Venice), in 1798.  In 1949 they moved it here.   
Are there any more 18th century  Italian theaters available?  If so, we should move one to Coconut Grove. 

 

The Ringling Museum of Art houses an extraordinary collection of European art.  It was acquired by the guy who created all of this, circus magnate John Ringling, in the 1920's.
    We enjoy the special exhibitions whenever we go there.  Five years ago 
they had a machine that swallowed you in a cloud.  This time we saw a history of contemporary fashion design.  The one above. by Issy Miyake (1978), would look great on Francesca.  I'd be great to see her shoulders soar!

The newest room is a "Permanent Skyspace, Joseph's Coat", designed by artist James Terrell. That's another way of saying there is a large hole in the ceiling.

 



It really was a pleasure to relax and watch the vines reach up and clouds roll by.


 


You can see all this and more in Sarasota, just four hours away.

Tomorrow we'll visit Ringling's Circus Museum.


 and in a few days I'll send out the 2013 list of the Good, Bad, and Ugly for Coconut Grove.






 As the sun sets on 2013, Francesca, Pi, and I wish you a great new year.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

'BOT FEVER

       When you see a cardboard box -'bout the size of a head- do you ever get the urge to wear it?  
It happens to me. 
I've been making box robot masks  since Halloween '58.  
        


Three of our handsome Mango Republic models (Dylan Natalia, and Ian) visited us Christmas morning. 

        
 

Their delight obvious when they found robot heads waiting for them under the tree.  
  




 
Now they can take them wherever they go.





If you play your cards right maybe you'll get your own next Christmas.  If you can't wait that long, keep you eye out for those special head-size boxes.







Happy Boxing Day,
Glenn, Francesca, and the new country

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

THE NEW POPCORN

The FDA announcement made it official last month, "microwave popcorn is dangerous". Producers have been ordered to stop selling this stuff at the end of March.
The popping bags are coated with "PFC's", chemicals that are likely to cause cancer. The "spices" inside (salt, fake butter, pretend lime, and dubious sweeteners) aren't doing our bodies any favors as well.
So let's do it better. Let's make healthy microwave popcorn. All you need is popcorn (we like the non-GMO, organic stuff at Trader Joe's, $2 a bag) and paper lunch bags ($2 for 50 at Publix). Pour a 1/4 cup of popcorn (or less) into a bag. Fold it over twice, and set it upright in a microwave oven. Set the timer for 2:45 (this can vary). When the pops have slowed down to one every 2 seconds, press "stop". That's it!


Pour out the popcorn and add salt and other spices (we like pepper, dried Parmesan cheese, curry powder, and so forth). You can add melted butter, coconut or olive oil.
That sandwich bag? Shake it out and use it a few more times. You can also add the spices, or, oil and spices, before you heat the popcorn. If you add oil before popping the bag will saturated but what the heck (the PFC's main job is to keep the outside of the bag dry). Now you are not feeding the cancer monster.


Shake the bag to spread the oil and spices around. It's great fun. Dancing and singing while you do this is even better. Now enjoy the new popcorn.



Merry Christmas from the Mango Republic and your friends,

Francesca, Glenn, and King Mango



Saturday, December 21, 2013

HUNTER RENO: ROCKIN' IN THE MANGO REPUBLIC


      One of our favorite people, Hunter Reno, stopped by the Mango Republic's Coconut Grove outlet today.   She loved doing last minute shopping in an exotic country just ten minutes from her house.
     You need not be a super mother/model/ tri-athlete/ TV host like Ms. Reno to stop by the store.  All are welcome.  
   We sell simple t-shirts and whimsical art that make people happy.  Our place on Palmetto Avenue will be open until 4 pm on Christmas Eve.
     Our website, www.mangorepublic.org, like  Burger King, never closes.   Either location,  can help you find that special last minute gift.

Glenn says "So long"
to another satisfied customer,
a hunter of presents no more.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

HOT MANGO SHIRTS



  
     As you might expect, starting a new country is no easy task.  King Mango is financing the Mango Republic by selling t-shirts.  He's been busy inking up extras this week.  The latest batch is hot off the press and they can be seen at www.mangorepublic.org .
   If you need further information, call us at 305-448-3775.
Merry Christmas from,

King Mango, Glenn & Francesca

Sunday, December 15, 2013

BLUE MANGO JOINS THE MANGO REPUBLIC

       I paint a bit, quick renderings on plywood.    You can see some of them on my Mango Republic website, (www.MangoRepublic.org).    When I take them to art shows people snap them up.  Customers tell me my paintings make them happy, and, they're cheap.   To sell a few more I am trying something new.
     Artists often choose themes.  Colombia's Fernando Botero is well-known for his fat people.  
For some reason people can't get enough of them. 

George Rodrigue started painting blue dogs with mesmerizing yellow eyes twenty years ago.  They became very popular.  I saw one on E-bay recently priced at $35,000.

       Every artist wants his work to sell and I am no exception.  Now I am now beginning a series of paintings featuring corpulent, blue mangoes. 
         The first, "Blue Mango",  is now hanging in the Mango Republic Gallery.  It's stare is similar to Mona Lisa's; it seems to follow you where ever you go.  

"Blue Mango"  12"x12"  Acrylic on plywood.

NOTE:  "Blue Mango" was purchased hours after I posted this.  There will be more paintings in the mango series soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

THE FROGGY HAS LANDED

    Remember school pictures?  A part of the life you left in the twelfth grade?   I still get my face snapped once a year at the school where I teach.   It's five-minutes of fun, a great perk, and always surprising.
    This year, just as the camera clicked, an Amazonian tree frog jumped on my shoulder.  If the guy had waited another second you'd seen me me delirious, covered in frog slime!





Monday, December 9, 2013

THE MANGO REPUBLIC HAS LANDED

     The Grove Guy has been messing with mangos for a very long time.   Our favorite fruit now has its own country and a "country store" (a website) to sell stuff.  
     Father and son share a laugh in their new shirts


  Stop by and visit us at the Mango Republic emporium.  We're located at www.mangorepublic.org .
King Mango's best friend,
Glenn

Sunday, December 8, 2013

ART BASEL- THE ART OF CHEESE



 
  Miami's Art Basel weekend is here.  Enjoying it is a challenge, the cars and crowds can make you crazy.
    Francesca and I skipped dinner Friday night hoping we'd be able to skip a lot of the Art Basel traffic.  Even at 6 pm it took 20 minutes to park in Wynwood in an neighborhood where car theft is not uncommon.
   We took in a few galleries then ventured over to the tent-the-size-of-a-small-town known as "Art Miami".  Inside hosts of international galleries showed off their stuff.

  I couldn't help thinking how much better this dog would look if I switched his Hello Kitty shirt with one of my Mango Republic designs. I almost pulled it off then remembered there are serious penalties for tampering with $8000 stuffed dogs wearing clothes at Miami's premiere art event.








This guy's stare haunted me. 
 

 Don't look.


     It was fun wandering around the mega-tent but we were hungry.  We tengo'd mucho hambre.

Walking outside I spotted the best tent of all,



    By taking a short cut to its brightly lit entrance I later found out I had skirted security guards working to keep people like us out (they were having a private party that night).

As we waltzed in everyone was very nice to us, as if we were special guests.  A woman approached and asked if she could check us off her list.  When I told her we weren't on it she asked us to leave in an very nice way.   As she walked us to the door she explained that she represented the French Cheese Association and this gathering for an international coterie of food writers.
    That was it for me.  "I write about food sometimes", I told her, "and I wrote for the Miami Herald for five years.  Now, I blog".  That's all it took.  Our hostess paused short of the door and  welcomed us a second time. 

IN PRAISE OF FRENCH CHEESE

  My goodness, they had tables piled with with the world's finest cheeses, fresh fruit, and breads.
  With little plates piled high we seats at the edge of the Eat Art tent. Next to us was a door that magically opened every two minutes with waiters bringing out wine, champagne, and hors devours of every delicious sort.  We were their first stop.
   Francesca and I perched, drank, and ate happily just like they do on the Champs Elysee.  We were thrilled that we had stumbled upon fine French food which to us, hungry for art and more, was the best Art Basel experience of all.

Eat Art is open to everyone today, the last day of Art Basel.  Yes, maybe you'll have to pay for the food but it is delicious and the prices are good, 3102 NE 1st Avenue.
  

Friday, December 6, 2013

IAN TERRY JOINS MANGO REPUBLIC

   Social media wizard, Ian Terry, has joined the Mango Republic team.  He will serve as chief social media consultant on the King Mango's cabinet.  He got our Facebook page up this week and is now helping us build our online store (it will open this weekend at "MangoRepublic.org").
Ian's excited and so are we.

Reporting from the Mango Republic 
is its top banana,
Glenn

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

THE INCREDIBLE SCHRINKING NEWSPAPER

    I picked up two Miami Heralds Saturday morning.  The first was in my driveway and the second, at Michelle Billig's garage sale. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MARIA ALEIDA IN CONCERT, DECEMBER 13th

 
      I haven't been to an opera in ten years but the last time was a doozy.   When I heard one was being presented inside Homestead's state prison, the sad, scary place you pass on the way to Everglades National Park, I knew I had to be there.
      My neighbor, Lou, and I sat in the prison chapel while a dozen men in drab uniforms belted out old Italian songs.     
   We loved it.  I may describe the whole experience in a future column but for now, I will tell you about another, quite different, upcoming opera performance, also in a house of the Lord.Andrea Bocelli's "One Night in Las Vegas" with conductor Eugene Kohn, soprano Maria Aleida (pictured here) and mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.
     The Grove's Saint Hugh Church (across from Ransom-Everglades School on Main Highway)  has been presenting  a series of  "Saint Hugh-Steinway Concerts" this fall.   Soprano Eglise GutiĆ©rrez sang to a packed house last September.  
    Next week, on Friday, December 13th, you can enjoy soprano Maria Aleida.  
    Last year she knocked 'em dead here with her ethereal voice.  Why not let her knock you dead (ie, "make very glad to be there") at this intimate recital.  The songbird will sing arias of Mozart,  Ravel, Bellini and also some Christmas favorites (hopefully, it will not include "Jingle Bell Rock").
 
   Maria is currently in Paris singing at the Opera Bastille.  Next week, she will be here.  Why not go?
Tickets online at www.sthughconcerts.org, at St Hugh Church Office,
or call 305-444-8363.  $30-$45
 
Reporting from the Mango Republic,
Glenn

KING MANGO KID CAMPOUT

   We've got this group, The King Mango Kids.










Twice a year we take them camping.  Last weekend we braved the rain and freezing 65
degree weather to go native nearby.
   Paula's dad, Alvaro, went hunting for firewood and dinner,
while the Burns duo zoomed around on their electric bikes.




We had our usual  Sunday morning feast, I got caught drinking Kay's almond milk (from the jar!),
and the French woman swore it was the most fun she'd had since leaving Avignon.

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

WELCOME TO THE MANGO REPUBLIC

 








  I've been making mango art since the 1970's.  It started with short films ("Mango Madness"et al.), thirty years of parades, and now, a new country.

   The Mango Republic really started back in '81 when I dreamed up the King Mango Strut parade.  I have designed many posters and t-shirts for the king's kingdom and his grand Grove procession.  
    This fall I began concentrating on the mango king's country itself thinking, "What is this kingdom?", "What makes its people ("the Mangoheads") happy?" and lately, "What do they wear?"

     I've come up with a couple T-shirt designs for now. Wearing these will allow Mango Republicans to show their mango pride.
  You can buy one today. 
Choose from two designs, the first one being,

 -The Mango Republic's Coat of Arms
  
  This shirt features the King's insignia, his smiling face with his motto, "Fruit, Fun, and Sun" gently caressed by mango leaves.  
It comes in both men's and women's styles.  They are made of 100% soft-style cotton (4.5 oz).   Shrinkage is minimal.  The luxurious ringspun weave feels great. 
   SIZES:  The Men's Shirts come in S,M,L, and XL, in mango leaf green, a dark khaki color.
  The Women's Shirts also come in S,M, L, and XL in the green you see, a bit lighter than the men's shirts.  The women's Mango Republic shirts run small.
  PRICE:  The Mango Republic shirts cost $14.99 plus shipping.





-Mangohead (Mango Republic Citizen's Shirt),
   Our happy Mangohead design is is also offered in both men's and women's styles.  The women's shirt come in sky blue and the men's, a very pale baby mango green.  The images are a very dark brown. 
Both shirts are made of 100% 6.1 oz. "Ultra" cotton  (pre-shrunk).
SIZES:  Men's shirts are offered in sizes S,M,L, and XL.
  

The Women's shirts come in the same sizes (S,M,L, and L). Their sizes are "true".

PRICE:  We are parting with our Mangoheads for a paltry $12.99 (plus shipping).

PAYMENT:  Cash or checks made out to "Mango Republic" for now.   In a week you will be able order online and pay, through PayPal, using a credit card.  In Florida, please add 7% sales tax.

MAILING ADDRESS:  Mango Republic, 3533 Palmetto Ave., Coconut Grove, FL 33133

ORDERING- You can order shirts by,
A)  Coming by the house.
B)  By mail (until Dec. 15, 2013) and,
C)  Online (after Dec. 10, 2013).  You will be able to order Mango Republic products online at  www.MangoRepublic.org.

HOLIDAY DISCOUNT:   Hanukkah is here and Christmas is coming.  Take $2 off the price of each garment from now until December 8, 2013.
SHIPPING:   Come by the house and we will hand you your shirts for free.  If you would like for us to send them to you, add $4 for the first shirt and $1 per shirt thereafter to cover shipping cost (USPS, UPS, or FedEx, in the U.S.).  Inquire for prices regarding shipping outside the United States.

Call or write us if you have any questions.  305-448-3775, www.BetterMiami1@yahoo.com .

Happy Holidays from
Glenn, Francesca, and the Mango Republic
 
 I thank our most excellent models, Natalia Gomez and Dylan Terry