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Saturday, February 6, 2016



   Looking for a fun time?  Get thee to the Arsht Center to see "Motown the Musical". It is a non-stop fun frenzy of all the songs that came out of Detroit in the 60's and 70's. It maybe the sound track of your early years. 
   The cast of 30 recreates snippets of over 50 hits by the Supremes,
Smoky Robinson, and Stevie Wonder.  Marvin Gaye and The Temptations sing their hits too.  The house went nuts the young Michael Jackson (and his brothers) belted out "I Want You Back".

   The show is woven around the life of Motown Records' founder, Berry Gordy.  He created hits and stars for decades. When the cast came together at the end they had us dancin' in the aisle.

    The show ends FEB. 7.  Tickets start at $29.  
Go to Arshtcenter. com  -and-   you should probably eat before you get there (see below),

   We thought we'd have dinner before Motown the Musical so we headed to the Books & Books Cafe (it is part of the Arsht Center).  It's had great reviews and we'd never been there before.
    It looked very nice and 120 people seated looked happy.  Unfortunately, getting there an hour and a half before showtime, we still couldn't get a seat.  Lacking reservations, we were put on a list and told to check back in 15 minutes. We spent that time strolling north on Biscayne Boulevard. 
Big mistake.

     The first block was dark, illuminated a bit by the bright windows of high-end furniture stores.  The wind pushed fat leaves followed by unusually long stems across the wide sidewalk.  Talk about wishful thinking.  We were watching rats.  Orlando's Mickey Mouse is a mere cartoon but we have the real thing.
     Yeah, among all this New Miami opulence were skittering  rodents. We scurried our way through Rat Row and passed the strangely placed Checkers and Burger King joints.  A few crackheads were shouting at each other as they munched  cheeseburgers outside. We were glad to get past them too but the next block was a challenge as well. We were tip toeing next to homeless sleepers. Downtown Miami has over 1000 people camping on its sidewalks every night.
    Some waved at us from their sleeping bags. What fun.  As we passed Publix we joked about having dinner inside. We began our dreaded route to the Arsht stepping past the sidewalk sleepers, the rowdy Checkers crowd, and Rat Row. 
    When we arrived the cafe's seating girl greeted us with a pert smile and said, "I'm so sorry. We're so busy, we can't seat anyone".  
     Francesca and I were very hungry now, so hungry we braved the rats, the burger bunch, and the sidewalk campsite a third time to grab sushi at the distant grocery store.  Heading back to the Arsht we were hoping the homeless, the crackheads, and the famished rats would not grab our dinner.
    With eight minutes to spare we sat on a comfortable Arsht Center bench and stuffed ourselves.  Publix sushi seemed like a luxury at this point. Stomachs filled, we stepped inside to take our seats.
We hope you can see the show too.  Just remember to eat before  "Motown".
     Avoid "RatTown" (downtown Miami at night) if you can.  It has been scary for forty years. Lets hope that changes someday.
     An 8-year-old carrying his mother's gun tried to rob a grocery store in West Palm Beach on Friday.  He wore a bike helmet and "sweater mask".
     Fortunately, an employee was able to wrestle the loaded pistol from the lad before he could stand his ground.



      Early voting starts yesterday in South Miami.  Tuesday is election day. Encourage all of your friends there to get out and vote -and- to vote for their outstanding mayor, Phil Stoddard.   He's a politician that we can be proud of.
      Mayor Stoddard done a great job for six years. Let's help him continue for two more.

    South Miami is the envy of Coconut Grove.  We both have lovely neighborhoods but they did their shopping district right and have a functional city hall.  South Miami also produces little events that -unlike the Grove's beer-swilling mobs in Peacock Park-  you'd actually like to go to.

Consider this'n a week from now,

    The Black History Family Festival will be fun, have great music, and it is free. The Grove's Goombay Festival should be more like this.

      The Grove does have an outstanding African-American art gallery, KROMA. It's on Grand Avenue, a half-block east of SW 37th Avenue (Douglas Road).
      We attended the opening of their new show Thursday night.

Here are a few pictures,

 Painting by Tavare Hill


It'll be up for a month and we hope you can see it.

       The City of Miami supports many cultural centers but not KROMA.  It should. Go there and see why. It has the potential to be an outstanding bridge between the Grove's diverse communities.


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