Last Year for King Mango Strut?

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When Glenn Terry started King Mango Strut to protest getting snubbed from the Orange Bowl parade in 1981, it was an easy place to poke fun at politics and society. The old hippie and his band of misfits slapped two cardboard boxes at the ends of a four-block stretch with signs reading: "Street closed for parade." And it was that simple.

Lately, though, The Man has been getting Terry down. Sure, the Coconut Grove parade is still as irreverent as ever. It's the type of place an (aging) flower child might throw a shoe at a George W. Bush ringer under a tropical December sky. ("We've never even had rain," Terry says. "God obviously loves us big time.") But organizers of the Strut this year say they have handled enough of the city's red tape to fashion a sticky bureaucratic noose. Not exactly good vibes.

For starters, Terry barely raised enough money. "The city kept us on edge," he says. "I was preparing a press release to announce [the parade] wasn't happening." The  organizers of the event, which costs $28,000 to host -- up from $3,000 in the Eighties - now have to "jump through more hoops" than ever, he says. This has the "recovering lawyer who now teaches art" contemplating whether next year is worth the hassle. "How can we keep [the Strut] the way it is, if it costs so much money?" he says. "I don't know if we can depend on the city anymore."

The $28,000 includes sanitary crews, barricades, insurance and $10,000 for extra police (Or, as Terry puts it, cops "hanging out, flirting with pretty girls.") All of this for a four-block, two hour-long parade in arguably one of Miami's most criminally tepid parts of town. This could mean a couple things, he says. Either the founders will need to start signing on commercial parade sponsors (potential corporate buzz kill?) or they may relocate to a park to skirt the rules. It's still up in the air.

Tom Falco, editor of the community blog Coconut Grove Grapevine, says Grovites are no strangers to strict regulations and pesky bureaucrats. So at the parade, that's what he'll satirize.  "I'm going as a zoning official and I'll be handing out tickets," he says. "For breathing, you'll get a $2,000 fine."

The Strut begins Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. on the corner of Commodore Plaza and Main Highway in Coconut Grove.

--Natalie O'Neill

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