At King Mango Strut, Miami spoofs a wacky 2017
Spectators in tinfoil hats got compliments instead of getting committed. A governor who wants to be a senator was imagined as a 1980s cartoon villain. Spoofs of President Donald Trump passed with such regularity that they might as well be called a parade of spoofs, which would be accurate.
Because all of the above snapshots come from Sunday’s 36th Annual King Mango Strut, the parody parade in Coconut Grove comprised of commentary on current events.
“This is my favorite Miami thing,” said Matthew Straney, Chicago born-and-raised, University of Miami student and South Floridian ever since. A member of the group The Running of the Bull-------s, Straney dressed in a red smoking jacket and sailor’s hat as Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who died in 2017.
“It’s so local,” Straney said. “A lot of people don’t know about it. But you see the whole Grove shuts down for this. It’s a parade that goes on a very small loop. After we do it once, we do it again! The announcer uses the same jokes sometimes. Everyone’s expectations are low. You can see it’s not a highly organized, technical thing.
“So many different people come up with their own spin on things. You really see the whole year in a parade.”
So, of course, the parade’s grand marshal, riding in a 1997 Mustang GT convertible with tree branches attached, was a woman dressed as “Hurricane Irma-Gettin’.”
Parade participants paid their brand of homage to Miami’s mass transit woes (“county commissioners” riding hoverboards while declaring them the answer) and rising king tide waters (fashion for survival, such as a scuba mask).
The Sierra Club gave their take on the ongoing fight over extension of State Road 836 and movement of the Urban Development Boundary line. Club members wearing construction hats and suit jackets with dollar bills affixed on the sleeves and shoulders (developers) moved a rope to the left and club members holding tree branches or alligator pool floaties mimicked attacking the developers to move the line back.
The presidential parodies ranged from a Trump sitting on a toilet, watching a TV with “Fake News” on it to an orange-faced Trump driving a boat like a crazed commodore to a giant bird with “45,” signifying Trump’s propensity for Twitter rants.
But, after new Miami Mayor Francis Suarez kicked things off with the annual banana drop, the politician parody leadoff poked fun at Florida Gov. Rick Scott. A tall, bald man resembling Scott transformed into “U.S. Senator Skeletor” complete with purple-hooded costume.
The Broward Mensa Chapter walked with signs of “Mensa’s Real Fake News:” “FAA confirms: PIGS FLY;” “Putin elopes with Ivanka;” “University Confirms: Earth is Flat, globe makers furious.”
Apparently just as unbelievable: “Nobody indicted this week” and “Dolphins win Super Bowl.”
About those tinfoil hats, usually the sign of the insanely paranoid, Coconut Grove born-and-raised Bob Brennan and his group sitting near the start of the parade route made them for…well, anybody. And in any shape — i.e., shark fin, Viking helmet, baseball hat.
Why? “To protect your mind! Because the end is near!” Brennan said holding up a sign to that effect.
Near chronologically or geographically? “Yes.”