In a daring broad daylight heist, thieves stole hundreds of canvases and sculptures from the Romero Britto Art Store located in the Miami International Airport.Jacinta Fernandez, manager of the airport location informed the Plantain, “A frequent flyer inquired about a possible holiday discounts on a painting of a smiling flower he has had his eye on for two years. We informed him that we don’t do holiday discounts as that would interfere with our year-round perpetual sale. That’s when we noticed that the smiling flower painting was gone! Along with 57 other semi-original works and prints that all look the same.”
“This immediately raised our concern for our hermana stores in Lincoln Road and Wynwood.” Her calls to these stores quickly revealed that over half the inventory was missing. “We were so surprised! Over half the inventory on the gallery floor showroom has been missing since before Thanksgiving—and no one even noticed,” said Alvaro Caseres, assistant manager of the Miami Beach Lincoln Road Mall location. “It is hard to keep inventory when you can’t distinguish one piece from another.”
“Then we remembered the recent Walk of Fame star that Romero was just awarded in March–we feared it, too, might be stolen,” said Fernandez, referring to the concrete-encased Britto star located at the Bayside Walk of Fame which features sidewalk stars designed by Britto himself to honor accomplished and famed Miami personalities. But, after some searching, Britto’s star was found, safely located under a postcard rack.
Some art critics have speculated that the stolen works were removed to be sold on the black market during Art Basel. Myra Lebowitz, owner of the prestigious Miami-based, Lebowitz Gallery said that “People will pay for anything once they perceive it to have value. That’s what keeps me in business.” A source wishing to remain anonymous leaked to The Plantain, “His stuff is crap—I ought to know, I manage his Miami Beach store. Whomever took it was just trying to do the art world a favor.” Still, others have hinted that Britto himself removed the works to create a media stir to boost sales.
Miami-Dade Aviation Police Officers investigating the robbery reviewed the airports surveillance camera system, which revealed a sole, sweatshirt hoodie-wearing thief carting off Britto’s oeuvres d’art in several trips, stacking the “art pieces” by a terminal trashcan where they remained until the cleaning staff carted them off to the dumpsters. When confronted by investigators about his involvement, Airport janitor Hector Esquival added, “I don’t know jack shit about art, but I do know trash. And that stuff I threw out was trash.”
The mystery may never be solved according to Detective Ashley Ramirez, who said the investigation to find the art thieves will be ending soon. “It is difficult for our department to devote resources to this case as the items that are missing have zero value.
Romero Britto, 54, renowned Brazilian neo-pop artist who has resided in Miami since 1989, came to fame in the mid-1990’s with his colorful, child-like style that appealed to the masses and quickly became capitalized in the form of reprints, sculptures, key chains, ATM machines, fashion wear, fire hydrants, and a legion of tchotchkes. Stores began opening up in malls and airports in other cities in order to vie for a market share from their main competitor, Hello Kitty stores.
With an estimated net worth of nearly 70 million dollars, Britto is not just content to afflict the art world; a declared conservative, he has held fundraising events for Republicans, including election losers Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.
Britto colorfully declined to be interviewed for this article, instead offering to sell us a Britto iPhone case for 30 bucks.
By Lisa W. Hopper, staff writer for The Plantain

Kendall, Miami’s restaurant-studded enclave that rose in popularity in the 1980’s and 1990’s as an affordable housing solution for the burgeoning Yuppie community, has been voted The Number #1 Suburb in America to Raise a Family. But residents see it differently.

Rosita Juana Eserbas, 84, says, “I’d say a more accurate designation is ‘The Number One Place to IGNORE Family.’ After my husband died, my son moved into my 3-bedroom house with his wife and kids, telling me that I should live with family and didn’t need all this space. The next thing I know, they moved me out of my own home into this tiny condo, and now I never see any of them.”

Kendall area high schools have reported to the Miami-Dade School Board that in recent years the number of kids seeking meetings with school guidance counselors has risen, 63% in the last year alone. And what do the counselors report as the main reason for seeking sessions with them? Attention. “These kids are basically living alone,” reports Cantlissa Ennimore, a guidance counselor at Kendall West High School. “Their friends are always on their phones. Their teachers—also on their phones—assign them work requiring internet research and intranet-based learning modules. Both of their parents work and their siblings are locked in their rooms playing video games. These kids are starving for human contact and attention.”

Kendall’s Number #1 ranking came from a study released Thursday from The Wellsley Berpshire Institute on Family, touting Kendall as being the idyllic, ideal suburb. A recent episode of the TV series This Old Townhouse also mentioned Kendall as a haven for the bargain-shopping DIY multitudes due to the vast numbers of run-down cookie-cutter condo community units available for purchase, remodeling, and flipping for a quick buck.

Residents declare that Kendall is nothing but a bunch of people jammed together in a box-like, rat maze, with lots of great restaurants, a couple of movie theaters, and some stores.

Uber Eats driver, Haspo Usten, 36, says that the majority of his business consists of making deliveries from Kendall restaurants to customers often just around the block from the dining establishment. “Half the time, I don’t even see the people I deliver food to—I just see a hand sticking out of the townhouse door reaching for the bag of food. It’s not hard to steal French fries or a half a sandwich from a hand,” Usten says, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

There is a general consensus among those living in Kendall, that—if it wasn’t for rush-hour traffic jams on work days—there’d be no way of knowing just how many people do live in Kendall. As for the rest of Miami residents, they never go to Kendall and mostly ignore the whole area.

By Lisa W. Hopper , a freelance journalist and staff writer for The Plantain. After writing this article, she stopped having her meals delivered, has taken a vegan cooking class, and now prepares her meals at home. She lives in north Dade County and has only ever gone to Kendall to interview residents for this article. She plans never to go there again—the traffic was terrible.

*The Plantain Goes Undercover to Bring the Shocking Truth to Light**By Lisa W. Hopper*

I wasn’t sure I’d survive the night. The duct tape around my ankles was way too tight. I asked myself, How had I gotten here?
Over a year ago, I decided to go undercover to report on this story by becoming a frequent patron at Miami’s well known slum-bar in order to get to the truth: who owns Churchill’s Pub.
I had long suspected that, with his face emblazoned on the building’s exterior, it was The Man, The British Bulldog, Winnie, Winston Churchill himself. I was about to get to the bottom of this. I had been warned by many that this wasn’t going to be an easy story to report on.
Fumbling into the Light of Truth
My first step in investigative reporting took me to Google, where I discovered the actual address of the pub, 5501 NE 2 Avenue, a location in the heart of Little Haiti. After hours more of internet research and discerning that I would not actually have to buy a plane ticket to Haiti, I Ubered it over to the establishment, a long-standing dive for the down-and-out that only recently turned happening-hipster music and stand-up comedy venue.
>###I was going in, and going in too deep.
After several nights of guzzling cheap beer and chancing on the pub grub, I sidled up to long-time bar fly and Churchill’s old timer, Rusty Mecregans. It cost me several beers, but soon his stories began flowing like beer from a tap. Rusty, gray-bearded and deeply malodorous, has been going to Churchill’s since its grand opening—he couldn’t remember the date or who owned the bar. He suggested that I check outside in the dumpster for clues.
After eight pints, I was FUBAR—fucked up beyond all reason, a bar term for wasted out of your mind. I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to maintain my journalistic bias any longer. I was going in, and going in too deep.
A Fruitless, Fateful Night
Against the recommendations of many, I decided to follow this lead into the alley. I approached the dumpster, which hadn’t been picked up in six days, with hesitation and more than a little aversion. As a precaution against roaches, I duct-taped my pants legs down. I entered the dumpster with much trepidation. I began to dig, finding no useful information—but I will say that fish and chips are good cold after a bender no matter what anyone says. That’s when it happened: I fell asleep.
I was awaken to the obnoxious beeping of the trash truck signaling the necessity of a rapid dumpster egress. The duct tape around my ankles was too tight, but had done its job. However, failing to tape my sleeves, I found roaches in my bra. How had I gotten here? My need to know the truth had pushed me nearly to the brink of destruction. I chocked it up to just another fruitless night of journalistic reporting.

Following a tip-off from a well-meaning bag lady who frequents the dumpster, I decided to see if the local government could provide any answers.
History Provides a Clue
Checking the annals of Miami Dade’s Local Business Occupational Licenses, I discovered that Churchill’s was opened by a guy named Dave Daniels. I tracked him down and asked him point blank if he inherited the bar from Winston Churchill. “No, I opened the bar in 1979,” he said, a hint of British accent in his voice. His sleeves were rolled up revealing elbows well-calloused by years of bar propping. Daniels stated that he was no relation to Winston Churchill, who died in 1965, and that in 2014 he sold the bar to Mallory Kauderer, also no relation to The British Bulldog.
No Questions Remain Unanswered
I am reminded of a quote from Winnie, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” I had researched the issue with true gritty journalistic reporting integrity and had the malt vinegar stained pants to prove it. I had looked into the maw of FUBAR and returned. And I had gotten to the heart of the issue and revealed the truth to the concerned masses: Churchill’s is not owned by Winston Churchill. My job here was done. I was going home.
Before this article went to press, The Plantain was informed by one of the bartenders that some of the paint had peeled from the exterior of the building of Churchill’s pub. However, this has not affected patronage of the establishment.
Lisa W. Hopper is a freelance journalist and guest staff writer for The Plantain. She can be encountered at the Little Haiti AA meeting house on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
_The fruit sections of Miami’s grocery stores sometimes have fruit flies. Click here for a first-person account of a trip to Sedano’s Supermercado by reporter Lisa W. Hopper._
“This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”—Winston Churchill

Residents of Downtown Miami Are Subjects of Science Experiment Gone Awry####By Lisa W. Hopper

Miami residents have been unwittingly participating in a large-scale science experiment. The water systems along the Biscayne/Brickell Boulevard Corridor have been laced with formic acid and a secret chemical that is slowly converting the residents of that area into ants. This is the belief of many who offer this justification–how else could residents continue to move single file in an orderly fashion through the lagging city infrastructure that was never meant to support such numbers of commuters?
Masterson Biyou, a worker at the Pawal Chemical Plant in Homestead, the maker of EFE-45, short for Experimental Formic Carbonycyclinethylpop Version 45, informed, “I’m coming forward because I don’t think it’s right. I’ve seen the photos. I can’t do that to another human being.” He is referring to the Pawal Chemical Research & Development Top Secret Photo Files. “When I saw the photo of that little girl accosting those picnickers at Miami Circle Park because they had a sticky sweet cake—one of those panatela borracha cakes—it was just awful. She tore them apart with her massive jaws.” Mr. Biyou also described a 20-year old young man with antennae as long as his arm and the same massive, crushing jaws. “Where is he going to get a job looking like that?! The poor boy! Maybe a bodyguard or a bouncer. Maybe….” Mr. Biyou trailed off, obviously deeply disturbed by the images.
>###How else could residents continue to move single file in an orderly fashion through the lagging city infrastructure never meant to support this many commuters?
The targeted area for the experiment is Downtown Miami, a 2.1 square mile area which includes zip codes 33128, 33130, 33131, and 33132, and which is home to approximately 200,000 men, women, children, and—now—ant people.
The Plantain Investigates
The Plantain attempted to reach the CEO of Pawal Chemical Company but was redirected to the legal department. Acting as the spokesman for the company, Berand Slotzmeyer, Esq., stated, “Pawal has a strong community outreach component. We really care about the local community. A couple of weeks ago, we insisted that our employees volunteer their free time to pick up the trash on our sponsored stretch of road, the block in front of our plant. Keeping the community safe and clean is what Pawal is all about. Last year after Hurricane Irma ravaged Homestead and greater Miami, we offered counseling to employees who had been previously traumatized by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Once they were identified as emotionally broken, we fired them but continued to pay for their next three therapy sessions as an act of goodwill. We have many such community and employee-oriented programs.”

Another Pawal employee who wished to remain anonymous reported that the hub of the area most greatly affected by experimentation lies within the concentric circles and byways leading to Brickell City Centre, referred to among Pawal employees as “The Ant Farm.” Brickell City Center manager, Fatima Rostas, explained as she scratched her thorax, “No, I haven’t heard of that term and it has nothing to do with the fact that we have revamped the dining venues at The Center to dessert-only establishments. We have many fine apparel stores, too, such as Banana Republic, Hormiga Hombre, Exoskele—to name a few. And home furnishing purveyors—Colony and Socialite. There’s something for anyone.”
Some Are Happy Being A Part of the Experiment
Other positive stories abound. One resident and frequenter of The Ant Farm is pleased with his new physique. Melvin Backshell told The Plantain, “I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I stopped juicing up with ‘roids. I can lift many times my body weight now, so I got a job with Waste Services–I lift twenty-five hundred pound dumpsters and empty them into dump trucks.”

Although Pawal continues to deny any knowledge of “ant people” or their part in creating them, a trip through Downtown Miami will quickly remove all doubts in the observer and leaves one with a feeling of having walked onto the set of the black and white classic horror film “Them” (1954, Warner Bros.) in which giant ants have taken over the city.
Lisa W. Hopper is a freelance journalist and guest staff writer for The Plantain. She lives just outside of Downtown Miami in zip code 33137.

By Dirk O’Dowel####Land Dispute Sours Sweetwater
In a shocking turn of events, the disagreement between the Miami-Dade Youth Fair and Florida International University (FIU) has reached levels of violence unheard of over small land disputes. It’s no secret that both harbor ill feelings, as FIU has sought for many years to expand into the land commonly used by the Youth Fair.
Tensions came to a head yesterday when FIU security guard Anthony Jacobs was gunned down as he was leaving the university campus after completion of a work shift. The gunman is unknown. However, nailed to Jacobs’ chest were several leaflets for the Youth Fair, an indicator of who may have been responsible. One of the Youth Fair’s representatives, Tony Gulachi, told The Plantain, “I don’t know nothing about that security guard–but seems to me we live in very dangerous times. You know, when certain organizations feel threatened, they act out. Can’t be helped. Maybe if the university wasn’t so keen on taking what’s ours, stuff like this wouldn’t happen. Who knows?”
> “You fuck with us we come back tenfold!”
The news has become a heated issue at FIU with many calling for retaliation. “Those cocksuckers think they can do this and get away with it?!” said Elizabeth Bejar, FIU Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This is motherfuckin’ FIU. You fuck with us we come back tenfold! I pray to god the cops don’t get to the killer before we can–because this is personal. Blood has been spilled, and this shit ain’t over ‘til we spill some of theirs!”
Clearly relations between the two Miami institutions are strained, yet local residents seem oddly oblivious to it. Prior to his strange disappearance, The Plantain spoke with local homeowner Ricardo Miro who stated, “Are you people crazy, are you trying to get us both killed?! I didn’t hear anything! I didn’t see anything! Do not use my name! Okay?! Do not use my name!!”
It seems the two sides cannot find a compromise, as FIU is insistent on claiming the land the Youth Fair has used since 1971. “We get what we want. It’s just a matter of time,” said FIU President Mark Rosenberg. “What happened to Security Guard Jacobs was….unfortunate. It will be dealt with, I can assure you. His family, in the meantime, will be taken care of—FIU protects its own. I’m sure the Youth Fair thinks this was a wise choice, but they will learn what a mistake it was…a very grave mistake. You see, the Fair is the past–they’re over. We are the future–and you can’t fight progress.”
Authorities have cautioned residents of Sweetwater and Westchester to stay clear of the university and the fairgrounds after dark until further notice, and to try to ignore the sound of gunshots.

Top 40? THAT’S TOO MANY SONGS! Big 105.9 has got the BEST SONGS. IT HAS ALL OF THE 10 BEST SONGS EVER!This is the definitive 2017 ranking of the top 10 songs of the only 10 songs they play on BIG 105.9
NUMBER 10: Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett 1977 – 4’15” – “Flip on a crop top? Beating a cock block. Cutting a deal while I’m boozing back home.” These might be the real lyrics to this song! If you can drunk dial your ex wife while freestyle scatting song lyrics, you know you are listening to a classic tune.
ALSO NUMBER 10: Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns and Roses 1987 – 5’56”- Both a rock anthem and a heartful tribute. This song has got it all. Bitching guitar, screeching vocals, bewildering key changes, incoherent tone, conflicting themes, obvious vamping, maudlin sentimentality, and did I mention bitching guitar?!
NUMBER 9: Don’t Stop Believing – Journey 1981 – 4’11”- The ultimate karaoke show stopper! I haven’t researched this, but I am 90% sure Karaoke means fun in Filipino or whatever, and it is no surprise that this classic is always on top of the karaoke charts! Fun fact: you may remember this song being sung by the irreplaceable Steve Perry, but in 2007, Arnel Pineda replaced Steve Perry as the lead singer of Journey. Another fun fact: My ex-wife Jen replaced me in 2012 with one of her work friends she always told me not to worry about. Imitated though never duplicated!
NUMBER 8: Jack and Diane – John Mellencamp 1982 – 4’16” – This one always takes you back to simpler times. When guys were guys, girls were girls, and nobody would get on your ass about not being able to find the Phillipines on a map. “Suckin’ on chili dogs outside the Tastee Freez, stop making me feel bad for being a white guy please.”
NUMBER 7: Hotel California – Eagles 1976 – 6’30” – My high school best friend Dave used to be able to play this song on guitar, well, most of it, and he moved to California and joined a cult. I sometimes think of Dave when I am listening to this song 4 times a day on Big 105.9. I don’t know if Dave is alive or dead, but then again, Dave might not even know. The last thing Dave ever said to me was “I am chasing the false memory of an endless warmth.” Dave was a cool dude.
NUMBER 6: Black Dog – Led Zeppelin – 1971 – 4’55” – Guitar gods from on high deliver us from sin, stop, just stop, let’s be serious, this song is barely a song and yet somehow it is a whopping four minutes and fifty five seconds! That is basically 5 minutes of alternating nonsense and the same masturbatory guitar riff that feels like interminably bad sex. Are their better Led Zeppelin songs? Relatively. But here comes “Black Dog” flying straight into your ear holes.
NUMBER 5: Pianoman – BIlly Joel 1973 – 5’40” – I got a cramp in my finger scrolling through the lyrics of this priceless gem of songwriting. Did you know this song is autobiographical? Did you also know that when Billy Joel sweat out this tune he was trying to write a song that would make the bar pay him for the full hour, probably? Also, not to be forgotten, let us all admire the balls on the pre chorus, “la la la di da da”. Was he being paid by the note? Did an italian organ grinder just wander into the ristorante? Yes, I would like a single rose for my lady. Because I am classy, and I have a classy lady who I let order whatever she wants off the menu, because she knows not to get the veal scallopini unless it is a special occasion. All hail the theme song of cirrhosis.
NUMBER 4: Shook me all night long – AC/DC 1980 – 3’32” – I can’t do it like I used to; herniated disk in the back, no cartilage in my knees, and high blood pressure. So I can fully appreciate a woman with extra sexual vigor. As long as she is interested in the 2-3 sexual positions that I can do without getting light headed. If we are drunk enough, and let’s not kid ourselves we are definitely both drunk, why wouldn’t we turn back the clock and try it standing up with you bent over the couch? And would it kill you to use the lingerie I bought you 3 years ago for Valentine’s? Oh?! NOW I hurt your feelings?!
NUMBER 3: JUMP! – Van Halen 1984 – 4’02” – What makes a great song? That feeling you get when you hear those first few notes that makes you want to jump out of your chair at the tailgate and start singing. This song literally tells you to “JUMP!”. It couldn’t be easier to figure out! It’s got a great synth part that back in 84’ made me feel kinda gay, but now I am a little more assured of my masculinity. It may have been “progressive” then, but I just met my nephew’s new boyfriend over the holidays and that experience leaves synth in the glittering dust. He makes pottery btw. And he owns his own kiln.
PS. Anyone ever notice how the end of the synth solo sounded like it could have been the music behind the DiC Entertainment logo from the end of Inspector Gadget in 1990?
NUMBER 2: Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns and Roses – 1987 – 5’56”- Too good to be included just once. This guitar riff intro is air guitar heaven! Doo dee doo dee diii dee diii doop, doo dee doo dee diii dee diii doop. Or was it playing this whole time in the background? I don’t think I have felt anything in 11 years! Doo dee doo dee diii doop diii doop!!! If I blacked out and fell off the side of my Disney Cruise Ship in the summer of 2006 and never woke up, it wouldn’t surprise me. Doo dee doo dee diii doop diii doop!!! I hear waves crashing whenever I close my eyes. Doo dee doo dee diii dee diii doop, doo dee doo dee diii dee diii doop. WHOOSH…….WHOOOOSHHHHH.
NUMBER 1: Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne 1980 – 4’56”- “All ABOARD!!!!” Closing out this power rock hour is this Blizzard of Oz classic, “Crazy Train”. When you are crawling down the 836, blasting this track, smoking a cigarette with the window down so that your wife can’t smell it on you when you get home, you are sending a big middle finger up to whatever the hell kids listen to nowadays. Fuck em! I was cool and I will always be cool! Because cool doesn’t age! I don’t think twice before having a couple of cold ones at lunch during the work week. I don’t need new songs. I got the best ones right here! grabs crotch
This list contains 54 minutes and 9 seconds of suppressed reality. Please listen responsibly.