Best of Miami 2014: This Year's Winners in the Arts
It's finally here: New Times' annual Best of Miami issue, once again naming the very best in Magic City culture. The issue goes live today, filled with hundreds of picks, and it's your guide to all things art in Miami, from museums and galleries to theatrical performances to movie theaters and more.
Want a sneak peek? Below, check out a sampling of this year's winners. You can also check out the full list of winners here. And remember, you can pick up the issue when it hits the streets this Thursday.
See also: Best of Miami 2014
Best Art Museum: Perez Art Museum Miami
Let's face it: Baselites are damn hard to impress. Each year, the jaded international art-world cognoscenti flock to the 305 for Art Basel, an aesthetic winter bacchanalia where the latest contemporary trends and talent compete for attention with the über-exclusive VIP list for over-the-top private soirees. But in December 2013, for once that wasn't the case. That's because everyone from locals to the visiting glitterati were all left agog by the new Pérez Art Museum Miami. When PAMM opened on Biscayne Bay with a raft of blockbuster exhibits, including a survey of Chinese star Ai Weiwei, it was the 21st-century museum's stunning building that left tongues wagging. Designed by award-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, the stunning cultural showcase was inspired by "Stiltsville," the tiny village of shacks rising from Biscayne Bay. The result is a bleeding-edge shrine to PAMM's growing collection that anchors the east end of the 29-acre Museum Park. The site will also be the home of the nearby Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, designed by Grimshaw Architects and scheduled to open in 2015. From the moment visitors enter PAMM -- which boasts 200,000 square feet of space -- they're left with the sensation they've stepped into a sculptural artwork. Outside, hanging gardens tower 60 feet overhead beside views of the water and Miami's skyline shimmering in the languid breeze. Destined to remain the Magic City's creative hub for years to come, the museum has already made an impact through its series PAMM Presents, taking place every third Thursday, when it delivers internationally acclaimed talent and performers for an eclectic range of dance music and experimental sounds on the bay.
Best Comedian: John Wynn
John Wynn grew up in Texas, where his brown skin and dark locks led many to mistake him for a Mexican. When he moved to Miami a few years ago, people suddenly decided he was Peruvian. He's actually Vietnamese, but lucky for us, all those years of racial profiling have provided him with a lifetime of laugh-out-loud situations to recount. In 2012, Wynn debuted his comedic web series, Labor Days, which features South Florida's most hilarious funnymen (Daniel Reskin, Lisa Carrao, Orlando Leyba, and others); its premise: Wynn (who plays himself) is mistaken for a Mexican day laborer in a Home Depot parking lot and, after losing his job, is desperate for below-minimum-wage work. In real life, Wynn was laid off as a professor just before his wife gave birth to his now-2-year-old daughter and currently teaches cinematography and editing as an adjunct professor at three schools. Season two of Labor Days is slated to air online in August. And when Wynn isn't shuffling between work and shows, you can find him pretty consistently on the first and third Tuesday of the month at Elwoods Gastro Pub downtown for comedy night.
Best Drag Queen: Pussila
Pussila's trademark makeup paints a pretty good picture of her onstage personality. Her distinctive eye makeup resembles the wings of a demonic butterfly. It wouldn't look out of place at a Marilyn Manson concert. Her cherry painted lips, almost always arranged in a wide smile, tell a different story. In truth she's equal parts sweet and sour. Whether onstage as MC at Twist's stripper hut or roaming the bar at Mova, she's quick to deliver a cutting remark, but it's always delivered with a laugh and a grin. Her wardrobe can be equally sassy. Sometimes she'll don a bra fashioned into two tip cups. As we all know, a drag queen's bra can never be overstuffed, so don't be afraid to tip this Colombian-born drag veteran next time you see her out.
Best Movie Shot in Miami: Iron Man 3
Tony Stark had been rattled to his core. The brilliant inventor, playboy, and superhero was already suffering a righteous PTSD meltdown from the carnage that invading aliens had wrought on New York City, when a mysterious figure called the Mandarin began blowing up buildings left and right. So Stark -- never lacking confidence -- took to television to call out the mysterious figure, promise revenge, and even offer his home address. He didn't expect what came next: a full-out assault by armored helicopters that sent his high-tech home plunging into the ocean and nearly killed the guy everyone knows best as Iron Man. But Stark survived, and by following a series of clues, he pieced together the Mandarin's true identity and traced him to his secret lair. As Stark jetted across the water and swooped in for a final showdown, the camera zoomed in on the palatial retreat, and... wait a second. Is that Vizcaya? Yes, indeed. Miami residents could have saved the star of Iron Man 3, played by Robert Downey Jr., weeks of agony and billions in expense by pointing him toward the Mandarin's hideout, which -- at least on film -- is among the Magic City's most famed locales. But damned if it didn't make a great backdrop for a knockdown brawl between Stark and his nemesis, played by the legendary Ben Kingsley. Beyond all the onscreen glory, the blockbuster reportedly pumped $15 million in revenue into Miami's film industry during filming, with Vizcaya nabbing $100,000 in revenue and location fees. Any other cyborg heroes and villains want to come blow up the Magic City?
Want more? See the rest of Best of Miami 2014.
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