Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
Ostensibly a "training" orchestra, an opportunity for its young members to hone their postconservatory chops before moving on to "proper" outfits, the NWS outdoes its mandate as audiences regularly pack performances at Miami Beach's Lincoln Theatre. These music lovers will attest to this group's ability to outshine more venerable orchestras coast-to-coast. Whether it's the passion of youth, the hunger of musicians with something to prove, or the guiding energy of music director Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS attacks compositions with a verve that brings newfound glory to the symphony sound. Better yet, Thomas's musical selections rarely hew to the tried and true classical suspects -- this isn't your father's symphonic orchestra. Yes, expect to hear Bach, Brahms, and Mozart. But also prepare for riveting avant-garde composers such as John Adams, Luciano Berio, and Steve Reich. Losing the Florida Philharmonic may have been a blow for classical enthusiasts, but as long as the NWS continues to raise the roof, there's no need to feel the pain.
When the night ends, it doesn't matter if the artwork altered anyone's perception because, as they say, it was all good. Rocket Projects, at 3440 N. Miami Ave., was at the vanguard of this lowbrow cultural movement, always providing complimentary booze, DJ sounds, and even, on one chilly night, free barbecued chicken out back. OBJEX artspace's soirees tended to be a higher form of lowbrow, but with new digs at 203 NW 36th St., this gallery gets credit for taking the art party movement into ever deeper depths of Wynwood. Lawrence Gartel went even higher (i.e., lower) for an exhibition curated in conjunction with David Lombardi's Roving Fridays. This show, Cyberotica, featured digital art inside the warehouse and painted ladies (literally) who were shaking what they had on a rickety little runway out back. Free vodka drinks, natch. There were many other shining examples of this exciting new trend, but we don't remember them.
The future of poetry is on the streets. Urban angst and inner-city pressure have inspired the hip-hop generation to take up "spoken word," where emotion and intimation flow from moving lips to open ears. In Miami a young, dreadlocked, dark-skinned man known as Kronos (real name: Yves Verela) performs his poetry at art functions as well as popular poetry nights, and often teams with bands and DJs to lend music to his lexicon. His deepest impressions are planted during conversations with strangers, when the engaging but gentle poet breaks into freestyle verses, always leaving the listener with reflective phrases: "One gets the whole truth half the time." Kronos's life experience as a traveler from his original Haiti to Miami's sunny shores, plus an extended stay in Israel, has certainly contributed to an ethereal multinationalism in his phrases: "I betted, you came, I summoned, you added a smile without the sentimental charge of a Motel 6." For members of a generation short on voices that speak directly to them, Kronos represents a youthful renaissance.
This ten-day tennis tourney at Crandon Tennis Center on Key Biscayne has become the fifth biggest in the world, behind only the four competitions that form the Grand Slam. Last year's singles winners were Andre Agassi and, in a thriller against hometown favorite Jennifer Capriati, Serena Williams, who notched her second consecutive Nasdaq win at the 2003 event (followed by her third at the '04 event). In addition to the finest pro tennis this side of Wimbledon, the event includes a blimp, exhibitions, food courts, and many other diversions. That it pumps millions of dollars into the local economy doesn't hurt.