Best Of :: People & Places
Mark "Prince Markie Dee" Morales has serious street cred. Aficionados of the old school will recognize him as an original member of the Fat Boys, one of the first groups to inject self-deprecating humor into hip-hop. In the Nineties, Markie Dee took off the goofy glasses and racked up some major music-producing credits. Tracks by Shabba Ranks, Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige stud his overflowing resumé. These days Markie Dee is better known as the prince of 103.5 The Beat, jamming the airwaves from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. every weekday alongside Mr. Mauricio. And although he sometimes goes back in time and spins tracks from the era when "Wipeout" was in regular rotation on MTV, more often Markie Dee is introducing tracks by Ne-Yo, Nelly, and Dem Franchise Boyz. "I'm a regular jock, you know? Every once in a while we'll play the old-school joints, but I just play what people wanna hear," the erstwhile Fat Boy explains. Markie Dee loves giving the people what they want. Listeners can hear the glee in his voice during the "Fat Four at Four," the giveaway segment of his daily show where he assigns arbitrary weights to the most requested songs. The listener who correctly adds the weights wins cool prizes like concert tickets and CDs. Hearing the notoriously chunky radio jock say "Beyoncé weighs 927 pounds!" is just good fun. Markie Dee concedes that interacting with happily screaming listeners is his favorite part of the job. "I like getting on the phone with fans, getting one on one and communicating with them," he says. Though Markie Dee could be exploiting his instantly recognizable public persona, his experience in the business has left him older and wiser. He spends most of his off-air time doing promotions and charity work on behalf of the station. His future plans include a nationally syndicated old-school show with BET host Big Tigger. He has an Internet show on www.ontoptv.com, and he's finishing up the pilot for a television game show called Pay Your Dues that sounds like a hip-hop combination of Rock & Roll Jeopardy and American Idol. He hopes to have the show picked up by BET or MTV and bring his career full circle. Even without the television exposure that helped make him a star, Markie Dee is known and loved throughout the city. "Everyone pretty much knows who I am. I get recognized a lot, but sometimes I'll be at Chili's ordering some food, and the waitress will be like, "Hey, your voice sounds familiar! Oh, you're Markie Dee! That's what's up!"
James "Jimbo" Luznar opened his joint on Virginia Key, Jimbo's, a half-century ago. And there's no better place on the water to take a toot.
What is your greatest triumph?
We used to be where the Herald building is, but then they said our boats would have to go. So we looked at Snapper Creek, Mart Park, then we ended up on Virginia Key. It stunk sometimes, and there were mosquitoes, snakes, coons, opossums, and iguanas. It cost us a lot of money to be there, but we stayed. They've been trying to get me out of there for a long time, but now everyone all over the world knows Jimbo.
Born in Homestead, Kevin Wynn is the producer and cohost of Downtown Dade, a TV talk show that covers the arts and culture and airs on the county's government access channel. He is also the coprogrammer, with Barron Sherer, of Cinema Vortex, a nonprofit organization devoted to screening unusual, significant, and neglected film and video works. And he's the creator of Public Domain Playhouse, a continuing series of screenings he curates with Sherer.
What is your greatest triumph?
My greatest triumph? I dont do triumph. Ive never had one. I cant tell you how it feels to triumph, or what it looks, tastes or smells like. I wouldnt know triumph if some guy ran over me with a TR4.
There are several safe, clean places where we can let Fido run off-leash in Miami-Dade. Coconut Grove has several dog-friendly parks; the Beach has some nice locations; there's a spot on Virginia Key where dogs can swim and sunbathe; but of all the canine treats in my Miami, the mac daddy of all dog parks is in Aventura. Two years ago the city, which is burgeoning with young dog-owning families, built the expansive new Veterans Park. The $600,000 two-acre expanse has a wonderful, well-kept, welcoming space. There are pooper-scooper dispensers throughout the space. There are doggy water fountains and doggy showers. And the most endearing detail: red fire hydrants. All of this greatness, of course, comes at a price: You have to live in Aventura, and show proof of residence, to gain access. It's almost reason enough to move there.
It is a dark time for Miami-Dade County's executive mayor. The evil lords on the county commission annihilated Carlos Alvarez's bold offensive to strip them of some bribe-making abilities. Then the Galactic Empire displayed the true power of the Dark Side when it crushed Alvarez in the Boundary Wars. Beaten but resolute, the good mayor fled to the outer rim of the county's suburban wasteland to regroup and complete his training. Upon his return, Alvarez successfully destroyed the Imperials' diabolical device: The Public Silencer. In time, this Obi-wan of the Swamp may finally bring balance to the county.
Come one, come all, to the "Read to Farley" sessions at the children's section of the North Miami Beach Library, the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 4:00 p.m. This is no ordinary dog. This shaggy mop o' unconditional love once suffered from crippling agoraphobia, owing to early abuse. But his patient handler, Margo Berman, a professor at Florida International University, worked tirelessly, training him to overcome his fears and earn his Therapy Dog badge. Now Farley helps shy children who have trouble reading aloud. Once the youngsters sit down with Farley on the colorful rugs, they don't want to stop reading him stories because he is a great listener, mispronunciations be damned!