Best Of :: People & Places
"This is my statement/Sometimes cartoons make me cry/I am an artist." Say what? Some people have a difficult time folding their noggins around Rodriguez's approach to making art. Like his inscrutable haiku, his works can seem like those cookie fortunes that leave you scratching your head and pondering the content for days. The New World Art School grad has been stymieing the public since he bolted out of the gate with his first solo show, "A Pre-Career Retrospective," featuring drawings, paintings, and objects from his childhood. Rodriguez also once had himself followed by a private eye and then exhibited the investigator's documentation. For an early solo at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, which reps him, he packed the space with furniture he crafted and then hired a feng shui master to arrange it. During his solo show at Snitzer's during Art Basel 2004, he filled the gallery with conceptual odes to failed relationships, including a pair of mannequins on the verge of duking it out (now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art), and capped off the evening with a mariachi band he taught to sing punk-rock tunes. A squadron of international collectors and curators swarmed the event like bees to a honeycomb. The Kemper Museum of Art, the Rubell Family Collection, and the Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz Collection are among those that scooped up his stuff. Some of his recent work includes a neon reminder that the grim reaper is always knocking at the door, and a series of photographs in which he appears as a bearded Castro-like revolutionary in one panel, sports a Pancho Villa handlebar mustache in another, and wears Hitler lip lint in the last, milking beaucoup mileage out of his chin fur. Perhaps the pan of chocolate chip cookies he frosted with his name and phone number while fishing for a date with a girl he didn't know, and then subsequently photographed and titled "You're Just a Friend I Haven't Met," best captures his appeal. We can't think of anyone else in town with the chutzpah to pawn cookies off as art. But you know what? Bert did and ended up with the girl.
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!