Best Of :: People & Places
There's no doubt Miami is a party city. You don't have to look hard to find debauchery and loud music any night of the week. But every year the beginning of spring brings more than flowers and showers. The parties become uncontrollable, the banging beats are ubiquitous, and out-of-towners almost outnumber locals. This week is also known to electronic music lovers as Winter Music Conference. Alcohol, music, and people penetrate nearly every crevice from the Beach to downtown, from big commercial clubs to hidden dives and lounges. Even retail stores partake in the festivities. Joe "Budious" Gray (half the Aquabooty team) explains, "Music conference is when Miami as a whole is finally on our tip." That tip is a huge party driven by the love of music. It's so massive that clubs reach their maximum capacity before the night's climax, á la DJ Harvey and Miguel Migs at Pawn Shop. As if the partying going on during the official conference week weren't enough, dozens of pre- and post-WMC shindigs keep heads bobbing for a few extra days. This year's conference was marked by two musical monstrosities: Global Gathering and Ultra. Both concerts featured a bevy of DJs while splitting genre borders with rock performances by the likes of Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, and the Killers. And let's not forget the other music fests such as M3 and Remix Hotel, all taking place during Conference (with a capital C). Nothing else in Miami compares to WMC's eclectic blend of music and top-name artists. Think Sasha and Digweed, Frankie Knuckles, James Holden, Little Louie Vega, Richie Hawtin, and countless others. As a result, these thousands of DJs -- national, international, and local -- energized Miami and its people into a sweet and unforgettable insomnia for more than a week. No worries, though, there are 55 weeks left over to recover.
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!