Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
What makes Ruben Ubiera so special? He eschews traditional canvases for urban-associated items such as the sides of buildings, skateboards, and scrapped wooden fencing. But then, so do a lot of painters. The difference is that his work gives a touch of humanity to city corners that would look otherwise desolate. His signature tag isn't just a name scrawled in spray paint; it's the combination of his inimitable style and unexpected subject matter (think giant gorillas). This artist's work is one part graffiti art and one part classical illustration fused with plenty of Miami soul. Born in the Dominican Republic, Ubiera came to South Florida by way of New York City to attend the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale on a full scholarship. His career as an artist began traditionally, rather than in the DIY manner of most street artists. But his vision of Miami through overlapping abstractions and collages is more at home on the sides of Wynwood's buildings and in the neighborhood's lesser-known art fairs than in traditional art spaces. In the sterility of a gallery, his work reads like the work of a graphic novelist surveying Miami one portrait at a time. And that's cool and all. But it's best viewed within the world that inspired it, where the imperfections of the raw wood and 3-D effect of the skateboards he paints complement their surroundings, and vice versa. It's street-inspired art that, in a way, inspires the street itself.
READERS' POLL WINNERS
Best Art Gallery: Dorsch Gallery
Best Art-House Cinema: O Cinema
Best Bar, Central: Ricochet Bar & Lounge
Best Bar, Miami Beach: Chalk
Best Bar, South: Bougainvillea's
Best Bar, West: Blue Martini
Best Blog: Antisteez.com
Best Band: PALO!
Best Dance Club: LIV
Best DJ: Pinchadiscos 305
Best Gay Bar: Twist South Beach
Best Festival: Ultra
Best Movie Theater: Regal Cinemas South Beach
Best Museum: Miami Art Museum
Best Radio Station: Power 96 (96.5 FM)
Best Theater for Drama: GableStage at the Biltmore
Best TV News Anchor: Belkys Nerey
Best Twitter Feed: Pepe Billete (@PepeBillete)
Women. You know you can't live without them. But it sure helps if the one you're living with can carry on a conversation without using words like irregardless, high-larious, and — our personal favorite — anyways. Where can you find such a woman without having to scour comic-book conventions and Scrabble meetups? You want brains, but you could do without dressing up like Pikachu and engaging in cutthroat board-game play. Enter the SWAN Spoken Soul Festival, a celebration of women artists that climaxes with the Spoken Soul Showcase, an event featuring artists, singer/songwriters, photographers, and spoken-word artists — all of whom are female. In honor of International SWAN (Supporting Women Artists Now) Day, organizer, actress, and spoken-word artist Deborah Magdalena created an event that — wait for it — brings together the most talented, bright, creative, and (dare we say it?) beautiful women in Miami. Besides knowing who Mondrian is, female artists got swag. They're easy on the eyes — and that helps soothe the pain when they're laying the smackdown on you in a game of Words With Friends. If you're a dude looking for a brainy chick, your best bet is the Spoken Soul Showcase. If you're a chick looking for a brainy female, attend the Sunday brunch, which is ladies only. It's like shooting female Mensa fish in a barrel.
Face it: Spending your weekends at South Beach clubs hasn't helped your search for the perfect man. You want someone funny, handsome, and smart, but the majority of men bobbing their heads to the DJ's uhntz-uhntz are about as interesting as that recycled Madonna beat. Don't despair — the answer to your prayers is located right around the corner on Ocean Drive. In the middle of the art deco district, you'll find Effusion Gallery. Not only will you get a taste of Miami's culture through local artists' works, but also you just might find the man of your dreams. Sure, you'll occasionally encounter a hipster who overanalyzes every piece while wearing pants that are tighter than yours. But no doubt there will be at least one attractive smarty-pants checking out the scene. Replace that EDM with pop art; your ears and your love life will thank you.
It's 4 a.m. and you still haven't found a special lady with whom you can have a semi-inebriated conversation. You are thinking of calling it a night — but slow down there, buddy. There is a watering hole in downtown Miami perfect for meeting women who aren't ready to call it a night. Appropriately named the Corner — because it sits on the corner of NE 11th Street and North Miami Avenue — the bar takes its cues from places such as the Room in Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood and Living Room at the W South Beach in that it offers the carefully crafted cocktails of the latter with the craft beers and cheap pints of PBR of the former. The women who frequent the Corner are of the hipster variety, so their ears will perk up if you complain how gentrified Wynwood has become. If you really want to impress her, skip the cheap beer and order her a Falerno ($14). Served in a small goblet, the cocktail combines Diplomático rum, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, candied ginger, and citrus. Notes of clove and allspice dance on the palate, giving it a sexy mouth-feel without being called something silly like Sex on the Beach. And we haven't even told you the best part. If you arrive at 4 in the morning, take your time in wooing your future girlfriend. Last call at the Corner is nonexistent, as long as there are willing patrons. The establishment is the only bar in the 305 with a 24-hour liquor license — not counting nearby megaclubs like Space and Mekka — thanks to its location in the Miami Entertainment District.
Granted, the guys who regularly hang at Hooters to suck down pitchers might not be moneyed, but they obviously dig chicks — and not only the ones with wings. Heck, they congregate at a place known for exposing so much of its staff's cleavage that the servers don't even expect patrons to look them in the eye. According to general manager Peter Gonzalez, peak man hours are Fridays at lunchtime (understandably, because the restaurant offers a slew of menu items for under $7) and Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at dinnertime. Unfortunately the city put the kibosh on the eatery's motorcycle meetups — perhaps the sight of all those choppers and their leather-clad bosses put the Coral Gables ne'er-do-wells on red alert — but loads of dudes can still be found there on a regular basis. Like the Latin look, ladies? Stop by during pay-per-view boxing matches. Want variety? Head over when the Heat plays. And here's more advice: Don't try to compete with the Hooters girls. The guys already know that most of those gals are out of their league. Instead, be yourself, dress as you normally would, and don't seem so interested in what's on TV that you can't be engaged in conversation. Oh, and if you go for the first time and don't find anyone who gets your loins warm, at least you can order a plate of 3-Mile Island wings and fire up your face. See? It's a win-win.