Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
The Best Picture mixup at this year's Oscars might be the craziest thing to ever go down on the Academy Awards stage. But it didn't even rank among the weirdest things that happened in Miami's film scene this year, thanks to the Borscht Film Festival. For the tenth edition of its irregularly scheduled fest, the Borscht collective — a group of young filmmakers devoted to celebrating and sharing Miami's essential strangeness, and also responsible for introducing Moonlight's creators to each other — planned five days of hilarious and heartbreaking events and film screenings. They staged the festival's death, holding a funeral service at a Little Havana mortuary. They brought Animal Collective to the New World Center, a venue that normally hosts classical symphonies, to play trippy tunes accompanying videos of coral having sex. They rode Jet Skis across Biscayne Bay to a screening of the Kevin Costner anti-classic Waterworld. And if Borscht's events were inspired, the films the collective produced were inspiring. At the main screening, viewers saw a documentary about a dude who got internet-famous by filming videos of himself feeding deer in his backyard; a gritty neon drama about a violent Manila gang; and the short, animated tale of a Miami manicurist. One film showed artist Antonia Wright's naked body crashing through a glass pane in slow motion, over and over, more reverent, violent, and meaningful with each repetition. By the time the calendar hit Borscht's final day, which coincided with the Oscars, Moonlight's unorthodox win felt not only justified but also perfectly on trend.
Brendan Tobin is the hardest-working personality on Miami sports radio — and it's not even a close contest. In addition to his duties as producer of 790 the Ticket's morning show, Zaslow, Romberg, and Amber, he also hosts the station's 1- to-3 p.m. show alongside former NFL running back Leroy Hoard and jack-of-all-trades Brian London. Then, to top it all off, Tobin heads up a weekend MMA-centric gig called Fighter's Fury. Yet he isn't dialing it in. Through those countless hours of airtime, he consistently delivers a fun and knowledgeable vibe. Let's be honest: We need the brief respite of good sports chatter more than ever given the dumpster fire raging in global politics. Who really wants to tune into an angry host spouting off and battling irate callers for three hours? Miami wants a chance to laugh and maybe learn a little something about their favorite franchises. Tobin has this formula perfected. From his video and audio talents to his fake-call bits to his terrible yet somehow addictive Jay Ajayi impression, he'll keep you coming back for more.
Readers' choice: DJ Laz
Sports radio doesn't need to be so damn serious. Who needs endless hours of x's and o's or unending debates about who will start at left guard for the Dolphins discussed with all the gravity of the latest North Korean missile test? Besides, sports fans in 2017 have probably already spent hours upon hours ingesting enough of that kind of content on Twitter. Sports radio should be fun. It should feel like you're two IPAs deep at a sports bar, kicking it with a buddy, looking up at the TV, and hollering, "Can you believe how well Dion Waiters played this year?" When you tune into 560 WQAM's Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz, that's exactly what you'll get. Every weekday from 2 to 6 p.m., this show gives fans a fresh, fun, and informed take on the day's sports happenings. Veteran sports talker Marc Hochman is joined by sidekick Zach Krantz and former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, and the three get on and argue good-naturedly like, well, buddies knocking back IPAs at the local watering hole. Pop open a local brew and join the conversation.
Full disclosure: Jim DeFede spent roughly a decade crafting brilliant investigative stories and weekly columns for New Times back in the Wild West days of the '90s, when Gianni Versace roamed Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road was still full of bohemians. But while DeFede has long left the ragtag world of alt-weekly malcontents behind, his reporting is sharper than ever. During last year's U.S. Senate race, he outed Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy as a fraud. Murphy, who was running to unseat incumbent Marco Rubio, had claimed to be a certified public accountant and a self-made small-business owner. But DeFede showed that neither of those claims was quite true and that Murphy had exaggerated his resumé to make himself seem like something more than just the son of a rich dude. The report caught national attention and potentially stopped voters from helping to elect a liar. Which ended up giving us six more years of Marco Rubio. Hey, all you can do is dig up the truth and hope for the best! DeFede has been doing just that longer and better than anyone else in town.
Most TV-news anchors are drab automatons, trapped in identical suits and dresses, stuck reading near-identical news about shootings, muggings, and dogs that can water-ski. WSVN's Belkys Nerey is a breath of fresh air. The Cuban-born, Florida International University-educated anchor eschews the teased-up TV hair for a simple pixie cut. She ditches the always-grave, forever-serious anchor voice for a Miami-accent-tinged reading style that — gasp! — actually has real human personality. This was a huge year for news in Miami, from the death of Fidel Castro to the election of Donald Trump, and Nerey was a constant, reassuring presence on the air no matter the subject. In fact, she even hosts a 30-minute cooking show called Bites With Belkys that injects some literal spice into the TV-news landscape.
Readers' choice: Belkys Nerey
Working as a weather forecaster in Miami is much more fun than in most American cities — and truth be told, the job is a more important one here than almost anywhere else. Every summer and fall, South Florida residents dash off a prayer and hope a vengeful God doesn't level the city with an epic tropical cyclone. And CBS 4's Craig Setzer is dedicated to making sure Miamians know every single twist, turn, and tendril that makes up each storm. Setzer is an unabashed weather nerd and an adrenaline-hunting storm-chaser, the sort of person willing to drive right into the middle of a tempest just to see nature's awesome power. But Setzer isn't just some plastic TV talking-head: He's an instructor at the National Hurricane Center, a guest lecturer at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), and serves on the RSMAS Advisory Board for its Masters of Professional Sciences Program. Before moving to Miami, he spent his time chasing tornadoes. Now, he uses his mastery of weather science to — hopefully — prep the Magic City before the big one shows up again.