Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
In a few short years, the stretch of Miami Beach from 32nd to 36th Street has gone from a rundown tourist trap to a glittering, world-class destination for the top 1 percent of the 1 percent. This is due to the vision of Alan Faena working with an incredible group of collaborators, including his longtime work partner, Ximena Caminos. The Argentine Faena is all id: He wears white exclusively, walks around in hats as large as oil rigs, and spends his free time building gigantic hotels and art houses with his name slapped on the side. He's like the most tasteful sibling Donald Trump never had. (Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and art-world king Larry Gagosian have already bought property at the Faena House condos, so Faena's Rolodex isn't far off from the Donald's.) And Caminos, the executive director of the nonprofit Faena Art, is in charge of bringing the culture of the district to life by supporting artists through the commissioning of new and time-based exhibitions — from popular to experimental — that are open to the community. In November, Caminos told Vogue she's trying to use the District's spaces, such as the newly built Faena Forum on Indian Creek Drive, to create a "fantastic artists' movement, a new romanticism" in town. We'll take that over a faceless condo complex any day.
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.