BEST VENUE FOR LIVE MUSIC Miami 2003 - Manuel Artime Theater
Standing around a smoke-filled dive for hours on end as a band blasts away is great when you're twentysomething. But as anyone who's caught shows at the Jackie Gleason or the Gusman can attest, there comes a time in a hipster's life when he just wants to, well, sit down. So how can an, ahem, aging fellow catch some cutting-edge live music without enduring aching joints? Just follow the lead of a handful of local promoters who have been booking exciting up-and-coming acts into this overlooked (and city-owned) Little Havana gem, an honest-to-gosh theater. The Manuel Artime has great sightlines (the sloping floor means no bad seats) and free parking -- which adds up to a stress-free evening out. In fact the musicians who get the chance to hit the Artime's stage often seem just as excited as the crowd to be in such an august (yet unpretentious) hall. Not every gig here has been on the order of last fall's transcendent Bright Eyes show. But even a train wreck like the Miami debut of Cat Power -- where song after song literally came apart -- was received as a novel experiment gone awry, instead of two hours of your life you'll never get back. And how often can you say that about bad art?