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People & Places

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Wekiwa Springs State Park

    What you need is a weekend away. But alas, Miamians, you're already living in the very place most Floridians vacation. So where to go? If you answered the Keys, go ahead and line up in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Seven Mile Bridge. (Besides, it's the same pastel motels, just more coconuts.) Instead, steer the car north like you're heading for… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Belkys Nerey

    Most TV news talking heads, even the dudes, look and act like failed beauty queens trying to make a second career for themselves. But WSVN's Belkys Nerey bucks that trend. The 42-year-old Emmy winner is a solid, straight-up anchorwoman — telegenic but still intelligent. Born in Havana, Nerey spent her childhood in Long Island before tripping down I-95 to South… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Russian and Turkish Baths

    Without warning, a woman brandishes two bushels of tree limbs and proceeds to beat our friend Lourdes from toes to shoulders. Between sweeps of the soggy branches, the woman dumps bucket after bucket of cold water on our friend. No, she's not swabbing the deck of a fishing boat. She's helping Lourdes relax with platza, one of the traditional spa… More >>
  • Best TV News Reporter

    Michael Putney

    Michael Putney doesn't tweet. He doesn't pop up when we search his name on Facebook. And as far as we can tell, he doesn't blog. No, sir, Michael Putney is decidedly old school, and in this Internet age, we couldn't appreciate him more. While most TV reporters seem to come and go, Putney has been covering local government and politics… More >>
  • Best Place to See Celebrities

    WALL Lounge at the W South Beach

    Miami is a town where clubs spit out adjectives like exclusive, VIP, and upscale like an overchewed piece of Juicy Fruit. But WALL Lounge is actually one of the few places that can blow hard without bursting its own bubble. Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union, the All American Rejects, Erykah Badu, Swizz Beatz, Jamie Foxx, Jason Binn, and Selita Ebanks are… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language TV Personality

    Alexis Valdés

    Last year, two giants of late night faced off in the sort of epic brawl we hadn't seen in years. It was splashier than Mothra versus Godzilla, cattier than Hillary versus Barack. No, it was not Leno and Conan. It was Alexis Valdés versus Mega TV. In Spanish television, the squabble over Valdés's contract to host Esta Noche Tu Night,… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    Billie Swamp Safari Wildlife Park

    Except for the beaches, South Florida is one big swamp. So why not show off the primitive, more adventurous side of the party town, throwing in a little dash of danger for good measure. Billie Swamp Safari is more than 2,000 acres of wilderness stretching through Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in the heart of the Everglades, close to Alligator… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Randy Moller

    "McCay back to Baumeister, over to the far side, Frolik takes a feed from Baumeister, he fires, he scores! L.A. face with an Oakland booty!" So goes just one of a myriad hilariously classic calls from Florida Panthers radio play-by-play announcer Randy Moller after every Panthers goal. A former first-round NHL draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques, Moller finished his… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    The Palms Hotel & Spa

    We're convinced this recently renovated gem is now the ultimate place for a resident's staycation or a visitor's escape. Let's boil it down to the basics: First, the interior designers have gone for an organic theme with the décor but didn't go over-the-top with Tommy Bahamas touches. Blessedly, no one made it all MTV-ed up in there with damask wallpaper,… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Carlos Garcia

    Radio waves travel through empty space at the speed of light in all directions at once. Smoke on that deep thought. Commercial ones flood the electromagnetosphere with an endless tsunami of horrible adverts and lame, overplayed music. But every Friday night, cool water washes over Miami radio with Sound Theory Live as local and touring bands perform at the WDNA… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    Virginia Gardens

    When Virginia Gardens elected J. E. Hardy mayor in 1947, only 50 residents of the small, lush green village were registered to vote. Virginia Gardens ceded from neighboring Miami Springs after that town passed a law banning the keeping of horses — something that didn't sit well with the transplants from the Old Dominion state. They transformed Virginia Gardens into… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Jorge Sedano

    Jorge Sedano is a loudmouthed Miami Cuban (we know that's redundant) with a morning sports/talk radio show on 790 AM. He and his crew come from the Dan Le Batard school of broadcasting, where pop-culture side talk is just as important to the show as the sports talk they feature. Sedano deals heavily in obscure movie and TV references, rap… More >>
  • Best Mile of Miami

    Main Highway, Douglas Road, and Ingraham Highway

    Her rock-gray back snake-winds through the green life on a shark's path through this sacred, ancient land. Every segment of humanity Miami has ever hosted has recognized her as a transport route. Tequestas, pirates, pioneers, settlers, farmers, builders, artists, killers, doctors, liars, cocaine cowfolk, and suburban homeowners have all staked claims along her highway. Today this engineer's line through Coconut… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Radio Personality

    Bernadette Pardo

    In an ocean of fiery morning-radio clatter, Bernadette Pardo is a cool, unwavering presence. Her direct approach to local news keeps listeners informed, proving there's still a place for serious journalism on the AM dial. Coming from a family of respected journalists, Pardo gets to the bottom of the daily events. From 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, Pardo… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    Life.is

    Founded in 2008 by local boy Andy Blazquez and Icelandic filmmaker Ingi Larusson, Life.is attempts to capture everything that makes Miami cool without selling out or looking to the old and tired Magic City tastemakers. Instead, with the help of local hipsterati member Barbie Bertisch, the duo captures the city's essence through decidedly apt text, video, and photography. "We are… More >>
  • Best Road to Avoid

    Doral Boulevard (AKA 36th Street and 41st Street)

    If you've ever ventured into Doral, you've probably had to brave the nauseating, car-sickening, I-just-want-to-get-out-of-my-car and-stab-someone traffic, especially on Doral Boulevard, AKA 36th Street, AKA 41st Street (maybe the confusing three names have something to do with its madness?). So do three other factors: insane construction on adjacent streets, which draws escaping traffic to the boulevard; the proximity of Doral… More >>
  • Best Local Blog

    South Florida Daily Blog

    Sometimes the information superhighway needs a roadmap, and the South Florida Daily Blog is just that, pinpointing all the best posts Miami's blogosphere has to offer, while adding its own info into the mix. Run by the semi-anonymous Rick, the frequently updated blog is the biggest cheerleader of other local bloggers, offering twice-daily highlights of their work as well as… More >>
  • Best Local Landmark

    The Freedom Tower

    For locals, the thought of downtown Miami conjures visions of our mega arena, contemporary skyscrapers, and the 17-story Spanish-style building that holds more history than all of its steel neighbors combined: the Freedom Tower. The building's ornate details, intricate points, and curves reminiscent of the Giralda Tower of Seville, along with pale peach and yellow tones, provide a stark contrast… More >>
  • Best Parking in Miami Beach

    Collins Park area between 21st and 23rd streets

    It seems obvious, but the secret is there are some hidden gems in the Collins Park area that few motorists bother to look for. Like the fact that after the Bass Museum of Art is closed, you can park after midnight for free in the small lot on Park Avenue near the gift shop. Most drivers worry they'll get towed,… More >>
  • Best Twitter Feed

    @AlfredSpellman

    Many people familiar with 31-year-old Alfred Spellman probably don't realize the wealth of knowledge and topics that the Rakontur producer (Cocaine Cowboys, The U) frequently tweets. While most Twitter users babble about nonsense on the social networking tool, in 140 characters or fewer, Spellman lets us know about inner happenings at Rakontur (FYI, Dawg Fight, the back-yard fighter documentary based… More >>
  • Best Miami Herald Reporter

    Matt Haggman

    When the county mayor holds up one of your emails at a news conference to rail at your alleged "bias" for exposing him and his inner circle for feeding at the trough when he's cutting services, it's a nice feather in any reporter's cap. Matt Haggman, who holds a law degree, worked his way up in Miami's infinitely small print-newspaper… More >>
  • Best-Kept Secret

    Free Big Cypress tours

    There's a great South Florida wonder between Miami and Naples, and we're not talking about the skunk ape. He's gotta be somewhere in Big Cypress National Preserve, that great, big national park in Miami's back yard. Every year from late November to April, the national park service offers ranger-guided tours through a variety of wilderness activities in the area. And… More >>
  • Best Miami Herald Story

    Adam Walsh murder revisited: The case against Jeffrey Dahmer

    The Miami Herald is not the venerable newspaper she used to be. The digital age, employee buyouts and layoffs, and the real estate meltdown have left her ragged and battered. She's even fallen to fifth place among the largest dailies in the state. (Great Alvah Chapman's ghost, Batman!) Yet more often than people give her credit for, the Herald shows… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend an Hour Midweek

    The Kampong

    Many attractions in Miami are so crowded, as Yogi Berra once said, no one goes there anymore. That's why a trip to the Kampong in Coconut Grove is so darn special. Once the home and gardens of Dr. David Fairchild (the botanist behind nearby Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden), the Kampong is a serene swath of lush tropical greenery and old… More >>
  • Best Local Writer

    John Dufresne

    John Dufresne is one of those great authors who write a lot about writing. And not just in his classic how-to books, such as Is Life Like This?, a step-by-step guide to writing a novel in six months, with chapters ingeniously broken into week-by-week advice for the aspiring wordsmith. No, even Dufresne's excellent fiction often treads into the meta territory… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    "How to Leave Hialeah," by Jennine Capó Crucet

    Jennine Capó Crucet burst onto the literary scene last year with a voice as fresh and welcome as a whiff of strong Cuban espresso. In her debut collection of stories, fathers spend weekends under their cars, aunts parade like the pope in their new sedans, girls meet predate disaster while removing facial hair, and the parish church is not haunted… More >>
  • Best Sanctuary From the Fast Track

    Lotus House Women's Shelter

    Anytime it pours in Overtown, the gutters teem with a rapid flow of discarded crack stems, broken glass, empty heroin bags, cigarette butts, tall cans, and blood spilled on hard concrete. Welcome to reality. Give thanks that Lotus House has offered about 130 homeless women and children a year's respite from the storm and an opportunity to build a vessel… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Pinecrest Gardens

    Parrots always creeped us out a little. It's like, "Dude, you're an animal — why the hell are you talking to me?" If we wanted to hear the opinions of a being with a walnut-size brain, we'd turn on cable news. And then there's the parrot's long-standing relationship with pirates. Not cool. So, anyway, we were pretty happy when Parrot… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Free drinks at art parties during Art Basel Week

    People With Money + Drink Sponsors = Hot Girls. Hot Girls + Free Drinks = Best Parties. Best Parties + Tourists + Art World + Miami + Free Drinks + Hot Girls + People With Money + You = An Amazing Scene.… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Perrine Wayside Dog Park

    Here at New Times, we think every pooch — from the mangiest of mutts (we're looking at you, Pabst, winner of 2009's Ugliest Dog Contest) to the purest of breeds — has the right to choose its very own spot to frolic, fart, and fetch. So, with that in mind, we wrote this description of the grrrrreatest dog park in… More >>
  • Best Party of the Year

    Lady Gaga at the Fontainebleau

    The hottest pop singer in the world performing at the most over-the-top hotel in Miami had scenesters in a tizzy as they fought to score tickets to this unprecedented New Year's Eve soiree. The Fontainebleau hosted the most in-demand NYE party on the international circuit with more than $1 million in presales. (Rumor has it that Lady Gaga herself picked… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    Little Haiti Tour

    If beachside routes are as popular and predictable as Top 40 radio, this tour is like NPR: You'll learn something if you pay attention. Witness the confused chicken clucking around NE Second Avenue. This is her home, and she is not afraid of you. Head west and wonder, What's that noise? It sounds like a party, but it's actually a… More >>
  • Best Burlesque Troupe

    Shameless Burlesque

    Like the quiet kid in class, burlesque dancers are intriguing because of what they don't show you. Unlike strippers (who show too much) or ballerinas (who show too little), the sexy ladies of Shameless Burlesque understand the art of the tease. These pierced and tattooed vixens — who look like a gang of SuicideGirls — use music, film, and dance… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Morningside Park

    At first glance, Morningside Park looks like the VIP room of open space. But don't let the arm gate and security guards fool you: It's available to everyone. Tucked away in what feels like a secret nook, a few happy joggers sweat next to a bay dotted with sailboats. The sun rises over the water while they heave — hearts… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Dharma Studio

    Many single females in this town tend to think they're better, smarter, and more worthy than any single male. So gawking from the opposite side of a bar or spitting out slick lines poolside might not get the average prowling male very far. Not to mention that ladies often travel in packs, so guys must first penetrate the often jaded… More >>
  • Best Place to Kayak

    Coastal Key Biscayne

    Want a daylong kayak adventure? Hit the emerald waters off Key Biscayne, cut through bridges and canals, and explore historical sites while spotting stingrays, tropical fish, sea turtles, and the occasional pod of dolphins or manatees, under the open canopy of stark blue and sunshine, with the downtown Miami skyline as your backdrop. Paddle the coastal edges and examine the… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Intelligent Women

    Volunteering for Aqua Foundation for Women

    If a charity can be simultaneously sexy and socially aware — like Al Gore in a corset — these girls can pull it off. The Aqua Foundation for Women raises money for breast cancer and promotes equality for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ladies. But don't get them wrong: These chicks know how to throw a bash. Take, for example, a… More >>
  • Best Basketball Courts

    Victory Park

    The only way to get into a pick-up game at any number of basketball courts around this city is to either be really patient while waiting to get into a game or to anticipate someone's knee ligament exploding and then hoping his teammates choose you to play. That will never happen, because the pick-up basketball gods hate you. The best… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet (Hopefully) Single Men

    Vizcayans' Halloween Sundowner

    No, you can't tell what his face really looks like. And, yes, perhaps he is hiding a ring under that Freddy Krueger glove, which, by the way, he happens to be wearing on the wrong hand. But just for tonight, you can be sure that your masqueraded mate is the pick of the litter. Why? This annual event seems to… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Judge Arthur I. Snyder Tennis Center

    These courts, a stone's throw from the centuries-old Spanish Monastery and just a mile or so from Aventura Mall, are perfectly kept, reasonably priced, and run by the top pro in South Florida, Desi Pierre. Twelve clay courts save wear on your knees, and there are six hard courts. No waiting here, except maybe on megabusy weekend mornings. Want your… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Intelligent Men

    University of Wynwood - CLOSED

    Let's be honest: The truly genius guys are stuck inside their homes after failing to figure out how to unlock the front door. What you're looking for is one notch below, a man who's as comfortable discussing the latest Jonathan Lethem novel as he is changing a tire. We can't believe you haven't considered looking here yet, but may we… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Miami Shores Country Club

    Say your boss just reamed you out at that bank where you work downtown. You'll resort to violence if you don't find a release. Head only a few miles north to the range at Miami Shores Country Club, where you can swing under the lights until 9 p.m. seven days a week. Or stop by before work. It opens at… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Miami Metrozoo

    In Miami, too many dudes follow the path of accused Ponzi schemer Nevin K. Shapiro and cracked-out music producer Scott Storch to woo the ladies. However, just because you can check into a W Hotel beachfront suite for a few days, rent a Carolina-blue Lamborghini Diablo, and buy bottle service at every Opium Group venue on South Beach using other… More >>
  • Best Beach

    North Shore Open Space Park

    We want to work on our Charlie Crist-grade tans without having to play beach-blanket bingo in the shadows of the high-rises that dominate most of Miami Beach. In fact, many of us wouldn't mind a beach experience sans the concrete, snowbirds, and tourists that are hard to avoid on most local sands. Thankfully, there's North Shore Open Space Park, a… More >>
  • Best Place for a Second Date

    Red Fish Grill

    The best part about a second date is that the ice has already been broken, the introductions are out of the way, and that awkward get-to-know-you phase has passed. Now it's time to kick it up a notch. And you do that by going to a place that not only has great food, but also is bathed in romantic ambiance… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park

    Sure, there are the obvious spots: Crandon Park for sun-soaked cookouts and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for a quiet day in the shade. But this 22-acre park is the kind of untapped green space that will make you forget you live in the city. The place looks like a scene from FernGully. Located in North Miami, the park is covered… More >>
  • Best Place for a Tenth Date

    Mainstage Improv show at Just the Funny Theater

    So the two of you have monkeyed around at the zoo; eaten some aquatic life at Red Fish Grill; caught a movie; taken a long walk on the beach; gotten some ice cream; gone bowling, ice skating, fishing, and ice fishing (in the middle of the rink where you went ice skating); gotten kicked out of said rink; snuck back… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum

    Look, how you spend your free time is your own business. But if you're planning to use your next day off to snorkel in the Upper Keys or ride your BMX through Flamingo Park, we're going to just say it: We think you're boring. There's a town just an hour and half north that's named after a planet. And as… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Jazz in the Gardens

    For all of those jazzy people in SoFla searching for a little musical healing, look no further than Jazz in the Gardens. Forget the pot-smoking, drunken hot mess that is every other music festival in MIA. JITG is an arena where megamusicians come to spread their melodic wings, and mature concertgoers come to watch them fly. Celebrating its fifth anniversary… More >>
  • Best Leisure Activity Other Than Clubs or Movies

    Palmetto Muzzle Loaders

    If you spend all of your spare time secretly polishing 300-year-old firearms, dressing like an authentic Appalachian mountain man, and hiding in your neighbors' bushes, there's a club for you. It's called the Palmetto Muzzle Loaders. For more than 50 years, the members of this antique gun group have been getting together to celebrate their shared love of early America,… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    95 Express Bus

    Let's face it: Sometimes Dade denizens need to visit our dull Caucasian neighbor county to the north. Until this year, that usually involved a gas-guzzling trip on traffic-clogged I-95. It still does — but now the Miami-Dade and Broward transit agencies pick up most of the tab. The 95 Express Bus makes rush-hour trips from five locations in downtown Miami… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Miami Seaplane

    Air travel has really gone to shit. You're either waiting in lines or on the tarmac, paying for the luxury of bringing luggage, forced to go barefoot, or just merely uncomfortable as a brat kicks out the beat to "Single Ladies" on the back of your seat. Really, jetpacks can't be invented soon enough. Until then, recapture the thrill of… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    Outdoor gym at Kennedy Park

    Your typical gym is crowded at rush hour, smells of antiseptic, and plays a rotating soundtrack of groaning jocks and bad house music. It's pricey too. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff should know. He works out at Coral Gables' Equinox, which, for a base rate of $129, could probably keep a few of those laid-off city employees on the ledger. So in… More >>
  • Best Place to Throw a Party

    Paris Theatre, AKA Paris Studios - CLOSED

    The 1940s structure nestled in South Beach's "seedier" area is perhaps Miami-Dade's most luxe spot to throw a party. Just ask Cartier, Range Rover, and Swarovski — they've all used the film/photo studio and event space to launch their brands. What started out as a movie theater became in 1992 a flexible space, converted by owner Eugene Rodriguez. Since then,… More >>
  • Best Grassroots Organization

    Raices de Esperanza (Roots of Hope)

    If you live in Miami and you're not the type to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Elián saga by screaming and burning photos of Castro and Janet Reno outside Versailles, there's a good chance you're pretty cynical about Cuban rights activism. And who could blame you? Enough hot air comes out of Calle Ocho's daily coffee-counter arguments every afternoon… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Stoned

    Neptune Memorial Reef

    Everyone smokes in cemeteries. It's an age-old rite of passage for any pothead. You toke, take a seat on someone's grave, and let your chemically deranged brain trip on the exasperating enigmas of human existence. The Neptune Memorial Reef, however, is some genuinely next-level shit. Located three and a quarter miles off Key Biscayne, the reef is an actual underwater… More >>
  • Best Charity

    Miami Children's Hospital Foundation

    When children get sick in South Florida, there is only one hospital dedicated to accommodating every one of their pediatric needs. In order to keep this inspiring medical facility running, a charity was developed. Today, Miami Children's Hospital Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose only mission is to create awareness and generate funds for Miami Children's Hospital (MCH), the only… More >>
  • Best Escape From Reality

    Broward County

    You smell Broward before you reach it — a whiff of brine and ambition. Broward, at least the southern bit, feels unsettled. At a certain famous Hollywood restaurant, you can maow a world-class seafood sammich or cheeseburger while sitting on a piece of unpolished driftwood and watching cockroaches scuttle up nearby trees. In Dania, a town constructed of decommissioned buoys… More >>
  • Best Place to Do Your Laundry, Get Dinner, and Grab Coffee

    Mary's Coin Laundry

    Laundry or dinner? As grim a Sophie's choice as we've ever had to make. What if there were another way? Welcome to Mary's Coin Laundry. Materials: two loads of dirty laundry, lots of quarters, spare cash, ravenous appetite, preferably spurred by misguided late-Sunday-night marathon of Dazed and Confused. Instructions: Panic. The workday begins in a couple of hours, and there… More >>
  • Best Activity While Intoxicated

    Beer Snob MIA-Bicycle Pub Crawl

    Riding a bicycle is fun. Drinking booze is totally awesome. What happens when you mix the two together? Totally awesome fun! And judging from the success of the first Beer Snob MIA-Bicycle Pub Crawl, combining boozing and cycling is an indicator of why Bicycling magazine rated Miami one of its Top 50 cities for bike lovers. Nearly 100 cyclists met… More >>
  • Best Vending Machine

    The Semi-Automatic at Mondrian South Beach

    So there you are, lounging by the pool at your fancy hotel, when it hits you: You forgot to bring your $350 gold handcuffs! You also left your $25 fake eyelashes at home! And, dammit, you didn't pack your $400 marabou feather vest! Well, don't worry your pretty little head. The vending machine at Mondrian South Beach — the glittering,… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen

    Daisy Deadpetals

    Once upon a time, there was a little prince who wanted to dress up like a girl. His majesty was named Kenny, and he was not happy in his kingdom. Unhappy he was, for there were no fair maidens he wanted to wed. He preferred to take dance classes, listen to Tori Amos records, and kiss other princes. One day,… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    Balans

    Prudes freak when they see the glass-door bathrooms at Balans in Brickell. That is, until they flip the lock to the left and realize the door magically fogs up to provide discretion. Totally private stalls? Priceless! Not having to hear your neighbor deal with his or her gas or nausea? Refreshing. Knowing no one is looking under the partition at… More >>
  • Best Plastic Surgeon With an Artistic Streak

    Dr. Jose Perez-Gurri

    More often than not, it's difficult to find your daughter and girlfriend in harmonious accord over aesthetic issues. But when it comes to cosmetic surgery, they are in melodious agreement when chirping away at the virtues of Jose Perez-Gurri, M.D., founder and director of Imagos Plastic Surgery in Kendall. Sure, they discovered the talented doctor independently and had their procedures… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Gold Coast Railroad Museum

    From an early age, kids show a glowing fascination for trains and train sets. Maybe it's because they're drawn to the power and ingenuity of a train, to the rumble of steam and coal and thundering wheels. Maybe it's the innate sense of exploration that only a locomotive can satisfy. Or maybe it's because trains are just so friggin' cool.… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Edouard Duval-Carrié

    We love the work of Edouard Duval-Carrié for many reasons. Not the least of which is that we snagged one of his iconic sculptures for $20 at a Wynwood thrift shop during Art Basel 2007. The kiwi-green resin figure represented Agoue, Haiti's version of Poseidon. It was appraised at $500 by Bernice Steinbaum, the artist's longtime dealer, less than a… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    Primary Flight

    The streets of Wynwood are one big outdoor museum. There's no entrance fee, the art is world-caliber, you can stay as long as you like, and (almost) no one will get mad if you piss in the bushes. Take that, MOMA! It's mostly all thanks to the folks behind the world's largest site-specific street-level mural installation project. Every year, some… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Spinello Gallery

    Anthony Spinello's rise on the local art scene has been meteoric. Just a little more than three years ago, he was organizing tiny yet well-curated shows shoehorned into the even tinier living room of his Wynwood walk-up apartment. Soon the lad's comet began burning brightly and local collectors took notice, as did South Florida's emerging talent, who began begging to… More >>
  • Best Street Art

    Obama Mural on NE 54th Street at North Miami Avenue

    There have been entire books dedicated to Miami's street art, but we're fascinated by the handful of Obama murals that grace the streets of Little Haiti and Liberty City. Depending on the neighborhood, his skin tone and ethnicity varies. Some portraits look like something the Oval Office would commission: Obama flashing a reassuring smile, an American flag waving in the… More >>
  • Best Art Exhibit

    "Reverón's Dolls"

    This little seen but deftly mounted exhibit, organized at the now-moribund Tachmes space by indie curator Jorge Hulian, featured 37 haunting photographs by Venezuelan artist Luis Brito. The shutterbug transported viewers into the bizarre world of his compatriot Armando Reverón, who died in 1954 following a steady decline into dementia. One of Latin American art history's most enigmatic figures, Reverón… More >>
  • Best Art Compound

    Bakehouse Art Complex

    In 1987, some hippy artists lost their pad in the Grove, formed a nonprofit, and bought an old bread factory in Wynwood. Back then, the area's main offerings were heroin, guns, and abandoned bread factories. Nowadays, the neighborhood is the epicenter of Miami's art world. While a new gallery seems to pop up and shut down every week, the Bakehouse… More >>
  • Best Art Museum

    Bass Museum of Art

    Last year, the Bass took a radical departure from the musty offerings of baroque paintings and uneven programming that led to the institution's decline. In spring 2009, museum visitors were greeted at the entrance by a local artist who had buried himself in the ground with only his head exposed like an Indian fakir. The neck-craning moment occurred during the… More >>
  • Best Public Art Nook

    The Wynwood Walls

    The concept is simple: Keep the spirit of Wynwood's emerging street art scene, only curate it more tightly. Commission 15 muralists from around the world to cover the outdoor space. Add grass, tables, and a basketball hoop. Open it to the public free of charge. That's what collaborators Tony Goldman and Deitch Projects did on a still-gritty stretch of NW… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Haitian Heritage Museum

    So, what is the Haitian-American community to do when trying to connect with its roots while away from the motherland? Build a 60,000-square-foot museum in a neighborhood with the largest Haitian population outside the island. Located on the outskirts of Little Haiti, the Haitian Heritage Museum is a nonprofit organization committed to highlighting and preserving Haiti's rich culture and heritage.… More >>
  • Best Value on Ocean Drive

    Happy hour at the Clevelander Hotel

    Value — like good looks, wealth, and the quality of Will Ferrell movies — is all relative. A good hotel value along the Champs-Élysées, for instance, won't much resemble a value motel along North Biscayne Boulevard. So, what exactly is the meaning of value on Ocean Drive, the beating heart of South Beach's triple-priced, sidewalk-model-hawking tourist-trap racket? In our book,… More >>
  • Best Vanity Art Space

    John Brevard - CLOSED

    At his freshly squeezed Wynwood space, John Brevard has quickly become the envy of neighborhood artists. His eponymous 4,500-square-foot showroom opened in March 2010 with champagne-soaked splendor that included a red carpet and velvet ropes, $10 valet parking, a jazz saxophone soloist, and a fashion show. Revelers at the inaugural were treated to gift bags and photographed for a spread… More >>
  • Best Political Miscalculation

    Miami corruption arrests

    Say you're a new mayor and you want to make a splash. Say your city is known for malfeasance. And say you just whacked the pain-in-the-butt police chief because he wouldn't do your bidding. What do you do? You arrest a bunch of chumps on corruption charges to show the size of your mighty cojones. Problem is, Miami Mayor Tomás… More >>
  • Best Art Party

    NeckFace's Halloween Bash - CLOSED

    At this unpredictable, prison stripe-painted bunker west of Wynwood, renegade graffiti rat turned fine artist NeckFace parachuted into town for "Devil's Disciple," one of the most hyped events of the cultural calendar year. The secretive West Coast gremlin didn't disappoint with his wicked little drawings of blood-puking babies and raunchy cast of curb zombies and gore-basted amputees. His nefarious doodles… More >>
  • Best Chutzpah

    Carlos Alvarez's new BMW

    Say you're in the midst of the worst economic meltdown in decades and face a $360 million shortfall next year. As an elected leader of Miami Dade County, you send a clear message to voters by:A. vowing to take public transportation to work.B. joining a car pool.C. getting a BMW 500i Gran Turismo.The final answer is exactly what Mayor Carlos… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Cheap Art

    Salvation Army Thrift Store

    If you're like us, living paycheck to paycheck, yet suffer from a sweet tooth for the finer things, such as an original oil painting or fine art print to brighten up that dreary futon in your Section 8 walkup, this Wynwood art emporium will warm the cockles of your heart. On any given day, the gritty shop, located in the… More >>
  • Best Quote

    "They don't know this nappy-headed child of God has her armor on!"

    Wonky TV dramas have nothing on the real-life soap opera that is Miami politics. Take Michelle Spence-Jones's acceptance speech upon being re-elected to her city commission seat in November 2009, moments before being led away in handcuffs on grand theft charges. The thing was a work of art that would have made The Wire's indignant-when-indicted Sen. Clay Davis blush with… More >>
  • Best Art Dealer

    David Castillo

    David Castillo is a rare bird among Miami's intrepid flock of art dealers. He is the only one of his tribe other than Fredric Snitzer or Kevin Bruk to crack the mysterious Art Basel blockade on Miami galleries in recent memory. And this year, he became only the second Miami dealer accepted to participate at the Armory Fair in New… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Ric O'Barry

    Anyone watching the Oscars in March would have seen the normally staid Best Documentary speech shaken up by the unfurling of a sign reading, "Text DOLPHIN to 44144." It's no surprise that Ric O'Barry, a Coconut Grove native, pulled a stunt like that. Not only was he featured prominently in the film The Cove, but also the dolphin activist has… More >>
  • Best Art Performance

    Juraj Kojs

    For his quirky, muscle-powered opus, Neraissance, avant composer Juraj Kojs relied on good old-fangled elbow grease to explore kinetic energy in an artistic context. As part of the Miami Light Project's Here & Now Fest at the Arsht Center this spring, the Slovakian artist combined human performers, experimental sound, and bleeding-edge analog and digital gadgetry in a rollicking 20-minute spectacle… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Rev. Gaston E. Smith

    Liberty City is in desperate need of a leader. When native Houstonian Rev. Gaston E. Smith took over the pulpit at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on NW 58 Street, it seemed the troubled community had found one. The fiery preacher was a role model, a diplomat, and a father figure, all stuffed into a linebacker's build and a flashy… More >>
  • Best Play

    Blasted

    It wasn't particularly brave of director Joseph Adler to mount a production of this extremely controversial play, and that's because he couldn't have resisted anyway. Blasted is the ideal play for Adler's GableStage — a powerfully moral tale wrapped in extremely weird and frequently disturbing packaging. In it, Adler introduced us to a girl with developmental disabilities, and then he… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Sofia Vergara

    OK, technically the bombshell star of ABC's hit sitcom Modern Family is not originally from Miami. But this Colombian-born actress made the Magic City her home way before she became a famous actress. While living in Miami, she modeled, hit the nightclubs (as Chris Paciello's onetime girlfriend), and hosted a slew of shows for Univision. After making a noticeable splash… More >>
  • Best New Play

    Broadsword

    Though Broadsword has not, as of this writing, had its official world premiere, it certainly appeared to be a finished piece of work when it spooked audiences at the Light Box. The farcical concept — basically "old metal band reunites to rescue its savant lead guitar player, who has written a guitar riff so darkly perfect it opened a portal… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Trina

    Celebrity is a fickle beast. When nude photos of Miami rapper Trina showed up online and were not exactly flattering — think a mysterious pancake-size rash on her arm — her next album suddenly became a "comeback" project. And unlike Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, and other sexpots who had their most intimate moments revealed to basement masturbators from… More >>
  • Best Director

    Ricky J. Martinez for "Equus"

    Equus is a dangerous play. It's both talky and impassioned, and in clumsy hands can tend toward bombast. But in a sparse, surreal production at New Theatre, Ricky J. Martinez revealed a heretofore unsuspected sensitivity, imbuing the play's labyrinthine lines with complexity and nuance. He was mightily assisted by actors David Hemphill and Samuel Randolph (who receive awards elsewhere in… More >>
  • Best Local Mainstay

    Darrell Stuckey

    Before a movie plays at the Gusman Theater, Darrell Stuckey lumbers to his balcony box two floors above the stage. He puts on the slippers he keeps there, sits on his wooden bench, and with the push of a button, turns on the wind turbine on the other side of the stage that powers the 85-year-old pipes of the theater's… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Tie: Todd Allen Durkin for "Blasted"; David Hemphill for "Equus"

    A tie is a terrible thing, but there was simply no way that either of these performances couldn't win. Todd Allen Durkin is a veteran actor who, year after year, blows minds in theaters across Florida. He has won every award known to man, save for a Tony, a Nobel, and a Darwin. And in this spring's Blasted, he turned… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Rep. Kendrick Meek

    While Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist have battled it out on the right, throwing tea bags, credit card receipts, back wax allegations, and pictures of man hugs at each other, Kendrick Meek has quietly held his head high and pursued the U.S. Senate seat, one he might actually have something of a chance of winning now. Don't get us wrong… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Angie Radosh in "The Glass Menagerie"

    It's almost impossible to add something new to a role as well trodden as that of Amanda Wingfield, but Angie Radosh did precisely that. As an aging Southern mother, wrenched from both the South of her youth and the gentility to which she was once accustomed, she wore her dignity like a summer dress — one that, unlike her other… More >>
  • Best Political Comeback

    Rev. Richard Dunn

    On January 13, Rev. Richard Dunn found himself back in familiar territory: in second place. Dunn, a firebrand community activist and pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church, had lost every election he'd touched since a stint as an appointed city commissioner in 1996. This year, yet again, he lost to incumbent Michelle Spence-Jones, who ran in a special election for… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor

    James Samuel Randolph in "Equus"

    Stupid actors cannot play smart characters, and smart actors cannot play brilliant ones. Dr. Martin Dysart, a shrink and classics scholar, is an almost frighteningly brilliant character, making abstract connections between the ecstatic religious life of classical antiquity and the spiritual inertia of modern Western existence. James Samuel Randolph understood and felt every nuance of every line, and this breathtakingly… More >>
  • Best Political Coup

    Marco Rubio takes down Charlie Crist

    It's early 2009, somewhere on Florida's sun-kissed Gulf Coast, and Charlie Crist stumbles out the attic window at a house party, stares down at the drunken crowd around a pool, and screams, "I am a golden god!" Wait, maybe that's a scene from Almost Famous. Still, that pretty much sums up how Florida's crisply tanned golden boy felt 12 months… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress

    Patti Gardner in "The New Century"

    The New Century is a tough play. Its challenge lies in taking extremely improbable characters and locating within them a common humanity. Patti Gardner's character, Helene Nadler, is puzzling over the fact that her three children have become gay. But not just gay — they are peerlessly queer. The eldest is a garden-variety lesbian, the middle child is an M-to-F… More >>
  • Best Citizen

    Rev. George McRae

    For more than 30 years, Liberty City pastor George McRae has toiled with an unpopular specialization: Caring for those living with HIV/AIDS. When he first became pastor of Mount Tabor Baptist Church on NW 66 Street in 1989, AIDS held such a strong stigma that its victims were shunned by many priests and pastors. But Palatka native McRae, who from… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast

    Paul Tei, Scott Genn, Erik Fabregat, Sofia Citarella, George Schiavone, and Gregg Weiner in "Broadsword"

    At first, we thought Broadsword's cast was too muted. What with Paul Tei, Scott Genn, Greg Weiner, and Erik Fabregat, the play should have been louder than life, as loud as the play's dark, metallic final song (for which several of the actors had to learn to play instruments). Later their sobriety came to seem entirely appropriate. As a band… More >>
  • Best Part-Time Citizen

    Aaron "the Downtown Don" Bondaroff

    At age 33, Aaron "the Downtown Don" Bondaroff can't be called a hip kid anymore. He's just a little too old for that tag. These days, Bondaroff is more a man about town. Two towns, actually. A half-Jewish, half-Puerto Rican high school dropout, Bondaroff initially made his mark during New York City's mid-'90s Alleged Gallery boom. But unlike other scene… More >>
  • Best Set Design in a Play

    Tim Connelly for "Blasted"

    Basically, a classy hotel room is demolished by a mortar blast in about five seconds, and the smoking wreck continues to crumble throughout the remainder of the play. The skies open up and rain pours through what used to be the ceiling, squarely onto the face of actor Todd Allen Durkin, who's half-hiding in a hole in the floor. It… More >>
  • Best Civic Lady

    Sarah Nesbitt Artecona

    For a dozen years, Sarah Nesbitt Artecona crafted the messages that Miami-Dade commissioners wanted to convey to the public. As director of the county's communications department, Artecona was their voice. But one too many tongue lashings by the likes of former commissioner Miriam Alonso, and she sought greener (and orange) pastures at the University of Miami as the school's communications… More >>
  • Best Theater for Drama

    The Naked Stage at the Pelican Theatre

    We believe theater comes best in small packages, and the Naked Stage's space is so tiny that the folks in the back row are closer to the actors than the people in the front row at the Arsht Center. Such intimacy allows the artists to utterly transform a space, to make the audience feel as though they inhabit an extension… More >>
  • Best Power Couple

    Mera and Don Rubell

    When it comes to art collectors in town, there are the Rubells, and then there's everybody else. Martin Margulies has his own minimuseum, so does Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, but the Rubells opened their 5,000-piece collection to the public a decade ago, before any of those amateurs. By choosing Wynwood as their base, they raised the blighted neighborhood's profile, which soon turned… More >>
  • Best Opera

    "Suor Angelica" by Puccini

    This minor Puccini one-act, often overlooked, stole the show from the more famous I Pagliacci in a Florida Grand Opera double-header. It's difficult to make a bunch of identical nuns look compelling, but director Sandra Pocceschi asserted some cagey blocking to let us know who was whom, and as this brief tale of regret and injustice played out on FGO's… More >>
  • Most Sexed-Up Religious Figure

    Father Alberto Cutié

    Once dubbed "Father Oprah" by his devout Catholic followers, Alberto Cutié's handsome face and sweet Spanish words reached millions of homes in more than 20 countries via television, radio, books, and a syndicated newspaper column wherein he doled out relationship advice. Ah, the irony. His faithful parishioners took the counsel of a man who committed to a vow of celibacy,… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Borscht Film Festival

    There are two words you don't want to hear at a film festival: technical and difficulties. But when the Borscht Film Festival was delayed, the Gusman audience of more than 1,500 people happily waited two hours while a new projector was fetched from Hialeah. Local artists in the audience entertained with impromptu performances. Afrobeta and Sirens & Sealions played a… More >>
  • Best Criminal Conviction

    Ex-Judge Phil Davis

    In 1993, Phil Davis performed the judicial equivalent of a David Blaine extreme magic act. This year, all the card tricks in the world couldn't save him. Back in the early '90s, Davis, then a sitting Miami-Dade judge, had been swept up in a massive FBI sting called Operation Court Broom. The feds recorded Davis on tape accepting a $20,000… More >>
  • Best Movie Shot on Location

    I Love You Phillip Morris

    You know, we didn't always have Snooki and various Kardashians shooting brain-cell-killing lasers out of their otherwise empty heads at us through the television box. A long time ago, people actually went to theaters and watched these things called films. You probably wouldn't know it by looking at the slate of filming permits filed in Miami-Dade this past year, but… More >>
  • Best Solution to the Last-Call Debate

    Staggered closing times

    Recently, the idea of moving up the last-call time in clubland has gathered steam. But we don't think the draconian measure is a good way to dampen the spirits. Move the time up to 3 a.m., and tons of patrons will cozy up to the bar for a last-hurrah booze binge beginning at 2:30. Then they'll end up out in… More >>
  • Best TV Show Set in Miami

    CSI: Miami

    Every episode begins the same. A dead body. Forensics on the scene. And CSI Lt. Horatio "H" Caine, played by superserious, melodramatic David Caruso getting debriefed on the situation. Caine looks at the body, assesses the situation, slowly and deliberately puts on his sunglasses, and blurts out a really bad pun such as "Looks like this guy was taken to… More >>
  • Best Chronicler of Miami's Underbelly

    "DC Vision" of the Street

    We've all seen some things in this city — dirty, nasty, criminal, soul-crushing things. Most of us, with our trademarked 305 cynicism, tend to ignore them. But an anonymous man, going by the Internet handle of DC Vision, is paying attention. In 2007, he began taking photographs of the prostitutes and drug addicts who line the streets of downtown Miami.… More >>
  • Best Dolphins Player

    Chad Henne

    When the Miami Dolphins made Chad Henne the 57th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, no one was really sure what the team was getting. (This has been the case with any quarterback drafted or signed since Dan Marino retired in 1999.) Hailing from the University of Michigan, Henne was a big kid with four-year starter experience, a bazooka… More >>
  • Best Flack

    Ignacio Rodriguez, public relations manager, FC Miami

    Ignacio Rodriguez's title for South Florida's chronically anonymous pro-soccer team is a bit oxymoronic — like being a real estate agent to the homeless, or head of the Israeli shellfish harvesters' union. Attendance at the team's tin-bleachered Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale rarely exceeds the single-digit thousands, and the front office has taken to frequent gimmicks in order to stave… More >>
  • Best Heat Player

    Michael Beasley

    For some inexplicable reason, Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra has a habit of starting Michael Beasley and then sitting him down during the stretch run of games. Even on nights when the team is down a crapload of points in the fourth quarter and in desperate need for someone other than Dwyane Wade to put the ball in the… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Tom Falco, editor, Coconut Grove Grapevine

    Tom Falco's Coconut Grove Grapevine community blog can be irritating. When he's writing about threatening to take photos of kids "posing" as school basketball players — only to watch them "scatter like rats" — or railing against a woman in a food truck poaching customers from Grove restaurants, Falco has all the perspective of a Picasso. But Merriam-Webster's definition of… More >>
  • Best Marlins Player

    Josh Johnson

    OK, so shortstop phenom Hanley Ramirez is the best Marlin — until the day he absconds to a bigger market or enters the Hall of Fame with a portrait of a gasping fish on his cap. But baseball connoisseurs will tell you there's more than one potential superstar on the team. Big Josh Johnson, at six-foot-seven and 252 pounds, is… More >>
  • Best 15 Minutes of Fame

    Lyrikill.com

    You might not have heard any songs by Fort Lauderdale rapper Lyrikill.com — yes, his stage name is a web address — but if you regularly watch network news, you've probably seen his work. The dreadlocked white boy has taken self-promotion to obsessive, highly invasive new levels. For three years, he's been bum-rushing live telecasts while screaming and holding signs… More >>
  • Best Panthers Player

    Stephen Weiss

    Turns out the Florida Panthers might have known what they were doing back in 2001 after all. For years, fans have looked at the '01 draft — when the Cats held the fourth overall pick and a chance to turn their struggling franchise around — as a massive missed opportunity. The Panthers took a quick-skating center from Ontario named Stephen… More >>
  • Best Local Organization to Volunteer For

    Streetwaves Foundation

    If you want to instill some peace in angry, hot-headed inner-city youth, have them, like, grab a board and become a mellow dude riding the waves. That's the idea Maurice "Maui" Goodbeer came up with while surfing the South Beach shores after his brother's death in 2003. Goodbeer had delivered his slain brother's eulogy and promised his family he'd find… More >>
  • Best Sports Signing

    Karlos Dansby

    The Miami Dolphins brass has shown a habit of holding back when it comes to big-name free-agent signings. Their philosophy seems to be spreading the wealth at different positions rather than giving one big check to one player. But this off-season, when Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby became a free agent, the Fins pounced on him like Tom Cruise… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Ass Kicked

    American Top Team Doral

    Do you find yourself watching UFC fights on pay-per-view, envisioning yourself in briefs decorated with the flag of your native country, with blood dripping down your face and an award-winning case of cauliflower ear? If so, you might be clinically insane and/or interested in knowing that at American Top Team Doral, any guy or girl can take their first step… More >>
  • Best Sports Coach

    Fredi Gonzalez

    Apologies to Tony La Russa, Joe Girardi, and Joe Torre, but the best manager in baseball last year wore teal and black and spent his summer afternoons at the place previously known as Dolphin Stadium. Yeah, we said it. Fredi Gonzalez doesn't have any World Series rings under his watch, but in his short tenure, he has already proven to… More >>
  • Best Place to Play DJ

    Scratch DJ Academy

    Every Miami club kid has had the fantasy of spinning records with one hand in the air while a sea of bodies sways to the beats. You know the one — the dream where everything is in slow motion and your favorite celebs just can't get enough of your set. Well, at the Scratch DJ Academy in the Design District,… More >>
  • Best Hurricanes Football Player

    Darryl Sharpton

    There were plenty of talented young players on last year's Miami Hurricanes squad, but they still have a few years to prove they're worthy of such a prestigious award. In fact, we hope they win something that makes even a "Best Of" mention seem small. One of the most surprising players of last season, though, was senior linebacker Darryl Sharpton.… More >>
  • Best FIU Athlete

    Yarimar Rosa

    When the Florida International University women's volleyball team took on Sun Belt Conference archrivals Western Kentucky University last October 2, all eyes were on Golden Panthers outside hitter Yarimar Rosa. The five-foot-ten Puerto Rico native watched as one of her teammates slapped the ball toward her. Rosa jumped up and pummeled the ball with her fist, sending a line drive… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Andre Berto

    In his first five years as a pro, Miami-born Haitian brawler and reigning WBC welterweight champ Andre "the Beast" Berto posted an undefeated 25-fight record, clear-cutting his way to the top of the toughest division in today's fight game. His reward: a January 30, 2010 megabout against surefire Hall of Famer and WBA titleholder "Sugar" Shane Mosley. It was Berto's… More >>
  • Best Female Boxer

    Brown-Sub

    Ode to a boxing queen:Brown-Sub's hook crushesDollars rain inside the ringAt Monday night fights… More >>
  • Best Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

    Luis "Baboon" Palomino

    There are fighters. And there are head busters. Count Luis "Baboon" Palomino in the latter category. As a member of Team MMA Masters, out of Overtown, the Peruvian mixed martial artist puts on a gritty performance every time he steps into the octagon. The five-foot-six, 150-pound fighter relies on his quick athleticism and awesome punching power. If he catches his… More >>
  • Best Key Lime Pie

    Whitney's Produce and Marketplace - CLOSED

    Key West is just 120 miles away, so why do most Miamians think about the island only when they happen to hear a Jimmy Buffett song? Well, there's that other little reminder: the tangy deliciousness of the island's namesake pie. Fortunately for us city slickers, Whitney's in the Redland brings Key West a little closer with its homemade take on… More >>
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