Artist-turned-dealer Fred Snitzer is the godfather of Miami's contemporary art scene. He has outlasted art-world fads and real estate trends, persevering when others have grown discouraged with the local audience and art market. "It's frustrating," says the Philadelphia native, who first opened a gallery here two decades ago and for the past two years has been at his ample, cement-floored space in an unfashionable neighborhood bordering Coral Gables. "Considering the amount of money spent in Miami on fancy cars and big-screen TVs, very little is spent to support or purchase art." Despite financial ups and downs, Snitzer has remained faithful to his vision and criteria, exhibiting daring work of young artists and established names from South Florida and beyond. "Good art-gallery owners take chances and show things they think are taking art further along in its evolution, art that makes a contribution to humanity. I'd say I'm in that category most of the time." And we thank him.

Before booty-shaking, before Frappuccino, before IMAX, before 24-hour gyms there was nothing to do after a long day of hunting and gathering but sit around and stare at the sky. If such simplicity makes you sigh, "Born too late," take heart. The Southern Cross Astronomical Society wants to tweak your inner Galileo. Saturdays between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. the club sets up its high-tech telescopes at Bill Sadowski Park, a site so removed from city glare that even flashlights are banned as pernicious to the night-adjusted eye. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic dinner (no alcohol, please). Admission, Southern Cross expertise, and the stars are all free. Miami may be far from heaven, but that shouldn't stop us from looking.
If traffic is a little slow on NE Second Avenue, blame it on two giant paintings on the façade of the Buick Building, a former car showroom in Miami's Design District. The enchanting sight of the 24-by-12-foot portraits of Haitian freedom fighter Makandal and Aztec heroine La Malinche is sure to incite rubbernecking. The works are the realization of the artist-architect team of Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, who developed the idea of creating open-air museums by hanging art outside buildings rather than inside. The two paintings, from Marquardt's series of unsung Latin American historical figures, were enlarged and transferred to vinyl mesh, then tacked into oval-shaped recesses in the façade. Commissioned for the Dacra Realty-owned building by company president Craig Robins, the works are the first "exhibition" of many that Marquardt and Behar plan to hang on the building in order to "suggest the possibility of the fantastic as part of everyday life." Sure beats a fresh coat of paint.
Just about everybody has cable. Everyone who has cable and gives a dang about sports watches ESPN's SportsCenter. That program's formula of majorly moussed coanchors in snappy suits has established a new sports paradigm and spawned a slew of imitators (on CNNSI and the Fox Sports Network), as well as a sickeningly synergistic ABC noncomedy called SportsNight. So who's getting the short end of this paradigm schtick? The local-news sports guy, that's who. But among the local sports yakkers, would you rather get your Heat highlights from Dan Patrick or Ducis Rodgers? Thought so. The one exception, the lone reason to pick the local affiliate rather than the Boys from Bristol University, remains Jim Berry. He's enthusiastic without being annoying, smooth without being smarmy, and as knowledgeable and accurate as any übernetwork talking head. As long as he keeps his rapping to a minimum, he's the most watchable sports dude around.
Since his arrival in Miami in 1992, widely celebrated Cuban painter José Bedia has acted both globally and locally, showing extensively around the world while remaining active at home. Bedia's magic-realist paintings and installations display remarkable technical proficiency and an astute empathy for the human condition. His suggestive works featuring humanlike animal figures are inspired by Afro-Cuban religion and Native American rituals, as well as universal themes such as emigration, alienation, and exile. Over the past decade, Bedia has been sanctified by international curators as a leading artist of the multicultural age. In Miami his work has been exhibited at just about every local museum, and he has maintained annual shows at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery. He has also participated in public art projects (a Miami Beach shuttle bus; designs for the forthcoming performing arts center) and given frequent talks about his work. Bedia is the most successful of the wave of Cuban artists who came to Miami in the early Nineties. By building his own career, he has boosted Miami's reputation as a cultural city.

Ask anyone in the coin-operated arcade game industry and they'll tell you flat out: Pinball is all but dead. [Editor's note: The reference to The Who song "Pinball Wizard" that had been here has been deleted. You're welcome.] Instead of playing that silver ball [We let that one slide.], kids today are more interested in blasting the unsettlingly real and gruesome zombies of House of the Dead 2 or controlling a kung fu fighter by motion-capture of their own movements rather than using a joystick, as in Virtual Arena Tekken 3. GameWorks offers all the latest and loudest amusements, including a very silly looking virtual wall-climbing game, but it scores its biggest points by serving as a museum. In addition to providing a bank of the earliest video games (Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man), it has, yes, pinball machines. Seven of them, five of which are tucked away on the second level next to the pool tables and the bar. Most who remember pinball's heyday have certainly long passed drinking age. And yet on one recent excursion to GameWorks, who could be seen lighting up the Godzilla table but a tousle-headed youngster no more than ten years old, causing one observer to remark, "That kid sure plays a mean ... [Whoops! Sorry folks. That was close.]
The Panthers releasing underachieving defenseman Ed Jovanovski to the Vancouver Canucks for rocket-fueled superstar Pavel Bure. The pocket change acquired by Florida in the deal (defenders Bret Hedican and Brad Ference) is worth more than Jovanovski alone. And Bure? Well, let's acknowledge that he's the ...
What a dull team the Panthers were, and not only compared to the sheen of their new National Car Rental Center. The anonymous faces circling between the blue lines were less exciting than the vertigo-inducing pitch of the Broward arena's seats. Early in the season, without even name-brand goalie John Vanbiesbrouck between the pipes, the Panthers sank into the league's lowest tier and were a lock to miss the playoffs. Then came January's unbelievable trade, and onboard came the Russian Rocket. One of the best players on the planet, Bure immediately proved his value by scoring six goals in four games. Unfortunately that's about all he did, after a knee injury ended his season almost as soon as it began. Nevertheless Bure's exceptional speed and awareness have single-handedly raised the profile of the entire organization. A long-term contract has him locked in for years to come, not only with the team, but most likely also with this here award.
The Heat didn't make many changes going into this strange, truncated season. Yet the addition of Terry Porter as a guard off the bench is proving to be an inspired move. At age 36 Porter is an old man in the NBA. But his experience and tenacity are bringing solid rewards as valuable as the speed and lift he might have surrendered to age. Still Porter hasn't given up much. Plus he is averaging more than ten points per game. He's also one of the Heat leaders in steals and assists. This year he passed two important milestones: 1000 games played in the league and 1000 three-pointers. Come postseason, Porter's experience in 92 playoff games during a fourteen-year career will surely come in handy.
In the Fusion's inaugural season, this spunky Colombian was high-scorer. He was MVP. He's got wheels, a nose for the goal, and a rocket shot. Perfect striker material, and as the season progressed, and the coaching staff changed, he found both his position and his confidence. By the end he was scoring in every game, and hat tricks weren't uncommon. But that's not the only reason fans adore him. A little shaky every once in a while on his defensive skills (he's just not an enforcer), Serna would rather throw a play than challenge. In short his dives are Olympic-quality. Always elaborately contrived, frequently accompanied by dramatics, and hardly ever yielding the results he wants: Rather than hold up yellow cards, the refs practically flash placards with big tens on them.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®