Miami may not have much of a reputation as a haven for bibliophiles, but you'd never know that from spending time in the backroom of Books & Books's Coral Gables store. John Grisham may rule the Beaches, but the caliber of talent holding court in this intimate spot is strictly topnotch. Week after week store owner Mitchell Kaplan shepherds authors here and in his Lincoln Road shop from around the nation, where they read from their work, scribble their John Hancocks, and best of all, banter directly with the audience. Ever wonder what makes Robert Stone tick? What makes Salman Rushdie run? Just where does Elmore Leonard get those twisted ideas? Here's your chance to put the question to them, face-to-face. With an admission price that's (almost always) zip, you've got one of Miami's best bets for highbrow, low-budget entertainment.
All he did was rush for more than 1000 yards in two straight seasons. All he did was gain a mind-boggling 299 yards and score three touchdowns against top-ranked UCLA. All he did, basically, was put the Hurricanes back on the map. The importance of the victory over the Bruins, a game in which James was the winning difference, cannot be overstated. When the final gun sounded, wide-eyed high school blue chips across South Florida decided then and there they were going to be wearing Canes colors next season. UM's subsequent recruiting class is considered the best in head coach Butch Davis's tenure. James didn't just help his team win a big game. As much as anyone, and more than most, he turned around an entire program. Enjoy the pros, son. Miami will be thanking you for years.
Ho hum. The best jai alai player in Miami? Michelena. Still. As always. Forever. Since he debuted as a rookie in 1983, the Basque native has dominated his curious sport like no other athlete in the city. Marino? Mourning? No, Michelena. At age 37 he's not quite a world champion anymore, but he does have a world cup title on his résumé, along with nine Miami Jai Alai triple-crown titles. After all this time, he remains the man on which the smart money is bet.

Forget Demolition Man. This 25-year-old reliever (a Florida native) is the unheralded star of our mediocre team. He works hard, pitches at better than 90 miles per hour, and closes games as easily as some people close their garage door. This past year he put up numbers that placed him among the National League's ten best relievers, and this year he's even hotter. The guy is a bargain by professional baseball standards -- a one-year contract worth $735,000. On top of that, he's a likable fellow. With the Marlins frequently falling behind in the early innings, new owner John Henry needs something that'll keep fans in their seats. Mantei is the man for the job.
Henry, who took over the Marlins ball club from evil overlord Wayne Huizenga on January 13, already has two World Series rings. (He was part-owner of the New York Yankees from 1992 to 1998.) And he has owned all or part of the Class AAA Tucson Toros and the West Palm Beach Tropics. The Tropics, an old-timers team, boasted several veterans from the world champion Oakland A's, including manager Dick Williams and pitcher Rollie Fingers. Although the Boca Raton-based bond trader hasn't yet spent the necessary millions on new players, he could hardly be worse than his predecessor. And with all that series gold behind him, you gotta believe there's more ahead.
AMC likes to boast that it is changing the way South Florida sees movies. This might just be true if the amount of time spent waiting in line for tickets could be dramatically reduced. Now comes AMC's automated box office machines at Aventura and Sunset Place. Could long box-office lines be a thing of the past? Take your credit card, slide it in, select a movie and time, grab the tickets, and run. Next stop: the concession stand. Is there something wrong with this picture? We hope not.
He came, he saw, he didn't exactly conquer. So the pop artist is picking up and making a new start of it in Los Angeles, his hometown. The 40-year-old painter, who gained fame in New York in the Eighties, and his wife Tereza, a yoga teacher, are planning to relocate this summer with their two teenage daughters. Scharf to the Herald: "I get press, press, press, but as far as people down here buying artwork, it didn't happen." Reminders of his six-year stint here include a colorful rocket ship lifeguard station on South Beach; one-eyed mannequins in the windows of Burdines; Absolut vodka billboards scattered around town; and gobs of kitschy T-shirts, pens, backpacks, and lighters on sale in the gift shop of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami.
Well, hello, Bryan. It's so nice to have you back where you truly belong. No more awful anchor duties for you. You're a 100 percent pure, honest-to-goodness, full-time weatherman again. For the life of us, we can't imagine why you would have wanted to be an anchor and read all those dreadful stories about planes crashes and wars and missing children and hijacked monkeys and all the other weirdness in the world. Sure, it may have seemed like a step down to return to weather only, but don't forget this: With your voice and face, you're lucky to be on television at all. But much more important, Bryan, you are a born weatherman. Somehow you belong next to the eerie glow of that "real time" radar screen, tracking thunderstorms and lightning strikes, and reassuring us that the really nasty stuff is way down there somewhere, far, far away. We can relax. And we thank you.
This is the real adult-contemporary format: DJs play everything from Motown to hip-hop, with no annoying commercials. Ads are rare on 97.7, though every once in a while an MC will plug a gig of his own or one of his buddies. But every business has bills to pay, right? This station is also interactive and community-oriented. Especially amusing are the rides: With a lively music bed, a DJ will ask a caller rapid-fire questions and the caller will respond. Example: "Will you give me money?"/"Yes I will, yes I will"/"How much will you give me?"/"Twenty dollars, twenty dollars." During high school football season, callers bring their team pride to the air for all to hear. We're not sure who is running the show after the FCC raided the Liberty City studios in July 1998 and carted away 97.7's two 1000-watt transmitters. But good ideas are like mushrooms that pop up overnight, and within a few weeks of the raid, the station was again on the air. When we get tired of the golden oldies and maudlin slow-dance-tune segments, we surf over to 89.1 FM (unlicensed) for a more raw and less eclectic hip-hop format, but the signal's a little weak.
This ballyard on the campus of the University of Miami is everything good about going to a baseball game, you think as you lean forward on your concrete bench along the first-base side of home. Especially on a late winter day like today, with enough clouds to offer shade yet not threaten rain, and the wind blowing briskly out to left. The visiting pitcher misses with a 1-0 breaking ball. "Baaaallll two!" the hard-core 'Canes fans hoot directly behind home plate. Yes, sir, you think. Despite the clink of aluminum bats, the brand of baseball played here, and the cozy, welcoming atmosphere of the 4500-seat stadium, can easily transport you back to a simpler era in the history of the Great American Pastime. The snack vendor begins his circuit, barking out his wares at a volume more appropriate to Pro Player Stadium. "Peanuts, popcorn, soda, Gatorade ..." A pause for dramatic effect, then: "SUURRRGE!" Some smiling 'Canesters know the routine and join the vendor in his call. A hard drive to right scores a run for the home team, and sets the fans to hollering. You can hear every one of them individually. The slap of high-fives at the plate is palpable. The sun starts angling down in the late innings. The bullpens are working. Maybe you'll have some peanuts.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®