Coconut Grove Playhouse
Every theater is saddled with the same basic challenge: figuring out what audiences want. At Florida Stage founder and producing director Louis Tyrrell isn't looking over his shoulder to see what others are doing. Nor is he serving up crowd pleasers just to sell tickets. Instead he's leading the way with challenging programming you can't see anywhere else. In the past year Florida Stage presented effervescent productions of three Florida premieres (with one more on the way this spring). This past summer the theater produced Michael McKeever's provocative new play The Garden of Hannah List, as well as a Cole Porter revue that really was tops. Not everything the theater presents is an unqualified success, but its willingness to take chances is.
This man has cojones like no one else. Earlier this year he asked the Hialeah City Council to pay him $1.2 million to cover his back pay (with interest) during the three years he was suspended from office while successfully fighting multiple federal corruption charges. He also wanted his legal fees covered. The only thing more amazing than the request itself was the fact that the council quickly agreed and paid him with little debate or rancor. Personal financial affairs in order, Martinez then charged ahead with grandiose plans to secede from Miami-Dade and form a new municipal entity: Hialeah County.
Take one Victorian homosexual on trial, add a twentieth-century talk show host, a courtroom full of lawyers, some Aubrey Beardsley drawings, and lots of cute boys in their underwear, and you'll have Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. The show, an Outer Critics Circle Award-winner in New York, received a superior Florida production thanks to Caldwell Theatre Company's artistic director Michael Hall, who also directed the show with understated elegance and savvy. Designed by Tim Bennett and Thomas Salzman, who outfitted actors and abstract scenery alike in a black-to-shades-of-gray color scheme, and driven by Hall's razor-sharp pacing, Gross Indecency exulted in its own artistic firmament. We think Oscar Wilde would have approved.

It was a little after 4:00 a.m. this past July 3 when ten-year-old Vincent awakened to the smell of smoke in his Liberty City home. "I woke up because it got so hot," Vincent told the Herald last year. "The smoke detector was going off, and the hall was filled with smoke. At first I didn't even know what was going on -- I was so sleepy." Acting quickly he woke his 16-year-old brother and his 85-year-old great-grandmother. "We've had fire safety classes that no one thought was important, but I remembered what they taught us in school," said Vincent, a sixth-grader at Charles Drew Middle School. "I noticed smoke, stopped, rolled on the floor to my mom's room, woke everyone up and got them out." The cause of the fire was accidental; the family was without electricity and kept a candle burning for light. It tipped over during the night, igniting a blaze that ultimately destroyed the wood-frame house. Thanks to Vincent's actions, no one was hurt. "I'm very proud of him," his great-grandmother said. "He's my baby, my heart, and he saved our lives."
With so many tattoo parlors around Miami (especially in South Beach, where there's one for every pizza joint), choosing someone to ink you is more challenging than ever. Just about every shop has an acclaimed artist, but Troy Lane stands out in a field of master craftsmen. Lane, who has received accolades from many tattoo publications, is a thirteen-year veteran (the last three were spent working out of his own shop). Before that he was with Tattoos by Lou. Among his design influences: Japanese body artists.

This collection of more than 100 black-and-white pictures by University of Miami photography professor Michael Carlebach reveals a quirky sensibility wedded to polished technique. Carlebach's images are drawn from the Sixties through the Nineties, and though the settings include locations throughout the United States, the vast majority were shot in South Florida. The photographer has an eye for both the absurd and the inherent frailties of human existence: A worker sits looking bored at an ear-wax eradication booth in Coconut Grove; a couple who could have stepped out of a Jim Jarmusch movie shoot pistols in the Everglades; two elderly women dance together in a cavernous hall in Miami Beach. After viewing this book, it's clear that Carlebach's affinity for the odd and Miami's flair for the bizarre were made for each other.
Some police officers aren't fond of that term. "We don't do speed traps," one says. "We do selective traffic enforcement." Yeah, Smokey, whatever. We know they love to lurk, and the lurkiest of all are Miami Shores's finest. Their quiet little village stands astride four major north-south arteries, giving the coppers there ample high-speed prey. A particularly rich hunting ground is Biscayne Boulevard, right where it curves northeast at NE 88th Street. The smooth asphalt and wider lanes here fairly scream to a Miami motorist's raging id, "Fifty! Do fifty!" Listen to your dark side and you'll likely run afoul of the black-and-gold Shores cruiser tucked away in the parking lot of the Hacienda Motel. On top of that, this past year the department instituted a zero-tolerance-for-speeding program called "Safe and Slow." Be afraid.
Fires rage, heat broils, smog chokes, Spiderman goes down, Odio goes free, Surana remains free, Cuban bands play freely, Shops at Sunset clog, I-95 stays clogged, rain falls, too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, more fires, Ecstasy burns, arena burns, Miami High gets busted, Gutman gets busted, Gutman gets elected, Bush gets elected, Commodore Bay gets paved, more smoke, more haze, more heat, no Heat, Lawrence goes, Clifton goes, Ibargüen rises, South Beach goes high-rise, Miami Circle lives, Marjory Stoneman Douglas dies, Chiles dies, Fascell dies, Georges blows, Mitch kills, bus shelter kills, drug gangs kill, Stierheim is in, gay discrimination is out, Garcia-Pedrosa is in, Garcia-Pedrosa is out, Garcia-Pedrosa is in, Garcia-Pedrosa is out, Hialeah wants out, Caffe Baci folds, Divina folds, Connie Mack folds, Loews Miami Beach opens, Lua closes, Fish closes, Tropic is killed, heroin kills, stray bullets kill, kids die, DiMaggio dies, Atkins dies, Kehoe dies, Resnick dies, Super Bowl arrives, Dalai Lama arrives, Rosie arrives, Madonna splits, Sly splits, Knight Ridder splits, JJ stays, La Niña reigns, a chill descends, rain stays away, Everglades burn up, Delano village burns down, Humbertico goes to jail, Lunetta goes to trial, WAMI goes on the air, pirate radio goes off the air, Daryl Jones gets rejected, Tony Martin gets busted, Cuban spies get caught, Esther Hernandez gets caught cheating, cheating voters get caught defrauding, the Herald gets its Pulitzer, tanker trucks burn, more fires, more heat, more indictments, more Krome protests, more Opa-locka turmoil, less hope for Stiltsville, no hope for Noriega, Marlins lose, Dolphins lose, Suarez loses again, but Miami comes out a winner: After years of dragging suitcases and duffel bags around MIA, air travelers have finally been blessed with a miracle. Baggage carts have arrived.
Thanks to the proliferation of Broadway tours, South Florida audiences are never far from at least a glimmer of the Great White Way. What's harder to sample are the off-Broadway hits, shows whose quirkiness or bold attitudes preclude them from fitting into the mainstream. One such musical was Das Barbecü, the riotous, Hee-Haw-inspired adaptation of Wagner's Ring cycle presented by the Actors' Playhouse. How do you stage a spoof of a three-day opera marathon in two and a half hours? Apparently by throwing together Giants, Norns, Rivermaidens, star-crossed lovers, and the rest of the gang of Teutonic trillers (all possessed of Broadway voices) with sequins, lassos, and kitschy lyrics. "I could eat a/Pound of Velveeta" is one of the memorable lines we can't get out of our head. Nor do we ever want to.

It's a strange job, pretending to be someone else. But when Peter Haig takes on a role, he dons an entire new universe along with it. This past season we caught him portraying two appealingly morbid characters: Vincent Vincent, a representative of a do-it-yourself euthanasia group in Eric Chappell's comedy Natural Causes; and the Devil in Ten Short Plays about Death, an entry in City Theatre's Summer Shorts series. We liked him when he portrayed the Grim Reaper as a henpecked husband in the short sketch. But we truly wanted to die (laughing, that is) during his inspired performance in Natural Causes. Haig's acting choices are too intelligent to go unnoticed, yet never so obtrusive as to call undue attention to themselves. Call us when he strikes again.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®