Can you imagine anything cuter than hundreds of youngsters, dressed as elves, marching along Sunset Drive and Red Road? Well, truth be told, we can't either. In what has become a South Miami tradition, Santa's Parade of Elves is a glorious start to the holiday season. Heading into its seventeenth year, the parade keeps getting bigger and bigger. Last year more than 80 groups joined in, among them the University of Miami cheerleaders, numerous high school marching bands, and a host of antique-car enthusiasts. But the center of attention, as always, is the kids. This is their day, after all. Nearly 500 of them turned out last year in full elf regalia. Adorable, just adorable.
In the few short months since Brett O'Bourke debuted as the "I Love Trouble" nightlife columnist in the Miami Herald's weekly tabloid Street, he's revealed so much about himself that unsuspecting readers have been seen dropping the publication from their hands, their bodies convulsing with a severe case of the willies. O'Bourke has bragged in print that he uses his column to "get laid." In another column he told us how he nailed a reluctant, intoxicated chick who "had never done this before." He has relayed the play-by-play of his arrest for drunk driving, as well as vomiting on a friend's porch after a night of binge drinking. In yet another installment, he admitted his affection for In Living Color reruns on the FX channel. In fact he's said that staying at home on the couch watching television is preferable to going out to the clubs he's paid to cover. Week after week he blasts South Beach as being too crowded, too sexy, too expensive, too rude, too ... too ... too much trouble. "There is a cheap, street-corner feel to the whole scene -- a kind of understood exchange of goods for sex or the possibility of sex at least," he's explained. Later he condensed his angst to a command: "Enough with the attitude already!" Brett, we hear your cry. We want to help. But we ... just ... can't ... slow ... down.
Actress Lisa Morgan is a great supporting player in the sense that, no matter how she's cast, she magnificently supports the interests of theatergoers, directors, fellow actors, and playwrights. Last season she appeared most notably in two shows. As the twittery, resolute mother of the flapper Sally Bowles in New Theatre's I Am a Camera, Morgan's onstage time clocked in at less than fifteen minutes. Nonetheless from her first entrance, she carried a universe of subtext with her. On a larger scale, Morgan's ensemble role in One Flea Spare, also at New Theatre, demonstrated her ability to hoist an entire play, even one as prickly, poetic, impressionistic, and director-driven as this Obie winner. Courageous and inventive, she consistently reaches into dangerous territory with her acting, leaving safer routes for less-daring performers. And that's always a thrill to watch.
Monfort's passion for baseball has its roots in Cuba, his homeland. As a ten-year-old kid, he began collecting mementos from his favorite teams and players. Later he embraced America's baseball heroes as well. Today he can boast of a private collection he accurately refers to as his "mini-Cooperstown." Hanging on the walls of his Westchester home are autographed photos of each and every baseball hall-of-famer. Mounted on plaques are images of America's best players and obscure Cuban peloteros from the island's professional leagues of the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties, each emblazoned with the player's name, the seasons he played, and his achievements -- from the incomparable Sandy Koufax to that master of versatility Martin Dihigo, the only Cuban inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. Monfort's collection is a multiethnic treasure trove of rarities, some of which still are boxed up in his closet. He owns a 1932 photo of a young Joe DiMaggio eating spaghetti at the kitchen table, and the wedding portrait of famed Cuban baseball manager Adolfo Luque. In Miami baseball circles, the 70-year-old Monfort is considered both wise man and historian. He says he's just a fan. Although he does lend items to special exhibitions, Monfort's collection remains private, for the time being. Maybe someday we'll have a Cooperstown by the bay.
Mark Londner is the iron man of the WSVN staff. You can drop him into the middle of any crisis, any breaking-news event, and be guaranteed the sort of smart and incisive reporting that often is lacking in television news. He's proved himself time and time again, from events as varied as the OJ Simpson murder trial in 1994 to the summit between Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. While others tend to babble into the microphone, Londner's style is to be clear and direct. During this year's Elian Gonzalez media feast, while others at his station routinely editorialized during their segments, Londner delivered the facts in a straightforward and unbiased manner -- the way he's been doing it for more than two decades in Miami.
When state Sen. Kendrick Meek of Miami and state Rep. Tony Hill of Jacksonville decided to park their fannies outside Gov. Jeb Bush's office and refuse to leave until the governor listened to their concerns about his unilateral decision to dismantle the state's affirmative-action program, it was an extremely risky gambit that easily could have backfired on the two legislators. Instead their twenty-hour siege, which began this past January 18, now largely is regarded as a triumph that sent a powerful message to minorities and women throughout the state regarding the dangers of the governor's actions. Eventually it led to the largest civil-rights gathering in Tallahassee in more than two decades.
In little more than a year, Angela Rae has helped turned WFOR from a ratings joke into a serious contender. In the last ratings period, Channel 4 was the number-one station at 11:00 p.m., an advance largely owing to Rae's presence at the anchor desk. She is bright (packing a law degree from the University of Virginia), articulate (a rarity among anchors in these parts), and quick-witted (even rarer). When Rae joined the station in 1995, it was immediately apparent she was someone who could make an impact. The only thing standing in her way were the pinheads who manage Channel 4. They refused to promote her. Only after she made it clear she was ready to leave the station did they move her into the anchor slot with Steve Wolford, a pleasant enough fellow but hardly a reason to stay up late. Rae, on the other hand, is more than enough reason to lose a little sleep.
Of all the blame for the sham of a disaster of a debacle in Jacksonville that ended this mind-numbingly disappointing Dolphins season, none can be laid at the golden right foot of the team's kicker. In fact if it hadn't been for good ol' No. 10, the Fins wouldn't have won enough games to earn the right to drive up to Jacksonville and get punked. Remember that Chargers game where a crappy San Diego squad kept the Dolphins offense out of the end zone all afternoon, but couldn't stop Mare from dropping 4 field goals on them? Remember how he set an NFL record during the regular season with 39 field goals? Mare is a restricted free agent. Let's hope Dave Wannstedt keeps him around as an insurance policy during Year One of the Fiedler/Huard Era. Three points are better than none, after all.
FTX Arena
Photo by B137
Nearly 20,000 basketball fans pouring on to Biscayne Boulevard after the final buzzer gives new meaning to the word jammed. Think that's fun? Just wait till the hoopsters are joined by another 12,000 leaving their concert at Bayfront Park Amphitheater and 8000 more from events at the Performing Arts Center up the road.
Last fall criminal defense attorney Curt Obront argued before a federal jury that his client, who had been arrested for smuggling cocaine into the Port of Miami, was innocent because federal agents didn't actually catch him with the offending kilo of cocaine. Rather the agents found it on the ground near where his client was walking. Obront argued that finding kilos of cocaine on the ground at the Port of Miami wasn't so unusual -- after all, this was Miami. And this being Miami, the jury agreed and found Obront's client not guilty.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®