Remember WAMI, the overly hyped television-station startup? The one with the glamorous sidewalk studios on Lincoln Road? The one that was going to revolutionize TV by returning it to its extremely local roots? The City Was Their Studio or something like that? As anyone who has spent any time in this town knows, the real Miami is not South Beach glitz but rather a gritty Hialeah warehouse, like the one from which Channel 41 continues to broadcast handcrafted, exceedingly local, often wonderful programming, absent the self-absorbed fanfare. A Oscuras pero Encendidos (In the Dark but Turned On) is a typical success story. A riskier, sloppier, often more fun variant of the Late Show with David Letterman, A Oscuras proves that young affluent Latins will watch Spanish-language television. With puppets and spokesmodels and strippers and an opera-singing, keyboard-playing sidekick, A Oscuras is fun, irreverent, and perfectly Miami. WAMI should take notice -- if WAMI is still on the air.
Lightning strikes, Glades burn, schools flunk, cocaine arrives, Soyka arrives, Elian arrives, Lincoln Road gets malled, Cuban rafters get gassed, code inspectors get bribed, transit tax goes down, Calle Ocho rips up, I-95 rips up, Stiltsville survives, gay-rights law survives, Cuban spies get busted, Columba Bush gets busted, too hot, too wet, too congested, Rickymania strikes, road debris strikes, phony doctors mangle, Venetian Causeway opens, Lyric Theater reopens, Virginia Key Beach reopens, Hurricane Floyd threatens, Phil Hamersmith dies, Ted Arison dies, Los Van Van plays, ramp rats get busted, Chris Paciello gets busted, Gilda Oliveros gets busted, Irene drenches, Lunetta walks, Grigsby walks, Plummer goes out, Winton gets in, New Year's prices soar, gas prices soar, truckers strike, rain falls, crime drops, Y2K threatens, Lee Hills dies, Bill Colson dies, rafters die, Gutman goes to jail, Burke goes to jail, Noriega stays in jail, Elian does Disney World, Diane Sawyer does Elian, Miriam Alonso gets busted, Demetrio Perez gets busted, Rosa Rodriguez gets busted, boaters kill, drag racers kill, Cubans get smuggled, Roxcy Bolton gets honored, Tony Bryant dies, Don Martin dies, Elaine Gordon dies, Miami Circle lives, the Bel-Aire falls, the Royal York falls, Freedom Tower rots, tolls rise, O.J. lurks, Regalado charges it, Warshaw charges it, Fraind shoots his foot, Penelas shoots his foot, Marino leaves, Elian leaves, and the good news is that someone out there is still thinking straight: State transportation workers finally remove the expressway sunburst symbols that were supposed to help but only confused.
He slept with Anna Kournikova. That alone is enough. His incredible talent, his prolific goal-scoring, his All-Star game MVP award? The fact that he's the most dominant athlete in his sport? Just icing on the cake. He slept with Anna Kournikova.
February 11, 1999: Adrian Dominican nun Jeanne O'Laughlin's tireless volunteerism earns her the Sand in My Shoes award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. She is the first woman to win the honor, just as she was the first female member of the Orange Bowl Committee and of the Non-Group, a group of influential business people. March 17, 1999: Barry University, the school she has guided as president since 1981, continues its phenomenal growth by purchasing a law school. June 11, 1999: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce honors O'Laughlin again, this time with the Florida Athena award, bestowed in recognition of the opportunities she created for women at Barry. November 3, 1999: O'Laughlin is named chairwoman of Mayor Alex Penelas's blue-ribbon panel to clean up and reinvent Miami International Airport. November 13, 1999: Gov. Jeb Bush selects O'Laughlin for induction into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame. November 25, 1999: Elian Gonzalez is rescued at sea.
Relatively new to the Fusion, he's already making a contribution both as a playmaker and a scorer. Indeed Captain Wynalda could very well be labeled Captain Wonderful by season's end if he continues to fulfill his reputation as the highest goal-scorer in Major League Soccer. One drawback, of course, is that Wynalda is known to be weak in the knees -- literally. His multiple surgeries and lengthy recoveries cause some fans concern. But we're confident his joints will not only survive the season, they'll see us through victory after victory.
Beatty stood up to the craven Miami city commissioners and mayor who couldn't stand up to their own constituents. And he didn't shrink from publicly admonishing them -- with eloquent directness -- for playing politics with the city's dire financial crisis. That was back in mid-1999, when Beatty was chairman of the governor's financial oversight board, the appointed body charged with guiding Miami back from its near-bankruptcy in 1996. Beatty, a corporate lawyer and former partner in the giant Holland and Knight firm, has since resigned from the oversight board and assumed the role of general counsel for the Miami Herald. He has caught some flak for taking the job in spite of his close association with numerous influential community organizations and powers that be. (He was criticized in 1998 when BellSouth, for whom he was general counsel, contributed to the re-election campaign of state Sen. Al Gutman after Gutman's indictment on Medicare fraud, witness tampering, and money laundering charges). Yet nothing can erase Beatty's history of constructive and occasionally heroic civic leadership. He has served on the boards of United Way, the Orange Bowl Committee, Leadership Florida, SunTrust Bank, Miami-Dade Community College Foundation, the Beacon Council, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and many more. Miami Business magazine, in naming him its 1999 "Business Leader of the Year," called Beatty "the conscience of our town."
Shy and retiring, poet Judith Berke doesn't always come to mind in this era of feted writers receiving gargantuan prizes. Yet her work epitomizes our region, not as a visitor or as a tourist, but as a long-time resident. In "Vizcaya," from her book White Morning, Berke brings us wisdom from another time that is no less valid today: "Under here/are the runaway slaves, and the Indians./On their sides, listening./White now. Almost completely white."

Or in "The Shell": "We hadn't seen a shell on this beach for years./If an Indian had come by/it would have been no less strange -- /and we would give him the shell/and he would give us the beach/and we would think/for a while we owned it."

Even when Berke is not speaking directly about Florida, she evokes it when penning lines like this: "How lovely, to lie under the/rushing out of the leaves/of the mangos, to nibble the grass/even if it's bitter, and look up at the stars/even if there are none...." Berke's Miami is the true, original homestead, just as she is a poet who remains true to herself and the art of poetry.

Aye, matey, it's truly an indoor playground designed just for the wee ones. In fact kids over the height of 42 inches are restricted from entering (parents are permitted; strollers are not). The centerpiece is a play pirate ship, complete with slide (instead of plank) and ship's wheel. "Leaping" dolphins are scattered over the floor and make for great climbing toys. Go during any holiday season, and the playground is complemented by a miniature train the kids love to ride (for $1.50 a shot). All the romping and riding may not be restful for you, but for toddlers it's a good break from boring shopping.
Highway coin collectors rarely inspire envy. Imagine handing out change to an endless parade of cars, vans, and tractor trailers, touching thousands of dirty hands each day while sucking down a full shift of lung-blackening exhaust fumes. No envy, that is, until now. Since this past summer, toll takers along Florida's Turnpike and other toll roads have been sporting spiffy new Hawaiian shirts custom designed with flamingos, palm trees, alligators, and other indigenous wildlife. This is their actual uniform, a design wonderful enough to win national awards, a shirt so cool that people -- people who are not toll collectors -- are offering good money to buy one. "We get lots of requests," says Joyce Douglas, a turnpike executive in Tallahassee. "It's a unique shirt but we can't sell them. They are strictly uniforms."
There is word of a poetry renaissance in America (well, at least sales of poetry books are up). One of the progenitors is right here in our Magic City, née the Great Marsh. A Chicago native who teaches creative writing at Florida International University, McGrath told New Times in 1997 his aspiration was to write in "a big expansive kind of lyrical prosy poetic voice talking about America." He continues to achieve that whimsical goal in poems wrought from objects, observations, and experiences scattered from Las Vegas to Wisconsin to Miami. In "Biscayne Boulevard," from a collection published last year titled Road Atlas, he paints a gritty, evocative word picture that is at once local and universal. "Crossing the bay: pelicans and buzzards against a Japanese/screen of rifted clouds, squalls, and riffs in grey, white, azure/Gulls like asterisks, anhinga like bullets.... At 123rd St.: survival/of the fittest franchise/Boston Chicken, Pollo Tropical/Kenny Rogers Roasters/KFC/Which must perish so that another may live?/Oceans of notions/ INS/The Pussycat Theater.... Police helicopter, sweet damselfly, can you track my happiness?/Radar gun, will you enumerate my sorrows?/Bullet, do you sting?" In Balserito, a prose poem, he captures a mysterious aura seemingly emanating from three rafts washed up on a beach: "Ragged planks and Styrofoam and chicken wire, filthy and abandoned but curiously empowered, endowed with a violent, residual energy, like shotgun casings in a field of corn stubble or the ruptured jelly of turtle eggs among mangroves, chrysalides discarded as the cost of the journey, shells of arrival, shells of departure." McGrath is the real McCoy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®