Walking along Biscayne Boulevard in the Edgewater neighborhood, you may have noticed a smiling sun rising above a wooden fence. On the other side sits a Haitian culture garden. In one corner two large eyes look out from an altar to the sensual Ezili. Toward the center of the garden a larger-than-life cutout of a leader of the Haitian revolution towers above a mound dedicated to warriors. A poem calling for respect and justice for all is written on the wall in Kreyol beside a small wooden store. A pole that channels the vodou gods from the other world into the bodies of faithful dancers rises before a stage where on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights local musicians and poets perform. Inside the gallery, where proprietor Jude "Papaloko" Thegenus resides, hang ironworks, paintings, and photographs by local Haitian artists. The Caribbean Backyard is more evidence of the do-it-yourself culture that is sprouting everywhere across the neighborhoods of Miami.
Mason could be named the best Heat player simply for avoiding the sinful temptations of South Beach. Long known as one of the NBA's more volatile stars, during his pre-Heat days he racked up an impressive arrest record for gun possession, assault, battery on a police officer, endangering the welfare of a child, and public drunkenness. When he played for the New York Knicks under Pat Riley, the coach suspended him twice. This year Mase, as he is known, could win a good-citizenship award. He's quit drinking and taken up Bible study. His relationship with Riley is full of mutual praise. More important, he is having his second-best year in the NBA, with an average of 15.9 points per game and 9.7 rebounds. And he deserves much of the credit for the Heat's success in the absence of Alonzo Mourning. His excellent ball-handling has helped make up for Tim Hardaway's diminishing skills. More often than not it has fallen to Mason to guard some of the league's hardest covers, including Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O'Neal. He has acquitted himself admirably against these big men. At age 34, which can be ancient in the NBA, he is averaging 40 minutes per game. Mase is a free agent next year. One can only hope Riley finds a way to keep him in the lineup.
The numbers alone are enough. This sophomore quarterback from Orinda, California, set a team record for pass attempts without an interception. He led the Big East in passing yardage and total offense, earning first-team all-conference honors ahead of Virginia Tech magician Michael Vick. The future alone is enough. In only his first full season as a starter, Dorsey played an instrumental role in the Canes' 11-1 record and near-miss of a national championship. But what about the drive? Ah, yes, The Drive. Fifty-one seconds. Seven plays. Six completions. Sixty-eight yards. When it was all over, when Dorsey raised his arms skyward in victory, Miami held a three-point lead over then top-ranked Florida State with less than a minute to play. And Dorsey had emerged as the most valuable player on a team full of talent.
The Florida Marlins pitcher had to be scratched from his scheduled May 11, 2000, home start against the Braves because he strained his back while rising from a reclining chair in front of his clubhouse's television set.

If any single artist traces the trajectory of art in Miami from local pastime to global force, it's this graduate of Havana's vaunted Eighties Generation, who arrived in South Florida via Mexico City's alternative scene in the mid-Nineties. Novoa has steadily widened the frame of reference for his political critique to include not only Castro's Cuba but the shimmering promises of his new homeland. His 1996 exhibition at Ambrosino Gallery centered on "La Habana Oscura" ("The Dark Havana"), while the architectural renderings and installations of his "Recent Works," shown in the same gallery a few years later, examined the technology of surveillance generally. The literal frame of his work has widened as well: Te Fuiste (You Left) escaped the boundaries of canvas and took over gallery walls in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Sarasota, and Indiana. In the "social experiment" called "Publickulture" at the Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art this spring Novoa was one of seven artists who broke through the boundaries of the museum to become part of the social landscape. Just how prominent a point of reference Novoa has become will be clear when the Miami Art Museum's yearlong "New Work Miami" series culminates with a specially commissioned installation by Novoa in fall 2001.
In an interview with New Times last year, GableStage artistic director Joe Adler said, "Television, and to some extent movies, is about maintaining a level of mediocrity. This is not the case with theater. It's a much bigger commitment. The audience is a participant." Adler combined his numerous years of film and TV experience with his passion and directorial savvy, turning Popcorn into a dark and riveting satire about the movie industry, among other things. Known for his emotive directorial style, Adler knows how to get the best out of his actors. By pairing Claire Tyler and Paul Tei, he created just the right balance of innocence and evil. Adler consistently shows a keen awareness of the context of contemporary theater. He never makes theatergoers slaves to the stage. And he often uses film, video, music, and sound to propel the play into the imagination of the audience. In Popcorn Adler reminded audiences that live theater can offer excitement that television and film can't, without record, play, and rewind.
No, he's not a DJ, though he does spin vinyl, which he usually has to borrow because he deals in CDs and engineered beats. No, he's not into the club scene or making it past the velvet rope, though he currently spins at hot spot Blue. Nah, for James Wagner it's all about the love vibes. His debut CD, Felt, went public during a May 2000 Universal Source record-release party. Since then Audio Habitat has crept into regular rotation during WVUM-FM's (90.5) Electric Kingdom. Usually found burning his corneas in front of his computer screen, Wagner, with the help of advanced design software, makes music from just about anything. The fluid organic sounds of Felt are interrupted or accented by random whirs and clicks. A subtle bass line feels like drips of water amplified and extended. Seamlessly mellow, down-tempo strains emerge. Currently Wagner's music aims to appeal to the senses through the specific vibrations. The sounds are not aimed at the club set, nor at the dance floor, either. They're a little out there but not too far. Just enough to make him this moment's innovator.
What, you thought we were going to give it to Butch Davis? After that scurrilous former Canes coach bolted for Cleveland, and after offensive coordinator Coker took over the school's prestigious head football post, the status of Miami's recruiting class looked shaky. Coaches from rival schools told the talent pool that Coker wasn't a big-time coach, that he didn't have a name, that the Hurricane football program was in disarray after four years of steady improvement brought the team to the cusp of a national championship. Yet Coker's popularity with current players, coupled with his unquestioned offensive savvy, assuaged almost everyone who had committed to UM. In fact a few more blue-chippers came onboard, such as Coral Gables phenom Frank Gore. Thanks to Coker the Hurricanes will battle for the national championship next year and for years after that. Let Davis takes solace in his Cleveland riches. It will be Coker we cheer in Miami.
It's too easy. That's the problem. Just get online, punch up Amazon.com or bn.com, click the mouse a few times, whip out the credit card, and boom! Any book you want delivered to your door in just a few days. Unfortunately the convenience of online shopping has usually come at the expense of deserving local bookstores. Until now. Books and Books owner Mitchell Kaplan has unveiled a Website that allows Miamians to enjoy online ease while still supporting his store, priceless local institution that it is. Kaplan's site, which operates in partnership with a national network of independent bookstores, retains a neighborhood-bookstore feel. Posted on the Web page are upcoming in-store readings, news of different book clubs and when they meet, and helpful recommendations from his smiling staff, all pictured. And ordering is exactly as easy as at Amazon, with one crucial difference: Home delivery is merely one option. We prefer to pick up our orders in person at the Coral Gables flagship store (delivery also available to the Miami Beach satellite shop). Stacks of books. Brewing coffee. Interesting people. Some pleasures can't be found behind a keyboard.
Most writers ardently believe in the power of language. Fred D'Aguiar believes in the power of the word. In that way he is a poet even when he writes prose. His fiction displays the poet's love for the word's evocative, lyrical, sensual resonance. In Feeding the Ghosts, published in the United States by Ecco Press in 1999, D'Aguiar prefigures the death of a group of slaves thrown into the sea with this beautifully horrific passage on drowning: "Surrender to its depths. Find its secrets. Become loose-limbed like the water. As boneless. Learn that home is always some other shore. Sink from sunlight and moonlight. Maybe see the stars distended on water, from below water. Or the constellation spread out on a moonlit sea." Born in London and raised in Guyana, D'Aguiar is now a professor in the creative-writing program at the University of Miami and an important and passionate voice in Miami's literary community. He won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1994 for The Longest Memory. His work also has won the David Higham Prize and the Guyana Fiction Award. His verse novel Bloodlines, about a female slave who falls in love with a plantation owner, will be published by Overlook Press in July.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®