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.
Rumors of the zine form's death likely are premature, but our operatives inform us that at this juncture Rag appears to be one of the last specimens still available in paper at local CD stores. Free of charge. Every scene needs its scribes and, for example, did you know there are 116 rock bands in South Florida? Well, that's the unofficial count, which you'd know if you were a Rag reader. More important, the first-person-scarcely-edited-raw-copy zine form also is alive and kicking, as in this passage from Todd McFlicker's account of last year's Zen Fest: "Behind the gates of Bicentennial Park, a range of stereotypes ran amuck [sic]. There was an older crowd of Dead Heads, looking and smelling like Woodstock, along with kids whose pants were falling off. All ages were welcome to the event, but drinks were too expensive for most consenting adults to bother.... Backstage after the [Blues Traveler] set, the friendly Popper was giving autographs. Popper was continually signing some Jackass's photos until a security guard barked him away." The eponymous rag also has a utilitarian streak: It contains classifieds. Of most note is the musicians-seeking-musicians category.
The Music Lesson dismantled the myth that good drama must arise from a dramatic situation. A couple of musicians, Irena and Ivan, take refuge in Pittsburgh from war-torn Sarajevo and end up giving music lessons to American children from a broken family. What made this drama exceptional was the acting. The alienation and suffering these individuals felt moved through the audience like slow ether, emanating from their simplest gestures. In fact the play is a gestural masterpiece. All the action centers around an invisible piano. More than a metaphor, classical music becomes a tangible character, so that The Music Lesson is not just another account of human tragedy desensitized by a flood of overt emotion and sentimentality. It is a moving account of people trying to rebuild their lives. The Music Lesson featured Maggi St. Clair Melin, Jessica K. Peterson, Joris Stuyck, Elizabeth Dimon, Amy Love, Ashton Lee, Craig D. Ames, Eddi Shraybman, and Ethel Yari.

Mikimbin is Cuban slang for tacky, shoddy, lowbrow. Which perfectly describes the show and its completely tasteless hosts, Miguel "El Flaco" Gonzalez and Gilberto Reyes, a.k.a. Los Fonomemecos. They've been a fixture in Spanish-language Miami comedy circles for years, two Cuban immigrants earning their bread and butter with live appearances, principally at Club Tropigala at the Fontainebleau Hilton, and really awful television commercials. Their El Vacilon de la Mañana stint during morning drive on El Zol (WXDJ-FM 95.7) was largely responsible for the salsa station's long-time high ratings. When the duo left last year over a contract dispute, they wasted no time in putting together Mikimbin. If you don't watch Spanish-language TV, you won't get all their jokes, and not every skit is funny. But the good ones are screamingly hilarious. Gonzalez does the best Fidel Castro anywhere, and a recent parody of the truly mikimbin Laura en America (a Peruvian version of Cristina -- strange but true) was to die laughing for.

He has a World Series ring -- a ring he won with the Marlins. He has four consecutive gold gloves. More than anyone else he will be responsible for harnessing the exciting young pitching talent the team has stockpiled. He's improving as a batsman. He's a Marlin by choice, signing a free-agent contract with Florida at well below his market value. He was the first draft pick in team history. His return is a very real reminder that the Marlins are on the right track -- if not yet worthy of the World Series, then at least headed the right way.
Let's acknowledge that Lincoln Road is now the place to see movies in Miami Beach. Yes, it may be the only place, but still it's been ages since the hordes living on South Beach had a first-run movie theater within walking distance. Now they have a megaplex, a showplace with eighteen screens, a movie house that is as physically attractive as the beautiful patrons who glide up and down its long escalators. The Regal may be the main ingredient in the CocoWalking of Lincoln Road, but even with a movie theater, the famous outdoor shopping strip still trumps the Grove mall to which it is disparagingly compared. In fact it's time to cease arguments about Lincoln Road's retail direction. What's past is past. The present is dinner, a movie, and an ice cream stroll down the Road. Maybe a little window-shopping for furniture or shoes, maybe a dip inside the bookstore followed by a beer at Zeke's outdoor garden. That's not so bad. It really isn't.
People often say Miami has no history. Not true. And the Historical Museum of Southern Florida can prove it. This year's "Tropical Dreams" exhibition traces human activity in the region from the arrival of prehistoric peoples 10,000 years ago through the visit by Ponce de Leon in 1523, the building of Henry Flagler's FEC railroad in 1896, right up through the many waves of migration from the Caribbean and Latin America over the past century. Since its inception fifteen years ago, the museum's folklife program has documented the traditional arts of more than 60 communities, from the Seminoles to the Scottish, the Bahamians to the Nicaraguans. "At the Crossroads: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami" put on display beadwork, ceremonial garments, altars, instruments, paintings, and ritual performance of more than twenty local artists in the Afro-Cuban religious tradition. Committed to involving the community, the museum conducts field research, hires local guest curators, and brings on the noise with feisty discussions, lively concerts, and overnight excursions, such as the ever-popular Everglades muckabout.
Even those who aren't theater buffs love one-acts. Perhaps it's because our brains have been conditioned by too many Budweiser and Taco Bell commercials, but one-acts have the strange appeal of being enigmatic, energetic, and, most important, short. This season Chuck Pooler took the one-act a step further by packing Neil LaBute's Iphigenia in Orem with so many maniacal twists and turns it took the emotional toll of a two-hour drama. As a middle-age salesman holed up in a roadside motel, Pooler led theatergoers from feeling sorry for his washed-out, pudgy, pathetic self to utter shock when the man confesses that he suffocated his infant daughter and then pretended it was an accident. On the dimly lit and barren stage of Drama 101, Pooler's subtlety and unassuming delivery managed to seep into the subconscious of the audience and root out all preconceptions of what it means to be a murderer while at the same time, replanting age-old questions about good and evil.
If right wing Pavel Bure remains the Panthers' superstar, a goal addict forever in search of his next fix, then center Viktor Kozlov serves as his pusher. Kozlov, who skates with Bure on the team's number one line, feeds a steady supply of dazzling passes toward his Russian countryman. Kozlov is the best stick handler in the league. The attention defenders must give to his powerful wrist shot creates opportunities Bure is skilled at exploiting. Not that Kozlov can't score on his own; during the 1999-2000 season, he set personal bests in goals, assists, and points. A nagging shoulder injury kept his numbers down this season, but when he's healthy and in the lineup, he, Bure, and the rest of the team all play at their best.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®