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.
"A place as busy as this could really become a mess without good management," said an alligator to another one evening in the mangroves of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

"Yeah, I noticed one night them restrooms were cleaner than you'd normally expect, at least for Homo sapiens' restrooms."

"Yep. Quite clean. They were actually stocked with soap and paper."

"The Lighthouse Café over yonder is not too intrusive either. I kinda like the design."

"Lots of wood. Blends right in. Kind of reminds me of the beach at Cape Cod. The café is a little crowded on the weekends, but that must mean they got something mighty tasty in there."

"They'd probably be scared if we went, though. They'd think we'd eat them."

"But we wouldn't."

"No, sir. Strictly frogs and birds. Maybe an occasional poodle."

"They'd probably try to eat us."

"As long as they stay on the trails or on the beach, I think we'll be okay."

"I heard they don't give out straws at the café because they found out that when straws blow into the ocean, they hurt the aquatic animals. Now that's another sign of good management."

"Yeah, the place has come along way. Especially considering that amazing tornado we had back in '92."

"Tornado Andrew I think they called it."

"The humans did a nice job on the restoration. They looked at some historical photos and put in a lot of native plants like sea oats, sea grapes, spike rush, mangroves, and saw grass. That's pretty much why I came back."

"Me too. I love that saw grass. You notice how a lot more water birds started showing up?"

"Yum."

"A couple of crocodiles even came back."

"Are they the gray ones with the tapered snouts?"

"Yep, but they're harmless. As long as you stay away from their kids."

"Who is the manager anyway?"

"A guy named Niblock. Lee Niblock. Been superintendent since October '94. He recently helped get the state to change the place from recreation area to park, which means only twenty percent can be used for human recreation. You know, like parking and eating. Lately he's been trying to keep a group from building some baseball fields in here on 30 acres."

"Must be a good man."

Well, why not? This is one language in which at least 80 percent of Miami-Dade County residents can claim to have some proficiency. Besides making millions for the likes of Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, bilingual performance, when done well, provides an entertaining aural experience and an intriguing oral history, as Michael John Garces proved in Agua Ardiente, the show he wrote and directed. Of Cuban, Colombian, and American origins, Garces skillfully scripted his heritage through a lusty and heartbreaking array of personae. The one-man performance was both soliloquy and son, monologue and dialogue; it was an ode and a diatribe, a rant and a meditation. Garces's mastery of various poetic styles (language poetry, beat poetry, and spoken word) and his strong theatrical foundation made Agua Ardiente not a grab bag of form and language but an organic and energetic piece of bilingual drama.

How low can you go? At this underwater watering hole, you can go about twenty feet down, to the sandy floor of the ocean. Think of it this way: Even if you hit rock bottom, you'll never again have to moan, "How dry I am!" Here you're as likely to see a mermaid as a barmaid. In a marketing stunt that sounds more like a drunken prank, tequila magnate José Cuervo celebrated the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo in 2000 by actually sinking a full-size bar, complete with six stools, about 200 yards off of the First Street beach on South Beach. But this $45,000 structure attracts more than potential consumers. Behind the bar a curved wall of interlocking tetrahedrons, made from recycled concrete by long-time artificial-reef builder Ben Mostkoff, promotes algae growth, promising sea creatures and divers a lush environment. So stick around for last call. Sometimes, round about 3:00 a.m., if you're really quiet, you can hear the shrimp sing: "José Cuervo, you are a friend of mine/I like to drink you with a little salt and lime."
Let's get right to the point: BB's has more steel-tip dartboards than any public establishment in the county (thirteen). And there are two separate dart-throwing areas, which means there is plenty of room for the hotshots from the Miami-Dade Darting Association and the rest of us hacks. The dozen or so teams from the association regularly hold matches at BB's, which used to be called Norm's Hideout back when a guy named Norm and a gal named Dorothy founded the association in the Seventies. BB's is just off U.S. 1 in South Miami-Dade, which is the stomping grounds of most folks who are passionate about darting.

Milian was a voice for freedom and tolerance in a city that hasn't always understood those words. In 1976 terrorists tried to silence Milian by planting a bomb under his car. He survived the blast but lost both legs. "Six months after the bombing he walked out of a hospital on artificial legs," Milian's son Alberto noted during the eulogy to his father, who died March 15. "No warrior stood taller that day." But the bombing alone did not define Milian's life. He did that himself through word and deed, praying for a free Cuba but never accepting the notion that the goal justified employing the same tactics of fear and repression Castro uses to keep the island enslaved. In the final months of his life, his body began to fail him, but his spirit never faltered. And now, in death, his voice may at last be silenced, but his memory lives on as an inspiration.
How can an AM station be best, you ask? This could be a comment on the state of things on your highly predictable, highly commercial FM dial. But another reason is that many of us in Miami-Dade are living in the past, in more ways than one. For example the First Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, but many of us need a constant reminder that it still exists, especially when the words "Fidel Castro" are uttered. That's where WOCN comes in. It is the only Cuban-dominated AM station to offer a range of opinion from left to right. "We believe in freedom of speech," explains Richard Vega, who owns this station along with his father and uncle. "A lot of people in this town don't understand it." This is the station that airs the ironically titled Ayer en Miami (Yesterday in Miami), hosted by First Amendment freak Francisco Aruca, who operates a charter airline that flies to Cuba. Aruca is a loquacious opponent of the U.S. embargo against the island, which means that each day when he opens the phone lines, he confronts an onslaught of hecklers with no interest in dialogue but a great desire to shout obscenities and imitate gross bodily functions. Unlike radio hosts on other AM stations, Alvaro Sanchez Cifuentes has the gall to support diversity of opinion on his show, Transición (Transition), in which guests with different points of view discuss a panoply of issues regarding local and Cuban affairs. But being best in this cultural crossroads means broadening your ideological bandwidth and ethnic horizons. Hence, Vega notes, "Right-wing Nicaraguans are on the weekend." From 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. the station broadcasts an ever-meandering stream of programming aimed at the Haitian community.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®