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.
As a member of the county commission since 1993, Natacha Seijas (the former Mrs. Natacha Millan) has perfected a foolproof method of alienating people. She's mean. She's arrogant. She can throw a scowl that cracks granite. And so as she prepared to run for re-election in 2000, most political observers predicted her time was up. Her archenemy, Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, had made her defeat one of his top priorities. Her opponent in the commission race was Roberto Casas, a popular and affable member of the state Senate. Seijas's chances for survival were considered so slim that even some of her natural allies, such as Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and his stable of cronies, hedged their bets by financially supporting both candidates. But in this case the pundits were wrong. Seijas worked harder than Casas, knocking on doors and acting throughout the campaign as if she were twenty points behind in the polls. Simply put, Seijas wanted it more than Casas. And she concentrated on the right issues: responding to constituent concerns, introducing an ordinance to provide higher wages for employees of companies that do business with the county, and looking out for elderly residents. If a victory by an incumbent can ever be considered an upset, then Seijas pulled off an upset last fall, winning another four-year term. She's still mean. She's still arrogant. And she's still insufferable. But you've got to hand it to her: She fought a hell of a good race.

Every station pays lip service to producing local programming designed to enlighten and educate the public, but WPLG makes good on that promise. Channel 10, for instance, was the only English-language station to broadcast a county mayoral debate last fall. And no other station in Miami devotes as much time to the problems plaguing the community. WPLG held a series of town-hall forums last year during the Elian Gonzalez crisis, and recently the station added to its lineup a new Saturday-evening public-affairs program called The Putney Perspective, hosted by reporter Michael Putney, who continues with his highly regarded Sunday-morning program This Week in South Florida. WPLG's news division produces the strongest investigative packages in the area, and the station's commentaries by general manager John Garwood pull no punches. All in all WPLG represents the very best of what a local television station should be.
Size does matter, you say? Well, when it comes to performance, there's one place in town where skill infinitely overrules dimensions: PS 742. Perhaps the only venue in Miami exclusively devoted to the promotion and production of South Florida artists, Little Havana's cozy PS 742 seats about 38 people comfortably, but even if there were 138, the word uncomfortable could never be associated with this amazingly unpretentious cultural hangout and performance space. Culture? Unpretentious? Miami? Yes, miracles other than Elian sightings do occur on SW Eighth Street. This season alone the intimate venue was transformed from a runway for Magaly Agüero's enigmatic, Spanish-language performance Ceremonia Inconclusa (Unfinished Ceremony) to a cabaret for Lourdes Simone's performance poetry and boleros. It's also worthy of mention that the space doesn't limit itself to one particular culture or genre. PS 742 has hosted acts as varied as the Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, Middle Eastern Dance by Hanan, and Ayabombe's Haitian Dance and Music Troupe. It's no surprise that the place already has the lived-in feel of other long-standing cultural institutions such as Casa Panza across the street.

Best Way To Get Around South Beach

If you absolutely, positively must go to South Beach, leave your car in the municipal lot at 45th Street and Collins Avenue, then walk to the nearby Eden Roc or Fontainebleau, where you can grab a cab any hour of the day or night.(Aside from the airport, these are the only places in Miami-Dade where taxis line up ten deep.) Head to South Beach. At the end of the evening, cab it back. You won't spend half the night looking for parking, and you won't have to worry about tooling around under the influence. Now if we could all just stop going to South Beach.
With the closing of the Alliance Cinema on Lincoln Road, it looked as though this category would be consigned to the cultural graveyard. Conventional wisdom had it that nobody could withstand the gravitational pull of the multiplex. Besides that, it seemed as if an audience for art movies simply didn't exist in Miami -- or didn't exist in large-enough numbers to make financial ends meet. But that didn't deter Cesar Hernandez-Canton, Johnny Calderin, and Ray Garcia (also operators of the Absinthe House Cinematheque in Coral Gables). In January of this year they opened the 103-seat, nonprofit Mercury Theatre to high hopes if not huge crowds. Although the opening was a year later than planned, the delay actually may have worked in their favor. Their hopes of riding the entrepreneurial wave in Miami's Upper Eastside created by restaurateur Mark Soyka were enhanced by giving Soyka (the restaurant) a chance to develop a following, which it has. With Soyka (the man) as landlord, Hernandez-Canton, Calderin, and Garcia remade an old warehouse adjacent to the restaurant, featuring amenities such as tables and chairs in the lobby, twenty-foot ceilings, unusual concession delicacies, and gallery space. Soyka installed a fountain outside and added more tables and chairs. Voila! An oasis was born. Films are screened twice nightly during the week. Matinees are added on the weekends. Yes, the movies don't change all that frequently, but it sure beats the only attractions formerly available in the neighborhood: streetwalkers and strip clubs.
Sometimes an activist craves a little action. In these post-Elian days, politicos of the Cuban-exile community are full of words like tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect. That's all fine and dandy, but it's also, well, a little boring. For any ideologues pining for the bomb-throwing glory days of el exilio, try an issue of ¡Grita!, where the prevailing sentiment is "The Cold War's not over until we say it's over!" Vintage right-wing rants brand Bill Clinton an "extreme leftist" (Lord only knows where they place Jesse Jackson on the political spectrum) while decrying the closet Marxists ensconced within Brickell Avenue's tony high-rises, all just itching for a little commie subversion. (Somebody warn Johnny Winton!) All that plus goofily over-the-top cartoons that single out Alex Penelas for as much abuse as good old Fidel. ¡Viva las pragmatistas!
All you need is a sense of adventure and a willingness to get a little dirty. Need a chair? A bookcase? An African mask? Who knows what you'll discover in the stylish home-furnishings center of Miami. Sneak around the back alleys, lift a lid, hoist yourself up, and peer inside. One advantage: There are practically no restaurants here (apologies to Piccadilly Garden and Buena Vista Café), so you won't be wading through rotting foodstuffs. For an added adrenaline rush, there's the risk of being questioned by a police officer who thinks it's mighty strange you're doing this. You may or may not be asked to leave, depending upon whether the Dumpster is on city or private property. And should you find something worth keeping, you'll have a nice little story to tell.

Regal South Beach Stadium 18
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.
They get miffed about overdevelopment and lobbyists lurking at city hall. They've successfully battled high-rises, and don't even try to tell them what to do with their neighborhood's sidewalks. Go to just about any public meeting at Miami Beach City Hall, and you'll see a couple of them in the audience -- watching. They are members of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, and they like nothing better than to chew on a squirming public official along with their coffee and toast. Each Tuesday morning this motley gaggle of Miami Beach property owners, entrepreneurs, and condo-board types converges on South Beach's oldest Cuban diner about 8:30 to get a clean shot at invited guests. When the chatter from their rear corner table rises above the general restaurant din, you know the guest speaker is being sliced and diced. Although the group began meeting in 1995, it became a force to be reckoned with in 1997, when its members took on high-rise developer Thomas Kramer and his $1.5 million campaign to defeat the "Save Miami Beach" referendum. The ballot measure passed overwhelmingly, and now a citywide vote is required whenever officials seek to increase density on waterfront property. Political foes sniff that the group is more attitude than substance, but we like the club's tenacity and political savvy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®