True, we renew our licenses only once every six years, but on that fateful day (which, cruelly, comes on our birthday), most of us would rather wake up dead than confront the idea of three hours at the DMV. No more. Thanks to the forward-thinking folks at the division of driver licenses, you can now schedule an appointment at the office nearest you, usually from one day to the next. In and out in about an hour. (What, you expected better?)
Opa-locka. Dusk. The parking lot of an abandoned housing project. The potholed lot is empty save the car of a reporter, who has pulled over to take a cell-phone call. Up ahead a round-faced man wearing a black Martin Luther King T-shirt slowly winds toward the car. He is sipping from a longneck bottle of Budweiser. When he reaches the car, he smiles, revealing a bridge of gold teeth.

"Hey man, you live here? Damn that's nice! I'd live here myself if I could. You're on the phone? Oh man, I know what you're doing. I know exactly what you're doing. You're talking to your girlfriend! Your wife doesn't get off work for another hour, so you're talking to your girl. Don't say no, man! Don't tell me you got no wife. I'm smart. Ah, yeah, that's what's happening man.

"Hey man, seriously. Don't be doing that. You got to stop that. Go home to your wife and kids. I know exactly what's going on here. This is what you do: You call your girl tomorrow, you tell her that you've talked to the Lord and he told you this wasn't right, that you've got to go back to your wife, that your kids need you. I'm smart. I'm smart. And I know. Every month you get more bills. Paying for your girl adds up. Then you get another bill, and you say, “Damn, another bill!' Then you have to look at your kids. Man, I'm tellin' you there's nothing worse in the world than to have to look in your kids' eyes and tell 'em you're a deadbeat dad. You hear me? Hang up that phone, brother! I love you. I want you to do the right thing.

"Oh man, my back hurts. You mind if I lean in here a little bit? You see how I walked up here, all slow and all? That's how I know what I'm talking about man, 'cause my wife shot me in the back. Look here, I'll lift up my shirt. Let me just turn around here. You see that? You see the hole? You don't ever want to be denying no child support. Listen to me! You're going to hang up that phone, brother. You're going to do the right thing. I can tell. I know. I'm smart, man. I'm telling you I'm smart. And I know."

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.

This past November, when Delfin Gonzalez announced he had bought the modest Little Havana home where Elian stayed, and that he planned on turning it into a shrine, some people thought it would only serve to perpetuate -- even institutionalize -- the tensions that had split the community into warring factions. But that evening, when the winning numbers came up on the Florida lottery, even skeptics had to pause. Maybe the kid does have some kind of supernatural powers after all. The Cash Four drawing paid off $5000 to 192 players who picked the numbers 2319. The Cash Three drawing paid $500 to 913 people who picked 023. Even the number of people who won were combinations of Elian's address. Now what was that story about dolphins saving the boy's life?
This year Ray Lockhart proved that maybe you can trick the Devil, but you can't fool an audience. As Lem, the man who murdered Robert Johnson, Lockhart was not only pivotal to the play's denouement but also essential to the emotional chemistry onstage. Portraying a long-absent and embittered husband, Lockhart filled M Ensemble's tiny set with the emotional intensity and stage presence of a man who has spent the past few years splitting rocks and returns to find his wife bedding down with a handsome, mysterious stranger. Lockhart's raw physicality and confident stage presence elevated the quality of this drama immensely, without overshadowing the rest of the cast. Finding the balance between rage and passion, this quarry worker turned out to be the gem in this bitter tragedy.

Theatergoers found a lot of reasons to dislike Paul Tei this season. He played a cold-blooded child killer in New Theatre's Never the Sinner and a hot-blooded serial killer in GableStage's Popcorn. But he is so good at being bad that you can't really hold it against him. Tei is the kind of actor who looks at a role not only as an opportunity to perform but also as an opportunity to create a role. Consequently he can portray several different degenerates, and his performances never overlap. As Wayne, the gun-toting redneck in Popcorn, Tei kept us riveted to our seats -- appalled and laughing. As Richard Loeb, a wealthy young Chicago man who, along with his lover, kills a young boy on a Nietzsche-inspired whim, he was equally appalling. But Tei never let audiences simply dislike his characters. With his willingness to take risks and push the boundaries of character definition, he could make Ted Bundy funny. For example, in Never the Sinner, he dared to play this insolent, arrogant murderer as childlike and capricious -- clubbing a kid in the head one moment and going out for hot dogs the next. Tei's topnotch acting transformed these two good plays into excellent ones.

What more is there to say than "farewell"?
No half-naked waitresses here. None of those annoying black-clad Dave and Buster's-style security guards talking into their walkie-talkies -- just good clean fun for the whole family. Well, maybe not so clean. The paintball does get pretty messy. Norm Kramer, owner and founder of Tropical Fun Center, is proud of his facility and with good reason: It is the only remaining establishment of its kind in Miami-Dade County. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., the illuminated outdoor paintball arena is just one of the many exciting entertainment choices this place offers. Start off with some miniature golf. The eighteen-hole course was rated "most challenging" by the chamber of commerce. Then strap the kids into a NASCAR go-kart and let them tear around Miami's only all-concrete, banked go-kart track. If eighteen miles per hour is too fast, then send the kids off to the "roller-racing track." Kids of any age can sit on these funny little contraptions and zip around till they're exhausted. The arcade is standard electronic and pinball (though low on the hyperviolence). But there's something refreshingly different about the posted signs that warn against smoking and using profanity. This truly is a place for the whole family.

This past December, when NBC named 35-year-old Miami native Jeff Zucker as the head of its entertainment division, he was not only one of the youngest hotshots to fill such a high-profile slot, he also was the first executive with a news background to take over the company's entertainment arm. And he's one of us: North Miami Senior High, class of 1982. "Hey, I'm a Miami boy," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, explaining a style quirk. "Wearing shoes without socks is very Miami." The word wunderkind is used so frequently in describing him it's almost become his middle name. After joining NBC Sports in 1986 as a researcher/writer, he moved on to the Today show, where he rose to become executive producer at the tender age of 26. Critics give him full credit for imbuing that program with a news edge it previously lacked, and more important, for guiding it to unprecedented popularity and prosperity. He's also been the driving force behind many of NBC's highest-rated news specials. Moving from New York to Los Angeles may be just as shocking as going from presidential interviews to sitcom scripts, but he's a hearty lad who likes a challenge. No further proof is needed than his success in battling colon cancer -- twice.
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®