Haig's performance in this show (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but nevertheless managed to conjure up a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he never knew existed. As a medieval scholar, Haig's character initially seems the frail one, a man living through his ancient texts in an ivory tower into which harsh reality never makes its way. But Haig reveals a man capable of something more, and shows us a strength derived from words, not force. Haig has always chosen intelligent roles, so it's worth your while to choose his performances whenever they pop up.

And the winner is.... Once again the award goes to Adler for his range of work and the professionalism with which it is produced. From gritty naturalism in the creepy and mind-bending Boy Gets Girl to lyrical musical drama in The Dead to the brilliant absurdism of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby, Adler moves all over the stylistic map and handles each stop with assurance. His direction is marked by clarity, energy, and a palpable love for the actor's craft. It's no coincidence that many actors shine in his productions. Until someone else manages all this in one season, the crown remains firmly planted.

On a metaphorical sea four rafters (a soldier, an explorer, a priest, and an archetypal female) became more than refugees -- they grew into symbols of rebirth and redemption in Teatro Avante's rendition of Colombian playwright José Assad's Cenizas Sobre el Mar (Ashes on the Sea). An enigmatic elixir of magical realism and theater of the absurd, the play, written by Assad in 1989 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the so-called discovery of America, concerned four rafters who have been adrift at sea for 100 years. They are symbols of Latin America as a continent of people uprooted, at war, searching, creating and re-creating identities. The key to the play's success? The trinity of theater's most fundamental elements: script, set, and performance. Assad's wonderfully poetic text worked like waves, using the ebb and flow of fixed refrains to give it cohesiveness. Ingeniously, set designer Leandro Soto, an accomplished Cuban visual artist himself, wove together shells, rags, and rope in a circle on the floor, making the raft a blank canvas rather than the site for a real voyage. The actors managed to shape-shift yet remain recognizable. They were at once thumb-sucking and ornery children, raving madmen, soldiers, travelers, and lovers. Cenizas Sobre el Mar revived and reinvigorated the age-old symbol of the sea as the universal metaphor for life, travel, birth, passage, and death. We were lucky to have it wash up on our shores.

Who's afraid of putting on Edward Albee? Not GableStage. And this production of the playwright's mind-bending verbal labyrinth was a dizzying, enigmatic tour de force. Strong all around, from Joseph Adler's crisp staging through the tight and engrossing performances (including some nifty work from John Felix and Cynthia Caquelin). Add to the mix the excellent work of Jeff Quinn, Daniela Schwimmer, and Nat Rauch -- for sets/lighting, costumes, and sound respectively -- and what you get is hard to beat, even if it were competing in a theatrical capital.
Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion Leonard has done what retired fighters just don't do. He's crossed over from the exploited to the exploiter. He has become a boxing promoter. But Leonard isn't much like the parasitic thugs who control professional pugilism. He says he wants to make boxing shows more competitive instead of producing snoozers staged to build up the records of contenders. In two programs so far this year at the American Airlines Arena, both televised on ESPN2, Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing delivered two IBA world-title fights, including Roy Jones, Jr.'s first-ever bout in Miami, and some quality undercard bouts. You can't give Leonard all the credit for raising the boxing profile in Miami. The first fight program at the AAA -- Don King's Felix Trinidad-Mamadou Thiam matchup in July 2000 -- sold out, and the regular televised shows at Miccosukee Indian Gaming aren't all bad. Some sportswriters are saying Miami is making a comeback as a major fight venue. And the presence of Leonard, who recently signed Miami-based Cuban star Diobelys Hurtado, is definitely a catalyst.
At any given moment, in some time zone, a fashion show is under way. Don't believe us? Just click your cable remote to Fashion TV and observe 24 solid hours a day of runway shows, complete with strutting models, over-the-top haute couture, and bowing designers. The eye candy is equal-opportunity -- there's just as much beef- as cheesecake on display -- and the segments even get historical (ah, so that's what Versace's fall 1999 line looked like). Captured by video crews at events from downtown New York to downtown Moscow, shipped back to FTV's Miami Beach studio, and then beamed around the globe by more than 30 satellites, it's enough to make a fashionista's heart flutter. True, not everyone needs a steady diet of runway walkers. In that case just crank up your television's volume and discover one of our city's best unsung radio stations, spinning 24 uninterrupted hours of cutting-edge beats, down-tempo hip-hop, and a dash of underground rock and roll. (Check your local cable listings for Fashion TV's channel.)

The veteran sports guy has a couple of things going for him: He was a jock -- a star receiver for the Miami Dolphins -- and he's got great hair. But he also seems to know that a good sportscaster ought to do more than just recite the scores. Recent example: The Miami Heat pulled out a February overtime win against the Bucks in Milwaukee after Jimmy Jackson tied the score in regulation on a last-second three-pointer. But Jackson got the ball on a pass from Eddie Jones after Jones committed a blatant double dribble that the refs somehow missed. Television viewers saw it, the announcers announced it, and after the game Jones admitted it. That night some Miami television sportscasters never even mentioned the critical moment on which the game turned. But Cefalo led with the blown call. Moreover on most broadcasts Cefalo looks like he's actually interested in the subject, even when he's just reading hockey scores. And during the winter Olympics he reported the results of the ice-skating competition as if that were a real sport! Whoa.
Miami has had its fair share of zines and Websites vying to be the source when it comes to covering nightlife. Clubhoppers comes closest to earning the title. Listing various venues and acts is no difficult task; anyone with e-mail or a fax machine can obtain the info and regurgitate it for the public. Presenting the information with flair, humor, and hilarious photos sets Clubhoppers apart. Its evening guides, accurate and current, are indispensable, but it's the weekly photographs that put this site over the top. Moments of intoxicated bliss, gregarious foreplay, law-enforcement confrontations, and more. Clubhoppers reminds us what going out is all about.
Yes, another nightlife Website. No surprise, given the pervasiveness of nightclubs and the intense competition among them. But this site has a somewhat different feel to it. A little more comprehensive. A little more complex. A little more commercial. But that's exactly what makes it the one you would recommend when visiting friends ask you for clubbing advice upon hitting South Beach. The love child of British expats Nick McCabe and Sarah Lynn, cooljunkie manages to maintain the pair's enthusiasm for the local dance scene while keeping the fluff factor to a manageable level. All the Beach's hotspots are laid out and evaluated, along with informed DJ interviews, coming attractions, and of course, plenty of party pics featuring clubland's ranks (and quite possibly you) hitting the dance floor.

Who else but MDCC's Alejandro Rios could put together a top-flight, ongoing program of Cuban films -- from islanders and directors in exile -- attract full houses, and yet raise nary a peep from our AM talk-radio friends and their noisy shock troops? Maybe a free series with this kind of quality is just too good (and in this town, too needed) to assail.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®