Love, like everything else, has imitations, but Dean Fields is the real deal. We just hope we can keep him here, at least for a little while. The curly-topped Virginian has stopped off in Miami for a little booklearnin', but his heart is in his music and it shows. Fields conveys the deepest feeling with the sparest of arrangements, his guitar a simple undercurrent to the emotional surge of his clear, mournful voice. If this is altfolk, we're all for it.

There can't really be a more authentic South Beach tale than the rise of Chris Paciello, the New York small-time mobster who headed to Florida and glamorously reinvented himself as the crown prince of clubland. Splashed across the gossip pages, there he was canoodling with supermodels, dancing with Madonna, downing shots alongside Dennis Rodman inside his nightclubs Liquid and Bar Room, and at his restaurant Joia. It was quite a life -- that is until his goomba past in Staten Island caught up with him in the form of a murder indictment. Michele McPhee chronicles it all in a hard-boiled noir style whose dime-store prose is often as overheated as the lurid tales themselves. Given the literary attention span of most of South Beach's habitues, what could be more appropriate?

This Peruvian native likes intimacy. He uses words (English and Spanish), everyday items, penciled sketches, postcard-size spaces, kinetic video, even entire houses to bring us into the world of the private life. Cordova has described his art as a diary, but his personal life reflects our own colorful, diverse, alienated Miami life, which is one reason his works are so memorable. He's only in his early thirties but already he has left his mark all over our city. His miniature paintings are his trademark so far, but you've encountered Cordova in many other forms. He was part of Miami Art Museum's December video installation (along with an earlier MoCA video show), and his arrangements incorporating stereo bits and car tires were an ingredient in the Kevin Bruk Gallery's "Summer Tossed Salad" exhibit. Cordova has also joined the growing ranks of artists-as-curators. He organized the creatively titled and executed "You were always on my mind" at Ambrosino Gallery, and together with artist Eugenia Vargas took over her home in North Miami and filled it with the intimate and quirky works of seventeen local artists for "Homewreckers: It's Over," one of Miami's first "home shows." For being both at the forefront of creating art and standing behind interesting local artists, Cordova gets our nod this year.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to these three. R-E-S-P-E-C-T so rare for women in the compas industry. Saima, sisters Sabine, Yves, and Martine Francoeur, got tired of serving as back-up singers to a slew of male stars, so they struck out in search of their own spotlight. You'll still hear their roof-off-the-house voices on T-Vice tracks, but the North Miami ladies have proved they can pack their heat with their CD Chale. Last October the trio joined 25 other Haitian artists at a benefit for victims of September 11 to sing the song written by their father, esteemed compas composer Assade Francoeur, "Lavi Telman Kout" ("Life Is Short"). Whether getting down with compas-muffin, getting dirty with hip-hop, or getting serious with a September 11 ballad, the Saima sisters have the pipes and the pip to take on any all-male Haitian outfit anytime.
DJs Oscar G (Space) and Ralph Falcon (Billboardlive) first hit the scene in 1997 with the club classic "Fired Up." In 1999 they avoided the sophomore slump by releasing "Body," a smash hit that swept across dance floors worldwide. Now the duo, along with singer Tamara, have scored again with their latest album Super California, which promises to continue their winning streak with a fresh slew of vocal-driven house that's sure to get the remix treatment. The first single off the new album, "You Got Me (Burnin' Up)," has already enjoyed a number-one slot on Billboard's dance charts, and other tracks are sure to follow. Both DJs enjoy popular residencies here in Miami and are known for their harder edge when it comes to spinning live. But don't blame the boys for cashing in on the vocal style the Funky Green Dogs are making soar.
At the risk of starting a family feud, we'll venture to say that it isn't the accomplished Robert Thiele who's the true shining art star in town. It's Robert's own daughter Kristen, who's returned home from a spell in Chicago to take a studio at Lincoln Road's ArtCenter South Florida. And the Windy City's loss is definitely our gain. Kristen's whimsical use of anthropomorphic cats and dogs may be initially, intentionally goofy and cartoonish, but it's also moving. Like vintage Fifties Peanuts strips, her work disarms with its misleading simplicity and then turns downright sublime. Her latest series, "The Masters," transposes these furry critters into a slew of hallowed works. You'll never look at Mona Lisa the same way again.

You know his work. Or maybe you don't know that you know. Rodriguez is rather hard to keep an eye on sometimes. Like his piece for what turned out to be the Art-Basel-replacement-event of the year at the Bass Museum, "globe>miami>island." His was the music you heard in the freight elevator, on the outside door of which were written the words "The End," those chords from the ending of movies, from The Godfather, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the like. Elevator music indeed. You may know that you know Norberto (Bert) Rodriguez, the recent New World School of the Arts grad who also helps take care of the Rubell collection. Easier to see but maybe not so easy to grasp was his first solo show in 2000, "Bert Rodriguez: A Pre-Career Retrospective" -- wrap your brain around that witty title from a 25-year-old -- a Duchampian exhibit with child's drawings, ready-made objects (not a urinal but a signed toilet-cleaner brush), and clever captions. That was Bert you saw at the "Skins" exhibit at the Dorsch Gallery when you gazed at all those prints of a topless LaToya Jackson on the bathroom walls. Bert too at MoCA's "Making Art in Miami: Travels in Hyperreality," one of the inaugural museum shows to showcase young Miami talent. But maybe you still don't know him. That's okay. His "pre-career" just ended. Now you have time to watch him emerge.
Frankly, Jake ain't that little, but given the scarcity of old-fashioned bass-slappin' rock and roll outfits in these parts, we're not going to nit-pick. And when this slickly coifed, tattooed, and sideburned band gets a good head of steam going, there's no time for semantics; best to just grab your partner and hit the dance floor. True, there's nothing particularly earthshaking going on in the Boss Tones' loving salute to their Fifties forebears, but try telling that to the retro-garbed couples gleefully spinning around Churchill's whenever this group hits the stage there.
For too long, rap in Miami was synonymous in the nation-at-large's mind with Luke's 2 Live Crew. And given that ol' Uncle Luke has been little more than an embarrassing punch line for nigh on a decade now, the ascension of Trick Daddy's gleaming gold smile to MTV is more than welcome. But besides putting Miami back on the hip-hop map with his Thugs Are Us album, Trick also taught the rest of the country a thing or two about his unique Southern flavor. In rapping over sparse, staccato beats, Trick's hypnotic molasses-timbred drawl commanded attention, even when he was just capping off a verse with a signature grunt. Thuggery never sounded so inviting.
The title of this author's fifth book of poetry, The Mastery Impulse, forthcoming from Carnegie-Mellon University Press, pretty much sums it up: Pau-Llosa has got it down. Whether he's writing poetry, short fiction, or art criticism, this Miami Cuban knows how to reach his local as well as international audience. And once grabbed, we're kept. Pau-Llosa's first three poetry collections -- Sorting Metaphors, Bread of the Imagined, and Cuba -- earned him our respect with this same award in 1998. His continued dedication to regional emphasis in 1999's Vereda Tropical, comprising poems such as "View of Miami Across Biscayne Bay from the Rusty Pelican" or "Books and Books," which pays homage to one of our most respected bookstores, ensures him our devotion. As "the fisher of metaphors/that bind the layered water/to bark and fronds," Pau-Llosa becomes not only the literary ombudsman of this strange new world, he succeeds in documenting the mystery of the Magic City.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®