This bar, restaurant, and marina is more than merely a pit stop for hungry tourists on their way to Key West. It's a piece of Islamorada history, a place to bask in the warm sun and the spirit of the Keys, and it's a popular watering hole for locals. Start your visit with a fresh fish sandwich and a cold beer inside the unpretentious restaurant or on its shaded patio. If you can manage to pull yourself away from the table, stagger a few steps through the hot sun over to the Lor-e-lei's waterfront bar, where you can have another cold beer, gaze out at the calm waters, and eavesdrop on the relaxed conversations. If you're looking to cool off, just walk a few steps to the water and take a dip. Closer to sunset the mood changes as the fishing boats glide in after a day out on the flats, breathing new life into the lazy afternoon. The quiet bar begins to bustle as fisherfolk make their way to the barstools to share perfectly accurate, self-deprecating accounts of the day's adventures. There's no better place to watch the sunset. You didn't really want to drive all the way to Key West, did you?
We know he's duller than dirt. Hell, he knows it. And as soon as he loses a game and/or doesn't win a national championship, New Times, shallow and fickle publication that we are, will hold it against him. But until then, Larry, congrats: You da man!
Whatever alternate moniker he's going by at the moment -- Hova, Jiggaman, or simply Shawn Carter -- New York City's Jay-Z remains one of hip-hop's most talented rappers. And while his paeans to all that glitters (preferably if it's wrapped around somebody that glitters) aren't going to win too many fans from the backpacker contingent, even Jay-Z's harshest critics have had to grudgingly concede that his lyrics, misogynist bile and all, are some of the most head-scratchingly inventive around. But who knew the man was also a bona fide entertainer? At his Billboardlive gig this past September, Jay-Z rolled out much more than simply a greatest-hits revue. Where most rap concerts these days consist of little more than an emcee hollering into his mike, trying to avoid tripping over the half-dozen members of his posse also stumbling around the stage, Jay-Z put on a genuine show. He worked the room, flipped his music's dynamics, and kept the audience rooted to his every gesture (even having them mimic his guttural grunts in unison) for his set's entire 90-minute duration. Minus his "Cristal break," of course.
If there's one thing you want coursing through a rock band, besides electricity, it's moxie. Singer Catty Tasso hit upon the name in Maine. She saw a bottle of Moxie, the weird old gentian-root soft drink that still has a cult-like following. "That's us!" she exclaimed, according to husband-guitarist Josh Sonntag. In the 1880s the beverage was touted as a medicine guaranteed to cure almost any ill including loss of manhood, "paralysis, and softening of the brain." Today some of Moxi's devoted fans will testify that the group's raucous music is capable of producing the same miraculous healings. After first trying "Moxy," the couple discovered that spelling pertained to a group of Seventies-era Toronto rockers remembered not for moxie but rather artless volume. That left the diminutive suffix "i," a nice stroke and subtle signifier of the Miami band's Latin identity. (Tasso was born in Chile, Sonntag grew up in Cancún, bassist Raul Ramirez hails from Puerto Rico, and drummer Frankie Martinez is a Miamian.) In a techno town like this Moxi's members will need a special supply of moxie, and perhaps Moxie, to avoid losing their soxies.

It's the train-wreck effect. No one walks by without slowing down, turning their heads. They lean in close to each other and whisper. "Versace," "shot," "steps." Casa Casuarina, now the property of North Carolina telecommunications mogul Peter Loftin, sits in ostentatiously grand Mediterranean style in the middle of Ocean Drive, awaiting its transformation into an unaffordable boutique hotel. Orange tape surrounds the grand fence. Landscapers stride in and out. But no passersby look beyond the steps where the fashion mogul was gunned down on July 15, 1997. And that's where the tourists pose, in twos and threes and fours, in bikinis and shorts, smiling broadly for each others' cameras. After all, nothing says Miami like a murder site.

It's Cultural Friday over on SW Eighth Street, except there isn't really any culture. For that you need to go north a couple blocks and find this eclectic building. Upstairs: lab6 art gallery, showing new and alternative works, usually by locals. Downstairs: PS 742 performance space, featuring new and alternative productions from here and afar. On the sidewalk outside: alternative types looking for camaraderie or a place to drum or strum for the evening. Both upstairs and downstairs accommodate such desires, usually after 10:00 p.m. Next door: artist Carlos Alves's quirky studio and Adalberto Delgado's 6g music studio. The all-white, 3000-square-foot space at lab6 is new. Owners Carlos Suarez de Jesus and Vivian Marthell moved up in October after closing their appropriately titled show "Intimate Addictions: Living Large in Tight Spaces." PS 742 moved into the old space, which director Susan Caraballo transformed into a black-box theater and began presenting Surreal Saturdays and other nights of dance, song, and show. A highlight of the year: Upstairs and down joined together in celebrating Babalu Aye, or San Lazaro, the patron saint of healing, which brought together all alternative forms of Miami for a nightlong bash.
If Latin alternative music never triumphs in South Florida, don't blame Kike Posada. This tireless crusader for la causa is determined to get the word and rock out by any means necessary: promoting events, publishing ¡Boom! magazine, and in July 2001 convincing the Anglo owners of AM station Radio Uno to allow him a few hours for programming Latin rock. The response was so great not only by listeners but by big-time advertisers such as Budweiser that the programming grew and grew -- with Posada joined over the course of the past year by fellow DJs Ramiro Yustini, Linda Carta, Caferro, Pancho, and Giovanni Morales, who now rock well into the night. So if you're looking for a little relief from the bellyaching of bachata or the relentless beat of commercial dance music, flip to the AM side of your dial and cross the border into the Latinalternative nation.

Radio Carnivale is the first Haitian-owned radio station in the nation (not counting pirate stations and two so-called FM subcarriers that can be picked up only by a specially tuned radio). The Kreyol-language station went on the air in early 2001 after last-minute complications: a name and call-letter change and the resignation of its general manager. But more than a year later Radio Carnivale has proved to be an ever-strengthening presence in South Florida's Haitian community. It's starting to make inroads on the traditional brokered-time programming arrangement that has always ruled the Haitian airwaves, and which has always meant a few powerful programmers are licensed to tell the Kreyol-speaking public anything, including slanderous lies about people they dislike and who may have no way of replying. But Radio Carnivale is a genuinely professional operation featuring music, news, and talk shows. The station is attracting more advertisers, and though it has not been able to avoid brokering (selling) some airtime, it has raised the level of Kreyol discourse in Miami.
A reformed journalist who wisely joined our NPR affiliate in 1995, Fields takes the honor this year not because she's done something different but rather because she's been consistent -- consistently good. Her playlist spans decades but is selective and smart. No pop jazz or smooth jazz or acid jazz or faux jazz of any sort. Whether it's bebop, hard bop, postbop, cool, modern, or straight ahead, Fields has an unerring ear for quality, such as Muhal Richard Abrams, George Adams, Pepper Adams, Eric Alexander, Geri Allen, Anita Baker, Chet Baker, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Cindy Blackman, Art Blakey, Carla Bley, Paul Bley, Arthur Blythe, Joanne Brackeen, Michael Brecker, Clifford Brown, Benny Carter, Betty Carter, James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ornette Coleman, Steve Coleman, Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Chris Connor, Stanley Cowell, Tadd Dameron, Anthony Davis, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Eric Dolphy, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Billy Eckstine, Marty Ehrlich, Duke Ellington, Kevin Eubanks, Robin Eubanks, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Jon Faddis, Art Farmer, Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy Flannagan, Chico Freeman, Von Freeman, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Craig Harris, Stefon Harris, Antonio Hart, Johnny Hartman, Hampton Hawes, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Julius Hemphill, Eddie Henderson, Joe Henderson, John Hicks, Billy Higgins, Andrew Hill, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, Dave Holland, Fred Hopkins, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Ahmad Jamal, Joseph Jarman, Keith Jarrett, Elvin Jones, Etta Jones, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Thad Jones, Clifford Jordan, Wynton Kelly, Stan Kenton, Lee Konitz, Oliver Lake, Harold Land, George Lewis, Charles Lloyd, Abbey Lincoln, Joe Lovano, Gloria Lynne, Christian McBride, Steve McCall, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Jason Moran, Lee Morgan, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Gerry Mulligan, Mark Murphy, David Murray, Melton Mustafa, Oliver Nelson, James Newton, Greg Osby, Charlie Parker, Nicholas Payton, Gary Peacock, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Chris Potter, Bud Powell, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Rufus Reid, Sam Rivers, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Roswell Rudd, George Russell, David Sanchez, Pharoah Sanders, Maria Schneider, John Scofield, Archie Shepp, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Nina Simone, Jimmy Smith, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dakota Staton, Sonny Stitt, Billy Strayhorn, John Stubblefield, Sun Ra, Art Tatum, Billy Taylor, Cecil Taylor, Toots Thielemans, Leon Thomas, Henry Threadgill, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Turrentine, McCoy Tyner, Chucho Valdes, Sarah Vaughan, Cedar Walton, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Tony Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Gerald Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Phil Woods, and Lester Young.

He's received this award before. He deserves it again. Not that Snitzer is alone these days in promoting the new, the local, the quality art. No indeed. Genaro Ambrosino's gallery, transplanted to North Miami, continues to showcase just that, as do those gallery-homes that stole much of the scene recently. Still if you only visited one gallery and it was Snitzer's, you would have caught almost every interesting vibe Miami is creating. Passing through his walls, ceilings, floors: the very young Hernan Bas and Bert Rodriguez; the very local Purvis Young; the very Cuban José Bedia and Glexis Novoa; the very diverse Lynn Golob Gelfman and Mette Tommerup; and many many others. Snitzer has also been integral to some of the most exciting art events we've ever seen, such as the site-specific and ephemeral Freedom Rocks and Espirito Santo Bank exhibitions, energy and insight from which continue to reverberate throughout his own space. It's a lot to take in -- thank goodness.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®