BEST TOURIST TRAP 2002 | Casa Casuarina | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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.

(c)(r)~E(c)(r)~EG1/2?(r)g/~C&!:ê¯(c)(r)~E??y??????????O????f?????f(c)(r)~E(c)(r)~E(c)&!:ê¯?y????(c)&!:ê¯?y??f(c)(r)?????(c)(r)(r)g?f(c)(r)~??(c)&!:ê¯(c)(r)~E??y??????????O????f?????f(c)(r)~E(c)(r)~E(c)&!:ê¯?y????(c)&!:ê¯?y??fE(c)(r)????O????f?????f(c)(r)~E(c)(r)~E(c)&!:ê¯?y????(c)&!:ê¯?y??fE(c)(r)~EG1/2?(r)g/~C&!:ê -- most Thursdays at Churchill's.

The Miami Film Festival's David Poland may have moved on, but it would be a shame if the former director's innovation of showing festival flicks free on the sands of South Beach -- on a 70-foot-high screen beneath the night sky -- went with him. (Organizers of Miami's Brazilian Film Festival have been doing this for years with great success.) Catching Moulin Rouge under those circumstances, with the surrounding crowd of 5000 oohing and ahhing in delight, revealed precisely how that film was meant to be seen: as a larger-than-life spectacle. And if you could tear your eyes away from the sight of a gigantic Nicole Kidman spinning through the air, you'd see the celebrated diversity of Miami come to life: queer couples strolling hand-in-hand past wizened viejos; Beach fashionistas popping open a bottle of wine; Latino families grilling over an open flame; and everybody simply losing themselves in the sheer magic of the cinema. "For the love of film" indeed.
Ever since Chocolate Industries pulled out of town a year or so ago we've been jonesing for a new sonic substance. Luckily local DJ turned entrepreneur Greg Chin, a.k.a. Stryke, has been happy to oblige with his ambitious new Substance Recordings. In addition to his own delicately textured take on techno, Stryke is now imprinting and distributing electronic delights from all over the map by both established talents such as Christian Smith and John Beltran as well as newcomers making their debut with the label, such as Dominican DJ Sheeno. While heavily weighted toward intelligent tech, the Substance motto is "a label without boundaries." Stick out your tongue and open your ears.
New York City had Simon and Garfunkel, so it's only fitting that Miami's most dynamic songwriting duo should have come together in a tribute to our city. Before September 11 Elsten Torres and Juan Carlos Perez Soto had been writing songs separately for years. They had even been writing songs together, off and on, for about two years prior. But when they decided to collaborate on a tune for DESCARGA, a benefit show at Café Nostalgia that marked the one-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the partnership took on a new urgency. Moved by a newspaper account of a woman who refused to believe her beloved, killed in the World Trade Center, would never come back, the pair penned one of the most beautiful memorials of that tragic event: "Hasta Que Regreses" ("Until You Return"). Since then the two have been writing and performing together regularly, hitting audiences with the triple threat of songs Torres created for his band Fulano, such as the slinky "Caramelo" ("Candy") and the anthemic "En Nombre De" ("In the Name Of"); Soto's more introspective "Si Te Vas" ("If You Go") and "Duenos de Este Mundo" ("Owners of This World"); and the beautiful "Hasta Que Regreses" as well as the team's lively "Dejala que Baile" ("Let Her Dance") and "Mañana." Now the Magic City has Torres and Perez.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®