The trick is to stash your skank bag (the sizable trash or cloth sacks in which the homeless drag their stuff around) somewhere else before you start holding up a palm tree. That way the cops won't know you're one of them. Then you get a pair of shades, clean up as much as feasible, hide your bottle of Natural Ice behind your back, and sleep in peace. (The homeless are always tired because cops chase them around at night when they see them on the street.) Lummus is a glorious green oasis, and you can dream of the rich babes just across Ocean at the News Café, the Cardozo, or the Tides, who might discover you here, and unlike most other folks, recognize your good qualities.

In Tap Tap one night, talking about the successful poet Rashida Bartley, we became aware of a series of horrified snufflings and belchings, air expelled in violent ssssss's, denoting high dudgeon and street-level contempt. Looking around we saw a purplish-colored fellow in seamed black rags, but with a Ritmo wristwatch and red leather Tiffany's journal, small and boiling, like a fissure in a hotspring. When he had our attention he heightened his voice girlishly: For all tha mo-ments wheeen drrreams were not enuff/ to taalk me into seeing da future.... Trikky winked and scrambled closer over the stools, conspirial-voiced now: "See, even dat crap she write can be im-proved if you stretch and break consonants and riddems, twist da spellin's to sound like brakes squealin' an bumpers scrapin' over dem dead O'town lies, mistuh..." He raked our faces with a steel-comb look: Yeah, I did Rimbaud a thousand years ago had Maldoror's ass/ in my kitchen glass Walt Whitman messed and funk-skank blessed y'all tryin' to write what we sow. Trikky asked for our business cards, accepted a double Jameson's, and said he'd call next time he and his buddies slammed.

Everything you ever wanted to know about local education (from pre-k to post-doc) and so much more. History professor Peterson, a slight man with glasses, a limp, and a sardonic smile, creates somewhere between seven and ten e-mail newsletters weekly and sends them to a few hundred people. The newsletters are partly a compendium of education-related articles in major newspapers and journals, studies, and statistics. But they also serve as a repository of Peterson's analysis of political trends, bald advocacy of ideological positions, parsing of the smallest potential motives behind every decision made by the school board, and tweaking the administration and politicos by endlessly speculating on their essentially corrupt natures. To subscribe, send an e-mail to peterson@fiu.edu with "subscribe MER" in the subject line.

Now the lone moviehouse in all the beaches, the Regal South Beach undoubtedly benefits from having a captive audience at its disposal. Weekend evenings can be disconcertingly chaotic at times, but its location at the corner of Lincoln and Alton roads makes it unbeatable for the perennially favorite combo: dinner and a movie. With summer upon us, beat the heat and the crowds by slipping in for an afternoon matinee (especially midweek, all the better to feel superior to the 9-to-5 wage slaves). Emerge from the cool darkness into the gentler rays of late afternoon, and amble down to an outdoor table at one of the many local establishments for a libation over which to debate whether the plot of The Matrix: Reloaded makes more sense than that of the original.

Readers Choice: Sunset Place 24

The Miami Herald was a favorite DeFede target for the ten and a half years he was employed by this newspaper. Now that he's toiling away in the belly of the beast, his crusade against corruption, incompetence, malfeasance, official mediocrity, and, well, official idiocy appears to continue unencumbered by the powers-that-be -- at least so far. The first page of the Herald's local section is a far more interesting read thanks to him (and an inspired internal shakeup that affected the other columnists at the paper). Are we sorry to have lost him? Of course. Is he making us proud nonetheless? You bet.

The best man on a mediocre team, center Jokinen leads the Panthers in points, goals, and assists. He was expected to be a star after Los Angeles selected him third in the 1997 draft, but he ended up being wildly inconsistent his first four seasons. Since then he has greatly improved, which is good news for the Panthers, who've been losing steam (on the ice and at the box office) since handing the 1996 Stanley Cup to Colorado. Today Jokinen and goalie Roberto Luongo are playing almost as if hockey actually matters in South Florida. Does it?

Readers Choice: Roberto Luongo

South Florida is blessed with an abundance of theater for kids, but none tops the Actors' Playhouse, which takes children's theater very, very seriously. For starters the Playhouse, one of the area's major professional companies, has created an entirely separate children's division, led by peripatetic artistic director Earl Maulding. He produces a full season of plays for children, as well as providing classes and workshops. Maulding and executive director Barbara Stein aim for excellence, hiring experienced professional actors and designers to staff their children's shows. Then there's the company's National Children's Theatre Festival, which holds a national competition for new children's plays and stages a spectacular weekend event for the winner's world premiere. Finally there's the context of all of this: Children who come watch the plays often discover they want to attend the main-stage adult fare the Playhouse offers. Some kids from the training program end up onstage themselves in the big Playhouse musicals like this past season's The Sound of Music. Actors' Playhouse not only offers the best in children's entertainment, it's providing South Florida with an important cultural service by nurturing the audiences of tomorrow.

You know immediately that something is different about this warehouse. It's the same height as the others but the roof forms some nice angles. The tri-color scheme -- terracotta, olive, and clay -- on its tripartite front wall tells you maybe it's not a warehouse at all. "It's about uplifting you," architect Marilyn Avery says of her creation, located in a downtrodden section of the Wynwood warehouse district. And who needs more of a lift than someone who has spent a little too much time on the streets (like a homeless mom). Rather than plopping down a bizarre-looking "object-building," Avery drew from the zone's indigenous warehouse vernacular. "I took that form and just made it exuberant," she explains, looking up from the sidewalk at the richly colored front wall. The parking lot is hidden in back so as not to clutter the exuberance of the entrance. When they step inside, parents and kids look up to a 40-foot-tall ceiling gently illuminated by outdoor light streaming in through the clerestory windows. There is also something soothing, even primal, about the natural materials. Shiny black granite and glossy medium-brown birch form a large reception desk. Waist-high birch panels run horizontally along the slate walls, and there's more wood inside the four classrooms in the form of cabinets and window panes. Then there's the Zenlike beauty of the smooth concrete floors. Much thought went into the indirectly illuminated basketball gym, with the help of lighting guru William Lam. Thanks to more clerestory windows and the reflective properties of various white surfaces (the walls and the fabric suspended from the ceiling), there are no glaring bulbs to mess up someone's game. All the lighting is indirect. "You never lose the ball up there," Avery affirms.

Her passport put her age at 82, but relatives think she was at least 90 when this nation's grande dame of the sleazy art film departed Miami this past August 10 on a nudist cruise to hell. At least that was the destination Doris Wishman always thought she'd booked, owing to the naughty nature of her movies. Indeed her reputed cult classic is Bad Girls Go to Hell. But so extensive was this Coral Gables denizen's following that the boat surely dropped her off at that cinema paradiso in the sky, probably still wearing an imitation leopard-skin suit and retro sunglasses. In the Sixties Wishman's low-budget shoots explored a strange universe of nudism. They include Hideout in the Sun, in which two bank robbers hide from the police in a nudist camp, and Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. Another classic overlooked by the Academy was Nude on the Moon, in which astronauts touch down and find a welcoming committee of naked women with antennas and bouffant hairdos. She even delved into heavy international political themes with Behind the Nudist Curtain. As the decade progressed, the self-taught director gradually refined her grainy black-and-white melodramas in which crude men tended to abuse scantily clad women. Critics raved about her jarring jump-cut closeups to ashtrays, squirrels, heaving breasts. Her filmography is a veritable review of Sixties history: Another Day, Another Man; The Sex Perils of Paulette; Bad Girls Go to Hell; Indecent Desires; A Taste of Her Flesh. Perhaps it was a lust for money that led to her mid-Seventies hardcore phase (Come With Me, My Love). But mostly she eschewed explicit sex in her art, preferring to revel instead in tasteless weirdness. A few years later the prolific filmmaker culminated her dream of making a horror flick with A Day to Dismember, about a female porn actress turned psycho-killer. After a long hiatus and a stint working at the Pink Pussycat sex boutique in Coconut Grove, Wishman returned in the new millennium with the lyrical Dildo Heaven and the violent yet sexy Satan Was a Lady. She was editing Each Time I Kill at the time of her death. In the end, she was a crazy sweetheart. "I made all my films out of love," Wishman purred.

This wasn't a good year for most South Florida head coaches. Pat Riley's championship vision fell out from under him. Dave Wannstedt's game planning was plagued by second-guessing. And four out of five South Floridians can't even name the Marlins' or Panthers' coaches. The only consistent winner has been the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. Insiders know that the most important factor in the Canes' 35-2 record over the past three seasons has been their offensive line, the most dominant in college football. The big guys don't get a lot of glory, but they get plenty of respect. So does Art Kehoe, offensive-line coach and an ex-UM lineman himself. The year the Canes won it all, their golden-boy quarterback, Ken Dorsey, was sacked just three times the entire season, a national record. Over the past three seasons, the offensive line also cleared the way for three straight 1000-yard rushers. When Kehoe speaks, the squad listens or else; the discipline he demands is legendary, which helps explain why he's produced nearly a dozen NFL linemen. But he is also one of the most lovable guys in the locker room, a true player's coach.

Readers Choice: Pat Riley

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®