We're not jealous of you Jorge, we're proud! We've seen your handsome face adorning those humorous videos, and we know the rest of the world has been chuckling with them as well. We watched you win Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys, then go on to be nominated for Best Latin Pop Album at the non-Latin Grammys. You were one of the first signed up to Madonna's new label Maverick, and not just because of those looks -- we all know the other pretty boys on the charts don't write their own songs and play their own instruments like you did for Jorge Moreno. That disc that gave us the exhilarating homage to Desi Arnaz in "Babalú," and highlighted your own songwriting skills -- and mixture of styles from pop to tropical to son -- on "Mi Sufrimiento" and "Despertare." And you can still laugh at yourself. You Cuban-American honest-to-God high-quality-product-of-Miami, you go boy!

Readers Choice: Alex Rodriguez

Nothing like it has ever happened here -- a spectacular success for both Miami and the world that came to see it. It was also a quince of sorts, our own coming out and maturing party. We were ready to host the planet's biggest international art fair and to impress those who followed it here. The Switzerland-based event dropped into the Miami Beach Convention Center with thousands of pieces of the most vaunted contemporary art; local collectors opened their doors and were received with international applause; local artists put their very best faces forward at the Design District's ancillary event -- and everyone smiled. Did people party? Yes. Did art sell? Yes. Were the well-heeled global art-setters awed? Yes. Will the fair return bigger and most likely better next year? Yes.

Readers Choice: Coconut Grove Arts Festival

We've always had a love-hate relationship with Channel 7, whose local news programs best represent the kind of town Miami is -- loud, obnoxious, superficial, sometimes ridiculous, but family, you know? Lynn Martinez, a WSVN reporter and anchor for the past twelve years, is adept at handling the station's split personality. At 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. she's professional newscaster Lynn, delivering her lines with a snap and polish that would hold up nicely at the networks. But at 7:30 we get a glimpse of Lynn the mischievous wag as she trades barbs with co-host Belkys Nerey on the silly and thoroughly enjoyable Deco Drive, which would be nothing more than a half-hour ad for the entertainment industry were it not for the evident glee with which Lynn (and the impish Belkys) finesse the clever writing.

Readers Choice: Dwight Lauderdale, WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

Working Stiffs is an insightful and fascinating account of the popularity of tintype photography at the turn of the century. Carlebach, a University of Miami professor, does a magnificent job of not only explaining but honoring the values of America's working class. "For these sons and daughters of toil, born into a society that still valued making things more than buying and consuming them, manual labor was a legitimate source of respect, if not admiration," he writes in the preface. The book's true value, of course, lies in the photographs Carlebach selected; from the teenage girls laboring as tobacco workers to the plumbers and house painters stoically holding their tools of their trade, the photographs in Working Stiffs convey the true American spirit.

Readers Choice: Self Portrait by Alonso

This hotel has its own creative director! You know the place by its former name, the Banana Bungalow, perched there at the tail end of Indian Creek on Collins Avenue. It still has that fabulous, sweeping-roofed glass-encased lobby. The Fifties rooms have not been remodeled. But the Signature Rooms have been "redecorated" by artists and designers. You can take the Honeymoon Suite, with lingerie, panties, necklaces, and bra hung on a lamp, painted in red on the walls. Or the room covered with little red plaques -- if you take one off, you can write a "secret" message on the white wall underneath. Or you can leave another message in the Message in a Bottle room, with glass bottles hanging in a corner. And the cheesy Gold Lamé room is killer. The rooms will most likely be redone by other artists next year. Down at the poolside patio there's electronica lounge music in the evening, a barbecue on Saturday afternoons and a hip, urban feel 24/7. With rates that can drop below $100, this little island can make South Beach feel cool again.

Readers Choice: Delano Hotel

You should, of course, advise visiting friends to arrive on a daytime flight, window seat, the better to appreciate the sparkling azure waters as the plane swoops down toward MIA. Their appetites whetted, sign 'em up for Action Helicopter's 30-minute, 45-mile aerial tour. It lifts off from Watson Island and includes the port, the downtown skyline, Vizcaya, and Key Biscayne before heading up Miami Beach to Bal Harbour then looping around the west side of the bay for just $149 each (a quick, four-minute look will set you back only $35). If you're not feeling that munificent, you can always go asea on one of the Island Queen or Celebration bilingual boat tours ($15) that leave from Bayside Marketplace. Your guests will love ogling waterfront celeb homes (and you might just like it, too). Too touristy for you? Designate your driver and order a libation to ease the pain.

Readers Choice: South Beach

For some reason that baffles us, a lot of local public servants don't seem to understand that the public's information is as precious as its purse. But Oliver Kerr, supervisor of the Miami-Dade planning and zoning department's demographic unit, does understand and sets the gold standard for info-currency. He represents Miami-Dade in the Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, which is committed to "democratizing information" in order to help build "vibrant and sustainable" communities. For example, he brought it all home when the U.S. Census data for Florida finally came down the Internet pipeline last fall. Although he was deluged, not only was this twenty-year county veteran available and cordial but he provided the figures efficiently and quickly -- even to pesky reporters. They gave him the boundaries of a specific neighborhood; he gave them the stats on income, unemployment, housing, and the like. Kerr knows the formula. Information fuels knowledge. Knowledge is power. Obstruct the info flow and you abuse the power.

Sunny Isles goes up, Fontainebleau mural goes down, DCF kids go missing, Rilya still missing, Stierheim stays, rain stays, Mas Santos seeks a dialogue, Alonso seeks a defense fund, gay rights are challenged, priests are accused, more rain, more DCF kids missing, DeFede goes mainstream, Beach Memorial Day goes on, Stiltsville goes public, Cubans get smuggled, Warshaw gets released, Alex Diaz de la Portilla gets off, cops kill, DCF kills, lightning kills, Elena Burke dies, Leonard Miller dies, George Batchelor dies, more priests are accused, more rain falls, more Haitians arrive, Nicole Guillemet arrives, Carrie Meek retires, Kendrick Meek is anointed, Reno hits the road, Bad Boys II hits town, traffic stops, tempers flare, temperatures rise, summertime sizzles, bus benches sizzle, more priests are accused, more DCF kids are missing, Haitian kids kill, Maysie Beller dies, Ellen Morphonios dies, Humbertico gets released, Al Gutman gets released, Ecstasy smugglers get busted, anti-gay activists get busted, Miami poverty gets famous, Marcos Jiménez takes charge, Joe Arriola takes charge, Alonso is charged again, Muhammad Ali returns, classics return to radio, the Gusman returns to splendor, Shiver meddles at MIA, MIA's Richard Mendez is convicted, Sal Magluta is convicted, Vaclav Havel arrives, Oswaldo Payá arrives, election monitors arrive, Hurricane Andrew turns 10, Calle Ocho turns 25, Bushwacker Lounge dies, Mike Gordon's dies, the Taurus dies, gay rights survive, Natacha Seijas threatens, Rick Sanchez threatens to return, elections turn to chaos, more cops shoot, more Haitian kids shoot, Art Basel arrives, David Leahy quits, Carlos Gimenez quits, Chuck Lanza quits, Ira Clark quits, Florida Philharmonic goes bust, Performing Arts Center busts budget, Miami Beach busts lobbyists, hurricanes stay away, tornadoes arrive, Bill Perry dies, Maurice Gibb dies, Laurie Horn dies, Reno tanks, Dolphins tank, Canes tank, Cubans hijack, Graham runs, cruise ships sicken, Haitians still detained, DCF still kills, but finally some good news for those who think the bad guys always win: North Miami Beach detectives were after Henry Box, Jr., wanted for attempted murder. They got a hot tip and chased it. After securing the area where they hoped to apprehend the suspect, they had a clerk get on the intercom: "Mr. Box, please come to the front office. Mr. Henry Box." He did just that, sauntering from the jury-pool room at the criminal courthouse, where he was doing his duty, into waiting handcuffs and a short stroll across the street to jail.

No local sportscaster has a meaner task than Ducis Rodgers. His hosting duties on WSVN's weekly Sports Xtra should earn him combat pay. In addition to sifting through local team tidbits, commenting on star athletes' antics, and providing steep segues for boring golf highlights, he is required to referee the two most indigestible personalities on South Florida television: fellow reporter Steve "Snide" Shapiro and super agent Drew "Jerry McGuire" Rosenhaus. Ducis always seems to be in their favor as they clamor for his support, but he always puts them in their place with a smiling, backhanded compliment, and they love him for it. He also gets away with saying things other sportscasters won't, speaking between the lines of his engaging observations. When Mike Tyson shammed boxing fans by beating Clifford Etienne in a ridiculous 49-second bout, Ducis introduced the highlights with a subtle cough and question-marked grin as he dragged the word fight from his throat. The man also happens to be quite the cool Miami cat who's a regular on South Beach's glitz-and-glam club circuit. Go, Ducis.

Readers Choice: Jimmy Cefalo, WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

Okay, Closer isn't really a 'zine, and it really isn't from Miami (nightclub owner -- Blue, Respectable Street -- Rodney Mayo publishes it out of West Palm Beach), but there's definitely a freewheeling, anything-goes attitude typical of 'zines running through its pages. A recent issue offered the requisite fashion spread, poetry, a story about Miami Beach's Aquabooty club, a reprint of a Salon interview with Camille Paglia, a profile on breakbeat producers Jackyl and Hyde, features on visual artists Jiae Hwang and Alex Barrera, and contributions from long-time New Times scribe Marli Guzzetta. In other words, Closer is all over the place, just like South Florida.

Readers Choice: Ocean Drive

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®