Another of Miami's lovely thatched-roof, moderately priced but excellent seafood joints, the Hut used to be something of a secret best kept, but management has reached out to local promoters (Surf Night is the third Thursday of every month; live entertainment is offered on Fridays). The biggest success -- even restaurant managers were stunned -- has been Saturdays, when Latin rock acts take the stage. Audiences for these shows have often ranged from 500 to 800 people, although at least a few of them might have been there for the shrimp and beer. In any case, it's quite a cool paradox: Latin rock's premier venue is a seaside bistro on the Key? Argue otherwise, but you'll be arguing with hundreds and hundreds of fans.

Another of Miami's lovely thatched-roof, moderately priced but excellent seafood joints, the Hut used to be something of a secret best kept, but management has reached out to local promoters (Surf Night is the third Thursday of every month; live entertainment is offered on Fridays). The biggest success -- even restaurant managers were stunned -- has been Saturdays, when Latin rock acts take the stage. Audiences for these shows have often ranged from 500 to 800 people, although at least a few of them might have been there for the shrimp and beer. In any case, it's quite a cool paradox: Latin rock's premier venue is a seaside bistro on the Key? Argue otherwise, but you'll be arguing with hundreds and hundreds of fans.

It was a slow year for trades involving South Florida's major sports teams, but one that was executed with little fanfare turned out to be instrumental in a championship run. That was the trade for Jeff Conine by the Florida Marlins. One of the franchise's original players, Conine returned to his old club this past July, smack in the middle of a playoff chase. After years of consistently trading away good players, the Marlins finally revived trust and support among fans by acquiring a batter who was both productive and, more crucial, productive in the clutch. They had to give up nothing more than a couple of minor-league prospects. When there was a need for a timely hit at the end of close games, Conine was often the man. He played a major (league) role in the Marlins winning the World Series.

Who needs a seven-foot center? Not the Miami Heat. They've found competitiveness without some towering freak taller than most trees. A small, fast approach can work when a team rosters a number of versatile weapons, the best of whom is this 6-foot 4-inch rookie guard who can play the point, shoot the nets out, pass with precision, and launch himself above the big freaks to slam home a highlight-reel dunk. Wade's NBA arrival is like one of his ferocious slams, hinting at (dare we say) "Michael potential." The young man also happens to have helped the Heat reshape itself into a potential championship team. Off the court, Wade is a quiet, sleepy-looking, 22-year-old family man. But on the hardwood his cross-over move could break an opponent's ankle and his gravity-belying acrobatics can make a Heat fan out of a New Yorker. Can a kid turn around a team quickly and thoroughly? If his name's Dwyane Wade, bet it all he can.

Known around here as the guitarist for the Square Egg, the funk/R&B hybrid that recently escaped this fair land for the hustle and bustle of New York City, Fishbein is known by music industry insiders as a crack session player and songwriter. His craftsmanship can be found on hit recordings by Enrique Iglesias, Brandy, Christina Aguilera, and many others. Beyoncé's recent smash "Me, Myself, and I" is one: His wah-wah licks helped drive the hit song's narrative without overwhelming the It girl's vocals. It wasn't the first time that Fishbein subliminally tickled the nation's ears. Check the credits the next time you hear a tune you like. There's a chance his name will be among them.

Known around here as the guitarist for the Square Egg, the funk/R&B hybrid that recently escaped this fair land for the hustle and bustle of New York City, Fishbein is known by music industry insiders as a crack session player and songwriter. His craftsmanship can be found on hit recordings by Enrique Iglesias, Brandy, Christina Aguilera, and many others. Beyoncé's recent smash "Me, Myself, and I" is one: His wah-wah licks helped drive the hit song's narrative without overwhelming the It girl's vocals. It wasn't the first time that Fishbein subliminally tickled the nation's ears. Check the credits the next time you hear a tune you like. There's a chance his name will be among them.

The test of a great songwriter is in the depth and variety of the songs. It's enough to hear Fernando Osorio perform the 2001 tune he wrote for Celia Cruz, "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" ("The Black Woman Has Swing"), in his own acoustic, shoe-gazing style to appreciate the infinite possibilities of his lyrics and melodies. Born in Bogotá and reared in Venezuela, this Miami resident has penned tunes for acts as diverse as Venezuelan crooner Ricardo Montaner, Dominican merenguero Sergio Vargas, Puerto Rican salsero Jerry Rivera, and urban New York trio DLG. But his greatest gifts to listeners so far have been Celia's last two blockbuster hits, which Osorio co-wrote with producer Sergio George: "La Negra" and "Rie y Llora" ("Laugh and Cry"). There can be no doubt that this songwriter has swing or that his hour has arrived -- deep and diverse.

The test of a great songwriter is in the depth and variety of the songs. It's enough to hear Fernando Osorio perform the 2001 tune he wrote for Celia Cruz, "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" ("The Black Woman Has Swing"), in his own acoustic, shoe-gazing style to appreciate the infinite possibilities of his lyrics and melodies. Born in Bogotá and reared in Venezuela, this Miami resident has penned tunes for acts as diverse as Venezuelan crooner Ricardo Montaner, Dominican merenguero Sergio Vargas, Puerto Rican salsero Jerry Rivera, and urban New York trio DLG. But his greatest gifts to listeners so far have been Celia's last two blockbuster hits, which Osorio co-wrote with producer Sergio George: "La Negra" and "Rie y Llora" ("Laugh and Cry"). There can be no doubt that this songwriter has swing or that his hour has arrived -- deep and diverse.

If weathercasters were ever accurate, this award would probably go to the one who was most often on the money about rain showers and cold fronts. But because forecasts are all the same and as reliable as a Bush administration intelligence report, the winner here must have something beyond the latest bulletin from the weather bureau. No weathercaster is as easy on the eyes as WSVN-TV's Jackie Johnson (Channel 7). Attractive, shapely, a self-described "outdoor girl" from Michigan, Double J has made the weather segment a must-see, especially among young males who judge women by superficialities like attractiveness, figure, and affinity for the outdoors. Her station knows this way too well: Sex appeal is what makes Johnson and WSVN a perfect match. She even has a special feature, "Living It Up," wherein assignments range from learning to handle the throttle on a speedboat to playing beach volleyball to "surfing" on South Beach. Segments like the last thrust a scantily clad, dripping wet Johnson straight into your throbbing living room. And you thought meteorologists were boring.

If you're going to channel the big man, and in his old headquarters no less, be sure to go all the way. Which is just what David Johansen did, sifting through his many onstage guises -- from the folk of his current outfit the Harry Smiths to the glam punk of his fabled early-Seventies New York Dolls -- to resurrect Buster Poindexter, a loving sendup of the Rat Pack crooners that resulted in his fluke 1987 hit "Hot Hot Hot." So, tossing his scarf jauntily over his shoulder, and with a highball raised, ol' Buster led his eminently swinging twelve-piece band through a spirited set. There were brilliantly corny monologues and a downright touching lament for the now-vanished seediness of South Beach: "They don't smoke/They don't drink/They turned this town into a mall and I don't know what to think!" The crowning moment: a conga line that circled the Jackie Gleason, capping a night that would've made the Honeymooner proud.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®