There exists art that stretches the descriptive reach of ink and paper. (Someone even came up with a saying, "Writing about music is like trying to dance to architecture.") John Salton has had the heart, soul, and gift to form incarnations under the Psycho moniker since 1984, releasing a number of killer recordings with various personnel, and serving as guitarist for singer-guitarist Charlie Pickett in other groups. Lately, life has hardly been coming up roses for the legendary guitar genius, a description not offered without deep consideration. The contretemps include severe illness that has the axe master (and, unknown to most, musicologist of extreme intellect) hanging on to survival. Also a rock legend, Pickett, who's jammed off-and-on with Salton for a quarter of a century, says his friend's six-string thaumaturgy can levitate an audience. Band managers, talent scouts, fellow musicians, and others have been witnessed atop bars and tables fighting for space in jam-packed clubs as Salton (accompanied by keyboard whiz Bill Ritchie, bassist Jill Kahn, and whatever drummer is working the beat at the time) scorches heaven and earth with his indelible and unique stylings. He'll shatter your freakin' skull and stick dead flowers in the empty eye sockets while flooding your ears with magisterial blood. You can smell the supremacy by listening to the latest Psycho CD, Snowflakes Falling on the International Dateline, but until you've seen John Salton play guitar live with his smashing sidepeople, you will continue to deny the existence of the supernatural.

There exists art that stretches the descriptive reach of ink and paper. (Someone even came up with a saying, "Writing about music is like trying to dance to architecture.") John Salton has had the heart, soul, and gift to form incarnations under the Psycho moniker since 1984, releasing a number of killer recordings with various personnel, and serving as guitarist for singer-guitarist Charlie Pickett in other groups. Lately, life has hardly been coming up roses for the legendary guitar genius, a description not offered without deep consideration. The contretemps include severe illness that has the axe master (and, unknown to most, musicologist of extreme intellect) hanging on to survival. Also a rock legend, Pickett, who's jammed off-and-on with Salton for a quarter of a century, says his friend's six-string thaumaturgy can levitate an audience. Band managers, talent scouts, fellow musicians, and others have been witnessed atop bars and tables fighting for space in jam-packed clubs as Salton (accompanied by keyboard whiz Bill Ritchie, bassist Jill Kahn, and whatever drummer is working the beat at the time) scorches heaven and earth with his indelible and unique stylings. He'll shatter your freakin' skull and stick dead flowers in the empty eye sockets while flooding your ears with magisterial blood. You can smell the supremacy by listening to the latest Psycho CD, Snowflakes Falling on the International Dateline, but until you've seen John Salton play guitar live with his smashing sidepeople, you will continue to deny the existence of the supernatural.

There are numerous boats (and even a tall ship) offering an array of cruises out of Bayside's marina. The Queen happens to be a favorite: an open-air upper deck ceilings an enclosed (but heavily windowed) lower deck ("The bar is now open," is heard as the flat-hulled, smooth-riding boat edges past Dodge Island). If you're a local, the 90-minute ride provides the perfect break. Coming back to work with a tan and a chilled-out attitude results from the lazy cruise, but the real joy is soaking up the sun and sucking in the salty air as the tourists point to the houses of Millionaires' Row and ogle the abodes of Star Island, a vista which, to locals, proves that extremely rich people can have really bad taste in landscaping and architecture. In any case, the Queen makes several runs per day, and the cost for adults is $15. Much better for the soul than a three-martini lunch.

Art experts know that the museum, as a socio-cultural institution, was pronounced dead by a group of neo-Dada performance artists during a 1987 visit to the Museum of the Medieval Torture Arts in Toledo, Spain. The word has yet to reach most other cosmopolitan cities, but as curators of MAM can proudly attest, the Magic City is ahead of its time. "Miami remains the only major city in the United States without a world-class art museum," declared the eloquent essay that accompanied MAM's self-referential "Museums for a New Millennium: Concepts, Projects, Buildings" exhibition. A show surreally brought 25 of the most astoundingly designed art museums in the world (Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Spain, Rem Koolhaas's Center for Art and Media Technology in Germany) to MAM, which, of course, didn't make the list of 25 itself. They all fit inside MAM, thanks to the magic of photography and scale models. In the show's aftermath, however, MAM is eschewing its vanguard status and embracing the traditional, envisioning its own world-class waterfront building in Bicentennial Park. Just remember to never call it a "museum."

More an exercise in performance art than a rock concert, Cat Power (the name used by singer Chan Marshall) took to the stage at I/O five days before Christmas and proceeded to test the resolve of even her most fervent fans. Cat Power's past few studio albums have been tour de forces of urban folk, true gifts to music. Live in Miami, Marshall stood alone and offhandedly strummed a guitar chord, intoned the opening words to a song, then came to a screeching halt. There were mumbling pleas to the soundman to turn her amplifier mix dramatically one way, then back again, until it was restored to its starting point. A wasted moment followed by another false start, more bantering with the increasingly dumbfounded soundman, and soon enough audience members began shifting from one foot to the other. They weren't dancing. Marshall plunked herself down at a piano and revealed a glimpse of what had drawn so many to hear her. Then it was back to the fumbling around and tuning problems. Less than an hour of this fulfilled her contractual obligations, and off she went, payment in hand. Equally inept, the audience was accepting, even though they left empty-handed.

More an exercise in performance art than a rock concert, Cat Power (the name used by singer Chan Marshall) took to the stage at I/O five days before Christmas and proceeded to test the resolve of even her most fervent fans. Cat Power's past few studio albums have been tour de forces of urban folk, true gifts to music. Live in Miami, Marshall stood alone and offhandedly strummed a guitar chord, intoned the opening words to a song, then came to a screeching halt. There were mumbling pleas to the soundman to turn her amplifier mix dramatically one way, then back again, until it was restored to its starting point. A wasted moment followed by another false start, more bantering with the increasingly dumbfounded soundman, and soon enough audience members began shifting from one foot to the other. They weren't dancing. Marshall plunked herself down at a piano and revealed a glimpse of what had drawn so many to hear her. Then it was back to the fumbling around and tuning problems. Less than an hour of this fulfilled her contractual obligations, and off she went, payment in hand. Equally inept, the audience was accepting, even though they left empty-handed.

Their five-tiered, twelve-foot-tall House of Cards, inhabited by humanoid dummies, was a big hit at Miami Art Museum. This artistic duo also deserves credit for a shack they never built. They had planned to construct Casa del Pirata on a wall of the historic La Cabaña fortress using boards they had hoped to find in Cuba. "A sort of romantic monument to individuality and courage, misfortune, and hope," Behar says. "Maybe the house implies a shipwreck, the search for a treasure, or a story of love and betrayal." Maybe a little too pointed for paranoid government curators afraid that a dummy of the dreaded dictator as buccaneer would appear. They nixed the project, citing rules against tampering with the fort's infrastructure. Yeah, right. Meanwhile authorities in Brussels let the Argentine couple play with the façade of the Centre International pour la Ville, l'Architecture et le Paysage. For a work called The Mask, they draped a beautiful rainbow spectrum of 40-foot-long plastic streamers from the roof of the sullen brown brick museum to the sidewalk, forcing people to penetrate the strips to enter the building. R & R's surreal outdoor living room has long been a Design District icon. They're currently plotting to transform Monument Island into The Star of Miami, a huge painting visible from jets landing at MIA. See some of their works at Placemaker Gallery (3852 N. Miami Ave.) in the Design District and you'll see what we mean.

She's impossibly great, this veteran of rock bands (Bootleg, the Wait, Voidville) who, since 1995, has created three CDs and a one-off cassette with co-producer and guitar god Jack Shawde. Blessed with a conscience and a voice like honey in a blender, Ward always finds a way to sweeten her woeful lyrics while stirring up those themes that deserve the whirring-blade treatment. Her gift has made the Miami native a regional attraction, and after spending a year and enlisting a number of top musicians to craft her latest recording, The Great Impossible, Ward should reach an even wider audience. The world deserves nothing less.

She's impossibly great, this veteran of rock bands (Bootleg, the Wait, Voidville) who, since 1995, has created three CDs and a one-off cassette with co-producer and guitar god Jack Shawde. Blessed with a conscience and a voice like honey in a blender, Ward always finds a way to sweeten her woeful lyrics while stirring up those themes that deserve the whirring-blade treatment. Her gift has made the Miami native a regional attraction, and after spending a year and enlisting a number of top musicians to craft her latest recording, The Great Impossible, Ward should reach an even wider audience. The world deserves nothing less.

Rumors of South Beach's demise are greatly exaggerated -- at least according to Wire, the Beach weekly published and written mostly by Carl Zablotny, a one-man cheerleading army for the city's enduring charms. Since buying the paper from founder Andrew Delaplaine in 1999, Zablotny has continued its mission of chronicling the city's queer social whirl. Dashing from nightclub event to art happening, profiling local entrepreneurs and visiting celebs, as well as shooting photos of it all, Zablotny takes a refreshingly catholic view of just what constitutes a notable cultural event. It makes for a wacky mix, but Zablotny is at least as political in his outlook as Delaplaine's often over-the-top editorials were. If his impassioned campaign endorsements seem to change wildly depending upon which Beach candidates buy full-page Wire ads, as when a commissioner labeled a nightlife "Nazi" suddenly transformed into a well-meaning civic leader, well, that's part of the fun. After all, as Zablotny himself has wryly quipped in his own pages, "It takes more than a pretty face to make the cover of the Wire ... or does it?" Upton Sinclair he ain't, but for a vivid slice of the Beach life -- high, low, or in drag -- Zablotny delivers week after week.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®