More than 1200 people showed up on a blustery winter day (January 17) to form a giant replica of Picasso's painting Amnistia on the sand of Miami Beach. The event was organized by the environmental group Greenpeace to protest the federal prosecution of activists who boarded a freighter ship off the coast of South Florida containing an illegal shipment of mahogany from Brazil. Participants assembled to form the image of a dove being freed from tyranny and the words "Endangered Freedoms" as DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars mixed African funk beats with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and other civil rights heroes. The protest showed that Miamians are actually concerned about the Bush administration's infringement on civil liberties with the Patriot Act -- at least concerned enough to spend a day at the beach.

What doesn't Francisco Ojeda know about Cuban music? Anyone can program a classic like "The Peanut Vendor" or the Buena Vista Social Club chestnut "Chan Chan." Almost anyone with taste can spin the latest masterpiece from pianist Chucho Valdes or reedman Paquito D'Rivera. But Cubanola, aired Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. by WDNA-FM (88.9), is hard-core, digging into the deepest recesses of the seemingly boundless Cuban sound. Erudite host Ojeda has introduced new listeners to neglected masters like Bola de Nieve and unearthed truly obscure treasures like the unmistakable vibrato of New York-based Panchito Riset. True, sometimes there is more explication than music on the air, but that makes the listening richer once you've added Ojeda's selections to your own collection.

What doesn't Francisco Ojeda know about Cuban music? Anyone can program a classic like "The Peanut Vendor" or the Buena Vista Social Club chestnut "Chan Chan." Almost anyone with taste can spin the latest masterpiece from pianist Chucho Valdes or reedman Paquito D'Rivera. But Cubanola, aired Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. by WDNA-FM (88.9), is hard-core, digging into the deepest recesses of the seemingly boundless Cuban sound. Erudite host Ojeda has introduced new listeners to neglected masters like Bola de Nieve and unearthed truly obscure treasures like the unmistakable vibrato of New York-based Panchito Riset. True, sometimes there is more explication than music on the air, but that makes the listening richer once you've added Ojeda's selections to your own collection.

With a 40-9-2 record, Johnson would not, at first blush, be regarded as the favorite when he steps into a ring. But he danced around a spell of hard luck and bad decisions right into a victory over Clinton Woods to garner the International Boxing Federation's light-heavyweight championship. Johnson is regarded by fight fans as a hard worker who, though age 35, is now hitting his groove. He was born in Jamaica and moved to Miami in the Eighties. With a title, he is trying to foster a steady following. "I'm trying to be a million-dollar fighter," he writes on www.glencoffe.8k.com. "I can't do that without an audience." Johnson will need all the help he can get. Though he may be in top form at the moment, he's fighting in the same weight division as the legendary Roy Jones, Jr. Help homey by supporting his effort and his attempt to catch a glimmer of the boxing world's spotlight for Miami.

You could go to Brazil or listen across the dial 24-7 and you'd still be hard-pressed to find someone with more knowledge of contemporary and classic Brazilian music than South Florida's Gene De Souza, the host of this WDNA-FM (88.9) show airing each Sunday evening for two hours beginning at 6:00. He knows the works of the most obscure Brazilian musicians, from Recife to São Paolo, and can explain each artist's particular contribution to the country's pop culture. The weekly show mixes all styles, from heavy metal and drum and bass to old-school Tom Jobim and Sergio Mendes bossa nova, plus a slate of other worldly music.

You could go to Brazil or listen across the dial 24-7 and you'd still be hard-pressed to find someone with more knowledge of contemporary and classic Brazilian music than South Florida's Gene De Souza, the host of this WDNA-FM (88.9) show airing each Sunday evening for two hours beginning at 6:00. He knows the works of the most obscure Brazilian musicians, from Recife to São Paolo, and can explain each artist's particular contribution to the country's pop culture. The weekly show mixes all styles, from heavy metal and drum and bass to old-school Tom Jobim and Sergio Mendes bossa nova, plus a slate of other worldly music.

Keep your sabermetrics, kiddo. The only number Jack McKeon needs to know when it comes to baseball is 72. That's how old McKeon was when Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria tapped the venerable coach to take over as manager of his rudderless young team midseason in May 2003. And that's how many years McKeon's got in his gut telling him how to play ball. He might not know exactly the right names of any of these kids running around the field in black and teal, but he knows who to play, who to pull, and when. Can a team win a World Series on bunts? Can a pitcher keep hurling fire on only three days rest? Before the 2004 series any other baseball person would have said, "No!" Ask the old guy, and the answer is the young Florida Marlins winning their second world championship in six years.

As leadoff hitter, Alabama-born center fielder Juan Pierre set the pace for the 2004 Florida Marlins and helped slay giants (and Cubs and Yankees, oh my). The main artery in a world championship team filled with heart, Pierre gave his all to hitting, base running, and fielding. He almost always put himself in the right part of the outfield at the right time to make the play. On those rare occasions where his positioning failed him, Pierre compensated by flying rather than diving to get to the rock and leave hitters feeling robbed. That speed served him around the bases as well. Clocking in at 3.6 seconds from home to first, Pierre led the National League in steals. And who can forget the team's first at-bat in World Series play, when Pierre tapped the ball into a dead zone in the Yankee defense, showing again that even in the age of steroids and home run kings, it's the small things that make champions. That and giving it your all.

As weekend fans of WLRN-FM (91.3)'s venerable Sounds of the Caribbean show know, all is not copacetic in the world of Miami reggae radio. In fact there is no reggae radio as fascinating as the show put on by DJ Ital-K since his program was terminated in October. Kevin "Ital-K" Smith might not be spinning reggae nuggets on air, but he is waging war with the public radio station, which is run under the auspices of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Smith's fight, made even more rancorous after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging WLRN with racial discrimination, is entertainment enough. Who would have thought that such a sweet program could lead to such bitterness? To hear the best in reggae warfare, tune in to the monthly broadcasts of the Miami-Dade School Board meeting on LRN. Smith, technically a suspended employee of the school district, has come before the board at least four times asking for an explanation as to why he was yanked from the radio. He has yet to get an answer, and his repeated requests for meetings have been dismissed, promising more great debate shows as he continues his struggle. It's hoped his old show will be returned and everyone can get back to the island grooves. Meanwhile, though, the hottest sounds in reggae come from the bickering and battling between a DJ and an institution.

As weekend fans of WLRN-FM (91.3)'s venerable Sounds of the Caribbean show know, all is not copacetic in the world of Miami reggae radio. In fact there is no reggae radio as fascinating as the show put on by DJ Ital-K since his program was terminated in October. Kevin "Ital-K" Smith might not be spinning reggae nuggets on air, but he is waging war with the public radio station, which is run under the auspices of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Smith's fight, made even more rancorous after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging WLRN with racial discrimination, is entertainment enough. Who would have thought that such a sweet program could lead to such bitterness? To hear the best in reggae warfare, tune in to the monthly broadcasts of the Miami-Dade School Board meeting on LRN. Smith, technically a suspended employee of the school district, has come before the board at least four times asking for an explanation as to why he was yanked from the radio. He has yet to get an answer, and his repeated requests for meetings have been dismissed, promising more great debate shows as he continues his struggle. It's hoped his old show will be returned and everyone can get back to the island grooves. Meanwhile, though, the hottest sounds in reggae come from the bickering and battling between a DJ and an institution.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®