After the out-of-towners get tired of the South Beach scene, load them in the car and drag them to South Miami-Dade for a tour of the old tourist attractions, the ones without neon and ex-models all over the place. If they were good enough for you when you were a tot, they're more than good enough for your ironic hipster guests. Start out with a morning tour of the ever-mysterious Coral Castle -- the place where fragile Ed Leedskalnin perched giant boulders in impossibly balanced positions. Follow that with a sweet treat at the Knauss Berry Farm, which is run by German Baptists who dress in their traditional garb. Here you'll get sweet, sweet shakes and baked goods made from freshly picked berries and fruit. Then you'll have the afternoon free to cage yourself at Monkey Jungle, where the resident primates roam. If you're lucky, maybe you can lose the guests here. The shame is that the Serpentarium no longer exists.

There was a temptation to write this item about great ways to sober up. But then we realized that getting sober is, quite literally, the last thing anyone wants to do when they're drunk. So we dug out (pun alert) some plans for all to have a sloshing good time. It's not baseball. It's not softball. It's Sloshball! The game is played like baseball, except in order to pass bases (second and home) runners must first drink a beer. Don't laugh just yet. People across the nation participate in brew leagues, and even compete in a Sloshball World Series. At the official Website, local boozehounds can apply to start up their own league. And you thought cricket was weird.

For years area rock fans smiled at the paradox of a sensational band called the Goods: immensely popular and beloved by their peers. Who could resist fair-haired bassist Jim singing resonantly about matters too cerebral for most musicians and, in the next song, dark-haired keyboardist John jumping up and down in a spirited roar? Regal "Mama" Camacho sitting in a dank club watching her boys blast and croon only helped, as did the fact that she's a retired English teacher (hence the intelligence of the band's lyrics). A few years ago some big money men discovered the quartet (with drummer Kasmir Kujawa and guitarist Tony Oms), added a hired-gun guitarist, recorded an album, booked showcases, speed-dialed the major labels, and filmed an hour-long documentary that appeared on VH1. That was the end of that. The Goods' time was over when the album didn't sell millions. Jim has formed Waxburn, John a group called Mongo. The Goods might be gone, which is quite bad, but the brothers continue to make excellent music with their new projects. And Mama smiles.

For years area rock fans smiled at the paradox of a sensational band called the Goods: immensely popular and beloved by their peers. Who could resist fair-haired bassist Jim singing resonantly about matters too cerebral for most musicians and, in the next song, dark-haired keyboardist John jumping up and down in a spirited roar? Regal "Mama" Camacho sitting in a dank club watching her boys blast and croon only helped, as did the fact that she's a retired English teacher (hence the intelligence of the band's lyrics). A few years ago some big money men discovered the quartet (with drummer Kasmir Kujawa and guitarist Tony Oms), added a hired-gun guitarist, recorded an album, booked showcases, speed-dialed the major labels, and filmed an hour-long documentary that appeared on VH1. That was the end of that. The Goods' time was over when the album didn't sell millions. Jim has formed Waxburn, John a group called Mongo. The Goods might be gone, which is quite bad, but the brothers continue to make excellent music with their new projects. And Mama smiles.

Boom-cha ... ching-ching da boom da da boom ... ching ba-da-ba boom chingboomboomboom ... cha-ding ... bing ... bop daboom boomdadoom ... booooommm. Yeeeeaaaah! With a touch as hard as a hammer or as soft as silk, depending on the tune and tone, Bobby Thomas (as the North Miami Beach native/South Miami resident is known worldwide) has had a hand in creating countless moments of jazzy splendor. Lacking an instrument for teacher-mandated classroom jam sessions during elementary school, little Bobby used his desk to pound out beats that would eventually lead to collaborations with many jazz greats. While he developed his chops around town, Thomas hooked up with Jet Nero and was discovered by the late bass legend and local hero Jaco Pastorius, who recruited the skin slapper for a little thing called Weather Report, a collective many consider the most potent jazz-rock outfit of the Seventies and early Eighties. Sax maniac Wayne Shorter created Weather Report with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who is said to live in South Florida -- reunion jam! reunion jam! Actually Thomas has reunited with an old cohort, the great Monty Alexander; in March the two were performing shows regularly and planning a tour to Spain. The coolest aspect of Thomas's approach is how anything becomes an instrument: bongo, conga, snare, school desk, bicycle, garbage can lid.... Thomas's inventiveness led Zawinul to dub him the world's first "hand drummer." Boom ... cha-ding!

Boom-cha ... ching-ching da boom da da boom ... ching ba-da-ba boom chingboomboomboom ... cha-ding ... bing ... bop daboom boomdadoom ... booooommm. Yeeeeaaaah! With a touch as hard as a hammer or as soft as silk, depending on the tune and tone, Bobby Thomas (as the North Miami Beach native/South Miami resident is known worldwide) has had a hand in creating countless moments of jazzy splendor. Lacking an instrument for teacher-mandated classroom jam sessions during elementary school, little Bobby used his desk to pound out beats that would eventually lead to collaborations with many jazz greats. While he developed his chops around town, Thomas hooked up with Jet Nero and was discovered by the late bass legend and local hero Jaco Pastorius, who recruited the skin slapper for a little thing called Weather Report, a collective many consider the most potent jazz-rock outfit of the Seventies and early Eighties. Sax maniac Wayne Shorter created Weather Report with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who is said to live in South Florida -- reunion jam! reunion jam! Actually Thomas has reunited with an old cohort, the great Monty Alexander; in March the two were performing shows regularly and planning a tour to Spain. The coolest aspect of Thomas's approach is how anything becomes an instrument: bongo, conga, snare, school desk, bicycle, garbage can lid.... Thomas's inventiveness led Zawinul to dub him the world's first "hand drummer." Boom ... cha-ding!

One thing Bayside Marketplace didn't have, until recently, was land-and-sea tours. Literally. Thanks to Miami Duck Tours, passengers ride around the streets on the odd-looking World War II style vehicles (it's a truck! it's a boat!) and see the sights. Then the vehicles slide into Biscayne Bay for a water-based view of other sights. By land and by sea, it's definitely a different way to get a look around, providing a tourist magnet and a new diversion for locals as well. And when the bus-boat completes its journey and patrons disembark, there is no enemy army awaiting to assault them. Not usually anyway.

The filler-music providers described in Billy Joel's old song deserve a hefty tip for nothing else but forcing out "Stormy Monday" or "As Time Goes By" for the millionth time. Life's better, though, when this tall, dark, and T-shirted Dharma Bomb frontman and soloist sits at a Steinway or Baldwin and makes the hammers dance across the strings via his nuanced, evocative fingering of the 88s. Emotion mounts in a quiet place of grace, with nothing but the flowing and surging of piano precision beneath his eloquent vocals. Whether he's intonating thoughtful songs from his own catalogue of tunes or rephrasing the words of more famous cover songs to fit the situation, Thompson always finds the right touch.

The filler-music providers described in Billy Joel's old song deserve a hefty tip for nothing else but forcing out "Stormy Monday" or "As Time Goes By" for the millionth time. Life's better, though, when this tall, dark, and T-shirted Dharma Bomb frontman and soloist sits at a Steinway or Baldwin and makes the hammers dance across the strings via his nuanced, evocative fingering of the 88s. Emotion mounts in a quiet place of grace, with nothing but the flowing and surging of piano precision beneath his eloquent vocals. Whether he's intonating thoughtful songs from his own catalogue of tunes or rephrasing the words of more famous cover songs to fit the situation, Thompson always finds the right touch.

In our fantasy, the best place for a first date would be an exotic faraway locale like Casablanca or Spain's Costa del Sol. We'd meet in secret under the stars, perhaps pursued by nefarious forces, in the ruin of an old Moorish castle by the sea. You would look stunning in the half-light, gingerly stepping around a peacock as you approach through the rubble. We would kiss furtively, then part, fearing for our safety yet certain to meet again. In the meantime, let's meet at the restored Olympia Theater at the Gusman in downtown Miami. The faux Moorish architecture and simulated night sky will do for a setting. A peacock stares out from a box beside the stage. You will look stunning as you step gingerly up the steep balcony stairs, perhaps pursued by an usher, your hands filled with popcorn. If we pick the right night, Casablanca may be on the screen. We can kiss furtively when the lights dim. Whatever happens next, we'll always have the Gusman.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®