Nobody truly escapes reality via public transportation, not even on a long day's journey from Government Center to Aventura via Biscayne Boulevard (and on to Miami Beach if you want). Go surreal: Put the L'Avventura in your field trip to Aventura and turn this ride into a mind film. Friends afeared you've vanished to the point no one will ever find you, a cast of thousands, sights to behold or be filmed. Like Antonioni's dense tableaux, you may judge your encounter with mass transit as aggressively alienating and maddening in its slow pace, but by using your Truffaut-informed imagination (after steering clear of an aisle seat) and pretending you're chilling at Cinecitta instead, the vehicle transforms in that day-for-night way. As the Bluebird diesel rumbles north, downtown's hectic sets fall behind and the windows frame unbroken vistas of on-location neighborhoods -- housing, strip malls, construction sites, restaurants. Interestingly costumed extras appear, some more than once, making ominous eye contact or uninterpretable gestures. When you disembark at the mall, you will be astounded to discover that neither David Hemmings nor Monica Vitti is waiting to accompany you to the Gap. Ask the old woman in the heavy coat and sweater or the teenager appropriating black culture with his wardrobe but holding tight that platinum Visa just in case. Maybe Fellini should be your mental guide. At least until you enter the mall and walk head on into its 24-screen multiplex. A comedy turned tragic. So new wave.

The event's original presenters -- Miami architect Willy Bermello, attorney Peter Yanowitch, and racing celebrity Emerson Fittipaldi -- fled the scene like a torqued-up Porsche when they sold their interest in the three-day extravaganza to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) for $1.2 million. Then, after wreaking havoc on the Biscayne Boulevard streetscape by removing architecturally significant pavers and relocating palm trees that had lined the boulevard since the Twenties, CART pulled the plug on the Miami race, citing losses of nearly ten million dollars. Left behind: a two-million-dollar oil slick of bills and debts owed to the City of Miami and other public agencies.

The event's original presenters -- Miami architect Willy Bermello, attorney Peter Yanowitch, and racing celebrity Emerson Fittipaldi -- fled the scene like a torqued-up Porsche when they sold their interest in the three-day extravaganza to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) for $1.2 million. Then, after wreaking havoc on the Biscayne Boulevard streetscape by removing architecturally significant pavers and relocating palm trees that had lined the boulevard since the Twenties, CART pulled the plug on the Miami race, citing losses of nearly ten million dollars. Left behind: a two-million-dollar oil slick of bills and debts owed to the City of Miami and other public agencies.

Before Jacki-O's first album was even released, her hit single "Pussy (Real Good)" ("Nookie" in the clean version) was catching airplay and attention. The release of the album, Poe Little Rich Girl, by South Beach's Poe Boy Entertainment has been delayed, but the reviews are still hot: VH1 called her "the high priestess of the ghetto"; Rolling Stone said "she shows cocksure flow over sterling beats ...", and Vibe announced that "now the rest of the world has taken notice of the tune that's been whetting the South and Midwest for months." Even the New York Times indicated that Jacki-O doesn't appear to be a one-hit wonder, noting that while she had a "breakthrough single with 'Nookie,' ... her latest, 'Slow Down,' [is] even better." She's picked up the baton from fellow Liberty City rappers Trina and Trick Daddy (who appears on the album) to make sure Miami's presence continues to be felt in the hip-hop community.

Before Jacki-O's first album was even released, her hit single "Pussy (Real Good)" ("Nookie" in the clean version) was catching airplay and attention. The release of the album, Poe Little Rich Girl, by South Beach's Poe Boy Entertainment has been delayed, but the reviews are still hot: VH1 called her "the high priestess of the ghetto"; Rolling Stone said "she shows cocksure flow over sterling beats ...", and Vibe announced that "now the rest of the world has taken notice of the tune that's been whetting the South and Midwest for months." Even the New York Times indicated that Jacki-O doesn't appear to be a one-hit wonder, noting that while she had a "breakthrough single with 'Nookie,' ... her latest, 'Slow Down,' [is] even better." She's picked up the baton from fellow Liberty City rappers Trina and Trick Daddy (who appears on the album) to make sure Miami's presence continues to be felt in the hip-hop community.

When gross-out auteurs the Farrelly brothers were looking to jump-start their decade-old project, the Siamese twins comedy Stuck on You, where did they go? To Miami, of course, a prime shooting location for such "Hollywood" schlock as Bad Boys II and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Granted, this would-be plea for greater understanding of physically conjoined persons starred slumming A-listers Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, and audiences gave it respectful reviews when it opened in December of 2003. But really, when is Hollywood gonna start taking us seriously enough to shoot some Academy Award-potential films down here? When Accounting starts asking questions about why movies that have nothing to do with Miami are being shot in Miami? "Because it has great weather, even better dope, and abundant nightlife" is not an acceptable answer unless you're, say, Oliver Stone. Or, apparently, those crazy Farrelly boys.

South Florida does have a history, and it's damn rich, especially considering the city's relative youth. It begins about the same time Edison invented the movie camera. That's good news for the Florida Moving Image Archive, which collects and restores film and video to add to its visual storehouse -- actually a large, crammed-with-stuff bunker beneath the main library -- of local history. The annual Rewind/Fast Forward fest celebrates the archived celluloid with a show featuring a broad spectrum of works that all use old footage. There was the mind-bending independent feature The Subversion Agency, the Oscar-nominated documentary The Weather Underground, the locally produced 3-D classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a slew of entertaining shorts involving creative use of archival film. Never a dull moment when the past meets the present in this forward-thinking but reflective festival.

She was the wife of wealthy Coconut Grove businessman and philanthropist José Calvo, until his September 2003 murder by a gunman during what appeared to be a straightforward robbery. By all rights Denise Calvo should then have worn the mantle of grieving widow. Instead police and the media began asking questions, and her life didn't do well under the scrutiny. For instance, it was revealed that her father, Michael Angelo Caligiuri, was an alleged mob figure who went to prison for racketeering and cocaine possession. Police had arrested Denise herself in 2002 for cocaine possession -- while she was pregnant! (The charges were dropped.) And when police finally apprehended a suspect in her husband's murder, Anthony Craig Lee, it turns out she had allegedly bought crack cocaine from his mother and had called Lee's cell phone several times. The case is still under investigation.

She was the wife of wealthy Coconut Grove businessman and philanthropist José Calvo, until his September 2003 murder by a gunman during what appeared to be a straightforward robbery. By all rights Denise Calvo should then have worn the mantle of grieving widow. Instead police and the media began asking questions, and her life didn't do well under the scrutiny. For instance, it was revealed that her father, Michael Angelo Caligiuri, was an alleged mob figure who went to prison for racketeering and cocaine possession. Police had arrested Denise herself in 2002 for cocaine possession -- while she was pregnant! (The charges were dropped.) And when police finally apprehended a suspect in her husband's murder, Anthony Craig Lee, it turns out she had allegedly bought crack cocaine from his mother and had called Lee's cell phone several times. The case is still under investigation.

She didn't grow up planning on a career in the music industry, but fate found Ellen Moraskie anyway. As senior vice president for Latin music at the Warner/Chappell publishing company in Miami Beach, the caring mother of two nurtured such songwriting talents as Elsten Torres (Fulano), Jorge Villamizar (Bacilos), and Fernando Osorio (author of the last hits of Celia Cruz). Eager to open the circle even more, Moraskie joined Desmond Child and other like-minded souls to create the monthly showcase Songwriters in the Round that ran from 1996 through 2002 and gave local talents a place to test their mettle. Moraskie passed away on December 13, 2003, but her passion lives on in the beautifully crafted songs of the many writers she inspired.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®