Smart, scrappy, and resolute, Lida Rodriguez-Taseff turned out to be exactly the kind of president the ACLU's Miami chapter needed to see it through a tumultuous three years. (Her tenure ended this past March.) A partner at the Duane Morris law firm, she was front and center on a wide range of constitutional conflicts, from defending Cuban exiles' right to protest the Latin Grammys to opposing the repeal of the county's gay-rights ordinance. She has been a vociferous and relentless critic of city officials' handling of protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit last November. She also played a pivotal role in establishing Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel, which is now pursuing allegations of police brutality during those FTAA protests. Rodriguez-Taseff was and remains a role model for all who cherish the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

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.

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.

Truth foretold: One day in the near future there will be no place to park on South Beach that will cost less than cab fare from halfway across Miami-Dade County. But till that day arrives (and it is inevitable) there are still some prime, meter-free parking spots in the lots around Flamingo Park. The park is just a few short blocks from Washington Avenue, where most of the rambunctious nightclubs are located. (When it comes to free parking on South Beach, proximity is a luxury.) You may encounter a few guys in search of sex with complete strangers, but it's relatively safe and regularly patrolled by police. The upside of that: If you're looking to find convenient parking and get gay too, you don't even have to leave the vicinity.

Truth foretold: One day in the near future there will be no place to park on South Beach that will cost less than cab fare from halfway across Miami-Dade County. But till that day arrives (and it is inevitable) there are still some prime, meter-free parking spots in the lots around Flamingo Park. The park is just a few short blocks from Washington Avenue, where most of the rambunctious nightclubs are located. (When it comes to free parking on South Beach, proximity is a luxury.) You may encounter a few guys in search of sex with complete strangers, but it's relatively safe and regularly patrolled by police. The upside of that: If you're looking to find convenient parking and get gay too, you don't even have to leave the vicinity.

Miami New Times staff writer Celeste Fraser Delgado was arrested and jailed last November as she was reporting on the protests associated with the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit. While other reporters were "embedded" with police, Delgado was in handcuffs, charged with the misdemeanors "failure to obey a lawful command" and "resisting arrest without violence," accusations she vehemently denied. After a sleepless night in the slammer, she was released from Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, but not before local NBC affiliate WTVJ (Channel 6) and the Associated Press had reported on the incident. With the clock ticking on her fifteen minutes, Delgado quickly penned a 2700-word story about her experience. Following its publication ("Jailhouse Crock," November 27, 2003), Newsweek quoted her and PBS documentarians interviewed her, as did the Sun-Sentinel, ABC affiliate WPLG (Channel 10), Univision, and Telemundo. Later she filed a formal complaint with Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel, but by then her time was up.

Miami New Times staff writer Celeste Fraser Delgado was arrested and jailed last November as she was reporting on the protests associated with the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit. While other reporters were "embedded" with police, Delgado was in handcuffs, charged with the misdemeanors "failure to obey a lawful command" and "resisting arrest without violence," accusations she vehemently denied. After a sleepless night in the slammer, she was released from Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, but not before local NBC affiliate WTVJ (Channel 6) and the Associated Press had reported on the incident. With the clock ticking on her fifteen minutes, Delgado quickly penned a 2700-word story about her experience. Following its publication ("Jailhouse Crock," November 27, 2003), Newsweek quoted her and PBS documentarians interviewed her, as did the Sun-Sentinel, ABC affiliate WPLG (Channel 10), Univision, and Telemundo. Later she filed a formal complaint with Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel, but by then her time was up.

Traditional feminists (but not Camille Paglia's pro-sex sect) will likely be aghast, but our choice features locally based and produced comedic porn "films," weekly episodes showing random women bribed off the street and into a van, then into depravity. This isn't your run-of-the-mill autoerotic stimuli. The site states: "The true story of two guys, a video camera, a big fucking bus, and a lesson on the depths of human debauchery." Each guy comes equipped with an enormous member and a mischievous sense of humor. Questions like, "How do you feel about political ethics in America?" are routinely asked during bonings. Segments featured in the blooper section include episodes where the Bang team misses the targeted girl ("Dude, you just came on my leg!") and a classic wherein a girl's mom calls her cell phone during filming. Of course it's answered, and the mother's voice is actually heard asking for her daughter. "She can't talk" was followed by an obscene description of the slightly perverse activity the girl was involved in at that moment. In case you miss the point, the objective of this Website is not to arouse anything but disgust in what the Bangs see as an "offensively politically correct world."

Launched in 1996 by three Miami brothers-in-law who love to fish and eat la comida Cubana, this is a mouthwatering source of opinions about local Cuban cuisine, from restaurants to recipes. The three guys -- Jorge Castillo, Raúl Musibay, and Glenn Lindgren -- have made several appearances on various Food Network shows and in media articles. But more than a foodish curiosity, the Website is a celebration of Cuban neighborhoods (Little Havana, Hialeah, and others) that offers insights into the differences between the citified Cuban food at Versailles and La Carreta's traditional fare, the advantages of buying produce from street vendors, and, not least, how to party like a Cuban.

It's always threat-level orange when John Timoney opens his mouth. But this inspired utterance, issued while he was on a bike tour of the anti-free-trade protest zone in downtown Miami this past November, rocketed the churlish chief well into the red zone. Perhaps he was drunk from the $8.5 million the Department of Homeland Security allotted the Magic City police force to fend off opponents of the Free Trade Association of the Americas. "You're bad. Fuck you!" he yelled at a young male demonstrator as undercover cops shoved the lad against a car to arrest him. Scrappy Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral, who was bicycle-embedded with Timoney when he snagged the quote, slammed it into the lead sentence of his story, right where it belonged. Timoney later denied saying "You're bad," insisting that he doesn't talk like that. But he may have blurted the "Fuck you" part, he allowed with a chuckle. The prudish daily softened the f-word to "f---" on the printed page, but that didn't keep this quote from ricocheting into a revealing metaphor of the man Miami pays to keep the peace.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®