BEST DANCE COMPANY Giovanni Luquini Performance Troupe www.luquinidance.org "Straight out of Miami, and into the world, we bring you groove, myth, and athletic fury," Giovanni Luquini declares on his Website. If it sounds like an intense statement for a dance company, well, it is. And rightly so. There is nothing soft or delicate about this troupe (the members will happily leave the tutus-and-tights fare to the Miami City Ballet), because Luquini, who formed the GLPT in 1996, a year after he moved from his native Brazil to Miami, insists on pumping dance, theater, athletics, and raw emotion into every stretch, turn, and jump. His performances are a multimedia sensory overload -- urban poetry, pop culture, and real emotion rolled into one dynamic performance. His latest work, Slices, is no exception. The moving neo-noir poem incorporates superheroes, belly buttons, and DJ Le Spam. Dance is supposed to make you tingle, not fall asleep, and Luquini delivers just the right amount of caffeine.

BEST LOCAL LANDMARK Archway at Sunshine State International Park 1300 NW 167th Street

North Miami-Dade

305-624-8585 In 1964, when Miami was still a pretty dinky town and el exilio thought they'd be returning home shortly, the newly erected concrete archway at the Sunshine State International Park seemed too big for its britches. Since then the metropolis has grown up around it, and today it's just part of the landscape. Thousands of Palmetto Expressway commuters pass by it every day without a thought. A modest echo of Eero Saarinen's famed St. Louis Gateway Arch, the Miami version also suggested a gateway, but this one opened to the south, toward Latin America. Of course four decades ago it must have seemed ludicrous to imagine Miami as a gateway to anywhere but the mosquito-infested Everglades. Designed by Charles Giller and O.K. Houston, the parabola actually straddles NW Thirteenth Avenue at the entrance to a large industrial park (not a recreational park) that includes other examples of Miami Modern architecture.

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE The Constant Wife Coconut Grove Playhouse The Playhouse's hit revival had so many fine performances, it is only fair to fully credit them all. Alicia Roper was regally serene in the title role, beautifully matched by Greg Wood as her duplicitous husband, Nancy Dussault as her wisecracking mother, and Dan Olmstead as her once and future swain. Take those delicious ingredients, stir in Ian D. Clark, Susan Wilder, Ursula Freundlich, Pilar Uribe, and Dan Schiff, and out pops one tasty soufflé of an ensemble show.

BEST BOONDOGGLE Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust The People's Transportation Plan, approved by Miami-Dade voters in 2002, was supposed to deliver on a lot of promises in exchange for a half-penny surtax. Key to the measure's passage was the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust. The original idea was that the trust would have real autonomy and teeth to oversee disbursement of the $15 billion the tax would generate. But almost immediately county commissioners moved in to play dentist. As the CITT's powers were steadily extracted, the trust began to bleed members. So desperate is it to fill vacancies that it has been advertising for prospective new members since the middle of last year. Plainly obvious to all is that the PTP, despite its billions, will be unable to make good on its biggest promises (mostly the ones involving Metrorail extensions) and that the CITT is making a chump of every person who believed the hype and voted to increase the county's sales tax.

BEST DIRECTOR Michael Hall The Loman Family Picnic The veteran Hall has long been known for consistent professionalism, but this time out his direction of Donald Margulies's oddball memory play really excelled. Hall's compelling visuals were easy to spot, and to admire, while his subtle, beautifully paced scene-work and careful coaching of two child actors were far more subtle but just as effective. The result was a carefully orchestrated, fully realized theatric vision that was the highlight of the season.

BEST HERO Judge William Hoeveler In last year's edition of "Best of Miami," we acknowledged Hoeveler as Best Judge. In hindsight that seems a bit restrictive. Still hearing cases as an octogenarian senior federal judge, Hoeveler deserves hero status for one simple reason: He's earned it over a career that should be an inspiration to everyone inside and outside the legal profession. Why? Because of his integrity, his fortitude in the pursuit of justice, and his courage. Whether presiding over high-profile and highly contentious cases (Manuel Noriega, Elian Gonzalez, Everglades cleanup) or coping with personal adversity (the loss of his wife, his recovery from a stroke), Hoeveler has conducted himself with honor and dignity. In 2002 the University of Miami created the William M. Hoeveler Award for ethics and leadership; naturally the judge was the inaugural recipient. The annual award goes to those in the legal profession, but that too seems a bit restrictive. It could rightfully be extended to all those who, like William Hoeveler, work in the public interest and for the common good.

BEST CAREER MOVE Alberto Ibargüen He may have been sincere in telling his colleagues at the Miami Herald Publishing Company -- from reporters to advertising reps to pressroom workers and anonymous midlevel managers -- that he will miss them greatly. But in fact he couldn't be happier. No longer struggling with a whittled-down, anemic version of a once-proud newspaper under the life-sucking, soul-crushing financial thumb of parent company Knight Ridder and its pinhead CEO Tony Ridder, 61-year-old Ibargüen snagged what must be one of the best jobs in the land -- president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. There he'll be facing a very different, and much more appealing, challenge: how best to dole out some $90 million each year in grants to improve journalism and strengthen the social fabric in communities across the nation.

BEST LEISURE ACTIVITY OTHER THAN CLUBS OR MOVIES

Reading at the beach

BEST LEISURE ACTIVITY OTHER THAN CLUBS OR MOVIES Reading at the beach Wake up Sunday morning. Grab the paper, glossy magazine, maybe a current book of interest. Slather on SPF 30 sunblock. Don swim trunks, flip-flops, straw hat, dark shades. Pack bottled water, roast beef-Gruyre-tomato dagwood, and fresh grapes and apples in cooler. Put cooler in trunk of car along with umbrella and chair. Take Collins Avenue to southern end of Haulover Beach. Pay five-dollar parking fee. Scan beach from behind shades. Select spot far from family with screaming tykes, teens with radio, and couple with dog. In fact avoid any sentient life forms. Plant butt in chair under umbrella, take deep breath. Crack open Grisham-Steele-Dostoyevsky-Garcia Márquez-Hemingway tome. Exhale slowly. This is why we live here.

BEST PLACE TO DONATE YOUR CLOTHES SoBe Thrifty 1435 Alton Road

Miami Beach

305-672-7251

www.careresource.org Where can you pick up dominatrix gear, metal walkers, Guillermo Alvarez Guedes LPs, and free condoms in one unassuming little store? Okay, so the donated stock does vary from week to week (except the free condoms), but this thrift store tucked away on the "wrong" side of South Beach certainly has a very intriguing clientele. All the above disappeared rather quickly. Proceeds go to Care Resource, the oldest HIV/AIDS service organization in South Florida and the folks who also throw the White Party. Did we forget to mention the fabulously large selection of gay-interest books?

BEST READING SERIES Books & Books Various locations in Miami-Dade County

www.booksandbooks.com Mitchell Kaplan is our collective dignity's last line of defense. Do we really want the rest of the world to think of us as only a romper room for Paris Hilton? Our highest cultural aspirations to be the fashion photo shoot? Our most fervid debates to be about Botox? Kaplan's long-running reading series at his Books & Books stores in Coral Gables and Miami Beach brings us in contact with the world of letters and ideas, a world that too often skirts our shores. And in a nod to the nature of the community, he assembles an international array of literary stars to read from their works: Haiti's Edwidge Danticat, Chile's Isabel Allende, St. Louis's Jonathan Franzen. This past year saw both press handler Ari Fleischer and former President Bill Clinton walk through the doors. We've got enough eye candy. Books & Books gives us much needed brain candy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®