BEST POET Will "Da Real One" Bell www.willdarealone.com Will "Da Real One" Bell represents the new poetry. He spits words like high-caliber machine-gun fire, and his booming voice sets ears ablaze. He snarls ferocious truth about the things he's seen -- heartbreak and pain, crime and punishment, struggle and poverty. Much of his work is inspired by his hardscrabble Liberty City childhood. His parents still live there, but Will has moved away. "I got tired of coming home and all my stuff was missing," he explains. Now he makes his home in Miami Shores, but "I be keepin' it real for where I am," he stresses. Indeed Will Bell has followed an unusual path to poetry stardom. He discovered his talent while he was a county inmate, serving fourteen months for trafficking cocaine. "It wasn't even the money for me -- it was the lifestyle," he says. "Fast money, money all the time, money every day. You can afford to be very spontaneous when you're raking in four, five grand a day. I wasn't like no Colombian drug lord, but that ain't nothing to sneeze at," he says. "I had a chance to look at who I was when I was incarcerated, which made me make different decisions as a human being when I was released." In 2001 he emerged as Will Da Real One and proceeded to blaze a trail to the top of the local spoken-word scene. Bell was invited to perform on Russell Simmons's HBO program Def Poetry Jam. This past February, he filmed his second appearance on the show. "I've been doing some volunteer work with the Department of Corrections, and I'm trying to introduce poetry workshops in the county jail system." He also co-owns a small coffee shop in North Miami called The Literary Café. "I just got a knack for reaching people," Bell says. "I got a message that I'm trying to distribute, a piece of myself I'm trying to share."

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSPAPER Biscayne Boulevard Times www.biscayneboulevard.com Development is rapidly altering the landscape of the Biscayne Boulevard corridor in ways both good and not so good. Residents in this area, roughly from downtown Miami to 79th Street, keep track of the changes not through the Miami Herald but through this small, scrappy monthly newspaper that comprehensively tackles nearly every neighborhood issue, from big-picture to the picayune. Helmed by long-time resident and sometime art gallery owner Skip Van Cel, the BBT's tiny staff (supplemented by articles and columns from activists and business owners) cranks out dozens of pieces each month, intense coverage for a fairly small area. Art exhibits, landlord-tenant disputes, new businesses, city politics, development, crime -- it's all there.

BEST PLACE TO THROW A PARTY The former building of La Moderna Poesia 5246 SW Eighth Street

Coral Gables Here's a little real-estate advice for any savvy entrepreneur with some green to spread around. Miami Beach is too expensive, and everyone knows downtown is riddled with cranes and dump trucks working away at creating a metropolis for the millennium. But where is that diamond in the rough? The undeveloped area waiting to explode with profit and booze is on the outskirts of the Gables, not far from Little Havana. The vacant building that once housed La Moderna Poesia is just the right size and only blocks away from DJ Le Spam's weekly gig, which is always packed. The Suenalo Sound System commune is right around the corner, as are many of the group's fans. A creative person just might be able to revitalize the area into the new hot hang. Don't be turned off by the demise of the previous tenants. Much of Miami doesn't like to read, let alone in Spanish. Much of Miami does, however, love to party.

BEST FESTIVAL Ultra Music Festival Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami We're sure Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes, the perpetrators behind all things Ultra, would love to hear that their little bash by Biscayne Bay is awesome because of the music lineup -- which is in fact awesome. We're sure the City of Miami would like to hear that Ultra is bomshizzle because it brings people of all races and all ages together under one continuous melodious house beat, which it in fact does. But really, folks, we're not gonna kid around here. Ultra is the absolute best festival because it inspires such an uninhibited, gluttonous consumption of recreational drugs. Imagine the extreme pleasures of smoking blunts, snorting coke and special K, and popping Ecstasy pills of every hue in the rainbow -- from noon until well past midnight.

Readers´ Choice: Miami Improv Festival and Coconut Grove Arts Festival (tie)

BEST MUSEUM Miami Children's Museum 980 MacArthur Causeway

Miami

305-373-5437

www.miamichildrensmuseum.org Finally housed in a permanent location, the Miami Children's Museum has been able to turn its attention to developing a world-class educational playground for youngsters. Permanent and temporary exhibits, day camps, and classes are the main draws, but there is also an intriguing film program for budding auteurs that is perhaps the crown jewel (and boasts its own festival). Some parents have complained about the excessive branding from corporate sponsorship. That just sets up the opportunity to teach the little ones an important lesson about tuning out intrusions.

BEST CAR WASH South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash 1229 Eighteenth Street

Miami Beach

305-604-9282 Do you feel dirty? I mean really dirty? Then you need to have some fine young men and women scrub you down from top to bottom, inside and out, including your tires. With no monstrous machines to smack you around and bend your antenna, you'll be rubbed and caressed until you shine like the day you rolled off the lot. While you enjoy your day at the spa, your owners can relax in the air-conditioned lounge or keep an eye on you from the outdoor patio. A detail wash will set them back only $14 ($17 for SUVs and $20 for trucks and vans), so there will be extra cash to fill you up with the good gas. Do you have a lady driving you around? Tell her Wednesdays are her days to receive a twenty percent discount -- maybe she'll spring for the (regularly priced) $35 wax job.

Readers´ Choice: Busy Bee Car Wash

BEST PERIODIQUITO The Miami Post The periodiquito publishing community is Miami-Dade County's guerrilla propaganda machine. These little community newspapers serve a singular purpose: putting forth the political agendas of their publishers. However, the Miami Post, assembled by one Luis Tornes, an esteemed editor who in the 21st Century can be contacted only via a P.O. box, has an agenda that seems to fall right in the middle of partisan politics. Tornes has no qualms about pasting unflattering articles about George W. Bush and Fidel Castro side-by-side, above the fold, on the front page of his monthly rag. The best part of the Post is its version of "Page Six," aptly titled "Cortaditos de Mafialandia," a full page of gossip about Miami's civic leaders. In the March edition, the Post speculated about the true reason behind Alberto Ibargüen's departure from the Miami Herald Publishing Co. In the column, Post reporter "Mr. Colada" tells his readers that Ibargüen was forced out by Knight Ridder honchos because the Miami Herald had become a journalistic laughingstock compared to other major newspapers across the nation. You can find the latest edition of the Miami Post at your nearest bakery on Calle Ocho or in the downtown offices of the county commission.

BEST FLACK Tara Solomon TARA, Ink.

305-864-3434

www.taraink.com An ageless former journalist gleefully packed it in and went over to the dark side with considerable verve and a very adorable fiancé who got his humble start as a clerk at Sephora. This year Tara Solomon opened an office in Los Angeles (new clients include Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson), notched the Evian and Cadillac Escalade accounts, and earned a closetful of designer clothes, gifts from friends (and clients) Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. Locally notable clients include durable hot spots (restaurants the Forge, OLA Miami, and Sushi Samba Dromo) and soon-to-open mega-destination Karu & Y, a nightclub venture by the Ciccone family (i.e., Madonna and peeps). Through it all, Solomon, who possesses a sharp wit, remains serene and approachable, handling harangues from Dolce & Gabbana hangers-on and hanging with Alicia Keys with equal dignity and aplomb.

Personal Best Lindsay Czarniak Even though the games begin in the fall and end by the time the days begin to grow longer, football season is 365 days a year for true DolFans. Lindsay Czarniak knows this, lives this, breathes this, and that's what makes Fins TV, a half-hour show broadcast every week on WTVJ (Channel 6), the local NBC affiliate, so sincere and genuinely interesting, even during the nongame part of the year. With her direct, breezy manner and sunkissed shag, Czarniak knows everything about the Miami Dolphins players and plays, yet she's comfortable interviewing a designer who makes corsets from cut-up Dolphins jerseys. True versatility. Czarniak blew into town some years ago from a gig with CNN in Atlanta, and, sadly for South Florida viewers, she'll be heading north again before another kickoff.

"I am moving to Washington, D.C., to do sports at the NBC affiliate up there," Czarniak admits. We can only hope the Redskins appreciate who they're getting.

Best sports or concert venue in Miami: Homestead Miami Speedway has my vote for coolest sports event we'll see this year, with the NASCAR season finale Ford 400 "under the lights." That is going to be amazing, but right now there is nothing like the energy inside the American Airlines Arena for a Heat game. Where else can you see Shaq, Dan Marino, Jamie Foxx, and Jay-Z at the same time?

Best reason to live in Miami: Because it's so hard to find a reason not to live in Miami. The sun and the salsa, the music and the dancing (although I'm still learning the latter). There is so much character and style to this city. I love that within a 30-mile distance you can be someplace where the dress code is Miami chic or boots and a cowboy hat.

Best cheap thrill: Walking to the beach from my home. And the ability, at any hour, to grab Cuban sandwiches or empanadas after a night on South Beach.

Best not-so-cheap thrill: Highlights in South Beach. Not sports highlights; I'm talking hair. The best haircut and color in the world is in the hands of Rodrigo and Alysne at Stella Salon in South Beach. And even though it's not so cheap, it is one of the gazillion things I want to take with me and will miss dreadfully about this city when I start my new adventure in Washington, D.C. I would stick them in my suitcase if I could; basically I would pack the entire city.

Best name of a professional sports figure: Skier Picabo Street, New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi, and Minnesota Timberwolf Wally Szczerbiak (because it sounds like my last name) are definitely top favorites, but the best I've come across here in South Florida is Obafemi Ayanbadejo, former Dolphins fullback; he and his brother Brendan definitely have the most mispronounced last name in the NFL. It's eye-en-buhd-aye-zho.

Best sports bar: Not your typical sports bar -- more of a great restaurant/hangout and great place to watch a game: My choice is Tuna's in Aventura. Ask for Pete the bartender; he's the best.

What sports or physical fitness trends do you predict for the year 2035? Thirty years from now, hmmm, I predict Rollerblading. I just hope Rollerblading because I love it and hopefully by then I'll know how to stop without throwing myself into the vegetation on the side of my favorite trail. By the way, that's another definite South Florida bonus: flat terrain. There's no way I will be as graceful on my skates up in D.C. -- too many hills!

BEST MANIFESTO Seth Green When we last heard from Mr. Seth Green, who was featured in last year's "Best of Miami" (see Best Place to Slow Dance), the Titian-haired star of cinema and television was held aloft by twin streams of bubbly champagne success, doing mainstream comedy in the syndicated series Greg the Bunny while enjoying artistic street cred from his appearance as James St. James in the Sundance Film Festival hit Party Monster. A frequenter of Miami Beach hotel parties -- he visited the Delano recently for a rooftop screening of Monster with costars Wilmer Valderrama and Macaulay Culkin -- Green was riding high. Then came Without a Paddle. The 2004 treasure-hunting comedy was the least funny, most boring buddy flick of all time, and sank without a trace. The cancellation of Greg the Bunny came soon afterward. Suddenly the indie darling and teen heartthrob was faced with a coppery five o'clock shadow and nothing to do but coast on his past fame. Will he bounce back? Will we ever see him again at the Shore Club or Prive? Perhaps his future is predicted in his own words. What follows, carefully culled from Green's work beginning with 1985's The Hotel New Hampshire and concluding, well, with Without a Paddle, are some of his most illuminating lines of dialogue. Sadly, Green shows himself not to be a lucid philosophe but a bit of a bruiser with an obsessive violent streak -- which may explain his affection for Miami. Here, then, is a stunning, stinging sample of the Green Manifesto: "Who could beat a night of cards, chips, dips, and dorks? Something stinks in suburbia. You nuked my brother. You took him from ögeek' status to öking' status to no status. Babe said it was good for my complexion. I swear. One out of ten. You're worse than I am, kiddo. At this rate, we might as well let that damn clown take us one by one. Yeah, and one of them better be good, Bill, because right now, you're in the lead with a pathetic three out of ten. Have you ever killed anyone? That many? Wow! Well my friend Sweet Jay took me to that video arcade in town, right, and they don't speak English there, so Jay got into a fight and he's all, öHey quit hasslin' me cuz' I don't speak French' or whatever! And then the guy said something in Paris talk, and I'm like, öJust back off!' And they're all, öGet out!' And we're like, öMake me!' It was cool. What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him? I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out! I was thinking I like animals. Maybe I'd be a vet. No! Maybe like work in a petting zoo. I hate you! I hate you! I wish I was never artificially created in a lab! I haven't seen you my whole life and now you just show up and expect a relationship? I hate you. What? Get away from me, you lazy-eyed psycho! Well, to the casual observer, it would appear that you're trying to make your friend Xander jealous or even the score or something. And that's on the empty side. It's okay. I can wait. That's some deep academia there. Looks dead, smells dead, yet it's moving around. That's interesting. Yo, both of y'all. That is a öFragrance of Love' scented candle, bitch. Damn! It means I gots a 92 percent chance of embarrassing myself. Hey, birthday dude! You want some ice cream? Yeah well we weren't in hell! I mean there was this bright white light at the end of a long tunnel, right, and there was these voices, and that music ... There is something wrong with my friend, I think he smoked some nutmeg or something. I was a little bitter about the getting killed by my best friend thing but I've had time to get over it. I mean, no, I'm glad everybody's all right, but ... that was weak. How could you do this to me? On national television! Him? Look at him, he's crazy. He's like a vicious little Chihuahua thing. He'll kill me the first chance he gets. Siegfried and Roy are here? One of us has to be the victim, one of us has to be the witness. What kind of a witness would you make? I'm your own brother, I don't know what the hell you're saying. Hey, why don't you guys give him a break? Instead of stabbing him in the back, why don't you try showing him a little support in the front? Let's face it, humans have been mistreating puppets for centuries. It's nothing new. We lure them to our country with the tartar sauce, and the lollipops, and the empty promises of sparklers which I believe are yet unfulfilled. Tardy, you got your sparklers? The only chance we have to survive is to huddle together for warmth. I got to act tough or these people will beat up me a lot. And then he's just the media darling. He's on the cover of all the magazines. He didn't even graduate. I'm not addicted to drugs, I'm addicted to glamour. I don't even know you but I hate you too. What do you mean that's it? I'm not giving up! And neither are you! And neither am I!"

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®