On June 1, when Joe Arriola surrenders the illustrious job of Miami city manager, we recommend he try his hand as a media critic. In the January 2006 edition of Miami Monthly magazine, Arriola showed off his screed-writing ability in a column lambasting the Miami Herald's coverage of Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts' plan to open a five-star hotel on Watson Island. "How this business deal was spun into the city cavorting [sic] with and giving land to communists is an interesting story -- it's what happens when cheap McCarthyism, lazy reporting, and brainless editorial decisions intermingle," Arriola wrote. He concluded his diatribe against Miami's only daily with the following excerpt: "Despite all its Pulitzer Prize-winning glory, the Herald today seems more reminiscent of a cheap supermarket tabloid lacking the vision and the wherewithal to mature alongside the rest of Miami." We suggest that Miami's only daily hire Arriola, whose mouth is more than big enough to fill the void left by the now dearly departed columnist who once worked at New Times.
Mark "Prince Markie Dee" Morales has serious street cred. Aficionados of the old school will recognize him as an original member of the Fat Boys, one of the first groups to inject self-deprecating humor into hip-hop. In the Nineties, Markie Dee took off the goofy glasses and racked up some major music-producing credits. Tracks by Shabba Ranks, Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige stud his overflowing resumé. These days Markie Dee is better known as the prince of 103.5 The Beat, jamming the airwaves from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. every weekday alongside Mr. Mauricio. And although he sometimes goes back in time and spins tracks from the era when "Wipeout" was in regular rotation on MTV, more often Markie Dee is introducing tracks by Ne-Yo, Nelly, and Dem Franchise Boyz. "I'm a regular jock, you know? Every once in a while we'll play the old-school joints, but I just play what people wanna hear," the erstwhile Fat Boy explains. Markie Dee loves giving the people what they want. Listeners can hear the glee in his voice during the "Fat Four at Four," the giveaway segment of his daily show where he assigns arbitrary weights to the most requested songs. The listener who correctly adds the weights wins cool prizes like concert tickets and CDs. Hearing the notoriously chunky radio jock say "Beyoncé weighs 927 pounds!" is just good fun. Markie Dee concedes that interacting with happily screaming listeners is his favorite part of the job. "I like getting on the phone with fans, getting one on one and communicating with them," he says. Though Markie Dee could be exploiting his instantly recognizable public persona, his experience in the business has left him older and wiser. He spends most of his off-air time doing promotions and charity work on behalf of the station. His future plans include a nationally syndicated old-school show with BET host Big Tigger. He has an Internet show on www.ontoptv.com, and he's finishing up the pilot for a television game show called Pay Your Dues that sounds like a hip-hop combination of Rock & Roll Jeopardy and American Idol. He hopes to have the show picked up by BET or MTV and bring his career full circle. Even without the television exposure that helped make him a star, Markie Dee is known and loved throughout the city. "Everyone pretty much knows who I am. I get recognized a lot, but sometimes I'll be at Chili's ordering some food, and the waitress will be like, "Hey, your voice sounds familiar! Oh, you're Markie Dee! That's what's up!"
Nine years ago Nick D'Annunzio, young and shy, was sitting at a dark table in Shadow Lounge when a group of pretty young ladies walked in. One of them, Tara Solomon, ended up sitting next to him. "She had the most amazing legs, but I didn't want to, you know, say that, so I said, 'I love your shoes.' Then I was like, 'Great, now she thinks I'm gay,'" says D'Annunzio. With similar career ambitions in the public-relations world, they quickly became friends, and Nick tried for months to make a move on Tara, "but she wouldn't give me anything to go on," he says. "So finally I was like, I'm just gonna ignore her. So I'm at this party for Ocean Drive and she's there, and I'm ignoring her the whole time. Finally I feel this tap on my back, and I was like, Now I got her...." D'Annunzio and Solomon's romance was quickly mixed with business when they were asked to do PR work for Wet Seal, a women's clothing store that then had about 500 locations worldwide. "We didn't even have an office at the time," D'Annunzio says, so together they formed TARA, Ink, which now represents companies like Cadillac, Guess Jeans, and T-Mobile. "Working together actually brings us closer. We never, ever fight when it comes to work; her strengths are my weaknesses." D'Annunzio and Solomon have been engaged for two and a half years. They say they plan to marry soon, when they're less busy.
Last summer, when the Miami Herald dropped columnist Jim DeFede (thanks to a few inches of magnetic tape), readers and journalists across the nation called for his reinstatement. Fortunately for DeFede, also a former New Times writer, the pleading went unanswered. His fans and colleagues didn't know it at the time, but the big guy's voice would soon begin bellowing from TV speakers. Although still a little shaky in the new media, DeFede now has a regular gig called "The DeFede Report" for WFOR-TV CBS 4, where Miamians can continue to hear his entertaining viewpoints.
In a city where the cost of a gym membership can surpass the cost of a monthly car payment, it can be difficult to believe that a free exercise class could actually be better than one of those pricey South Beach celebrity workouts. But Yoga in the Park has them all beat for three exquisite reasons: First of all, location. The class takes place on an elevated stage between the lapping ocean at Bayfront Park and the tall downtown buildings, which makes for a unique contrast of inspiring imagery during the invigorating Ashtanga session. The class takes place every Monday evening between 6:00 and 7:15, so add the soothing effect of the sun setting overhead and the gigantic, cool-looking fountain that faces the pavilion, and it suddenly becomes apparent that no high-end yoga studio in town could match this place for sheer ambiance, regardless of how well polished its wooden floors might be. Second, the instructor. He's a hottie named Augustin, and he's got ridiculously toned arms and a penchant for flowing white linen pants. Augustin's voice is soothing, and he takes the time to help newbies achieve the perfect position. His class zings along at a stimulating pace and then stretches out into a profound relaxation period, when he talks the students through a cool-down visualization exercise. At the end of the class, everyone gathers around like fans at a rock concert to personally thank him for the healing experience. And finally, it's free. All you need to do is bring a yoga mat, water, and a towel, and sign a waiver. Need we say more?
An endlessly laudable organization, FIAC was founded in 1996 by ten attorneys and activists concerned about cuts in funding to immigrant advocacy. Their budget was $400,000. Ten years later, they have 40 employees and a $2.4 million budget. Their tireless work on behalf of all immigrants, from Haitian asylum-seekers to migrant farm workers, is desperately needed in South Florida. FIAC attorneys, led by executive director Cheryl Little, are at the forefront of immigrant issues -- ranging from poor conditions at detention centers to the burgeoning human trafficking industry.
In 1992 the first choice in the NBA draft was Shaquille O'Neal. The second was Alonzo Mourning, and a rivalry, sometimes bitter, developed between the two centers. Last year Shaq and Zo became partners in the Miami Heat's ongoing quest for an NBA championship. In between exists enough triumph, adversity, and drama to fill a book (or ten). In any case, Zo's the man because of the intricacies of pro hoops, a team game in which back-up players are often as important as starters. And the drama. After coming to Miami in 1995 and delivering top-quality play for years, Mourning, who had been diagnosed with focal glomerulosclerosis, missed the entire 2002-2003 season because of what the media called his "career-ending" kidney illness. But Zo came back, played for New Jersey and Toronto, and was re-signed as a free agent by the Heat on March 1, 2005. The Heat then made its most promising run for NBA supremacy, losing by only six points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. With Shaq suffering an injury earlier in those playoffs (he returned for the finals), the Heat might not have made it as far as they did without Zo, who stepped in and filled Shaq's enormous shoes. And that's the key now, as the Heat has gone all-out (a number of trades, Pat Riley returning as coach) to finally go all the way. With Shaq being prone to minor injuries and missing free throws, it is Alonzo Mourning who could make the difference between supremacy and second place.
On most Fridays between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m., Boulevard Liquors cashes checks for hundreds of the lunch-bucket schmos and sundry perhaps-less-than-documented worker ants who are doing the scut work of reshaping Miami's condo-a-skyline. Intrepid streetwalkers have caught on to the potentially captive audience and staked out a bus bench nestled between the store and the nearby Pronto market. Those stuck in traffic can often catch the quick-buck hustlers jockeying for position and wagging their stuff. Some of the shameless tarts have taken to bringing along a pet dog; they apparently believe a canine will throw off Miami's finest while they mow threw their grimy, hayseed Johns like reapers in a wheat field. The sordid ritual is part street theater, part cockfight, and highly entertaining. Best of all, it's a free and soothing balm for those on the verge of rush-hour road rage.
Clocking in at just under six months, the 2005 hurricane season will long be remembered not only for its ferocity but also for its length. With such a large segment of the year under the threat of canceled vacations and impromptu sandbagging, it pays to have up-to-date information at your fingertips, and there's no better place for immediate gratification than the Internet. Skeetobite Weather is a graphically attractive site that tracks storms from beginning to end. The Website presents the same computer models the weathermen use, so you can play your own in-house forecaster. (Hint: The GFDL model did well last season.) However, the wind-field feature is the most useful element on the chart. This staggered bull's-eye refocuses attention from the storm's center to the entire area that might be affected by dangerous winds.
He's got that University of Miami swagger, as the New York Times pointed out a few games into the Hurricanes' season last year. Granted, the team lost two games after that story, but Phillips never failed to impress. Only a freshman, the Carol City native in the #1 jersey bears the look of a classic Cane: He's fast, he's there on every play, and he's always up for a little pre-kickoff freestyle booty-shaking to get the adrenaline pumping. The Canes may not have won a national championship this time around, but the safety played every game -- every tackle -- like a winner.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®