J.T. Rogers is a major new American talent, and his Madagascar is a ravishing new play. It is witty and literate, serious yet also seriously entertaining, a daring nonlinear tale that crisscrosses time with Proustian ease, a poignant sonata of grief that proved immensely moving in its Florida premiere at the New Theatre, directed by Ricky. J Martinez with dramatic talent. The plot of this devastating little masterpiece is simple: Someone has disappeared, perhaps forever, possibly to some exotic place like Madagascar. This mysterious premise generates many more questions than it answers, about memory and loss, about human resilience -- and about theater itself. The Florida premiere at the New Theatre had everything: the spectacle of a young playwright's work allowed to blossom to full splendor; a directorial tour de force; superb acting by the trio of Kathryn Lee Johnston, Angie Radosh, and Bill Schwartz; and the constant surprise of a perfect chamber piece carrying monumental emotional echoes. This one stays with you. A playwright needs a safe place to go from page to stage, and this is the place in South Florida to get the news from the frontiers of American drama. Intimate, intense, and consistently, immensely enjoyable, New Theatre is true to its mission of discovery at a time when too many companies around the country shy away from new plays. Does everything work? Of course not. But the thrill is in the search, and the actors and directors in this little powerhouse in the Gables at their best make a persuasive case for nurturing dramatic talent. The search paid off in Madagascar. And it's probably no accident that New Theatre is also the place to rediscover the genius of Shakespeare as summer rolls around.
Sure it's a schlep for most of us slaving away downtown, but with this park's more than a hundred impressive examples of modern sculpture by some of the world's top artists, mostly from Marty Margulies's collection of large-scale works on long-term loan to Florida International University, we can't think of a better reason to play hooky and head west. Pack a brown-bag lunch and bring a blanket to loaf on the campus's rolling lawns while checking out one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the nation. A visit practically ensures you'll leave with a skull crammed with a primer on modern art history to impress your boss and friends back at the office the next day, or maybe even help you weasel your way into a gig at a local gallery or museum when you get canned. Check out works by artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Mark di Suvero, Richard Serra, Willem de Kooning, Michael Heizer, Sol Lewitt, and Isamu Noguchi, and don't forget to visit the Frost Art Museum while you're there, now that you've risked landing your ass in a sling for a dose of culture.
It isn't easy to be a hockey fan in South Florida. This is a football state and most people don't get the appeal of the fast-paced, graceful violence of professional hockey. (And last year's strike didn't help much either.) Besides, the Panthers aren't vying to take Lord Stanley from the 2004 champs -- and cross-state rivals -- the Tampa Bay Lightning. But for the fans who sweat it out in wool jerseys and pound on the glass, you know what a steal it is for the Panthers to secure Olli Jokinen for another four years. He's the only Feline ranked in the NHL's Top 20 scorers (actually he's the only one in the Top 60) and has had the honor of being named the NHL's offensive player of the week. Jokinen also scored big during the Winter Olympics in Turin and helped his native Finland bring home the silver medal. This season has been a career-best for the Finn, and now it's up to the 27-year-old captain to rally this litter of kittens and bring another championship to a state that never sees frozen ponds outside of a climate-controlled rink.
Whether you like Joe Arriola or loathe him, you have to concede one thing: The guy is a fire-breathing quote machine. He doesn't mince words. Of all the bombastic can-you-believe-he-said-it moments, our favorite is this gem, told to Herald columnist Ana Menendez. Our soon-to-retire city manager was recalling an encounter he had with Miami activist Steve Hagen: "Fuck you is what I said. Go fuck yourself. I don't give a shit. I'm not going to answer your questions. Get the hell out of my sight."
The SunPost covers four districts, but it began in South Beach and still covers the Miami Beach beat best. The fact that it now distributes 48,000 weekly copies from Coral Gables to Aventura is evidence of its recent growth and the improved quality of its journalism. Under the editorial direction of Erik Bojnansky, the paper has in the past year or two hired former New Times staffers such as Robin Shear, now managing editor, and columnists Rebecca Wakefield and Celeste Fraser Delgado. (As much as some readers may have liked the goofy club gossip of "Cubby," you have to admit the current roster of writers is significantly more professional than that of a year or so ago.) With two full-time staff writers, the Post covers everything from serious local news to politics to movies and dining. Its editorials can be fiery, its letters section the most extemporaneous around. The latter might not be all that professional, but it sure is fun -- as is much of this tabloid success story.
Not the average freebie broadsheet cluttering the counter at your local cafeteria, El Clarin shines by eschewing printing news or opinion and cutting straight to business. The huckster happy rag features a dense tangle of sales pitches shilling everything from $70 divorces to pain-free abortions (offering a ten percent discount with an attached coupon) to cheap car insurance and a dentist who makes home visits, guaranteeing to fix that busted grill for just $49.99. The design-challenged pub's cover usually boasts a leering riot of Miami's ambulance-chasing yokels, including the occasional celebrity such Ana Maria Polo, the mugging arbiter of Spanish television's Caso Cerrado. Need a high-power santero, palero, or voodoo priest to reconnect you with a lost loved one or hurl a hex at the judge in a pending court case? Madame Karla, Tata Tatandi, and Papa Raul Don Petro offer reasonable investments in supernatural intervention. Seeking entertainment for your next office party? Try contacting Mariachi Tequila 2000. Bummed by contracting trifles? Pages of handymen are just a phone call away from building that glamorous add-on to your dream home minus the permit hassles. You can also find a private dick to track down a cheating spouse if that love potion fizzles, or call the Boing Boing escort service to help mop up the heartache during the rebound.
Romina Nabhen exudes the enthusiasm of a marketing newcomer, owing to her lack of cynicism, utter wholesomeness, and genuine friendliness. Not only is the 25-year-old an accomplished and independent public relations achiever, but also she's a Magic City native. Almost. "I'm from Miami even though I was born in Argentina!" she exclaims with believable verve. Nabhen quietly reps for Coral Gables wine bar and shop D'Vino, Miami restaurant Centro, and several other boutique eateries, plus she's the Florida face of Tiffany & Co. She never forgets a name or a face and always introduces her husband, Julian.
Matheson Hammock Park offers many options for couples, families, and friends looking for a picnic destination. Most notable is the two-story coral pavilion standing tall and dignified amid the green foliage like a misplaced artifact from Atlantis. The first floor is equipped with tables and a grill for comfortable midday munching. The roof offers plenty of leg-room, with an exalted view of the lake and surrounding flora. If you prefer a more earthly experience, spread that red-checkered blanket under the shady boughs of lofty trees or absorb some rays in the patch of grass in front of the pond. Sip some juice or burn off the calories from that sandwich as you stroll along the sun-sheltered nature trails. If the abundance of coral structures and Biscayne Bay breeze leave you longing for a bit of Tritonesque revelry, a calm man-made atoll pool can fulfill your saltwater longing without giving you a postlunch cramp.
Barron Sherer and Kevin Wynn can typically be found in a dark room, leaning toward a flickering screen and intently watching moving images of the past. They are cocurators of Cinema Vortex, a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting and screening Florida's old movies. At The Wolfsonian-FIU they run the Public Domain Playhouse series, which uses old advertisements, news reels, home videos, and propaganda flicks to illustrate provocative points. The two men spend a great deal of time in the Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive in the dungeonlike basement of the main branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library. The temperature-controlled space is filled with dusty reels, black wax platters, and elaborate screening machines. There's also footage from closed-down companies, home movies, and fragile, magnetic-tape memories. Their dedication to preserving the past is admirable, to say the least. "What we find goes back to this old-timey thing when film had to be physically driven through a projector. There's a certain evocation of a simpler -- quote, unquote -- happier time. Which of course, wasn't that happy," Wynn laughs. The stash in the library's basement reveals a time before reality television and music videos, an era when people didn't know how to act in front of a camera. Sherer and Wynn get to see the past that has been whitewashed from the selective American memory, when people of color were seen onscreen only in a domestic capacity. Back in those days, films circulated without restraint. They were screened in classrooms, conference rooms, or clubs, and then they were discarded and forgotten. Old reels capturing important moments in history would turn up in someone's basement or attic. The treasure hunt for films has just about ended, Wynn laments. We are living in litigious times, and companies nowadays would rather lock up their employee training videos and commercials in a vault than let them fly free, to be readapted, cut, and edited into art. "Twenty years from now, the pool of film video that is in the public domain is quite likely to be the same pool we have now, because material produced more recently just isn't going to show up," Wynn warns. Together these two provide an opportunity to look into the past, using celluloid recollections to reveal contemporary truths.
Delano South Beach
Gentlemen, please take note: A classy lady wants to be taken to a classy place on the first date; she wants a handsome man who can offer intelligent conversation in an elegant atmosphere; and a perfect cocktail will add just the right lubricant to relax the nerves and loosen the inhibitions. While a dinner may be too formal for a first date, you can never go wrong with drinks at a swanky hotel. Escorting your lady through the billowing curtains of the Delano's vast lobby is an excellent way to make a great first impression. The Delano is quintessential South Beach, a veritable playground to the stars, and whether you decide to sit at the Rose Bar or under the palms alongside the infinity pool, you will have the perfect backdrop while getting to know your possible new mate. With plenty of people to watch and celebrities to spot, the Delano offers enough diversions in case your date is a dud, but if it's going really well, you can get cozy on a settee in the lobby or sneak out the back for a romantic stroll on the beach.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®