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.
Take a vacation without leaving town, but don't leave home without your wallet (or before requesting a higher limit on your credit cards). Experience a weekend of relaxing in hotel paradise and think of it as a meager sampling of the life of a celebrity. Walking into the lobby of The Setai, you are immediately transported to a tranquil plane of harmony. Good Chi flows from the teak wood and the antique bricks transported from Shanghai. The design of the hotel, described as "Art Deco Fusion," melds the architectural standard of classic South Beach -- it is, after all, a replica of the historic Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel -- with soothing elements of Asian flair. Talismans adorn the walls to ward off evil spirits, so you will experience nothing but positive energy throughout your relaxing weekend stay. You will sleep on luxurious Dux beds with Irish linen sheets, watch your cable shows on flat-screen LCD or plasma televisions sets with Bose surround-sound, and make your morning java jolt with a Lavazza espresso maker. If you forget your bathing suit, simply go to the gift shop and buy one of the very cool Blue Glue bikinis ($120 each). (You decide you want both the purple one with the cute cutouts and the one with green iridescent sequins, so you splurge. You're on vacation, right?) After a hard afternoon of chilling by one of the three pools, you can return to your suite for a soak in your big tub or a scrub under the shower, which is equipped with Acqua di Parma products. Enjoy delicious Asian cuisine or comfort foods prepared before your eyes from The Restaurant or Sushi Bar (about $240) and a Zen-like, mind-altering spa treatment including shiatsu massage and aromatherapy oils, followed by a Jacuzzi soak ($450 per couple). Although weekend packages normally start at $3900, May 1 marks the off-season, which means deep discounts for locals. Two nights will set you back only $1220, which brings the total to $1890 (before the two bathing suits are tacked on to your bill). The effect it will have on your demeanor is priceless.
Imagine you run a business, and the local government suddenly tells you it will begin to offer to the public the same service you already sell -- for free. You'd come up with a plan to stop it, wouldn't you? That's the position Atlantic Broadband found itself in a few months ago when the City of Miami Beach moved in on the firm's turf as an Internet service provider. First the company implied "public safety" would suffer (as if all the city's perverts and con artists were just waiting to log on for free). Then came the chest-thumping that included a challenge under a state law that forbids cities from charging for Internet access or selling advertising. But hey, there's no evidence the city will do either. You know what, Atlantic Broadband? Please don't do us any more favors. Thanks.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®