"For the first time ever, homeowners will be able to get rid of their bulky items and trash any day of the week!" read the enthusiastic flyer that announced the opening of the City of Miami Mini-Dump last year. In other words: Stop dumping your crap in the vacant lot across the street, yo. Let's clean this bitch up. Now household garbage, your daughter's broken stroller, those palm fronds you finally dragged from the roof, the rusty washing machine in the garage, the wood scraps from your cabinet-making project, and your old tires (up to four, no rims) have a home outside your own. The minidump is open Monday to Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wear your miniskirt in solidarity and bring proof of residency. Everything in its place.
Miami is a city of immigrants, including the leafy kind. Early pioneers David and Marian Fairchild planted and grew many exotic plants, but it's a Madagascar native that has given Miami so much local color. The royal poinciana is a large, lovely tree that turns fiery red in early summer. Its blossoms are so intoxicating that for the past 68 years, Miamians have honored the royal poinciana with its own festival. Highlights include a trolley tour, luncheon, and a peek at the Fairchilds' historical home, the Kampong. It ends with the crowning of the Poinciana Queen. This year's fiesta falls on June 11.
In the Eighties, the TV show Miami Vice rocked America like a hurricane. The highly successful cop drama made the Magic City seem, well, magical -- more colorful, cool, exotic, and sexy than any other city in the nation. All the men were wearing T-shirts paired with pastel jackets and artfully cultivated five-o'clock shadows. Fast-forward to 2006. Everything Eighties is back with a bang, and Hollywood is convinced that rehashing classic TV shows into star-powered movies is a great idea. Prime time for a Miami Vice remake, baby. Now that Don Johnson's face has taken a decidedly Melanie Griffith turn, and Philip Michael Thomas is busy ... well, not really -- this time around, the role of Tubbs will be played by former In Living Color sketch-comedian-turned-Oscar-winning-Ray-Charles-impersonator Jamie Foxx. And the actor who plays Crockett requires the kind of sex appeal that will make ladies and gay guys squirm in their padded cinema seats ... a pretty boy with a nasty attitude and a cavalier attitude toward onscreen nudity. Oooh yeah, Colin Farrell. Perfect. Michael Mann picked the perfect pair for his cinematic adaptation. F-squared took South Beach by storm, ripping through the nightclub scene like nobody's business. Foxx made himself an onstage fixture at the hottest clubs, and released Unpredictable, a cameo-studded album so unabashedly horny that R. Kelly himself would nod in approval. Farrell wasn't far behind. Miami's vice got him so sprung that the lusty Irishman landed himself in rehab. One needs look no further than his controversial sex tape with former Playboy Bunny Nicole Narain to get an inkling of the kind of fun he must have been up to when the cameras stopped rolling. Miami Vice fever took over the city. The filming of car chase scenes shut down major roadways. Celebrity-sycophant cops were hired as expert extras. Hurricane after hurricane stalled film production, but at the end of it all, we're sure the movie version of the cop show that made our town famous won't disappoint. Even if the onscreen chemistry and clichéd buddy-cop plot flop miserably, we know curious locals will boost the box-office numbers for this soon-to-be-released summer popcorn flick. We just can't wait to see our glitzy, gritty city on the big screen in all of its sweaty, coke-snorting, Ferrari-driving glory, large enough for the world to see.
Tiffany Richardson, a single mother from Opa-locka, was plucked, tattoos and all, from an applicant pool of hundreds of thousands of hopeful girls vying for a spot on the UPN hit series America's Next Top Model. The show's host and creator, supermodel Tyra Banks, took a special interest in Tiffany because she related to the young woman's connections to the street and struggles to better herself. Yet Tiffany's smart mouth ired her sponsor to the point where, in one of the most shocking elimination rounds in reality-television history, Tyra screamed Tiffany off the stage, berating the sobbing Floridian for her bad attitude and lack of appreciation. For a while after the episode aired in April 2005, Tiffany enjoyed some increased local attention. "I would go to Burger King or McDonald's and people would be, like, 'I know you!'" she observed at the time. Now, though, the glow is gone from ANTM -- even as 8th & Ocean has claimed its place in the pantheon of reality model telecasting. Contacted recently by phone, Tiffany couldn't talk for long. After describing how she had made up with Tyra, she was distracted by the need to attend to some cooking. "Get away from that! That grease will pop you!" she exclaimed to an unseen kitchen interloper before hanging up. And then Tiffany was gone.
Regal South Beach Stadium 18
The passionate moviegoer loves Robocop and La Dolce Vita with equal fervor, and expects the best movie theater in Miami to embrace such extremes as well. From Wong Kar Wai to Werner Herzog to Woody Allen to Wesley Snipes, Regal South Beach shows explosive, CGI-heavy blockbusters and subtitled, intellectual gems. Sure, a few films stick around for only a week. Sometimes screenings are limited to midafternoons and sparse, geriatric audiences. But what matters is that the movies can be seen: with stadium seating, surround sound, and a big screen; with discounts for students, seniors, and matinees; with audiences whose demographic diversity and myriad reactions prove once again that Miami is the greatest anthropology project ever.
There's a paradox in the fact the smartest critic at Miami's only daily covers television. An accomplished journalist, Garvin has settled into this comfy gig, but he rests neither on his laurels nor his couch. His takes on TV echo elements of phenomenology, economics, news, and social commentary. Sample: "[The writer-director] is apparently trying to establish the ever-shifting nature of reality, but all she really proves is that a network that gives a lot of money to a director incapable of holding a thought in her head for longer than two minutes will wind up with a picture that has to be dumped on Saturday night, the television equivalent of Death Row. So maybe reality is mutable...." He's also a master of the quip. From the same review: "I've seen more sparks on reruns of The Dating Game." Everyone watches television. Some also read about it. Few write about it -- this well.
Miami and air flight are both children of the Twentieth Century. With Chalk's arguably being the world's oldest airline, and Glenn Curtiss (the Henry Ford of aviation) using his wealth to develop Miami Springs, Opa-locka, and Hialeah, one could say their histories are inextricably linked. At Wings Over Miami, which is housed at the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, you'll enjoy a generous sampling of vintage airplanes, like AT6s and Stearman PT-17s, many in flying condition (but don't get any ideas). The not-for-profit museum also hosts air shows several times a year, as well as other events. If the kids resist the history lesson, you can always bribe them with a model airplane from the extensive selection in the gift shop. Admission ranges from $5.95 to $9.95.
From Hillsboro to Monroe, no story is too small or too big for Rabin. That's because Chuck is one of the sharpest nails in the Miami Herald's toolbox. A veteran reporter with a Jimmy Buffett fashion sense, Rabin can tackle any subject to which he's assigned. Consider his reporting this past February: He hounded North Bay Village officials about the contaminated debris from a Wilma-whacked houseboat mecca. He shadowed a trio of prominent Israelis who were visiting Miami to discuss Hamas, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the ceding of the Gaza Strip. And he strolled the halls of the Miami-Dade criminal courthouse to keep us abreast of the latest convicted murderer sent to life in prison. Yup, he can tell a story straight, but when he's allowed to indulge in creativity, Rabin shines. Consider this passage from one of his recent columns: "I'm moving into the City of Miami next week, and I'm getting an elephant -- a big, smelly, strapping, noisy, pooping pachyderm. As for my new neighbors, their complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears anyway. That's because the City of Miami has no ordinance or law making it illegal for wild animals to live on residential private property."
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®