Naomi Wilzig is a Jewish grandmother unlike any other. Over the course of fourteen years, she collected approximately 4000 works of erotic art and penned five books about the genre. "We look at sex as such a forbidden subject. But where would we be without it?" asks Wilzig. But the enormous phallic sculpture in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange served little purpose in her living room -- to call it a conversation piece was an understatement. So she moved the Japanese shunga prints, the portraits of a shapeshifting Zeus in prime seductive form, and renditions of coquettish Rococo ladies into a mezzanine over on Washington Avenue. There the art smolders silently over the nightclub sex circus below, just blocks from Club Madonna. The museum is open from 11:00 a.m. to midnight; admission is $15.
The Miami Heat has demonstrated once again that all a team needs to win in the NBA are two superstars and about six or eight warm, giant bodies. That formula almost took the Heat to the league finals last summer. But then a couple of dippy plays and Dwyane Wade's hurt ribs kept them from knocking off the defending champion Pistons. Most general managers would have locked-in the club's best-ever team, but not Pat Riley. Gone this year are Keyon Dooling, Damon Jones, Eddie Jones, and Rasual Butler. In are Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Now Posey is a no-frills workman and fine to have aboard. Payton, Walker, and Williams are all oversize niche talents (Payton, defense; Walker, making baskets; Williams, handling the ball like a yo-yo). They're also recovering malcontents, every one. Along with Alonzo Mourning, then, Wade and Shaquille O'Neal have an all-hothead supporting cast. Will the Heat win a title? They're among a half-dozen teams that have a legitimate shot. Even if they don't, this playoff meltdown should be nothing short of nuclear, a guilty joy to behold.
Taverna Opa
You have to go to the southern terminus of Ocean Drive to find a good deal, but it's worth it. Opa, which also has restaurants in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, is an atmospheric, high-ceiling Greek joint with an open kitchen and a spacious bar area. You can wander off the beach and through Opa's door for a $6 pork souvlaki with pita and fixings, an $8 lamb shank with orzo, a $15 beef shish kebab with rice pilaf, or a selection of four mezze dishes for less than $20. For the price of a mashed potato side dish at the Hotel Victor's restaurant just a few blocks north, you can dig into Opa's wood-grilled lemon half-chicken, side of potatoes included. If you're with a party of six or more, $25 per person will get you a feast of eleven dishes (seven appetizers and four mains). At $3.75 a glass and $18 a bottle, the cheapest house wine is just that -- cheap. Taverna Opa is open from 4:00 p.m. until the ouzo runs out.
Though it's unlikely your guests might walk away from a visit to this popular Little Havana landmark with a Paris Hilton sighting under their belts, they will leave with a quintessential postcard of Miami's sabor Cubano. For more than four decades, the gaudy landmark, decked out in chandeliers, murals, and mirrors, has been the meeting place for exilio honchos, noisy Cuban families, and multiculti Miami. It's the place to go if you're hungry for authentic island cuisine served up with a heap of Castro-bashing or peppered in local political intrigue. Open till the wee hours seven nights a week, Versailles offers a cornucopia of old-fashioned Cuban favorites like ropa vieja, arroz con pollo, and lechón asado at prices that won't dent the wallet. After getting your visitors wired on a shot of cafecito, take a dime tour of Calle Ocho, where you can catch old-timers in a heated dominoes showdown at Maximo Gomez Park, shop for souvenirs at a shabby-chic bodega, and visit one of the many low-rent art galleries. Sure it might not compare to a sultry day at the beach, or the glamour of celebrity gawking at South Beach's exclusive nightclubs, but your friends will leave with a sense that there's nowhere else in America like the place we call home.
You don't have to be an arborist to notice that South Florida boasts some of the most unique tree-life in the world. We have royal palms, cypress, live oaks, banyans. We've got ficus-laden Coral Way and palm-lined Biscayne Boulevard. There is, though, among all of Miami-Dade County's trees, a champion. It's part of the always-impressive ficus family but is not any ordinarily breathtaking banyan. It's an Über-version of the trees you'll see lining roads in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. This tree, in the former location of Parrot Jungle, is so massive, so sprawling, that it looks like its own jungle. The root system to support it spans five acres. Now, when you see this awesome tree, keep in mind -- it's literally half its former greatness. A huge chunk of it was destroyed by hurricanes.
He began his career in 1978 as a shoe-leather scribe for the defunct Miami News. Two years later Rodriguez switched to television and began a career highlighted by his 2002 interview of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The dapper newsman (who was named one of South Florida's sharpest-dressed men by Ocean Drive) has covered major events such as the invasion of Panama, free elections in Nicaragua, and Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba. Today he is co-anchor of CBS4 News at Noon (and the 5:30 p.m. broadcast as well) and host of 4 Sunday Morning. Rodriguez sets himself apart from his peers with his no-nonsense on-air delivery. He doesn't ham it up or use gimmicky one-liners. He simply reports the news in a direct, forceful baritone made for television.
Take the weekend to get away from it all -- literally, by chartering a boat out to sea. It's pricey -- $550 for a half-day or $1350 for a full weekend -- but think of it as your own private cruise, without the hovering masses at the midnight buffet. Capt. Russ Boley, a lifelong sailor who's been trekking to the Bahamas and the Keys for nearly three decades, takes care of the technical stuff so you can just kick back (or throw a party). His crew produces oven-fresh breads, scrumptious meats and cheeses, and homemade desserts that will keep your tummy happy while you while away the weekend on the water. Take the boat all the way down to Elliott Key if you like, and quaff a glass of wine -- or a bottle. Just grab your sunglasses. Wherever you go, you will have escaped.
Motoring through the Dolphin Expressway bottleneck at the airport might encourage you to drive straight into swampy muck in the Everglades. But if you make a quick pit stop at FIU before you head east to the urban wasteland, try recharging your spirit. Nestled among the campus trees is the Margulies Sculpture Park, which comprises more than 70 large-scale sculptures by noted artists such as De Kooning, Dubuffet, and Serra. It's free and open to the public 24/7. Be sure to park in one of the Blue Parking Garage's visitor spots. If you don't, your sanctuary could turn into tow-truck torture.
Berky is the anti-Twinkie. Always professional, never treacly, he brings depth, doggedly thorough reporting, and elegance to a business full of flash, false sincerity, superfluous bites, irrelevant "news," and ratings stunts. He, Glenna Milberg, and Michael Putney form ABC affiliate WPLG's most solid, probing, and balanced triumvirate, excelling at the meaty pieces. Berky has an irresistible combination of scrupulousness and panache that allows him to dig deeply while telling the best story around. Berky doesn't do the easy thing. He doesn't do the salacious thing. He relishes complexity, whether reporting about migrants or Luis Posada Carriles or the Dubai port controversy. He doesn't "sell" tragedy or insert himself into the story. Berky tells you what's happening, how it happened, what might happen, and how it affects you; and he does it with an integrity, a nuance, and a depth from which many in his field could learn.
Once the bizarre infomercials are over for the day, this station just drips with the flavor of Miami. Between Tres Patines documentaries, local talent shows, and the news in Spanish are hours and hours and hours of hot women parading around in worse than nothing. There's a lot of ass in Miami, and it ain't only the politicians. In case you never tired of the Exilio AM-radio talk shows, you can watch a lively anti-Castro talk show called A Mano Limpia. (When Fidel kicks the bucket, what the hell will they talk about? Let's hope girls' asses!) Then there are the comedy shows that feature -- you guessed it -- more women's asses. (There's definitely a universal language here that any hetero American male can understand regardless of Spanish skills.) And if the butts leave you longing for an infomercial, you can always enjoy the charmingly crafted local ads for ¡Ño, Que Barato!

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®