Smart things about Miami are hard to come by. Sometimes parts of our city blow up in a crappy action movie. Occasionally we get to watch rappers pour champagne on naked ladies here. And it has always been that way: Remember Police Academy 5çNobody has ever wanted to film anything in Miami that's, well, serious ... until now. When Dave Hill, a self-described "fat-ass motherfucker from Cleveland," comes to town, his first order of business is to hire a sexy Venezuelan woman to spray-tan him a parking-cone orange. Next he acquires a burly private security detail. His mission, he announces, is to "take over this town." It's all part of Hill's TV show, The King of Miami, which debuted May 7 on the MOJO Network, available to HDTV subscribers. Though the show's concept is rough, Hill's boundless deadpan energy binds his idiotic misadventures through the town's tourist spots into something as soul-quenching as your mom's meatloaf.
Alongside the William Powell Bridge, between the mainland and Virginia Key and the bridging replaced by the new William Powell Bridge in 1985, the scene is almost apocalyptic: On a recent weekend night the pier was teeming with grungy fishermen — many of whom had boomboxes and bicycles rigged especially for carrying fishing gear. ("The bike has two separate chains," said one fisherman as he held back his mutt.) There are drunks, partying high school kids, mean dogs, birds everywhere — it's all the wonder and chaos of Miami condensed onto a single empty road to nowhere. In case that's not enough for you to pass through that expensive toll booth (you miser, you), the old bridge offers some of the best cityscapes of Miami that money can't buy.
You've likely heard about Snoop Dogg, who, when his son came of athletic age, took to coaching small-fry football. Miami's Luther Campbell has been at it for more than two decades, coaching Pop Warner football and thus creating a paradox: The man who has long sponsored, coached, and generally supported young athletes makes music that is for adults only. Along with taking his Liberty City Warriors to a Pop Warner Super Bowl a couple of years ago, Uncle Luke also implemented "the academic progress reporting system," which, he says, has greatly increased scholarly achievement among players. On the field, there's whole new meaning to the phrase "Throw the D."
The Asian palm civet is to beverages as sturgeon is to victuals. The fish produces one of the world's most expensive foods, caviar. The civet produces the planet's priciest coffee, Kopi Luwak. And when we say costly, we mean up to $600 per pound (or around $40 a shot). The stuff is so ¨ber-glamorous that members of the fabulous set sign waiting lists to get their manicured mitts on some. Though Miami establishments like Barton G, 1427 West Ave., Miami Beach (305-672-8881), carry the coffee, it seems like complete crap to the unrefined masses, really. It's farmed from shit. See, the catlike civet (really more like a type of weasel) eats only ripe coffee cherries in the Indonesian jungle, which it then only partially digests. Meaning it poops whole beans that some poor schmuck forages. Sure they clean it up a bit, but that shit-stained bean is the prize. Mmmm, good to the last dropping.
Little Havana To Go
For South Florida visitors seeking retail therapy after being sardined on a tour bus with a bunch of strangers they can't understand, Little Havana to Go offers a welcome respite. Located smack next to Calle Ocho's famous Domino Park, this shop isn't your average carved-coconut and strung-shell souvenir joint. Each week dozens of buses ferrying tourists from the nation's hinterlands, South America, and Europe descend on the colorful shop specializing in Cuba-theme gifts. It strictly caters to those bitten by the nostalgia bug or wishing to take a reminder of Miami's exotic neighborhood home. Customers are usually greeted with the sweet sounds of a bolero twittering on outdoor speakers and a shot of cafecito compliments of the house. Walls offer a riot of tropical-theme art from local talent and shelves brim with CDs of classic Latin favorites, T-shirts, guayaberas, coffee mugs, panama hats, maracas, and domino sets. Most of the memorabilia is emblazoned with the Cuban flag and sold in every price range. During a recent visit we were amazed at how many tourists were having their pics snapped in front of the store, surreally posing as if they were in front of a bona fide landmark.
Every year on a Saturday morning just before Easter, hundreds of kids gather on the playing fields just south of Miami Shores Country Club. They look into the sky hopefully while clutching shopping bags and baskets. Then they scream. It hurts your ears. A helicopter descends from the sky and a hand reaches from the cockpit with a trash bag. Next, thousands of marshmallows scatter around the field. The act is repeated several times. Then the chopper comes to within just a few feet of the ground and blows the darn things all over the place. The kids scream again. It hurts ... again. The parents scan the ground for a handful of golden eggs, which might win major league prizes. The kids scream again. Ouch! Finally the authority figures shout, "Go!" and the tots — as well as bigger kids — sprint onto the field and gather the marshmallows. In the end, they trade 'em in for candy. Then the little ones dance and perform other strange kid rituals under a sunshade. This part doesn't hurt. It makes you giggle.
Give Hialeah's political leaders credit where it's due: They've put together an impressive electronic library system. Anchored by the John F. Kennedy Library at 190 W. 49th St., the e-libraries also have three satellite locations in the northern (7400 W. Tenth Ave.), eastern (501 E. Fourth Ave.), and western (7400 W. 24th Ave.) quadrants of the city. Each e-library is equipped with a dozen multimedia desktop computers; the JFK library offers computer tutoring classes in English and Spanish that teach the basics of using a mouse, creating an e-mail account, using word processing programs, and surfing the Internet. Now if we could only convince Mayor Julio Robaina to do away with the city's individual system of street numbers....
Malika Oufkir's life has been a twisted mix of fairy tale and nightmare, brought to life in her haunting memoir, Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail. First published in 1999 in French as La Prisoni?re, the book (which later became an Oprah's Book Club selection and New York Times nonfiction best seller) traces the brutal twenty-year imprisonment she and her family endured. The eldest daughter of Morocco's feared General Muhammad Oufkir, the North African-born beauty was unofficially adopted at age five by King Muhammad V, and then by his successor, King Hassan II, after the former died. For eleven years she was a princess's confidant who lived in the unfathomable luxury of the royal palace. In 1972 the towering General Oufkir led a failed coup against the regime and tried to assassinate Hassan. Oufkir was executed and the king ordered the general's wife, Fatima, and six children imprisoned in several secret locations. Malika and her family spent the next fifteen years incarcerated, surviving largely on vermin-infested soup. One torturous night in 1986, after an eight-year stint in solitary confinement, and having barely eaten for 47 days, family members tried to kill themselves by cutting open each other's veins with fragments of knitting needles. But their collective suicide attempt failed. Desperate, they began to dig with their bare hands. In 1987 the family completed a tunnel and staged an escape, only to be recaptured five days later and placed under house arrest. Malika eventually was released and fled her native Morocco almost ten years later. This past fall she published her second book, Freedom: The Story of My Second Life, written largely from her home in Surfside, where she resides with husband Eric Bordreuil.
The locals will kill us if we tell you about the last free spot on South Beach, so we'll clue you into the easiest metered parking instead. The stretch of Alton Road at Fourteenth Street is often the fastest place to grab a legal parking spot; in fact it's so fast that residents of the adjacent zoned sections occasionally rely on it when all the reserved parking is full. The area is a hop, skip and a stumble away from Lincoln Road and within a sobering jaunt from Washington Avenue nightclubs. Parking is a dollar an hour from 9:00 a.m. to midnight, then free.... And now that the locals have stopped reading: There are a few free spots just south of Fourteenth on Alton. They are hard to catch in the evenings, and you have to really pay attention to parking signs, but hey, if you're cheap, well, challenge yourself.
"Ava Wrestles the Alligator." "Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers." "The Star-Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime." "Lady Yeti and the Palace of Artificial Snows." If the names of her short stories (including the titular tale) aren't enough to entice you, the prose of Coral Gables native Karen Russell should do the trick. This collection of ten stories, Russell's debut, paints a wondrously unique, highly readableportrait of swampy, sandy Florida.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®