Scoring a quick shot of Internet fame is pretty easy if you have a high-speed web connection, giant fake boobs, a perfectly trashy pseudonym, a massive backlog of sex stories about famous people, and absolutely no sense of shame. That's exactly how Miami's favorite smack-talking ex-stripper Kat Stacks (née Andrea Herrera) skeezily seized her 15 minutes atop the weird, wild, and STD-soaked world of hip-hop groupiedom. Straight outta Aventura, the pornographically proportioned Venezuelan princess hit the scene in April 2010 when she unleashed a series of supersleazy gossip bombs via YouTube, Twitter, and her now-defunct blog. She claimed to have done the dirty with every rapper in the universe, from Lil Wayne to Soulja Boy to Bow Wow. And almost immediately, her vids went viral. Her Twitter account blasted past the 200,000-follower mark. And the promotional club gigs came pouring into Stacks Central. But then the hip-hop ho's time ran out in Nashville on November 5, 2010, when the Davidson County Sheriff's Office busted her for being in the country illegally. She was charged with a felony, dragged to court, and locked up. Seven months later, Stacks is still in jail, her Twitter account is locked to anyone other than pre-approved followers, and the supergroupie seems to have mellowed. Instead of constantly slanging scandalous shit, she now issues short, inspirational nuggets such as "better locked up than dead," "tomorrow is not promised," and "ill go under the table and give you head while yo mama cooking." Just keep tweeting, Kat. And we'll see you on the outside.
Apparently some people never learn. Last year, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez increased property taxes so he could hand out raises to his top executives and ride around in a sweet BMW Gran Turismo. Appalled by his gall, multibillionaire car dealer Norman Braman launched a recall against the mayor, whose tone-deafness to voters' wrath was his greatest weakness. When it was too little too late, Alvarez allowed County Manager George Burgess to use taxpayer resources to tout all of their accomplishments in making Miami-Dade a "better place" and set the record straight on his budget. If that wasn't enough, taxpayers had to foot the bill for a group of bus drivers to take paid leave so they could campaign against the recall. Alvarez claimed he had no idea the transit workers were stumping on county time, but his denials rang hollow with voters, who kicked him out of office in spectacular fashion this past March 15.
God bless the fed-up little man. Or in this case, woman. As auto magnate Norman Braman wrestled Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez to the ground and made him eat his paisley tie, activist Vanessa Brito gingerly stuck out her pinky toe and sent evil commissioner Natacha Seijas reeling off a cliff to her dramatic political death. Brito founded Miami Voice, a political action committee (PAC) run on a shoestring, and targeted for recall commissioners who voted to approve Alvarez's budget plan, which raised property taxes despite plummeting property values. Seijas, a smug and sinister politician whose own PAC raised more than ten times the cash of Miami Voice and who had successfully stared down a recall campaign in 2006, taunted, "Been there, done that. Bring it on." But on March 15, as Alvarez lost his recall battle against Braman, Seijas was walloped by a resounding 88 percent vote to recall. Even without any political affiliations or a businessman's billions, Brito helped oust a corrupt Miami politician. The word huzzah seems appropriate here.
In 2005, Jean Monestime suffered a stunning defeat. He lost the mayoral election in Haitian-American-rich North Miami by 22 points to an Anglo, openly gay candidate named Kevin Burns. Two years later, Burns again clobbered Monestime in a rematch that all but relegated the moderate former city councilman's political career to the sidelines. Not for long. Last year, Monestime capitalized on voter discontent with then-county Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, whose district includes parts of North Miami, Little Haiti, and Liberty City. Monestime rallied Haitian-Americans and won a sizable portion of Rolle's traditional African-American support to become the first candidate to beat an incumbent county commissioner since 1994. Despite raising only $74,845 to Rolle's hefty $329,785 war chest, Monestime beat his opponent by more than 2,000 votes. The real estate broker has already hit the ground running, rescinding affordable-housing funds on questionable projects until he comes up with a comprehensive economic development plan for his long-forgotten district.
The summer of 2010 was billed as the biggest free-agency class in NBA history. Highlighting the class was Cleveland's LeBron James, Toronto's Chris Bosh, and Miami's own Dwyane Wade. There were other big names, to be sure, such as Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire. But none bigger than James, Wade, and Bosh. The national media's speculation about where the three biggest fish in the pond would end up began as early as the 2009 off-season. Most had LeBron going to the New York Knicks and Bosh joining him. Others had Wade taking off to his hometown Chicago Bulls and joining forces with Derrick Rose. And through it all, there was Heat president, mastermind, and dynasty-making genius Pat Riley, biding his time and plotting his moves behind the scenes. With his seemingly Jedi mind-trick powers, Riley was able to re-sign Wade, brought Bosh into the fold, and, in what will forever be deemed the ultimate sports coup, persuaded LeBron James to bring his talents to South Beach. All three superstars accepted less money than they would have made elsewhere. All three dedicated themselves to putting aside their egos to form the first NBA superteam, much to non-Heat fans' chagrin.
After growing up in gang-infested Little Haiti and fighting insurgents in Iraq, Mackens Semerzier is now chasing MMA glory. The 30-year-old fighter is the first Haitian-American to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, making his debut this past March 26 by defeating opponent Alex Caceres with a submission rear-naked choke hold. In five of his six victories since turning pro in 2008, Semerzier has choked out his adversaries. In a Miami Herald profile last year, Semerzier credited his mother Rose for keeping his nose clean even though he had friends who stole. "My mom would've kicked my butt," he told the Herald. The up-and-coming mixed martial artist was a wrestler in high school, placing sixth in the Class 6A Florida high school wrestling tournament in 1999. A year after graduating, he enlisted with the U.S. Marines. In 2003, while deployed in Iraq, the Corps instituted a martial arts program that taught soldiers, including Semerzier, how to apply submission-like guillotine chokes. The Miami native now resides in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he is training to become the top featherweight MMA fighter in the UFC.
Palm Island Park
With opulent mansions facing the aquamarine waters of Biscayne Bay as your backdrop, you might feel like your silky ball-handling skills are being mapped for the next version of an NBA Street videogame. Tucked next to a kiddie playground and a tennis court for the wealthy residents of Palm Island, the park's basketball court is usually vacant except for enterprising ballers with a knack for finding a secluded net for a quick pick-up game. And because the City of Miami Beach maintains the park, don't expect any hassles over exclusive rights from the island's rich inhabitants. It is free and open to the public, with ample gratis street parking as well. Just take the MacArthur Causeway to Palm Island and make an immediate left after rolling through the Miami Beach Police-manned guard gate. But get there before sundown. The park has no lights.
Downtown Soccer
Traditionally, Miami hasn't been soccer central. Cubans brought their passion for pelota — not fútbol — when they fled Fidel, while most South Florida Anglos would rather go fishing or watch NASCAR than take in this beautiful game. In recent years, however, hundreds of thousands of soccer-crazy Central and South Americans have flooded into South Florida. Strangely, good, reliable games are still few and far between. Unless you want to trek to Kendall, you're usually shit out of luck. Now, however, a flurry of new fields in the heart of the city offers hope. A block from the Miami River in Overtown, the new Downtown Soccer complex offers six-on-six games on soft synthetic turf. Hourly field rental rates vary from $120 in the evenings to $100 late at night. At $8 to $10 per person, the price is competitive with other venues around town, but what sets Downtown Soccer apart are the well-organized tournaments and relaxed atmosphere. Founded by Colombia-born brothers Randy and Pablo Rendón on an empty lot, Downtown Soccer offers weekly pick-up games or, for the more competitive, costlier tournaments that see the winning team take home as much as $1,500 cash. Most important, the field is open until 2 a.m., much later than most of its competitors, and serves snacks and beer. Neighbors might complain about the noise, but Downtown Soccer is a much-needed slice of South America in this Cuban-centric city.
Doral Golf Resort & Spa Hotel
You're probably wondering what business an alt-weekly like New Times has setting foot in a fancy golf resort. Don't let appearances fool you — we're a classy bunch and love nothing more than 18 holes on a warm spring day. However, we're amateur at best and need all the help we can get. Twenty bucks at Doral gets you unlimited range balls, access to its putting surface, and the opportunity to work on your short game. It's a world-renowned facility as well as home of the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Jim McLean Golf School. Don't feel like carrying a bucket of balls to your practice tee? No worries — the balls are already set up for you. Plus they're Callaway balls. Not to condone petty larceny, but they come in handy when your golf bag's ball pouch feels a little light. Oh, c'mon, your bags are probably filled with range balls. Don't judge.
Bayshore Municipal Golf Course
Like an emerald snake, the opulent Miami Beach Golf Club rambles along Alton Road, all burbling fountains and tightly trimmed greens and golfers in designer Ralph Lauren polos with $7,000 clubs slung over their shoulder. Damn them! What about the rest of us? The schmucks with four clubs from Goodwill and a bag of used Titleists deserve a chance to practice our best Happy Gilmore swings too, even if we don't have a few hundred bucks to drop on a tee time. Don't fret, thrift store hackers — just keep walking south past those freakishly green fairways, hang a left at Publix, and trot a couple blocks north on Prairie Avenue. Within a good five-iron strike of the Miami Beach Golf Club, there's another, quieter course. Sure, the greens are a little shaggier, and sometimes an odd plastic bag billows across the fairway, but here's the thing: This course is free. The semisecret Bayshore Municipal Golf Course is a par 3, owned by the city, and awaiting a major relandscaping in the next year or two. In the meantime, it's open for business to anyone who wanders in with a club, a ball or two, and a dream of taking down Shooter McGavin on the last hole.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®