When big shows roll into town, there is usually only one person who can grant media access to ink-stained wretches. His name is Woody Graber. Want to cover the Bob Marley Festival? Call Graber. Want to hit up the South Beach Comedy Festival? Call Graber. Bruce Springsteen is playing at the BankAtlantic Center, and Girl Talk is headlining at the Fillmore Miami Beach? You know who to call. Same Woody you call to, ahem, interview porn stars Dylan Ryder and Phoenix Marie at Exxxotica. A cantankerous old-school publicist who doesn't show any shame in cutting off access to reporters who annoy him, Graber is the dean of the concert promotion scene. You could be the second coming of Hunter S. Thompson and he would still freeze you out.
When your husband's profession depends on a steady influx of criminals needing legal representation, hosting a charity event to raise funds to help juvenile offenders stay on the right side of the law is no way to increase business. But criminal defense attorney Roy Black and his wife Lea understand that true socialites make time to look out for children at risk of being chewed up by an ambivalent, failing criminal justice system. For the past 17 years, the Blacks have hosted an annual star gala that raises millions of dollars for Consequences Charity and Foundation, which uses the donations to fund education programs for more than 7,500 at-risk youths. With 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity, guests are more than willing to generously pony up $10,000 per plate. The fundraiser usually features a surprise performance by a famous entertainer, such as Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees or Pharrell Williams. During Lea's starring stint on The Real Housewives of Miami, television audiences across the nation got a glimpse of the Blacks' celebrity Rolodex when rapper Rick Ross casually dropped by their home for a visit. Roy and Lea began dating following William Kennedy Smith's acquittal of rape charges in the early '90s. Roy represented Smith, and Lea was a juror. They married in 1994.
Fearless is a word journalists love to toss around at each other: fearlessly taking on the establishment, fearlessly reporting on crime, fearlessly writing a negative column about LeBron. But let's be honest. It's time to call a fearless moratorium on anything less than the kind of work Jacqueline Charles has been churning out of Haiti ever since an earthquake devastated the island January 12, 2010. The Miami Herald correspondent has lived and worked amid death and destruction on an unimaginable scale, covering cholera outbreaks, election riots, lawlessness, and humanitarian miracles. She has attended friends' and relatives' funerals, including that of a beloved aunt who died of a heart attack during an aftershock. And through it all, she has produced extraordinary journalism week in and week out, often by putting a human face on Haiti's miseries. Who could forget her scoop that President René Préval after the disaster had been left with only a single white shirt, which he washed and rewashed daily while he tried to keep his broken nation afloat? Her dedication to Haiti's story made her a Pulitzer finalist and winner of the National Association of Black Journalists' Journalist of the Year Award. More important for all of us, she is already back in Port-au-Prince, writing about the tough transition to a new president and the sputtering rebuilding efforts. Fearless? You heard it here first.
How can you tell when your relentlessly pesky attacks on your small town's leadership are hitting their mark? Here's one surefire sign: When the mayor personally sends building inspectors to try to shut you up. That's exactly what happened to Stephanie Kienzle, a furiously grouchy online critic of North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner. From her feisty blog, votersopinion.com, Kienzle has waged an escalating war against Rosner — and gotten results with hundreds of posts blasting city hall. When she knocked Rosner for plastering his face on "Happy Holidays" signs around town months before campaign laws allowed electioneering, the Miami Herald picked up the case. When she trashed him for allegedly accepting free ad space from a city vendor, the Florida Election Commission opened an investigation. And when she whacked Rosner for spending hundreds of dollars on hotel stays in nearby Hollywood and downtown Miami, the mayor himself finally had enough. In February, Rosner retaliated, asking his building inspectors to check out "several violations" at Kienzle's house. If his goal was to silence the legal secretary and 20-year North Miami Beach resident, Rosner struck out big time. The very next day, Miami's best gadfly was back on her computer, blogging about Rosner's crackdown and demanding his head. What a pain in the ass! (That's a compliment, Stephanie.)
You know how kids say the darnedest things? Well, it turns out closeted Christian junk scientists — snicker — say even darneder things when questioned by reporters at an airport about why they're traveling with a male prostitute. We'll back up and tell you the whole story just in case you spent spring 2010 holed up in a French bed-and-breakfast, boinking the homosexuality right out of a rent-boy and didn't catch the news the first time. George Alan Rekers was on the founding board of NARTH (Naked and Ready to Hump? Naughty and Randy Twinks and Hunks? Neighborly Ass Reaming Is Totally Hot? OK, sorry — it's the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which somehow sounds gayer than all of those other options). It's one of those creepy Christian organizations determined to "cure" homosexuality through Angry Jesus, ice baths, and repeated viewings of Baywatch VHS tapes. Rekers was once paid $120,000 by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum for expert testimony in defense of the state's gay adoption ban. Then Rekers, returning through Miami International Airport from a Paris vacation with a male prostitute nicknamed Lucien who advertised his "perfectly built 8-inch cock (uncut)" on Rentboy.com, was confronted by two enterprising New Times reporters. The rest — including Lucien's later statement to this rag that Rekers enjoyed the "long stroke," which does sound like it would feel kind of nice — is beautiful, karmic history. Rekers resigned from NARTH. And Stephen Colbert said of the self-hating homophobe's amazing "luggage"-lifting excuse: "Technically, I believe he was looking for someone to hoist his sack."
There's a simple equation to explain which criminal cases touch our emotional nerve: The more heinous the crime, the sweeter the justice. By that measure, the conviction handed to Grady Nelson last December stands as one of the most gratifying in Magic City history — if only because his crime, and the years of warning signs leading up to it, were so horrific. Back in 1991, Nelson was convicted of brutally raping a 7-year-old girl who lived in his neighborhood, yet he earned only ten years of probation. Soon thereafter, he was hit with an eight-year term for cocaine possession — but served only two years. Then in 2000, despite all of that gruesome history, Miami-Dade's Human Services Department hired him as a social worker's aide. In the next four years, everyone from the police to the State Attorney's Office to the Department of Children and Families received reports that Nelson was sexually assaulting the children of his wife, Angelina Marcel Martinez. On January 6, 2005 — hours after Martinez obtained a protective order against her husband — Nelson entered her home, again sexually assaulted both of her children, and then fatally stabbed her more than 60 times, leaving her with a slashed throat and a knife sticking out of her head. He also stabbed her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, though both survived. Nelson's first court hearing in 2009 ended with a mistrial. Would he again escape punishment? Not this time. Last July, a jury convicted him of first-degree murder. In December, he was sentenced to life behind bars. Sweet justice? You bet.
According to the vintage superband Chicago, "everybody needs a little time away." Unfortunately, though, sometimes you just can't pick up and hit the road or even sail away, but you can still find serenity within the confines of South Florida. We're not talking another cheesy staycation at a beach hotel so you can rub elbows with tourists and share your expertise on all things local. Instead, take a breather from the average day thanks to the county's Eco-Adventures program. The Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation Department (fabled to be the inspiration for the NBC comedy) is the third-largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 263 parks and more than 12,848 acres of land that might or might not include highway medians and the cute little trees planted there. Eco-Adventures include Redland bike tours, snorkeling at Crandon Park, moonlight kayaking along Key Biscayne, camping expeditions in the Everglades, and swamp field trips to Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. Prices range from $25 to $165. You can go alone for some much-needed solitary refinement or plan a group expedition and prove "you're the inspiration."
OK, OK, so Rick Sanchez was never particularly good, in any quality-connoting sense of the word. As a hyperkinetic, airheaded anchor for WSVN-7, the Hialeah kid was famous for squatting over a floor map while discussing the Gulf War and getting into an accident that paralyzed a pedestrian near Joe Robbie Stadium. (Sanchez, whose blood alcohol content was .15, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI.) He rose from those humble beginnings to national prominence on CNN as the Hyperkinetic, Airheaded Anchor Who Thinks Hawaii Is Off the Coast of Peru and Writes Dumber Tweets Than Justin Bieber. But then in September, this sparkling reputation self-destructed when Sanchez declared on a radio show that Jon Stewart was a "bigot" and intimated that Jews control the media. He was canned from the cable network and has responded by launching a disingenuous comeback crusade, backed by a website called Friends of Rick Sanchez and holding a $25-a-ticket public meeting with "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach. In fact, this publication was supposed to gain access to Sanchez during his glorious return to glorious glory, but that ended when his "people" got pissed that we suggested Friends of Rick Sanchez was written by Rick Sanchez. He did tell us this over the phone, concerning his comments about Jon Stewart: "Some days I wake up and I just want to find the highest mountain and scream, 'That's not me!'" OK, Rick, but do us all a favor: Stay up there on that mountain — where you can't get Twitter on your phone — and spend the rest of your days foraging for berries and anchoring a Forest News show. Maybe you're just meant for the squirrel world.
At some point in their subtropically tanned lives, Miamians inevitably flip on the TV set and linger momentarily on a strange scene: a lithe, young athlete on skis slaloming among snow drifts during the Winter Olympics, knees snapping up and down like pistons in a hot-rod engine. But few here realize that to re-create the challenge, all you have to do is drive south on Indian Creek Drive in Miami Beach. As the street winds erratically alongside tiny Lake Pancoast, manholes protrude every 20 feet, forcing a constant stream of SoBe-bound taxis to swerve like Lindsey Vonn in and out of lanes. As in the Olympics, wipeouts are common on Indian Creek — only without soft powder to cushion the busted bumpers or shredded shocks. And just when the road straightens long enough to make you think you're home free, you spill onto the almighty clusterfuck that is Collins Avenue. That's where, stuck behind lowriders blasting bass at 5 mph or a cab with its door open for a puking passenger, you realize your Olympic aspirations are as fake as the boobs strutting past you. But who cares? The only gold we need is on our grill.
Miami seems like a relaxing place. We have the blue skies, the long beaches, the nightclubs. The thing is, when you're driving to work in a suit, the A/C isn't working, and the drinks you had the night before are revisiting your throat, it's almost as if the parrots' squawks are mocking you, the sun is your natural enemy, and the beach is giving you the middle finger. Stop partying like a Kardashian on South Beach, take off your suit jacket, and explore a shady environmental gem hidden right near downtown Miami. Earth'n'Us Farm in Little Haiti is a sanctuary in an unexpected neighborhood. This urban paradise is a permaculture farm with dense tropical greenery, bees making honey, and organic food growing. The residents include goats, emus, chickens, and a lucky bastard who gets to live in a tree house. Check them out as you stroll on the wooden walkways that connect little picturesque houses. In this perfect natural retreat, you can get married, take a yoga class, or attend a permaculture workshop with native edibles. Sure, you live in a land known for its superficiality and nightlife, but hanging out at a sustainable farm is always way cooler than clubbing.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®