Unless you live in Southwest Dade, the Tropical Park Tennis Center isn't exactly convenient — but therein lies its unique appeal. You can actually nab a court without lurking for hours or booking days or weeks in advance. Sure, reservations are recommended during the peak hours of 6 to 9 p.m. (courts are open till 10 Monday through Thursday and 8:15 on weekends), but stop by on a weekday afternoon and you and your partner might just find yourselves playing in solitude. The dozen courts are well manicured, with few if any of the disorienting cracks that mar most public tennis courts. And if you find yourself in a queue for a court, there's almost always room to practice your stroke on one of eight nearby racquetball courts. Plus the price isn't bad: $3 per person per hour before 6 p.m. and $4 thereafter.

Plenty of films were shot in Miami this year. But only one of them featured the life story of 2 Live Crew's Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, as told by two of our city's quirkiest and most entertaining artists: filmmakers Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva. Are we biased, considering that both Leyva and Mayer have won New Times MasterMind Awards and that Uncle Luke writes a column for our publication? Perhaps. But we're sure as hell not alone in fawning over this film. Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke received a rousing welcome at festivals from Sundance to South by Southwest. (It might have been in part due to the filmmakers' creative additions to the festivals' swag bags: whoopee cushions printed with a cartoon version of Uncle Luke.) Life and Freaky Times injected homegrown Miami talent into the international film scene. But it's also simply a damn fine movie, immersing the ever-entertaining Uncle Luke inside a fantasy world of Mayer's creation, featuring cartoonish, colorful handmade sets and adorably lo-fi special effects. There are booties and boobs and science and more booties and a whole lot of screaming. At one point, a character confirms to Luke what we've known all along: "According to our extensive research, you are the realest nigga in Miami." And it all proves that 20 years and a genre change later, Miami's artists are still as nasty as they wanna be.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Justin Namon

The true-life events of the Million Dollar Quartet jam session of December 4, 1956 — when Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash popped in to Sam Phillips's legendary studio Sun Records to catch a Carl Perkins recording session while up-and-coming piano rocker Jerry Lee Lewis sat in — are found scattered through biographies, a scratchy recording, and word-of-mouth accounts. The account is more apocryphal than actual history, but this dazzling musical transported audiences to that fateful afternoon of the winter of '56. The actors portraying the iconic foursome oozed gobs of talent. With voice and movement, they blew away the crowd. They didn't just mimic the foursome; they slipped into their skins. Even more impressive was that the performers played their own instruments. Lee Ferris shone as the often-frustrated Carl Perkins, and his phenomenal guitar solos were the highlight of each song. Derek Keeling as Johnny Cash was superb, bringing down the house when his booming baritone belted out "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk the Line." Cody Slaughter nailed it as the young, sexually charged Elvis, with his swiveling hips, crooked smile, and country-boy humility. And the production's standout was Martin Kaye as the kinetic and cocky Jerry Lee Lewis. Million Dollar Quartet was at once a time capsule, a concert, and a celebration of the birth of rock through myth, magic, and music.

It's the middle of the day on Ocean Drive a half-century ago. Cuban men sit in folding chairs on the grassy strip now known as Lummus Park, strumming tiny guitars and singing in Spanish. A businessman in a breezy white suit approaches and lingers for a moment to enjoy the music. Behind them, shiny pastel cars glide past pedestrians in circle skirts and cat's-eye sunglasses. Everything, from the familiar façades of the hotels in the background to the sepia tinge that the late-afternoon sun casts in the summertime, is picture-perfect Miami. Scenes such as those are what elevate Magic City from a standard premium-cable corruption drama to a loving homage to Miami's past. Sure, this town had its problems back in the day: political unrest brewing in Cuba, union scuffles and workers' disputes here at home, and just as many shady dealings then as today. But those times are the foundation upon which the city we call home was built, and this Starz drama does them justice. For that reason alone, you gotta love it. Of course, that's not the only reason to watch. Like any good cable show, Magic City treats viewers to healthy doses of T&A, with copious sex scenes steaming up the already-humid air. Plus, the performances that Jeffrey Dean Morgan and company turn in are as convincing as the scenery itself — and yes, the action was filmed in Miami, not some L.A. set designer's version of it. Magic City's elements combine into a sexy, stylish, sleazy, dramatic, and addictive package — much like Miami itself.

Three haiku about Laurie Jennings:

Soft! Lighter than air,

She glides behind her news desk

In a chair sans wheels.

United Way... eh.

Her community service

Is her smile, homey.

Her calm, sexy voice,

Her face on every screen

When robots take over.

As host of NBC 6's 6 in the Mix, Roxanne Vargas doesn't get to cover the same breaking news stories she reports for the station's morning show. But she goes into each cooking segment and "Melt-Proof Make-Up" item with unflagging enthusiasm and genuine interest. As a result, she elicits unexpected responses and humanity from guests who thought they were going on television simply to spend a couple of minutes talking about what swimsuit is best for your butt. Take, for example, her interview with Nicolas Cage, whom she took as seriously as she would have taken the pope. Vargas asked of Cage's oft-ridiculed role as the flaming-skulled Ghost Rider: "What was it like essentially to embrace this dual role?" Cage, unexpectedly, gave a reasoned and interesting answer: "Anyone who has lived for eight years with the curse of his head exploding in flames and turning into a skull would go a little nuts. And this movie allowed me to go there and open that door." That's the most sense Nick Cage has made in a decade.

One day, we'd like to see Gary Nelson dressed in a tweed suit and a fedora as he narrates pulp noir novels on the stage of a local theater. He possesses the perfect baritone to match his skills as a storyteller. Even when reporting on the mundane, everyday events of the evening news, Nelson keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Born and raised in Gainesville, Nelson has never left the Sunshine State during his 42-year broadcasting career, although he has gone on many overseas assignments that landed him several Emmy and Associated Press honors. Among his award-winning pieces was a 2008 exposé on former Miami police chief John Timoney receiving a free Lexus, and his revelations last year that more charter schools failed the FCAT than public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward. The wily journalist is a master at landing scoops. He was the first to interview Frank Acosta, a student at Barbara Goleman High who was arrested for stabbing a classmate who allegedly attacked him. More recently, Nelson was the first reporter to bum-rush Peyton Manning when he came to Miami shortly after the hall-of-fame quarterback was released by the Indianapolis Colts.

Jorge Ramos is hard to miss. Long before Anderson Cooper was strutting around conflict zones in a tight black T-shirt, the original silver fox was stalking presidents for exclusive interviews. During his 27 years at Univision, Ramos has helped grow the Spanish-language station into one of the most powerful in the Americas. Since starting his Sunday morning talk show Al Punto in 2007, he has almost single-handedly shown that Hispanics are a political force to be reckoned with. He has interviewed Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and even Arizona's vigilante sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Yet despite his international reach, Ramos is far from the first name you think of when it comes to Miami's prensa power brokers. One reason is that Ramos — Mexican-born but now an American citizen — and his station cater to a mostly Mexican audience. Univision's studio may be in Doral, but its audience has traditionally been in Texas, California, or New York, not Florida. But a recent spat between Ramos and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio proves that Univision's relevance — along with its audience — is growing in Miami. After months of trying to track down Rubio for an interview, Univision execs told the senator that Al Punto would run a story about how his brother-in-law had past convictions for drug trafficking. If the senator granted Ramos an interview, however, the stand-alone story might not air, they allegedly said. Rubio's team leaked news of the negotiations to the Miami Herald and the story exploded. But the flap didn't dent Ramos's popularity. If anything, it just showed his expanding influence. El zorro plateado is here to stay.

During hurricane season, Miamians need gravitas and real experience to firmly pull their eyes to that terrifying map swirling behind their meteorologist's frantically waving arms. Max Mayfield, more than anyone else in town, knows when to cover up and get out of a hurricane's way. Some meteorologists do their reporting by putting the top down on their drive to work, but Mayfield's street cred is real. After predicting weather for the Air Force, he spent 35 years at the National Hurricane Center, including seven as its director. The guy lives extreme weather; his favorite Bible verse is Matthew 7:24-27, which is about rain and flooding. Is his favorite Billy Joel album Storm Front? If his son misbehaved, would Mayfield call him "El Niño"? We may never know, but you can count on this: When hurricane season rolls around, Mayfield is there with his easy smile and Oklahoma drawl.

Last year, the Florida Marlins were laughably bad. Led by octogenarian manager Jack McKeon, the Fish finished dead last in the National League East with an abysmal record of 72-90. Fans could only sit back and sarcastically applaud as the season fell apart. This year, however, the Marlins are no laughing matter. A new stadium and several high-profile free-agent signings mean the team is a serious playoff contender. So thank God for Logan Morrison. The outfielder's tweets have gotten him in trouble in the past, but we read them just to keep our spirits up. Sometimes LoMo's feed is an all-too-intimate narration of his day — for example, this recent gem: "That awkward moment when you're able to muffle a giant fart, then realize it smells like Bigfoot's dick..." He excels when poking fun at fellow celebrities: "In #26hours @justinbieber's new single #Boyfriend drops. Im gonna have 2 call my physician bc this erection is goin 2 last longer than 4 hrs..." Many of his tweets mock his own romantic life. For instance, before a spring-training game against the Angels, he tweeted opposing pitcher C.J. Wilson: "Hey @Str8edgeracer if you tweet my cell # out & encourage chicks to MMS me pics, ill only fly out to deep RF off of you. Deal?" But what makes Morrison a must-follow is his interaction with his 100,000-plus followers. When one fan tweeted him: "LoMo hows it feel that u got drafted for $4 in our fantasy league," Morrison didn't skip a beat. "Still not the worst thing ive done for $4."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®