O Cinema Miami Beach
Courtesy of O Cinema

While arthouse cinemas seem to be shuttering across the nation, independent film culture is as vibrant as ever in Miami. Just ask nonprofit film house O Cinema, which has three theaters across the city. The newest installment, at the old Byron Carlyle Theater, transformed one of Miami Beach's most iconic playhouses into a center for independent film and classic movies. Featuring plush vintage seats and a mezzanine balcony fashioned out of carved wood, O Cinema Miami Beach transports moviegoers to glamorous old Miami, where you can enjoy your popcorn and a $7 glass of wine while watching some of the best offerings in contemporary and classic independent film. Hosting a variety of films every day — from the latest Palme d'Or winner at Cannes to cult classics like Natural Born Killers and Mommie Dearest — O Cinema Miami Beach is the perfect place to take yourself out on a date.

Readers' choice: O Cinema

This past March 15, Florida voters chose Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the fall presidential race. That same day, Bruce Stanley of Occupy Miami introduced Rise Up Miami, the city's inaugural radical film festival. It was a symbolic choice, he says, because America is at a critical moment. The 2016 election is rapidly being defined by fear, anger, and polarizing candidates. The two-day cinematic celebration of resistance aimed to inform and inspire. It included the participation of Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward, Miami Dream Defenders, SmashHLS, and Food Not Bombs Miami/Fort Lauderdale.Six topical films were screened, followed by conversations with activists. Taking place in Little River's serene Earth 'n' Us Farm, the festival was free and included a community-driven potluck and drinks.It united Miami's socially conscious and radical communities through visionary art.

AMC Sunset Place 24
Courtesy of AMC Sunset Place

The Shops at Sunset Place was your high-school hangout. Remember those dorky manifests about groups of ten or more not allowed to loiter? You and your crew laughed at them. And because those were the days before Snapchat, you didn't really take pictures of the signs. If only you could have added a witty pic to your local story with a few emojis floating around! Alas, these days, you don't hang out as often at the mall as you used to. But there's one thing that has remained constant: the movie theater. AMC Sunset Place 24 is one of the few commercial theaters that shows more than the new releases. It also puts on works of small independent studios. The theater entrance is hidden on the third floor of the towering shopping center, and its ticket booths are located a level below. The seats might be a little old and worn, but the fact that there's a new bar in the lobby allows you to fully enjoy that you are now an adult. Booze while you watch a flick? You would have never thought this possible ten years ago when you were hanging out on the roof of the parking garage.

Readers' choice: Cinépolis Coconut Grove

"The sound of the world, right now." Those are the words of Rhythm Foundation's director, Laura Quinlan, to describe what the TransAtlantic Festival has been bringing to Miami for the past 14 years. From the jazzy sounds of Brazilian songstress Céu and the solid breaks of French-Chilean MC Ana Tijoux to this year's brassy, eclectic beats of New York's Beirut, every artist who has performed at the fest has taken the 305 on a global journey through music. "We try to get musicians with the spirit of travel and exploration," Quinlan recently told New Times. The festival has changed throughout the years. "Our audience before this festival was older and not as reflective of our vibrant, young city. It has challenged us to find new collaborators and sounds that keep us relevant." But Quinlan's philosophy has remained untouched. And in this melting pot of a city, the TransAtlantic Festival does its part to keep all of our vibrant cultures in touch.

Sequels, especially comedies, typically pale in comparison to their predecessors — it ain't easy being funny the first time around, let alone in the second installment. However, if you're comedy duo Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, the odds might be in your favor. The followup to their 2014 movie, Ride Along, brought the crime-fighting team to the sunny streets of Miami. There was an addition to the group: Olivia Munn. When New Times interviewed the actress earlier this year, she said this of the film: "Especially with Cube and Kevin, it was so funny... of course it's going to get funnier the second time around as they get more comfortable." She wasn't wrong. The two comedians play off each other throughout the film, and their delivery feels natural. The setting, of course, is the lavish Miami Beach life.

Merriam-Webster defines the word "bloodline" as "a sequence of direct ancestors especially in a pedigree." But for fans of the Netflix series Bloodline, that word means something slightly different. The show follows the Rayburns, a working-class family in the Keys with plenty of secrets. The series is best described as a cinematic roller coaster. It ticks, ticks, ticks you up gently — getting your adrenaline rushing — and just when you think it's safe to breathe, here comes the plunge. Aside from the episodic thrills, the best part about this series is that it's filmed locally. Three cheers for those Florida film incentives. The shots of rustling trees and sandy beaches are enough to make you want to spend a weekend in the Keys with the Rayburns. The first season was uploaded onto the streaming platform in spring 2015, and Season 2 became available this past May. Although it might be too soon to judge if Netflix will produce a third season of the drama, fans are hopeful.

Jon "Stugotz" Weiner of The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz is an Everyman's man. He is red-faced, white-knuckled, emotional, unapologetically cocky, cliché-driven, and transparently childish. As his cohost Dan Le Batard routinely says, sports is akin to the toy department, so why can't we act like kids? Stugotz gets us. He is us. He represents us, even the bad parts of us. He goes to work hung-over. He barely listens to what anyone says. He complains. He brags. He's a seesaw of emotions bound to be scooped up by a tornado and thrown to the other side of an argument without a moment's notice. Stugotz is the who we would be on sports radio if we had the talent to be on sports radio. Not all superheroes wear capes. Some are sports radio hosts wearing unlaundered shirts. Stugotz is the sports radio man South Florida deserves.

Readers' choice: Dan Le Batard

Waking up in the morning and dragging our tired butts to work isn't always easy, but we do it. We wake up at same time every day. We take the same route to work. We stop at the same coffee place. And we listen to the same radio station during all of this. Morning FM radio hosts are like a part of our family. They matter because they make our day easier — and that's what makes Evelyn Curry and the Lite 101.5 FM crew our favorites. There's light-hearted, not-too-serious fun mixed with music that's work-safe but not exactly elevator music. Curry and her crew are easy on the ears and distract us from the clock at work just enough to almost be disappointed when it's time for their show to finish. We say "almost," because the closing of the show also means we are closer to the end of the workday. Curry's friendly stories and segments make us happy we listen and keep us coming back every morning.

Readers' choice: DJ Laz

When Univision Radio announced last year that it would relocate its studios from Coral Gables to Doral, longtime radio host Bernadette Pardo joked that she would have to ditch her bicycle for a car to get to work. The host of Pedaleando con Bernie (Pedaling With Bernie), Pardo's 7-to-9 a.m. drive-time show, doesn't actually ride on two wheels during her morning radio program, but she uses the bicycle as a metaphor, often commenting that she's pedaling with her guests. The Cuban-born host has worked as a journalist for some 30 years, receiving more than 100 awards and reporting from across the Americas and Europe. Pardo adds a calm, level-headed voice to Miami's morning-radio dial.

Depending upon the day, he might be a curmudgeonly old Jewish man, a community college math professor from Sri Lanka, a quirky TV astrologer, or a chonga. Underneath the wigs and the accents, Freddy Stebbins is arguably Miami's best-loved and most creative comedian, known for the more than 100 characters he takes to the stage with hilarious results. His characters parody every stereotype in Miami, and they emerge from Stebbins' deep fascination with the Magic City's diversity and quirkiness. "I love the whole Miami thing," he says. "This place is fascinating and full of material." Growing up here, Stebbins says, he became popular by doing funny accents. He trained for five years in L.A. at the Groundlings improv school and then returned home to Miami. During the day, he's a social science professor at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus, where he teaches a mix of sociology, government, civics, and anthropology — often in character. His classes are among the most popular on campus. For seven years, he hosted a beloved Thursday-night standup show at John Martin's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Coral Gables. Two years ago, the show moved to Taurus in Coconut Grove, where it routinely attracts Miami's best comics. You've also heard him on Miami's home-grown radio station, Shake 108, where he voices station tags and commercials (in character). "We can't live here if we don't make fun of this wild, crazy basket case of a community we live in," he says.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®