Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
Photo by Diego Pocovi

For Actors' Playhouse's production of The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, Gene Seyffer and Jodi Dellaventura were tasked with envisioning a New Jersey cityscape overwhelmed by garbage. Tempting as it would have been to simply use Google Earth images of Newark, designers instead developed a unique presentation of a radioactive dystopia that brought to mind graphic novels. You wanted a shower after just looking at it. But there was more to the precise arrangements of leaking toxic vats than met the eye. Each hazardous container ended up transforming smoothly into another object in a future scene. There was the desk in the corrupt mayor's office, the Toxic Avenger's couch, and the bedroom furniture of his beloved blind damsel. Then there was the immaculately gross tower of trash at center stage, to which an audience member on opening weekend added her own discarded wine cup — a decision that, in its highly offensive way, complemented the designers on their authenticity.

Shirley's at Gramps

Some comedy venues ask that revelers stick to a two-drink minimum. But visitors to Gramps' monthly showcase, Late-Nite Comedy, are lucky if they can leave standing up. That's an exaggeration, but honestly, what better place is there for locals to cut their teeth in comedy than in front of a dive-bar crowd? Every last Tuesday of the month, drinkers warm up at happy hour and file into Shirley's back room for standup that runs the gamut from laugh-out-loud to totally avant-garde. It's a rad scene, something fresh and hot in South Florida. It's so hot, in fact, that it inspired Hannibal Buress to hang around and perform a surprise set the next day. Quincy Jones used the venue to deliver an uproarious good time. So Shirley's continues to expand in the funny direction. It's warm and inviting, and with a capacity of about 100 standing, it offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime intimate comic experiences. Just try not to heckle. They'll totally kick you out.

On her Instagram, her bio reads "directing vibes," but Julieanna Goddard, AKA YesJulz, does more than that. She has turned partying into a full-time job. Not only does this make her one of the city's most powerful entrepreneurs, but she's also fun to follow on social media. Her Snapchat is where she really shows off, but her Instagram boasts 350,000 followers and counting. From jet-setting all over the country to showing her sense of style and music, Goddard elevates her social game from millennial narcissist to leading tastemaker. Her social is so hot that in April, the Champagne Papi himself, Drake, had Goddard meet with his fans and hand out T-shirts in Wynwood. She repaid him by getting #VIEWS trending locally. Because whatever YesJulz touches turns to social media gold.

Kristen Hewitt has her hands full: She's a wife, a mother of two adorable young girls, a social media consultant, and one of the most prominent faces you'll see when you turn on Fox Sports Sun. Yet Hewitt also has a blog, Mommy in Sports. It is a wonderfully honest look inside the life of not only Hewitt raising her two girls but also others' similar experiences. The blog mixes content such as kids' activities, funny or educational stories, and advice from guests. There are also tidbits and video interviews related to Hewitt's daytime job. For any young woman looking for a role model, Hewitt is about as good as it gets. Mommy in Sports draws in readers who don't love sports, as well as those who don't have children. It's a testament to the quality of the content and writing. In an increasingly DIY world where people seek out information and advice on the web, Hewitt's blog stands out. Add it to your favorites tab.

In the post-internet age, social media is often the key to success. But no one will ever be as savvy or meme-worthy as DJ Khaled. He's the best. All he does is win. Just know. Business is booming. LION!! He's a human catch-phrase factory, and he's not even trying. He has a restaurant, a clothing line, a record label, a headphone brand, and more charted hip-hop megahits than many radio DJs can even dream of. But most of all, he has the keys to success. He's a generous god, and he welcomes the world into his home every five minutes via Snapchat. Watch him bless up every morning, come downstairs, and see what Chef D has for breakfast (probably turkey bacon and, of course, water). See him talk while on the treadmill. See him water his angels. See him get lost on a Jet Ski or drink apple Cîroc with Diddy and Rick Ross. Watch him Snap from his shower. Watch him violently rub cocoa butter all over his face. Jay Z is his manager. What does any of this mean? Who is filming when he's getting his daily massage? LION!! They don't want us to watch DJ Khaled, so of course, we're going to watch DJ Khaled more.

After being booted from Gawker last summer when the site's staff unionized, Lauderdale Lakes native Adam Weinstein packed his bags for Miami and joined Fusion as a senior editor. Whether riffing on the latest in pop culture, railing on corporate media, or ranting about sycophantic politicians, his Twitter feed is an amusing and smart take on the day's news. Miami followers appreciate his tweets about life in South Florida where, as he once wrote, "The Fanta flows like water." He's a guy who has literally parked his car and stepped out of the driver's seat for a smoke break in the middle of a standstill on the Palmetto Expressway. That's a Florida Man worth following.

Readers' choice: twitter.com/billycorben

In a sea of tree-climbing, swamp-diving showboat TV reporters, Tony Pipitone of WTVJ/NBC 6 stands out for his even temper and matter-of-fact delivery. Where others rely on anecdotal man-on-the-street interviews to get a sound bite, Pipitone uses cold, hard facts to show viewers exactly how they're getting screwed. For instance, he recently analyzed data from 44,000 local trauma center admissions and found a huge disparity in the cost of treatment. Those chops undoubtedly come from Pipitone's background as a former newspaper reporter in Baltimore, followed by 26 years as an investigative TV reporter in Orlando. Since his move to Miami in 2014, he has tackled everything from shady charter school operators to Florida's hit-and-run epidemic. And with 12 Suncoast Emmys and six Edward R. Murrow Awards, he has the hardware to prove he's the real deal.

It hasn't taken long for Rudabeh Shahbazi to make her mark in Miami. In less than a year, she's been tapped for CBS Miami's nightly newscast, named one of the city's eight most influential women by Ocean Drive, and helped launch the station's weekly "Mentoring Matters" series. And not only is Shahbazi the face of the segment — she's also a volunteer herself, working with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Shahbazi arrived in South Florida from Los Angeles last August, appearing on the morning news desk for about a month before being moved to co-anchor with Rick Folbaum the station's weeknight newscasts at 5, 5:30, and 11. She's serious without being stuffy and always carries herself with poise. It's no wonder she was so quickly promoted. Here's hoping she sticks around for a while.

Readers' choice: Belkys Nerey

Last June, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos sent a handwritten letter to Donald Trump requesting an interview. Univision had recently dropped the Miss Universe Pageant as a response to Trump's accusations that Mexico sent "rapists" to the United States. Not surprisingly, Trump declined Ramos' interview request, but he also posted the letter on Instagram (which included Ramos' personal cell phone number). A few months later, at a Dubuque, Iowa news conference, Ramos stood up to try to question Trump about his immigration policies. Trump repeatedly told Ramos to sit down, even telling him: "Go back to Univision." The squabble made international headlines, underscoring Trump's distasteful image among Hispanic voters and further catapulting Ramos into the spotlight, as both the nation's most trusted Spanish-language news anchor and a pro-immigrant savior who dares to stand up to hate. In an October profile, The New Yorker dubbed Ramos "The Man Who Wouldn't Sit Down." Besides co-anchoring the nightly news, Ramos hosts Sunday-morning public-affairs show Al Punto, writes a syndicated column, and hosts an English-language weekly news-magazine show on Fusion. His latest book, appropriately dubbed Sin Miedo, compiles some of the interviews he's done over the years with "rebels" such as Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor.

For thousands of years, South Florida was a veritable swamp, characterized by a unique breed of flora and fauna as well as a complex system of natural waterways. But in the early 1900s, developers concocted the brilliant plan to drain and pave over the swamp to carve out a massive city. Since then, South Florida has been marked by a seemingly endless barrage of environmental disasters; every business proposal seems to threaten total environmental ruin. From bleached coral and algae blooms to toxic nuclear power plant leaks, keeping up with environmental news in South Florida is a gargantuan task. Luckily, Jenny Staletovich, the Miami Herald's environmental reporter, is there to capture it all for us. She took over the beat in 2014 after working as a freelance reporter for eight years. From 1989 to 2000, Staletovich worked at the Palm Beach Post as a statewide general-assignment reporter. In Miami, her comprehensive, sweeping environmental coverage names the perpetrators of environmental decimation in our coastal towns, parks, and waterways. She explains the science in simple language and reminds readers of the importance of natural spaces as well as the complex relationship between humans and the environment. For her work at the Herald, she was named a "Woman Greening Journalism" last year by Audubon magazine. As South Florida continues to chart its future in the face of rising seas, Staletovich is the informed, impassioned, and steady voice the region needs to ensure the environment is not left out of the conversation.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®