Best Instagram 2017 | Oasis Jae | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo by Oasis Jae

Ask any Dade resident and they'll rattle off five problems with their hometown in a matter of seconds, but photographer Oasis Jae isn't here to focus on the negative. His timeline is filled with snapshots taken around Miami from unique angles that even longtime locals have never seen. Jae highlights the carrot-orange hue splattered among the clouds as the sun rises over the ocean in Miami Beach, and makes Metrorail look mighty as he catches a train car speeding through downtown. The gifted photographer can transform a flight of stairs inside Vizcaya Museum & Gardens into a work of art. His nearly 54,000 Instagram followers have taken notice. As a professional photographer for the University of Miami Hurricanes, Jae spends his days snapping sharp team photos on and off the field. But his Instagram page reflects his true passion for capturing the best of life in the 305. In his nighttime shots, a midnight-black sky is a striking backdrop for the crimson-red light beaming from the Freedom Tower. Oasis Jae can teach Miamians a thing or two about the true beauty of their metropolis.

Photo by Stian Roenning

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist with a standing invitation on CNN, but it's her Twitter feed — in all of its Trump-bashing, MAGA-dismantling glory — that has rocketed the Miami resident to new levels of political fame. The Nicaraguan-American grew up idolizing Ronald Reagan and worked for Jeb Bush and John McCain. But horrified by the rise of the Donald, she became an early queen of the #NeverTrump handle. Now she spends hours every day striking out at the party hypocrites still backing the Cheeto Jesus, and she never pulls punches. When Newt Gingrich recently parroted Sean Hannity's insane conspiracy theories about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, she whacked him over the head with his wife's new gig as ambassador to the Holy See: "Good thing he'll have access to Vatican. Can squeeze in a confession & plea for absolution," she tweeted. When news leaked that Trump had called fired FBI head James Comey a "nut job" to the Russians, she tweeted, "Folks, Trump's best defense is dementia." And as the Donald's tweets have gotten ever more insane, she pulled from her Miami street cred to invent a new hashtag for the disaster-in-chief: #PresidentLoco. Got 'em!

Readers' choice: Billy Corben (@BillyCorben)

Courtesy of Villa Woodbine

Parties: Fun. Finding party venues in Miami: Excruciating. Unless you want to get ripped off, you'll spend hours scouring reviews, mapping GPS sites, and making phone calls to check availability in this mecca of fiestas. Luckily, Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove is a sure thing. Whether you're organizing a wedding, bar mitzvah, birthday party, or especially classy liquor-soaked soiree, Villa Woodbine provides a setting straight out of a high-budget rom-com — with a dash of Miami history worth the price (which varies depending upon how many guests you'll expect, though there's always a $3,000 deposit). Built in the 1930s as a winter retreat for a Wisconsin paper baron, the Mediterranean Renaissance building was designed by renowned architect Walter De Garmo, who peppered it with touches from Cuba such as handcrafted tiles shipped from the island. These days, the setting is bolstered by amazing catering and a pleasant staff. Woodbine isn't some warehouse for a rave; it's a place you'll make the kind of memories you want to hang onto for a lifetime.

Courtesy of Superfine!

Art Basel and Miami Art Week, at heart, are a rich person's playground, full of white tents housing bajillion-dollar works of art that you need a PhD to really appreciate. But then Superfine! hit the scene. The organizers of the 2-year-old fair devised a business model that reduces costs for exhibitors, allowing a broader and more diverse group of artists to participate. Visitors strolling through Superfine! in midtown Miami last year got to see local artists Jen Clay and Christin Paige Minnotte, among many others, selling pieces at prices far more affordable than those at nearby Art Miami and Scope. And Superfine! pulled it all off without dropping any of the flashy extras of your traditional white tent. An immersive, helium-based sculpture installation by Asser Saint-Val greeted visitors, while Miami collective Nice n' Easy created a psychedelic picnic party and seating lounge for guests. With all the perks of Art Basel but without the excruciating costs, Superfine! is a safe space for your wallet during Miami Art Week.

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Thursday is so close yet still so far away from the weekend. So a Thursday-evening drink requires the Goldilocks standard of imbibing: enough booze to properly pregame for the weekend, but not so much that you're hung over for what is already the longest workday of the week. PAMM Third Thursdays, hosted by Poplife, are the perfect early transition to that weekend mood. The parties offer a chance to schmooze with other art lovers in a relaxed environment, all while overlooking some of the best views of the Magic City at dusk. Happy-hour drink specials are available from 5 to 7 p.m., and Poplife books world-class DJs such as Arthur Baker to spin on the shores of Biscayne Bay. Each monthly event also spotlights some of Miami's best musical talent, including acts like the Tremends, Native Youth, Psychic Mirrors, and Modernage. Admission is free for PAMM members and $16 for nonmembers.

Photo by Mike Butler

Thanks to projects like Borsht Film Festival and its most famous offspring, Moonlight, a new, young indie film scene has evolved into a driving cultural force in the Magic City. But Miami Beach Cinematheque, the city's original alternative movie theater, precedes them all. The Miami Beach Film Society screened its first film, Sunset Boulevard, in 1993, a full decade before anyone would've described Miami as having a true film culture. Its members launched the permanent cinematheque ten years later, luring Miami film lovers to a cozy screening room on Española Way. And since MBC moved to a larger and more historic building in the heart of SoBe on Washington Avenue in 2011, the venue has remained as relevant as ever. Foreign films and domestic indies alike make their Miami premieres here every month. And director Dana Keith expands the filmgoing experience far beyond the screen by scheduling lectures and panel discussions with local film experts, bringing filmmakers and stars to make appearances at the theater, and hosting screenings and events for just about every film festival in town. There have never been more options for moviegoers in Miami, but with its combination of thoughtful programming, exciting events, and community support, Miami Beach Cinematheque remains at the top of indie fans' lists.

Readers' choice: O Cinema

Jeff Daly/Courtesy of HBO

When it comes to making Miami a Hollywood star, it's hard to match the staying power of an '80s TV show about an undercover narcotics detective who drove a Ferrari and lived on a sailboat with a pet alligator. Miami Vice framed the Magic City in vibrant pastel colors and B-roll footage of the city's skyline, Ocean Drive, and Biscayne Bay against the gritty fictionalized account of the heady Cocaine Cowboys era. But give HBO hit Ballers credit for taking that formula and running straight down the sideline with it. The dark comedy starring Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson about the crazy world of professional football channels Miami Vice in just about every episode. But instead of drug dealers and narcs, the main characters are football players and sports agents. Ballers is chock full of Miami clichés and stereotypes, but — just like Vice — pulls it off in a campy, gloriously over-the-top production that makes locals appreciate the glitzy façade that often lulls unsuspecting out-of-towners into a sense of security. For instance, Ballers has a lot of cocaine, exotic cars, beautiful people, and public sex romps. But the show also dives headfirst into the city's very real appetite for hucksters and bamboozlers looking to come up by any means necessary, including resorting to blackmail and double-cross deals. Unfortunately, Florida legislators have called an interference play that has led to Ballers' departure from our sunny place for shady people. After the state refused to renew film incentives, the show's brass decided to pack up for La-La Land. Though Ballers will still claim Miami, its future seasons won't ever quite capture the Magic City's Zeitgeist the same way.

Photo by Monica McGivern

The stone building on the corner of NE 39th Street and North Miami Avenue looks just as swanky as any other showroom in the high-end haven of the Design District. But there's one major difference: Inside, instead of handbags and shoes more expensive than your monthly rent, there's art. Really good art, actually. This is the new home of Primary Projects, the space started by the Primary Flight crew shortly after it made waves by bringing a massive installation of murals to Wynwood. (Look how that worked out.) Primary Projects ran a small space on the other side of the Design District for several years and then spent a brief time in downtown Miami before returning to its original neighborhood in a newly luxurious form. Few local artists have the chance to exhibit their work in a gallery with tall, retail-style windows and a prime position among the 1 percenters, but that's exactly what Primary offers. Since it opened at its new address in September 2016, it has shown works by Miami stars such as Autumn Casey, Kelly Breez, and Beatriz Monteavaro. And though the building melds effortlessly into the Design District landscape, Primary's artists and curators aren't trying to blend in. Just imagine high-strung shoppers with Louis Vuitton bags accidentally wandering into a recent exhibit of fake newspaper pages with political headlines reading "Fuck It Will Set You Free." It's a lovely idea.

Readers' choice: Bakehouse Art Complex

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas photo

You can't please all the people all the time, especially not when those people are extremely opinionated movie buffs. But Cinépolis comes close. It shows all the big Hollywood films, from superhero movies to goofy bro comedies, all screened with Sony 4K digital projection to perfectly capture each explosion and off-putting fart joke. But Cinépolis also regularly programs indie fare, giving fans of lower-budget features a swanky spot to catch the latest releases. Its theaters have both traditional (but still relatively new and comfy) seating and also four Premier screens with plush leather seats and food trays, so you can decide to take in a flick the old-fashioned (AKA cheaper) way or impress your date by splurging on comfort. The only real downside to Cinépolis is its popularity — you'll probably want to buy your tickets in advance on weekends. But, hey, it's popular for a reason.

Readers' choice: Cinépolis Coconut Grove

Courtesy of A24

At this point, there's really no debate: Moonlight was the single best film of 2016. In fact, by most critical takes, the Best Picture Oscar winner is an all-time great destined for decades of adulation among cinephiles. So let's take a step back for a moment and realize how extraordinary it is that two young Miami natives created such an exceptional work of art centered on a tale of a young black man dealing with poverty, a drug-addicted mother, and his emerging sexuality in the projects of Liberty City. The heartbreaking and honest performances of Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes were representations that millions of Americans needed to see and feel. But for Miami natives, Moonlight's meaning was amplified tenfold. After movies have portrayed Miami through endless shots of Biscayne Bay, Ocean Drive, and Star Island over the decades, the contrast of the lush landscape and dilapidated street where we first meet Juan is like a painful breath of fresh air. Thought we might convince ourselves otherwise, most of us aren't variations of DJ Khaled or Pitbull. To have native sons Berry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney create such searingly honest portraits of real Miamians is a gift we can't take for granted and one we won't soon forget.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®