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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Independent Theater
Cinema Paradiso
Photo by Eric Barton

From the outside, it still looks like a church -- which it was when it was built in 1926. Sixty years after opening, the First Methodist Church was renovated and rechristened the Vinnette Carroll Theatre, an intimate space devoted to showcasing small theatrical productions. In the past two years, with the assistance of Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, it has undergone another transformation, emerging as a sanctuary for those who worship at the altar of offbeat movies. At first, Cinema Paradiso -- the name is an homage to the Oscar-winning 1988 Italian picture about a small-town theater -- had only occasional screenings. But now the upgraded facility features a full slate of weekly programming. And a recently formed partnership with the independent gay and lesbian newspaper the Express led to showings of such acclaimed gay-themed films as the documentaries The Celluloid Closet and Daddy and Papa. Classic foreign-language titles such as Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle, Akira Kurosawa's Ran, François Truffaut's Day for Night, and Eric Rohmer's My Night at Maud's and Claire's Knee have been resurrected, along with such landmark American movies as Nashville and Raging Bull. The theater, which bills itself as Fort Lauderdale's only nonprofit year-round art house, also schedules monthly screenings of the works of local moviemakers trying to break into the business. And to further its cosmopolitan image, Cinema Paradiso includes a tiny café that serves beer, wine, champagne, and light snacks.

503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, 33301
MAP
954-525-3456
Best Rock Band

Good things do come from Boca Raton: fine matzo ball soup, for instance. The blue hair rinse is divine. And Baby Robots, Boca's resident art-damaged combo, provides the town with a slightly deviant edge that it has long lacked. Why? Because the 'bots -- product of a team of visual and sonic artists creating in a virtual vacuum -- rip up the South Florida rock rule book. Irrepressible guitarist/singer Bobby Baker is exploding with ideas, some just as likely to dissolve into a mud puddle of distortion as to reach sonic transcendence. But more often than not, the Baby Robots strike a remarkable balance between psychosis and eloquence. And that's something Boca Raton could use more often.

Best Rock Band

Good things do come from Boca Raton: fine matzo ball soup, for instance. The blue hair rinse is divine. And Baby Robots, Boca's resident art-damaged combo, provides the town with a slightly deviant edge that it has long lacked. Why? Because the 'bots -- product of a team of visual and sonic artists creating in a virtual vacuum -- rip up the South Florida rock rule book. Irrepressible guitarist/singer Bobby Baker is exploding with ideas, some just as likely to dissolve into a mud puddle of distortion as to reach sonic transcendence. But more often than not, the Baby Robots strike a remarkable balance between psychosis and eloquence. And that's something Boca Raton could use more often.

Best Male Rock Vocalist

Nice guys rarely finish first, especially nice guys with way-over-the-top baritones. But local legend John Cain Reilly is so serious about his art that he puts other frontmen to shame. From his mid-'90s days in Basketcase to his newest role leading ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist Scott Putesky's band (Three Ton Gate, née Stuck on Evil), Reilly uses his church-organ pipes to project a palpable aura of glorious Grand Guignol gloom. Suntanic, Stuck on Evil's 2001 release, vacillates between semi-shocking imagery and a cheeky, erotic/occult plateau; and Reilly is indisputably its focal point. From the core-breaching opener "Died of Me" to the chaotic/melodic Beatles cover ("I'm Only Sleeping") through the poetic (and formerly a capella) closer "Non-Photo Blues," Reilly is Fort Lauderdale's worship-worthy rock god.

Best Male Rock Vocalist

Nice guys rarely finish first, especially nice guys with way-over-the-top baritones. But local legend John Cain Reilly is so serious about his art that he puts other frontmen to shame. From his mid-'90s days in Basketcase to his newest role leading ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist Scott Putesky's band (Three Ton Gate, née Stuck on Evil), Reilly uses his church-organ pipes to project a palpable aura of glorious Grand Guignol gloom. Suntanic, Stuck on Evil's 2001 release, vacillates between semi-shocking imagery and a cheeky, erotic/occult plateau; and Reilly is indisputably its focal point. From the core-breaching opener "Died of Me" to the chaotic/melodic Beatles cover ("I'm Only Sleeping") through the poetic (and formerly a capella) closer "Non-Photo Blues," Reilly is Fort Lauderdale's worship-worthy rock god.

Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

There's nothing quite as thrilling as catching an up-and-coming young act on the threshold of a national French kiss, which is what audiences have witnessed over the past year with Boca Raton's Dashboard Confessional. And when these saviors of the emo set, led by diminutive, tattooed love god Chris Carrabba, brought the show home to Pompano Beach's now-defunct Millennium Club from a national tour this past December to the thunderous acclaim of a hometown crowd (who were just as proud as pleasured), it gave rise to feelings of validation and redemption, as well as more than one misty eye. Although he's been fortunate enough to chill with Conan O'Brien on the late-night talk-show circuit, sad-sack lyricist Carrabba hasn't yet exploited his hunky heartthrob status. When that happens, it's likely all over. We feel your pain, Chris. Glad your hard work is finally paying off.

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Best Independent Theater: Cinema Paradiso

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