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Best Of 2004

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Sports Museum
Sports Immortals Museum and Memorabilia Mart

In 1864, the first pair of ice skates was patented in the United States. In 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman got beaned in the head by a Carl Mays fastball, becoming the first major league baseball player to die during a game. And in 1992, Andre Agassi won the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. So how are all these historical sports tidbits related? Sports Immortals Museum and Memorabilia Mart, that's how. Anyone remotely interested in sports could spend hours gazing, mouth agape, at the huge collection of sports memorabilia, from Muhammad Ali's championship belt to Franco Harris' (autographed) cleats that gained him more than 100 yards in eight straight games. There's so much history stuff for the history buff that you won't know where to start; it'd be a good idea to take a guided tour. In addition to the more than 1 million (!) sports mementoes in a rotating display of 30,000 items, Sports Immortals features interactive games and theater. It holds fundraisers, auctions, parties, and field trips. And you can buy stuff too, for $2 to $10,000, such as signed lithographs (O.J. Simpson, $396, no bloodstains), and posters ('96 Stanley Cup, $68). Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under age 12. Who says South Florida has no history?

6830 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 33487
MAP
561-997-2575
Best Radio Show

WLRN-FM (91.3) Sounds of the Caribbean has been a presence on South Florida's airwaves since 1979, when none other than Bob Marley convinced host Clint O'Neil that he could be an important voice of island culture in Miami, a city that could be called the capital of the Caribbean. Until recently, O'Neil's Monday-through-Friday, late-night broadcasts were supplemented with two weekend editions hosted by Kevin "Ital-K" Smith, but Smith's early Sunday and Monday morning shows were replaced with BBC News by station management in October. It's a shame Smith's quick wit and sharp British accent is no longer heard, but O'Neil is still on from 2 to 7 a.m. Sundays, laying down tracks from nearly every tropical genre, from soca to rocksteady and dancehall through Afro-Cuban. Through the Internet, the station reaches listeners worldwide. The show breaks up the canned chatter and carefully calculated playlists that rule the corporately controlled medium of radio today.

Best Group Art Exhibition

The Pissarro dynasty aside, it's not often that you find more than one generation of artistic brilliance in the same family. The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art took advantage of this art-world quirk last year with "The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton," the first exhibition to encompass works by minimalist artist Tony Smith and two of his daughters. Dad was first an architect, then an art patron -- his collection included works by such abstract expressionists as Pollock and Rothko -- and finally an artist himself. The mathematical precision of architecture is prominent in Tony's works, including the huge The Keys to Given! (the title comes from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake), a large, black, steel sculpture you can actually walk through. It's too bad Tony didn't live long enough to see daughters Kiki and Seton hit their stride as artists. Kiki's fascination with the human body is evident in media as diverse as metal sculpture, ink drawing, and mixed media. The Paris-based Seton, in sharp contrast with both father and sister, works in photography, specifically large Cibachrome photographs that are, intentionally, ever-so-slightly out of focus. This beautifully assembled show, including more than 60 works created over the course of half a century, is a bracing reminder of the many ways artistic talent blossoms and flourishes.

Best Group Art Exhibition

The Pissarro dynasty aside, it's not often that you find more than one generation of artistic brilliance in the same family. The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art took advantage of this art-world quirk last year with "The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton," the first exhibition to encompass works by minimalist artist Tony Smith and two of his daughters. Dad was first an architect, then an art patron -- his collection included works by such abstract expressionists as Pollock and Rothko -- and finally an artist himself. The mathematical precision of architecture is prominent in Tony's works, including the huge The Keys to Given! (the title comes from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake), a large, black, steel sculpture you can actually walk through. It's too bad Tony didn't live long enough to see daughters Kiki and Seton hit their stride as artists. Kiki's fascination with the human body is evident in media as diverse as metal sculpture, ink drawing, and mixed media. The Paris-based Seton, in sharp contrast with both father and sister, works in photography, specifically large Cibachrome photographs that are, intentionally, ever-so-slightly out of focus. This beautifully assembled show, including more than 60 works created over the course of half a century, is a bracing reminder of the many ways artistic talent blossoms and flourishes.

Best Artist Best Solo Art Exhibition

For the past five years that she has lived in South Florida, Carol Prusa has been quietly going about her business. And that business is turning out some of the area's most distinctive art. Prusa, who teaches painting at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, specializes in imagery that looks as if it's from some sort of alien anatomy textbook: pale, ethereal forms that suggest both plants and animals, rendered in a near-monochromatic palette that includes such ingredients as gesso, sulfur, graphite, and silver. Fittingly, she studied biocommunication arts and medical illustration at the University of Illinois before going on to earn an MFA in painting with a minor in drawing at Drake University in Iowa. Since arriving in Florida, Prusa has accumulated an impressive array of awards for her work, from the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, most notably. Her solo shows have been at Palm Beach Community College's Eissey campus, Broward Community College's Pembroke Pines campus, and the Coral Springs Art Museum.

Best Solo Art Exhibition "The Sideshow of the Absurd" There are installations, and then there are installations. And then there is Pamela Joseph's take on the art form that people either love or love to hate. Joseph swept into town in February 2003 with "The Sideshow of the Absurd," which converted the first floor of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood into a series of interconnected installations and supplementary materials such as banners, sketches, and spotlights casting carny come-ons onto the walls. The Colorado-based artist draws on carnival culture and freak shows for her subject matter, which she then transforms into sly commentaries on contemporary American pop culture, usually with a feminist slant tempered with a sense of humor. Many of the "pieces" are interactive, not to mention wired for sound. Even the exhibition's catalog is outrageously over-the-top, a garish volume filled with photographs, drawings, essays, an interview with the artist, and an introduction by artist Larry Rivers, who died not long after contributing to this traveling show. The catalog also includes an interactive CD and a batch of temporary tattoos that play off the show's themes. What better way to celebrate the innate sideshow-like character of South Florida?

Best Artist Best Solo Art Exhibition

For the past five years that she has lived in South Florida, Carol Prusa has been quietly going about her business. And that business is turning out some of the area's most distinctive art. Prusa, who teaches painting at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, specializes in imagery that looks as if it's from some sort of alien anatomy textbook: pale, ethereal forms that suggest both plants and animals, rendered in a near-monochromatic palette that includes such ingredients as gesso, sulfur, graphite, and silver. Fittingly, she studied biocommunication arts and medical illustration at the University of Illinois before going on to earn an MFA in painting with a minor in drawing at Drake University in Iowa. Since arriving in Florida, Prusa has accumulated an impressive array of awards for her work, from the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, most notably. Her solo shows have been at Palm Beach Community College's Eissey campus, Broward Community College's Pembroke Pines campus, and the Coral Springs Art Museum.

Best Solo Art Exhibition "The Sideshow of the Absurd" There are installations, and then there are installations. And then there is Pamela Joseph's take on the art form that people either love or love to hate. Joseph swept into town in February 2003 with "The Sideshow of the Absurd," which converted the first floor of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood into a series of interconnected installations and supplementary materials such as banners, sketches, and spotlights casting carny come-ons onto the walls. The Colorado-based artist draws on carnival culture and freak shows for her subject matter, which she then transforms into sly commentaries on contemporary American pop culture, usually with a feminist slant tempered with a sense of humor. Many of the "pieces" are interactive, not to mention wired for sound. Even the exhibition's catalog is outrageously over-the-top, a garish volume filled with photographs, drawings, essays, an interview with the artist, and an introduction by artist Larry Rivers, who died not long after contributing to this traveling show. The catalog also includes an interactive CD and a batch of temporary tattoos that play off the show's themes. What better way to celebrate the innate sideshow-like character of South Florida?

Best Stage Ensemble

Best Stage Ensemble John Archie, Elizabeth Dimon, Dawn Renee Jones, Tracey Conyer Lee, Dan Leonard, and David Mann This all-star cast delivered all-star performances. Archie, an art-museum director, and Mann, his bookish art historian subordinate, were on fire in their central, conflicting roles. So was Tracey Conyer Lee as a pragmatic assistant caught in the middle. To this add Dan Leonard as the ghost of a sly, rough-talking philanthropist, Dawn Renee Jones as a regal museum executive, and Elizabeth Dimon as a brutally effective reporter. All brought welcome layers of humanity and humor to their roles, an inspired example of creative collaboration.

Best Stage Ensemble

Best Stage Ensemble John Archie, Elizabeth Dimon, Dawn Renee Jones, Tracey Conyer Lee, Dan Leonard, and David Mann This all-star cast delivered all-star performances. Archie, an art-museum director, and Mann, his bookish art historian subordinate, were on fire in their central, conflicting roles. So was Tracey Conyer Lee as a pragmatic assistant caught in the middle. To this add Dan Leonard as the ghost of a sly, rough-talking philanthropist, Dawn Renee Jones as a regal museum executive, and Elizabeth Dimon as a brutally effective reporter. All brought welcome layers of humanity and humor to their roles, an inspired example of creative collaboration.

Best New Play

Thomas Gibbons' drama featured complex characters locked in a fierce struggle over race and culture, examining the deep currents of casual prejudice and paranoia that continue to flow under the surface of American life. But the fiery, articulate ideas were only part of this play's appeal. Gibbons has the uncanny knack of revealing one of the most maddening and central aspects of human experience -- his people are expert at spotting the flaws of others but completely unable to see their own.

Best New Play

Thomas Gibbons' drama featured complex characters locked in a fierce struggle over race and culture, examining the deep currents of casual prejudice and paranoia that continue to flow under the surface of American life. But the fiery, articulate ideas were only part of this play's appeal. Gibbons has the uncanny knack of revealing one of the most maddening and central aspects of human experience -- his people are expert at spotting the flaws of others but completely unable to see their own.

Best Fringe Theater

Fort Lauderdale's Sol troupe has found a devoted and growing following for its funky, informal "lounge theater" style. Offering a tossed salad of updated classics and high-powered, issue-oriented new plays, Robert Hooker and company have come a looong way in only a few short years. With such recent hits as Marisol, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and the blazing Stop Kiss, this Sol is generating a whole lotta heat.

Best Fringe Theater

Fort Lauderdale's Sol troupe has found a devoted and growing following for its funky, informal "lounge theater" style. Offering a tossed salad of updated classics and high-powered, issue-oriented new plays, Robert Hooker and company have come a looong way in only a few short years. With such recent hits as Marisol, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and the blazing Stop Kiss, this Sol is generating a whole lotta heat.

1140 Northeast Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-525-6555
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Best Sports Museum: Sports Immortals Museum and Memorabilia Mart

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