Best Of Arts & Entertainment
A ballsy show in more ways than one, Island City Stage's Octopus explored the potential perils of unprotected sex through a surrealist conceit that would make Eugene Ionesco proud.
Best New Play
With Daniel's Husband, Michael McKeever proved that even after years of writing award-winning South Florida premieres, he's still getting better.
The show opened only in March, but no matter what musicals open for the remainder of the year, this Les Miz is clearly the musical to beat headed into next year's Carbonell Awards.
Best Set Design
Sean McClelland's scenic design in the Broward Center's Fully Committed envisioned the lowest rung in a restaurant's totem pole, a reservations room tucked away in the bowels of the restaurant, notches below even the private, profanity-laden hothouse known as the kitchen.
Island City Stage
This LGBT-focused theater company in Fort Lauderdale gained inestimable respect in 2013, when its acclaimed production of the Holocaust drama The Timekeepers scored six Carbonell Awards.
Like a sputtering lawn mower emitting just enough power that you don't want to toss it out to pasture just yet, Rob Donahoe made me care more deeply for the character than any previous production I'd seen of Glengarry, elevating him from one character in an ensemble to the show's bona fide lead.
Best Supporting Actor
Effusively praised in his every performance but criminally overlooked during awards season, Ethan Henry's virtuosic talents helped elevate Primal Forces' Sunset Baby from a squalid drama of criminal desperation on society's fringes to a tragic character study of a family ripped asunder.
Ann Marie Olson
he greatest compliment to Ann Marie Olson's performance in Thinking Cap Theatre's Always... Patsy Cline is that I forgot I was watching Ann Marie Olson. This is what it means to disappear completely within a character, in this case this doomed singer who brought Nashville country music into the pop mainstream before perishing in a plane crash at age 30.
Best Supporting Actress
In her opening scene as Margaret White, Carrie's fundamentalist wacko mom in Slow Burn's Carrie: The Musical, Keelor consumed everything — the set, the music, the title character — with her unquenchable hysteria.
Whatever his future holds, his final season at Arts Garage will be a tough act to follow.
Jane Hart brings more than 20 years of solid expertise in the contemporary art world to her role, having worked at galleries in London, Los Angeles, NYC, and Miami. But more important, she brings with her a dash of sophistication, edginess, and fun.
NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
This once-mediocre cultural institution is well on its way to being noticed beyond South Florida, and that's thanks in large part to a rebranding, a renaming, and the direction of head curator Bonnie Clearwater, who has been at the helm for almost two years.
Best Art Gallery
Bailey Contemporary Arts
The two-story building was a hotel when first erected in 1932, and now, renovated but still airy, it breathes inspiration at every turn. The space feels fresh and cozy in a way that connects folks.
Best Art Exhibition
Bedlam Lorenz Assembly's "Third Annual Interest"
When you're looking for cutting-edge artists and museum-quality exhibitions with a touch of weird, check out anything curated by Bedlam Lorenz Assembly, a nonprofit alternative projects group.
Best Art Event
Art Fallout 2014
Art Fallout is the largest art walk in all of Fort Lauderdale. For one evening in mid-October (2015 will mark its sixth year), nearly every art and cultural institution in Fort Lauderdale is open and connected by trolleys that deliver visitors from one venue to another.
Best Alternative Art Space
Jump the Shark
In terms of things to not do, trying to jump a shark is pretty high on the list. But that doesn't mean you can't name your venue after the phrase, which apparently comes from a 1970s TV show. The revamped venue hosts live music, performance artists, comedy nights, and more.
Best Art Walk
Flagler Art Walk
FAT Village generally gets all the credit in Fort Lauderdale. But the FAT is part of a bigger area that includes the so-called MASS District (for Music and Arts South of Sunrise; this area incorporates Laser Wolf and Jump the Shark), the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, and Midtown.
Best Arts Patron
Lenore Stern Morris
Lenore Stern Morris, based in Boca Raton, has curated exhibits and galleries from Boca to Miami to Russia, running the gamut from pop art to high art. Her goal, as she often puts it, is to show that art is for everybody.
Best Emerging Artist
Kelcie McQuaid exhibited more than 200 new mixed-media artworks in 2014 and has been featured in more than 80 group shows and three solo shows, including her debut series, "Universe Expanding."
Best Street Artist
Evoca1, AKA Elio Mercado
Dominican-born and South Florida-based Elio Mercado, AKA Evoca1, paints walls with such elegance, it's safe to call it fine art. His figurative paintings often feature animals and individuals with such fine and stunning details that each piece tells a story rich in depth and soul.
West Palm Beach-based photographer and surfer Tony Arruza has mad shutter skills. His photography has been published in heavyweight glossy magazines such as Outside, Surfing, and Travel & Leisure.
Best Visual Artist
Two years ago, we had no idea who this guy was, and then, suddenly, Sri Prabha is everywhere: Art and Culture Center, ArtServe, FAT Village, spaces in Miami — showing his mixed-media science and otherworldly inspired works.
Best Casting Agency
Talent Direct is a legit agency, with clients that include Corona and HBO. It has placed people as main characters and extras on Burn Notice, Graceland, and other TV shows and films.
Best Life Coach
With Stifler's-mom-level sex appeal and Zig Ziglar-level mantras spilling out of her mouth, this feisty, funny, and friendly high achiever will help you "get clear" on how you must move forward. Chances are, whatever problem you're facing, Jennifer Grace has dealt with something similar: She worked on Wall Street, tried her hand as an actress, married and divorced a millionaire, and had a kid before finding her calling as a coach.
Best Antiquarian Book Dealer
Little Sages Books
Little Sages, run by Kara Accettola, collects and sells private papers, old texts, historical notes written on napkins, and offbeat pieces and matches them to collectors who will love and appreciate them appropriately.
Best Selfie Backdrop
The Pegasus at Gulfstream Park
For some reason, the owner of Gulfstream Park decided to have a 110-foot-tall bronze Pegasus erected on his property. The winged horse playing with a dragon amid water fountains, which cost $30 million to build, will resonate with you — maybe in a good way, maybe in a "WTF!!??" way.
Best Happy Hour
Qbar Burgers & Blues
At this nascent burger and beer joint, the happy-hour special offers all beers, including a long list of local craft brews, for a mere $4. And it doesn't skimp on time either, with the happy hour lasting between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, which makes it way too easy to get buzzed during lunch and drunk after work.
It's not every day you find a mayoral candidate mixing your Jack and Cokes. But if you sidle up to the bar top at Oakland Park's Big Dog Station when Chris Brennan is pouring the drinks, you'll be in the presence of a Broward political mover and shaker.
Best Broward Bar
All the way from its vast assortment of crazy-ass craft beers down to the sweet potato fries, Tap 42 laps the competition when it comes to quality.
Best Neighborhood Bar, North Broward
Sometimes you just need a damned beer — and Rattlesnake Jake's will give it to you. Although it can get a little cramped at night, Jake's is a casual place to kick back with a cold one and people in Salt Life T-shirts.
Best Neighborhood Bar in Central Broward
Ocean Mist Pub & Bar
The true takeaway from Ocean Mist is the cozy feel — the place looks like a sea mariner's living room, with low ceilings and walls covered with sailor figurines and wooden-boat steering wheels.
Best Neighborhood Bar in South Broward
Bimini Bay Bar
The grimy porn-shoot-meets-garbage-dump aesthetic of the Bimini Bay Bar makes it a necessary stop for anyone just passing through town. But the secret of the oversexed bar? Everyone is damned nice there.
Best Neighborhood Bar in Palm Beach County
Harry's Banana Farm
"Malt does more than Milton can/To justify God's ways to man." OK, you're not going to find that sort of high-brow couplet on the marquee above this Lake Worth watering hole, a low-life highlight of threadbare Dixie Highway, where a shot and a beer is the style. But the bar owners are damned witty.
Best Neighborhood Bar in Central Palm Beach
Off the Hookah
Saying a bar is the best is, of course, subjective; it depends on what you’re into and what you like most — but Off the Hookah checks most all of the boxes. Hookah’s has a special every night, most incredibly affordable. Themed nights, college nights, ladies’ nights, all-you-can-drink nights —...
Best Neighborhood Bar in South Palm Beach County
Turn3 Sports Bar
The West Boca watering hole is parked in a retail space in a boring-looking shopping center. But through the doors, you'll find yourself in a place that has more fun stuff scheduled than a weeklong Carnival cruise.
Best New Bar
Next Door at C&I Studios
Half the room at Next Door on has an art-studio vibe; the other looks like a used bookstore. In between is an ample bar space where you can waste the hours guzzling craft cocktails.
Best New Rodney Mayo Establishment
An antithesis to Rodney Mayo's early punk pits like Respectable Street and Lost Weekend, Camelot is a grownup lounge that brings upscale late-night entertainment to the Clematis area.
Best Dive Bar
Gay dive bars are a mixed bag. Step into a random one off the street and you can either end up hanging with some of the grimiest horndogs or the coolest queer barflies around. Hit up Smarty Pants for the latter.
Best Beach Bar
The Village Pump
The Village Pump — the bar and Siamese twin of the adjoining Village Grille — has been bringing a little slice of Boston to the beach for years. This joint is close enough to the beach to enjoy all the sights and sounds but far enough away that you don't have to worry about seagulls stealing your French fries.
Best Poolside Bar
Bamboo Beach Club & Tiki Bar
As part of Fort Lauderdale Beach's famous Ocean Manor Resort, the Bamboo Beach Club & Tiki Bar has developed a reputation apart from its iconic neighbor. Whereas Ocean Manor oozes a South Beach glitz, Bamboo Beach is all old-school Florida — jiggling flesh, sunburns, and thatched roofs.
Best Sports Bar
Stout Bar and Grill
Located on Andrews Avenue, just where Oakland Park's residential neighborhoods brush up against Oakland Park Boulevard's commercial strips, Stout is hard to miss. The entire bar is covered in Old Chicago Brick, so you feel like you're walking into a castle's secret drinking lair.
Best Biker Bar
Larry's J.S. Lounge
What makes a biker bar the best? Tough babes, cold brews, and long beards. At J.S. Lounge, you get all that, plus good conversation over an icy, $3 Yuengling with guys who look like they could be members of Z.Z. Top.
Best Kava Bar
Awa Na Kava Bar
Friendly and knowledgeable, the staff at Awa Na will teach you about kava and set you up with either a bowl or shell of your chosen kava flavor, then set you up with a hookah and give you the run of the place.
Best Lesbian Bar
All of Fort Lauderdale
We must confess, it's a depressing fact that Broward lacks any "one" spot for ladies who love ladies. The good news is that there are so many lesbians on this sunny Southern tip of America's wang that the probability of running into a group of them is very, very high.
Best Gay Bar
We may or may not have a gay uncle who may or may not drive over from the west coast specifically to come to this bar, and he may or may not have errantly left his cock ring on the floor of the guest bedroom where he was staying, and we may or may not have picked it up inquisitively, not knowing what it was.
Best Gay Bar for Live Music
Hunters is one of the rare places that gives musicians their chance and helps line their pockets a little. The bar established a "Live on the Drive" music series, letting live bands take over the dance floor and feeding the community's ears with what they've been missing.
Best Strip Club
Scarlett's boasts eight stages, 11 poles, 16 private suites, and plenty of VIP seating. And if you're wondering how the girls keep in such stunning shape, just take a moment to admire the way they slide up and down the pole.
Best Dance Club
Round Up Nightclub & Restaurant
South Florida's finest country-western bar is a multilevel hang with live music, a huge dance floor, and ridiculously good drink specials, such as free drinks for ladies every Wednesday and Friday — that's free drinks all night long, not just during happy hour.
Best Place for a Quickie
The Bathroom at Bimini Bay Bar
Stick around for a half an hour and that bathroom will start making sense. Disclaimer: Take too long and you'll have the staff calling you out on your whereabouts.
Best Music Venue
This Fort Lauderdale musical institution shows no prejudice. With a massive pit in front of the stage bordered by elevated edges hosting the bars, coupled with a second-floor wraparound balcony, there truly is not a bad spot in the house.
Best New Music Venue
Since opening last January, Crafti Bar has been giving Fort Lauderdale a heavy dose of live music. The owners are trying to bring a Wynwood vibe to Fort Lauderdale and named themselves after the craft cocktails they pride themselves on serving, so you can come for the drinks and stay for the music... or if you prefer, come for the music and stay for the drinks.
Best Live Act
Bobby Lee Rodgers
From opening at the Fillmore for Dave Chappelle or at Revolution for Les Claypool, whether alone or as the Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, he always brings it.
Best Hip-Hop Act
The Sunny Devilles
The Sunny Devilles, a Boca-based hip-hop duo consisting of Tanner Kauffman and James Bauer that adds jazzy soul to its beats and lyrics, have been a welcome addition to the South Florida hip-hop scene.
Best Experimental Act
Human Fluid Rot
Ever watch a man perform a noise set while he's sitting on a toilet and taking care of business? No? Well, we feel damned sorry for you then, because this is what art is all about — taking dirty risks. Robert Wilson Brantley III is also known by a less regal title: Human Fluid Rot.
Best Folk Band
A second, late-blooming career for vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Bill Bowen and Joan Friedenberg (she was a linguistics prof; he was a sportswriter and photojournalist), the band still shows an instructional and reportorial (and decidedly left-wing political) bent.
Best Metal Band
Masticator is one of the finest names for a band. The word sounds ominous and authoritative, and it means "one who chews or grinds or kneads." Once you hear the West Palm Beach band, though, you'll feel like you're being crushed by the unforgiving choppers of metal in the mouth of music.
Best Rock Band
The Gun Hoes
The Gun Hoes have opened for Trick Daddy and King Khan, but the band is also perfectly comfortable playing tiny, dirty house parties all over town.
Best Electronica Artist
Before even hitting a stage with their clean and atmospheric style of "minimalistic pop" electronica, West Palm's Kevin Neal and Sydney Morris were a well-adored hit. That's because of, well, the internet. The duo known as Jude hit the blogs with a click.
You may have seen Mister Gray around town, sporting his signature heavy beard, Ray-Bans, and cap. He's on the rise and versatile, and he's got the whole South Florida scene covered and bouncing with his beats.
Native Echoes by Beach Day
This Hollywood duo picked the perfect name for their band, as their latest album, Native Echoes, is ten tracks of Florida sunshine.
Playing currently in his band Sweet Bronco and previously in Catalonia, Horgan is, year in and year out, probably the single best songwriter in South Florida.
At this friendly gay bar, Friday-night karaoke has entered the 21st Century. No longer must one fight over dusty old binders to see which selection of Nancy or Frank Sinatra songs you might croon along to. Instead check out the computer consoles.
Best Place to Meet Single Women
Sunrise Paddleboard Yoga
Here, on the nice calm waters of the Middle River (by Whole Foods) is the place where your future lady friend will be improving those abs and calves as she strengthens her inner beauty as well.
Best Place to Meet Single Men
Off the Wall Trampoline Fun Center
At Off the Wall, you'll find fit fathers who you know are committed — at least to their kids. And if old dudes aren't your thing, catch a muscular parkour pro bouncing off the walls, literally, or a fun guy playing laser tag.
Best Music Festival
For the Love Music Festival
Bands and fans flooded the streets of Fort Lauderdale's blossoming arts district, bouncing from stage to stage and enjoying local acts like Corey James Bost, Kids, Phil Barnes, and Lakeland's Copeland.
Best Place to Pick Up Foreigners
Everybody has a type, and if non-American is your type, Paladium Nightclub in Margate might be a thing you want to check out — if you're single and ready to mingle.
Best Bowling Alley
Holiday Lanes Bowling Center
Holiday Lanes Bowling Center in Hallandale offers bowling with zero bullshit.
Mardi Gras Casino
It might have all the clichés of New Orleans without any of the gritty authenticity of that city, but as soon as you get off your high horse and embrace the Vegas-like cheesiness, the Mardi Gras Casino emerges as a fun place to blow loads of cash.
Best Pool Hall
If your idea of the perfect pool hall is a place where the cigarette smoke hangs as heavy as the clouds of chalk left lingering after breaking your fifth round, then Toby's is your place.
W Fort Lauderdale
From the slick rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer beach views to neon-blue 15-foot aquariums lining the walls of onsite restaurant Steak 954, the place oozes the kind of chic tastefulness that's rare in South Florida's garish landscape.
Best Cheap Thrill
Free Concerts at ArtsPark at Young Circle
For years now, the amphitheater at Hollywood's Young Circle has hosted diverse acts, from Galactic to Seu Jorge to the Wood Brothers. All of these gigs and more are perfect for lying out on the grass or making use of your dancing shoes with your fellow cheap-thrill seekers.
Fort Lauderdale Fringe Festival
The inaugural Fort Lauderdale Fringe Festival was like an all-you-can-eat buffet of theater. Three separate Broward College classrooms were converted into black-box-style theaters that would house ten hours of more than 20 plays — largely crafted by local talent.
Escape the Quest
If you have some friends, an hour or two, and a high tolerance for anxiety, the mind-bending puzzles at Escape the Quest will make for a memorable experience.
Best Place for a First Date
Besides the cool, laid-back, and earth-friendly vibe at the Alchemist, chances are you will have cosmically good chemistry with your new partner.
Best Movie Theater
The Classic Gateway Theatre
These days, it's one of the only places to catch indie movies in Fort Lauderdale, and even though the seats are a little creaky, Gateway has found a way to remain relevant and fresh in today's Fort Lauderdale.
Best Drag Queen
When you see Daisy Deadpetals in action — spouting out caustic jokes, laying down some wily dance moves, and looking better than any Boca bitch — it's hard to believe that men who dress up as women were ever considered weird.
Jeffrey Epstein's "Sex Slaves"
Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is a hedge-fund manager who in the early 2000s was accused of paying underaged girls for sex in his beachside mansion. His sordid tale of hunting for happy endings among mall rats took on new life this past year when his victims turned around and named members of the British and Ivy League aristocracy as the perv's co-debauchees.
Best Publicity Stunt
Last June, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and TooJay's in Coral Springs granted the wishes of 9-year-old leukemia patient Jaylen Hyde. The local little boy wanted to become Striker Boy, a superhero he cooked up on his own. Various do-gooders not only hooked Jaylen up with a costume and logo for Striker Boy but, along with the Broward Sheriff's Office, planned a whole day of adventures for the pint-sized crime fighter.
Best Political Landslide
West Palm Beach Mayoral Race
Incumbent West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio suffered many a bruising battle in her first term in office, and when City Commissioner Kim Mitchell — following years in which she seemed to be the real straw that stirred the West Palm Beach drink — threw her hat in the ring last year against Muoio, it promised to be a close contest.
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy
Palm Beach-based congressional rep Patrick Murphy is already something of a monster-slayer. He took down Allen West, an evil scientist's lab creation of the most vile politician possible.
Best Climate-Change Deniers
Palm Beach County Tea Party
Crackpot "scientist" John Casey, president of the Space and Science Research Corp. and cofounder and chairman of the International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Center, preached "global cooling" to the Tea Partiers in a trio of presentations last fall and again this spring and foresees "decades of potentially dangerous cold weather" ahead.
As if trying to turn "no good deed goes unpunished" into the city motto, Fort Lauderdale Police arrested Arnold Abbott last November for the shocking crime of offering free food to the homeless. The then-90-year-old Abbott, however, continued to do what he had done for decades with the organization he founded, Love Thy Neighbor: He strove to feed those who were going unfed.
Prison Legal News
Given the scandalous state of Florida's prison system, especially under the privatization initiative pushed so mightily by the state's GOP leadership, Prison Legal News and its nonprofit parent, the Human Rights Defense Center, have been welcome additions to the state's criminal justice reform movement, getting the word out about prisoner abuse and abusive prison conditions — to the general public and to inmates themselves.
Ungodly rich from his years of clogging the book racks of airports and drug stores from coast to coast (an estimated 300 million books sold), author James Patterson never has to lift a finger to peel a grape till the end of his days if he so chooses. But Jimmy Jim has a heart and soul, it appears, as evidenced by his latest project, the PBS documentary Murder of a Small Town, which is about crime, punishment, and the hardscrabble lives of the residents of the far other end of Palm Beach County.
Best Sun Sentinel Writer
Brittany Wallman is fearless, inquisitive, and, somehow, everywhere at the same time. Her reports — found mainly on the Sun Sentinel's Broward Politics page — are fast, thorough, and accurate.
Taking on subjects such as the Sarasota Saudis' ties to 9/11 hijackers to the shitty track records of health-care companies scrambling for work with Broward jails, the Bulldog doesn't back down from big foes.
Best TV News Reporter
Not to be confused with the silver-screen legend or the '70s funk singer, this meteorologist can report the sad news of a week's worth of thunderstorms with a smile as bright as a cloudless sunrise over Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Tommy Hutton is exactly the kind of guy you'd want to catch a ballgame with. And you sort of can, if you tune in to Fox Sports Florida every night to watch the Marlins. Hutton, a former ballplayer himself, doesn't just give color analysis; he gets personally involved.
Best AM Radio Personality
Marc Hochman, 560 WQAM
While Le Batard remains the highest-rated afternoon drive program, his has strayed some to accommodate its national audience. But Marc Hoch, with cohost Zach Krantz, remains focused solely on the local sports teams while maintaining some of those wacky bits that made Hoch a household name.
Best AM Radio Breakout
Chris Wittyngham 790AM/104.3 FM the Ticket
A young host could find himself rattled by the passion-driven venom some sports fans inevitably spew, but the Ticket's Chris Wittyngham, a recent graduate of the University of Miami, has had no such issues during his rapidly rising hosting career
Best FM Radio Personality
Joe Johnson at Magic 102.7
Joe Johnson has been DJ'ing for Magic 102.7 for close to three decades and can be heard playing all the good-time oldies on weekdays from 10 to 3. But it is his musical scholarship on Beatle Brunch that earns him this accolade.
Best Local Girls Gone Bad
Broward Judges Cynthia G. Imperato, Gisele Pollack, and Lynn D. Rosenthal
This year, instead of covering the latest llama-fur boots or mustache wax, the New York Times was writing about a different craze: Broward judges driving under the influence.
Best Local Boy Gone Bad
Last April, Trick Daddy was backing his coupe out of the suburban driveway when BSO arrived with drug dogs and a warrant. Inside, officers found a gram of cocaine on the nightstand in the master bedroom and a Sig Sauer handgun under the pillow.