The Mystery of Michelle Obama's Roots

Categories: El Jefe
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Rachel Swarns is one of the smartest reporters to ever work in Miami... or as a foreign correspondent anywhere. About two decades ago, she arrived here to write at the Miami Herald, where she covered Hurricane Andrew and the LA Riots.

In 1995, she headed off to the New York Times, where she has written about national politic and reported on immigration and presidential campaigns. She has also been a foreign correspondent for the Times, reporting from Russia, Cuba and Southern Africa, where she served as the Johannesburg bureau chief.

This Sunday, Swarns reads from her recently published book, "American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama" at the Miami Book Fair International. She'll appear at 3 p.m. at Miami Dade College (Building 2, 1st Floor, Room 2106, NE 300 NE Second Avenue). What follows is an excerpt from the book.

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Miami Theater Center: Out With the Racism, In With Bing and Fred Astaire

Categories: El Jefe
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Sixty-six years ago a movie theater opened on NE Second Avenue and 98th Street. It later died-- a victim of megaplexes and the Village Beautiful's history of racism. But on Saturday, it reopened -- with the same movie.

Got that? 

"Blue Skies,"  a classic Fred Astaire/Bing Crosby flick that debuted when the Shores Theater opened in 1946, again flickered on the screen at the theater at NE 98th Street and Second Avenue. About 200 people were present for the christening of the Miami Theater Center. They paid $10 a shot.


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Maurice Sendak Taught Me Literature, Now He is Gone

Categories: El Jefe
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Maurice Sendak was my first real author. Before Dostoevsky and Dickens. Before Fitzgerald and Alice Walker and Hemingway and Lermontov.

Now he is gone. And that makes me very sad.

Among his last books was The Miami Giant, Written in 1995, it was a send-up of the old people on Miami Beach. He just did the illustrations.

But the meat of his work was Where the Wild Things Are, and the sets of books that I kept under my bed and read in my grandmother's attic in northern Minnesota on cold winter nights: Chicken Soup with Rice was one of them. And then there was the the "I don't care" kid, who gets eaten by an alligator. Or was it a crocodile? Doesn't matter because the creature eventually spit him out. And then he did care.

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Miami Spartan Race 2012 (Video)

Categories: El Jefe
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A Hooters Girl hands out bananas at the Spartan race. No kidding.
​Miami's Spartan Race took place Saturday and continues tomorrow, Sunday. Thousands showed up. Many ran through mud, slipped under barbed wire, and pulled huge tires for two hours. It was amazing, though rather expensive.

After the jump a slideshow of Saturday's events with music.

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The Spartan Race: "We are Getting Humans Back to Being Humans"

Categories: El Jefe
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​When Joe DeSena started the first "Spartan Race" in Pittsfield, Vermont, about eight years ago, he had no idea it would become an international phenomenon drawing 300,000 plus people.

Nor did the former Wall Street exec/pool cleaning company owner/exercise fanatic know he would be jamming Oleta River State Park this weekend with thousands of athletes who will crawl through mud, scale walls.throw spears and jump over fire.

"I thought, what if we create an event that brings us back to our roots, makes us become the people we have been the last 900,000 years," he says. "People who get shit done...not unlike Rocky Balboa, Braveheart, or Mother Theresa."

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The Son of Neptune Is Out Today. Percy Jackson Is No Harry Potter Ripoff

Categories: El Jefe
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Okay, so I admit it. As an old dad, I love Percy Jackson.

None of that dark literary stuff. Just an action hero who is a kid and who is dyslexic. He is a hero to my 11-year-old dyslexic son. 

So this morning, we started reading the newest book, Heroes of Olympus #2: The Son of Neptune, just out on Kindle....and I was transfixed by the big fight in the Berkeley Hills. I used to ride my bike there. Percy's giving it to the Gorgon as he looks out over the San Francisco Bay and ponders his demise. 
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Caroline Manzo of Real Housewives Threatens New Times and Co-Star

Categories: El Jefe

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Even by Real Housewives of New Jersey standards, this claim is outrageous. "Your father-in-law was murdered and chopped up and placed in front of the Brownstone."

This one is rather whacked out, too. "Your father did time in prison leaving 11 kids behind."

And then there's: Your sister is "miserable [and] has no husband."

The popular reality show's bad girl, Danielle Staub last week made the allegations about hated co-star Caroline Manzo to New Times freelancer Stacey Russell.

But Manzo called us yesterday and responded in that unmistakable Mid-Atlantic twang: "It's all wrong...I'm going after Danielle Staub."

Then she mentioned a lawyer and added as a clear threat: "I don't want your paper to be the sacrificial lamb."


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We're Moving and Expanding!

Categories: El Jefe
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After more than 15 years at the same joint, Miami New Times is moving next week. It's not a big change. We are just rolling our stuff a mile north on Biscayne Boulevard to a pretty little building at 4500 Biscayne Boulevard, where we will occupy the second floor.

The space is larger than our present operation at 2800 Biscayne. Technology will be a bigger part of the new place, with flat screen TVs everywhere and website numbers raining down upon us like the monsoon that hit this morning. We circulate 70,000 newspapers each week these days. Our site gets about 610,000 page views over the same period. Our new location should help cater to the fast growing web audience.

The public should see no effect from the move. Our phone numbers and, of course, web addresses, will not change. The mailing address is slightly different, 4500 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 200, but even the zip code won't change.

So if you want to stop by and take a look, c'mon down!

A Note to Ask a Domme Critics

Categories: El Jefe
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Ask a Domme rocks. Lera Gavin, the author, penned a feature for New Times earlier this year called "Notes from a Dominatrix" that provided an astute look into a lifestyle that any sane person wants to know about. 

For the last few months, she has provided weekly advice, satire and, well, you know, discipline in the Ask a Domme column. Hell, here at New Times HQ, we even know how to hold a whip properly.

Lately there's a been a lot of noise about the column on websites and in email and phone calls to me. I  want to clear it up. On September 9, in a post titled "Five Ways to Make Friends at a Fetish Party," we may have given an incorrect impression. Neither Lera Gavin nor New Times advocate touching anybody who doesn't want to be touched. Nor do we suggest molestation in a sexual sense. We've update the post to clarify this point.

So what do we support? The rights of consenting adults to do as they like as long as it doesn't involve violence or kids.  

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