The 10 best arty and musicky things that happened this year, to the best of my memory

In lieu of separate lists, here is a meta-list of the things I enjoyed the most this year (besides Art Basel, which I just wrote about a few days ago), in no particular order.

1. The skittish, slackerish, stream-of-consciousness Ninetiesish punk of Parquet Courts.

2. The graphic stories of Allie Brosh. She portrays herself as some kind of monster who is a crudely amateurish artist. She is neither.


3. This deliciously eye-popping piece of street art from Tristan Eaton in Little Italy, NYC.


4. Painter Makoto Fujimura’s illustrated version of the Four Holy Gospels, reviving the concept of the illuminated manuscript. (Technically this came out in late 2011, but I didn’t get a copy until this year. So, according to the rules of this blog, which were established in 1907, it’s still okay to include.) The illustrations are gorgeous, compelling, and made me read the gospels with a fresh perspective.


5. Gravity. No, Gravity in 3D. No, Gravity in 3D IMAX. And… the companion short film!

6. Lorde’s debut album Pure Heroine (and the funny/creepy video for Tennis Court). Pop music this good makes me not miss the sound of a guitar or any “live” instrument.


7. Season one of Orphan Black, on BBC America. (because unfortunately I will not get around to the Breaking Bad finale until 2014.)

8. Boston Globe photographer Stan Grossfeld’s amazing photo of Tigers’ outfielder Torii Hunter catapulting into the Red Sox’ bullpen in an attempt to catch David Ortiz’ clutch grand slam, as Boston police officer Steve Horgan celebrates. The two men form an unusual pair of twin “V”s, or, if you will – one “W,” because the Sox went on to win the World Series. In fact, the inclusion of this picture is really just a reason to remind everybody that the Red Sox won the World Series, because that will never. Get. Old.

ALCS Game 2: Detroit Tigers Vs. Boston Red Sox At Fenway Park

9. The Knife’s 4am live show at Primavera Sound in Barcelona (reviewed here by XLR8R). My friend said it was like watching a jazzercise troupe crashing a drum circle.

10. Speaking of Barcelona, seeing – experiencing, rather – Gaudi’s spectacular La Sagrada Familia. Although it was begun in 1882, it’s still being built. Not renovated. Built. So it’s still a current work-in-progress. Parts of it are harrowing, other parts are blissful, and others playful. With all due respect to Notre Dame and St. Peter’s, it’s the only cathedral that hooked me emotionally instead of just cerebrally. Others have written about it more eloquently and in more detail, so I’ll just say it’s well worth the trip.


Honorable mentions:

The return of My Bloody Valentine, Flannery O’ Connor’s prayer journal, The Facades by Eric Lundgren, the LA paintings of Richard Kessler, and the Pizza Underground playing the best 8-minute show I’ve ever attended.

honorable mentions

Biggest pop culture disappointment: 

I never saw Sharknado.


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