I always think I will have some new kind of introduction to this post and in a way, how can I, the year is the year it is, and was, and so in an otherwise really not terribly great year in so many ways, as opposed to a merely not terribly great year in so many ways, such as last year, and for so many people at that, there was still good, because there is always good, and there were books, and television, music, podcasts, art and movies. Though not enough, never enough, of any of it. But we do what we can, I and I did what I could do, and here we are, ignoring so much of the year, if only for a moment, to look back, and share what there is, and what there was, with you, now, totally, and yes belatedly, work, travel, family, I'm happy to blame all of it for that.
Well that, and my decision to move this post from this This Blog Will Change Your Life to this site, it means something, I'm working through it, change, whatever, inevitable, and necessary, and all that. Anyway, more soon, and on to it, now thank you.
Cultural criticism and memoirs that read like personal essays and personal essay collections that read like memoir and cultural criticism. That sing. And explore sickness, art, nostalgia, pop culture, social issues, the present, past and future, and everything in between.
They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us/Hanif Abdurraqib, A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother/Anna Prushinskaya, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life/William Finnegan, The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic/Jessica Hopper, Defying The Verdict/Charita Cole Brown.
Kick-ass short story collections by kick ass writers who, you know, kick ass.
Perfect Conditions/Vanessa Blakeslee, Scoundrels Among Us/Darrin Doyle, An Off-White Christmas/Donald G. Evans
And the kick-ass short story collection that I could not wait to get my hands on most because it was by Pete Anderson, and well, you know, it's the Pete Anderson.
Where The Marshland Came to Flower
Not to mention absolutely kick-ass books that I was honored to promote and strategize around, which most definitely changed my life, many of which, but not all of which were releases by the quite wonderful, awesome to partner with, and future forward Green Writers Press
Aesop Lake/Sarah Ward, The Full Vermonty/Bill Mares & Jeff Danziger, Chinese Gucci/Hosho McCreesh, Coming of Age/Madeleine Kunin, Darling Girl/Terry Hiner, Finding God/Christine Eberle, A Bouquet of Daisies/Megan Alice, Dirty Rubles/Greg Olear, Crosshairs/Matt Fitzpatrick
Novels too. Substantive. And wonderful. By substantive and wonderful writers.
The Place You're Supposed To Laugh/Jenn Stroud Rossmann
Well, okay, that was one substantive and wonderful novel by a substantive and wonderful writer, because the other one I read deserves its own thing, because you know, Leesa Cross-Smith.
Whiskey & Ribbons
And poetry. Never enough, really not, and so much more next year, promise, but still really fucking good this year.
the slaughterhouse poems/dave newman and May I Have This Dance?/Mathieu Cailler
The movies I was happy I got to see during a year where I did even better than last year, though still didn't see enough to satisfy my movie Jones.
Private Life, The Wife, Widows, Green Book, You Were Never Really Here, Vice, Crazy Rich Asians
Movies I was happy I got to see because my children said it must be so, but also because Netflix definitely wanted us to.
The Set-Up and To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Movies I am happy I got to see because my older child wanted me to and since he's now older and has much better taste. And because we both now love Zoe Deutch.
Movies I am quite happy I got to see because my older child wanted me to, but I watched without him. And cried at the end.
A Star is Born
Superhero movies decent.
Ant Man & Wasp and Avengers: Infinity War
Superhero movies awesome. And unprecedented really.
Sequels and reboots that were fine enough, but not quite fine enough. Okay, maybe there was only one, and maybe I'm suddenly really old? Fuck.
Mission: Impossible - 6
Coen Brothers movies that felt like misfires (no pun intended, they would hate that).
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The only documentaries I watched, and which jammed, but which is far from enough, and so lame I am.
Won't You Be My Neighbor? and Minding the Gap
Documentaries that I am sure jammed and must see post-haste.
RGB and Free Solo
The best crafted movies of the year that weren't quite my favorite movie of the year.
Leave No Trace, Eighth Grade, Roma, The Tale, Sorry to Bother You
And a well-crafted movie that just might be my favorite movie of the year.
Movies I still hope to see.
The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, Beautiful Boy, First Reformed, First Man, BlacKKKlansman, The Rider
New music which I yet again listened to not much of this year, but I still listened to these.
Okay, not true, I'm really not sure what to do in this post-CD universe, or how to listen, or even how to talk about what I liked this year, but maybe I'll figure it out in 2019. Maybe.
Music I got to listen to live, which was not enough, and I always somehow fall way short on year after year.
Jeff Tweedy, Courtney Barnett, Ike Reilly
(But no The Hold Steady, which was at least partially due to a street fair becoming so overwhelmed with guests they closed the gates, which cost me the chance to see a show of theirs, plus The Drive-By Truckers, all true, sad and yes, first world problems)
Television shows I kept on watching, or finshed watching, that were actually, mostly, usually good, and got in the way of reading, thinking, getting work done and sometimes sleeping, but ultimately made us very happy.
Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, The Affair, Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, Silicon Valley, Mr. Robot, GLOW, The Handmaid's Tale, Westworld, American Vandal, Crashing, Santa Clarita Diet, Bojack Horseman, Search Party, Luke Cage, Baskets, Broadchurch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Atlanta, Ozark, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Television shows I continue to lovingly re-consume, again, and again, summer after summer, because my children say it must be so, and annually at that.
Freaks and Geeks
(Though do note, that Netflix has dropped Freaks and Geeks from its line-up and we are scared and confused heading into 2019, again, first world problems, I know)
Television shows I lovingly consumed, or continued to consume, because my younger son said it must be so.
Black-ish, American Housewife, The Goldbergs
One new show the younger and older son added to the family mix.
And a show made possible by Netflix and children, that was not so bad and really kind of addictive.
Also, shows I tried to catch-up on and mostly did and really liked.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, She's Gotta Have It, Dear White People, Bigmouth, F is for Family, The Crown
Theater, too little, and way too far between.
The Buddy Holly Story, Beautiful, We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time, Blue Man Group (redux)
Art exhibits, also definitely way too little, though more than last year, and in more cities. Also, what I did see, did indeed leave me joyous.
Charles White: A Retrospective & Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts/MoMA NYC, René Magritte: The Fifth Season/SFMoMA, Hairy Who?/Art Institute Chicago, Keith Haring: The Chicago Mural/The Chicago Cultural Center
Television shows I continued to that no one else seems to watch.
You're The Worst, Casual, Love
The television show that is all of the above, and will be terribly missed.
Some absolutely new shows I dug.
Succession, Barry, The End of The Fucking World
(There seems like their must be even more, but I don't recall them)
And the show and podcast I didn't think I wanted to watch, or listen to, but enjoyed, both, a lot.
Podcasts I still listen to again and again, if sometimes inconsistently at that.
WTF with Marc Maron, Other People, The Slate Culture Gabfest, Heavyweight
And one-off podcasts, for now, apparently, that just mostly killed.
Steve McNair: Fall of a Titan and Making Obama
Books I just didn't quite read, or finish, by year's end. But I will. Soon. Promise.
Walk in the Fire/Steph Post, Funhouse/Robert Vaughan, Coyote Songs/Gabino Iglesias, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel/Alexander Chee, White Girls/Hilton Als, For Other Ghosts/Donald Quist, Slow Days, Fast Company - The World, The Flesh, And L.A./Eve Babitz
Most finally, there are many people to thank for making this a good year or just rule in general) in spite of all that has been going on and feels like still will be. And I am most definitely overlooking some, a lot maybe, and I apologize for that, but there you go.
Matt Rowan, Jacob S. Knabb, Dave Housley, Jason Behrends, Anna March, Victor David Giron, Jason Pettus, Moeses Soulright, Ryan W. Bradley, Steve Lafler, Lavinia Ludlow, Rob Funderburk, Greg Olear, John Barrios, Joseph G. Peterson, Michael Seidlinger, Gabino Iglesias, Adam Lawrence, Dave McNamara, Mike Smolarek, Beth Gilstrap, Duncan MacKenzie, Andrew Keating, Matty Byloos, Brad Listi, Michael Czyzniejewski, Ken Wohlrob, Myles and Noah Tanzer, Leza Cantoral, David Masciotra, Clayton Smith, Bryanna Tartt, Mel Bosworth, Paul Cohen, Todd Summar, Eric Vaubel, Megan Stielstra, Hosho McCreesh, W. Todd Kaneko, Jim Warner, Mathieu Cailler, David S. Atkinson, Debbie Pritzker, BL Pawelek, James Yates, Kristin Fouquet, Citizen Lit, Clayton Smith, Seth Berg, Maggie Manoyan, Amber Sparks, Mike McClelland, Lori Jakiela, Robert Vaughan, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Meg Tuite, Robert Duffer, Brian Alan Ellis, Jen Epstein, Keir Graff, Emma Irving, Joanna Topor MacKenzie, Jeff Linkenback, Anthony Michael Morena, Brad Wolff, Bob Hartley, Joanna Shroeder, Johnny Misfit, Jennifer Parker, The Book Cellar, Gretchen Kalwinski, Michael Paige Glover, Jennifer Banash, City Lit Books, Marilyn Atlas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Art Edwards, Judith Tanzer, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Erika T. Wurth, Leesa Cross-Smith, Brian Gresko, Garret Schuelke, Shaindel Beers, Chris L. Terry, Kara Vernor, Adam Tanzer, Patricia Ann McNair, Sean Beaudoin, Sean H. Doyle, John Reed, Jerry Brennan, Serena Makofsky, Callie Nelson, Lauren Becker, Marisa Siegel, Robert James Russell, Brian Gresko, Lori Hettler, Christian Winn, Charita Cole Brown, Spencer Dew, Glen Binger, Carlos "Dzine" Rolon, Steve Karas, Aubrey Cox, Sarina Prabasi, Barry Graham, Bud Smith, Jennifer Steele, Wendy C. Ortiz, Dave Newman, Steve Eisner, Donald Quist, Christine Rice, D. Foy, Ben Drevlow, JH Palmer, Cari Luna, Elaine Soloway, Dede Cummings, Steve Luna, Rachel Slotnick, Behn Reza, The Mooney's, Cyn Vargas, Allison Joseph, Keith Lesmeister, Sara Lippmann, Mikaela Shea Fowler, Bud Smith, Ariel Rudolph, Giano Cromley, Zoe Zolbrod, Kali VanBaale, Tom Williams, Jennifer Pastiloff, Joshua Mohr, Amy Danzer, Patrick Wensink, Sarah Ward, Nicholas Barron, Alice Kaltman, Paul Cohen, Susan Messing, James Hornor, Rick Kogan, Amy Guth, Jeff Pfaller, Shaindel Beers, Christine Eberle, Volumes Bookcafe, Leland Cheuk, Rebecca George, Robert James Russell, Donald G. Evans, Davis Schneiderman, Ray Charbonneau, Sam Slaughter, Gina Frangello, Steph Post, Rachel Hyman, Nick Ostdick, John Tribble, Len Kuntz, Pete Anderson, Terry Hiner, Pam Hoadley, the Tomaloff's, Paula Bomer, Brandon Will, Melissa Faliveno, J. Bradley, Jason Fisk, Gint Aras, Yogi Roth, Eric Spitznagle, Beth Gilstrap, Ryan Ridge, Lisa Fay Coutley, Jeffrey Pfaller, Dane Bahr, Lee L. Krecklow, Keidra Chaney, Rob Funderburk, Christopher Bowen, Liz Mason, Chris Tarry, Leah Angstman, David Olimpio, Jessica Kashiwabara, Micah Philbrook