It’s that time of new year again, where I populate this site with some content.
Was 2018 better for anyone else, or was it just that I didn’t get divorced, have to move four times, and endure the shock of our president? Few things have disturbed me as much as Kavanaugh or family separations (and all the continued Satanic acts against brown people), so it wasn’t a good year, but at least the good side won the House, and some monsters got fired. Some great art happened too, some of which I saw/read/listened to.
Favorite films (released)
Let the Sunshine In
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Ladies, the implosion of MoviePass really hurt me. How’s a guy supposed to pay $18 for every movie A.O. Scott tells him to see? I could buy the BluRay for less — and I will!
I didn’t have to suffer through anything as awful as The Shape of Water, but a first pass through the award-buzz flicks was dispiriting. Crazy Rich Asians made me cry three times. I walked out of First Reformed. And I need to know what single moment wasn’t flawless about the Suspiria remake. Do you all remember how frightless Argento’s was?
Anyway, I also dug BlackKklansman, Annihilation, A Quiet Place, Searching, the first act of Hereditary, and, yes, The Meg.
Favorite books (read)
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
Out of Africa, Karen Blixen
Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, J.D. Salinger
Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith
My Struggle, Book 5, Karl Ove Knausgaard
The Aspern Papers, Henry James
Autumn, Karl Ove Knausgaard
The Sign of the Cross, Colm Tóibín
My House, Nikki Giovanni
Abide with Me, Elizabeth Strout
After 13 years of failed resolutions, I did it! Read a book a week: 52! And started another 11! Were there some audiobooks in there? (I never said I was perfect.) And books of poetry? (In fact seven!) What about that absurdist 40-page story by George Saunders with huge fonts and illustrations? (It was bound!)
Knausgaard reclaimed his spot as my favorite writer, followed closely by Henry James and Thomas Merton — not listed, sorry, Tom. Her memoir just missed the cut, but Parker Posey made me bark with laughter so much I nearly read it twice. Woolf knocked my pants off, Strout made me weep, and Salinger wrote all nine of my nine favorite short stories. Most important: Smith is a poet laureate we don’t deserve, but I’m so grateful and astounded we have.
Favorite albums (discovered)
Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Sweetener, Ariana Grande
Ventriloquism, Meshell Ndegeocello
Traveling Alone, Tift Merritt
Be the Cowboy, Mitksi
Songs of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen
Steady On, Shawn Colvin
Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
boygenius EP, boygenius
Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Emmylou Harris
Barely a y-chromosome to be seen, just how I like it. If you’re interested in my favorite tracks, they’re pretty fun and all here. And my honorables:
Chris, Christine & the Queens
Broken English, Marianne Faithfull
Tambourine, Tift Merritt
Sweet Unknown, Erika Wennerstrom
Hunter, Anna Colvi
The Dustbowl Symphony, Nanci Griffith
Goodnight City, Martha Wainwright
About U, MUNA
Favorite performances (witnessed)
Look, I could say the whole fuckin cast of Angels in America on Broadway, except Lee Pace sabotaged every scene with what my high school community theater director would’ve called “just loud talking.” What was perfect en masse was the full guest cast of At Home with Amy Sedaris. She’s a national treasure and signed a book for my boyfriend simply, “Loser!”
Lauren Bacall in her High Point commercials
Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women on Broadway
Amy Sedaris, At Home with Amy Sedaris
Mayhem Miller at Micky’s Showgirls in WeHo
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Kim Viera in pants, the Como music video
Julie Christie, McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
Erin Gibson miming a gynecological exam at the Condo Sweet Condo Throwing Shade Live tour (buy her book, henny)