So as the end of the year approaches (Huzzah Claymas!), every news outlet seems to put out some sort of look back, best of the year, or greatest/worst of every movie, book, or album. I am a huge sucker for these; it gets me off to no end to see something that I love or hate acknowledged and debated. This year is no different, except now itâ€™s also the end of a decade, and so now we are blessed with lists covering 10 years worth! My only beef with these lists is they seem so limited by category.
If I listened only to music for fun, or took in cinema for my only form of entertainment, Iâ€™d be able to produce one single â€śgenreâ€ť entertainment list.
But this is not the case. Feeling this was unfair to all the experiences I had ingested over the course of ten years, I challenged myself to create a best of list of mixed media from the past decade that, for better or worse, entertained me. No limits. If it occupied my time in the last ten years, it was up for grabs. Now in some particular order is the:
BEST OF MY DECADE
10. Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera (2001)
This play continues to amaze me. Looking for new plays in college, it was the cover art that pulled me in. It was this dilapidated house that held this naked body that seemed to fluctuate in between two worlds. It had nothing to do with the play I am talking about but it led me to the collection. The last play in the trio was Cloud Tectonics, and it was right up my alley. I knew I was going to like it from the start based on the quotes at the beginning of the play from Pablo Neruda and Stephen Hawking. They set the mood of the play. The play is a boy meets girl story that plays with time, love, and sex. Riveraâ€™s plays have been described as â€śmagical realismâ€ť and are able to capture the time that passes when youâ€™re with someone you love. Even though I know this play very well now, every time I read it, I feel my heart expand.
9. Old 97â€™s- Fight Songs (2000)
â€śAll I ever wanted to do, was lie around in bed with you. I was only 19.â€ť
In the early part of the 2000â€™s, this CD was the soundtrack for my next two years. A combination of love and heartbreak songs so perfect at the time, I should have commissioned them myself, and all of them from an alt-country band in my home state. My move from Texas to the East Coast a year behind me, I felt that this album was a taste of home sent to make me remember to never forget. I gave a copy to anyone with a CD player and a faint interest in the music. And while the best Old 97â€™s album might be â€śToo Far to Care,â€ť this one cut me right to the core. If anyone wants a copy of either let me know.
8. A Midsummer Nights Dream (2003, 2004)
I toured with this show for two summers in Boston, and while I do love the play, the main reason it was on this list is the fact that I spent two summers in an amazing city where all I had to do was work on something I was passionate about. It was like college with out all the bullshit. From sun up to sun down, I was building shows, rehearsing, or taking master classes in a number of theater arts. While I still work on shows with people I love, they donâ€™t compare to those summers with free rent, free breakfast, and the words of the Bard.
7. Halo 2 -Video Game (2004)
Ok, I can wield two different guns and kill my friend Joey Klecan who moved to New York to go to pharmacy school? Hells Yes!
This game made me its bitch, from late nights talking to 12 year olds who just pwned me using the noob-combo to the campaign, which let me play as both Master Chief and the Arbiter. While the end of the game was a bit of a let down, the countless hours (I can count, I just donâ€™t want to) online made up for it in every way.
6. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (2006)
“Everythingâ€™s so easy for Pauline …. ”
Neko Caseâ€™s first solo album in four years just plain rocks in addition to her voice still being amazing. This is a classic case where an artist grows and leaves a little of the twang behind for the better, and while it might not be in the music as much, you can definitely hear it in her angelic voice.
5. Maryland vs Duke at Cole Field House (2001)
The year before the Terps won the national championship, and I was ready to set fire to anything that would burn in celebration, I witnessed a huge upset at Cole Field House. I had to watch the final minute (what would be called the Miracle Minute) from the top of the student section because I was on my way out.
Thinking we were safe with a ten point lead, the hated Blue Devils took sixty seconds to score ten points to send the game into overtime, they would go on to win the game. They would also win later in the year taking the Terps out of the NCAA tournament, another fan to the flame of the Maryland/ Duke rivalry, which does exist, no matter what Duke says.
4. Doing it!
I got it on more in the last ten years ,with diffrent people, then any other time up till that point. I might not have such high numbers this next decade, and thats really not such a bad thing.
3. Bio Shock- Video Game (2008)
Quite simply marvelous. Part first person shooter, part strategy, part pipe dream, it made me feel like I was playing a movie. The story alone was kick ass , it even made Ayn Rand interesting. Spooky and visually interesting with a moral compass, it created a world that I didnâ€™t want to leave. So much so that when I was close to the end, I would shelve it for weeks at a time. It should be played for the twists alone.
2. This American Life (2000-Present)
It started with a present and a promise. In the early part of the decade, one of my good friends gave me the disc of her favorite radio program, Lies, Sissies and Fiascoes: The Best of This American Life. It just stuck. It was funny and sad, and more than that seemed very honest. I would be the guy waiting on Sunday afternoon to hear the soothing, slightly effeminate voice of Ira Glass telling me stories about other people trying their best or the very effeminate voice of David Sedaris telling me stories of a childhood way more terrible than mine.
I would audio stream my favorites on my PC over and over while in college, and then with the dawn of the the iPod age, podcast them. I also went to the show live this year and sat in the 7th row. Even the TV show was well done. That one about pork farms still sticks with me. Now at the end of the decade, their coverage with the Planet Money people on the Recession is as informative as it is entertaining.
1. Arrested Development-TV series (2003-2006)
I am to blame for the downfall of this spectacular TV series because while it was still on air, I never watched it. For the first year it existed, I didnâ€™t know about it. It was the DVD release of the first season and the fact that I could watch each episode one right after another finally made me take notice. It was everything the critics said and more; funny and smart and substantial.
So many jokes layered in each episode, even on the 12th viewing, youâ€™re finding new things to laugh at. Oh man, I was a huge nerd about this show, throwing out quotes and seeing who could pick them up like we were in some secret club.
â€śA banger in the mouthâ€ť
â€śGet rid of the Seawardâ€ť
â€śThank god they have my brandsâ€ť
â€śYour gonna get some hop-onsâ€ť
â€śI am having a love affair with this ice cream sandwichâ€ť
And I wrote those just thinking about the show. I really hope they make that movie, but until then
â€ś STEVE HOLT!â€ť