Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
If I’m being honest I think that more than a few of my theses these past few years have turned out to be wrong. But the most important thing is that we’re still playing. It’s a privilege to play.
So here’s to the next phase. The new world begins today.
I’ll keep adding to this as I think of things but seeing as 1) it’s been a damn moment and 2) Lunar New Year is upon us let’s do a wrap-up for 2021, yeah? In many ways 2021 felt like well more than a year’s worth of material—something to be incredibly grateful for but also not something to make any sweeping statements about yet.
Regardless here are some of my favorite things from the year that was 2021:
any actual movie-going experience with friends, Kristin Stewart in “Spencer”, Mike Faist in “West Side Story”, Jason Mamoa in “Dune”, any score by Jonny Greenwood, John Chu’s direction of “In the Heights”, Lin Manual Miranda’s for “Tick,Tick…Boom!”, the groundbreaking format of “Bad Trip”, Evan Peters in “Mare of Easttown”, Jean Smart in “Hacks”, “How To” with John Wilson, William Harper Jackson and Jessica Williams in “Love Life”, the fun vibes of “Only Murders in the Building”, the production design of “Loki”, any Chase Dreams song from “The Other Two”, that Roy sibling tableau in the “Succession” Season 3 finale, the Butt Plug episode of “The Premise”, the Zillow sketch on SNL, the music and zeitgeist-seizing phenomenon of “Squid Game”, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (and any George Saunders podcast interview for that matter), Rusty Brown, that Jeremy Strong New Yorker profile, Olivia Rodrigo, “Being Alive” and “Finishing the Hat” by Stephen Sondheim, Fresh Air’s three part tribute to Stephen Sondheim, every moment of playing through Spider-man: Miles Morales, the three times I played Ring Fit Adventure, finally finishing Zelda: Breath of the Wild, playing through A Way Out with Ben, the Bears trading up to draft Justin Fields, every sack by Robert Quinn, the unexpected success of the new-look Bulls, driving around upstate for Jing’s birthday, getting this story published in The Margins, the birthday dinner at Peking Duck House, philosophical discussions over chocolate with Scott, the Peking duck at Mr. Jiu’s, wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma, the early summer dinner at Mayfield, Sean’s bachelor party, Sean and Stephanie’s wedding, exploring the Jersey Shore boardwalk, every pork roll/Taylor ham eaten, the Kusama exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, the final set configuration of Shakespeare in the Park’s Merry Wives, the single beach trip to Fort Tilden, the monorail at the Bronx Zoo, the Katie Kitamura/Hari Kunzru outdoor reading under the bridge with Nicole, the epic dinner at Nom Wah, any moment Felicia was in New York, the late dinner at Cha Kee, seeing Stars play at Le Poisson Rouge, being able to watch a Bears-Vikings game with Kishan, eating a legit burrito with Seeyew, the Christmas dinner with relatives in Palo Alto, any pastry from Supermoon Bakehouse or Arsicault, every home cooked meal from Mom, my Airpods Pro, my iPhone 13 Pro, my iPad Pro, my PS5.
Let’s do this, 2022!
Let’s not beat around the bush: 2019 damn near killed me. It was a tough year on a personal level. One could certainly also point to the world at large etc. etc. but sometimes it’s comforting to be distracted (or mortally threatened) by what’s directly in front of you. So 2019 wasn’t great, but that’s okay. Some years are up and some years are down. That’s why we play the game.
But alas, dear reader, what this also means is that I’m not really in the mood for a best of/year in review post. That’s not to say 2019 wasn’t without its beautiful moments, it’s just that everything might be a little too fresh. The preponderance of “Best of Decade” lists being thrown around also feels premature—what say we give this sucker some time to sink in?
So where does that leave us? I don’t know what kind of creature 2020 will turn out to be but thus far it’s been pleasant enough. So I promise to keep slugging away. There will be at least one 2019 movies post because I’ve actually compiled the data. And yes, I promise I’ll post more than once this year.
Watched this on Saturday and I’m still thinking about it.
Thanks for introducing me to the song, Casey.
It’s been nearly a year since I discovered the Forty Days of Dating project and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve still only read up to Day 21. In my defense I kinda don’t want to get to the end too soon; it’s a fascinating experiment made even more beautiful by the presentation, and a good reminder that Life needs to be not only a series of Emersonian experiments but a series of finished projects as well.
Jesus, there are lots of little funny things. I can’t even remember half of them. That’s what happens to a life, though, isn’t it. The little ornate things drizzle away, like cakes in rain, while the big blocky stuff is left to stand in for a lifetime of minutiae. Sad and beautiful.
– former San Francisco Film Society Executive Director Graham Leggat
Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Best of 2012 list coming soon.
On good days, I feel like this guy
On crazy days, I feel like this girl
On really bad days, I feel like I have this guy’s job
I’m headed to Black Rock City for the weekend. It sounds like something out of a videogame but for the uninitiated (a group to which I suppose I still belong) it means I’m going to Burning Man. It also means subsisting in the open Nevada desert for more than a couple days. In honor of these terrifying conditions, I present to you a list of my Top 5 Desert Pop Culture References that I will take with me to BRC:
5. The English Patient — An epically long and (curiously) epically lauded movie about some dude who gets his face burned off in the desert. Overall I remember feeling pretty lukewarm about this movie — didn’t love it as much as the critics, didn’t detest it as much as Elaine Benes — but the sheer length of time it took to watch burned lasting images of desert sandstorms and Kristin Scott Thomas into my mind forever.
4. “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)”, The Simpsons — In this classic episode Homer finds himself hallucinating in the desert after eating a lethal pepper at a chili cook-off. This may have genuinely been my first clue to comprehending the subversive potential of mind-altering substances; personally I’m thinking heatstroke might have the same effect.
3. Star Wars — Who could forget the desert planet of Tatooine, with its Jawas, Sand People and double sunsets? Given the propensity for kooky costumes at Burning Man, I fully expect every camp to look something like Mos Eisley.
2. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — Thompson’s classic travelogue of Vegas and the surrounding Nevada desert, ostensibly reported entirely from an altered state of mind. I think it’s going to be pretty difficult not to channel Thompson’s prose (or Johnny Depp’s narration) during all the madness I expect to see this weekend.
1. Frank Herbert’s Dune — I have to confess that I haven’t actually finished this book. But from the bits that I read last year I understood quite viscerally what it meant to be on a desert planet where any exposure to the elements could spell immediate death. People going outside on Arrakis have to wear special suits just to harvest their sweat, for Pete’s sake. And let’s not get started about the giant sand worms. Here’s hoping BRC isn’t anything at all like Arrakis, but if it is, I feel a little more prepared for it.
I feel certain I’ve missed some other glaringly obvious ones (Wrath of Khan was #6 if you’re curious, though I don’t even remember if there truly was a desert), but that’s all I’ve got right now. Did I mention that at night the desert is supposed to turn to Hoth-like temperatures?
See you on the other side