JOHN HANLON, Brooklyn NY
Not a great year for culture, pop or otherwise, nor even a particularly coherent year. The event of 2011 was Occupy Wall Street, which addressed the tough problems of how we now live in a way that no art seemed capable of doing. As the internet continues to erode even the concept of mainstream entertainment, we may be in for more years like 2011, in which everything seems deeply personal but still marginal.
This in addition to the fact that I am perpetually catching up (favorite thing I watched this year? Mad Men. Finally.) makes it difficult for me to judge the best of any given year. Despite all that, here is a list of seven things from 2011 I liked:
1. The Book of Mormon
As great as everyone says. It has so many awesome parts.
2. Congress of Animals by Jim Woodring
Both the man and the show.
4. Moebius Trans Forme
I traveled all the way to Paris to see this career retrospective of one of my favorite artists. I suspect it was a once in a lifetime exhibit, but here's hoping that I'm wrong.
5. Paying for It by Chester Brown
Brown’s essay in the form of a memoir is either a study in denial or a provocative argument for a new way of living.
Marginal by design, almost to the point of being a mission statement, but every episode features something that makes me laugh out loud and there’s no show I look forward to watching more.
7. Tree of Life
Funny that we were both mostly unmoved in 2011... as for you choices, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the seriousness of the second season of LOUIE, and thought his album HILARIOUS didn't quite live up to its title. I still love the guy, though.
PORTLANDIA is extremely hit-or-miss (you can tell when nothing besides the basic premise has been written), but when it hits, it's delightful (assuming you loved the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA bit on the latest episode, which gave a far more satisfying conclusion than the actual show did).
Still haven't seen TREE OF LIFE, but plan to soon. It's the one thing I really feel like I missed last year.
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