Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 Highlights

While I am in the reflective mood, I figured I would talk about some of the highlights of last year. It was a huge year for everyone because it was our final guffaw for “end of the world” jokes. The year brought us many ups and downs, but overall I would say 2012 was a great year. I know personally I experienced some serious life/career changes that were met with great trepidation, but I have since whole-heartedly embraced. Change is fucking scary guys! Ten years ago, I definitely would have never thought I’d be where I am today but I am pretty happy with what I’ve done. Sometimes I think I’m such an adult and I really have it all together, then I find myself at Toys R Us debating over which Hulk Hands I need to buy. I think it’s important not to take ourselves so seriously all the time.

As I get older (I really hate that phrase), it’s harder to get excited about things especially music. I’ve been to enough concerts to last a lifetime, but this year I saw some really special shows. I had some really great opportunities that I am so thankful for. So without further adieu, here are my favorite moments of 2012:

I hate to be the jaded, old asshole who complains about music these days, but it is inevitable. For the most part, current music is bullshit. It lacks honesty, heart, and most of all creativity. If you disagree, by all means show me a band that will blow my mind away. Show me a band that will have me sobbing in my Lone Star tall boy the way Paul Westerberg and company can. Play me a song that will break my fucking heart to pieces the way Jawbreaker does. I dare you!

This last year I got to see some truly amazing bands live. I got to see Devo and Blondie on the same bill in my hometown no less! That show had maybe the best crowd I have ever seem. It was nothing but exuberant 40 somethings in their casual Friday attire just having a good ol’ time listening to awesome music. There were no attitudes, no pre-judgments, no shade, and no hipsters. Both bands sounded great. It was really pleasing to see Devo at a big venue like Stubbs and not some cramped music hall like I had before during SXSW. Blondie was amazing. Debbie Harry is old enough to be my mom, but she can still command a stage better than Taylor Swift or X-Tina any day. Debbie Harry has always been an icon for me and I am so glad she did not disappoint. I can’t tell you how much fun I had.

Getting to see JAMC at House of Blues in Houston was a wonderful experience I will never forget. They have been a long time favorite of mine and it was such a fun and LOUD show. They played all the hits. And we got to see a full set with encore, not some shitty “industry only,” 30 minute set at SXSW. Equally amazing was the dinner Chris P and I indulged in at House of Pies beforehand. I’m kinda glad we don’t have one in Austin; otherwise I’d be in big trouble.

2003 was the last time Blake Schwarzenbach (with JTB) officially recorded a full length album. In 2012, he finally released a long overdue album with his latest project, forgetters. To be perfectly honest, I’d listen to anything Blake put out. He is by far my favorite songwriter of all time. When you’re a teenager, new and exciting music is so accessible. It’s when you get older that you become less enchanted and sometimes I really miss that feeling of being memorized by a new song. I read this really whimsical article about growing up with a band, specifically Jawbreaker. It really hit home. For me, listening to Jawbreaker or even JTB is like looking through old photo albums. I can see myself stumbling around the streets of San Francisco in the middle of the night, late night sing-alongs, gazing out the window of a tour bus watching the stars on a long drive, or throwing on “Jet Black” on the jukebox at Emos. To see one of my old standbys create something new and invigorating is incredibly breathtaking. This album is great and it reminds me why I fell in love with Schwarzenbach’s words all those years ago.

My dog (Spike) and I got to attend our first red carpet movie premiere. We were fortunate enough to win tickets to the world premiere of Tim Burton’s delightful film about a boy and his best friend, Sparky. I know I have talked endlessly about this special event, but I can’t tell you how exciting it was for us. My little gentleman was on his best behavior too. It must have been the bow tie. The whole experience was a dream come true for this little Goth girl.

One of my favorite current actors is Michael Fassbender. I thought he was just brilliant in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and I was blown away by his performance (among other things) in SHAME. He was the only saving grace of PROMETHEUS. I cannot wait for the new Terrence Malick film he was shooting here in Austin. I really think Fassy has a long successful career ahead of him. Not to mention that he’s absolutely gorgeous. Kenny and I often frenquent Big Top Candy Store on South Congress following our usual Sunday Brunch. So there we were, sitting by the window at Big Top when you know who walks by. Kenny said, “Isn’t that…” As I turned to look, I nearly choked on the Jelly Bellies I was in the middle of eating when I realized he was standing right in front of me! We immediately got up and ran out to see where Fassy was headed. He looked so effortlessly casual sipping on a Topo Chico while strolling down the street. I was completely start struck!

San Antonio Spurs v. Boston Celtics
Last year I was able to attend my first NBA game and more importantly, I was able to take my mother to her first game. My mother is a die hard basketball fan and lifelong Spurs fan. I could care less about the Spurs, but I do love Boston. As a surprise early Christmas present, I got her a ticket and did not tell her until game day. She was so excited and we really had a great time. It's a good thing I got to see Rondo play right before his season was done due to an injury. I look forward to more games and maybe next time Boston can win.

This summer marked another first for me, the first time watching a film in IMAX. Despite your opinion on TDKR, it was truly exhilarating watching a film on a screen that spans six stories. A huge portion of the film was shot in IMAX which made it look all the more tremendous. Also, getting to see this film a few days before the actual release was really exciting. For a brief moment, we could enjoy something special without it being marred by some psycho with a gun.

Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson
In December my favorite comic book writer came to our local comic book shop to do a signing with a legend in his own right, Bernie Wrightson. Steve Niles has virtually changed the face of horror in comic books; he’s made it refreshing & fun. I saw Wrightson at Comic Con this year which was a blast. If you haven’t checked out his amazing artwork, you are missing out. I highly suggest his current book, Frankenstein Alive Alive which is also written by Niles. It’s funny, when you follow people on various social networking sites; you become very familiar with their personal lives. I know all about Niles’ tortoise Gil, his sick cat he recently had to euthanize, and his lovely partner Monica. However, I still felt a bit nervous meeting him. I spoke briefly with Mr. Niles who was genuinely nice and hospitable. It was a lot of fun!

2012 Presidential Election
How can we talk about 2012 and not mention the presidential race? I often forget that The Peoples Republic of Austin is very different from the rest of the conservative state of Texas. My first time voting was during the 2000 election. I voted (more than once) for a man I whole-heartedly believed in and trust, Ralph Nadar. I still stand by my decision. It was an exciting and eye-opening time for m then. It sounds really clich├ęd, but I think we really owe a civic duty to vote. I hear so many people complain about the state of the county and do nothing to change it. I have been that same person and I have also been the person in the streets rallying together with other like minds. I know people who can quote bullshit football statistics, but have no clue what our foreign policy is. I’m not saying I’m an expert on politics, but I know enough to choose a side. No matter who you support, you should always vote! And don’t be afraid to discuss your opinions with others in a mature respectful manner. You do a bigger disservice to yourself by being ambivalent.

New Order
Probably the highlight of my year was getting to see one of my Top 5 favorite bands of all time live in person! Finally getting to see New Order play was completely mind blowing. Getting to see them with my dear friend Ruth made it even more special. It meant just as much to her as it did to me. This was truly a good year for me and music. I consider myself a diehard cinephile first and foremost, but this last year really reminded me of how important music is.

The year is yours for the taking and it is truly what you make of it. I hope you all have a great 2013!

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