Top Ten Discoveries of 2012:
1. NC Day Trips: Were you aware that about 45 minutes out of Chapel Hill, there's a block-wide antique mall in Sanford with everything from terrifying dolls to LPs to costume jewelry to Members Only jackets? That 2.5 hours away is Wilmington, where you can take pictures of every Blue Velvet landmark you recognize? Other highlights: the zoo in Asheboro (and an Asheboro psychic), downtown Graham and its movie theater, Saxapahaw in general, and for an evening drink, The Wooden Nickel in Hillsborough.
2. Mac DeMarco: singer of odes to cheap Canadian cigarettes, player of a Pinhook show that was boozy & energetic. His full-length record has a permanent place of residence in my car.
3. Museums: The Nasher, The Ackland, the NC Musum of Art, and most recently, Raleigh's CAM -- sometimes, instead of loafing around in Spongebob pajamas, it's nice to have a weekend full of edification & inspiration. Plus, the price is right and you look cultured if you take your date.
4. New Girl: It seemed too cute to be true, but this new Zooey-helmed series has been endorsed by my two hip male roommates. I mean, it's just really funny. I don't think there needs to be any more explanation.
5. My Continued Surprise & Astonishment at the Triangle's Music Scene: There's some weird and wonderful stuff going on here y'all. The local proliferation continues, but let us not forget the venues booking huge national acts. Some 2012 favorites: Ty Segall at King's, Woods & Widowspeak at Duke Coffeehouse this Halloween, Mac DeMarco at Pinhook, Guardian Alien at Hopscotch, Thee Oh Sees at Hopscotch, Ed Askew at Nightlight.
6. The Value of Print Media: Oh hey, soapbox, didn't see ya there! Let me expound -- print media, particularly of the local variety, is what I trust. There's always a margin of (human) error, but I value outlets like The Independent Weekly, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker for their commitment to long-form, in-depth coverage. Also shouts out to all the college papers (The DTH at UNC was my first rodeo).
7. PAPER BOOKS: Michael Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Stayed, Paris I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin, The Minus Times, and a plethora of fiction & memoir at my former place of employment, Flyleaf Books.
8. Miyazaki: I had never seen Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro before. What even?! Anyway, cured that deficiency by way of the Carolina Theater's Miyazki film fest. I keep hoping my roommate's cat Archie is secretly a Totoro.
9. The milkshakes at 9th street's Ox & Rabbit: While you slurp a thick shake (my favorite is white ginger, but lavender vanilla's nothing to scoff at) at a converted, updated soda-shop counter, you can pick up fancy candles, cookbooks, letterpress cards, or a necklace whose pendant resembles a piece of chewed-up gum.
10. Most importantly... Twin Peaks: In 2012, I watched both seasons of this uber-hip, prematurely-canceled series directed by David Lynch. If I ever have offspring, I will describe this period of my life as the Twin Peaks Era. The time when I reconsidered scrunchies, watched Mullholland Drive, wore fake glasses, and pressed my coworkers as to whether I was more Donna or Audrey. The time when I considered sitting on my couch with a VHS and a bag of chips a date. I will never erase the indelible, nightmarish image of Bob from my mind. As for my Twin Peaks totem, I maintain: Log Lady til I die.
Spotify Playlist: Ten Favorite Songs of 2012
1. Tame Imapala -- Elephant (from Lonerism)
2. Mac DeMarco -- Ode to Viceroy (from LP2)
3. Mount Moriah -- Plane (reissued on Merge in 2012; initially released in 2011 on Mount Moriah)
4. Ty Segall Band -- I Bought My Eyes (from Slaughterhouse)
5. Frank Ocean -- Thinkin Bout You (from Channel Orange)
6. Liars -- No. 1 Against the Rush (from WIXIW)
7. Thee Oh Sees -- Nervous Harvest (from Thee Oh Sees/Total Control split)
8. Woods -- Bend Beyond (from Bend Beyond)
9. Father John Misty -- Nancy From Now On (from Fear Fun)
10. Sharon Van Etten -- Give Out (from Tramp)