2014: Keep Everything Weird

In 2014, we kept everything weird, from Austin to Portland to, derivatively, Louisville. I don’t remember how the year started for us; I’m sure it seemed perfectly normal at the time. Locally, many were excited about the idea of Mitch McConnell being sent into retirement, aka – making a whole bunch more money than ever as a lobbyist. But that whole episode, which seemed endless for a while, with the constant ads, mailings, knocks on doors and non-news stories about minor gaffs from both sides – seems so long ago now, no? Only this week’s pointless greeting card from Secretary Grimes and her loverman reminds me that we ever thought we had a chance.

Joan RiversWhat will history remember about 2014? Probably the horrific racism and brutality involved in the deaths of men who could have done so much more with their lives, if they had more time or been born into different circumstances. But to those of us old enough to remember Rodney King, Ferguson 2014 was just like 1992 Los Angeles all over again.

Maybe we’ll remember this as the worst year for comedy in history. Bill Cosby’s secret, long (alleged) history is probably the saddest, maddest thing I think I’ve ever heard. Robin Williams’ early exit was terribly sad and, at first, unbelievable, though eventually understandable. The great Joan Rivers was a young 81, but at least she went out on top. Tracy Morgan suffered a terrible brain injury in a crash that took the life of one of his friends. While he’s working towards recovery, he might never be the same again, a real loss. Mike Nichols, whose life in comedy grew from being a sketch pioneer in the ‘50s to a director of some very influential movies, was, like Rivers, in his 80s, and his life had been full of so much achievement. At least we mostly retired the cretinous Jay Leno, whose late night show should have been called “The Walking Dead (With O.J. Simpson Jokes).”

Robin WilliamsBut maybe 2014 will be remembered as the year Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Franco took us to the brink of war like Kennedy’s men arriving at the Bay of Pigs. Oh, yeah, and we’re cool with Cuba again. Based on the events of this year, at this point I fully expect Chelsea Handler to cure cancer while Vladimir Putin is marrying Edward Snowden by this time in 2015. Also, Burt Reynolds will once again be the biggest movie star in the world, and Hillary Clinton will decide against running for President because she will have decided to become a full-time Elvis impersonator instead. This, or some even weirder stuff, will all happen, definitely.

Did anything good happen? Sure. St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, Beck and Aphex Twin made some great albums we’ll be digging into for a long time. “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Gotham” got off to pretty fun starts. Leslie Jones breathed some life into “Saturday Night Live.” Oh, man, and how about “Boyhood”? That was an amazing accomplishment. Did “Frozen” come out this year?

You’re reading this post-New Year’s Eve party planning. So, hopefully, if you hadn’t been to 8Up yet, New Year’s made for an interesting time to take in the food, music and overall ambiance in the hotel nightlife hotspot. Holy Grale offered an “Around the World Dinner Party” with a special guest famous DJ (we could not confirm if it was Daft Punk or someone else, like Will Oldham, at press time). Play offered one of the world’s most famous Britney Spears impersonators, Derrick Barry. If you like doing it live, perhaps you took in Jason Isbell and Shovels & Rope at the Palace Theater, or Tropical Trash and Humongous at Nachbar.

See you next year, when Dolly Parton is revealed to be a serial killer…VT