So another Super Bowl in the bag. Another pretty good time watching two teams I have no real feelings about. I mean we have been lucky as a world the last few years with pretty good games to watch. No longer has it been all about the commercials and halftime show! Now its only kind of about those! Well lets get those out of the way then. The opening staring slim fasted Jennifer Hudson a choir, but here is the “hook”… They were survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting. It managed to hit mostly the right amount of somber sentimentality celebrity our country likes, so its all good. But those little rapscallions were easily upstaged by the “Trolololo” sign language interpreter. I believe the kids call it “supermaning a [garden utensil]”.
While most of the girls I’ve talked to were sups-stups excited about a Destiny’s Child reunion, I couldn’t help but wonder how pissed the two other children felt about singing Bey’s songs. They also looked as if they were concerned about the amount of jelly that would be on stage, not nearly as bootilicious as Beyonce.
Good show indeed. Probably the best thing about it was its simplicity in performers. Outside of the flaming guitar, there didn’t really seem to be any missteps, unless you include no Jigga Jay-Z cameo. But as my dad pointed out to me, this show was “Girls Only!”
As per usual, the commercials were overhyped. Not bad, not great, just several commercials of varying success, being judged on a ridiculous scale. They haven’t been the same since the late 90s, early 00s in my opinion. Some good stuff, was definitely on display, but maybe we could stop acting like this is the Super Bowl of commercial viewing events and treat it like the “Stanley Cup” of commercial viewing events. Ram’s black and white “Farmer” commercial was very well done, but felt like it had be hit on before with Levi’s commercials a few years ago. That said, its what everyone is talking about, no such thing as bad publicity I suppose. I prefer seeing a astronaut baby walking next to an astronaut baby panda. Surely too much cuteness for the lights in the Superdome. Also, I don’t care what you say, Fast Five was as good of a summer popcorn flick thats ben out in a while. I’m looking forward to Fast and Furious 6: Boeing Drift.
I guess I could touch on the game a smidgen. The blackout helped the 49ers get the momentum back to nil, but the Ravens held strong. And by held strong I mean they got not one, but two brutal holding no-calls in the last 30 seconds of the game. The only possible reason is that a white suit Ray Lewis had Ed Hochuli locked up and gaged before the game. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, Ed Hochuli is made of pure essence of deer antler.
Based on how many people said hello to me yesterday, you may have been informed via the Facebook, I’m now 29 and one day old. I’m not terrified of 30, since it is my golden birthday and I can bling out for it. That said, there are some things I need to accomplish. I don’t necessarily need to do so in the next year, but consideration should be made before my bones are brittle and I need to drink special milk. Feel free to read this Bucket List in Morgan Freeman’s soothing, granddaughter dating voice. Get busy livin’ time.
Make a bucket list
Learn to Snowboard or snowboard a few times and learn you hate it
Go back to Europe (Westside or get deeper into the eastern block)
Get a “big boy job” (this should maybe be at the top, cause it helps fund everything else)
Eat Oysters (I just never have)
Get someone to plan a 30th birthday party for you (planning shit can be hard/annoying, just ask the Chaus)
Get back into Beer Brewing/make a name for it to encourage Andy and I to take it seriously.
Go to a European or Southern American Futbol match. (That shit’s cray)
Go to a Nascar event. Seriously, I’m really curious as to what so many people are in love with.
Go to SXWS
White water rafting
Write a script
Develop a improv show
What I got right now. I’ll let you know if it expands or when things get knocked off.
The good people at the Minnesota Playlist asked me to write a blog post about promoting your art. Is it blasphemy? Is it necessary? Well you can read my thoughts on the subject by following the link below, or scroll down and read it in Wingdings!
I live to perform in front of desolate, echo filled houses
- No One Ever.
Nothing like baring your soul in front of a group of 6 people, 3 of which are performing after you. I mean even Helen Keller liked Anne Sullivan to be around when she performed. You know, for constructive feedback.
So why is it deemed so evil to advertise for your own craft? Dont you want people to see you? Dont you want to feel the energy of people connecting with your output, your viewpoint, your sense of wonder?
And to another extent, to pay to see it. I mean the babys got to eat.
Full discloser, Im an improviser. Anyone who does improv knows it pays in $1 beers and green room assorted nuts. Not a slight against the scene at all, just the reality. While improv is getting bigger in our fair twin cities, the demand isnt quite there yet. I dont see an end in site for my performing days, just as much as I dont see it as a career. But that doesnt mean I want to perform for 6 people.
When I started my Twin Cities improv life a few years ago, I was ecstatic. Look at me Ma, I did it, I would say. I wanted all of my friends to see me. It was fun, it was funny, and it was gratifying when they would come, which was quite frequently. I lose track of how many time my sister Danielle and her husband Josh would bring their friends by the Bloomington Sheraton to see me with Stevie Rays (which has since moved towards the South Dakota border).
But that got old. Yeah, its new every time you see improv, but how much can I expect my friends to come and see me. This is maybe the most underrated metro area in the country; there are lots of cool things to do every night. Plus, I feel like my friends at a certain point would feel like they are obligated to come. Maybe thats my own paranoia, but I dont want them to ever think, well, I should go. So you pull back on the promotion a bit. I did. I still do. A lazily made Facebook event here and an awkwardly non-sequitur mention of my plans for the night there. Nada. No dice. Plus by this point Ive really narrowed in on very niche market of people who put up with my shenanigans enough to hangout with me (Websters dictionary calls them friends, Oxfords calls them blokes).
Again, I dont do this for a living. But I know lots of people that do. And it makes me sad to see them in front of an empty house. Whether its for their pocketbook or their soul.
Yes, yes, art should be for yourself first. But whoever said that first probably had a grant, an inheritance, or died with no one knowing what great writing they have done, until some estate sale ruffler found their journal years later for 35¢.
I guess its just my two cents that art is for you first. Then the discussion and discovery of others in a very close second. But it makes me sad when I find out a day later that a really cool show was going down at Bryant Lake Bowl or that there was a Rent Party at Huge Theater. Why dont I go to the Southern Theater more? You were at Comedy Underground at the Corner Bar last week? Sigh.
No one bats an eye when other forms of business promote themselves. @MrResturantPerson advertised their menu specials on Twitter or the insurance guy gave you his card. Yes, that insurance guy is annoying, but you still bought insurance from him didnt you? Cause he did half the work of letting you know it was there to be purchased in the first place.
Just dont be afraid to put yourself out there, you do it on stage anyway. You pour yourself naked onto the canvas (figuratively and some of you, literally). Your heart is all over your hooks, stanzas, and arrangements. Yes, I know so very little about music, but that doesnt mean I wont appreciate it. Just be genuine and honest when you promote yourself and what your doing. I wont mind. I bet others wont either. And you might bump that crowd of 6 up to a crowd of 7. Then that 7 turns into 8. Next thing you know youve got a Schoolhouse Rock song and a full house. Thats something worth talking about.
So something that has bothered me quite a bit as of late is the blind usage of the term hipster. Or maybe more accurately, its true lack of a definition.
Now I’m no angel. I’ve thrown the term around myself. I’m usually one of the first people to call my dear friend Beth a hipster, probably more for the reaction she will give. But do I believe she is one? Hardly. From the picture above, I’ve been called a hipster or slightly less insulting as having “hipster glasses”. Do I consider myself a hipster? Hardly, but lets examine what it is that makes someone a hipster.
The definitions on Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia are both pretty similar, so I’ll just post Urban’s:
“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”
Outside of maybe progressive politics (why so many fiscal republican friends Eric?) this describes about 98% of my homies and homegirls. Now here is a snippet from a Huffington Post article written by Julia Plevin that is probably closer to what most people think of as hipsters:
“[The] whole point of hipsters is that they avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity to an iconic carefully created sloppy vintage look.”
Now that’s more like it. The only ones really worth calling hipsters are the ones who proclaim it for themselves. She also points out that:
"[The] definition of ‘hipster’ remains opaque to anyone outside this self-proclaiming, highly-selective circle."
So basically it’s to be defined by those on the inside. They typically remain undefined by definition, if that makes sense. Or the flipside is that people will evolve a never-ending list of things they can attribute to hipster culture. Is it for funsies or contempt? I tend to not mind the former, jest is jest in my book. It’s when it happens with the latter that can be annoying. Here are some generalizations I’ve noticed more often:
Horned Rimmed Glasses
Shirts with Catchphrases
Shirts with Old Pop Culture
Mustaches or Unkempt Beards
To those keeping score at home, I believe I registered 8 to 9 of these things. Though I don’t know that any of my friends would seriously label me a hipster. But you combine that with the fact that I value intelligence, like foreign and independent films, and like Beirut.
I must be a hipster.
Well then, as my next order of business, I will add to the list of things that I like, to help you expand the definition.
The movie Gigli
All Replying to Emails
Solitaire (Free Cell or Klondike)
Fruit Snacks (looking at you gushers)
If you liked any of these things, guess what? You’re a Hipster too. If you actually enjoyed the movie Gigli (like I did and can explain why if I need to) you could be King of the Hipsters. Wait no, Hipsters need leaders name that is less mainstream. The ArchHispter or Fonzie of the Hipster Nation, maybe?
I guess that I just think it’s a silly thing to stereotype or to want or not want to be a part of. Everyone has his or her likes and dislikes. Far be it from me, or you, to decide what makes or breaks hipsterdom. This all said I’ve never been to Williamsburg. So maybe I’m the asshole for writing this when I’m going to have to recant the whole thing later when my Richard M. Nixon fears of the unknown come crashing back at me. Until then, I’m just going to sit here in my horn-rimmed glasses, with my vintage UNC jersey (Ed Cota baby), crack open a tall boy and post this to Tumblr.
So there are a great many things in this world that make me happy. The pulsating of live music. A sunny yet crisp autumn day. Inducing my own sneezing (I never said some of them wouldn’t be weird).
But one of the top three to five things I enjoy, is making my mother laugh. More specifically, making my mom cry from laughing too hard.
Now, it’s not always a simple as just telling a joke. You see, my mom “hates” comedy. While this statement isn’t meant to be taken at face value, it’s something she helps perpetuate herself. After I’d get home from class in junior high, I wanted to watch The Simpsons (this was when they were still in the tail end of their solid first decade). I would always get my way, but she would always put up a fight about watching a show that is so “silly,” when we could watch something staring Meredith Baxter Birney. She would always watch with me, commenting on why something is funny versus actually laughing (a huge pet peeve of mine, probably the origin). Mind you, my mom’s favorite movie is the Blues Brothers. So like I said, she doesn’t “hate” comedy. Though I think the music in Blues Brothers coupled with an shared understanding of Elwood and Jake’s plight with the Penguin, might have something to do with this being her favorite flick.
So growing up, I think I found it a challenge to get my mom to admit something was funny, but not her admitting it was funny with words. Nope, my mom would reveal it through uncontrollable vocal spasms or laughing as normal people just do.
So to my delight, as I walked through the curtains at Huge Theater last Thursday for my Theater of Public Policy show I spotted my mom and dad a few rows back. I greeted her with a :-P (yes that is an emoticon, but there didn’t seem to be a way of describing my standard hello to my mother, that didn’t come off as a bit Oedipal and creepy). I think I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve gotten my mom to start crying based on something I’ve said or acted out. Of those times two or three (including last Thursday) I didn’t get to witness it, but was informed of it happening later, in this case from my mom. The best part is her getting “mad” at me for making it happen, like I’m some sort of maniacal comedian. But instead of trying to take over the world, I just want to make Yvonne laugh. I’m just Sam L at the end of Unbreakable, screaming, “They called me Mr. Glass.” I guess if that my destiny, so be it. I’ll relish every chance I get to make my mama laugh, be it from my wit, or just me being a dumbass. I think she’s proud just the same.
Like Aladdin whippin’ around on his magic carpet, I’m in a whole new world (or does that make me Jasmine?). I just finished school, I’m performing improv pretty regularly, and I have a new task of how and where to find work. What’s nice about trying to find work now versus five-odd years ago is that I care about what I’m trying to do now. I mean part of me find business interesting, but I don’t think I was going to Excel at spreadsheets and cubicles (sorry so punny). So copywriting allows me to be analytical and creative. Double threat, dynamic, and most importantly, I don’t have to wear a monkey suit. Not my style, which isn’t to say I’m brimming with style, but a tie and dress pants make me uncomfortable. Those who know me, know not much can make me feel uncomfortable (I’m don’t care if I look cute Mom, I ain’t wearing it!). Sorry, flashback to when my mom used to dress me. She kept me looking pretty fly, I’ll admit, but I don’t think I can pull off the yellow denim anymore.
So let the networking begin. I’ve been steadily doing it for a while, and finally have the time to really schmooze with the best of them. Or at least anyone who will sit down for coffee. Expanding my search, too. Chi-town? Big Apple? The Austin City Limits? Who knows, but for the first time in a long, long time (note: Ten year High School reunion this fall, for real?) I’ve got direction and baring an economic slide (not a dance… yet) I’ve got some room to breathe and explore. Huzzah!
Otherwise I am posting it here too, which seems redundant, but I just thought it was cool someone wanted me to post something on their site. So there is proof, I am wanted. I can rest easy now.
Why I perform
Hello, my name is Eric Christopher Simons. You probably don’t recognize me as a performer from such famed improv troupes as Vicious Delicious, Meat & Cheese, The Marcus Garvey Experience, or most recently (and relatively) The Theater of Public Policy. I say you don’t recognize me because there is so much great theater to see in Minneapolis/ Saint Paul on any given day of the week, it can be easy to miss some of the smaller shows that pop up (2nd most theater seats per capita behind New York City). And in some of the smaller venues (i.e. Huge Theater). And there are often misconceptions about improv that keep people from checking it out (it is not stand up comedy).
But that’s ok. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get in front of a huge audience and make at least one person if not everyone, laugh, think, or chuckle while pondering deeply. But really my reasons for performing are quite selfish. I like to challenge myself mentally and physically. I like to make connections with people in the microseconds between completely made up dialogue. I love to keep a straight face in the wind of the most ridiculous situation I have ever witnessed. I like to break character when someone says something too low brow for anyone’s own good. I just love improving.
I’m not of a theater background if that helps add any relevance. A theater friend of mine convinced me to try out for an improv troupe back in college and that was that. It was love. 8 years later here I am. I still find it weird when someone calls me an actor. What I do is go on stage and play with my friends. The fact that you are there eavesdropping on my playtime is cool, but if you weren’t there I’d still be acting like an idiot. Or a pirate with a fish for a peg leg. Or an Alien who is allergic to truffles. Or possibly Barack Obama checking tweets from a couple of gay teens from Anoka.
So yeah, that last example was more aptly detailed. That’s because it happened a few weeks ago at The Theater of Public Policy. With this show we interview an expert in a particular field on a hot button issue, then we satirize it through improv. Again, selfish Eric found a show where he gets to play. And selfish Eric found a show that forces him to keep up with social issues that are going on from Minneapolis to the Washington DC to Spokane. It makes selfish Eric feel relevant, or at least have a relevant opinion.
Really it makes sense to have a show like T2P2 bring these issues to the forefront of the community. We do it in a way that keeps it from getting too heavy but still encourages dialogue. I love having a beer after the show and talking about the issues. It’s like a town hall in old Philly, but with less wigs and a cleaner tap system.
Ok, so maybe I lied a bit when I said I don’t care if people show up. I want to discuss these issues with as many people as possible. It’s important to hear all the sides and all the opinions. It’s important for us to keep a healthy dialogue, for we are the future (cue Whitney Houston, RIP) of this great, imperfect country.
So when it comes to both performing and keeping a dialogue on some of these divisive issues, it’s both challenging and difficult. But believe me, its well worth it.
So to those who know me, know my general annoyance with V-Day. They might say its cause I’m cheap or unromantic. The latter is certainly not true (hopelessly so) and the former is rooted in being remarkably broke for the last ten years. But my solution to both has always been my creativity. When I cared about a lady very much, I could find ways to celebrate them. I just don’t want to be told when to do it. But I’m starting to retread rants of yesteryear. Let’s start fresh.
What I got to thinking about on the bus today was, “Why do you detest this manufactured commercial holiday more than other commercially manufactured?”
I love Christmas though it doesn’t have the same aura that it did as a child. Anxious to see what Santa brought me, I would stay up until 4am in the morning. Around then I would basically passout until around 5:30. Then I would sit awake, waiting until 6am struck and I could wake up my big sister. The toys and games were great, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it is the family part that really mattered. My mom and dad helping me put together stuff, giggling with my sis, getting to see my grandparents at noon. My family and I still do some gifts, but honestly I don’t care that much about that anymore (though my record player this year was inspired). Christmas Eve though, that’s when we would topically frost cookies (does that work as a double entendre?) then have some drinks and laughs, that’s what matters to me now.
Basically, I want Valentine’s Day to be more like that. Or more like Thanksgiving. Where we ignore the history behind why something is significant and just know it is. Where we spend time with those close to us, drink a bit too much and gorge on stuffed animal meats. “But, that sounds a lot like Valentine’s Day.” Kind of, but really it feels like a time where people get looked down upon for not buying stuff to show love. Do something. Don’t wait until the 14th. Be with the ones you love, doesn’t have to be romantic. Save the romance for April 3rd, August 12th and October 7th, when no one is looking.
My favorite valentine’s ever I shared with my then girlfriend a few years back. It involved going to a museum and then hitting up the CC Club with several of our best friends. It was a fun day that could exist on any day, so fuck worrying about it being the 14th, it was just important being there with those that I’m close with.
Lost in translation
Lost in relation -
Ship has sailed to new lands, to new-
Seeds planted in curious mind
Sprouting new thoughts, new experience alien mind sets
Finally eye opened, setting sail
Across diversity, across xenophobic waters and flooded mind.
Basically, I’ve never had coffee until I accidentally ordered a cappuccino in Cinque Terre, Italy 3 years ago. Basically when you order a pastry at a nice little cafe in the morning, don’t panic if they ask you a follow up Italian speak question, or you’ll spend more Euros then planned. The drink was all right; I just never took to drinking coffee again after.
Cue 3 years later. As a burgeoning copywriter, I have found that doing work in the confines of my home is pointless. There is always something else to do. Facebook, make a sandwich, look at this pinterest everyone is freaking out about, surf adult cinema, and the Netflix all vie for my attention. The problem is I’m always one to oblige them, I mean they have always been quite nice to me.
I’m assuming I will get weird looks if I fire up an episode of Battlestar Galactica at Common Roots. Or If I’m Huluing 30 Rock while sitting inside the Urban Bean. Dunn Bros is no place for Sasha Grey. So I have embarked on doing my work at coffee shops.
I very much enjoy a good tea. Iced or hot, I’m not picky. But a month or so ago, I thought, “Ehh, just try some coffee.”
“Well if you insist self, sure.”
I’ve been partial to the cappuccinos and americanos, though not as big a fan of straight up espresso. Regular drip roasted is nice, maybe with a little skim milk, you know, for my figure’s sake. But this is all moot, because the real issue at hand is finding the right confines for me to be productive.
My favorite spot used to be Spyhouse on Hennipen, but a lack of Internet consistency has driven me away. I like the location of Common Roots, but sometimes it’s too packed to finds a decent seat. What about Uncommon Grounds you say? Nothing about that place impressed me. Could they have more awkward chairs and booths? How about somewhere to plug in my power cord? I boo that place. Beat Coffeehouse is nice in the summer; you can sit at a table outside. But in the winter, their seating inside isn’t remarkably comfy. Checked out Plan B, seating is ok. The food was quite good though, so they will receive a second visit. Bob’s Java seems too hardcore for me, like I could be abducted via motorcycle. I’ve been partial to Jackson’s lately. They have gelato. Bonus points.
So my look for a proper place to grab a drink, a bite, and/or do some schoolwork forges on. I just want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable that I want to nap to the music of Boards of Canada. I just want a short walk, a nice chair, a good Wi-Fi connection, and a cute hipster making my macchiato. Too much to ask?
Sleepless nights lead to days of dizzy wonderment. No, I will not lie still. No I won’t sit in my crib. The world holds too many answers and I am the asker of knowledge. Eve was content with but one apple, I would want to make a full pie.
The first time I knew what competition was. The first time I battled not just opponents, but myself. The first time I aspired to grow beyond my city. The first time I battled better people until I was better than them. It was the first time I truly understood triumph, only because it was the first time I had truly felt defeat.
Shy. Observant. Imaginative. Obedient. Its playtime teacher. Its reading time classmates. Put everything away. Why am I the only one listening. Defensive. Stubborn. Angry. We need order, I’ll demand it with furrowed brow and quivered lip. Much to the frustration of mommy. Maybe that’s why Grandma picked me up. I could do no wrong in here eyes. At least mama knows I mean well.
Fro from the get go. Eyes a wonder. World is mine. Sleep is for the weary and uninteresting. Still is. I’d rather pass out than miss a sound, a color, my dad’s laugh, my mom’s comfort, or my sissy’s smile. Still would.
“Does everyone wait this long to find love?” The impatient teen says to himself. “Do I pretend to know what I’m doing?” He asks himself sheepishly. “What will she think, what will she say?” Crosses his mind seconds before.
“I knew she’d be reciprocate.” He utters unconvincingly.
Challenges anew. Creativity refreshed. Fears reconsumed, as my heart beats heavy in my chest. Eyes wide and flicker with the balance of new project, new friendship, and new hardships. The movement of family, near and afar. The weight of life on me, the past moves from my rearview to my looking glass. What lies ahead and behind is of no matter. Present is just future past.
I’ve been telling myself I was going to do a review of the past year. This has been a bit of a struggle for me since any time I have free from work, school, or sleep I try to fill with exercise, drinking, or both (beer pong will be a demonstration sport in The London Olympic games). However, this bus ride (and subsequent rides) has encouraged me to at least start some semblance of a post. I’m just going to rattle some random thoughts off and hope they make sense. Enjoy.
Who would have thought that a year without Mad Men would be so goddamn rewarding?
Game of Thrones showed what Tolkien plus soft-core porn and a dash of macabre makes. Yep, a Christmas tree with little wrapped puppies and Chicago deep dish pizzas underneath.
Louie went from being a good show to a great one. Don’t bother trying to label it a comedy or a drama. It’s just one man’s commentary on life. It’s also brilliant.
I have also added Justified to the list of shows I will be telling people to watch - they won’t realize what they’re missing until everyone else catches up. The addition of Mags was fantastic, as was the additional history given to Rayland and his small town.
Other shows I have told people to checkout: The Wire, Family Guy (pre-cancelled run), South Park, and maybe most importantly Breaking Bad.
Damn was this another great season for Breaking Bad. Just when I thought there weren’t any new ways to keep the tension high, they do. This is the smartest series on TV right now. Good luck trying to figure out if you should root for Walt, Jesse or Gus. They are all so beautifully detailed and nuanced. What kind of man could make such a decision? “No man, no man at all.”
Parks and Rec continues to be the best pure comedy on TV. Rich characters and a bizarrely realized Pawnee, Indiana equals magic. Not David Copperfield magic, like Jesus high fiving Muhammad magic.
Community, while not as consistent, is highly rewarding when its crazily inventive writers and stellar cast are firing on all cylinders.
I feel like I have 2 speeds with movies. Either I’ve seen none or I’ve seen 12 in 2 days. So while my list of flicks to see is still large (Decendents, the Artist, Shame, among others) I’ve been privy to some stellar films this year. Drive was an exercise in style and patience, with great turns from Brooks and the Gos. X-men: First Class took a dead franchise and pumped it full of life, thanks largely in part of Mr. Fassbender as a confused and conflicted Magneto. Rise of the Planet of the Apes surprised the hell out of me by making me care about Caesar’s burden and growing awareness as a leader. Plus the sequence on the golden gate bridge was simply badass.
Hugo took turns and plucked strings I didn’t expect. Especially after maybe the worst trailer I’ve seen this year.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also took a few turns in its 3rd act I wasn’t expecting. Basically a book tailored to Fincher’s style and strengths - excellent.
Midnight in Paris was maybe the sweetest movie I’ve seen this year, right down to its greatly absurd premise to its subtle happy ending.
Maybe the most polarizing film I saw this year was Tree of Life. You either got lost in its omniscient eye or rolled your eyes at its noncommittal plot. I for one took to the battle of grace vs nature and would love to discuss these motifs and symbolism with anyone else who was captivated and intrigued. Pitt beautifully portrays a strong-armed but loving father in 1950s middle-class America.
Oh music. I love you so. Saw some great shows like TV on the Radio, My Morning Jacket at Rock the Garden, and Flaming Lips doing their thing at Soundtown Festival.
Sleigh Bells was upstaged by their opener CSS and I sadly missed the Doomtree Blowout for the 4th year in a row (next year, I swear).
Speaking of Doomtree, No Kings, their second official group album is bonkers. Tight yet open ended rhymes and some of the best production they have had yet. The album plays to all 7 members’ strengths and moves downhill with momentum.
Anytime I can see Heiruspecs and spread their joy to new ears, I will. Hurry up with that new record boys.
In my earbuds, I’m still banging Watch the Throne, even if a few of the songs (looking at you Lift Off) don’t totally fit. TV on the Radio keep growing with Nine Types of Light, Cults’ self-titled always brings a smile to my face and Fitz and the Tantrums’ Picking up the Pieces begs you to dance and sing along.
Toronto had a banner year with Drake dropping his best album to date (the emotionally drenched and candid Take Care) and newcomer The Weeknd’s trio of EPs were great. House of Balloons being the magnum opus, as the introduction to the group’s haunting and hallucinogen mind.
My book reading is never timely like my music, movie and show tastes. This is the year I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird (stellar), zipped through Lolita (creepily funny and self-aware) and devoured Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Others were tackled, but less memorable.
In Eric news, the past year has been a nice return to creativity for me. While I got back into improv a few years ago, this past year I’ve been blessed with how often I’ve been able to perform and witness. This is in big part to Huge Theater, which you all owe it to yourself to check out (hugetheater.com). But really it’s been amazing to be surrounded by such a funny, supportive, and tight knit community. I’ve also been lucky to find myself pushed by such crazy and smart thinkers during my past year of advertising school. Being able to see people who think in both similar and radically different ways has been a lesson and a treat.
This is getting long. So I’ll close up. Thanks to the friends who come to my shows, drive me around, laugh when I’m inappropriate, and tell me to shut up when I’m being a know it all. Love to my sister, madre and padre, who have always supported me no matter what. Be it smart or idiotic, they still seem to care what obnoxious little Eric is doing. And good luck to all of the above. 2011 was pretty good. 2012 has to be better.