1. Torrents! - It took me long enough (and a younger boyfriend) to figure these out, but once I did, OH THE MAGIC! 7.85 Gigs of Kylie Minogue? Yes please! Albums months before their due date (KALA, White Chalk, Distortion, Seventh Tree...)? Hoorah! Unreleased films which might never find distribution (I Could Never Be Your Woman, Rohtenburg: Grim Love, Destricted) at your fingertips? The entire series of Dynasty? The asnwers are obvious! YES!
2. Speaking of Kala... M.I.A.'s second offering could have been a total flounder. Her politico-booty Arular was delicious but forewarned of 1-hit-wonderdom. Could this have been just a taste of a moment to never return? Then, she came back 'with Powa Powa.' Far less friendly than Arular, KALA's powa was evident from her months-prior self-release of 'Bird Flu' - the insanely unlikely dancefloor killer which has seen too few a dance floor. A bad decision to release 'Boyz' at the end of summer instead of promoting all that is the feverous stomper in the swealter of summer was a bad move. And its taken this long to find all of those girls in their ballerina shoes donning their 'How Many How Many' shirts. Girl needs better marketing - but she does get total props for having flip-flops as merch. Cause you know I bought 'em.
3. Live Free or Die Hard - by far the most fun I've had in theaters this year. This delight informs: if something gets in your way, drive a car into it! Helicopter? Asian villain? No problem. And Bruce Willis. I love Bruce Willis. I rented this one a couple weeks ago to rewatch and indulge and the whole time, I could help but holler - "I love you Bruce Willis!" The whole attitude towards information is priceless - as indulgent as the whole car thing. Need cause for our effect? Let Justin Long tap some buttons and of a sudden, presto - whatever information you might need is before you. This is something the Bourne whatever put to great use. But that one didn't have a chase between a mac truck and a stealth fighter. God bless 'em.
4. The Beckhams on the cover of W - culturally defining moment. Next.
5. White Chalk - P J Harvey takes a cue from Nico, who - at the suggestion of Allen Ginsburg - bought a harmonium she had no idea how to play and ran away to Ibiza to work day after day until she's produced an album's worth of songs. Harvey goes one step farther. Where Nico had no real personal sound prior to this, Harvey produced an album with piano that sounds totally consistent with any of her growliest works. Her best album in a decade, easy.
7. The return of Paul Verhoeven - Long live the King. There's moment in Zwartboek where you start to wonder if Paul just made a tasteful WWII movie, and then Carice van Houten is stripped naked, beaten, doused with a mammoth vat of excrement and blasted with a hi-power hose. Then, you remember just what was missing in our big budget action fare. I haven't seen a midget hooker in a pink dress toting a machine gun this summer. And I'm all the worse for it.
8. The hype leading up to Kylie's X, though not the album itself - carrying on from the Torrent celebration above, X was preceded by thrilling leaks of the albums best songs and tunes which didn't make the album and, retrospectively, should have. To listen to the leaked material before the albums release and harbor the intense anticipation for the works that WERE good enough to make it there was a total thrill. Of course, scouring the internet like a scavenger is fun in itself. But looking forward to hearing the studio version of White Diamond, a Scissor Sisters song which was toured world-wide only to find it absent was an odd disappointment. Kylie said no to Scissor Sisters, Groove Armada, Mylo and Boy George and yes to songs called 'Nu-Di-Ty'. What's wrong with this picture?
9. Broken English - Parker Posey's back with Powa Powa. After making me sit though Superman Returns, Parker thanks me for my faith with Broken English. Another Cassavetes fancies herself a filmmaker. She's not totally wrong, but the weaknesses of this rather spot-on picture are all directorial. This is one of the best performances Posey's ever delivered and with Drea de Matteo, Gena Rowlands, Justin Theroux, Melvil Poupaud and Peter Bogdanovich to help out, it would be difficult to blunder it. Gena delivers the best line of the year: "You know what they say, your liver's fine as long as you don't drink 2 days a week. (pause) They don't have to be consecutive."
10. Out of the The Woods - She made it through the wilderness. 8 years since 1999's EBTG last offering Tempermental, Tracey Thorn comes with her first solo album in 25 years. It's not perfect in the cutting edge of music, challenging musical genres way, but it sure works for me. Tracey has really cut herself a niche for people who like to leave their hipness at the door and just get washed with her distinct vocals. This one didn't leave my ipod repeat all summer. Dance tracks will not put any spells on anyone not already a slave to her rhythm, but perhaps the quietly poignant ballads which she oddly made with one of the hottest dance producer/remixers right now will do the convincing.
11. And his name is Ewan Pearson. Hot as hell, an academic and having produced some of the greatest remixes in recent years, Pearson released his two full lengths, proper this year. One, a DJ mix, Fabric 35 and the other, Piecework, a 2 disc compilation of his remix material. Just listen to his 16+ minute remix of Goldfrapp's Ride a White Horse. This is the art of the remix, period. Did I mention he's hot?
12. Justice in Clubs, but not on the stereo - I can't really listen to the album straight the way through, but I'll be damned when I hear that D.A.N.C.E.
13. Rose McGowan.
14. Celebrity blog photos of Sharon Stone - Ever since her stroke, Sharon Stone has been popping up everywhere like Where's Waldo or something. She's hanging out with Lindsay Lohan and she's singing with Kylie Minogue. Her inclusion here is perhaps solidified by this photo of her at an aids benefit wearing what seems to be a fur comforter. This thing trains the entire carpet behind her and, from the blah look on Stone's face, you'd think she was at a MacDonalds or something. Not that you'd EVER catch her there.
15. Not having an iPhone - Because, I'm thoroughly convinced that everyone toting one of these things is an asshole. I don't care what it does when you spread your fingers, though truth be told, it does seem like an ingenious little toy. It's just that, whenever someone ahem... pulls it out, it is always with this glance that reads, "that's right, I've got one." And the bill to prove it, darlin'.