Arts and Entertainment | Arts and Entertainment Columns

Best of: 2013

In a final gasp of narcissism, the A&E staff decided to make a list of all of our favorite (and least favorite) things from the past year. This was a highly scientific process which consisted of wildly naming things we remembered from this past year and deciding which ones we had strong feelings about.

MOVIES
BEST:
“12 Years a Slave”
I’d have to say that this film is impeccably directed—Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan is pretty damn certain this is winning Best Picture this year, too. Also, it’s an incredibly inspiring and important story, but y’all have heard this countless times from every movie critic ever. —Carroll Gelderman, film editor

WORST:
The dialogue in “Gravity”
Sandra Bullock as she hurtles through space: “I hate space!” C’mon, guys. —C.G.

“Austenland”
Sometimes, movies have one too many montages. This is one of those times. —Alexandra Villareal, style editor

“Spring Breakers”
I will soften this by saying that James Franco’s Alien is an incredible character. That aside, the rest of the movie—from Gucci Mane’s “acting” to Selena Gomez’s “acting” to the gun fellatio scene—featured very little that wasn’t off-putting. —David Salazar, Weekday deputy editor

TV
BEST:
“Breaking Bad” (duh)
The coda for Vince Gilligan’s story of a chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin sealed the show’s status as one of the best dramatic series on television. From the smart writing to the brilliant acting (hey, even Sir Anthony Hopkins was a fan of Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White), the show will clean up at the 2014 Emmy Awards. —Lesley Thulin, A&E editor 

“Orphan Black”
Tatiana Maslany—you may know her from this season of “Parks and Recreation”—carries this show, playing three regular characters. Maslany and the show’s slowly unraveling mystery make it the best show you haven’t seen. —D.S.

WORST: 
“Happy Endings” cancellation
This show was a national treasure and I will forever mourn its untimely death. Thankfully, Adam Pally has found a new home on “The Mindy Project,” but things will never be the same. —C.G.

Dads
I think that “Dads” is the worst, ever. The pilot was super racist and not funny at all. Even Brenda Song, as much as I love her, didn’t make it worth watching. —Chancellor Agard, staff writer 

MUSIC
BEST:
Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City”
Somehow, Vampire Weekend just continues to get better and better with every album. I think I played “Ya Hey” on repeat for a good two weeks when it came out and it never got old. —C.G.

Lucius’ “Wildewoman”
This five-piece outfit’s debut album is certainly the one with the most addicting sound. The two frontwomen, Jess Wolf and Holly Laessig, who sing in unison throughout the album, give off a Bonnie Raitt vibe at times and great indie pop one at others. —D.S.

Best Single: M.I.A.’s “Bring the Noize”
Or “Water” by Jamaican Queens. Trance-trap-pop-hop at its finest, both tunes are earworms that grab your attention immediately and linger for weeks. — Charlotte Murtishaw, Weekend deputy editor

Best Reissue: Robbie Basho’s 1978 “Visions of the Country” 
This song, from Gnome Life Records is a mind-numbingly beautiful folk portrait of America’s hills and flatlands. Like his contemporary John Fahey, Basho’s guitar does most of the talking, but with Asian inflections. —C.M.

Miley Cyrus
Let’s be real here, without Miley’s twerktastic antics and problematic racial politics, 2013 would have been a dull, dull year. So what if Bangerz was predictably underwhelming? No other pop queen came up with a line as gloriously stupid as “driving so fast ’bout to piss on myself,” though Gaga’s “walk down the runway but don’t puke” certainly gives it a run for its money. —Noah Jackson, music editor

WORST:
Thinkpieces about Miley Cyrus
You know what’s worse than a confused white girl offending just about everyone? Repetitive, often slut-shaming articles about said white girl. See also: open letters. —N.J.

ART
BEST:
Robert Indiana: “Beyond Love”
I loved this exhibit at the Whitney, which places Indiana in the context of the 1960s, and highlights some of Indiana’s less popular but equally powerful pieces. It weaves American history, literature, and politics together on his canvases. —Sarah Roth, art editor

Leonardo da Vinci at the Morgan Library
The Morgan Library is hosting a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches that have never been exhibited in the United States before. Spend an afternoon marveling at da Vinci’s detailed sketches. Even 600 years after, they still seem as lifelike as their models. —S.R. 

Yayoi Kusama’s “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven” 
This David Zwirner Gallery attraction is already gaining a reputation as the next Rain Room: Visitors are lining up around the block for Kusama’s mirrored infinity room, just one in a series of trippy worlds she’s set up at the supergallery. —C.M.

WORST:
“PUNK: Chaos to Couture” at the Met 
The Met’s overwraught punk exhibit, which divorced the trappings of punk from the scene, seemed totally oblivious to its own irony even whilst trying to coyly reference it. CBGB’s bathroom has never looked worse. —C.M.

THEATER
BEST:
“Fun Home” at the Public Theater
It took five years for the creative team behind “Fun Home” to adapt Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic novel of the same name into a musical. It deserves every single superlative it’s received (and there have been many), but none of them quite captures how moving it is. —Jillian Kumagai, Spectrum deputy editor

Alan Cumming’s one-man “Macbeth”
It is truly a travesty Alan Cumming wasn’t nominated for a Tony this year. I’d like to see Tracy Letts simultaneously play 15 roles and recite an entire Shakespeare play in original dialect (no disrespect, Trace). —C.G.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
This new Broadway musical is a bloody good time with beautifully crafted murders that leave the audience dying of laughter. If you a) enjoy dry wit or b) find British accents incredibly sexy, you won’t be disappointed. Feel free to wear a top hat and a smoking jacket, but remember: Gentlemen don’t take selfies at the theater. —A.V.

FOOD
BEST:
Best New Fusion Food: Flat Top
Flat Top deliciously blends the finest techniques and products from both sides of the hemisphere, using primarily French influences. Order the roasted bone marrow with its side of sweet onion jam and brioche, followed by the mentaiko & shiso udon pasta, which consists of pasta tossed with cod roe marinated with soy sauce and coated in lemon butter. This place is good, right down to its made-from-scratch pumpkin spice au lait, a less bitter, more nuanced and personality-chocked version of the over-glorified Starbucks “PSL.” —Yvonne Hsiao, dance editor 

Second Best New Fusion Food: RedFarm
With its innovative Katz’s pastrami egg rolls, scallop ceviche with blood orange and caviar, long-life noodles with shiitake mushrooms, pear-shaped beef-stuffed shrimp, and especially, “Pac Man” dumplings, this slightly pricey American-Chinese eatery still easily beats Panda Express any day. Don’t say that the five-year-old in you doesn’t want to eat Pac Man-shaped food. —Y.H.

Limited-Edition Cookies and Cream Oreos
That’s right, Oreo-flavored Oreos. If you’re as addicted as I am, you snagged the last two sleeves at Duane Reade and bemoaned the limited run. They taste like Oreos are meant to taste. Mmmmmmm. —C.M.

WORST:
Worst New Fusion Food: Dominique Ansel: The Cronut  
It’s this Frankenstein-esque creation of a croissant and a donut that drags people out of bed at 4 a.m. to line up. Calm down; haven’t you been sleep-deprived enough, Columbia? Why take delicious, thin, flaky, and chewy puff pastry and put it into the mold of a doughnut, deep-fry it in more oil, and slather it with too-sweet, too-greasy fillings and toppings? Going rich isn’t going upscale; this isn’t the makeover that donuts—or your waistline—needed. —Y.H.

Second Worst New Fusion Food: The Ramen Burger 
Ramen is typically enjoyed with a steaming bowl of soup—Keizo Shimamoto takes the ramen, however, makes it into “buns” and sears it for a crunchy texture. Sweet, sticky, and floppy, the ramen burger’s stale-tasting exterior doesn’t complement the overcooked noodles at the center, and the glaze on the burger patty is nothing special. Life’s short: Save your calories. —Y.H.

arts@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ColumbiaSpec

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Anonymous posted on

How could you publish this SLANDEROUS TRAVESTY against the cronut? Cronuts are beautiful and majestic. HAVE YOU EVEN EATEN ONE????

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah. And they're not very good and overpriced :P

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