Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Awards - The Year In Review

by Dick Mac

Nobody can cover all the events of 2010. It was an amazing year that showed me the new century will be nothing like the last century. It might resemble the 19th Century in terms of social, political and cultural development; but it might not be that advanced.

In 2010, these were the things that turned my head (and sometimes my stomach):

1. Soccer

For years we have been pretending that soccer is making headway as a viable professional sport in the United States. I've always parroted that sentiment and always reserved the doubt that it could happen. To my surprise, soccer in 2010 became part of the national dialog and now enjoys a place under the ever-shrinking umbrella that is American culture.

Although the US lost earlier than expected in the 2010 World Cup tournament, they captured the attention of the American sporting world; and Landon Donovan became a darling of the media after his rather spectacular performance on the global stage. Major League Soccer (MLS) enjoyed unprecedented attention in the media and surpassed in average attendance both the NBA and NHL. Still the best value for your entertainment dollar, new stadiums are opening, new expansion teams are starting, and some of the world's most famous international players are now considering the MLS as a viable stop along the road of their career development.

Red Bull New York signed Thierry Henry, the French king of soccer, and Mexican stud Rafa Marquez to play alongside Captain Juan Pablo Angel and the rest of the generally young Red Bulls team.

Thierry Henry Links:
I Came Here To Win - Thierry Henry
Stammler to Lindpere to Henry
New York Red Bulls v Tottenham Hotspur - highlights

Rafa Marquez Links:
Rafa Marquez Joins Red Bulls
Rafa Marquez Joins Red Bulls

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Most Americans who were paying attention expected the United States to win the bid. Sadly, a theocratic state in constant violation of very basic human rights will attempt to host the event in 120F weather in a nation with little infrastructure and the worst carbon footprint on the planet. It is quite possible that between Islamic revolutions and the ever-deteriorating environmental conditions near the equator, that Qatar will not even exist as a nation in 2022. Perhaps, the USA will then be awarded the tournament. We have an actual infrastructure that I am hoping will last longer than the teabaggers.

For all these reasons, my "Athlete of the Year Award" goes to all American Soccer Players and All Soccer Players Who Play in the United States.

2. The Year In Music (Performance)

If one could gather Yuka Honda, Klaus Voorman, Paul Simon, Bette Midler, Eric Clapton, Harper Simon, Kim Gordon, Cornelius, Thurston Moore, Jim Keltner, Sean Lennon, Cornelius, Scissor Sisters, Mark Ronson, Justin Bond, Gene Ween, and Yoko Ono for a one-night concert, one might title it "We Are Plastic Ono Band."

That's exactly what happened at Brooklyn Academy of Music on February 16, 2010.

My six-year-old-daughter and I attended together. She knew that daddy loves Plastic Ono Band songs, cries whenever he watches shows about John Lennon's death, and defends Yoko Ono to the clueless, and she was excited as I about the show. We had good seats in the 13th row, center, and the show was more than could have been hoped for. There were many highlights, including the Scissor Sisters' rendition of "The Sun Is Down," the original Plastic Ono Band's rendition of "Yer Blues," and the entire ensemble performing "Give Peace A Chance."

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon win my "Best Live Performance by Multiple Icons" award for "We Are Plastic Ono Band."

We Are Plastic Ono Band At BAM, by Dick Mac

When the We Are Plastic Ono Band show landed in California the cast included Iggy Pop, Perry Farrell, and Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga is in the running, of course, for best musician, best performance, best record, best songs, best etc., of the year. I had no interest in another bleach-blond young woman pre-packaged for television. Then my wife and daughter insisted that I listen. I loved the album. Then I started watching televised performances and realized that this is no Britney Spears here; Gaga is the real thing, the total package: singing, dancing, and wardrobe changes. She has touches of Queen, David Bowie, Madonna, Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Marc Bolan, Nona Hendryx and other top talents that preceded her. I think Gaga will be with us for awhile; but, it's often the second album that makes or breaks an artist. We will see what is forthcoming in 2011.

3. The Year In Music (Recording)
Chocolate Genius released their last CD; that is, the final CD. Marc Anthony Thompson will not be making any new recordings as Chocolate Genius. "Swansongs" is a wonderful collection of great songs that rivals 1998s "Black Music" release. Actually, it might be better.

Influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Thompson has steered Chocolate Genius through four excellent records that include collaborations with some of New York City's finest talents: Yuka Honda, Moby, Marc Ribot, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Oren Bloedow, Van Dyke Parks, and others.

Chocolate Genius is supposed to continue performing even though the recording is a thing of the past. I am sad to have missed his show in Brooklyn last month, at which he is rumored to have performed David Bowie's "The Bewlay Brothers."

The Chocolate Genius release of Swansongs gets my "Little Gold-Plated Gramophone Statuette" award for 2010.

A close runner-up is Shelby Lynne's Tears, Lies and Alibis that she produced with Brian Harrison and released on her own Everso label.

Lynne has been touring with her sister, Allison Moorer, and I hope I get to see them sometime in 2011.

I have seen her perform several times and her blend of country, rock, and pop make for a memorable show every time. I recall two performances in particular that both awed and surprised me: At Irving Plaza she came down off the stage and sang John Lennon's "Mother" while walking slowly through the audience. One of the first performances I saw was at the Bowery Ballroom and she broke into Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman" with the enthusiasm I expect from a rock star!

The 1999 release "I Am Shelby Lynne" was her sixth studio (non-compilation) record, and she won the Grammy for "Best New Artist" even though she had been a performing, recording professional for over ten years at that point.

"Tears, Lies and Alibis" is a slow moving, deeply reflective short record of ten songs. Like most of her releases, this collection delves into her personal experiences, confessions, anger, drinking, and insights. She hides nothing from her fans.

The entire project echoes the late Dusty Springfield, who is Lynne's major influence. The stark production, guitar work and sultry singing make this a must-have.

I would love to see a show of Shelby Lynne and Chocolate Genius!

4. Project Runway

Reality TV has never been anything that interests me. I have, however, over the past few years been sickeningly attracted to Project Runway. I could claim it's the beauty and smarts of Heidi Klum that draws me back; but I think it's Tim Gunn's brutal honesty, sharp wit, good clothes, and total queerness that makes the show most intriguing. About twenty years ago I participated in a conversation about the impact that the AIDS plague would have on the fashion industry and Broadway. The latter has been embarrassing: having lost a generation of queer theater talent, we are left with countless revivals and an industry all but controlled by the likes of Disney. The loss of queers on Broadway is truly sad.

It was less obvious to me in the fashion industry. Then this show aired and I saw Nina Garcia and Michael Korrs. OMFG! If there had been no plague, neither of these people would have gotten jobs in the fashion industry. They are dull beyond dull. I can only hope that Heidi Klum has them on the show because they make her appear even more fabulous and smarter than she already is!

I have seen two previous seasons. One season saw a straight guy with a tattooed neck beat out a most-tedious broad (and I mean that word in the worst possible way) from Upper Manhattan or Lower Connecticut. Their battle made the penultimate and final shows total theater worth every moment.

The next season I saw was won by an adorable young queen whose use of the word "fierce" put the word on the map around the world. He clicked with his peers, the judges, the guest stars, and everyone he encountered. He was a star and he deserved to win.

This season was dominated by a most tedious celibate white woman who was as ugly and style-less as she was nasty. She was joined by a Korean woman and a couple of tedious under-talented queens in series of vicious campaigns against other contestants, some of whom I didn't like until they were being victimized by this hideous woman and her minions. The little Korean woman was perfectly subservient to the large, domineering white woman, and maintained her dignity by belittling those around her and swearing a lot. The Final Four was a fascinating car wreck with one major talent and three others: the hideous and marginally talented white woman with a dullard's sense of color and style, a young Hawaiian man who had two very sophisticated features: his face, but whose fashion sense was very daring and amusing; and a deeply wounded emotional cripple of Hispanic descent whose work was moderately good and who became a heroic underdog after battling off the hateful spewing of the Korean girl, the hideous white woman, and the two-faced Hawaiian queen.

The major talent in the final group was Mondo. His work was creative and fun, dynamic and wide-ranging. He was the clear winner.

The judges gave the victory to the hideous white woman and her boring fashion.

I will never watch Project Runway again, and I award the judges my "Fickle Finger of Fate" award.

5. 3-D Movies

Tangled, Alice In Wonderland, Toy Story 3, comprise my entire list of favorite new movies of 2010. They are also the only movies I saw this year. I think.

Although I am not sure I like them, I have enjoyed them, and since they dominated my 2010 movie viewing, 3-D Movies win my "Gold-Plated Statuette of a Naked Eunuch" award.

6. Glee

I tried.

Really, I tried. I really wanted to like Glee; but, I could barely get through one episode. Friends, family and acquaintances told me that this was one of the best shows of the season. Oh my.

Perhaps I am not supposed to be critical of the script: the script was embarrassing.

Perhaps my utter disdain for the sit-com format prevents me from suspending my nominal expectations of television scripts.

Whatever it is: this show just totally stinks. It is unwatchable!

Glee and The Cast of Glee win my "This Is a Joke, Right?" award.

7. Facebook

How did we live without this thing? always felt a bit like a sleazy pick-up bar (and not in the good way), and Friendster seemed like the efforts of the Up With People squad after stage performances failed them.

On Facebook I have connected with people from my past that I missed. I learned that I there were many I wanted nothing to do with, and sadly learned that some connections I had looked forward to were not interested in being even virtual friends with me (likely for the same reasons I rejected others).

I have very easy, low-cost, daily contact with friends in Europe, Africa, Central America, Canada, Australia, and Eastern Asia.

I have made friends who share my passion for soccer, good music, intelligent discourse, and a disdain for the dull.

I have connected with cousins I like and have missed seeing except at funerals and the occasional wedding or birth.

Remarkably, I have avoided social connections with professional acquaintances.

Facebook has taught me more about boundaries than the fifty previous years of socialization, education, drug-abuse, and spiritualization.

Facebook wins my "Best Bar In the Entire World" award.

8. Animal Abuse

There seemed to be a heightened awareness about animal abuse throughout Western Civilization. Food awareness, fur awareness, animal use in entertainment, and any other angle you can imagine made its way into our national discourse.

Two very famous people made many headlines for killing defenseless animals. Michael Vick and Sarah Palin jointly earn my "Humanitarian (Not!) Of the Year" award.

Vick returned to the NFL after finishing his prison sentence for killing dogs and being a principal in a dog-fighting business. Being black ensured he would go to prison.

Sarah Palin was given a television show on which she slaughtered a defenseless moose. She was highly paid and got more work in television for her efforts.

Personally, I don't see much of a difference between the actions of these two. I do see that Palin is white and Vick is black and it makes me wonder if the incidents were reversed, would Palin have gone to prison. I think not. I do suspect, however, that Vick would be arrested and investigated for killing a moose.

9. Chilean Miners

On August 5, 2010, thirty-three miners went to work two thousand feet underground at the San Jose copper and gold mine, near Copiapó, Chile. Florencio Ávalos, Mario Sepúlveda, Juan Illanes, Carlos Mamani, Jimmy Sánchez, Osmán Araya, José Ojeda, Claudio Yáñez, Mario Gómez, Alex Vega, Jorge Galleguillos, Edison Peña, Carlos Barrios, Víctor Zamora, Víctor Segovia, Daniel Herrera, Omar Reygada, Esteban Rojas, Pablo Rojas, Darío Segovia, Yonny Barrios, Samuel Ávalos, Carlos Bugueño, José Henríquez, Renán Ávalos, Claudio Acuña, Franklin Lobos, Richard Villarroel, Juan Carlos Aguilar, Raúl Bustos, Pedro Cortez, Ariel Ticona, and Luis Urzúa did not see the light of day again until October 13th.

Their ordeal became a living fairy tale for the entire world as assistance from around the world arrived on the scene in hopes of creating a happy ending.

Collectively, the 33 Chilean Miners are my "Comeback Player of the Year"!

10. George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner cannot be inducted into baseball’s Hall Of Fame because he was a convicted felon.

Not a problem for a man of Steinbrenner’s stature.

Yankee stadium is home to the second most famous collection of baseball memorials and Steinbrenner has had himself inducted into that memorial garden along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and others who made baseball American’s pastime.

Steinbrenner’s memorial is significantly larger than the memorials for any other Yankee, showing one last time that Steinbrenner is the biggest ass the Yankees have ever suffered or known.

George Steinbrenner is awarded the "Kiss My Fat White Ass" award for his snub of the Hall of Fame and his insult to the greats who preceded him into the Yankee memorials.

11. Queers

The issue of civil rights and protections for homosexuals has made its way into the daily mainstream media.

When liberals passed Don’t Ask Don't Tell during the Clinton Administration, I guess it’s possible they believed they were doing a good thing. This proves that liberals are either generally stupid, clueless, or as evil as other on the American right. You decide.

It has taken a long time to repeal this law that prevents homosexual taxpayers from enjoying the same rights as other taxpayers.

The Democratic Party and those of us who voted for them ought to be deeply ashamed of ourselves. This was a Democratic law that it took over a decade to repeal; and it took deep into a Democratic president’s second year in office to get it done.

There was an incident that made Don't Ask Don't Tell almost seem appropriate.

During a vote at the United Nations to affirm that the use of the death penalty is wrong when used for political ends, a horrible African nation put forth an amendment to remove "homosexuality" from the list of human conditions for which the death penalty is illegal. So, after years of including homosexuals on a protected list, the United Nations simply removed their protection from their resolution!

So, in the estimation of the United Nations (specifically a bunch of African dictators and global theocratic fascists) it is OK to kill homosexuals just for being homosexuals.

Fortunately, the amendment was undone and the protection of homosexuals was re-inserted in the resolution.

For these reasons, Queers around the world win my "Best Performance by An Ensemble Cast" award.

12. The Republic of Ireland

This year's "No Bell Prize for Reaganomics" goes to Ireland, who more than any other nation (even Iceland) embodies the complete and total failure of supply-side economic theory and unbridled capitalism. Iceland, Greece, United States, Portugal, and more nations to come, have all fallen victim to the economic farce created by American economists; but no nation failed as thoroughly and spectacularly as Ireland, which should now be referred to as The Reagan of Ireland.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Italy in the coming year.

13. 111th Congress

The Democrats had no plan that was clear to me, and the Republicans had no intention of letting Obama pass a single piece of legislation if they could help it.

More filibusters were executed in this Congress than any other, and teabaggers (elected and non-elected alike) actually referred to the filibuster as part of the Constitution.

The Republicans even got bills they wanted passed while publically opposing them, and were rewarded for doing nothing and promising less by being elected as the House majority.

The 111th Congress wins the "Buddy Can You Spare a Dime" award for complete and total ineffectiveness and ineptitude. The one thing the members of this Congress can cling to is that the 112th Congress is likely to be a bigger freak show.

14. Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck

Palin and Beck made teabagging a household word, and the duo may have cemented their place as the future of American ideology. Even the GOP leadership seems impotent to stop their stampede. They have whipped-up the stupid, pretended to start a political party, and begun undoing two hundred years of civilization and progress. The teabaggers have embraced the notion that "Freedom is not free, freedom is worth fighting for." However, they fail to note cost in their discussion, that freedom -- being the freest nation in the world -- is very expensive. They don't want to pay for it. They want to cut taxes, gut the government and still maintain their freedom. Good luck with that!
Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck share my "Person of the Year" award.

15. Barack Obama and George W Bush

In the early 1990s, the GOP told Clinton that he couldn’t have his health care plan and they presented him with an alternative health care plan. That plan was rejected by the Clinton Administration, as it forced Americans to purchase insurance from corporations instead of creating a single-payer public option.

Any idiot (even wonks in the Clinton Administration) knows you can’t pass a law that forces citizens to make purchases from corporations. That is unconstitutional.

Still, Newt Gingrich said: put forward a bill that gives control of health care to the insurance companies and we will pass it.

Nothing ever came of it and health care was not mentioned again for over ten years. During those ten-plus years, insurance companies drove up the cost of insurance by absolutely ridiculous amounts, increased their profits by amazing numbers, and now pay their chiefs and chairmen upwards of 200 times the amount they pay their employees.

On the campaign trail for the 2010 election, Barack Obama promised to address the health care crisis facing America.

His first priority was to get health care reform done.

Knowing the GOP would never give him the only sensible plan (a public option), he presented to the Republicans the exact same plan they presented to Clinton in 1993. They rejected it, Congress passed it, and the courts are starting to say: "Hey, you can’t force a citizen to make a purchase from a corporation. That’s unconstitutional."

Courts are not saying you can’t have a public health care system, they are saying it can’t be a private system run outside the government.

So, today we have an absolutely horrible health care plan for our future that is exactly what the GOP wanted all along, but they managed to get it passed by acting as if they were opposed to it (which they really are not).

Next on Obama’s agenda was the expiring Bush tax cuts.

We’ve decided as a nation that the rich should not have to pay the majority of the cost for running the country.

George Bush gave the very elite a war from which they are profiting handsomely, and then he gave them another war from which they will profit handsomely. The he cut their taxes and ran the nation into debt – the brink of bankruptcy.

Those tax cuts were about to retire and Barack Obama gave the GOP exactly what they wanted: more fantastic breaks for the people who don’t need them and a little crumb for the other 97.5% of us.

Just like Reagan did when putting forward policies based on Voodoo Economics, the GOP has actually convinced hard-working Americans that this is in their best interest. Teabaggers coast to coast are locked and loaded, ready to kill to ensure that people they will never know, and whose wealth they can never hope to achieve, will get to keep more of their money while our once-great nation goes bankrupt; like Ireland and Greece and Iceland.

The working people of America have sacrificed their future, their children’s future and the future of generations to come in order to prove that the greatest government in the history of mankind is now bad and evil and needs to be dismantled. Good work Dubya and Barry! Good work

George Bush and Barack Obama are hereby presented the "What Middle Class?" award.

1 comment:

Mark Rabinowitz said...

A few things:

Steinbrenner is eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He just wasn't voted in this year, but he will be, eventually.

Queers: I'm not sure you give enough column inches to the repeal of DADT. :-)

Obama: You know me and you know my politics and I tend to think that maybe Obama should have gone in and acted like a one term bull in a china shop, but.... this was the most successful democratic congress since FDR. Sure, healthcare reform wasn't enough and quite possibly largely unconstitutional, BUT, the first civil rights laws weren't anything to write home about, either. Check out: