My Top Stuff of 2012

Oh no!! It’s that time again. I have a history of waiting until a month after the end of the year (mostly so I can fit in as many movies as possible, and to speak from a tiny position of perspective – at the cost of some relevance, I know, but I’m really only writing this for myself anyway), and then coming up with the most hilariously long lists that nobody could possibly ever want to read. WELCOME TO THIS!

2012 was a tough year for me personally in some ways, mostly due to some medical issues that are still ongoing but should be resolved pretty soon. But I have good friends who really showed up and a family who cares about me a great deal, and while I’m not so emo as to actually wish to be in a tough spot so I can “see who my true friends are”, that kinda happened anyway and it really made me appreciate what I’ve got. So if you were there for me in any way this past year, even if it was just a kind word in passing, it helped stupendously and was truly appreciated, and I hope to be able to return the favor someday. Thank you!

But I still managed to get a lot of good stuff into the year. I took super fun trips to Philadelphia, Boston, Austin/SXSW/San Antonio, Seattle/Vancouver, and Cleveland/Pittsburgh; hugged people I love, conducted a little bit of biz and did new fun things in all of those places, and hosted visitors in my Brooklyn pad from New Zealand, Australia, Texas, Ohio and more.

And my two fun part-time jobs continued, in addition to my Band Mom radio promo, which you’ll again see reflected pretty heavily when we get down to my Top Shows lists, much as they were in my Top Stuff of 2011 and actually also 2010 and 2009, before I even worked at those venues. I’m maintaining the rule that Band Mom Bands are ineligible for the Top Albums list because I couldn’t possibly rank them against each other, but that I can’t rule out shows where I worked the door or stage managed for my Top Shows lists, because then there would be almost no shows to consider.

As always, I never claim stuff on this list is the ‘best’ of the year. Art is impossible to grade on an objective scale, and it’s insulting and ugly to posture as though one could do so. These are just my favorites:


top 15 albums of 2012:

  1. kishi bashi – 151a

  2. the mountain goats – transcendental youth

  3. WHY? – mumps, etc

  4. pomegranates – heaven

  5. father john misty – fear fun

  6. jens lekman – i know what love isn’t
  7. stars – the north
  8. the pharmacy – stoned and alone
  9. tilly & the wall – heavy mood
  10. david byrne & st vincent – love this giant
  11. black moth super rainbow – cobra juicy
  12. mewithoutyou – ten stories
  13. bright moments – natives
  14. aimee mann – charmer
  15. sufjan stevens – silver & gold

you know what, that’s just 5 albums tied for #1 with me up top. I couldn’t choose so they all got pictures this year. there’s like 100 more albums that I liked, but given the choice between listing 15 albums that I LOVED and 100 albums that I liked, I decided to go with the former, this time. as mentioned and as always, Band Mom artists are ineligible for this list because i wouldn’t even begin to know how to rank them: this means you, good field, eliza rickman, advance base, little, big, audiafauna, woodpecker, harlan, and tono and the finance company. I feel so proud of my 2012 lineup: bands from Texas, California, Chicago, NYC, Louisiana/Arkansas, and New Zealand! you all released FANTASTIC albums that are tied for number one in my heart, and i love you the most.

top 25 shows (concerts):

  1. “Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice” @ bowery ballroom (manhattan ny, december)

  2. jeff mangum w/the music tapes @ bam (brooklyn ny, january)
  3. the mountain goats w/anonymous 4 @ merkin concert hall [wordless music series] (manhattan ny, march)
  4. saturday looks good to me w/wild moccasins, cola jet set, orca team, catnaps @ knitting factory [nyc popfest] (brooklyn ny, may)
  5. kishi bashi @ uncorked tasting room & wine bar [wild honey pie showcase, sxsw] (austin tx, march)
  6. andrew wk playing i get wet straight through for its 10-yr anniversary @ webster hall (manhattan ny, april)
  7. father john misty w/har mar superstar, jenny o @ knitting factory (brooklyn ny, may)
  8. advance base w/mark kozelek @ music hall of williamsburg (brooklyn ny, september)
  9. dandy warhols w/1776, psychic ills @ bell house (brooklyn ny, june)
  10. john vanderslice w/crooked fingers @ bell house (brooklyn ny, november)
  11. advance base w/ben gibbard @ town hall (manhattan ny, november)
  12. jonathan richman w/tommy larkins @ tractor tavern (seattle wa, november)
  13. langhorne slim @ bell house (brooklyn ny, july)
  14. the jealous sound @ milkboy (philadelphia pa, february)
  15. mountain goats w/matthew e white @ bowery ballroom (manhattan ny, october)
  16. black moth super rainbow w/casket girls @ bowery ballroom (manhattan ny, december)
  17. pomegranates @ mercury lounge (manhattan ny, july)
  18. nada surf [including doug gillard] @ bowery ballroom (manhattan ny, december)
  19. stevie jackson [of belle & sebastian] w/the softies, franklin bruno, ladybug transistor, the pines @ bell house [chickfactor] (brooklyn ny, april)
  20. ramesh @ mercury lounge (manhattan ny, march)
  21. lambchop w/chilly gonzales @ bell house (brooklyn ny, april)
  22. ketamines w/quiet loudly, x-ray eyeballs @ death by audio (brooklyn ny, may)
  23. owen @ union hall (brooklyn ny, december)
  24. goes cube @ webster hall (manhattan ny, june)
  25. tim fite w/the woes @ union hall (brooklyn ny, march)

working at venues is awesome – it was tough to cut this down to just 25. I’d also like to mention my 3 Band Mom Presents shows at Union Hall of the year, which I’m not allowing to count but which were real highlights of my year nonetheless: 6/8 with Little, Big(‘s record release show), Weird Children, and WAZU; and 7/25 with Bright Moments, Valley Lodge, and Good Field (DAVID BYRNE showed up to that one!!!); and 9/28 with Advance Base, Jennifer O’Connor, and the Pendulum Swings; and also the SXSW day party I co-sponsored with Pretty Ambitious Records that featured Good Field, the Coathangers and the Barrerracudas, and the tour I helped promote that included a totally excellent Mercury Lounge stop for Zoe Boekbinder and Mal Blum.

top 50 movies:

  1. cloud atlas

  2. safety not guaranteed
  3. moonrise kingdom
  4. django unchained
  5. looper
  6. the perks of being a wallflower
  7. holy motors
  8. the master
  9. amour
  10. i wish
  11. your sister’s sister
  12. the cabin in the woods
  13. the hobbit: an unexpected journey
  14. sleepwalk with me
  15. zero dark thirty
  16. damsels in distress
  17. seven psychopaths
  18. the imposter
  19. life of pi
  20. this is 40
  21. dark horse
  22. chronicle
  23. silver linings playbook
  24. sound of my voice
  25. the do-deca-pentathlon
  26. ai weiwei: never sorry
  27. save the date
  28. cosmopolis
  29. argo
  30. michael
  31. wanderlust
  32. the dark knight rises
  33. beasts of the southern wild
  34. celeste and jesse forever
  35. rust and bone
  36. compliance
  37. bully
  38. abel
  39. 21 jump street
  40. shut up and play the hits
  41. jiro dreams of sushi
  42. premium rush
  43. being flynn
  44. lola versus
  45. jeff, who lives at home
  46. john carter
  47. frankenweenie
  48. paranorman
  49. lincoln
  50. how to survive a plague

honorable mentions (roughly in order; this whole list was initially a numbered top 100 until I considered how ridiculous that is. but FYI I feel particularly strongly this time about the top 20 of the above list, but strongly ENOUGH about all of these to mention ’em. I did see 17 other 2012 movies that didn’t make any list at all!):

the queen of versailles; seeking a friend for the end of the world; to rome with love; haywire; the lorax; brave; the loneliest planet; les miserables; footnote; something from nothing: the art of rap; friends with kids; hitchcock; goon; grassroots; the pirates! band of misfits; bernie; take this waltz; the five year engagement; lawless; the watch; secret world of arrietty; red lights; ruby sparks; hara-kiri: death of a samurai; red hook summer; the grey; prometheus; high road; not fade away; man with the iron fists; magic mike; hysteria; dark shadows; the amazing spider-man; salmon fishing in the yemen; return; the hunger games; the dish and the spoon; roadie; god bless america; tim & eric’s billion dollar movie; snow white and the huntsman; mirror, mirror; the avengers; skyfall; pitch perfect; battleship; casa de mi padre; klown; the dictator.

top NEW actors of the year (as in i’d never heard their names before/never saw them in anything and now they seem like a big deal to me, were each in several things i loved): dane dehaan (chronicle, lincoln, lawless) & adam driver (lincoln & the show Girls)

standout actors of the year (who were not new to me, but were in a bunch of stuff i loved and seemed to have a really big year): mark duplass, emily blunt, mike birbiglia, chris messina.

some stats notes on movies: in 2012 i saw 200 different movies. 65 of them were in theaters (i paid to see the dark knight rises twice, and doubled up on a ton of others on dvd), and to date i’ve seen 117 movies that came out in 2012 (that’s three more than last year, although I’m also publishing this 2.5 weeks later than last year. this includes several that i watched after the year ended, so they’ll be among the total i report having watched in 2013, but they’re also part of the group of 2012 movies i’m counting as eligible for this best-of list).

as for movies with questionable release dates, the rule i made up is basically that if i saw it in like a festival or limited-engagement special event in 2012, even if it didn’t get even limited national release otherwise, it counts for my list, but if i did not see it in a festival before 2012 and its first limited release (a usa release that’s not a specific festival, even if it showed in fests pre-2012) was this year, then it counts. in other words it’s pretty subjective to my perspective, but it had to have its (limited or wide) release begin in 2012 OR be seen by me in a festival or special event (i saw movies at NYFF and a few assorted micro fests, and in theaters and homes in New York, Boston, Seattle, Austin, San Antonio, and Ohio…somehow missed out on movies at my mainstays SXSW, tribeca, and BAM cinema fest this year, boo) in 2012. (I did, however, participate in the New York Comedy Festival, Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, Del Close Marathon, and comedy shows at SXSW, so I guess comedy beat movies fests-wise for me this year).

also of note, i saw 11 movies in 2012 in 3d (and only one in IMAX: the dark knight rises; and I did see the hobbit in the HFR and didn’t hate it nearly as much as everybody else seemed to). i continue to think 3d is a stupid cash grab that almost never adds to the film, but I suffer from pretty severe fear of missing out so i keep getting suckered in. the only one that was really worth it this year was the hobbit, although there was a nice dive down a cliff in dark shadows and some fun flying around in avengers, prometheus and the amazing spider-man.

here’s what 1.23 trips to the movie theater a week (plus a few extraneous otherwise tix) looks like, btw:

here’s to beating it in 2013.

although i obviously saw a ton of movies this year, you’ll always miss a few; these are the ones that i suspect might have had a chance at making the above lists had i been able to catch them: wreck-it ralph, promised land, anna karenina, the sessions, smashed, bachelorette, the deep blue sea, once upon a time in anatolia, teddy bear, the turin horse, samsara, it’s such a beautiful day, killing them softly, a late quartet, this must be the place, on the road, hyde park on hudson, the impossible, chasing ice, the odd life of timothy green, hit & run, general education, the details, the central park five, for a good time call, kumare, liberal arts, flight, only the young. plus a few of the foreign & doc oscar nominees which despite all that you see here (this is not a list light on foreigns or docs!) i had somehow never previously heard of. pretty much everything else, if it came out in 2012 and it’s not listed here, it’s on purpose. SO THERE.

saw filmmakers/actors/film-related musicians in person promoting:

-we need to talk about kevin (ezra miller, angelika, jan 14)

-sleepwalk with me (mike birbiglia, ira glass, & jessi klein, IFC center, aug 26)

-head (the monkees movie, sept 20: no one from the movie was actually there but a panel was at the bell house screening to discuss it including julie klausner, kurt loder, rolling stone writer rob sheffield, and monkees historian eric lefcowitz)

-the princess bride (25th anniversary screening at the NYFF, oct 2, with rob reiner, william goldman, billy crystal, cary elwes, carol kane, mandy patinkin, chris sarandon, wallace shawn and robin wright!!!!!)

-the perks of being a wallflower (logan lerman, sunshine, oct 7)

-also went to a NYFF ‘director’s dialogue’ talk between brian de palma and noah baumbach, not after a specific film screening but more of a comprehensive career retrospective talk)

my 25 favorite comedy shows I saw (in chronological order):

-heart of darkness, hosted by greg barris with the forgiveness, featuring roger hailes, gabe liedman, pete drungle, wyatt cenac, and reggie watts @ union hall 1/7

-mr coconuts, hosted by gabe delahaye, featuring dave hill, ted travelstead, mike albo, and john roberts @ union hall 1/17

-totally j/k, hosted by joe mande and noah garfinkel, featuring dc pierson, gabe delahaye, annie lederman, and demitri martin @ ucbeast 1/19

-hot tub, hosted by kurt braunohler, featuring gabe delahaye, it gets betterish (brent sullivan/eliot glazer), joe mande, lisa delarios, demitri martin, and judah friedlander @ littlefield 2/13

-bob’s burgers show featuring eugene mirman, larry murphy, kurt braunohler, kristen schaal, jon benjamin @ bell house 3/9

-night of the living, hosted by kurt braunohler with house band adira amram & the experience, featuring wyatt cenac, ted leo, and pete & pete (danny tamberelli and michael maronna) 3/9

-dc pierson’s one man show “dc pierson is bad at girls” @ sxsw 3/15

-whiplash, hosted by leo allen, featuring ron lynch, jessi klein, tom shillue, joe derosa, gabe liedman, nick kroll, and todd barry @ ucb chelsea 4/9

-cheap date, hosted by sharron paul and calvin cole, featuring sherri shepherd, jermaine fowler, brent sullivan, travis irvine @ union hall 5/8

-dave hill’s tasteful nudes book release show featuring john hodgman, jon benjamin, doug gillard, tab the band, little michael jackson, and janeane garofalo @ bell house 5/24

-the jukebox, hosted by steve heisler, steve jacobs, and margaret lyons, featuring mara wilson, eric muller, kevin allison, and dave hill @ union hall 6/11

-kristen schaal long-form show with kurt braunohler @ union hall 6/17

-mr coconuts, hosted by gabe delahaye, featuring ted leo, taylor negron, michael che, and emily heller @ union hall 6/19

-brent sullivan’s one-man show “profiles in cowardice” @ ucb chelsea 7/5

-geeking out, hosted by kerri doherty and nate fernald, featuring ted travelstead, brent sullivan, steve heisler, robin gelfenbien, and ranmaru the cosplayer @ union hall 8/7

-auction to raise money for the eugene mirman comedy festival, featuring eugene, brendon small, james adomian, wyatt cenac, ac newman, and reggie watts @ bell house 8/24

-louis ck @ bell house 8/27

-final hot tub, hosted by kurt braunohler, featuring eugene mirman, james adomian, marcus monroe (a juggler), nick turner, pat shepherd, and chris hauselt @ littlefield 10/1

-double-header of one-man shows “dc pierson is good at stand-up” and brent sullivan’s “profiles in cowardice” @ ucb chelsea 10/3

-eddie pepitone @ union hall 10/24

-nick kroll @ bell house 11/30

-hurricane sandy benefit, hosted by ted leo and tom scharpling, featuring john hodgman as an auctioneer, gary the squirrel interviewing julie klausner, chris gethard, titus andronicus, jon benjamin, brooke shields, kristen schaal, chris elliott and adam resnick, and andrew wk @ bell house 12/7

-final pretty good friends, hosted by eugene mirman, featuring mike birbiglia, claudia cogan, mike drucker, and bobcat goldthwait @ union hall 12/9

-party machine holiday benefit, hosted by arden myrin and lisa delarios with house band adira amram & the experience, featuring nick turner, chris gethard, sheng wang, james adomian, janeane garofalo, jon glaser as “beer joe”, and tim harrington @ bell house 12/13

-the jukebox, hosted by steve heisler, steve jacobs, and margaret lyons, featuring david rees, mamrie hart, sam reiff-pasarew, and pete & pete (mike maronna and danny tamberelli) @ union hall 12/18

here’s a new category: podcasts/tapings I was a part of (in chronological order):

how was your week, hosted by julie klausner and house band ted leo and the pharmacists. featuring sandra bernhard, tom scharpling, ira glass in the “snack nest”, and joe mande (2/2); jim gaffigan, martha plimpton, mike daisey, and katie notopoulos (6/27); tom scharpling & jon wurster, kristen johnson, and gabe liedman (10/17) @ bell house

star talk, hosted by neil degrasse tyson and eugene mirman, featuring heather berlin, cara santa maria, and wyatt cenac (2/17); bill nye the science guy, scott adsit, sarah vowell, and cern scientist kyle cranmer (7/11); jim gaffigan, sarah silverman, and mars rover scientist david grinspoon (9/14) @ bell house

the tobolowsky files, by stephen tobolowsky with david chen (2/28) @ bell house

the interview show, hosted by mark bazer, featuring chuck klosterman, jon glaser, em & lo, and nova social (5/3) @ union hall

-jesse popp album taping (5/4) @ union hall

-greg barris album taping (5/10) @ ucb chelsea

-james adomian “low hangin fruit” album taping with rojo perez (6/13) @ union hall

going off track, hosted by jonah bayer and steven smith [he of the untitled rock show], featuring julie klausner, geoffrey rickly [thursday], norman brannon [texas is the reason], and sarah lewitinn (9/22) @ union hall

the thrilling adventure hour, with padgett brewster, busy phillips, samm levine, paul f tompkins, james urbaniak, dave (gruber) allen, colin hanks, john hodgman, scott adsit, and more (9/30) @ bell house

the chris gethard show, featuring dc pierson, dave hill, and rl stine (10/3) @ manhattan neighborhood network [public access tv station]

the smartest man in the world, greg proops’ podcast [proopcast] (10/6) @ bell house

how did this get made, hosted by jason mantzoukas, paul scheer, and june diane raphael, and featuring michael ian black then julie klausner (12/6) @ bell house

-john hodgman “that is all” taping [for netflix I think?] 12/21 @ bell house

favorite new tv show:


I think that’s the only show that had its debut episode in 2012 that I liked enough to even talk about at all. had all the strong feelings all the other nyc girls my age/social bracket had in response to it, but they were in sum def more good than bad. congrats girls

favorite non- new tv shows:

parks & recreation (number 1 two years in a row!! i guess this is officially my Favorite Show)

happy endings


bob’s burgers

breaking bad


adventure time with finn and jake

american horror story

sherlock (bbc)

downton abbey

mad men


30 rock



the increasingly poor decisions of todd margaret

childrens hospital



the league

up all night

it’s always sunny in philadelphia

(looking forward to justified, parenthood, boardwalk empire, house of lies, veep, shameless, bunk, comedy bang bang, and enlightened eventually joining this list…need more hours in the day)

and lastly, some stray cool stuff i did in 2012 that didn’t fit into any of the above categories:

-daniel kitson’s one-man theatrical production ‘it’s always right now, until it’s later’ @ st ann’s warehouse

-alicia jo rabins’ years-in-the-making musical/theatrical production ‘a kaddish for bernie madoff’ @ joe’s pub

-voted for obama then rejoiced with 1000 of my closest friends (and liam mceneany and mike doughty) at the bell house when he won

-sold merch for tony sly (with joey cape when they played bell house) a week before his untimely death

-ate a grilled cheese sandwich in my Ohio hometown that had pierogis inside of it

-spent the 4th of july with some austrialian friends and got to see the city as a tourist: took the staten island ferry, watched street performers in washington square park, ate pizza, watched the fireworks over the hudson

-took several great trips, including a few firsts like wine tasting at a vineyard near seattle, walking a suspension bridge in a rainforest near vancouver, jazz brunch in boston, serious bbq in san antonio, and a speakeasy in seattle

-watched the comedy central roast of roseanne with Lecy, the original Becky

-worked as a “location assistant” on my first two real (paying) film sets, one for a tv show and one for a web video

-stood in line as an extra in aimee mann’s music video for “charmer”, directed by tom scharpling and produced by rob hatch-miller & puloma basu (production company productions): check me out at around 2:30:


Bonus: my favorite “celebrity encounter” of the year (take that, brooke shields, jake gyllenhaal, michelle williams, sandra bernhard, david byrne, rl stine, kristen johnson, martha plimpton, taylor negron, laura linney, chris elliott, andrew wk, bill nye the science guy, zach galifianakis, dino stamatopoulos, colin hanks, michael azerrad, jonathan ames, marky ramone, doug benson, adam pally, matt walsh, sherri shepherd, neil degrasse tyson, norah jones, steve buscemi, janeane garofalo, bobcat goldthwait, mara wilson, ?uestlove, brendon small, ira glass, sarah silverman, kurt loder, jonathan coulton, john roderick, malcolm gladwell, chuck klosterman, many cast members of 30 rock, freaks and geeks, archer, bob’s burgers, and home movies, and everyone else listed above):

THE END! I love you.




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