We know we’ve only been in action since May, but we’ve been toiling away like little Christmas elves to bring you the badest, most awesomest, completely ridiculous critical commentary out there. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve tore a few new holes. But mainly, we’ve been genius. So we’re going out in 2007 by honoring the best (and worst) of this years criticism, performance and culture. Umm…don’t be surprised when we win Blog of the Year.
Performance of the Year: PS22 Chorus singing “Dragon” for Tori Amos
With a single video, the kids chorus of PS22 (check ‘em out on our blog roll) on Staten Island became internet celebrities, and proved that children’s voices can make even the most vagi-centric song sound like an anthem for world peace.
Outrageous Moment of the Year: Ann Liv Young and Family’s “The Radio Show” @ Rush Arts
Let’s just say, if dance aficionados out there are questioning whether or not Ann Liv Young is a choreographer, wait till they try to digest her parental habits. The inclusion of her four day-old infant as a performer/prop at the Rush Arts gallery back in September made this critic nervous and prompted our second most-read posts ever!
Dance of the Year: Jerome Bel’s “Pichet Klunchun and myself” @ DTW
Fuck. This one was tough. Just so’s you know, the short list included…David Neumann’s Feedforward (hot), Tere O’Connor’s Rammed Earth (cool), Batsheva’s Three (fierce), and Jeremy Wade’s first ensemble piece …and pulled out their hair (crazy!). But somebody had to win, and, more than Bel’s lyric conceptualism and sophisticated execution, the heartfelt emphasis on civil understanding tipped the scales.
Best Orchestral Performance of the Year: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra @ Carnegie Hall
Seriously, the best sound out of an orchestra we have ever heard in our entire lives, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is no cakewalk. Some people think a teenage muppet bouncing off the podium is what will save concert music. Boulez kind of proved that its really music of the highest caliber that will save it, that is, if anything needs saving.
Best Opera of the Year: “The Marriage of Figaro” @ The Met
We’re going with our gut on this one. As much as we wanted to give this to Carmen (just cuz it was so much fun), The Met’s Le Nozze di Figaro wins the prize for its truly sophisticated set design and solid cast–including lispy American starlet Lisette Oropesa and the awesome Vanke Vondung in her Met debut–and for keeping opera alive and full of the breath of theater.
Best Theater Experience: Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s “No Dice”
If we hadn’t seen this little mini-masterpiece of theater just two weeks ago, we would have given this award to Mexican company Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes’ De Monstruos y Prodigios, which was a riotous tour de force that questioned beauty, fame, and fashion. But the sweethearts of the zany Nature Theater of Oklahoma won us over with their child-like exuberance and mad acting skills. The Wooster Group’s Hamlet was a close third, but, to be honest, we’re still digesting that one. I mean…we didn’t even blog about it.
Let Down of the Year: Yvonne Rainer’s “RoS Indexical”
Is it possible to write too much about a bad thing? Maybe. Click here for the the uber list of posts we dedicated to this let-down of the millennium, or what we’ve dubbed “The Yvonne Rainer Drainer.” This thing was an SBD all the way, and it doesn’t help its cause when certain douche bags try to rush to Rainer’s defense.
Let Down of the Year – Honorary Mention: Lucia Poop, Beethoven Compressed, Dismantled, Doll Parts, and the choreography for Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury at Japan Society: It was just…awful.
YouTube of the Year: She without arm, he without leg – ballet – Hand in Hand
“Dancing For Your Limbs” is the perhaps more (in)appropriate title. Either way, this glorious number is set to a song that won’t leave you (…ever), and is cheered on by perhaps one of the most actively disinterested audiences on record.
Top Post of the Year: FIRST WORD REVIEW, The Met’s “Iphigenie en Tauride”
Who the F knew that a review of a new production of an obscure Gluck opera by The Met would bring down the most hits out of any post we have ever written, far surpassing the other front runners, the aforementioned, and…the little post that could.
Newcomer Critic of the Year: Britney
Despite stellar contributions to this site from Sidekick and L.A. correspondent, Benn Widdey, the Newcomer Critic of the Year Award goes to Britney Spears for her candid, gum-smacky, and mostly sober cameo critique of Elliott Carter’s 99th Birthday/music concert at the Miller Theater.
Douche of the Year: Alastair Macaulay
Whether he’s trodding up to Lincoln Center for an evening to mainline more ballet than most humans could possibly ever digest in an entire lifetime, lecturing little Barnard dancers about the future of an illusion, or whether he’s whisping off away to Paris for like…ever, handing over some prime media real estate to the French for some inexplicable reason (seriously, folks, what’s up with that?), Alastair Macaulay is the dance critic we love to hate, and hate to love. He’s received both awards of praise and the big old douche. And, to tell the truth, his awful writing about Merce Cunningham, way back when, is what inspired us to start this blog. Perhaps we can say then that, like Golum, even the creepiest, slimiest, smelliest creature in Middle Earth can still be responsible for a modicum of good in the world.
Critic of the Year: Claudia La Rocco
Is anyone surprised? I mean, seriously, come on! You know, we may have given her a douche and a half over the past seven months (you know we did it out of love), but the fact remains that her writing on dance (and even a little theater) is the sharpest, most insightful you will find. Not only does she tend to go for the really edgy shit, but she expects the highest level of professionalism from artists and isn’t smoke-screened by reputations or hype. She also totally knows how to take down some god-awful piece of shit in like two seconds flat. And even though we accused her of being old and crusty (which, you know, we might have been not right about), she’s turned out to be a critic (with a darling speaking voice) we love to read and write about, and our affection for her work has even landed her one of the most awesome nom de blogs out there: You can call her L. Ro.
And now, the award you’ve all been waiting for…
Blog of the Year: Counter Critic
We told you not to be surprised. I mean, think of it this way. In that one America’s Next Top Model episode, there were like four chicks left, and scary Tyra asked each of them, one at a time, who had the most potential to be America’s Next Top Model, and like, the only one who didn’t say herself, totally got the boot (probably a Prada boot, still a boot). So, we’re shining with vaseline confidence here and giving our blog the biggest award there is out there ever in the entire history of human awards (that even includes the Gold, Frankincense and Mhyr that the baby Jesus won from the wisemen). Thanks to our gloriously bored-at-work readers for keeping loyal and chatty. Douches to all who got catty. And try not to forget us while we go on vaca. We might even check in every now and then. And maybe, if you’ve bought presents for everyone else this year, you can treat yourself to the Counter Critic RSS Feed, which will let you know each and every time we decide to post something awesome and stupid. Do it for yourself. Do it for the world.
Happy Holidays, everyone.