January 2, 2007

when you get to the bottom you go back to the top

Here are my top things of 2006:

Best Live Performance:

"Circus Maximus" by John Corigliano performed by the University of Illinois Wind Symphony

It was worth the drive through a blizzard to witness this performance. It was one of the most captivating pieces I've ever seen and heard. Although it was more than 30 minutes long, my attention never drifted. Plus I got to see Ralph march around in a silly costume.

Best Movies:

Little Miss Sunshine

A great road movie about a crazy, yet endearing family. Plus Steve Carell. What's not to love?

Thank You for Smoking

Wonderful satire and one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. And Aaron Eckhart is in it. That reminds me of when I met him in London.


A documentary about crossword puzzles may sound boring. But it isn't. It's hilarious and informative. Everything a lighthearted documentary should be.

A Prairie Home Companion

Great cast, great dialogue, great music and Robert Altman's last movie.

The Departed

So good that Scorsese will get nominated for an Oscar and lose to someone else. Again.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Khazakstan

What can I say about Borat that hasn't already already been said? This movie made me laugh so hard it hurt. And it was just about the most uncomfortable I've ever felt in a movie theatre.

Top new shows:

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Despite the waffling of some critics, I'm still very committed. The show is funny and smart, everything you'd expect from Aaron Sorkin. The sketches are starting to get funnier too.


I admit it. I was wrong. I will never listen to a critic before watching something for myself again.

Top show I should have started watching last season:

How I Met Your Mother

In a time when the multi-camera, live-studio-audience sitcom appears to be nearing extinction, this show proves that there's still life left in the genre.

Best books I read:

Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers

Powers never disappoints me, and this book is especially interesting because of its semi-autobiographical material.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

He does very amusing things with the English language and writesx a book about complex subjects with two narrators. While it may sound confusing, the book is contains Magical Realism that reminds me of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez.

All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

This is the kind of book that inspires me to be a reporter. Not only does it tell the story of Watergate, it tells the process by which the pair of reporters gathered their information.

Best new restaurant I tried:

Dom's Patio Villa, 301 S. Locust St., Champaign, IL

If Julia hadn't taken me here for my birthday, I never would have discovered this great Italian restaurant that was about 3 blocks from where I lived for two years. The food is great (especially the bread). I loved it so much I made my parents take me back at graduation.

Best New Album:

"Rabbit Fur Coat" Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

I got into alt-country music this year, and this is a great album in the genre. I love her work with Rilo Kiley and her voice sounds great with this more stripped-down material.

Best bands I started listening to this year:

Old 97's

They've been around forever but I somehow just got into them this year. As I said before, I got into alt-country music this year, and they're some of the best around.

Tally Hall

A talented band that writes an eclectic mix of songs. I can't wait to catch them live sometime.

Posted by dpetrella at January 2, 2007 3:48 PM | TrackBack

Jenny Lewis kills me when she sings. She's quite the lyricist, too... I heard some old 97's and may have actually seen them in concert once but don't actually have any of the music... but liked the little I've heard. Glad you've seen the alt-country light. He's not alt-country, but have you listened to M. Ward at all?

Posted by: matt at January 3, 2007 1:38 AM

Matt. I actually meant to mention your most recent album in this post. I wanted to finish it so it wouldn't be lingering too long into the new year, so I kind of did it in haste. I was really happy to hear your music go in that kind of direction. Anyway, thanks as always for the comment. I haven't listened to M. Ward. I'll have to check it out.

Posted by: Dan at January 3, 2007 10:03 AM
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