10) Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley- Recently I've sung the praises of my favorite comic strip as often and as loudly as I can. It's a comic whose humor is based on annoying behavior and it is a reminder that often the ones who annoy you the most (and the best) are the ones who often matter the most. I can't imagine beginning a day without first reading the newest installment.
9) Bob Dylan's "If You See Her Say Hello" at Somerset, Wisconsin- The rest of the concert was pretty typical Bob (in other words pretty darn good and idiosyncratic) made more special by finally going with the biggest Dylan fan I know. When he sang this tune from Blood on the Tracks with wacky new lyrics (something about a woman with blue hair) it was the best single moment of my summer.
8) John Hiatt 9/7 at the Zoo- Someday near the end of time someone will chronicle the history of American music and John Hiatt is sure to get a surprising to most mention. His catalog of songs is such that when he opened this show deep in the suburbs of Minnesota with the rollicking "Lincoln Town," it was one of dozens of great songs he could have sung that would have made my heart more glad than I can ever explain.
7) Dinner at the Melting Pot and then Connie Evingson's show at the Illusion Theater- I enjoyed yet another enjoyable evening with the one who remains my favorite person on the planet. Cheese fondue appetizer, meat fondue meal, and chocolate fondue dessert. My tummy ached. Then we enjoyed an evening of Beatles' songs performed in jazzy arrangements by the Twin Cities finest chanteuse (dressed in some fetching funky pants). But you wanna know the best part of this late spring night? That I got to spend it with my best friend, the one who always continues to be there for me just when I need it most.
6) "Hey Ya" Outkast- There is something so infectious and wonderful about this song that every time I hear it I almost feel like dancing. Yes it's cooler than cool- it's ICE COLD!
5) Lost in Translation- I went to this movie with my wise well beyond her time blue-eyed friend. Both of us had seen it before and both of us NEEDED to see it again. It's a story about a friendship. It's a story about being lost in a strange land and meeting someone who not only makes you not feel so alone but makes you feel if where you've been isn't the only place you have to go back to. It's also a story about an older man befriending a young woman. Geez, how could we relate?
4) Wilco, at the Rock the Garden at the Walker- Before the concert the smartest person I know (but is she truly intuitive?) and I strolled around the garden and she most memorably identified all the plants for me. We then stood waiting for the show to begin and a friend of hers came by. Then my friends came and stood with us. And then Wilco played, and played well and in many ways it was the warmest and most comfortable I felt all year.
3) Liz Phair at First Ave- Years back when Exile in Guyville first came out and blew my socks off (and as it turns out many others as well) I honestly didn't even know what Liz looked like. Then I discovered she's a drop dead gorgeous babe so when she sings about being a "blow job queen" I kind of get defensive about why she remains one of my all time favorite songwriters. Does anyone believe me that I love Liz's songs because she is perhaps about the most perceptive rock writer writing about the confusing nature of relationships? And for the record I like the new CD if only for the devastating song to her son (but in actuality for much much more). I enjoyed this concert more than any other this year.
2) Ike Reilly's Cars and Girls and Drinks and Songs EP- All five songs are superlative. All five songs make you wonder why this guy isn't the biggest thing in the music biz today.
1) Mr. Max- My best friend died this past year. I watched him gasp for his last breaths and each gasp tore the heart out of me. I've tried my best to move on, to remember the things about him that were so special to me. I've even welcomed two other cats into my house this year. But Max changed my very being, my very outlook. We shared a lot in our 12 years together and I still miss terribly the look he'd give me when I got home and how he drooled whenever he was happy.