Thursday, December 20, 2007

The best of '07

Here's a list of the 10 things that stuck with me this year:

1. "Once." It's not a musical, even though the characters sing -- it's a movie about music, with characters who break into song in real-life situations. It's small, intimate, and unbelievably powerful. It played only a couple of weeks in Charlotte, but it just came out on DVD. See it.

2. Stevie Wonder at Bobcats Arena. Beyond all expectations. And worth it just for the country version of "Signed, Sealed & Delivered."

3. Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely and Guy Clark at Ovens Auditorium. Four guys with acoustic guitars sitting around and trading off one brilliant song after another.

4. Joe Posnanski's blog. The UNCC grad and former Observer sportswriter supplements his prizewinning work at the Kansas City Star with this blog, which is mostly about baseball but a little bit about everything. Full disclosure: He's my buddy. He's also the best sportswriter in America.

5. Elvis Costello at the Blumenthal Center. Another acoustic show -- just Elvis and keyboardist Steve Nieve. Two-and-a-half hours and I could've listened to twice as much.

6. "Stardust." Another one of those low-expectations moments -- I went in not knowing much about it and came out charmed. For all those people who still watch "The Princess Bride" at least once a year.

7. "Cross-X," Joe Miller. I was a high-school debate geek, so this book is right in my wheelhouse, but I think other people will love it, too -- it's a study of brilliant, profane, infuriating and uplifting kids trying to blossom in an inner-city high school.

8. "The Simpsons Movie." My wife had no idea she liked the Simpsons until she went to this movie. Now she's a fan. "Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig, does whatever a Spider-Pig does..."

9. "Terry's Song," Bruce Springsteen. I didn't even know the name of this song until I just now looked it up -- it's a hidden track on the "Magic" CD. (It's the one with the chorus "When they built you, brother, they broke the mold.") Apparently Springsteen wrote it for his longtime friend Terry McGovern, who died in July. It's old-school Bruce -- simple and clear and wraps both its hands around your heart.

10. Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32. I had to work that Saturday; on the way to the office, I found the game on the radio and discovered App State was ahead. I came to the office and found my boss. "Did you hear about App State and Michigan? It's 28-17!" I said. "Wow, that's great," he said. A few minutes later he walked over to my desk. "Wait," he said, "you mean they're AHEAD?"

The game wasn't on TV and we couldn't go to a sports bar. So five or six of us at the office went online and logged on to the ESPN GameCast, which shows a little cartoon field and an update after every play. It was like finding out about the World Series via Morse code. But somehow that made it all the more exciting as App State lost the lead, then got it back, then blocked a field goal at the end for the huge upset. We ran around the room high-fiving and basically acting like goobers.

Sometimes the best moments are the smallest.

What's your list of favorite things from 2007? Let's see 'em below.


Anonymous said...

Two things quickly come to mind. 1. Rush in concert this summer. Those old guys are just getting better and better. 2. Georgia dominating Florida in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (followed by a phone call from a great friend).

Anonymous said...

I really appreciated your comment on 'Once.' At first I thought the movie was cheesy, but a few days later, riding in the car, I realized the same thing had happened to me. Years ago I was at an out-of-town conference and, though very happily married, found myself very attracted to one of the attendees. Nothing physical happened - but it was close, and I still think of him from time to time. Sometimes once is enough, and you need to go back to the real world. But the memories stay with you.