2006 is now a thing of the past (in case you hadn’t noticed). In lieu of a wordy elegy to a year that really didn’t mean that much to me, I’ve opted to list some of the best things I experienced in 2006. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty short list.
The Coup. In 2006, I both got into hip hop and got political. I’d toyed somewhat with both in the past, but The Coup, whom I discovered with the January launch of their phenomenal “Pick a Bigger Weapon,” helped facilitate both. Not only is Boots Riley a brilliant lyricist and producer extraordinaire, he also spares me from having to cope with the ugly reality of much of hip hop’s misogyny. The Coup played Salt Lake in July and I was fortunate enough to attend. After a late (something like three hours late) start, the live band was bringing funk I wasn’t even expecting. I did what I didn’t think I was nearly drunk enough to do: clumsy and horrible as I was, I danced.
Election 2. A top ten list of 2006’s films may very well be forthcoming. It’s some time distant, though, because many likely candidates (Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Memories of Matsuko) haven’t made it my way yet and won’t for some time. However, I don’t suspect that anything will topple my current pick for best film of 2006: Johnnie To’s near-perfect sequel to last year’s brilliant Election. Election 2 (or Triad Election as you soon will know it) builds on and expands the themes from its progenitor. The effect is devastating. Parts of this film made me nauseous (and not just in the one obvious instance). Johnnie To is an absolute master of the modern cinema. In the last few years, particularly, he has been able to absolutely and deftly command the medium to its fullest. When To is through with them, not a single character in the Election saga is left with a shred of dignity. And yet my heart breaks for every one. It’s beautiful, it’s gut-wrenching, it’s pessimistic and pointed political commentary. It’s my favorite film of the year.
Election 2006. I actually got pretty involved (both emotionally and a little bit actively) this year. And, against my better judgment, I actually hoped that the Dems could wrestle control of the Congress away from the Republicans. To my amazement, this actually happened. My initial enthusiasm has been tempered by the realization that, in all likelihood, the Congress will not necessarily do much in the way of good, but rather — hopefully — do less evil. Doing less evil, of course, is a step in the right direction. Just grinding the Bush administration to a halt would be a step in the right direction. Yet, still against my better judgment, I actually still hope.
Writing. I don’t wish to reveal too much to the internets about what it concerns, but my friend, Enoch Allred, and I completed the first draft of our first feature length screenplay. Additionally, we were able to receive much feedback that will assist our next rewrite, from the new-for-2006 Magical Science Club, a weekly gathering of those among my circle of friends who write. MSC has been helpful, insightful, and motivating for many of us. Not only that, I really look forward to new material by many of these people every week. And due to some constructive feedback, I’ve finally began working on a project nearly two years old that may very well become my feature directorial debut.
Well, there’s 2006 for you. There were some other decent things for me personally: good times with friends, my discovery of Japanese director Shunji Iwai, some (but not all) of my job changes. But that’s enough for now.
So, here’s 2007. I don’t believe in premonition, but I just feel that this is going to be an awful, awful year. Oh, well.