2012 Picks: Colleen Jurkiewicz
There was a lot to love in 2012. These are my picks for theater, music, media and pop culture.
Performance: Musically, it was the opening acts that really blew me away this year: Little Big Town at Summerfest (warming up the crowd for Rascal Flatts, who gave an "eh" performance), Sunny Sweeney at State Fair (for The Band Perry, who also did a great job) and Wisconsin's own Cory Chisel (Regina Spektor). But I have to say that overall favorite performance this year was The Milwaukee Rep's presentation of "Assassins." This play was both amusing and profoundly moving – a tough combination, but they nailed it. Adam Monley as John Wilkes Booth stole the show with a delicious blend of a Confederate devotee's swagger and a killer's narcissism.
Book: Hands-down, Robert Goolrick's "Heading Out to Wonderful." Since reading his 2009 Wisconsin-based novel "A Reliable Wife," I've been enchanted with Goolrick's unique and arresting writing style. His sentences have the fluidity of water and are driven by a subtle but powerful narrative current. This book tells the story of a doomed affair in small-town, post-World War II Virginia, and there were some passages that I found to be so beautiful they almost made me weep.
New TV Show: You may have guessed from the musicians I mentioned earlier that I like country music. So no surprise, I'm obsessed with ABC's "Nashville." Connie Britton shines as a Music City diva wrestling to stay relevant, and Hayden Panetierre is surprisingly tolerable – even compelling – as a kleptomaniac Taylor Swift look-alike clawing her way to the top of the charts. The show's music producer is the legendary T Bone Burnett, and they've employed talented songwriters to create original tunes for the soundtrack.
Favorite work moment: I covered Michelle Obama's September visit to Walker's Point for OnMilwaukee.com, and they gave us name tags that said "White House Press." I have no idea why, because I have a degree in Creative Writing and I don't even know if I could get a tour at the White House, let alone press credentials. At some point someone came up to me and said, "Wow! White House Press Corps!" My undying love for "The West Wing" and especially the character of Danny Concannon made this an unforgettable moment – but also a hilarious one.
Interview: A no-brainer. Talking to the folks at Freethink Media about their new "Honor Flight" movie, as well as interviewing the family of war hero Orville Lemke, was deeply moving. Now, more than ever, we need to remember the dedication and values of our Greatest Generation – because they're disappearing before our eyes.
Unborn baby: Yes, I'm one of those people. I am embarrassingly excited about the Royal Fetus. Mostly I can't wait to see what amazing maternity wear Sarah Burton is going to make for the Duchess of Cambridge.
MKE event: Doors Open MKE was a great experience for me. I went to the top of the U.S. Bank Building and watched President Obama's motorcade wind through the streets. But my favorite visit was the corporate offices at Pabst, abandoned and dilapidated in a fashion both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Fashion Trend: I love the English countrywoman vibe that we saw this fall. I love me some tweed and plaid. Simple, classic – and best of all, warm.
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