Okay, Fine… Here’s My Year-End “Lucky Seven”

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Here’s this thing, in case you’re not sick of year-end lists yet. Seriously, though: why do we do this? What do we, as a culture, stand to gain? What do we, as individuals, stand to gain? What is wrong with us? What’s the fucking point?

Honestly, I have no idea. All I’m hoping to gain by the following is a couple extra “hits”. That said, if you haven’t had the chance to check out any of these movers and shakers in the last year, I hope this encourages you to do so.

Being a renaissance man, I didn’t want to focus my attention on just music, or film, or what have you. Unfortunately, I didn’t honestly LOVE enough stuff this year to make substantial lists for every art form, so here instead are my seven favorite artists/performers from the last year.


7. Richard Tuohy

Richard Tuohy’s “Dot Matrix”, a dual-projection film piece which was performed earlier this year at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, is one of the most remarkable visual, aural, and indeed PHYSICAL experiences I’ve had all year. The video below does it little justice;  anything I say would do it even less.

Richard Tuohy


6. Smegma

Always and eternally. Smegma is the only one of my favorite bands that still exists in any recognizable form (given that we lost The Stooges’ Scott Asheton this year, and legendary artist/Destroy All Monsters co-founder Mike Kelley not too long before), and I don’t take that for granted. I got to see this legendary crew open for Thurston’s band a couple months back (lousy video from that gig below), my first time seeing them in awhile. Even if (as Ju Suk Reet Meate told me after the show) their renown in Portland is on the wane at press time, they remain the city’s greatest musical treasure, an antidote to the constant, looming condo construction and artisanal folderol of PDX 2.0.



5. Ben Rivers/Ben Russell

They of my favorite film this year, A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness. I don’t have that much more to say, except that if you haven’t seen this brilliant feature-length collaboration, there’s no time like the present.

 A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness  Ben Rivers  Ben Russell



4. Penelope Spheeris

Ms. Spheeris (director of the Decline of Western Civilization movies, Suburbia, and yes, Wayne’s World) didn’t complete any new projects this year, to my knowledge, except for the informal project of working her way into my heart. I had the good fortune of interviewing Spheeris in March during the Ann Arbor Film Festival, wherein she a) bought me breakfast, b) interviewed me as much as I did her, and c) spoke with humor and candor on just about everything you’d think to ask her about. The aforementioned interview has yet to be published (long story), but it was a real pleasure.

Penelope Spheeris




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Dustin Krcatovich is a cartoonist, writer, designer, founder of FM DUST, and a collector of certain curios and ephemera (with a focus on 20th century "junk culture"). His writing and illustration work appears frequently in The Quietus, Tiny Mix Tapes, and Esquire's Culture Blog. He is also a former editor and contributor to Secret Zen Garden,Saagara's illustrated mindfulness/wellness blog for young people. He currently resides in Portland, OR.

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