Flavorwire Staffers’ Best Cultural Experiences of 2013

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With the end of every calendar year comes the customary influx of “Best Of” lists, definitively ranking the créme de la cultural créme of the last 365 days. But sometimes “best” doesn’t accurately describe the things that stick with us most, or that we irrationally love out of personal preference. So to cap off 2013, Flavorwire staffers listed their favorite cultural items of the year — the books, movies, and experiences we’ll be taking into 2014. Click through for Flavorwire writers’ most memorable cultural moments of the past year.

Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings

I saw plenty of great movies and read perhaps even more outstanding books this year, but it’s this Eno installation that constituted what I’d call my most transcendent cultural experience of 2013. The great musician’s experiment in visual art, soundscape, mathematics, and technology created an oasis of tranquility, and provided the perfect atmosphere for the kind of quiet, productive reflection that those of us who don’t have time to meditate regularly sorely needed. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

The Flick

I saw Annie Baker’s The Flick two times last spring at Playwrights Horizons. For a three-hour-play made up mostly of silent pauses and stares shared among its three-person cast, The Flick moved, at least for me, at a surprisingly lovely pace. Baker has a stellar ear for dialogue and manages to nail the personalities of the aimless misfits she loves to follow around on stage, and her appreciation for them rubs off on the audience, as well. The show was controversial—not that many people wanted to watch three hours of janitorial processes in a dilapidated movie theater. I, on the other hand, could have watched 12 hours of it, because it was one of the most honest, and therefore exciting, pieces of theatre I have seen in years. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

Leonard Cohen

Seeing Leonard Cohen play Radio City. And honestly, it’s not even close. — Tom Hawking, Music Editor

Goblin

Dario Argento’s Suspiria — a stunning gothic fairy tale — is my favorite film. It was very exciting to see the composers of the movie’s soundtrack play live during their very first U.S. tour. Goblin is usually labeled as a prog band, but the Italian group’s work on Argento’s masterpiece feels like a hypnotic and sinister incantation. The rest of their catalogue is equally memorable, but Suspiria live had the audience spellbound. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic

As a bit of a comedy nerd, I spent a good couple of hours geeking at out the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the new documentary Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic — not just over the documentary, which is great, but the post-film panel, where Tracy Morgan, Wyatt Cenac, author Walter Mosley, director Marina Zenovich, and Pryor’s widow Jennifer were both fascinating and funny discussing the comedian’s legacy, his successors, his rivalries, and much more. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

M.I.A.

As a fan deeply disappointed in both M.I.A.’s last album and the months-long delays leading up to Matangi‘s release, her Terminal 5 show this November single-handedly restored my faith in one of my favorite artists. After an abysmal opening act, hearing tracks from her album (released that same day) paired with old hits like “Paper Planes” sent the message that M.I.A. is back, label drama be damned. No one with stage presence like that can be down and out for long. — Alison Herman, Editorial Assistant

Seeing Marshall Jefferson DJ

The best cultural experience I had this year was unquestionably seeing My Bloody Valentine live, but I’ve said enough about that here, and there’s already a ton of writing about their shows. My close second is when I somehow ended up at a party where house music GOD Marshall Jefferson DJed. It was for this fashion party inspired by Manchester’s legendary club The Hacienda, a place I dreamed about visiting as a teenager. It was a dream come true to experience a Hacienda throwback with a man who was so instrumental to its sound, and I’ve spent a long time wishing more music sounded like his. The closest anyone got to replicating the Hacienda sound this year was Cut Copy’s “Free Your Mind” and Annie’s A&R EP, but I have hope there’ll be more next year. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

Selling my book to Grove Atlantic. — Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large