Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: It's A Wrap

So, 2015 is in the books. Hopefully in addition to each of us being another year older we're also each a wee bit wiser. Here are just a few miscellaneous notations on the year just passed.

Let's start with the movies that moved us. The top grossing film of 2015 (so far) was Jurassic World from Universal Studios, released in June with nearly 78 million tickets sold. Star Wars Episode VII, which opened two weeks ago, is a close second with near 72 million tickets sold. The Force lives. Third on the list is another Disney flick, The Avengers. Fourth, again from Disney, is Inside Out. (You can fact check this paragraph and see the rest of the winners here.) 

When the Oscars are handed out later this winter, they will undoubtedly honor many of the famous folk who served in Hollywood during all or part of their careers. Here are some notables whom we lost in 2015, from Tinseltown to the Big Apple and the music world. Leonard Nimoy, the original Dr. Spock; Donna Douglas, whom we all loved as Ellie May Clampett; Yogi Berra, "Slump? I ain't in a slump. I just ain't hitting."; New York Governor Mario Cuomo; Lesley Gore, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..."; Percy Sledge, "When a Man Loves a Woman"; the one and only B.B. King; Jazz man Ornette Coleman; Omar Shariff, Dr. Zhivago; Frank Gifford; Hall of Famer and TV commentator; Anita Ekberg, Miss Sweden and La Dolce Vita; Meadow Lark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters; and George Barris, Hollywood's King of Kustomizers and creator of the original Batmobile.

It's also been a year for books. Carolyn Edlund, whose Artsy Shark eNewsletter appears in my inbox each morning, shared her top ten list of most read posts pertaining to business books in the art biz she serves. At the top of the list is a cleverly titled book by a body painter titled Promoting a Body of Work. If you're a serious artist serious about selling your work and making a living (if possible) through your creative endeavors, check out Carolyn's list here

I myself read quite a few good books this year. Unfortunately I do not keep a running list and January seems so very long ago. I found myself reading several books about the music culture I grew up with, including a few more titles about Dylan, as well as two about the Rolling Stones, the most insightful being Keith Richards' Life. A mentally stimulating read for me late in the year was a book titled 50 Philosophy Classics. Highly recommended. 

In the local scene one of the major events of 2015 was Mayor Don Ness' decision to not run for re-election. In the fall he released a book about his experiences these past many years titled Hillsider [Snapshots of a Curious Journey]. It's a beautiful volume, combining wit and wisdom, social and political commentary, and gobs of photos all assembled in a wonderfully accessible layout and design (courtesy Andrea Peterson). What makes the book such a good read is that the guy is so unpretentious. It's just Don being Don.

The election of Jesse Ventura in 1998 sent a message. Minnesotans were tired of politicians who talked and acted like politicians. They wanted a straight talker whose public dialogue came from the heart, not from the pollsters and handlers. Ventura's election as governor became a lightning rod for national media. How could this former WWF wrestler take up residence in the governor's mansion?

In no way would I compare the retiring Duluth mayor with former Governor Ventura other than to say neither one fits the mold of a politico. Don has become a perfect symbol of the spirit of our city, eclectic in interests, a supporter of the music and arts scene while advocating for business as well as the needs of the people. He's had a good run, and one wonders where he will go next. And he's got a clever sense of humor. Near the end of the book he jokingly announces a run for press-ident, "Because people who run for president sell more books."

I can't overlook a few of the darker clouds that passed across our skies this year. This list of ten tragedies reminds us of how fragile life is and that we shouldn't take our blessings for granted.

On that note, cherish what you have (friends, loved ones, memories)... and may your 2016 not only be a good one, but also a meaningful one. 

No comments: