Before we raise our glasses to 2013 and sing “Auld Lang Syne” with Andrew Bird or Sufjan Stevens, allow us to reflect on 2012. Whether you’re a regular, occasional, or first time reader of Frontier Psychiatrist, we hope you’ll enjoy the following celebration of an epic year and a harbinger of what’s to come.
In 2012, FP continued to bring our readers daily coverage of music, books, food, film, and more: from a Bolaño book review in January to last week’s interview with Anais Mitchell. As in the past, December has been a slew of superlatives, including our favorite psychedelic, hip-hop, and metal albums, fiction and nonfiction and poetry books, Off-Off Broadway plays and K-Pop videos, and our top 50 albums and top 50 songs. Now, as the year officially ends, we take a step back to bring you The Best of 2012.
In March, the senior editorial trio converged from New York and Chicago to meet in Austin, Texas for a week of around the clock music, with tens of thousands of our closest friends. Ultimately, SXSW is a place where, whether large or small, arena-ready or garage -enfettered, there is always another band around the corner. And the tacos are pretty good too.
Right before arriving in Austin for SXSW, Leo Lopez matched wits with Alex Trebeck, flexed his knowledge in the form of questions, and achieved his lifelong dream of winning on Jeopardy. When the episodes aired in July, Lopez celebrated with friends and family in Brooklyn and wrote How To Win (And Lose) on Jeopardy, about the grueling process of studying, qualifying, and playing America’s favorite quiz show. Besides cash and bragging rights, Lopez was officially a Jeopardy Hottie.
8. Festival Express
FP’s concert aficionado Peter Lillis –who saw more than 100+ live shows in 2012 – hit four major music festivals: SXSW in Austin, the Pitchfork Music Festival and Brilliant Corners in Chicago, and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, where his coverage made Freshly Pressed, the best of 400,000+ sites on Word Press. Andrew Hertzberg reported on the music food and ads of Lollapalooza in Chicago, Keith Meatto and Leo Lopez hit the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, and Wayan Zoey and Feathertree Photography shared words and images from Newport Folk Festival.
We expanded our coverage in 2012 to include conversations with dozens of writers, musicians, and photographers, beginning with an interview of novelist David Goodwillie and ending with Jordan Mainzer’s interview with musicians Dan Deacon and Anais Mitchell. From Chicago, Peter Lillis snagged interviews with the iconoclastic Van Hunt, indie bands Murder by Death, Tycho, Ceremony, Bear in Heaven, and Royal Baths, and chatted with Tom Scrader, mastermind behind the DIY month-long festival Chicago, I Love You. From Atlanta, Gina Myers interviewed a series of indie authors and artists including James Tadd Adcox, Dan Farnum, Dan Magers, Brian Oliu, Justin Sirois and Graham Foust. And in New York, food columnist Freya Bellin sat down with cooking guru Rebecca Goldfarb of The Social Table, Nicole Pettigrew interviewed director Kevin Slack, and film columnist Franklin Laviola interviewed French actress Alice Barnole. Get ready for more hot interview action in 2013.
One of the most prolific writers on Frontier Psychiatrist, Freya Bellin penned 24 pieces in 2012, two dozen tasty forays into sweet, salty, fresh, and delicious foods, from January’s Coffee Roasting 101 to December’s essay on the debate over Genetically Modified Organisms. And somewhere between all the cooking and writing, she found the time this year to get married.
5. Ira Glass
We also found ourselves unwilling opposites to media behemoths in 2012. In late August, Peter Lillis attended an opening screening of comedian Mike Birbiglia’s debut film, Sleepwalk with Me, produced and introduced by WBEZ full-grown wunderkind Ira Glass. Sleepwalk–an enjoyable if somewhat dull comedy of love, loss and sleeping disorders–has also been produced by Birbiglia as a tour, album and memoir. While it is a very funny story, the film had issues living up to its exceptional counterparts in other forms. Peter learned the hard way that these are not points to bring up to a high-profile media personality, first-ever film producer on his home turf. Scoffing at our editor’s bumbled but genuine point, Glass took it as an opportunity to continue his victory lap, to flex his Chicago cred and to belittle a long time fan. “When you make a movie with Mike Birbiglia, you can do it your own way.” Jeez.
4. Ai Weiwei
Speaking of apologies, the highlight of this year’s Northside Festival in Brooklyn wasn’t the music or the visual art, but the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary about China’s most prominent artist and activist, a guy who could teach many artists a few lessons. We were thrilled when Ai retweeted our review and later, when we interviewed Alison Klayman, the film’s director. Nominated for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Ai is a man to watch.
3. Junot Diaz
In October, Junot Diaz spoke at Book Court in Brooklyn, where Krissa Corbett Cavouras recorded his sage comments on writing, culture, and inspiration. Subsequently, Keith Meatto reviewed This is How You Lose Her, Diaz’s masterful new short story collection. Diaz himself reposted the review on Facebook, kindly calling it “about the most well-considered review this book has received.” If you haven’t read Diaz, what are you waiting for? Start with his debut collection Drown, then his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and then end with TIHYLH. You will not be sorry.
2. Going Global
While most of our writers live in New York and Chicago, we have readers from more than 100 countries around the globe. Accordingly, in 2012 we began to slowly expand our geographic horizons. Andrew Hertzberg wrote a series of five travel essays about China, Israel, and New York. Translator and Paris transplant Anna Sylvia reviewed the memoir Paris I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down, later translated into French. And for those of you who read Chinese, we recommend 真抱歉，布鲁克林：艾未未给我们的十点启示.
1. New Voices
Perhaps our greatest pleasure at Frontier Psychiatrist is welcoming new writers to the party. This year, the aforementioned contributors Gina Myers and Andrew Hertzberg joined as full staff writers. From Columbus, Tim Myers wrote essays on how YouTube is subverting rap music and the triumph of Lil Wayne over Elvis Presley, plus reviews of new albums by Lorn, Killer Mike, Daughn Gibson, Royal Baths, and Every Time I Die. The peripatetic guitarist and drummer Wayan Zooey reported from two weeks on the road with DJ Shadow and after reviewing Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding’s latest albums and concerts, declared: Jazz is Not Dead. Amy Braunschweiger wrote a pair of essays on her love-hate relationships with Elvis Presley and New York City. From Washington DC, Tiffany Hairston reviewed new records by Dirty Projectors, Electric Guest and Murals, and Grizzly Bear. In New York, Nicole Pettigrew reviewed Ceremony and Mates of State concerts. This fall, our first ever intern Jordan Mainzer, cranking out reviews of music, books, concerts, and films, from David Byrne’s memoir manifesto How Music Works to the A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, and Danny Brown tour. Effective January 1, he will join the masthead as a staff writer, the first of many new voices to come.
Keith Meatto is Editor in Chief of Frontier Psychiatrist. Thanks to all the contributors and readers who make FP possible and all the people, places, and events that challenge and inspire us to see, hear, and feel the world in new ways. After a brief holiday, FP will return in full force on Monday, January 7.
Want to write for Frontier Psychiatrist in 2013? Drop us a line via email (frontpsych@gmail), Facebook, or Twitter (@frontpsych)