*blows party horn* *shoots confetti cannon* Ahhh…Happy New Year, dearest Filthy Dreams readers! Get ready for that champagne hangover after battling the hoards of amateur drinkers on these final days of 2019!
Yes, I know, the end of the year is the time when we’re supposed to reflect on these last 12 months or at least what we can remember of it. It’s the time when publications bestow list after list (after list) of their bests, which, let’s be honest, usually ends up being a boring slog of bad bad taste (not good bad taste like the kind we dole out here at Filthy Dreams), not to mention a heavy dose of nepotism (am I wrong?)
And this year is even worse since 2019 marks the end of the decade as the calendar turns into the year 2020. The future! And also the year when our democracy may finally become a failed state. Whoopie! Failure always comes with such promise…ahem…Anyway, if other publications are to be believed, we’re also supposed to countdown the best of the decade?! Sheesh…who can remember 2010? 2011? How about 2013, the blessed year when we founded Filthy Dreams?! I can barely remember before October when I lost my mind during a pre-Idol Worship manic episode. No thanks.
Rather than doing those tired old bests of culture like best film (Cats), best album (Cats soundtrack), best book (is there a novel-ized version of Cats?), etc., we, like last year, have created our very own superlatives. Think of these as our special sort of award (Filthy Dream-ies?) doled out primarily to our obsessions that we didn’t have time to cover this year. Now, some of these favorites appeared in 2019 and others, we just discovered this year, but they made such an impact that we had to feature them nonetheless. So grab a flute of champagne, ignore next year’s consequences, and let’s give a round of applause and a sprinkle of confetti to this year’s winners:
Best #1 Boy: Kendall Roy
K to the E-N! D to the A-Double L! That’s right–who else could be our number 1 boy?! Come to Daddy, Kendall! 2019 was the year we became thoroughly obsessed with Succession‘s Kendall Roy after binge-watching the first season in a weekend. And no, it’s not only his resemblance to another number 1 boy mess: Donald Jr. At least Kendall is endearing! In the first season, Kendall arrived into our hearts with a splash, breaking his sobriety with a bang by smoking meth and eventually, well, Chappaquiddick-ing right off a bridge. After that, I was ready to start making YouTube tribute videos to Kendall using clips from Lana Del Rey songs (“I drive fast, wind in my hair, push it to the limits cause I just don’t care” from “Burning Desire” coupled with the car’s fateful leap still reads as transcendent in my addled mind). But this year’s second season saw Kendall as a broken man, moping around, looking glassy-eyed at the wreckage of his life as he became completely subservient to his nasty media mogul father Logan and staring dead-eyed off the roof of their skyscraper. But it wasn’t all depression blues. Kendall also snorted heroically massive amounts of cocaine leading to big old shit shows like almost DUI-ing a helicopter, performing mortifying rap tributes to Papa and yes, waking up after having literally shit the bed. At one point, both Marion and I realized with stunned horror that we might just be Kendall (the attempted reckless helicopter flying..NOT the bed-shitting, OK! That doesn’t happen THAT often), but eventually, we just shrugged and decided to fantasize about partying with Kendall instead of soul-searching. He’s the perfect mix of tragedy and decadence that we have no choice but to embrace him as one of our own while also trying to protect him at all costs. KENDALL NOOOOOOOO!!!
Best Party Game: Boar On The Floor
I hate party games, don’t you? Whenever someone tries to force me into playing a party game, I always respond, “I’m an adult.” What’s wrong with sitting and drinking? Is that not enjoyable enough for you?! But my mind can be changed, particularly by the peculiar, abusive humiliation and terror of Succession‘s patriarch Logan Roy’s favorite game Boar On The Floor. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a game that feels straight out of King Lear’s madness? Sure, I know what you’re thinking, dearest Filthy Dreams readers: How can we play? What are the rules? Well…THERE ARE NO FUCKING RULES!!!! Just remember to oink for your sausage, piggies! And no half-hearted oinks! And yes, it didn’t seem like Tom or Greg had that much fun given the deep look of shame splattered across both their faces at the classic Succession hangover breakfast the next morning, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun!
Best Interior Decorating: The Blanchard’s House In The Act
GYPSY ROSE!! Last year, with Patricia Clarkson’s unforgettable stint as Adora in Sharp Objects, I discovered that all I need in a television show is an overbearing, camp, preferably Southern mother figure with a heavy dose of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for my new favorite mother to arrive: Dee Dee Blanchard in Hulu’s The Act played with over-the-top zeal by Patricia Arquette. The Act is based on the true crime story of Dee Dee’s semi-deserved murder at the hands of her abused daughter Gypsy Rose (who I want to start writing letters to in prison) and Gypsy’s creepy Internet boyfriend, a long and winding tale that is told in even more detail in the exquisitely titled HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest. However, The Act has everything: disgusting and horribly uncomfortable post-murder sex scenes with close-up reaction shots from stuffed animals, which will have you swear off sex forever, iconic Facebook status updates (“That bitch is dead”), and numerous instances of their white trash neighbor, played by Chloe Sevigny, looking exasperated and confused. But, beyond all that, what had me transfixed on The Act most of all was the Blanchard’s home (scammed from a charity who believed Gypsy Rose was actually disabled, not just tortured by her mother)–a pink Pepto-Bismol nightmare populated by Middle American Hallmark tchotchke tack and cutesie stuffed animals. I was so enamored that I kept taking screenshots of different trashy trinkets like this:
There’s just something so spectacular about a violent murder taking place amidst and among all these kitschy objects that are bearing witness, isn’t there? Not to mention the cheesy beauty pageant portrait of Gypsy Rose herself. Say what you will about her treatment of Gypsy, but Dee Dee sure had an eye.
Best Lea Michele Fan: Michelle Carter
Speaking of crime, Michelle Carter transformed into one of this year’s most cherished visions, particularly after watching the (yet again) epically titled HBO documentary I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter. And no, it’s not just her iconic eyebrows, which just scream not guilty to me. This year, I spent a lot of time considering what role model adoration means and well, Michelle Carter has pretty much every unhinged fanatical devotee beat. To bring you up to speed, faithful Filthy Dreams readers, Carter was charged (and convicted) with involuntary manslaughter after she allegedly encouraged her then-boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself (gassing himself in his truck in a K-Mart parking lot, which would not be the method I’d choose). Barring all the implications of charging Carter who was only talking to her boyfriend on the phone when this happened, the documentary held many other gems such as Michelle’s apparent love for her softball teammate (A queer world-making through manslaughter love story! Who says romance is dead?!) and her rabid fixation with Glee star Lea Michele. Carter was so obsessed with Michele, especially Michele’s grief after her real life partner and Glee castmate Cory Monteith died, that she would repeat word-for-word Michele’s thoughts about Monteith as if she was speaking about Roy. The documentary made it seem as if she may have even pushed Roy to suicide in order to enact some elaborate performance of grief as if on Glee. Talk about idol worship!
Best FDNY Call From A Museum: The Whitney Museum
This year was the year that people seemed to discover that evil monsters populate the boards of major institutions. Where’s the surprise there? It’s not like this is anything new–most of these gargoyles have been there for years. However, I think we can stop short of having possible war criminals being vice chair-people, can’t we…Whitney Museum of American Art? Of course, I’m talking about known tear gas CEO Warren Kanders who was the center of one of the biggest museum-related shit storms with protests occurring throughout the run of the Whitney Biennial. While that entire saga is way too exhausting to get into in a mere, humble listicle, what was, however, notable were some of the chosen tactics used by the protesters. Before the opening of the Biennial, Decolonize This Place circulated a PDF with some suggested protest methods throughout the lead-up and run of the exhibition, one of which included fake blood and it is to my enduring disappointment that nobody splattered the Whitney in blood like Carrie. Boring! The best museum-based action actually occurred last December (though I’ll include it here since not only did DTP inhabit the art-going public consciousness throughout this year, but also I’ve been laughing about it all 2019) when activists smudged sage in the lobby of the Whitney. Get out those evil spirits! Apparently it became so smokey that someone called the FDNY who came to the rescue of those poor visitor services and membership desk workers who were probably choking as the protesters stuck it to the MAN!
Best Twitter Like: Eric Trump
Did you know, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, that we’re doomed? Of course, we have always been fatalists here at Filthy Dreams, but our nihilistic visions seem to perpetually come to fruition during the Trump presidency. And nowhere is it more obvious than on Twitter. Now, both our faithful co-founders love to troll little tweeters on both sides of the aisle. It’s just so easy nowadays! But, recently an incident occurred that may be the best of my life and I didn’t even have to try, merely tossing off a tweet in between margaritas at a Mexican restaurant. Little did I know that it would be a formative moment of the year! To set the scene, on the day of the House’s impeachment vote, Eric Trump tweeted a picture of his deadbeat dad in chief with a caption that says, “I couldn’t be more proud of this man! @realDonaldTrump #USA.” Because I was beaming with pride over his impeachment, I retweeted the original with a comment, simply reading, “Same!!!” Now, to me, the sarcasm is clear, but it obviously was not to over 1,100 Trump supporters who liked it (and numerous liberal boomers who accused me of possibly supporting Hitler and told me to “Go pound sand”). And one of these likes impossibly included, you guessed it, number 2 boy Eric Trump! Aw…Eric really must be as dense as they say! Who knew sarcasm was that hard to figure out? I’m proud to say I gaslit a First Son!
Best BBQ That Never Happened: Azealia Banks at $3 Bill
Some things are worth the wait, and others, it’s just okay that they never happened at all. We can still imagine their utopian possibilities, even if they never occurred. Case in point: my role model Azealia Banks’s CheapyXO cookout, which was supposedly going to be part of a RAGGA-hosted Pride event along with her concert at Williamsburg’s $3 Bill. Days before, Azealia insisted, “Yes, I’m the chef!” and even went so far as to reveal some of her menu selections, which included a chicken sandwich and jalapeño cornbread with strawberry sauce (a strange combination that I was willing to try). I was ready to tempt fate and endure any and all forms of food poisoning for a taste of my idol’s culinary creations, particularly after fanatically watching video after video of her cooking on Instagram stories. Sometimes salmonella poisoning can be love! Well, arriving early, hungry and ready to eat whatever it was that AB was serving, even if it was shredded Bussyboy, Azealia was nowhere to be seen. There were burgers on the grill, sure, but no cornbread and no chicken! There wasn’t even any Pussypop! Azealia was too busy dyeing her wig the shades of the rainbow, arriving for her show somewhere between 1 and 2AM if my foggy brain remembers correctly. But, whatever–I still maintain her non-existent BBQ was the best of the year!
Best Annual Christmas Classic Film: Kevin Spacey’s Videos
Every holiday season, it’s a tradition to watch certain cinematic classics: It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, The Christmas Story, etc. etc. But, aren’t you bored of these same old worn-out films? I know I am. I want something to appear around the holidays to shock, horrify, confuse, like a letter from the Unabomber or the Zodiac Killer. Something that if it was transcribed would be done up in cut-up letters from magazines like a ransom note. Luckily, post-canceled creep Kevin Spacey has us covered. After last year’s bizarre “Let Me Be Frank” Santa apron video, in which he appeared to believe he was, in fact, House of Cards’ Frank Underwood, Spacey bestowed upon the world yet another video this year: a psychotic break in the form of a fireside chat. I’m just sorry we didn’t think of vaguely threatening fireside chats first! And yes, he still seems stuck as Frank Underwood as he eerily asserts that he’s going to “kill them with kindness.” This would be creepy alone, but the next day another one of his accusers (that makes 3 if you’re keeping track) died. I don’t want to say Spacey is murdering people, but I will say this does feel exactly like a video that a serial killer would make. It also makes me like him so much more! Every Christmas I’m going to gather the family around a crackling fire to watch a missive from a sociopath. Talk about making the Yuletide gay!
Best Moment Of Lost Time: Lana Del Rey
I don’t know about you, but when I listen to narcotic chanteuse Lana Del Rey, I tend to zone out and disappear somewhere between the rolling California waves, Americana Eden, the freedom of the open road and a tire swing in the middle of the desert. As David Lynch would say, she makes me dream! Well, apparently, she also does it to herself if this video is any indication. Singing a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “For Free” with her friends Zella Day and Weyes Blood (whose hallucinatory Karen Carpenter vocals also put me in the mood to dream), Lana drifts away, far far away, so far away that she forgets she was performing in front of actual people, and just stands there uncannily still like a statue. Yoo hoo! Earth to Lana! Ground control to Lana! After a few beats, Zella softly touches Lana, startling her and bringing her back to life. No more xannys before showtime, Lana! Wherever did she go? She was always an unusual girl…
Best Podcast Appearance: Caroline Calloway On Red Scare Podcast
As I’ve asserted many times, particularly this year–the year of the scam, that con art is my favorite discipline of art. From Mary Boone’s tax evasion to Donald Trump’s astounding existence, scammers just inspire awe, even if they’re absolutely revolting. One of the least atrocious yet more hilarious scammers to rise into public consciousness this year was Caroline Calloway, an Instagram con artist who was the subject of a tell-all piece in New York Magazine by her social media/memoir ghostwriter and NYU classmate friend. The entire saga is very winding and petty with numerous details about Yale plates and being left at a bar in Amsterdam. Not exactly true crime. While I was entertained by the article alone, I was surprised to witness Caroline in person when I attended a live taping of Red Scare Podcast at the Bell House. As soon as she came onstage, I could see her wide crazy-eyes and I was already sold. And she didn’t disappoint, yelling at attendees for getting up to go to the bathroom, drinking wine from the bottle, and telling meandering defensive stories about not leaving people at bars in Amsterdam. She also provided helpful details about how to land some Adderall if you need it (for medical reasons, of course) by looking for the worst reviewed doctors in your area on Yelp. Thanks, Caroline! Now, I don’t know how the actual audio of the podcast turned out, but who cares? Caroline, baby, you’re a star.
Best Video Art: Whoever Does Trump’s Twitter Videos
Look, I know nobody is going to like Trump or some Trump lackey winning one of these coveted Filthy Dreamies, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. I don’t make the rules. Yes, Trump’s Twitter is taxing, even more so recently as Queen Nancy gleefully intimidates him into pure unhinged hysteria. But, there is something to be said for the arresting videos that he posts, from the sappy tributes to his feral fans at his unsettling rallies to his repeated retweet of a dystopian video that appears to show him becoming president forever to a juvenile mash-up of Adam Schiff and Pinocchio. Say what you will, but these videos, to me, read as the video art that best exemplifies American culture in 2019: horrifying yes, but very telling in its vacuity, base humor and manipulation of idiots. I mean, where do we get videographer talent like that at Filthy Dreams?! We won’t pay, but neither will Trump (even if he promises)! My favorite, though, has to be this William Kentridge-esque devotional that renders some of Trump’s most memorable moments, including groping the American flag and getting his hair ruffled by goofball Jimmy Fallon, in animated line drawings. If only the animator had remembered to honor Trump’s most dignified moment, walking up the stairway to Air Force One with a long strand of toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
Best Exercise Video: This One
Whew…let’s cleanse our palate after that nightmare, huh? Why not do it while getting in shape?! New Years is a time for those fitness-based resolutions. WHOO!!! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8…And Pony!!! WHOO!!! Boy, this exercise video is a vision, a little slice of sweaty heaven as these women shimmy, walk like a penguin and hip rock, all while hooting as if they’re on the Lower East Side on a Saturday night. These ladies sure know how to party! I want in! While watching this, I just start maniacally searching for leg warmers so I can go join them. WHOO!!!!
Best Reason To Live Until 2020: Grimes’s Miss Anthropocene
Yes, c, imminent annihilation does sound so dope.