Monday December 21, 2009 – Day 1 in My Year in Lists

Forgive me if most of this first post is a reiteration of the biographical information, but what the hell, we gotta start somewhere, right?

First thing’s first: my name is Adam. I was born in North Carolina, raised in Virginia, and just graduated from the University of Virginia with a very expensive piece of paper that claims I got a B.A. in Drama. I currently live in West Bloomfield, Michigan, working a low-paying theatrical internship.

With the meager wages I can scrounge and the limited free time I have, I spend a sizable chunk on entertainment–going to movies, renting DVDs, listening to records, and arguing with people on the internet. Don’t worry, all you parents out there (particularly mine, as they’re half my readership at present), I do occasionally crack open a book. But mine is a life spent largely in front of screens for one reason or another.

Growing up in Danville, Virginia (look it up), I eventually had to go through what comedian Patton Oswalt likes to call “The Test of the Small Town”. Basically, it comes with the territory of being in a backwards-ass place like Danville, Virginia (look it up) where everything interesting, intellectually stimulating, or vaguely cool is strictly verboten (or at least entirely outside of your grasp). The day will eventually come where you must throw down the gauntlet and choose whether you go out to find this stuff on your own initiative or get a job at the Citgo so you can get free gas for the rest of your life. It was by good fortune (and an auto accident that left my brother unscathed, but my van totaled) that I don’t have a car, so the choice becomes much easier.

I don’t know precisely when the tradition started, but somewhere around 2000 or 2001, the yearly tradition for my birthday was an excursion from our not-so-beloved Danville, where Michael Bay’s grip on the cinema is most powerful, to Greensboro, where the multiplex still plays its fair share of shit, but at least had the decency to show some art-house features, albeit in a tiny cabaret theatre.

And frankly, those moments of being scrunched together like a pack of sardines with the 30 other hipsters in Greensboro in a back room watching these movies were some of my fondest memories of high school. In fact, my experience with films and art are responsible for some of my most vivid memories. I remember convincing my parents to take me to see Mulholland Drive in 2001, and my simple exclamation of “What?!” as the credits rolled. I remember waiting in line with my brother to get tickets to Fahrenheit 9/11 on opening day, overhearing a bemused couple that thought that everyone was in line for that weekend’s other offering, that Wayans Brothers classic White Chicks. I made a lifelong friend from going to Anchorman opening night, and I can still see the excitable fanboys dressed as the Channel 4 News Team, and hanging out in the quad after the movie, sharing a pizza and just shooting the shit.

Whenever my life starts to get hectic, these are the experiences that keep me grounded. And if things get especially hectic, putting it all together in lists gives me unexpected moments of clarity. After spending four years with a stable group of friends and my family never too far away, I find myself uprooted, and if that wasn’t jarring enough, I am transplanted in the grayest city in the country (and apparently the 48th happiest state–again, look it up).

Which is all to say, you can expect lots of reviews and lists over the next few months.

I’m thinking about the potential for weekly features, a film/show/album/song/video of the day, the week, the moment, whatever. For now, enjoy the insight when it decides to rear its ugly head.

And a big thank you to Los Campesinos for the inspiration for the title.