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It’s about that time of year when culture writers start making lists, checking them twice, and publishing them to readers desperate to impose quantitative order on everything. Over at WaPo, T.V. critic Hank Steuver crowns Louis C.K.‘s “Louie,” which deserves it as much as anything; and also nods to “Work of Art,” one of those rare reality shows where the contestants are there to make something other than not friends.
Meanwhile, the New York Times ran its own series of number-lists. In music, suburban glorification prevailed over retro-technophobic dystopia, with Janelle Monae’s Metropolis-inspired The ArchAndroid yielding to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. The refreshingly rankings-resistant A.O. Scott listed some thematic trends in cinema, where the year’s top themes were more in line with Monae: Distorted reality and manipulation.
TBD has a guide to all the Christmas and otherwise seasonal shows on offer these next few weeks.
Here on Arts Desk, Mike Paarlberg tries to trick me into reading a comparative analysis of the National Symphony’s and National Philharmonic’s respective treatments of Handel’s “Messiah” by selling it as a “Street Fighter”-themed smackdown. Nice try, Mike! (For non-Philistines, though, it’s an entertaining read.)
According to science (via the Atlantic), Bach is the people’s wigged composer of choice, anyway. Have a good week!