Wednesday, January 05, 2005

10 hippest phenomena in 2004/2005

It's the time of the year to review my ultimate "cool" list:

1. Ray Charles - Undoubtedly the most celebrated deceased celebrity this year, aided by Jamie Foxx's spectacular performance in the biopic Ray, his bestselling duet CD "Genius Loves Company," and his multi-Grammy nominations. What a life! And he sang the blues with heart.

2. Wong Kar Wai's 2046 & Eros - Time Europe has rated these films the best films of the year. The wkw concept of love is widely known - cannot go back in time and the mood of the instance. Wong's next film is The Lady from Shanghai starring Nicole Kidman.

3. Sideways - Not only has the film helped Alexander Payne achieved his auteur status, but it also sparks the interests of wine-tasting. Now wine-tasting has become a somewhat trendy fashion, thanks to the comparison of a pinot noir and human tendencies eloquently spoken by Paul Giamatti.

4. Vince Guaraldi - What can I say? His "Christmastime is Here" brings back both wanted and unwanted memories and makes each Christmas more romantic than the last (which also bolsters the Chet Baker Mood). Kudos to the white men's jazz.

5. Key to geekdom - In addition to Payne, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic and Jared Hess's Napoleon Dynamite have elevated nerdhood to an even more respected level. We used to laugh at nerds, now we laugh with them. Better yet, they laugh at us.

6. Kung Fu Cinema - Zhang Yimou's Hero and House of Flying Daggers have dazzled audience, so have Kill Bill Vol. 2. The eye-popping fun with continue will Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle and Chen Kaige's The Promise. Stay tuned.

7. Ali G and The Office - Resurgence of British crude and rude comedy. This time around, it has surpassed all the foundations they have laid. Yes, it is some of the funniest shit I have ever seen.

8. Big Joe Maher & Jump Blues - He's so hip on the drums with his brushes while screaming blues vocals a la Big Joe Turner and Joe Williams, ensuring that jump blues is alive and well. With a 2004 Handy Award nomination to his credit, he's the hippest blues cat in town.

9. Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole - The biggest entertainer in Hawaii until his tragic death in 1997 due to his balloon weight problem (at one point he was 750 pounds). However, his angelic vocals, sweet interpretation of songs and melancholic lyrics have earned him a legendary status, helped by Adam Sandler's selection of his songs in 50 First Dates.

10. Upright bass - Still the hippest instrument to boost good jazz, blues, rockabilly and R&B. Hats off to Ron Carter, Christian McBride, Rufus Reid, Steve Novosel, and G. Love's bass player.

Honorable mention: love.

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