Much of our lives is put into lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists, playlists, shit lists… Thus, we’re ending the year with a laundry, ahem, list of the highs and lows of the past 12 months. We’ve scrolled through everything we wrote, everything you said in response, and pretty much everything in between to chronicle the toughest stories we covered, the best photos we published—even rants about The Rant. It’s not quite Wikipedia’s List of lists of lists, but we did check it twice. So there’s that.
By Graelyn Brashear, Matthew Cawthon, Megan J. Headley, Laura Ingles, Tami Keaveny, Brandon Walker, and Caite White
1 party worth snagging an invite to
If you’re among the 2,000 or so people who manage to get past the velvet rope at the annual Best of C-VILLE party each year, inside you’ll find booze, food, tunes, and lots of “oohs” and “aahs.” This year’s private bash was no different, with acrobats swinging on hula hoops suspended from the ceiling, a water wall, and a giant inflatable slide, all inside the Main Street Arena. Didn’t get an invite? The X Lounge hosts the after-party, and some might argue that’s where things get truly rowdy (though the few folks who danced under the water wall at MSA would likely beg to differ).
Regardless of your political leanings, seeing Bruce Springsteen play a (free!) five-song acoustic set to a hyped Pavilion crowd at an Obama campaign event back in October was, plainly put, pretty damn cool. The Boss rocked his way through “No Surrender,” “The Promised Land,” “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Thunder Road,” and a campaign song he wrote for the president before his ticketed show that night at John Paul Jones Arena.
4 ladies who don’t mind being the butt of the joke
1. We didn’t see the movie Brave, but we did see Dirty Barbie and Other Girlhood Tales, in which DeeDee Stewart relates the details of a dysfunctional childhood with humor, honesty, and true bravery in a solo theater performance.
2. Margaret Cho came to the Jefferson on her Mother Tour and, true to Cho form, nothing was off limits. Belly laughs were liberally peppered with uncomfortable squirming.
3. Amy Schumer took us by surprise, lulling us into a sense of safety with her whole girl-next-door thing, and then catching us with a solid right hook of sexual glibness.
4. Cocoa Brown’s PlayOn! set was a big success from a lady who clearly knows how to turn a room. With her background as a substitute teacher, she breezes through her routines on the comedy circuit.
5 online comments from our snarkiest readers
1. “Wow, what a great job of paraphrasing the wikipedia entry on the subject!”—WakaWaka, “Lambrusco’s making a becoming comeback”
2. “Hard hitting journalism. Can’t we do better, C-ville? As a gay man…I’m a little taken aback. This is Charlottesville. Do we really need a gay slang dictionary? Is it 1995 in Middle America?”—CW, “Queer 101: Everything you need to know about the LGBTQ community”
3. “Hey young student types, who do you think is going to get to pay off the $16,000,000,000,000 in debt your government has run up?”—
joedirtbag, “Race against apathy: UVA students and the 2012 presidential election”
4. “Interesting, you invite people to a dinner (at your house) and charge them money, sounds more bourgeoisie than holistic…”—esteban, “Will forage for food: Local dinner series borrows and thrifts”
5. “The unicycle does appear to be a difficult ride but this guy has some handlebar contraption to aid him from the looks of the picture. Does the unicycle rider’s community make fun of him as if it were riding a bike with training wheels?”—One Wheel, “Local outdoor enthusiast rides unicycle 2,000 miles for charity”
3 news stories that were tough to crack
1. When Dashad “Sage” Smith went missing, the local LGBTQ community loudly criticized the media and police for not publicizing his disappearance enough. Smith’s identity as a young gay transgender attracted national media attention, but the most rewarding and challenging aspect of reporting on it locally was spending two hours with the family as they reminisced while looking through photos of Smith.
2. Reporters see a lot of unpleasantness on the job. Viewing the hour-long police interrogation of George Huguely immediately before his arrest for the crime he was later convicted of—the murder of his girlfriend and fellow UVA senior Yeardley Love in 2010—was particularly difficult. Watching him go from petulant and defensive to frantic and unhinged as he learned his girlfriend was dead and he was considered responsible drove home the only real lesson from the trial: One night destroyed many lives.
3. In our cover story on the 5th District Congressional race between Democratic challenger John Douglass and Republican incumbent and ultimate victor Robert Hurt, we came across a small but interesting detail: Democrats up the ticket—those working to reelect President Barack Obama—weren’t doing the most basic of booster work for Douglass. Not earth-shattering, but telling in a relatively close race in a swing state. But for weeks, not a single Democrat, local or national, would admit it on the record. Sometimes seemingly minor things hang you up—but that’s how you know they aren’t so minor.
1 big gift
Cynthia and W. Heywood Fralin promised work by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Robert Henri to the UVA Art Museum, as part of the largest single gift of art in the University’s history. In turn, the Fralins get the museum named after them for what some say is a bargain.
2 pieces of evidence that C’ville can still party
1. Fridays After Five hosted some great acts like Mingo Fishtrap and Downbeat Project this summer, providing a big concert experience and giving us a solid reason to tap the libations at 5:01pm on the dot.
2. This town seems to unwind earlier than most on a Friday afternoon. Some offices have taken Casual Friday up a notch to Inappropriate Friday with food and drink rituals, even party games. We can’t say for sure where it all began, but the Facebook postings get a little slurry following drink ’o clock.
1 landlord who’s really hard to get on the phone
Hunter Craig owns a lot of Charlottesville and Albemarle—including our office on the Downtown Mall. So was it too much to ask to get the man to comment on Biscuit Run? Or the Wintergreen deal? Or the Sullivan ouster? Apparently.