It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been doing Dystopian Dance Party for three years now; I’ve had actual relationships that didn’t last as long as my relationship with this stupid blog. Even harder to believe is the fact that we’re still not running out of steam. Basically, at this point the blog is an act of aggression; we’re going to keep inflicting it on the world, whether the world likes it or not. If you do like what we’re doing (for some reason), check the list below for my completely subjective choices for the 12 best posts in our third year of operation.
1. “Me, 3 Women, & Prince”
(April 21, 2016)
This post–a reaction to the death of Prince almost a year ago today–is so raw and personal I still feel kind of weird about sharing it; but the last two paragraphs in particular are, in my opinion, some of the best writing I’ve ever done for this blog (or anywhere, for that matter). If you don’t mind learning way too much about my romantic and mental health history in the process, feel free to check it out.
2. “Imaginary Genres: Jheri Curl Music”
(June 1, 2016)
Like I said this time last year, it wouldn’t be fair if I just listed Jheri Curl June every time I write one of these. So here, again, is my favorite new addition we made to our annual celebration: the first in our ongoing series of Imaginary Genres videos, where we try to explain what the hell “Jheri Curl Music” is in the first place. It isn’t the best of the videos in that series by a long shot; it was edited with iMovie, by someone (me) with only a limited proficiency at iMovie, and frankly it shows. But it has a soft spot in my heart: for being first, and for its connection to my favorite month of the year. And in case you’re wondering, Imaginary Genres will be making a return to the site very soon–possibly even as early as next month!
3. Our Sister Site: dance / music / sex / romance
(Launched June 7, 2016)
To be honest, I probably don’t even need to post this one, as a lot more people read d / m / s /r than Dystopian Dance Party (that’s what happens when you design a project with an actual audience in mind). But I’m incredibly proud of my chronological Prince blog–even if I am still baffled by my overconfidence in launching it–and I would (probably) never have done it if I hadn’t thrown my hat in the ring with DDP first.
4. Andresmusictalk: Prince Protégé Summer
(July 16-September 17, 2016)
Another cheat, because these articles didn’t even appear on Dystopian Dance Party, but they’re the pieces I’m happiest with from my ongoing guest run on Andresmusictalk. Every Saturday, for about 10 weeks, I looked at the overall work of Prince’s protégés, including the Time, Vanity/Apollonia 6, Sheila E, the Family, Jill Jones, the Graffiti Bridge-era collaborations, Martika and Carmen Electra, the 1-800-NEW-FUNK compilation, and the 21st-century collaborators Támar, Bria Valente, Andy Allo, and Judith Hill. It was fun, sometimes frustrating, and a handy way to preview some of my future coverage on d / m / s / r.
5. “The New Ghostbusters May Be a Flop, But It’s Also the Toxic Geek Culture Parable 2016 Needed”
(August 11, 2016)
As usual, the vast majority of posts that appeared on our site this year were music-related, but I still tried to work in a few on other media. I was especially fond of my defense of the 2016 Ghostbusters remake: both because it gave me a chance to get down some thoughts I’ve been kicking around since the whole Gamergate debacle, and because I didn’t get doxxed when I posted it.
6. “It’s Time, America: Change the U.S. National Anthem to ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ by Joe Walsh”
(September 2, 2016)
Like our two House Party-related April Fool’s Day posts, I thought this was hilarious, but the rest of the world slept on it (actually, that’s a pretty good back-cover quote for Dystopian Dance Party in general). Just for the record, though, I still stand by every one of these arguments.
7. Dystopian Video Game Party: EarthBound Parts 1, 2, & 3
(Ongoing, first episode September 8, 2016)
I’m gonna be honest: our video game streaming/”Let’s Play”-style series Dystopian Video Game Party is probably the thing about the site I’m least happy with right now. The production values are lower than I’d like (and that’s saying something), and the interest level isn’t really there, even by our standards (again, that’s saying something). But I really want to make it work: especially the episodes Callie and I do together, on which we’ve been covering EarthBound for the Super Nintendo. We’ve been on a long hiatus between episodes, but we just recorded a couple more while Callie was in town for Easter weekend; you should be seeing them on the site in the next few months!
8. “A Manufactured Image with No Philosophies: The Dystopian Dance Party Guide to the Monkees”
(September 13, 2016)
I wrote several guides in mid-to-late 2016, to the point that I kind of got burned out on them. But my favorite of the bunch is the one on the Monkees, mainly because it gave me an outlet for my well of completely useless Monkees knowledge. Don’t ask, just read the post.
9. “Vlog: Dystopian Dance Party in Los Angeles”
(October 7, 2016)
One of the recurring themes you may have noticed this year is that we’ve been trying to do a lot more with video. One of the better examples to date was this brief, crudely-edited chronicle of my and Callie’s weekend trip to Los Angeles, where her paintings were on display at the Amber Rose SlutWalk. I’d love to be able to do something like this again, but frankly, we don’t get a lot of chances to travel together. In the meantime, check out our sole experiment in vlogging–plus, as a bonus, read Callie’s account of the surreal 2 Chainz show we attended at the Globe Theatre in downtown L.A.
10. “Je Suis Kanye: The Kanye West Oeuvre – Part 12: He’ll Give Us What We Need (2012-2013)”
(December 14, 2016)
At this point, I’m kind of just waiting for the day I can finally put an end to the Kanye West Oeuvre, a series that has been going on for at least a year longer than originally intended. But I still feel good about these pieces, even if I’m less enthused about writing them than I used to be; and I’m probably proudest of this post on 2013’s Yeezus, an album I’ve been wanting to write about since the series began.
This was Callie’s brainchild, and I’m really happy with how it turned out: a Jheri Curl June-style month-long event where we both get to flex our feminist theory muscles and highlight the oft-overlooked (by us) contributions of women to popular music, all in one fell swoop. It does put us in the weird position of being an explicitly feminist blog that also reviews KISS memoirs, but hey, whatever works.
12. “Dystopian Book Club Podcast: Paul Stanley’s Face the Music”
(April 10, 2017)
And will you look at that, speak of the devil. We recorded a lot of good podcasts in the last year–I’m partial to the Prince memorial one from last April, and to the Yoko Ono one from February–but my hands-down favorites are our four brutal, in-depth discussions of the memoirs of original KISS members Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and Paul Stanley. I’m giving the nod to the Starchild because it’s the best-recorded and best-edited of the four (I had way too much fun on the outro), and because it prompted some pretty hilarious beefs between us and the KISS community on YouTube. If you find us both dead with replica axe basses buried in our backs, this will be why. But until then, as we begin our fourth (!) year of Dystopian Dance Party, the continuation of the Book Club is probably the thing that excites us most.