Staff picks for the best (and worst) of 2018
Madeline Crawford, creative director
Best movie: “A Star is Born”
Best album: Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Best midterm election result: The number of women in the country who ran and won.
Worst midterm election result: Kevin Stitt.
Best new restaurant or bar: Mother Road Market — bar, patio, Chicken and the Wolf — there is so much to taste and enjoy. Having it in my own neighborhood it is an extra treat.
Best moment for Tulsa: Gathering Place is really all we could’ve dreamed of in a park. It will bring so much joy to so many people. Thank you, GKFF.
Worst moment for Tulsa: Too many scooters lying around.
Blayklee Freed, assistant editor
Best movie: “Black Panther” was, to put it simply, awesome.
Best TV show: “Homecoming” on Amazon Prime. This is a show based on a podcast, and it’s a trip. Julia Roberts makes the perfect TV debut.
Best live show: Fall Out Boy in OKC. This was part of my bachelorette party and was the perfect dose of nostalgia.
It was a great show, too!
Best art exhibit: “Amazing!” by Mel Bochner at the Philbrook was something I got to write about. I already loved the work, but interviewing Bochner made me even more of a fan.
Best album: Tell Me How You Really Feel by Courtney Barnett. Good from start to finish, Courtney Barnett manages to yet again create an album’s worth of catchy tunes and compelling lyrics.
Best song: “Plain Jane” by A$AP Ferg. Though this came out on the 2017 album Still Striving, I wore this song out this summer.
Best midterm election result: The record number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folk that got elected into Congressional seats.
Worst midterm election result: Beto O’Rourke’s loss in Texas was devastating.
Best new restaurant or bar: Rabbit Hole Bar and Grill. Finally, a place with food next door to The Max again.
Best moment for Tulsa: Opening the Gathering Place. It’s amazing to see our community engaged with something positive together.
Jezy J. Gray, editor
Best book: “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. This surreal, spellbinding novel about a young enslaved woman’s quest for freedom from the antebellum South won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2017—but a serial adaptation by director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) is set to drop next year on Amazon. Read it first!
Best album: Bark Your Head Off, Dog by Hop Along. The Philadelphia band’s latest is a high watermark of lyrical, emotive indie rock that doesn’t sound like anything else. I saw them twice this summer: at The Riot Room in Kansas City, and The Opolis in Norman. I also interviewed singer/guitarist Frances Quinlan, which was my personal highlight of the year. We talked about death, grief, and the final Oklahoma resting place of the dog from “Frasier.”
Best TV show: “The Great British Baking Show.” The sweet spot between prestige TV and college football: high drama, great characters, and intense competition. (While not “new,” s/o Hulu for bringing “King of the Hill” back into my living room where it belongs.)
Best movie: “BlackKklansman.” Spike Lee returns to form with one of the best movies he ever made. It will have you cheering in your seat and crawling out of your skin—a funny, disturbing, symphonic caper that explodes into one of the most infuriating and affecting finales you’ll see all year. I felt this movie in my whole body.
Best live show: Neko Case at Cain’s Ballroom. I’m not sure how I made it so long without seeing her in concert—but
I finally did, and it was great.
Best midterm election result: Locally—Kara Joy McKee winning her Tulsa City Council seat; Kendra Horn’s victory in OK-5; and my pal Kelly Albright in HD-95. Nationally—the queen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom all good Millennials should follow into battle against student loan servicers and health insurance companies.
Worst midterm election result: The lack of broad voter support for teacher candidates; the election of Kevin Stitt; the re-election of ghouls like Markwayne Mullin, Charles McCall, and the rest of the rich white guys closing our hospitals, robbing our classrooms, and cooking our planet.
Best moment for Tulsa: The announcement of a city commission to search for mass graves from the 1921 Race Massacre.
Worst moment for Tulsa: The extension of city’s 287(g) contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Amanda Hall, distribution coordinator
Best book: “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller. It’s a telling of the myth of Achilles with his lover, Patroclus, as the narrator. Both Achilles and Miller’s other Greek Myth Book, “Circe” (which is great as well) weave the spots where famous mythic characters pop up into a cohesive narrative, and they both work really well.
Best TV show: There are two “genre” shows I just can’t stop watching, and I can’t really pick between the two. “The Magicians” on SYFY is really engaging, and with a super diverse cast and great pacing it makes for a really entertaining hour of TV. I just love it. It will punch all of your nerd buttons. Plus the performances are really amazing and nuanced for a show that could have easily been Harry Potter, but with really hot people having sex. I am also “stanning” The Good Place. (Is that how you use that? I’m an old.) Mother forking shirtballs, it’s hilarious!
Best midterm election result: Democrats retaking the house is so good. The checks and balances that are in place in our government just can’t work when just one party is in control. Come on, January!
Worst midterm election result: Brian Kemp winning the Georgia governorship was so disappointing. It really brought to light how absurd it is that anyone can oversee an election that they are running in.
Best new restaurant or bar: Either Jane’s Delicatessen or Saint Amon Bakery. Both are fantastic and are so different! Jane’s burger is awesome, and my boyfriend is obsessed with their poutine. And I can’t stop eating their made-in-house pickles. Saint Amon has the tastiest indulgences in town: double chocolate croissants, cheesecake, macarons, turnovers—and it looks like I’m going to have to order a buche de noel from them for Christmas. If you have a sweet tooth and haven’t been out there, go go go!
John Langdon, digital editor
Best movie: If “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” had been two hours of Tom Waits panning for gold, it would still probably take the top spot.
Best TV show: Season 2 of “Westworld” kept me delightfully baffled and champing at the bit. The finale opened the door to worlds of possibilities.
Best live show: Stevie Wonder is unparalleled.
Best song: The Chats’ “Smoko” was released last year, but 2018 was the year the world needed it.
Best midterm election result: A single party no longer controls all three branches of government.
Worst midterm election result: Most of the rest of it.
Best new restaurant or bar: Though they call it Duet, their food, drinks, and jazz lineup are a perfect three-part harmony. (Ba-dum-tss)
Best moment for Tulsa: I’ll expand my “moment” to the entire season of Fall. The one-two punch of grand openings at Gathering Place and Mother Road Market felt like a seismic shift. (The good, metaphorical kind.)
Worst moment for Tulsa: That it took this long to drop the name Brady.
Hopes for Tulsa in 2019: More openness, less division.
Juley Roffers, president of Langdon Publishing
Best movie: “Phantom Thread” (but “Incredibles 2” was a close second!)
Best TV show: “Real Time with Bill Maher”
Best live show: Stevie Wonder (but the old Midwesterner in me liked Garrison Keillor, too.)
Best art exhibit: Patrick Dougherty’s “Prairie Schooners” downtown. So much fun!
Best midterm election result: A more divided national government; I’m uncomfortable when either party has all the power.
Worst midterm election result: Bull Stitt (welcome back, Mary Fallin!)
Best new restaurant: Society
Best moment for Tulsa: Just has to be the opening of Gathering Place.
Worst moment for Tulsa: Try driving down Riverside or getting to GP on a Saturday.
Hopes for Tulsa in 2019: I hope that visionaries in our community will begin to make plans to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre (2.5 years from now). Plans that are respectful, heart-felt and educational about the past and for the future.
Morgan Welch, graphic designer
Best book: “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson. She makes me feel sane in this insane world.
Best movie: Shamelessly watched “The Kissing Booth” three times.
Best TV show: “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” was everything I could have hoped for and more.
Best live show: The Peace and the Panic Tour featuring Neck Deep, Trophy Eyes, Stand Atlantic and WSTR. Celebrated my 29th rotation around the sun in true pop punk style.
Best album: The American Dream by Trophy Eyes.
Best song: “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. I could cry just thinking about it.
Hopes for Tulsa in 2019: The same thing I’ve hoped for for the last few years: more pop punk shows. Not sure what Tulsa has against them, but I’m tired of driving to Dallas.