Now that the relatives have been fed, feted and begifted, we can return to our interrupted work week and complete construction of this last issue for 2007. It is a relatively easy task for us, since the focus of this edition is largely behind us. That is, we've been able to assemble most of it prior to the intervening holiday. What remains are administrative details, like this column.
You will notice in our popular feature "20 Years Ago" that we have been doing an annual arts roundup for a long time - at least 20 years. Not coincidentally, then, it is once again our focus this week, complete with introduction by arts editor Dean Robbins. He ignores the downside, after duly acknowledging it, and then gives way to his cohort of critics, who proceed to enlighten us on their (for the most part) likes from the year in drama, classical music and musical theater, dance and performance. There seems to be little doubt that we're in a sort of golden age in both classical music and theater in this town.
Pop music also gets its due, as Rich Albertoni gathers a compendium of local highlights. Local writers put in a full year too; Linda Falkenstein details their literary triumphs.
In the other performing arts - politics and government - news editor Bill Lueders continues another end-of-the-year Isthmus tradition, "Cheap Shots." You may detect a hint of Lueders' disenchantment from the story's title, "The End of Optimism." His mood does not improve from there, as he delivers a nonpartisan scold to those who boldly transgress standards of public deportment. Okay, he does say nice things about a couple of people.
In the "compare and contrast" school of political commentary, you may do so with conservative columnist Charles Sykes and liberal cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. They appear on the same page, but only in the physical sense. For a further cartoon retrospective, see Brian Strassburg's "Mad City Year in Review."
We ate this year, didn't we? Our reviewers certainly did. Raphael Kadushin was unimpressed by '07's culinary achievement, but he still found something new to like and some things to keep going back for. Jerry Minnich is more upbeat. Perhaps he got the better reviewing assignments.
Jason Joyce does double duty around here, and so it is with this issue. Wearing his sports hat, he recounts the year of the black eye for the pros. As web producer, he reviews "a few of our favorite posts" from The Daily Page. And to prove we hear the footsteps, Doug Elfman checks in with favorites from the world of gaming.
That's a lot to review, and you have seven days to do it. Next week we'll be launching 2008, and you don't need to throw the chicken bones to know that the year will be a doozy.