Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Column: Look back on your favorites from this year. It's fun!

Who wants to live in the past? That's like flipping through your college photos, wishing to be in Size Never Again jeans (you can't; sorry; it's over).

We're all about looking ahead here. In that spirit, our critics and writers offer this guide to the biggest, most interesting arts and entertainment stories coming our way in 2016, from the Dixie Chicks tour to new art museums to restaurants padding our already bursting scene.

Then again … it's also kind of educational to look back, right? It reminds you to never get bangs. Or that you haven't been to that restaurant in a while, the one with the retro-weird lobster tank.

So, in that spirit, I reviewed my own 2015, seeking highlights. Why don't you do the same, and then pass the challenge along to friends? Maybe it'll give someone a new idea for finding fun in 2016. (But seriously, skip the bangs. You don't have the bone structure.)

My night stand (some old reads, some new)

The Vacationers by Emma Straub, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Drown by Junot Diaz, Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and The Battle of Versailles by Robin Givhan. And in the category of books with almost no words, The Sartorialist: X by Scott Schuman.

Favorite restaurant experience

The seven course tasting menu at the Rooster & the Till in Seminole Heights. I went there for an anniversary, and my dude and I both got the menu. The chef said we were the first people to do all seven courses. He looked on with a little bit of doubt, horror and wonder as we ate the whole thing.

Best offbeat discovery

Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs. My brother and I threw a retirement party for our parents there this year, and oh, what a rad time was had. It's full of antique pinball machines, plus favorite arcade games like Donkey Kong and Galaga. You can get a pass for $13 and play all day.

My iTunes downloads

Cam, Elle King, Fetty Wap, Tove Lo. And yeah, all of Taylor Swift's 1989. In the throwback department, I dug up some old tracks from Bikini Kill and Le Tigre after watching the Kathleen Hanna documentary The Punk Singer. Sources say I might have sung them into a hair brush in the bathroom mirror.

Favorite movie moments

Inside Out was a total delight, but even more than the main event, I loved Disney's preceding short Lava, about two lonely volcanos. I ate alllll my feelings in popcorn. As for the flick that made me walk into the night and question everything, it's the Amy Winehouse doc Amy.

Favorite watering hole

I've visited more breweries in 2015 than I can count, and they all start to become a blur. How many IBUs can one take? How much exposed duct work? How many subtle infusions of almond peels and beard sweat? Anyway, my favorites have been St. Pete Brewing Co. in St. Petersburg, Coppertail Brewing Co. in Tampa and JDubs Brewing in Sarasota. But I have to admit, I've had the most fun at my hometown dive, Skip's Bar & Grill in Dunedin. Cash only, cheap pitchers of domestics, chatty bartenders and '90s college rock on the jukebox. Sometimes, the best things are the simplest.

     
 
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