The Best of ATM, 2015: Arts & Culture

As 2015 comes to its close, Across the Margin takes a look back at some of its most treasured moments in Arts & Culture…

Throughout this final week of 2015, Across the Margin has been seasoning the air with thanks for all those who have spent time within our pages whilst sharing our picks for the “Best of Across the Margin, 2015.” Our best-of compilitations conclude with a look at our choices for our finest articles in Arts & Culture…

The Top 20 Albums of 2015 by Michael Shields and Chris Thompson

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After a trio of articles where we tackled our picks for albums 50-41, 40-31 and 30-21, we excitedly revealed our choices for The Top 20 Albums of 2015. As always, the yearly offerings were bountiful, and because of this fact, the annual compilation of “best of” albums is never easy. We hope that 2015’s Top 20 list acts not only as a celebration and tribute to some of the music that has enriched our lives this past year, but also as an opportunity for our readers to maybe stumble upon something that could not only touch them deeply, but also expand their musical appreciation.

Girl in a Band: Reviewed by Douglas Grant

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Kim Gordon’s memoir is a hard hitting, honest look into the Sonic Youth guitarist’s life and times, and in Douglas Grant’s review he gives us a telling glimpse into Gordon’s past claiming, “she’s aware of her own success as an artist, musician, actress, and fashion designer, and in no way disputes that she’s earned it, but often in the book she’d almost have us believe that what she’s achieved in her lifetime was all a result of chance encounters. But this dualism is what makes Girl in a Band such an intriguing read, and Gordon often acknowledges this by calling attention to many of the misconceptions – and sometimes the affirmations – about her character.”

Fargo’s Perfect Second Season by Michael Shields

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In his consummate review of Fargo’s second season, Michael Shields proclaims that “with its riveting storyline, well-developed and nuanced characters played by highly-proficient actors, shrewd callbacks to the Coen brother’s film catalogue, beguilingly covert easter eggs, scrupulously vetted musical accompaniment, and engrossing and bold cinematography – Fargo’s latest season was an extraordinary achievement, a mesmerizing and distinctly cohesive work of art.”

Twenty Years Later: Wilco’s A.M. by Chris Thompson

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In its series entitled “Twenty Years Later,” Across the Margin spent a great deal of time reminiscing upon the myriad of brilliant albums released in 1995. One of those albums, Wilco’s A.M. was dissected by Chris Thompson who writes that “A.M. comes in at forty-four minutes long, and packs thirteen conventional, country-rock songs that display an album (and a band) that wears its heart fully on its sleeve.”

Game of Thrones Season Five, Deconstructed by Geoffrey Golia

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This past year Across the Margin introduced its own Game of Thrones guru, Geoffrey Golia. In a comprehensive review of Season Five, the editors of Across the Margin peppered Geoffrey with questions that delved deeply into the enthralling happenings in Westeros (and Essos!) and in response to this interrogation, Geoffrey displayed not only his depth of GOT knowledge, but also a sharp wit that has us overcome with excitement for his episode breakdowns when Season Six premieres in April of 2016.

Stone Temple Weiland by Chris Thompson

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The sudden passing of former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland stirred up memories of nostalgia and remorse for a gifted performer lost too soon, and Chris Thompson penned an In-Memoriam article that highlighted the extent of Weiland’s talents that acted as both a goodbye and a thank you to a performer who was “as calm and collected musically as he was abrasive and over the top loud in real life and in his music. He had a depth and a range that swayed from slow and soft as in his acoustic performances with STP to flamboyant and chaotic.”

Twenty Years Later: Gza’s Liquid Swords by Michael Shields

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Twenty years after its release, Gza’s Liquid Swords remains a high-water mark in lyrical dexterity, and in commemoration of the album Michael Shields wrote, “Liquid Swords is dark, intoxicating, and all the while intellectual. It is loaded with allusions to chess, societal injustices, Japanese Cinema, and philosophy. Gza has the reputation as the best lyricist in the Wu-Tang Clan, but hip-hop aficionados are not afraid to take it further than that, appropriately praising Gza as one of the best lyricists of all time – and Liquid Swords is proof positive of this.”

Art Imitates Greek Tragedy by Douglas Grant

Paper Mache Unfinished Comedy & Tragedy Set

In 2014 Douglas Grant, in an in-depth examination of the Golden Age of Television, revealed William Shakespeare’s enduring influence in the medium. In a follow up to that article, Douglas considers the affect timeless Greek Tragedies have had on the greatest storytellers of this generation, expounding upon the the stories behind the stories that demand our attention.

True Detective Season 2, Episode 8 – A Roundtable by Across the Margin

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From our vantage point, Season 2 of True Detective was the most underappreciated and unjustly dismissed television show in recent memory. The haters came out in force, but in review of its final episode of the season, one which crashed over viewers in painful waves of haunting emotion and stunning landscapes, showing us how exactly we get the world we deserve, the editors of Across the Margin expounded upon the reasons why True Detective’s second season was one of the more fascinating events of 2015.

The End of the Tour by Michael Shields

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While contemplating a new film entitled The End of the Tour, Michael Shields went behind the scenes of a story that opens a door upon the penetrating yet confounding musings of the famed author, David Foster Wallace. In his review Michael writes that, “those that have been affected deeply by Wallace’s words will relish in the opportunity to come to a better understanding of the perplexing loneliness and self-doubt that ultimately got the best of him. And anyone, not just those infatuated with Wallace, will cherish the complicated yet authentic friendship that is at the core of The End of The Tour, a film that is at its best when it draws you into the dynamic connection between two extraordinary people, a friendship forged by reflective individuals who took the time to truly understand one another.”

In Defense of Kanye by Christopher Rockwell

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It has become impossible to have a level-headed, sophisticated discussion about Kanye West. To label him as polarizing would be a gross misrepresentation of the severity of the situation. Kanye West has become a pop-culture punchline and the target of the wrath of the entire Internet. Even those who admire his art struggle with some of his antics that, on the surface, appear narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, and often downright unmannerly. But, as is the case with most things, there is much more to the story, and Christopher Rockwell makes a thorough case in defense of the oft misunderstood West.

Twenty Years Later: Radiohead’s The Bends by Michael Shields

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The Bends, the album where Radiohead spread their wings and took flight, is a unique album to dissect and examine two decades after its emergence. The conventional slant about The Bends is that it is the album where Radiohead crystallized their dynamic sound and where they realized how great they could become. It’s the one that paved the way for the emergence of OK Computer and the slew of brilliant albums that followed. But this idea, that The Bends was simply the jumping off point for what was to follow, doesn’t tell the whole story, and fortuitously, the album’s grandeur is analyzed meticulously in this edition of Twenty Years Later.

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