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What Flavorpill Staffers Are Thankful for This Year

If your family is anything like ours, then the most important part of today’s Thanksgiving meal — you know, aside from totally dominating bingo — will be going around the table and having each person say what they’re the most thankful for. It probably goes without saying that we’re very grateful to have such lovely and engaged readers who choose make Flavorwire part of their daily routine. But beyond that, in the spirit of the holiday we’ve decided to share some of Flavorpill staffers’ “cultural thank-yous” with you. Do us a favor, and keep this list going in the comments — we’d love to know what books, films, albums, TV shows, etc, had the biggest personal impact on you this year!

“In what’s been a pretty strange and crazy year, I’ve been grateful for a series of beautiful ambient/atmospheric releases for soothing a troubled soul. New releases from Heathered Pearls, Billow Observatory, Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Mirroring, Children of the Wave, and Ulfur have made the slings and arrows of outrageous 2012 slightly easier to endure, and for that, I’m thankful indeed.” — Tom Hawking, Music Editor, Flavorwire

“I am grateful for unapologetically challenging and beautifully crafted films like Holy Motors and The Master — cinema that leaves me in its thrall with transformative performances and full-bodied characters in their spellbinding worlds.” — Alison Nastasi, Night Editor, Flavorwire

“I’m thankful for the Doug Loves Movies and How Did This Get Made? podcasts, both of which came on my radar this year, and which I now don’t miss. They’re both irreverent, funny, and wickedly smart. But they also legitimately come from a place of loving movies — even How Did This Get Made? which examines and lampoons really terrible films. For me, at least, it’s refreshing to take a break from all the serious-minded film analysis out there with these very funny shows.” — Jason Bailey, Film Editor, Flavorwire

Sheila Heti came to America. Let’s face it, Lena Dunham wouldn’t exist without How Should A Person Be?” — Geoff Mak, Sales Designer

“I’m thankful to Rajesh Parameswaran for I Am An Executioner, a short story collection that made me fall in love with — and squirm with fear before — the sick, blood-slick soul of a tiger. I am unlikely to have that feeling again. Also: Philip Pullman’s new retellings of the Grimm fairy tales. Some stories deserve to be told over and over, to be constantly refolded into our collective consciousness, and these essential tales have the benefit of a slightly twisted, immensely knowledgable master of arms at the helm. No one could have done better.” — Emily Temple, Literary/Weekend Editor, Flavorwire

“I’m still not sure I completely understand Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, but it’s my favorite kind of film regardless: the kind that only gets more fascinating after dominating your thoughts for days.” — Judy Berman, Deputy Editor, Flavorwire

“This year, Homeland became my Game of Thrones. This show is everything that’s good — or can be — about television. I abstained for so long because I assumed it would be war-chest-thumping hoo-ra patriotism in only the very broadest of strokes. But it’s not. It has a lot more in common with John le Carré than say, Tom Clancy, and as most critics have noted, the acting from Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, and Damian Lewis (from my beloved Forsyte Saga) is outstanding.” — Leah Taylor, Group Managing Editor

Frank Ocean. Channel Orange has been the official Product Team soundtrack while we’ve been hard at work on developing the new Flavorpill GEL, which excitingly just launched this week. Similar to our branding philosophy, we really internalized channeling orange, as the album and product have made a big impact in bringing us joy.” — Kim Gardner, Flavorpill Product Team

“I’m grateful that the final season of 30 Rock has actually been funny! You never want to see one of your favorite TV shows go out on a flat note, and while I’m still not sure how I feel about that fact that Liz Lemon is marrying Criss, the sharp writing on the past few episodes — particularly “Stride of Pride” — has reminded me why I fell in love with this clever series in the first place. I might have even lizzed once or twice.” — Caroline Stanley, Managing Editor, Flavorwire

“I’m grateful for the 21-year old NYC rapper Angel Haze coming into the cultural spotlight. Her songs combine gut-wrenching confessionalism about topics that are rarely addressed in hip hop (sexual abuse, for example), with catchy beats and a sense of self-confidence that is beyond impressive for someone her age. And she can RAP.” — Sophie Weiner, Social Media Manager

JD McPherson’s Signs and Signifiers was my favorite album this year, and it wasn’t even close. It’s a style of rock ‘n’ roll that went out of fashion a long time ago (think Marty McFly at “Enchantment under the Sea,” and Marvin Berry holding up a telephone, yelling “well listen to this!”), but there’s nothing musty, nostalgic, or ironic about this record. McPherson’s connection to and affinity for the music of the past is genuine and heartfelt. Best of all, despite how sonically tame it is compared to modern rock — it was recorded on instruments and equipment that Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry might have used — it really does rock, and his live show at the Mercury Lounge in April featured the most energetic and dance-happy crowd I’ve ever been a part of. It’s funny: Signs and Signifiers was the first ’50s-style rock that I hadn’t heard a million times before on oldies stations. And stripped of desensitizing familiarity, you begin to understand how genuinely scandalous and exciting this music must have been to teenagers and young adults the first time it hit jukeboxes 60 years ago. Suddenly the sexual revolution makes a lot more sense.” — Jack Lenehan, Front-end Developer

“Listening to Angel Olsen is just a wonderful addition to any day.” — Patrick C. Letterii, Venue Partner Manager

“Thanks to Grimes for the best ethereal vocals/bangs combo!”- Sky Friedlander, Flavorwire intern

“I am thankful for Amelia Gray’s Threats. This perfectly-plotted, ferocious little book crawled inside my skin and hatched like something equally ferocious and lovely, caressing my cheek while smothering me.” — Russ Marshalek, Social Media Director

“2012 has been a year where some of my all-time favorite artists reminded me why I fell in love with them in the first place. Tori Amos brought new life to some of her most enduring classics with the orchestral re-imaginings on Gold Dust, and stunned the crowd with her enrapturing NPR performance at New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge. And Chris Cornell’s Hurricane Sandy benefit performance at Bowery Ballroom on the eve of the release of the first new Soundgarden album in 16 years was nothing short of a revelation (not to mention the fact that the entire band joined him onstage for a run-through some of their best material). For both Amos and Cornell, their performances were so transcendent that it was easy to forget the missteps they’ve made since their respective heydays — and, in fact, that any time had passed since then at all.” — Doug Levy, Contributing Editor Flavorpill New York

“In its short run, Bob’s Burger has become my new favorite animated comedy. The Simpsons will always have my heart, Family Guy will always get a few laughs, South Park will be explored one day, but right now it’s the era of Bob and the Belcher family.” — Alex Kim, Lead Designer

“A big thank you to Zach Cowie aka Turquoise Wisdom and Sunny Levine (Quincy Jones’ grandson) for crafting the best soundtrack to a romantic comedy EVER (Celeste and Jesse Forever). Guys, thank you for introducing me to the song ‘Baby’ by Donnie and Joe Emerson, quite possibly one of the best songs ever recorded. It will be played at my wedding.” — Claire Cotrell, Design Editor, Flavorwire

“I’m thankful for David Byrne/St. Vincent’s sickkkk collab album.” — Christina Walsh, Flavorpill Intern

“I was pretty floored by the Clarice Lispector novels that New Directions put out, as well as the collection of Edward, St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose books. In terms of music, I have listened to Dustin Wong’s Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads about a hundred times. I think it’s the kind of record that is on the same level as some of Steve Reich’s work. I’ll also always remember 2012 as the year I became obsessed with counting the number of photos I could find that featured Michael Chabon wearing a paisley shirt. ” — Jason Diamond, Deputy Editor, Flavorpill New York and Flavorpill Brooklyn

“I am thankful for the Barclays Center bringing amazing sports and music to Brooklyn, supplying hundreds of jobs and supporting a lot of local businesses, like Brooklyn Farmacy. I would also say that Occupy Sandy has been pretty fantastic, too.” — Ashley Waghone, Account Executive

“This year I am most grateful for #seapunkgate. In the span of a weekend, Rihanna and Azealia Banks donning the visual drag of net art imagery caused an entertaining, lighting-fast uprising on behalf of an Internet-joke-based subculture. Hopefully it will push net artists to reinvent themselves and the mainstream to pay attention to other fringe tech/net art movements that don’t involve CGI dolphins like glitch art and the hacking culture. PLUR on!” — Marina Galperina, Art Editor, Flavorwire

“I rarely find albums where I have a specific positive connection with every song, but Beach House’s Bloom does that for me. It was also the centerpiece of my favorite cultural event of the year — seeing Beach House live in Central Park in the pouring rain. The highlight was when LeGrande said, “Pardon my French, but fuck Mother Nature,” which was immediately followed by a lightning bolt, a moment seamlessly led into the lights coming on for their next song.” — Dave Coll, Account Executive

“Personally, I’m thankful for discovering the first openly totally flaming gay rapper, LE1F. Check out his single, ‘wut.’ I <3 him." — Melissa Arseniuk, Managing Editor Flavorpill Las Vegas

Intouchables — it’s one of the best French films I’ve seen since A Prophet and Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Plus it’s a feel good movie — can’t go wrong.” — Patricia Malfitano, Account Manager