Best of Baltimore

City Paper

Even my hangover is hungover after what was the best Best of Baltimore party in years. It’s always great. We bust ass on an issue for months, have countless sleepless nights, fret over the things we love and hate about the city, and then we get to invite all of those people to a big party. It is beautiful. But it was even better this time, partially thanks to Dan Deacon (“Best Beanie Hat”), who last year told Josh Sisk (“Best Backpack”), as we stood drinking at the party, “Y’all should let me do this next year.” So we held him to it and got Sierra Myst, his DJ collaboration with Book of Morrin, to DJ it. At various points Ed Schrader (“Best Holy Shit I Didn’t Recognize You With Your Shirt On”) and DDm (“Best Smile”) fabulously took the stage. 

There were tons of other lovely people who should now also get different awards after the party: As we walked over from Mick O’Shea’s in a big group with Copy Editor Anna Walsh (“Best Newspaper Dress and Quotation-Mark Earrings” and “Best Keeps Me From Spelling ‘Contributor’ and ‘Graffiti’  Wrong”) and couple of our former interns without whom none of it could have happened, especially Gianna DeCarlo (“Best Battle with the Bronies”) and Lindsay VanAsdalan (“Best Lover of Gross Drinks and Bad Clubs”), we bumped into columnist extraordinaire Lexie Mountain (“Best Eyeliner”) and Jenn Wasner (“Best Nicest Rock Star in the World,” pictured, center). The second we got inside we were bombarded by other bestnesses, such as CP contributor Michael Farley (“Best White After Labor Day”), Lola Pierson (“Best Person Writing a Book I Can’t Wait to Read,” pictured, right), Naomi Kline (“Best Naomi Kline”), Stewart Watson  (“Best Record Around Your Neck”), and Cricket Arrison (“Best Bette Davis Eyes,” pictured, left). We had a few drinks. We stopped to talk with D. Watkins (“Best Being Taken Out of Context”) and M.K. Asante (“Best Damn, We Should Have Given Him An Award for His Badass Book”). 

There was a great moment when Deacon played “Dumb Dumb” by Young Moose (“Best The Police Can use Your Videos and Lyrics as Evidence?—What the Fuck?”) and the place went wild. When we talked to James Nasty (“Best Naming an EP After Our New Office Location”), he said, “Hey, y’all should let me do this next year,” so, maybe that is the way the music thing will go from now on. 

We ended up at the Midway, this year’s Best Dive Bar, where I talked with erstwhile CPer and current BBJer Jenn Ladd (“Best Martyr”) and her fellow BBJer Kevin Litten (“Best  Working for the Man who Poaches  Our Staffers”), who brought up the fact that I busted his balls for not giving me credit on a story I reported before he did.  But he was nice about it (And don’t y’all dare try to steal Athena Towery [“Best Makes the Best Look Best”] from us, goddamnit). 

Though the Midway is on the Block, it is not a strip bar, I assured people as we made our way there. Then we all made out with the mirrors in the corner. Some people made out with each other. Writer Wil Hylton (“Best Pipe”) ended up hanging with my wife, CP contributor Nicole King (“Best Super Hot in that Dress and that Jacket”), and me at our house. I don’t remember how we got there. But I remember he took an Uber home. Don’t drink and drive. 

It was all good fun and we saw way too many best people to name. But we also made some mistakes this year. Mason Ross (“Best Sorry Dude We Fucked Up”) rightly called us out for crediting “Two Suns Over Thebes” only  to Alex Hacker (“Best I Guess I Have to Take Your Prize Back”), with whom Ross co-directed. But worse, Ross was the one who was responsible for the music, which was what the award was for (“Best Use of Music in a Play”). And even fucking worse, we also left out Gerrit Welmers (“Best Member of Some Famous Band With Temporal And Geographic References in its Name”) who contributed music to the play. Sorry, guys, I botched it. We also left some people out of the entry for the “Best Collaboration,” which we awarded to the Gene Clark No Other Band, such as Steve Strohmeier and Mike Lowry (“Best Were You at the Party? I Was Really Drunk”). Shit. Sorry y’all. 

Other people whine a lot, so it’s kind of hard to want to apologize, but we did say that people don’t dance at Save Your Soul and that is factually inaccurate. So, despite the distasteful quality of the perpetual complaints from at least one of the principles behind the dance night (“Best Brian Gilbert”) we apologize. 

I’d also like the thank the 800 people (799—ed.) who voted for me for “Best Columnist” in Round II of Voting. It came in well behind Dan Rodricks (“Best Congratulations, Dan, See You at the Dentist”) and Mr. Wrong (“Best I Can’t Talk About It”), both of which are fine columns. But, it is still 800 (799-ed.) shots against columns that are desk-bound bloviations and for columns that are out on the street, full of proper names—real people—and the smell of sweat and shoe leather. Every column is, in a way, a manifesto for what columns should be, and 800 (799-ed.) of you know that columns should be reported. Thanks. And thanks to the person whose reason to be invited to the Best of Baltimore party was “Baynard Woods has not alienated me yet.” I hope to alienate you in the coming year.

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