WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Best of 2015 (so far)

By on July 8, 2015

A smidgen of this year’s pop culture delights


You don’t know her, but you should: Euro pop sensation Conchita Wurst.

You don’t know her, but you should: Euro pop sensation Conchita Wurst.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Whether you see 2015 as half empty or half full (obviously half empty, folks), there’s no denying that we have hit our midway point, and it’s time for us all to take a nice break, sit on the deck and reflect. The year is whooshing by like a Georgia license plate through a four-way stop, and so much has already transpired that you might not even realize all the cool stuff you missed. Luckily, you have your friendly neighborhood Munz at the helm to steer you in the right direction.

Best debut bearded lady: Conchita Wurst

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of Conchita Wurst, and likely an even greater chance that you’ve never heard of Eurovision. For the past 59 years, Eurovision has been Europe’s most popular television program, showcasing one artist from each European country competing to be the next European pop sensation. Last year, Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst won in a historic victory, much to the dismay of the more conservative nations. The LGBT rights activist recently put out her debut pop album “Conchita,” which is unabashedly incredible. I urge you to Google her winning “Rise Like A Phoenix” performance, or just stream the record and shamelessly rock out to some very catchy, very European pop jams. Thank me later.

Best lesson in badassery: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

I wrote about it before and I’ll write about it again, but there hasn’t been an action movie in years that’s as perfectly composed and masterful as George Miller’s latest installment in his “Mad Max” saga. Everything from the desert chase scenes to the sparse, yet complex character development is proof that action movies do not need to be mindless trigger-happy remakes dripping with sauerkraut and nostalgia (lookin’ at you, “Terminator Genisys”). Do yourself a favor and Redbox this when it’s out on DVD in September.

Best reminder that YA fiction reigns supreme: “Red Queen”

Victoria Aveyard’s kickass debut young adult novel is equal parts “Divergent” and “Gladiator,” but really is a game changer when it comes to recent YA trends. Not only does it toy with some mutant powers a la “X-Men,” but it also incorporates some of the dastardly devious devices that’ll appeal to people itching for their “Game of Thrones” fix. Already a New York Times bestseller, “Red Queen” will soon be adapted into a film. Read the book first.

Best mindless time waster: Agar.io

Working with teens at the Teton County Library makes me feel more hip than I ever was in high school, so it makes me feel good cozying up to recent trends. Sure those Minecraft kids have their own fun, but the new web-based game Agar.io is where it’s at. The premise is simple: eat smaller circles; don’t get eaten by big circles. All it takes is one session in the game, and you’re ready to ditch all responsibilities to get on the leaderboard. There’s very little strategy involved and eating smaller players is bizarrely satisfying. Suffice it to say if you’re exiled to a desk job or looking to waste an hour, pull up Agar and you’ll be as cool as today’s 14-year-olds.

I know I left out plenty of other things, but these are ones that have stuck with me since 2015 got going. Luckily we still have a whole other half of the year to look forward to.


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