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This time of the year Best-Of lists are as ubiquitous as flies on a horse's ass, but that won't stop me from jumping on and riding off into the sunset, satisfied that I have thrown my two cents into the ring. (Mixed metaphor alert!). By no means comprehensive, this list represents my cultural high points from 2013. So in no particular, order here they are.

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Red Bull Music Academy
This world-traveling series landed in New York in 2013, adding an extra layer of excitement upon the city's highly charged music and nightlife scene. Self-proclaimed as a "platform for those who make a difference in today's musical landscape" it actually lives up to its own hype. Brian Eno, James Murphy and Giorgio Moroder were among the more than 230 artists participating in this month-long musical residency that also featured a daily newspaper, art exhibits, talks, workshops, a music studio. (Great to see Eno's morphing art installation and Giorgio Moroder work the decks.) The Red Bull team's attention to detail and passion is a constant, showing up most recently in the publication of For the Record: Conversations With People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music, any music lover's must-have book based on 15 years of the RBMA.

banksy-eternity.jpgBanksy
His month-long residency set-off a media frenzy and lots of water cooler/social media conversations -- a good thing. But wait, how about all those people who think he's exploiting the situation and, like influential New York art critic Jerry Saltz, making bad art to boot? This is New York and everyone's got an opinion, but it was fun while it lasted.

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Marina Abramovic
This is the year this singular artist jumped the shark from MoMA and into a Jay-Z video. Definitely a force to be reckoned with, now building the Marina Abramović Institute, a museum founded with a kickstarter campaign supported by Lady Gaga and Jay. So she's been able to bridge it all, high and low, hip and hop and get starchitect Rem Koolhaas to design it. I'm speechless in the face of this phenomena and I guess that's the way it's meant to be.


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Kanye West and Drake

No one can top Kanye in over-the-topness -- and he can be extremely annoying -- but Yeezus beats the daylights out of Jay's pandering Magna Carta... Holy Grail. And "Tom Ford" goes on to get a Grammy nomination? Drake's growing up in front of the mic, delivering a more mature vision, singing as well as rapping in "Nothing Was the Same."

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Junot Diaz
I'm late to the game on Diaz, but I'm glad I made it just the same. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a brilliant novel full of life and passion, opening our eyes to a slice of the American experience in a voice as hip to cadence and nuance as any out there. [Photo by Nina Subin/Penguin Group via NPR]

Frieze-New-York.jpgFrieze
Going its own way, Frieze has earned its spot on the top of New York's art fair pyramid. Great execution, smart, personal, all the right decisions. The London-based magazine that spawned the fair has also taken a great step forward, earning its place on my nightstand for its ability to make art relevant and meaningful in the age of commoditization.

OITNB2.JPGOrange Is the New Black
The Netflix original about a women's prison by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan does have fantastic, complex characters like Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, Annie Golden, Lea Delaria and Taryn Manning join the yuppie white girl Taylor Schilling and her former girlfriend Laura Prepon in an ensemble that's going to be hard to beat.

hajasmine.jpgFrances Ha and Blue Jasmine
Former Paper cover star Greta Gerwig (Frances) can do no wrong in my book. Adding writer to her impressive acting credits, she teams up with real-life paramour Noah Baumbach in this black and white coming-of-age tale of a post-college girl making her way in the big city. This really should be seen by everyone between the ages of 16 and 30. Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is about a girl of a different age (Cate Blanchett), who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister after her life and marriage blow up as a result of a financial scandal.  It's bittersweet, touching and most of all human. A relief to see Woody get it right after so many years of misfires.


jcrew-spring-summer6.jpgJ. Crew

I'm not a big shopper, but if I were I'd be scooping up lots of items from the men's shop. A bit on the pricey side, but the luxury generic jackets, sweaters and sweats makes me feel like a kid at Best Buy.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 3.44.30 PM.pngPaper Nightlife Awards
Each year we put together an awards night for the people who make New York like no other. From the Bowery to Bushwick from the West Side to Williamsburg, the party people work it and the NLA is the time they get recognized for their contributions. This year Ciara performed and Chelsea Handler hosted. Wish you were there. (Maybe you were!).

SEE ALL OF PAPER'S YEAR-END COVERAGE HERE





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