All My Stars (50)

By: Joanne McNeil
December 15, 2016


One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.


It is a common problem, these days, to carve an identity around personal dislikes. That’s why I started this newsletter at the beginning of the year to remember my favorite things. I felt that I must encounter at least one thing of beauty, wisdom, or inspiration each week. I want to hold on to those things and remember them, because even when I love something, it is often hard for me to remember books, films, exhibitions, and the like in the years after I first encounter them.

What’s surprising now is how little my feelings have changed from my initial impressions of the subjects of the newsletters each week. There are only a few things I’m less enthusiastic about when I look back on them. TV is always hard to assess as current shows haven’t come to completion — I lost interest in Westworld after it stopped exploring the texture and environment of its space, and Unreal’s second season was awful — but what I wrote reflects as much as I had seen from either. Just as hard to pin down is when something ceases to be a piece, and becomes a symbol for something in the culture. I still haven’t seen Hamilton, and by now, there’s no way I could ever assess its merits outside of what it has come to represent in the world of politics.

All of these favorites were released this year, with one exception. Obviously this list reflects a lot on what a chose to see — or hear. I didn’t really have favorite new music and I only went to the theater once. Probably I forgot a handful of things. Anyway, this is what I’m going to remember.


Moonlight, The Handmaiden, The Invitation, Cosmos


Martin Wong at Bronx Museum


Nonfiction: Necessary Trouble by Sarah Jaffe and Uproot by Jace Clayton (I try not to talk about my friends’ work here because that gets weird, but there’s no denying these two.) The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu.

Fiction: Octavia Butler’s Parable novels (not new, but all too contemporary)


Backstory, Spycast, You Must Remember This


Halt and Catch Fire (& more), Lady Dynamite, Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode



CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators