We’re already two weeks into the new year. My, how time flies.
2013 couldn’t come fast enough for me. 2012 was a tough one.
With the new year comes renewed optimism for what lies ahead, and the hope that this particular 365 days will be better than the last one.
Here’s what I’m wishing for in 2013.
• Please, Taylor Swift, take a year off. Heck, make it two. Between her faked looks of surprise every time she wins something, her faux pollyanna innocence and her media omnipresence, I’ve just gotten sick of her. She has supplanted Britney Spears as the celebrity I’d most like to see disappear for awhile.
• I hope the city is able to attract a worthwhile sports team to anchor the arena that voters approved on Nov. 6. Don’t know when or where it’ll go up, but the proposed $180 million building will need some sort of anchor tenant to keep its calendar full, or so my expert friends tell me. I’m sure there are various minor league hockey franchises out there, but I’d love to see us lure an NBA Development League team here. It would complement the Triple-A San Diego Padres franchise that will begin play here at the new baseball stadium in 2014, another way to see future stars today.
•I’m so glad we’re going to get a new arena, but I hope it’s not at the expense of the Abraham Chavez Theatre. The fan in me likes having two venues, the other being the Plaza Theatre, so close to one another. The nearly 40-year-old Chavez’s acoustics are superior and better for symphony concerts, operas, plays and stand-up comedy. It was built for it, it needs a few million dollars’ worth of TLC.
• I want a window seat when we move into our new digs. For one thing, I won’t feel so enclosed. For another, I like looking out the window when I’m writing. Sometimes, I find the words I’m looking for out there.
• I’d like to see Plaza Classic Film Festival organizers top last year’s booking of Al Pacino by bringing in Dustin Hoffman to show and discuss his directorial debut, “Quartet” (which hasn’t shown here yet) and some of his most iconic roles in “The Graduate,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Papillon,” “Little Big Man,” “Tootsie,” “Kramer vs. Kramer” and others. That’s the kind of stuff that’s so fascinating about the festival. When movie stars and filmmakers, like Pacino and El Paso native Debbie Reynolds, come here to talk about their works and careers, it brings Hollywood to life.
• With Cinemark and Carmike planning to build two new first-run movie theaters in town — bringing El Paso to a total of six first-run theaters — how about somebody, like the Alamo Drafthouse, opening an art theater here. The Fountain’s great, but I don’t want to drive to Mesilla that often to see some of the indie, foreign, documentary and alternative films that don’t make it into our more commercial theaters (except, maybe, Cielo Vista Cinemas) with any consistency. If nothing else, maybe the big chains can permanently dedicate a few screens to movies like “Amour,” “Rust and Bone” and others we might not get otherwise.
• Speaking of movie theaters, is Premiere ever going to build that IMAX theater at Bassett Place ? This city’s too big and too movie hungry not to have an IMAX by now.
• I wish Whole Foods would open a store here — on the East Side.
• I hope the Rolling Stones — whom I idolized as a child and made a study of as an adult — would continue their 50th anniversary celebration with more shows in 2013. A possible Coachella appearance leaked earlier, and festival organizers recently posted an image of a round object, possibly a rolling stone, in a field on the California event’s Facebook page. At their advanced ages, I wouldn’t expect a normal tour, but a series of residencies in large cities, such as Los Angeles and Dallas, and appearances at major festivals, including Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, makes sense. Either way, I plan to see at least one show this go-round (I’ve seen them 25 times dating back to 1975).
• I wish Jim Ward, his lovely wife Kristine and the guys of Sparta lots of luck in the new year. Ward is that rarity who didn’t bolt his hometown once he made it. He’s invested in it, adding Hope and Anchor (which he just sold), Tricky Falls, Clap of Thunder studios, the Eloise Euro cafe and the soon-to-be-opened Hello Day Cafe to the cultural and culinary landscape. He’s turned his world travels (and income) into cultural gold. Sparta, his post At the Drive-In band, plans to perform in Canada in February. Could a new record be on the agenda? Good luck!
• I hope that David Bowie’s new album, “The Next Day,” due March 12, will be better than his last one, 2003’s “Reality,” was.
• Wouldn’t it be cool if the Sun Bowl added a big festival the week of the game? Something that would combine elements of the Fan Fiesta and the Sky Party with a concert, maybe at the Don Haskins Center? Just wondering. There are tons of Sun Bowl-related events every year, but a one-day festival could be a major draw for locals and out-of-towners, particularly the college kids looking for something to do.
• I hope those rumors about a Pearl Jam show here in May are true. They are one of the great live bands. Never missed a tour, going back many years, until I moved here in 2008.