Well, dear readers, we finally made it to 2020! 2019 saw a healthy 225 articles posted to The Arts STL—exactly one more than was posted in 2018, which was an unplanned, pleasant surprise to encounter on New Years Eve. Here’s hoping for at least 226 in 2020! But in the meantime, here are the articles that caught the most readers’ eyes during the year that was:
- A very unlikely candidate tops the list: Sarah Boslaugh’s review of an edition of the Smithsonian’s The Real Story documentary series about Patrick O’Brian’s historical fiction novel Master and Commander. And it wasn’t a close contest, either: the review got nearly twice as many reads in 2019 as the nearest comer, with nearly half of its hits coming in the second half of 2019 despite going live on the site on Christmas Day of 2018. This was the little article that could, getting at least a handful of reads per day and some days getting quite a few, all of which seemed to come from Google. I haven’t the slightest idea what search term it tops the list for, but I’m very happy people are finding it, and I just hope any of you who came to the site to read this article found others to suit your liking.
- The second most-read article was our remembrance of Kevin Wolf, a local cartoonist who died this year at the age of 36.
- The home video market continues to be a great place to find cinematic hidden gems like Unknown Soldier, a 2017 Finnish film dramatizing the Finnish/Russian war of the 1940s whose Stateside DVD/Blu-Ray release our Sarah Boslaugh reviewed earlier this year.
- Photographer Joe Johnson captured a lot of great concerts for us this year, but thanks to their sizable social media presence, it was his pics of Collective Soul’s set at this year’s Wayback Pointfest that were viewed by the most eyeballs. Be sure to check out the rest of his Wayback Pointfest photo set while you’re at it!
- Local rocker Todd Sarvies nabbed the #1 slot last year and returns in 2019 for a brief interview and to premiere the music video for his song “Fare Thee Well.”
- Our Film Editor, Sarah Boslaugh, offers up her list of ten notable feature films released this year.
- It’s always gratifying to see a truly independent project garner attention, so my heart was especially warmed to see Sarah Boslaugh’s review of Ekaj make the most-read list. Cati Gonzalez’s making-it-in-the-big-city story is a film that, as Sarah says, “refuses to romanticize the struggles of their characters yet still recognizes the beauty in their lives.”
- Sarah Boslaugh didn’t see what all the fuss was about regarding Noah Baumbach’s much-lauded Marriage Story—and from the comments, it seems she’s not the only one!
- Because people—especially film buffs!—love lists, Sarah Boslaugh’s 2018 list of notable films also made it into the top 10 for the second year in a row.
- And closing out the year’s top 10 was the announcement that St. Louis-based cartoonist Christina “Steenz” Stewart won the 5th annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. Congrats to Steenz, a huge talent who is totally deserving of the widest possible recognition.
A top ten filled with documentaries, independent and international films, and local cartoonists: it’s this kind of off-the-beaten-path material that The Arts STL was founded to bring attention to, and I’m thrilled beyond words that that is also the kind of stuff that’s drawing the most attention from our readership. Thank you, as always, for checking us out, and we hope you find even more articles you love to read in 2020! | Jason Green