I wanted to do some kind of year-end list, but the range of list topics is hard to narrow down.
Albums? I am so behind on new music. TV? Way too much to even start to rate.
Locally? So much fun stuff happened in the Mahoning Valley this year, so many goings on. I have a notoriously bad memory, so trying to count down the best of everything that happened would be a Herculean task. I can complete an Aquaman task, tops.
I decided just to note some comings and goings of local pop culture landmarks.
Our Valley is a living thing, constantly changing, growing, living and dying. One part goes into hibernation, another is reborn anew. So here are some beginnings and endings from 2013. If I get some details wrong, blame the "Breaking Bad" marathon on AMC.
The Nannicola clown is gone. Maybe he was gone in 2012, but this year was the first time I noticed that the disproportionately tall clown (I assumed he was on stilts) was missing from the now-closed warehouse on U.S. Route 422 where we used to get our band sale candy.
I only hope he is not landfill and part of some kind of Neon Graveyard of our other local advertising. Someday he and the Hot Dog Shoppe hot dog will be neighbors.
My favorite nightspot survived a move across town. Almost a year to this day, Cedars moved from downtown Youngstown to the West Side, where it still houses the original bar built nearly 35 years ago, the same offbeat crowd, fun ambiance and wonderful music.
The old location was bought out to become a burger place and / or nightclub, but it looks like nothing much has been done to the historic building this year - except graffiti.
Warren had loads of good stuff to do this year. Art shows, parties in David Grohl Alley, BBQ food trucks, meetings at the Wean building - lots of new stuff to do for young people who want to get involved in the city.
It's been a pretty quiet year for Jim Traficant. He went from a firebrand to a homebody, which is fine and dandy - he can paint horses and be happy. But you kinda miss hearing from him every now and then. There's definitely no one else like him around.
This WaterFire thing they stated doing in Sharon, Pa., seems pretty cool. Art and music along the Shenango, with flaming pots floating in the water providing a medieval light. I have yet to catch one, but I am all for rivers being on fire in a positive way.
They finished the construction on the I-680 offramp to 224. There's a whole new turning lane! It's beautiful. Now it's safe to go back to Catullo's, Boardman Mocha House and all the other stuff in that plaza.
Definitely good to see life back at Packard Music Hall. I haven't been there since my high school commencement, sadly, but I remember seeing great wrestling shows there as a kid.
The Friends Specialty coffee shop that just opened in downtown Youngstown has perhaps the best latte I've ever had; Lime Tree in downtown Warren, a great sandwich. Try a new local eatery in 2014 - you shan't regret it.
Caught a few great new local bands this year, but not as much new blood as usual; looking forward to new faces onstage in 2014.
As soon as I tried and loved Zipay's Pizza on East Market Street (in the old Domino's), it disappeared. It is supposed to be reopening somewhere soon - till we meet again, Zipay's.
Sad year for alma maters. My WGH and Warren Western Reserve are long gone, but Niles McKinley grads and a number of elementary school students lost their old schools. Old school buildings are oddly comforting - take a tour of one of your old schools before they're gone.
The Valley will continue to evolve in 2014. What is in store? What stores are in store? Perhaps a Costco will arise from the rubble of some vacant building. That Trader Joe's everyone hopes for? Maybe 2024.
Happy New Year, kids!
What changes did you see in the Valley in 2013? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.