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13 Most Popular Stories of 2015

Filmmaking, poetry, dance and the politics of art top Cultural Weekly’s list of most popular stories of 2015. That’s a tribute to all of you diverse, engaged, culturally attuned readers.
Here are 2015’s thirteen most-read pieces.
13. Help Poet Wo Chan and His Family Fight Unjust Deportation. Chiwan Choi’s impassioned plea to aid Wo Chan, a queer Fujianese poet, writer, and drag performer. Update: The government rejected Wo’s request to consolidate days and expedite his trial.  His mother’s trial will now be in April, 2016, and his and his father’s trail will be in May, 2016. Wo told Cultural Weekly, “I’m hoping so desperately we win the first go around and that we don’t have to appeal
because I don’t know where appeal money would come from.”
12. Weight of Gold. Sarah Elgart’s ScreenDance Diaries, in which Sarah shares a short dance film each week, are among the most popular pieces we run. This short film, by choreographer Benjamin Millipied for the British recording artist Forest Swords, is stunning.
11. Art in the Age of Gentrification. What happens to artists when the communities around them gentrify? We all know… artists pave the way for civic change, then get priced out of its benefits. Ama Birch’s pointed exploration of the issue takes the discussion to a new and more urgent level.
10. Why is TED Helping Livestream Build Its New Bushwick? More on the politics of culture. Robin Grearson looks at a TEDx event through the lens of autochthonous artists vs. those attracted to the trendiness of Bushwick.
9. A Forgotten Love Triangle: Volitaire, Diederot, and Catherine the Great. Paul Rogov’s historical and literary meditation proves Cultural Weekly’s readers are as intellectual as anyone!
8. Dare to Dance Film Festival. You love dance, and many of you are dance artists and filmmakers. Submissions for this festival are open until January 22, 2016, and will be judged by at top-tier panel of judges. We can’t wait to announce and share the winners next year.
7. Marty McConnell: Three Poems. Poetry is always one of our most popular features, and Marty’s poems were widely read and shared.
6. Eve Ensler, Mad Max, and the Women of Fury Road. Who knew that The Vagina Monologue’s Eve Ensler helped to shape the female characters in Mad Max: Fury Road? You did when you read this exclusive interview.
5. The Distribution Equation. Many of you are filmmakers, seeking the best ways to share your movies with your audiences. Adam Leipzig’s analysis of how distribution works in traditional and “free range” models attracted a lot of attention in the indie film community.
4. Jack Grapes Poetry Prize. Our annual contest and open submission period attracts extraordinary poets from all over the world.
3. Annelyse Gelman: Three Poems. Speaking of poets, Annelyse’s poems were the most-read of the year.
2. Sundance Infographic 2015: Dollars and Distribution. Our annual Sundance infographic and Adam Leipzig’s number-crunching of the Sundaance data has become a tradition for filmmakers and people who care about independent filmmaking. We’ll be publishing our next Sundance Infographic with some startling new numbers next month.
1. Top 10 Historical Colorized Photos. Popular and controversial at the same time, Tod Hardin’s compendium of imagery from digital artist Dana Keller raised questions about art, appropriation and technology.
All in all, and once again, a banner year for Cultural Weekly. We have stayed true to purpose: to incite, inform and inspire. This is a place to talk about our creative culture with passion, perspective and analysis – and more words than “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” We draw attention to our cultural environment, illuminate it, and make it better through rich conversations. We look at culture through the different lenses of media, money, technology and entertainment, always with prime focus on creativity in action.
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We’ll be back on January 7, 2016 with fresh content, new writers and people you have been reading all along, and more perspectives on art, theatre, politics, music, film, poetry, culture, and the creative lives we lead. Until then, we all wish you wonderful holidays and a peaceful, beautiful and culturally rich 2016.
Image: Charlize Theron, right, as Imperator Furiosa, leads women on a trek to freedom in Mad Max Fury Road. Courtesy Warner Bros.

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