Best of 2010: Culture

Our picks for the best in culture for 2010
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Favorite pop culture trend
Seattle flash mobs danced up a storm in 2010, thanks to the organizational skills of local producer Egan Orion and a team of choreographers. Recent events included a Glee-inspired routine at Westlake Center and a Seahawks halftime performance melding stadium anthems and popular dance. The mobs might look spontaneous, but planning the actual routine can take weeks of rehearsal and coordination. “It's a chance to get out of your comfort zone and connect with people through music and dance,” says Orion. What’s next for Seattle’s army of flash mobbers? Orion isn’t tipping his hand yet, but don’t be surprised if you see a new Glee-ful routine in the spring.

Best video game launch
The franchise that keeps on giving: It’s what Microsoft execs were likely saying on the way to the bank after the record-breaking sales of Halo: Reach, the latest iteration of the blockbuster Xbox 360 series. In its first 24 hours of U.S. and European sales, the game topped $200 million, making it Microsoft’s top-selling video game launch. It also marked a farewell to Bungie, the Kirkland-based developer behind Halo since 2001. The studio is moving on to new projects—but rest assured, Xbox nerds. Microsoft’s 343 Industries studio has taken the franchise, ensuring a shoot-’em-up future for Halo fans worldwide. Game on.

Most new and improved old place
The rebirth of Vito’s (First Hill, 927 Ninth Ave.; 206.397.4053; reads a bit like a First Hill fairy tale. Once the glam meeting place for politicians and hustlers to share ideas and close deals, the bar slowly devolved into a crime-ridden club before closing in 2008. Enter Jeff Scott and Greg Lundgren, owners of The Hideout. The duo revamped the space with swanky new décor (including a grand piano), a fresh cocktail menu and Italian-American fare. Lundgren’s connections to Vito’s go beyond business. His attorney father, a longtime champion of First Hill, frequented Vito’s when Lundgren was growing up. We’re looking forward to seeing the next generation of movers and shakers at this restaurant and bar.

Best dance class
This year, droves of Seattleites tapped into their inner pop vixens with the help of the Seattle performance troupe Dance Belt at Capitol Hill’s Century Ballroom (915 E Pine St., 206.324.7263; This 90-minute intensive dance session, taught by burlesque stars Waxie Moon, Lou Henry Hoover and Inga Ingenue, transforms your booty-shaking techniques into dance moves of the stars—as seen in videos by Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Michael Jackson. Next time you’re at the club and you’re rocking suspiciously smooth moves, you’ll know whom to thank.

Best use of YouTube, ever:
We were stunned and saddened by this year's reports of gay teens committing suicide after being bullied at school. Instead of wringing his hands, Dan Savage took action. In September, he created the “It Gets Better” channel on YouTube (, where adults—gay and straight, famous and unknown—post videos telling their own stories of how awful the teen years can be, with the promise that it does get better. Much better. The videos are simultaneously crushing and heartwarming, but the sheer number of them—including one by President Obama—is truly inspiring.

Best new take on mini golf

Our inner mad scientist applauded the pop-up return of “the miniature golf apocalypse” in September. Housed on the third floor of the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service building in the International District, Smash Putt (815 Airport Way, is the diabolical creation of The Department of Culture, a collective of local artists, fabricators and hackers organized by Jeremy Franklin-Ross and Chris Ford. The annual production turns the normally subdued sport of miniature golf on its head, allowing players to shoot golf balls from compressed-air cannons as they negotiate all manner of fantabulous obstacles while sipping $4 mixed drinks. Wanna try the course yourself? Stay tuned to and mark your calendars for when Smash Putt pops up again next year (we hope).


Best of the Decade: Culture
Wi-Fi in coffee shops
Ace Hotel
Penny Arcade Expo
Lucky Strike
Cooper the cat
I Can Has Cheezburger?
hipster barbershops
Oh, Hello
Fantagraphics store
Blue Highway Games
Second Life
Big Fish Games
Urban Craft Uprising
Digital Kitchen
pinball machines
bike polo
Kindle luxe bowling
Xbox 360
vinyl revival
casual gaming
Rat City Rollergirls
Acme Bowl
dog walkers