Bestidy Best Best Bestest of 2011. Ever.

Our fearless editorial director reflects on the year's highs and lows - and on-camera cameos - that

You might have noticed that we at Seattle mag like our “best of” lists.

They’re part of our job as a city mag, but we also know you like them, too. (The “best of” issues are almost always the year’s top sellers.) But mainly, we like them because there’s a lot of good stuff to go around in this town, and we are great at sharing.

Plus, we figure you need those lists. In this unfiltered era of Yelp, we know it’s nice to get some credible advice from folks who know their stuff.

In this year’s Best of 2011 story, arts and culture editor Brangien Davis with online editor Bond Huberman direct you to the highlights of this year’s arts scene. Ali Scheff, whom I truly wish you all had on speed dial to get her hilarious tales from the culinary-research front, wraps up the foodie world. Kate Calamusa, whose fashion musings beautifully merge couture, down-to-earth humor and Seattle reality, all while she’s breaking down the M’s lineup like no other lifestyle editor I know, reports on shopping, the biggest and best thing of the year, and sports. Kristen Russell, whose hilarious blog posts (“Viaduct for Dummies”) and humorous sidebars you can’t read during your lunch break unless you’re prepared to spew your sandwich across the room while laughing, provides just the right amount of humility we need to remember to not take ourselves so seriously.

Despite the challenges our city has endured this year, Seattle had some bright moments as well. And so, in the spirit of Oprah “live your best life” Winfrey, some highlights of Seattle being its “best self”:

Seattle continues to grab the spotlight. Despite cuts in incentives for filmmakers to shoot movies in Washington, local filmmakers such as Sue Corcoran (see page 68), 2011 Spotlight Award winner Megan Griffiths and Lynn Shelton are still filming in Seattle.

Seattle remains the go-to hipster backdrop for a number of TV shows and movies, and even Seattle mag continues to have its 15 minutes of fame with regular appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, a cameo in Seth Rogen’s film 50/50; and our office (and some of our staff, as extras) will take a star turn in an independent film, Safety Not Guaranteed, to be released next year.

Occupy Seattle: They came, they camped, they protested, but as of press time, it was comparatively uneventful. (Does anyone remember WTO in 1999?)

We remain shockingly polite: I was amazed by how quickly and agreeably we left Amanda Knox and her family alone upon her return from prison in Italy. Now, if this were L.A.…

We can make decisions! I write this on October 21—literally on the eve of the most colossal traffic disruption in decades, or maybe ever: the 10-day closure of the Viaduct. There’s always some cliffhanger when we put the “best of” issue to bed 10 weeks before the year closes. How will our city cope with all that gridlock, combined with the classic overly polite Seattle four-way-stop (“You go,” “No, you go,” “No, you go!”) behavior? Cue sound of my head exploding.

Am I happy that my favorite downtown drive in Seattle—with that gorgeous cityscape on one side, that natural beauty on the other—will be coming down soon? No, but I am proud that our city is done with the debate and moving forward. (Or should we throw in one last vote on whether to add light rail to the tunnel, just for fun?) Here’s hoping our collective behavior in traffic during the Viaduct closure reflects our best selves.

Happy Holidays,


Rachel Hart
Editorial Director
Seattle magazine