We’re suckers for year-end lists here at Dinner Party, and what better way to cap off not just the year but an entire decade with a list of carefully curated content to spark the imagination and fuel future discoveries? After all, you could say this is our modus operandi. Read on for a few of our favorite things from the past ten years, written by some very special DP friends.
Favorite Book: Collected Poems
Ivey Chestnut, Poet and MFA Candidate at Georgia State University
Marie Ponsot’s Collected Poems gathers her work into one stunning collection that spans life, marriage, raising children, and the grief that comes with change. Throughout much of her life, Marie was an under-appreciated poet—though a celebrated teacher in the New York poetry scene—and this collected volume of her work masterfully allows the reader to acknowledge her quiet brilliance. Her poems are both an homage to everyday scenes and a celebration of love and loss, making the collection one worth reading.
Favorite Film: Get Out
Sydne Horton, Director
With the growth of streaming services and an overdrive of technology at our fingertips, independent cinematic stories have been given the opportunity to flourish. From films such as Moonlight to Portrait of a Lady on Fire, we’ve had a decade that sought to magnify diverse realities and amplify oppressed voices. Choosing a film to exemplify an entire decade has been a challenging task I have been struggling with, but one film comes to mind in terms of defining a cinematic uprising: Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This satirical horror film rips the band-aid off the notion that we have moved past racism, and it takes every viewer on an unsettling journey into a harsh reality. Peele’s film took risks straying away from the standard cookie-cutter checklist and further proved the viewer’s hunger for more diverse, raw, and personal stories by dominating the box office and opening new avenues for the horror genre.
Favorite TV Cast: The Leftovers
Kait Haire, Actress
From Orange is the New Black to Game of Thrones, ensemble dramas dominated the television landscape of the 2010s. Unfortunately, one extraordinary show and its phenomenal actors went largely unnoticed, in my humble opinon. The Leftovers takes place in the aftermath of a Rapture-like event that causes three percent of the world’s population to inexplicably vanish into thin air. From a small town police chief (Justin Theroux) to a once-respected pastor (Christopher Eccleston), The Leftovers delves into the depths of human grief and the ways in which we cope. In a cast of exceptional performances, Anne Dowd as a cold cult leader and Carrie Coon as a mother desperately searching for comfort are standouts in this truly enthralling, heartbreaking show.
Favorite Style Icon: Lady Gaga and Beyoncé
Polly Gregory, Costume Designer and Managing Editor at Dinner Party
Lady Gaga? Beyoncé? Lady Gaga? Beyoncé? There’s simply no way to pick between the two. So just like in “Telephone,” why not have both? While Lady Gaga started the decade with the meat dress, she ended it on a more classic note that still highlighted her fun nature (cue her Golden Globes Cinderella gown and matching periwinkle blue hair). Arguably, her style influence can even be seen on Beyoncé in the “Telephone” music video, though Bey was a style icon of the decade in her own right. Two of the top trends for the 2010s reached their pinnacle when Beyoncé donned them: Her sheer Givenchy dress at the 2015 Met Gala catapulted the trend to streetwear and changed the red carpet game, while her Bey-chella ensemble of a baggy hoodie with short-shorts perfectly embodies the curated yet effortless look that has dominated the end of the decade. When wondering what to wear in the 2020s, we should all be stylish AF with these two queens leading us.
Favorite Skincare Item: Toner
Kristina Aquino, Blogger at Uniformly Dressed
One skincare habit I’m taking with me into the new decade is consistency—and toners! In the past few years, adding a toner step into my routine improved my skin’s ability to bounce back from damage. Look for simple toners to layer and create customized hydration for your specific needs (dehydration, sensitivity, etc.) Your skin will reward you well for your efforts.
Favorite Album: Immunity
Norris Eppes, Writer
Picking out your favorite album of the decade should be easy, right? You just remember what you listened to the most. For me, it’s Immunity by Jon Hopkins, which I listened to whenever I was anxious or stressed. It’s a headphones-on album and each time I put it on, I could feel it re-shape and calm my brainwaves. (Only later did I read that Hopkins meditates, and tries to hit that same mental frequency with his music.) So, my most listened to album of the 2010s was one I put on to de-stress. Feels appropriate.
Favorite Music Library Platform: Spotify
Akpanoluo Etteh, Founder of The Soundshop
As someone who loves curating music, having the best platform to organize my digital music was very important to me. For me in 2010, that platform was Winamp, and I took delight in among other things, playlists in playlists. Apple, however, had other plans, and I begrudgingly succumbed to the pressures (high adoption and proprietary software for iPhone) to using iTunes, in 2011. iTunes was a bloated, awful platform, and I dreamed of a replacement, which finally came in Spotify, which I’ve used and seen evolve since 2015. iTunes was confirmed dead in 2019, and Apple hasn’t made the inroads in streaming as they could have, precisely because they frustrated music lovers like myself. Now I just await vindication on Apple getting rid of the 3.5mm AUX input.
Favorite Marketing Trend: Data Storytelling
Matt Traina, Senior Strategist at Ogilvy
If a brand hasn’t collected your data this decade, it probably won’t be around for the next one. As data collection became table stakes for brands, we saw the rise of data storytelling. Perhaps the best example is Spotify’s annual “Wrapped.” Spotify users now eagerly await a trip down memory lane at the end of each year to explore their personal listening stats. This year, I learned that I (along with 3,959,459 others) streamed Ariana Grande more than any other artist. I’m already excited to see what next year brings—but let’s be real, it’s probably going to be Ariana Grande again.
Favorite Technological Innovation: Vine, et al.
Michelle Cohn, Comedian and Writer
In a standard comedic structure, you introduce a situation, find the comedic element, then hit that element a few times, heightening the funny idea each time until your final, funniest, joke at the end. Vine—may it rest in peace—completely changed that format, giving people only six seconds to introduce a situation, introduce a comedic premise, and then hit that comedic premise as hard as they could. Vines themselves transcended comedy genres, including slapstick (“back at it again at Krispy Kreme“), wordplay (“road work? I sure hope it does“), absurdism (“eat the bottle“), parody (“well if it isn’t Captain America“), and observational (“why is this one Arkansas?“) but the one thing they all had in common was that they sparked a movement that valued hard, fast humor: a generation-defining style that is continued today by Tik Tok and those seemingly ubiquitous front-facing social media videos.
Favorite Place to Visit: Prague
Ruth Guerra, Chief Exploration Officer at Noken
I lived in Prague for a semester with a group of film students in 2015. When we weren’t in class, we drank Pilsner in bars that looked like caves, rode trams that took us to hillside neighborhoods, and watched the sun rise on Charles Bridge. Prague was easily the most memorable place I’ve been to this past decade.
Favorite Meal: Dishoom
Pamela Guerra, Editor-in-Chief at Dinner Party
My 2016 trip to the UK was bookended with stays in London, and I started and ended my travels with dinner at Dishoom. The restaurant, which pays homage to Irani cafés from 20th century Bombay, is an introduction to cultural fusion from another era, with checkered tile floors and family portraits setting the stage for Lamb Boti Kababs (“a top-notch Bademiya-style classic”), a selection of biryanis (“the Biryani traces its origins to Iran”), and chili cheese toast (“a Bombay standard”). In my dreams, I am in Covent Garden, stuffing my face with rich, savory House Black Daal and cheese naan while guzzling down both a mango and fennel lassi and an ice-cold Kingfisher.