What a Year!

From Leo’s first Oscar to Pokémon GO, killer clowns to killing gorillas, 2016 had us like, “What a year!”

click to enlarge David Bowie is gone, but his likeness lives on in emoji form; the world cannot forget Harambe, for better or worse; Donald Trump couldn’t act like a big enough dirtbag to lose his race for the White House
David Bowie is gone, but his likeness lives on in emoji form; the world cannot forget Harambe, for better or worse; Donald Trump couldn’t act like a big enough dirtbag to lose his race for the White House

Taking a Giant Trump on America

Tycoon caricature Donald J. Trump — a guy who got off to people losing their jobs so much that “you’re fired” became his catchphrase, a once innocuous annoyance with hair so bad it carried a Letterman bit called “Trump or Monkey?” more than a decade ago, a dirtbag who literally said he could grab women by the pussy — is America’s president-elect. And while he might not be the leader the majority of people voted for, he’s the one our electoral college selected and the one we deserve. Here are Trump’s top (worst) contributions to the year: Trump Grill’s taco bowl; tie tape and pussy bows; Mike “Shock that gay right out of your hair” Pence as second-in-command; bad hombres and nasty women; the image of a sleepy and disinterested Barron Trump, who looks disturbingly identical to the young Ford host in Westworld; and finally, Alec Baldwin’s hilarious impression of him and Trump’s utter hatred of it. Thnks fr th Mmrs, Trump!

Cincinnati in the Spotlight

From silver screen settings to national news headlines, the Queen City made its presence well known outside of Ohio this year. Forthcoming films Curvature, John Travolta’s The Life and Death of John Gotti, Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, two James Franco flicks and Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, which aired on Lifetime this fall, all set up shop in Cincy this year. Locally filmed Marauders, starring Christopher Meloni, Bruce Willis and Adrian Grenier, and Patrick Wilson’s A Kind of Murder debuted in limited releases and effectively flopped, but Franco’s frat film Goat (with Nick Jonas) offered a moving look at college bros struggling to define manhood and develop friendships on a Midwestern campus. It also served as an excellent 90-minute commercial for Rhinegeist! A Tristate man starred in this year’s season of 90 Day Fiancé, a TLC reality show following international couples utilizing a K-1 visa, which requires a foreigner to marry their U.S. citizen partner within 90 days of entry. Williamstown, Ky.’s Matt Ryan, general manager of Northern Kentucky Auto Sales in Wilder, brought over his fiancé Alla from Kiev, Ukraine. The show filmed around town, including during nights out at MJ’s on Main and Myrtle’s Punch House and ring shopping at The Castle! Of note was a shopping trip to Jungle Jim’s, where poor Alla was understandably overwhelmed by the notion of crazy American grocery markets filled with psychotic-looking animatronic characters. Other locals who made a splash this year are Newport, Ky. native Frank Johnson, who won the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association’s award for 2016 Limousine & Sedan Chauffeur of the Year, and IRL Barbie Nannette Hammond. Hailing from Edgewood, Ky., Hammond was profiled in the U.K.’s Daily Mail for spending $500,000 on surgeries, tanning sessions and other treatments to make the self-claimed “housewife of Cincinnati” look like a living, breathing Barbie doll. Oh Bravo, we have your next reality star! Elsewhere, as creepy clowns descended onto towns across the country, Cincinnati was not safe from the unexplainable sightings. Reading and Mount Notre Dame schools were forced to close after a woman in the neighborhood reported being grabbed and threatened by a man in clown garb just outside her home. (She later admitted to lying about the incident because she was late for work.) While mostly harmless hoaxes, the clown-related hysteria proved especially harmful not to coulrophobics, but the face-painted performers themselves! Professional clowns across the country reported lost business because of the trend tarnishing their name. Why hire a colorful balloon animal artist when you can find a clown in the woods for free? Even America’s Top Clown, Ronald McDonald, had to pull back on his appearances this fall. But there was one clown-related trend on the rise — pun intended — Bozo porn! According to Pornhub, searches for adult clown videos rose 213 percent between August and October. 

Haram-bae

Sure, Cincinnati hosted film crews and politicians aplenty this year, but it was the death of a Queen City gorilla that most effectively put the city on the mainstage. On May 28, a young boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, quickly drawing the attention of one of the apes. The attention of the world would soon follow. It’s definitely sad that zookeepers had to shoot and kill Harambe, one of their beloved gorillas, but even Cincy Zoo HBIC Thane Maynard acknowledged that when it comes down to choosing between the safety of a human versus that of an animal, it’s a no-brainer. “Not so fast,” said the internet. From animal activists to parent-shamers to straight-up trolls, individuals and groups across the globe adopted Harambe’s slaying as their personal platforms. More than 25,000 people signed a change.org petition to rename the Bengals the Cincinnati Harambes. The Harambe meme problem — and hashtag of choice, #dicksoutforharambe — got so bad over the summer, Maynard reached out on social media asking for an end to the jokes, which were hurtful to the zoo staff that so deeply cared for the gorilla. Of course all this did was cause a massive influx of incessant harambassment, leading to @CincinnatiZoo deleting its Twitter account… much like it deleted Harambe. (Sorry…) But the jokes kept coming. In November, when Dave Chappelle hosted a particularly fantastic episode of Saturday Night Live, he mentioned Harambe, noting how there’s so many shootings these days you can’t even go to the zoo without seeing one. He then suggested black men in Cincinnati should start donning gorilla costumes since folks seem to have a much harder time justifying the shooting of an ape.

The Olympics Are Stupid

There are two types of people in the world: those who are super into the Olympic Games, and those who think they’re a weird nationalist ritual in jock-worshipping. Whichever side you’re on, the idea of taking a bunch of rich athletes and planting them in a poverty-stricken city to perform, bone and eat McDonalds for two weeks is at least slightly problematic. And despite the great showing by Americans like the women’s gymnastics team and merman himself Michael Phelps, the U.S.A.’s role in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics will forever be tainted by the shitstain known as Ryan Lochte. Only an American athlete could stage a robbery in a foreign country, peace out just in time to avoid repercussion from authorities and then get rewarded with a Dancing with the Stars gig. And while he didn’t win the “mirror globe trophy” or whatever the hell the show calls it since “disco ball” must be a copyrighted term, he has been busy making little Lochtes. Yes, Ryan and his Playboy model fiancé of two seconds are expecting a baby after taking a pregnancy test that presumably read “Jeah!”

Celebrity Breakups

True love never dies, but sometimes marriages do. And 2016 was too much for these couples, who all split over the course of the last year. Celebrities: They’re just like us! One of the millennium’s first celebrity couple portmanteaus (lest we forget Bennifer) and the bane of Jennifer Aniston’s (fans’) existence, Brangelina is no more. Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in September, pulling the plug on their two-year marriage/12-year relationship, citing irreconcilable differences. Is true love just a fallacy? Naturally, rumors are swirling, including word that Brad cheated with Allied co-star Marion Cotillard, not unlike how his relationship with Angelina started while he was still married to Jen. “Justice!” screamed a million Anniston devotees (Fannistons?). Joining Brangelina on the one-way trip to Splitsville (the fictional land of singles, not the luxury bowling alley/restaurant/dueling piano bar at The Banks, unfortunately): Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney: Because nothing says “this shit is over” like the desperation of appearing nude post-banging on the cover of V magazine; Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris; Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston (her next album is gonna be fire after this year!); Mariah Carey and her billionaire James Packer; attractive actors Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts; NOT Jay Z and Beyoncé, it turns out, even though that idea can apparently sell a lot of Lemonade; Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham and her high heels; Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan (as Live! co-hosts); America and Bill Cosby; and Britain and the European Union. Yes, the U.K. broke up with the E.U. and it’s complicated. Brits voted in June on whether to remain part of the European Union or to pack up their bowler hats and set out on their own in a move that’s been dubbed “Brexit.” For most people, referring to the U.K. as Great Britain makes them feel like fourth graders who just started learning about Europe in social studies class. We see you, Brits, trying to make us in the States care about this situation with John Oliver rants and a hybrid name that resembles a celebrity couple’s moniker. The British pound fell to its lowest level in decades and six months later Americans still don’t understand what the fuck this means. 

RIP 

But it wasn’t just relationships that died in 2016. Bookended by the passing of a glam rock god and a Golden Age glamour puss, the year sucked the life out of nearly everyone, either figuratively or literally. Cue the “In Memoriam” segment! On Jan. 10, days after releasing his swan song album Blackstar, David Bowie passed away at age 69. He now lives on in emoji form. Four days later, actor Alan Rickman — known by his distinct voice and for portraying characters like Hans Gruber and Severus Snape — also died at 69, making us all wonder, “WTF, 2016?” If only we knew that we’d lose so many notable public figures this year, including but not limited to: Sal Tessio from The Godfather Abe Vigoda; Mob Wives’ Big Ang; author Harper Lee; Moonie, aka. Bruiser Woods from the Legally Blonde movies; former Toronto mayor Rob Ford (OK not surprising); comedian Garry Shandling; Patty Duke; Everybody Loves Raymond ma Doris Roberts; wrestler Chyna; PRINCE; G.O.A.T. boxer Muhammad Ali; Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin; comedy icon Gene Wilder; gossip site Gawker; the Vine video app as we know it; musician Leonard Cohen; Soul singer Sharon Jones; Ohio astronaut John Glenn; mom of the ’70s Florence Henderson; dad of the ’80s Alan Thicke; and glamorous actress and O.G. socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor. We couldn’t even get out the door with this issue ofCityBeat before also losing pop icon George Michael and interstellar kween Carrie Fisher. Goodbye, all you treasures. Catch you on the flip side. And 2016, once and for all: Fuck you.

CONTACT T.C. BRITTON: [email protected]

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