It's been a strange year for a lot of people including myself, with a lot of drama and ups and downs. That said, I have a lot to be thankful for in 2016. Here's a pictorial recap of some of my favorite moments in the year.
Dancing was a huge part of 2016, which should surprise no one. The San Francisco Bay Area has amazing dance communities and events, meaning that I frequently faced the dilemma of which awesome dance event to go to that night.
Lindy hop continues to inspire me, going on 18 years that I've practiced this art form. The Bay Area lindy hop scene just keeps getting better and better, with great DJed and live music venues most nights of the week. The Breakaway is one of the best new additions to the scene, a weekly dance venue in downtown Oakland. Here's me dancing with my friend Amanda at Breakaway. (Photo credit: Auey Santos.)
Yehoodi.com continues to report on and showcase what's happening in the Lindy Hop community worldwide, particularly through our video show "SwingNation." Moving to a shorter format and sharing on Facebook has meant that the show has gotten a shot of adrenaline in the new year. It's a lot of fun helping put together the shows and hosting some of them with my friends.
The various urban styles community continues to thrive. I'm feeling more confident in my house and freestyle dancing, jumping into cyphers more easily and feeling more connected to the people around me. Here's me in in a cypher in front of City Hall early in 2016.
My newest dance this year is waacking, which is so much fun and such a neat challenge. I still feel like a klutz at it, but I feel like it is stretching me in good ways.
At the end of 2015, I resolved to perform at least twice in 2016. I didn't honestly work on this resolution that hard, but still managed to be on stage a couple of times.
I did a freestyle performance at Diggs Deeper in early 2016 that was a lot fun. It's a pretty challenging space to perform in, so I'm glad I got through it.
In December, I performed twice before an audience. At a friend's holiday party / variety show, I did a disco-themed waacking performance for 50-some people. And last Wednesday, I was the hip-hop Santa for a performance at Cats Corner SF. Good times.
Seeing my niece Aria grow up is just incredible. A precocious, sweet and good-natured three year old, Aria melts me every time she Facetimes me.
My furry buddy Mole Negro is doing so good, even at ten years old. He's still very spry and playful. His vet said that he was a few pounds overweight last year, so I've had him on a stricter diet, which Mole really didn't appreciate. But he has lost quite a bit of weight and the vet said I could be a little more generous when feeding him.
My friend Hannah and I have had a lot of awesome adventures this year, from shows to dancing to delicious brunches. I am so lucky to have her as a friend.
Here's some other lovely people that I'm proud to call friends. My birthday at R&G Lounge with awesome peeps.
Some dance friends at a cypher in San Francisco.
Manu at I at the Frankie Manning party at 9:20 Special in September.
Ryan Calloway and I laughing at 9:20 Special. (Photo credit: Voon).
Trips and Adventures
I had a lot of neat adventures in 2016, from a solo jazz competition in Sweden to dolphin peeping in the Bay.
This was my fourth visit to the Herrang Dance Camp, and one of the most fun. I danced till dawn for a week and a half, hung out with neat people, and even got second place in a dance competition!
I had a fantastic trip to Los Angeles in the Fall, including an inspiring and fun time at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Irvine, hanging out with my bestie Dave, and going to Disneyland for their Halloween Party with museum friends Barry Joseph and Eve Gaus.
I did some neat local science adventures, including a boat trip to the Farallons marine preserve and marine animal collecting at the tide pools in Half Moon Bay with a group of Cal Academy interns. Here's a video recap of the Farallons trip and what we saw.
I closed out the year with a super fun Reindeer Ride through San Francisco, a group bike ride through the city to peep the beautiful holiday decorations and trees.
This Halloween I wore perhaps my favorite costume of all time. In honor of the original "Nasty Woman" I decided that I wanted to dress as Janet Jackson. It was surprisingly easy to create a costume, despite my lack of sewing skills. I think it came out pretty great, and was super fun to wear and to dance in.
I had other fun costumes and outfits for a variety of occasions and parties and just because I wanted to.
Although I'm in my late 40s, I feel at the peak of health. All my funky diet stuff and exercise appears to be working for me.
For the new year last year, I challenged myself to hold a handstand for at least 10 seconds. After a couple months of effort, I achieved it (sorta.) Here's the video proof.
For my birthday this year, I asked my friends to share with me a personal food story, and they recounted some great ones!
Pastries continue to be a dominant passion of mine in 2016 — on my cheat days only of course. I even organized a kouign amman bakery tour with from friends. b. patisserie is the reigning queen of kouign amman. But there are other solid entries in the city now. And more and more places keep adding kouign amman to their dessert offerings.
Sharon Jones passing away last month was a huge blow to me personally. I feel so lucky to have had a connection to this remarkable artist and human for so long.
Wishing you all a blessed and joyful new year!