of 2016 necessitates a braintrust of positive, life-affirming lists. We (including you, dear reader) contributed much to the betterment of our culture, our world. Angry, scared and confused, we must keep sharing with each other, fighting for each other, loving one another, meanwhile reminding family, friends and strangers the words of Audre Lorde :
Been playing the hell out of Darkest Dungeon lately. Highly recommended to roguelike / RPG veterans.
Intensifying my meditation practice via The Mind Illuminated, which is currently enriched by the dharma talks of Rob Burbea. His book Seeing That Frees is a sophisticated take on how we can frame our outlook to achieve insight – highly recommended.
Discovering Robert Lax, and subsequently falling in love with his body of work.
Frank Ocean's surprising (and tortuous) announcement of a new album; waiting for it was akin to purgatory, but then came the trifecta: the "Nikes" video, Endless, and finally Blond, all within one weekend.
Ever since I've lived in Seattle, Open Books has been one of the dearest institutions I've ever known of. That Billie Swift ably received the torch from John and Christine is a tremendous relief – I'm delighted to see what she'll do for our community.
Krallice at The Highline, 16 August.
I hardly ever hear anyone mention Love + Radio, so do check it out if you enjoy well-produced narrative podcasts.
Attending Jan Nevelius Shihan's weekend seminar, hosted by Aikido Seattle. In times fraught with hostility and fear, Nevelius Shihan, whose soft yet powerful style is uniquely enmeshed with qigong, embodies what it means to be a warrior in our modern era.
After Gramma's launch party, a ton of people expressed how healing it was to attend such a nourishing event just after the election; thanks to Donald, Anastacia, Imani, Stacey, Seth, Robert, and Sarah for kicking some serious ass that night – you lit our hearts on fire.
Launching this thing that is a glittery version of my soul.
Listening to Lady Gaga’s best/most hated track on repeat.
Spending all of my money at Wacky Wacko.
Seeing the Dixie Chicks live in Madison Square Garden with my favorite poets.
Gazing at paper mache penises at Pony.
Reading James Gendron’s Weirde Sister in one sitting.
Climbing into the globe atop the Smith Tower.
Shaking my b-u-t-t to this band all year.
My celebrity crush, CARPET SAMPLE.
Susan Cianciolo, Yale Union, Portland, OR.
Going to the Comedy Store instead of going to an AWP off-site reading, Los Angeles, CA.
Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA.
Tommy Pico, IRL.
DoNormaal, Jump or Die.
Patti Smith, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR.
Doe Bay, Orcas Island, WA.
Hole-in-one, minigolf, Crosslake, MN.
Elza Soares, A Mulher do Fim do Mundo.
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight, Egyptian Theater (Sunday matinée), Seattle, WA.
Teaching The Grapes of Wrath to a group of 11th graders in Seattle who give me hope that the future isn’t as hopeless as we think it might be.
Going hiking or jumping in a lake, like, three times a week in the summertime.
Frank Ocean, Blond.
Hiding out in a former Olympian’s cabin on a lake with all my best friends for my birthday.
Radiation City’s last show ever at Revolution Hall.
Moved back to PDX, after almost a year of travel in the U.S. + Europe (and living out of a single duffle bag).
Went to Los Angeles for AWP, but didn’t actually attend AWP.
Curated a poetry + sound art installation featuring the work of 8 local artists, inside an original 1940s telephone booth.
Performed a new collaborative poetics + sound work with Angie Sabin, at Alberta Abbey.
Launched the first issue of the Design Week Portland Journal, after a year of planning + strategy + editing as the publication’s Editor-in-Chief.
Released my first book Mutterfarbe, a limited edition artist book collaboration with book artist + designer Erin Mickelson, using Goethe’s Theory of Colors as a primary source) with a multimedia installation at 23 Sandy Gallery.
Slept in a tent next to the Alvord Desert on the first leg of a two-week road trip from PDX, to the deserts of southeastern Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and SoCal.
Discovered the most beautiful place on earth (or at least in the American southwest), inside Lower Antelope Canyon.
Nothing in 2016 made feel more sad beyond all consolation/convinced that art will save us than Cranes in the Sky.
From start to finish my most favorite album, far & away, was Rihanna’s ANTI.
TinyLetter is the new ___ & I’m into it! Stacey Tran's might get you into it, too.
If you are lucky enough to live in Oregon I enthusiastically recommend the Wyld family of products, especially the gummies.
I took Brit Bennett’s The Mothers with me to the DMV & wished my wait had been at least two hours longer.
I think this was the chillest tweet.
Two nights in a row, seated across from Donald, at Iposa in Barcelona (raw octopus, steamed mussels, several bottles of white wine…).
My phone, one morning, inexplicably dead-dead; 90% of photos, notes, etc. gone, forever.
Grappling w/the internal critic, w/the form of readings, w/an immobilizing respect for the poetry community to share some work at Robert Duncan Gray’s Á Reading; my Color Translations, left here, in various states of undress.
Sewing my first pair of pants.
Several breakthroughs w/my psychiatrist.
Dinner alone, two nights in a row, at Chef Naoko (carlton pork tonkatsu); grinning, at my food; at the waitress.
Playing for hours in virtual reality via the HTC VIVE; glimpsing my past life as an archer; glimpsing a future w/o humans.
Accidentally erasing my entire hard drive; 90% of my photos, poetry, documents, etc. gone, forever.
Piercing my septum in a protest against vanity.
Afternoons alone at Tomoe Horibuchi’s Behind the Museum Cafe (matcha tea latte, tea leaf pickles & seaweed mushrooms onigiri) reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book; reading about Wabi-Sabi; killing, for good, the arrogant, impossible standard of perfection.
Afternoons at Portland Art Museum, standing alone or w/Donald, to see (again and again):
Sue Williams, Testical Flange on the Green; Kenneth Noland, No. One and Air Beauty; John McCracken, Black Box; Fujikasa Satoko, Flow#1; Toshiko Takaezu.
Flouting good financial sense and flying home to see my mother for the first time in two years; to see my HS boyfriend for the first time in ten; to sleep in my room; to walk in my yard; to swim in my ocean.
My phone, stolen, at a department store; 30% of my photos, notes, etc. safe in DropBox.
An afternoon at Phoenix Art Museum w/Donald to see Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic and Yayoi Kusama’s You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies.
Sitting with Donald’s family in their Michigan backyard, seeing fireflies for the first time and remembering a story my father told me about his childhood in Vietnam:
We had no lights. I caught the fireflies in a jar and put them next to my mat. In the morning, they were dead.
Reading all Maya Angelou’s memoirs.
Thiahera Nurse, "Some Girls Survive on Their Sorcery Alone".
This video of a crew of black people taking it to church at IHOP makes me less depressed about the state of the world.
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book.
AfroPunk Paris and AfroPunk Brooklyn. Both line ups were incredible. Seeing Laura Mvula live was other-worldly. Angel Haze is my spirit animal. Earl Sweatshirt is my inner monologue. Hearing hundreds of POC chant Black Lives Matter in Paris gave me life.
Getting to hold space for folks of color through dope events I run with my bff/womb-mate/identical twin. It’s a labor of love, but I feel fortunate to be able to do it.
Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen.
Practice, practice, practice.
Reconnecting with Robyn & Royksopp’s “Monument,” the slow build and sustained strength of it all.
Finally getting a space heater to straddle at work.
My powerful femme community keeping me alive with their labors of love.
Sea otters practicing daily self care.
The six foster cats that made my and my sister’s home warmer and more tender throughout this past year.
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s.
Laying on the ground next to an Irish wolfhound named Peanut, five gin & tonics deep at the Gramma soft launch party, while it pours outside and surges inside.
Thinking this year couldn’t get any worse, and then making my year-end top releases list and remembering how many intensely talented women of color are holding up creative industries with their work // Thank you Guayaba DoNormaal Taylar Elizza Beth KING Beyoncé Rihanna Jamila Woods Noname Abra Solange Kamaiyah Princess Nokia Oyinda.
See you in 2017! xo - Gramma
Cover photo collage by Michaela Patrick