2016 Has been a really rough year
Beyond all of the politically motivated lies, distortions and animosity generated by the U.S. Presidential election, 2016 was intense, to say the least. My friend James passed away early in the year. His long battle with lung cancer and COPD sort of prepared us, but it was still shocking when his passing finally happened. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to San Francisco. While he hadn’t been a day-to-day friend for some years, he was still in the mix. I’ve thought about him quite often throughout the year, and for me, I’ll always remember 2016 as the year of James’ passing.
Good things happened in 2016, too.
One of the definite highlights of 2016 for me was the 25th anniversary of the Wicked Sound System. I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished as a collective over the past quarter century. We held several events to celebrate our milestone, and it was awesome to see so many people that have supported us over the years. Wicked represents a community of like-minded, musically-focused people and we create a powerfully uplifting energy when we groove together. I’m looking forward to another 25 years of dance-magick with a touch of mayhem.
I’ve been interviewed for and featured in several documentary films. All of them are at various stages of production, but one finally had a premiere. I thought it was OK, but it reflected the filmmakers’ version of events and IMHO the story telling was tepid at best. I believe they received a lot of similar feedback because they told me the film is being recut. We shot my parts about 4 or 5 years ago, so it was cool to see the work come to fruition. I’m glad I got to go to the film festival and experience the premiere, overall, it was a great experience.
Another lovely but mainly bittersweet experience of 2016 was the memorial service for my friend James. His partner of 16 years did an excellent job of organizing everything through his grieving process. He had help, James had quite a few friends, and it was a beautiful and fitting tribute. We held the service in Golden Gate Park on a lovely spring day. It was sad, and I cried more than a few times that day, but it was so nice to reconnect with people I haven’t seen live and in person for years. As much as I love the Internet and social media for keeping in touch with far-flung friends, nothing beats being together IRL.
I had a lot of fun traveling in 2016. I got to reconnect with friends in the Mid-West, and I even met some new friends. It was busy, but still an exciting summer for me.
In Autumn of 2016, I focused mainly on work. One of the highlights was participating in my first NaNoWriMo. I met some interesting writers, and I won NaNo by writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. To document the project, I set up a YouTube channel and that has been a cool experience. I was in the AV club in Junior High and the video club in High School. I went to film school for a couple of years before dropping out for financial reasons. It’s been exciting to see how the technology has evolved. Production and editing are so much easier now, and I’m learning a lot about the platform and the medium.
Music Lost Some Luster
IDK if this is a comprehensive list of those who passed in 2016, but it sure made me sad to compile it.
From my world of late night dancing:
David Bowie, David Mancuso (DJ & Pioneer of NYC Dance Culture), Colonel Abrams (House Music artist).
From my world of 80’s classics:
Prince Rogers Nelson (better known as Prince)m Denise Matthews (aka Vanity), John Berry (Beastie Boys). As well as Pete Burns (Dead or Alive) and George Michael (Wham!).
From my world of 90’s classics:
Attrell Cordes (aka Prince Be from P.M. Dawn), and Malek Isaac Taylor (aka Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest).
From my world of black radio:
Nicholas Caldwell (Whispers), Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Joey Feek (Joey + Rory), Leon Haywood (The singer is best known for, ‘I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You’). Also, Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic), Juan Gabriel, Prince Buster (original pioneer of Ska music),
From the realm of, I never knew how much I should have appreciated you:
Rod Temperton (Band member of Heatwave; Songwriter who penned ‘Thriller,’ ‘Rock With You,’ ‘Off the Wall,’ ‘Give Me the Night,’ ‘Boogie Nights,’ ‘Always and Forever’).
From my world of Baby Boomer Rock:
Glenn Frey (Eagles), Signe Andersen (Jefferson Airplane), Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer).
While their work doesn’t personally resonate with me, the world also lost Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Gato Barbieri, Sharon Jones, Lemmy from Motorhead, and Merle Haggard.
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