All posts filed under: Cultcha

Have a cocktail, meet a friend, see some art, cuddle up and watch tv

The 5th Grade Mehndi Mishap

In the early 1990s, most people didn’t know what henna was, let alone the variation of the word “mehndi.” You see, Gwen Stefani had not happened at that time, and mainstream audiences hadn’t quite accepted that South Asia was “the land of colors and magic” just yet. During that time, my family lived in a town called Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I say that as if the town does not exist anymore, but it does, and we still have extended family who love living there.  The Mechanicsburg of the early ‘90s was different than it is now. There weren’t many minorities. In fact, in my entire elementary school there was one African American kid. He was the adopted son of our wonderful and white Principal, Ms. Ingram. The other minorities in school consisted of: me, my younger sister, and an Asian girl named Chloe whom I tried, and failed, to befriend. She was cooler than me back then because the early ‘90s was also not the age of the smart-girl dominance. Despite the lack of diversity, Mechancisburg …

American Accent: Passing — and not Passing — as a Latina

(Carla and her parents. Photo courtesy of the author.) One of my favorite childhood memories is of me sitting with my mother on her bed, recording ourselves reading articles to one another. She would look at me and slowly say, acutely aware of her Argentine accent, “I am prac-tis-sing my ello-cue-shon en Eng-lish,” and I would fall into a peal of giggles. I didn’t know my mother thought she needed to change her accent until that moment. I don’t know that I was even aware she had an accent until I was around that age. To me, my mother’s accent was just my mother’s voice.  My family moved to New York City from Buenos Aires on the winter solstice of 1975. It was one of the two coldest winters of the century; my father and mother were 26 and 25. I was 16 months old and my twin brothers just 4 months.  I imagine my parents shivering in their light wool coats and thin leather gloves meant for a mild Argentininean winter as we were …

Make America Great Again: The Canadian Edition

When I was a kid, coming to “the States,” as we called it, was the shit. I mean, you guys had everything. I had never seen that many types of breakfast cereal in my short, Canadian life. The soda aisle alone blew my 9-year-old mind… PURPLE SODA? America the beautiful, indeed.  But other than those occasional Sunday family drives to Plattsburgh, New York—and the obligatory trip to Disney World, when I was 4—my primary exposure to the U.S. as I was growing up was via TV and the news. American presidents are so present and powerful when you live just next door. You almost feel as if they are your president, too. But mostly, the States was just fine—like an annoying older brother, always around, obligated to protect you, much stronger than you, and a little less refined. I certainly had no grand plans to live there.  But, life intervenes: 25-year-old girl meets boy, decides to find a job in a different country, and moves there to see if it will all work out. In …

TueNight Live: Photos from SECRET

All photos by Erika Hokanson. Shh… Sometimes our stories are for select ears only. But for this Spring edition of TueNight Live we were ready to reveal our most clandestine tales. Our theme was “Secret” and we had six readers tell all. As part of the Invisible Dog Art Center’s Open Studios week, we were proud to pack the house with more than 100 “grown-ass women” and feature artwork by many of the ID’s women artists. Here are some fabulous photos from the evening’s festivities. MIngling before the show. With wine and snacks in hand and friends met, we were ready to start. Margit kicks us off. Hitha Hertzog disclosed the first secret of the night: as a closet conservative, she was reconsidering her loyalties. Alison Mazer detailed her quest to find a discontinued lipstick:. Bringing joy to the audience. Financial planner and sponsor Stephanie Genkin, CFP®, also known My Financial Planner, introduced our next secret reader. Thank you Stehanie! Diane di Costanzo talked about our financial lives and the significance of talking about them — …

A Onetime “Closeted” Republican Decides to Come Out — and Slam the Door.

The term “closeted” has been used to describe many marginalized groups. It rarely has been used to describe a brown woman who is a Republican.  Let me explain.  Growing up I was the girl version of Alex P. Keaton. When Family Ties would air during prime time, I would beg my mother to let me watch. Not because I loved the snappy one-liners of Justine Bateman’s character. I loved how Alex would use Socratic method to lay out conservative arguments with his parents. I took copious mental notes.  My divorced Indian parents were split down the middle when it came to politics. My mother was Elyse Keaton while my father was a skinnier, browner, better dressed Archie Bunker. My mom would host ACLU meetings at her house. My dad would play golf with rich, white, old guys secretly hoping he would become one of them.  In 1996 I was excited to cast my first vote. Because of my age, I had missed the 1991/1992 elections by two years.  During his campaign, Bill Clinton came out like a lightening …

TueNight Live: SECRET

Tickets are on sale for our next event! Get all the details and BUY TICKETS HERE! For our Spring edition of TueNight Live we’re spilling SECRETS — some of our deepest, darkest, nearest and dearest. You won’t want to miss this one! Our crew of fabulous grown-ass women tells all. We’ll be back in the art-filled Invisible Dog gallery, with wine, snacks and salacious stories. Our storytellers include: Ada Calhoun (@adacalhoun) is the author of the memoir Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, named one of the top ten memoirs of 2017 by Wmagazine; and the history St. Marks Is Dead, one of the best books of 2015, according to Kirkus and the Boston Globe. She has collaborated on several New York Times bestsellers, and written for the New York Times, New York, and The New Republic. Her book Why We Can’t Sleep, based on her viral Oprah.com article “The New Midlife Crisis,” will be out from Grove/Atlantic and Audible in January 2020.  Mary Lee Kortes (@MaryLeeKortes) toured the world both as a headliner and opening act for Bob Dylan and other notables, expanded her creative work to include what she calls …

TueNight Live: Photos from our Birthday Party!

We turned five, y’all! With nearly 100 of our BFFs in attendance, we celebrated our first TueNight half-decade remembering our favorite pieces from the past and listening to brand new ones. We also noshed on some delicious “pencil” cake, raised $1500 for VoteRunLead and connected with TueNighters old and new. All photos by Simon Courchel. The Invisible Dog Art Center filled up quickly as we got the evening started. Margit reminded us of the TueNight origin story and the piece she published on Medium that started it all: Dinosaur Jr. — On Entering the Puberty of Old Age. She thanked our sponsors Ruth Ann Harnisch, MedAmour, Hint Water and Brandless. And then kicked off our first storyteller, Tamar Anitai. Tamar read her 2013 story that has resonated with so many of you — and a bit controversial at the time she wrote it —  being a grown, married woman who planned to live a child-free life. A lot of nodding heads in our midst. Watch Tamar read here! Susan Linney, one of our founding editors, contributing …

My Struggle With God Ended on a Plane

It was my best friend, Brenda, who introduced God and me. I was four. She was eight and lived in my grandparent’s trailer park with her mom, dad, several rabbits and a dog that scared me. To say that I worshipped her is to put it mildly. She knew everything, and, if I were lucky, she would teach it all to me. When Brenda fell in love with Shaun Cassidy, I was determined to fall harder, even though I still thought boys were sweaty and full of cooties. When she picked out cowl neck sweaters and velour V-necks from the Sears catalogue, I begged my mom for the identical style and color. And in the summer of 1977, when Brenda signed up for Bible Camp, I tagged along without hesitation. Before school started up again that fall, we were both saved. Jesus was our new crush, and we competed to be his biggest fan. We never swore, never took the Lord’s name in vain, always respected the Sabbath by going to Sunday school and always, …

Happy Birthday to Us! Get Tix to Our Live Event, 10/23

We can hardly believe it’s been five years. But as any TueNighter knows… Age is something to CELEBRATE. For our birthday edition, we’re bringing back excerpts of some of our TueNight faves — from Dodai Stewart bonding with bodywork professionals, to Susan Linney’s brave “Bottles Down” chronicles, to Tamar Anitai’s “Silly Things People Say When I Tell Them I Don’t Want Kids.” We’ll also have Deb Copaken and Michele Carlo with new stories and Cindy Gallop on why we need to shout our age from the rooftops. Hell yeah.  We’ll walk down memory lane with old friends and introduce some new ones. Plus, CAKE. TICKET PROCEEDS WILL SUPPORT VOTE RUN LEAD Buy tickets here!

TueNight Live: Photos from “FLASH”

On September 25, TueNight Live steamed things up with our latest issue —  FLASH. Braving the (appropriately named) flash floods outside, we cozied into the couches of Industrious to talk flashbacks, hot flashes, fevers and desert orgies. All photos by Erika Hokanson. Margit introduced the evening and a flash of skin. Dig her “Trouble Maker” temporary tattoo from Tattly. Alixandria Arungah, community manager for our sponsor Industrious Brooklyn, welcomed us into her comfortable space. Activist Sara Berliner describes her organization Vote Like a Mother, as one that promotes acceptance, equity, justice and love. Tracey made us laugh with a tale of her first hot flash in the five Kübler-Ross stages. Jen reads her story of getting pregnant, going through menopause and learning the ukulele.  We were delighted to witness her first public performance, adapting Peggy Lee’s Fever into a hilarious (and also poignant?) meditation on menopause and aging. TueNight newsletter editor Karen Gerwin introduced her good friend, Sue Kramer. Sue brought us stories from her past bodies — from the Playboy mansion to Paris — and …

A Warped Tour: One Lunachick’s Life on the Road

It was 1999, a full-on, hot and sweaty Summer. We were getting ready to go on the infamous Vans Warped Tour that is ironically — or un-ironically — touring for the very last time this year. By “we,” I mean me and my BFF’s — three friends from Laguardia High School with a big sister from another mister who, in 1987, started an all-female band called the Lunachicks. We did it for shits and giggles, but it became an accidental career. All of our favorite local bands had broken up, died from heroin overdoses, or other accidents, or literally just disappeared into the ether. (That happened, but that’s another story.) So we figured we’d just make our own thing. Each one of us — Squid, Gina, Sindi and me — all had good, diverse musical tastes. We liked everything from Funkadelic to The Runaways to The Stooges, to Black Sabbath to KISS…. Just for starters. And we just thought playing in a band would be a good time. By 1999 we had been doing it …

Yada, Yada, Yada: Why My Seinfeld Shorthand Is Still Relevant Today

“Potato Salad!” That’s the first phrase I remember my sister saying that made us both crack up so hard that we were both in tears. She was telling me a story that involved a friend of hers in a bunch of crazy scenarios, and after about 15 minutes of detailed explanation, she just stopped and shouted “POTATO SALAD!” We both just fell out and laughed our asses off, because I knew exactly what she meant – which was that this friend of hers was nuts, and possibly a homeless guy wearing a bad toupee while running around Manhattan while pulling a rickshaw. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe you could even give me a quick but full synopsis of the episode, “Kramer’s Rickshaw Adventure.” My sister Addye and I are BIG Seinfeld fans and we speak “Seinfeld Shorthand” to each other just about every day. We’ve been doing it since the show first came on, waaaaayyy back in July of 1989. There were a lot of great shows …

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9 Lessons I Learned from My 9 Favorite 90s Shows

Oh, 1996: The time in which my eighth year of life on this Earth came to an end and my ninth began. I had begun to take school seriously (#honorrollgoals), spent most of my time in dance class and didn’t care about too much more than my coke bottle glasses and whatever new sneakers were coming out for the week that I could sport on casual Fridays (the perks of being a private school girl.) The year was also a pretty fantastic time for television. I still frequently hear that television kills brain cells and that it’s an idiot box, but I have always begged to differ. Like any kind of media you consume, it can be either imbecilic or informative and, though a balance is best, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot take any major keys from the telly. I’m still gleaning some epic lessons from television and fondly remember the messages I received from the good old year of 1996. Here are a few from some of the legendary (well, in my …

Rise: The Midlife Mixtape

Numerous studies show the link between a high-energy playlist and the uplift in mood it can inspire. And when it comes to songs that play on the word “rise,” there’s no shortage of tunes that remind us to get up and keep trying, no matter how dark things seem. A RISE playlist may not be a cure, but if all it does is help us uncurl from the fetal position and take stock of what we do next, that’s a pretty good place to start. “Rise to the Sun” – Alabama Shakes. Sometimes it’s a victory just to get up and power through your day. It’s especially daunting when your goals feel infinity miles away, or as Alabama Shakes sing, “Well, my eyes are full of stars, But I just can’t reach ’em… oh, how high they are.” Take comfort in knowing you’re in good company in the struggle, and take heart in the fierceness of Brittany Howard’s vocals. “The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen Off his 2002 album of the same name, this Bruce Springsteen …

Why Don’t We Trust the Institutions We Create?

In June of 2017, the Gallup organization conducted its “CONFIDENCE IN INSTITUTIONS” poll, which it has been conducting pretty much every year since 1973. And this year, despite what you might expect would be some sort of pre-apocalyptic low water mark in America’s trust in institutions, our trust in general went up. Specifically, it went up 3 percent. The poll measures confidence in 14 major public institutions — from public schools to banks to labor unions to the Supreme Court to police to big business to small business to newspapers to television news to churches to the military to the medical system and, yes, measuring trust in Congress and the presidency as well. The fine people at Gallup found that in 2016 just 32 percent of the American people on average said they trusted these institutions. A year later — this is THIS YEAR — we now trust these institutions 3 percent more or a WHOPPING 35 percent. Now, you may be thinking — as I was when I encountered this data — that WHOA, that 35 percent …

The Best Voice in the World Is… Need You Ask?

For the most part, I don’t trust most people’s taste in music. To debate a musical topic or question with someone is to know for sure that you and your opponent have a shared music-listening lineage and appreciation or, at the very least, the two of you share a mutual understanding and interest for the music that one of you likes that the other person doesn’t. For me, someone with a baseline understanding of many musical genres, the mutual understanding thing is tricky, especially when the mutuality is to be established with: 1. A non-black person — especially a non-black person who hasn’t spent much time around black people. 2. A black person who hasn’t spent much time around non-black people 3. A much-younger person — any race, doesn’t matter. 3a. Case in point: my much-younger white coworker who didn’t know Bananarama’s “Venus” outside of the razor commercial (which until writing this piece and being schooled by our beloved EIC Margit I didn’t know was originally sung by the Dutch garage band Shocking Blue) 3b. …

Hygge and Kisses: Even the Danes Couldn’t Save My Relationship from Trump

During the last few months, there has been a lot of anger shown toward the Trump Administration, coming from both sides of the political spectrum. Whether it has been a deep frustration with his attacks on the mainstream media and the court system, a true hatred of his immigration and healthcare bills or outright shock at his administration’s too-close relationship with Putin, 80 percent of America seems to have a gripe with the president. I’d like to add another complaint to the list: I blame Donald Trump for ruining my romance this past winter. His election — and the chaos that it has wrought — has caused so much stress and anxiety that, during the first three months of his presidency, it was just too difficult to find love. My relationship with Debbie started out promising. We met at a dinner party a few days before Trump was inaugurated. Our hostess was worried about the night being successful and fun, so she warned her guests that “no one can talk about politics.” After dinner, Debbie …

How I Went From Aspiring Joker to Joker’s Wild Champion

My sophomore year of college, I took a leave of absence from NYU Film/TV after my sophomore year and set out for LA with dreams of becoming the next Freddie Prinze (minus the suicide). One of my best friends from high school and I had made a pact: We’d find an empty office on the Universal lot, set up shop like Steven Spielberg and take Hollywood by storm. I was the advance team and flew out via PEOPLExpress (one way just $99) to couch surf with an ex and her sister in Orange County until I could find a place. My arrival coincided with the reign of The Night Stalker Killer, and, as it turned out, my ex’s sister’s place was this latest Satanist’s favorite stalking grounds. The very first night, after the girls went out clubbing (leaving me alone clutching a broomstick), I was shocked awake at 3 a.m. by the phone ringing. On the other end, the most menacing (although not-particularly inventive) obscene caller told me how much he’d like to make me …

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How Do I Feel About A Midlife Crisis? Whatever.

Last spring, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Some might say I’ve finally reached capital-M Midlife, but I’ve always contended that Midlife started back when I turned 39. I mean, I harbor no unrealistic dreams of longevity, based solely on the amount of chemicals I put away in the ‘70s in the form of Tab, Bubble Yum and Pop Rocks. Then again, I’m a Gen-Xer, for whom dry-eyed pragmatism is a generational calling card. And it’s exactly that deeply ingrained bias against bullshit that I think means my cohort and I are going to totally rock middle age. Let me explain. At 46 million members, Gen X is small, wedged between some 80 million Baby Boomers and 78 million Millennials. We have classic middle child syndrome — ignored and overlooked and stuck between two hulking siblings who’ve taken up all the legroom and media attention on our 78-year road trip around the sun. Demographic shorthand for Americans born 1964-ish to 1980-ish says that most of our parents were divorced and distracted, leaving their latchkey offspring to …

10 Ways We Remember When Music Was a “Thing”

 Remember when music was a physical object — before it was just an ethereal file floating from one digital device to another? There were technical snafus, social mores and some heavy lifting that went along with the era of vinyl and magnetic tape. Herein, a few: 1. Using a pencil to fix an unraveling cassette tape. 2. Moving boxes and boxes of LPs from dorm room to apartment to apartment (Sorry, Dad.) 3. Merging record and CD collections with your partner. My rule: Do not merge until married. (And even then, Dave Matthews is never allowed to mingle) via GIPHY 4. Taping over someone else’s mixtape. The ultimate diss.  5. Using Scotch tape as a cassette-tape wonder tool. By taping over the little notches on top to record a mixtape over an unwanted cassette. 6. 8-Track Tapes And that satisfying sound of the 8-track tape clicking and connecting into its gears in your parents’ Buick Regal car radio. 7. When people actually cared about speakers. via GIPHY 8. Losing the 45 spider Aka that little …

I’m Canadian, And I Think It Might Be Time To Go Home

When you travel by rail between New York and Ontario, there’s a bridge over the Niagara River where the train, briefly, lies in mid-air between Canada and the U.S, the mist from Niagara Falls drifting toward the train windows, tantalizingly out of sight. On one side of the river, the Stars and Stripes flutters in the wind, on the other, Canada’s red maple leaf. It’s an odd feeling, every time, to hang suspended between my two nations, my two identities. They’re so close, but – especially now – so very far apart politically. Now that Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office, I wonder, daily, why, with a perfectly good, safe country to return to, I haven’t moved back home. A place where the nation’s best universities cost less than $10,000 a year, sometimes much less. Where single-payer government-run healthcare keeps millions of people healthy, whatever their age or employment status. Unlike many immigrants – who arrive fleeing weak economies, religious persecution, political strife, even war – I chose to leave Canada for the United …

A Stranger on the Road: A Syrian Woman Finds a New Home in Connecticut

It’s been a volatile time for refugees trying to get to America, especially since January 27 when Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the judicial system’s fast reversal of the ban created a window of opportunity — and something of a roller coaster ride — for refugees who had been previously cleared for entry. Syrian refugee Fradh Alfaawri and her four children rode that roller coaster last week. The back story: Alfaawri escaped war-torn Syria in 2013 after her husband died in police custody. The family lived in a Jordanian refugee camp for four years before they heard the good news: The U.S. would accept all five of them as refugees. But less than a week before they were to leave, Trump imposed his ban, leaving them stranded, “shocked and very, very sad,” Alfaawri told the press through an interpreter. And then another phone call: If the family could board a plane in three hours, they would, they were told, be admitted after all. Some days …

Lift Every Voice And Sing: A Q&A with Activist and Singer Abby Dobson

The night before Donald Trump’s inauguration, two black feminist icons — Alice Walker and Angela Davis — spoke at the annual Peace Ball in Washington, D.C. offering two key messages about the intersection of art and activism. Walker revealed that the creation of art was one of her five tools of resistance. Davis noted that right now, “We need art, we need music, we need poetry.” Davis and Walker both understand the healing power of art, especially for women who feel under assault under the current administration. Jamaican-born Abby Dobson is a vocalist who carries with her both the activism of Angela and the art of Alice in her song. Dobson says she uses her gifts to birth powerful “genre-nonconforming” music, which is deeply resonant, at times mournful, in turns joyful, but always authentic. Dobson is currently Artist in Residence for the African American Policy Forum, a gender-equity organization founded by the “mother of intersectionality,” Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw. Dobson was featured in Crenshaw’s TED Talk (see below) singing as part of the #SayHerName campaign, a movement to bring …

Why I Marched: 9 Women Across The Country Share Their Reasons

Planned as a protest in Washington, D.C. to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States the day before, the January 21st  Women’s March on Washington surpassed all expectations of size and scope. Millions of people showed up in D.C. and in cities all over the country—and beyond that to all seven continents—to march, chant, and listen to speakers, united in focus on resisting Donald Trump’s agenda. Many of the women wore the famed pink knit “pussy hats,” although headgear was entirely optional, and most carried signs with pro-woman and equality, anti-Trump and fascism messages.  I talked to several women about why they marched, what steps they plan to take next, and if they consider this day the birth of a movement. Sandie Angulo Chen, writer Maryland I marched in Atlanta while attending the American Library Association’s annual midwinter conference. I marched because as Rep. John Lewis reminded us, we can’t afford for our nation to take even one step backwards when it comes to human rights, civil rights, women’s rights. Since then, …

My Proof God Wants Us to Keep Laughing

When I was a kid attending church with my family, the worst offense we could commit was to laugh in the middle of the service. Which is why my siblings and I regularly prodded each other into laughter so forceful that it seemed to emit from our mouths, noses and ears. My brother and sister and I were regularly reshuffled to opposite ends of the pews by parental glares set to “SALT PILLAR” until the moment Miss Smith arose and called the kids to follow her out for Sunday School. The lesson was driven home at an early age: God and humor do not mix. So I was so delighted, as an adult, to find a church in my adopted hometown in NorCal where a) our priest is an accomplished stilt walker and never misses a chance to explain a parable from ten feet overhead; b) the send-off gift to newly ordained seminarians as they head to their first big jobs is a flaming Bible (to be used ironically, of course); and c) when a …

Finding God and Letting Him Find Me Too

I have never known a time when God was not in my life. He was a foreboding presence from my first memory. God was everywhere, critically watching everything. I never questioned his existence. Not the way I did Santa when I realized there was no chimney in my house for him to come down. There may have been no Santa, but God was absolutely real. I grew up going to Pentecostal churches with my mother and my younger brother. First in D.C., where I was born, and later in Philadelphia, where I lived from the time I was nine until I went to college. My father believed in God but saw no need to go to church. In both cities, my church was predominately black. You dressed up for service. Men in suits, women in dresses — never pants. The adult women like my mother typically wore lace coverings that looked like doilies over their hair. The differences between denominations were confusing for me at that time. I just knew Pentecostals to be a lively …

13 Homemade Gifts that Don’t Suck

I’d guess I was about seven or eight when I made my dad an ashtray for Christmas. I’m pretty sure everyone in art class made their parents ashtrays for the holidays that year. We might even have been told to. Who knows. Mine was quite the specimen. It looked like I had taken a misshapen ball of clay, jumped on it with a pogo stick, dropped it and then fell on it. Oh – and stabbed it in with an eraser and etched a shamrock on the side with a pencil (because I actually did those things). Had my parents smoked, it at least would have been a practical gift – function not form and all. (In my defense, the glaze was spectacular. A nice emerald green. Ye olde Irish ashtray.) Let this be a lesson: Don’t do stupid homemade gifts. Don’t decoupage anything, don’t use papier mache unless you actually have talent, and – whatever you do – don’t bedazzle anything. NOTHING. Hear me? If you’re dying to express your creativity or don’t have …

11 Gift Guides From a Few of Our Favorite Women Bloggers

(Photo collage: Erica Hornung/TueNight) We are smack in the middle of the alleged most wonderful time of the year, and I have one question: Are you still shopping? Because I am. And when I’m in this kind of cyber-December-retail mode, there is no enabler like the internet, home of gift roundups of every size and focus. Some of our favorite women online have made lists of the best gift ideas for anyone on your list. If you’re still out in the internet streets looking for the as-yet elusive perfect gift for anyone or everyone, I can help. Read on: 1. The gift guides at Petit Elefant include this one with great ideas for women. The Complete Works of Jane Austen in a beautiful hardcover boxed set and a blanket scarf from ModCloth are just two of the picks your sister, your mom, or your best friend are likely to love. 2. The gift guides at Girl of a Certain Age are a double treat—packed with cool presents, and fun to read. I’m loving her list …

Midlife Mixtape: Albums, Books and Other Music-Inspired Gifts

(Photo: sharonjonesandthedapkings.bandcamp.com) O Holy Night, it’s already end of November and I’ve done zero holiday shopping so far this year – whoops. Normally all that’s left for me buy by December 1 are the tangerines for the toe of the Christmas stocking (that go uneaten in favor of the chocolate, but at least I try for the healthy option.) Not this year –  2016 kept knocking me down every time I got up. Suck it, 2016. No tangerine for you. I do, however, have lots of ideas for Christmahannakwaanzukah gifts for the music lovers, book readers, and sense of humor-havers in your lives. Some caveats: I believe in paying creative people for their work, so I still buy albums and print books (for which the musician/author gets a much higher royalty percentage.) I encourage you to shop locally. And this year in particular, I’m trying to find products that are made in parts of our country where manufacturing jobs have been lost. Maybe if people weren’t so disaffected and hopeless about the economy, they wouldn’t …

We Toast 2016: Some Good Things Actually Happened

(Graphic: Adrianna Dufay/TueNight) Man, it has been a shitty year. From the music world alone, we lost Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones. We lost our chance at electing the first woman president of the United States. And, everyday, we get to watch our buffoon of a President Elect attempt to distract us from his disastrous cabinet appointments with the Twitter stream of a toddler. Good times! Still, throughout this terrible year, many wonderful things did bring us joy. We asked several TueNight contributors to write in with their toasts to some of their favorite moments of the year. Mallory Kasdan 2016 has been marred by loss and violence constant enough to numb. So I’ve found it helpful to cling to art, and especially to music, as a salve. Released days after a disastrous and surreal presidential election, A Tribe Called Quest’s final album WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE THANK U 4 YOUR SERVICE is potent and prescient, calling out for justice and healing in these raw times. Phife Dawg, who died suddenly …