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2016 Tedious Lists Part 1: 10 Things From 2016 That Made Life Bearable

Worst year ever? Yeah, I hear that a lot. It's not all doom and gloom though. Here are 10 creative endeavors by friends and family that transcended the relentless cesspool of malevolence, misinformation and mediocrity that has bombarded our Facebook feeds for the past year.

1. Pop Talk And Aliens - The William Cleere Podcast  -- Not only is William Cleere a world-class singer/songwriter/pianist/actor/director/filmmaker, he's also an expert on UFOs, conspiracy theories, sci-fi movies, and such. "Pop Talk And Aliens" is always entertaining, always educational.

2. ALT​-​RIGHT FROG: A ROCK OPERETTA by Vinny's Vipers -- What if I told you the best album of 2016 was a rock opera about a (falsely accused) racist cartoon frog that was written and recorded in one week? It is. The brainchild of KC Bowman and Ned Sykes, "ALT-RIGHT FROG" spans genres and styles and presents a fictional amphibian who is more human than the people who co-opted his image, some of whom will (in real life, if you can believe it) soon be assuming high government positions.

3. Karla Kane's coverage of local arts and culture -- After many years as a writer and contributor, Karla was promoted to Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Palo Alto Weekly in 2016. She has made it her mission to seek out interesting artists and thinkers that you would not necessarily associate with Silicon Valley. Here are some highlights:

Folk-pop from Finland
Vellamo brings sweet Nordic sounds to Menlo Park

The ambassador of 'Arabology'
Stanford DJ and lecturer champions the music of the Middle East

The ghost of culture's past
New play, 'The Mathematics of Love,' is both intimate and epic

Outside the 'ethnic box'
Emel Mathlouthi brings her revolutionary voice to Stanford

Like humans do
David Byrne and co. blend science and art in Menlo Park

A sense of connection
'Something New in Sight & Sound' offers a collaborative concert experience

From Nine Stories to nursery rhymes
Lisa Loeb performs sing-along concert at Stanford

Tales from the realm of Suzanne Vega
Singer-songwriter performs in Palo Alto May 22

The new old-fashioned way
'Jayme Stone's Lomax Project' celebrates timeworn tunes

Beyond 'culture in a silo'
EnActe Arts showcases South Asian talent and stories

4. "Friends & Frenemies", an artist compilation by Mystery Lawn Music

5. Anton Barbeau's "Magic Act" and Allyson Second's "Little World"

6. Deerful's "Staying Still", "Home", and "Without Borders"

7. Allen Clapp's "Six Seasons"

8. Rosie Abbott's "After Image"

9. "The Last Boy In The Locarno" by The Cleaners From Venus

10. The video work of Ray Lin for various causes and organizations

Sorry if I've left anyone out. This list could go on an on if I had more time and a better memory. It's been a rough year, but hey, enjoy it while you can because next year is sure to be worse.

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