This year, the new year brought with it one more reason to celebrate--it's also Underage's first anniversary! It's hard to believe I've written one column a week for the past year, making for (if you include this here effort) 52 columns total! And thinking about it, I've had my share of strange, hilarious, and amazing moments since the column's first installment was unveiled to the public on January 17, 2002.

Back then, the all-ages scene was in a pretty bad state (at least, compared to its current thriving status). The Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO) was still in place (ugh!), the Vera Project was still making the best of temporary locations like Local 46 and Theater Off Jackson, and the Northgate Music Theatre was still just an abandoned movie theater. But change is good--and my, how things have changed. It was a great year.

One highlight was taking over the Seattle City Council chambers and holding an impromptu dance party to support the All Ages Dance Ordinance (AADO) while Ken Stringfellow and Sean Nelson supplied the music. Hilarious! And I'll never forget watching Margaret Pageler chase singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato around the Miller Community Center as he led a group of AADO supporters in a song and dance in a protest against Pageler's irrelevant TDO-supporters' meeting.

Another memorable moment was watching 18-year-old Nichole Monson meet Saves the Day bassist Eben D'Amico at the Showbox. Upon sight of Eben, that girl almost pissed her pants. I still can't believe it. (Although I also can't say I wouldn't do the same if ever put in the same room with Jake Gyllenhaal. Me-ow.) But Eben was a good sport, and even chatted with me a bit after the show. What a nice boy.

And then there was the time I tagged along with the Super Magnificent Action Trio during their "fan outreach" program. It was a sweet idea and all, but the bummer about it was that hours after the paper went to press the band broke up!

SMAT weren't the only ones to see their own demise this year. It was a downer when the Paradox broke the news about losing their venue (though they'll continue as a production company, working with other venues while searching for a permanent one). On the flip side, it was wonderful to watch the TDO end--and even more fun to celebrate with a big party at the Sit & Spin!

This year was also a golden year for the Old Fire House in Redmond; they celebrated their 10th anniversary with a whole month's worth of shows in August.

Looking back, you can't deny that 2002 was a pretty great year. And things can only improve--what with the AADO firmly in place, the Vera Project having a permanent home, and the Northgate Music Theatre hosting more shows.

Yeah, 2002 was good. Here's to making 2003 even better. MEGAN SELING