Every year, we invite the cream of Seattle artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and arts administrators to share the things they regret about the year gone by. Here's what they said.


From the beginning, I thought the time machine was a dreadful idea. —Steve Fisk, Stranger Genius of music, producer (Car Seat Headrest), artist (Pigeonhed, Pell Mell)

I regret the design flaw in human beings that allows bullies to take power, and I bitterly regret that there is no way we can change this. —Robyn Hitchcock

I regret showing my mom how to use Instagram. —Julia Shapiro (Chastity Belt, Childbirth)

I regret that one of the most globally regrettable years since my birth coincided with one of the most significant and fulfilling years for me personally—the first full year of my son's life. I also regret that becoming a father makes it simultaneously more important and more challenging to resist the juggernaut of shit bearing down upon us. —Levi Fuller (Levi Fuller & the Library, Bushwick Book Club)

I regret losing six months to depression and anxiety. I regret withdrawing from people and the bustle and art of the city I love. I regret both eating and not eating my feelings. I regret giving up on writing for a while. I regret the sleep I missed and the sleep I used to avoid being awake. I regret not treating my skin very well. I regret spending any time explaining to people why I don't like dark, violent, critically acclaimed TV dramas (I JUST DON'T, MY BRAIN ALREADY NEEDS HELP STAYING AFLOAT, LET ME JUST WATCH MY FLUFF). I regret eating that whole bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos last Tuesday, but I more regret the times that I've passed on Spicy Nacho Doritos. I regret not getting angry when I felt angry, and not getting sad when I felt sad. I regret walking by that bar and seeing my ex-boyfriend on a date the night Trump won. I regret Twitter. —Kathleen Tarrant, Stranger music columnist (Bands I Pretended to Like for Boys)

I regret not heckling the cast of The Real World more. —Christen Greene, Onto Entertainment (Hey Marseilles, the Lumineers)

I regret my DIABEETUS-bound diet of grape soda, Lemonheads, and Bugles. Please support me when I lose a foot. —Leslie Beattie, Thee Sgt. Major III, Qual Cups

We regret unfollowing so many friends and relatives on Facebook during this election cycle, instead of picking up a phone and having a few tough conversations. Though many of them are full of stupid, stupid, stupid fucking ideas, we find ourselves now still stuck with them, with a little less hope of finding common ground. —Ryan Devlin (Smokey Brights)

Western Haunts regret that we that couldn't get our latest LP, Problem Pop (out on Big Bldg Records, 2017), released this year. —Jake Witt (Western Haunts)

I regret not sticking up for myself with legendary guitar player Junior Brown and telling him to go fuck himself during a failed interview attempt this summer (you can hear the whole thing on episode #303). I also regret eating too many carbohydrates. —Aaron Roden, podcast host (The Air-Raid)

I'm just sad my record label (Noise Noise Ouch Stop Records) didn't have the $$$ to open a store in the airport. Maybe next year. —Eric Padget (Future Fridays)

I regret drinking my election night champagne last week while binge-watching episodes of Drunk History. Wait, no I don't. —Frida Clements, artist, poster designer

I regret that I spent time and focus trying to change some trolls' minds with regards to the election, rather than spending that energy trying to change the minds of more reasonable people. I was drawn by the very unreasonableness, seeing it as a stone I could sharpen my blade of reason against. In retrospect, this seems like hubris. The effort bore no fruit. I also regret taking a running jump off a rock in Greece. It was very high, and the run was part of a confidence I'd flooded myself with to get over my fear of jumping. The visual result, as proved by my wife's video of the act (eminently rewatchable and eminently unshareable), was a sort of run through the air, made funnier both by my wearing Aqua Socks and by my hitting the water in a slightly forward-tilted flop as a result of forward momentum. In the New Year, I'd like to learn to be calmly braver when my confidence is low and check myself a little when it's too high. —Matthew Caws (Nada Surf)

I regret online dating, excluding the show I booked on Tinder. I regret that I jammed with a Tinder boy on the first date. I regret that I suggested to stay together with my ex. —Jena Pyle (Sundae Crush)

I regret eating at Momiji so often. I conservatively estimate that I’ve spent $17,200 there in the last year, which is easily the price of a “new to me” Subaru Forester in decent condition. —Derek Erdman, artist, Stranger contributor emeritus, Sub Pop employee

I don’t regret much, but I think that my crotch regretted the fact that we—the Sub Pop pack doing the STP [Seattle to Portland] bicycle rally—decided to do the ride in two days instead of one. Also, I DO regret ever thinking (not so long ago) that Trump was ever anything more than someone to quickly dismiss and laugh at. May god (or whoever or whatever) help us all. —Megan Jasper, Sub Pop Records

I regret not getting the flu shot this year. With my “I can do it all” frame of mind and the amount of time I have spent in what really is an incubator in the sky has shown me that indeed my immune system will be compromised and I HAVE TO SLOW DOWN. —Faustine Hudson (The Maldives, Grizzled Mighty)

I regret the Electoral College. I regret that the Date Shake doughnut isn’t on the permanent menu at General Porpoise. I regret that approximately zero people watched Rectify and millions subject themselves to The Walking Dead week after week. I regret that we didn’t figure out we had the kind of Primavera Sound wristbands that got us up to the front of the stage until a full day after LCD Soundsystem had finished their set. I also regret whatever language barriers or hangovers prevented much of the Barcelona crowd from appreciating all of Car Seat Headrest’s deadpan Radiohead jokes. However, for perhaps the first time ever, I didn’t regret the brutal west-to-east jet lag that allowed me to be wide awake at 4 a.m. local time for the long-anticipated Avalanches reunion. I regret that I listened to far more podcasts than albums this year. I regret how I spent a good month or two not knowing how to quit listening to that Zayn record. —Josh Bis, Stranger contributor

I regret ruining a band’s set in New Orleans during Thanksgiving weekend by offering my washboard non-skills. —Mike Caulo, Merge Records

I just spent a lot of money on weed, ’80s vintage gay male porn, and a new drum machine. I regret to tell you that you may never see me again. —Clyde Petersen, filmmaker/Stranger Genius Award nominee/musician (Your Heart Breaks)

I regret that not enough people believed in Bernie Sanders. I regret the Clinton campaign’s arrogance. I regret that the sentiment of populism duped those it was intended to represent. I regret that people unknowingly vote against their own interest. I regret the Republican Party, as we know it, exists. I regret that reality TV exists. I regret that the widespread racism in America is being normalized. I regret that I have liberal friends who don’t believe that free education and health care are possible here and they argue against its viability. I regret that the republic of Cascadia isn’t a real thing. —Jason Lajeunesse, Capitol Hill Block Party, Neumos

I regret that I have nothing interesting, amusing, entertaining, clever, funny, or illuminating to say about 2016. It began as a piece of shit, and it ends as a piece of shit. It was a piece of shit year, and it will always be a piece of shit year. Good fucking riddance. —Bill Rieflin (Ministry, R.E.M., King Crimson, the Blackouts)


No regrets, I just made art. —John Ohannesian, artist

What John said, except I should have had a V-8. —Tony Horn, artist

I regret that I didn't make more art, and that we didn't find a way to stop Donald Trump. —Bob Rini, artist

I regret that I wasn't working harder. I also regret throwing my power away on terrible relationships. —Ellie Dicola, artist

I regret not getting out and mingling with my colleagues more. I regret that I didn't take the opportunity more often to make a conscious decision about bringing my best self to social interactions. I regret succumbing to distraction and anxiety, and can only hope that history will repeat itself in the form of substantive work resulting from adversity. —Kate Vrijmoet, artist

Shoulda applied for citizenship during Obama's White House residency. —Katrina Hess, cofounder of Siren

I regret not trying to get gallery shows outside of my comfort zone, like in actual full-time art galleries. I may have sold myself short by playing it safe with cafes/shops again this year. —Jessie Summa Russo, artist

I regret going the expected route with my art career instead of having the courage to make the right change a year ago. —Julia Chamberlain, artist

I lost my home (a rental, to developers) and didn't make any images about the difficulty of affordable housing. —Colin R. Clark, artist

I regret the editors on my shoulders. White devil and red angel. Bring me a pink flamingo in 2017. —Wendy Wahman, artist

I regret not standing up for my full creative sabbatical (one year) and instead taking another big job two months in. It felt urgent at the time, but I could've taken six months of the sabbatical and been far more rested and recharged. —Nassim Assefi, novelist/activist/global women's health specialist

I regret continuing to feel shame about the well-known and much-fawned-over artist and musician I allowed to exploit me both professionally and personally in the past. I'm determined to have grace toward myself, and to not make someone else's shit my fault by internalizing misogyny in the many ways my culture has relentlessly taught me to do. —Michelle de la Vega, artist

No regrets. None. —Mark Mitchell, artist

One part of being an artist for me is honoring the efforts of other artists by seeing their shows. Every time I miss one I intended to see, I regret it. —Mary Ann Peters, artist

I regret not seeing my grandfather before he passed in July at the age of 96. —Charles Peterson, photographer

I regret not using my agency to motivate more people to vote. I know a lot of disenfranchised people of color who opted out of the system. I feel like our ancestors must be so disappointed by the fact that so many young people don't vote, but also that the needle of justice has barely moved. —Elisheba Johnson, artist/arts administrator

Regret isn't much of a feature of my life, but I might regret the delay in trusting my artistic instincts with full-hearted certainty. I wish this had happened earlier, but many things, mostly a prejudice held in the art world toward women, and especially women who have children, has caused me to entertain doubts that were not valid. —Elizabeth Brinton

I regret not viewing [art and tech festival] 9e2. —Steven Vroom, former director of 911 Media Arts Center

I regret Martha Rosler's show at the New Foundation didn't get to come to its full fruition, since it revealed more about the disparities and divides in this country than most others I saw this year. —Erin Langner, art writer

From time to time I regret being an artist. I regret not seeing my parents more (they are both gone now). I regret not seeing my friends more. I regret that Seb Barnett committed suicide and I didn't get to know them more. I regret this election. I regret Standing Rock. I regret being afraid to stand up to bullies and not posting more political art on Facebook. This is my year of regrets. —Larry Calkins, artist

Leaving Seattle; the Pacific Northwest is a wonderful place and I will be very sad to go. I used to say that I regretted not becoming an American citizen. Not anymore. —Ben Heywood, former director of Paul Allen's Pivot Art + Culture

I regret that once again the lack of funding and vision prevented our Arts in Community major from finally launching and that no new arts positions were funded. I remain the only tenured artist on our campus after 13 years. Despite the fact that our innovative, socially engaged, and interdisciplinary arts curriculum is being praised and mimicked internationally, we continue to remain in limbo. I also regret losing my studio multiple times, again due to the lack of university support. One advantage of being without a studio is that I am more inclined to do work in the streets and in the community—and more of that is needed than ever. —Beverly Naidus, artist/professor at the University of Washington Tacoma

I regret the days I treated myself poorly. I wasn't up for that, and it wasn't a good use of my precious energy. —Amelia Love Clearhart, singer/dancer

I had many failures in 2016. Shows that didn't sell. New directions that didn't pan out. Expensive trade shows in which I lost money. But I will never regret trying. I would feel so much worse if I didn't try. So failures, yes. Regrets, no. —Jean Bradbury, artist

A for-profit gallerist offered me a month in her space to display an interactive exhibition with nothing for sale. She expressed a desire to make sure her space provided these kinds of opportunities—not just art sales. I turned it down, out of hand, simply because I'd experienced poor turnout in its month in the past—an uncharacteristic and egotistical response I have regretted since, especially when an idea later came to me that would have utilized its parameters, and shared the platform with other artists. —Shaun Kardinal, artist

I regret not being able to save John Sisko—as many of his friends feel the same. I would visit him every few Sundays to pump up his spirits and drink wine. I know no one can really help, but I am still sad. I tried. —Koryn Rolstad, friend of the late Seattle artist John Sisko

I deeply regret that the "alt-right" aka white supremacy movement actually has a foothold in America. I regret this beyond the point of sadness. —Amy Hamblin, artist

I regret not being able to help my friend find a place to live. This is very sad for me. —Carlo Castellano, composer/sound designer

I like that Trump was elected in that it fuels my fire. Too, I regret that I was born with a baby cock. But that too makes me angry but perhaps not a fun person to be around. My "art" suffers from it. There never was great "angry" art ever. That's for posters and warmongers. —Hakan Diler, "artist"/landscaper

I regret that I give my art career everything I have, at the expense of time with friends and family. I regret that my career has me on the computer, and I can't turn away from the screen. I regret that in my show I confused honesty and bravery with exposure and risk. —Sarah Ruth Vergin, artist

I regret that I have not spent every last ounce of my creative energy figuring out how to successfully fund collaborators who have agreed to work on my "Rural Voices on a Changing Environment" project. —Carolyn Law, artist

I regret taking my Seattle art community for granted when I was still in Seattle, burnout and all. Now I'm not, and I miss it/you all, and I realize I was richer than I realized. —Anne Blackburn, artist

I regret not leaving my home more frequently when there was somewhere to go or someone to see. —Jim Demetre, art writer


The Starting Gate author Paul Mullin regrets that he didn't take Josef Krebs more seriously.

Bookseller and author events coordinator at the Elliott Bay Book Company Karen Maeda Allman regrets not having interviewed her friend, Leroy Soper (1924–2016) about his many, many years in the book business in Seattle. He knew where all of the bodies were buried and he tried to tell me. But now she'll never know. RIP.

Stranger contributor Sarah Galvin's New Year's resolution every year is to not give a fuck and be covered in jewels. She regrets every instance of giving a fuck, though she realizes certain activities necessitate not being covered in jewels, and has learned to accept this.

Stranger contributor Sarah Galvin also regrets going so easy on North Carolina in her Pride Issue article about the state, describing the diversity of the queer dance party she attended there and how she encountered far less homophobia than expected. NC was a Trump state, and voting for Trump negates anything good the voter has ever said, done, or thought. She didn't believe the friendliness of some parts of the South is purely cosmetic, as she was told, and now feels naive. She would, however, like to thank the state for producing the woman she will marry, who is brilliant and hilarious and has a perfect butt (suck it, straight cis men of North Carolina!).

Writer and artist Anastacia Renee regrets not telling [NAME REDACTED] face-to-face that their actions were racist, classist, and terminally disappointing. Furthermore, she's sure after reading this you won't think it applies to you.

Early in 2016, local fiction writer Willie Fitzgerald published an essay about an arrangement he'd made with a friend: If he didn't write a certain amount, he'd have to donate money to Donald Trump's campaign. (At the time our now-president-elect was busy implying he had a bigger dick than Jeb Bush or something.) He never did give him money, but he regrets his privileged misidentification of an existential threat as merely a repulsive, gibbering buffoon.

Local fiction writer and former program director of APRIL Festival Willie Fitzgerald regrets not writing about Dorthe Nors's So Much for That Winter, a book that he didn't like that much when he read it, but which has lingered at the back of his mind for 10 months.

Michelle Peñaloza, author of landscape/heartbreak, regrets that she regrets nothing.

Richelle Mead, author of Vampire Academy and The Glittering Court, has grown complacent after living on the West Coast for 20 years and regrets forgetting about the Midwest winters of her childhood. Forced to scrounge for winter accessories during December's brief storms, she ended up outfitting her kids in rain boots and mismatched mittens. But as she walked them into school through blowing snow and explained to them why there was salt on the sidewalk, she noted that all the other soft Pacific Northwest parents had dressed their kids the same way.


The 5th Avenue Theatre regrets any distress it may have caused to neighboring offices when actress Jennifer Allen (Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid) took a nap during a rehearsal break on the floor of her dressing room while wearing her full stage makeup. A concerned citizen from a neighboring office building could see into her dressing-room window, saw her lying on the floor—blue—and, believing she was dead, called the paramedics.

Theater artist Sara Porkalob regrets spending all that money on Chinese hot pot for "business meetings" this summer when she could have used that money to buy warm clothes and hand-warmers for Seattle's homeless community.

Sara Porkalob, star and creator of the terrific one-person show Dragon Lady, regrets not calling out the old white guy who body-shamed her female castmate during a talk back when he said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but for a girl your size you've got some moves!" Sara regrets not burning his white ass with some feminist clapback and regrets that her castmate had to be the one to field those comments by herself.

Theater artist Sara Porkalob regrets not calling out the white theater institutions she works for sooner and holding them accountable for their white, white seasons and their white, white fragility.

Washington Ensemble Theatre regrets both engaging and not engaging with the trolls who were talking shit on the Facebook about Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.

Samie Detzer, artistic director of Washington Ensemble Theatre, regrets flippantly wishing to herself that there would be at least one "tense moment" during election night, where it would seem like maybe Trump could win, but then Clinton would come back and obviously dominate. Detzer thought it would make the night more "fun." This was an ill-advised wish that Detzer can't help but think may have been the thing that cost us the election.


I regret that someone let slip, mere minutes before the Northwest Film Forum's gala began, that the night's last act was a male entertainer—a surprise birthday gift for board member/filmmaker Megan Griffiths. The venue proceeded to flip their shit, and told us the show mustn't go on—despite our reassurances that he wasn't really a stripper. Fortunately, we persevered, and one giant birthday cake and pair of sequined assless chaps later, the night went off without a hitch. Lesson learned: Ask forgiveness, not permission. Greatest regret: 2016 produced no peers for 2015's best film, Magic Mike XXL. —Courtney Sheehan, executive director for Northwest Film Forum

I regret that I don't parent as well as Captain Fantastic's father figure. He may be imperfect, but he prepares his kids for any eventuality other than a pop culture throwdown. I should be more Bear Grylls, less Gilbert Gottfried. I regret that I don't always allow myself to be as vulnerable as Chiron in Moonlight. Being in love means risking the occasional beatdown. I should be a more sensitive Ryan Gosling, a less brutish Russell Crowe. And I regret that I don't always exhibit as much integrity as the real Ron Shipp seen in O.J.: Made in America. The courage of our convictions ought to override our need to be accepted, especially in the service of (perceived) justice. I should be more... Ron Shipp, less Robert Kardashian. Lastly, I regret not having produced more work by women this year. Look out, 2017! —Warren Etheredge, faculty member, TheFilmSchool and the Red Badge Project

I regret that Suicide Squad's marketing budget was bigger than the production budgets of Moonlight and American Honey combined. —Megan Griffiths, filmmaker (Eden, Lucky Them, The Night Stalker)

I regret that I had to shoot my last film, Mudbound, in New Orleans in June, all exterior on a muddy plantation in 100-plus degree heat and extreme humidity. I regret Blood Father's Cannes premiere because Cannes critics needed a movie to hate and judged it unfairly, thereby sentencing it to open in places like Vancouver, Washington, instead of Seattle and Arlington, Virginia, instead of DC. I do not regret all the people who are going to be pleasantly surprised when they watch it on an airplane and compliment me. I regret that Birth of a Nation sold at Sundance for a record $17.5 million, because, well, look how well that worked out. In my opinion, I, Daniel Blake, Moonlight, and Hell or High Water have exactly nothing to regret. I do not regret that Lynn Shelton made another feature and Megan Griffiths is about to shoot another feature, or that both are produced by Lacey Leavitt. I can't wait to see these films! More than anything, I regret the end of the Washington State film tax incentive. —Jennifer Roth, producer (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Laggies)