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Nice to make your cyber-acquaintance.


Reviews of “And Then We Danced”

  • “Exhilarating” (Publishers Weekly)
  • “Sublime” (Vanity Fair)
  • “A standout” (Kirkus Reviews)
  • “Henry Alford is an impossibly funny writer.” (New York Magazine)
  • “Alford seamlessly interweaves heartwarming and hilarious anecdotes about his deep dive into all things dance…Alford is a master of pulling the heartstrings, but in a positive, celebratory way.” (Misty Copeland in the New York Times Book Review)
  • “Lots of fun here for the dancer in all of us” (Library Journal)
  • “Witty and touching” (Christian Science Monitor)
  • “Funny, lustful, and insightful” (Dallas Morning News)
  • “Delightful…will have you on your feet” (Washington Blade)
  • “With new insight and Alford’s trademark humor, Alford offers this cultural history to show how dance so expertly expresses the human experience.” (“8 New Theater Books You Need to Read This Summer”, Playbill)
  • “You’ll be laughing and tearing up at the same time. Read it before the heart-tugging film version does a tango with Oscar.” (July Book of the Month, Broadway Direct)
  • “He wholeheartedly illustrates the wisdom that shimmers at the heart of his book: “Hobbies are hope.”” (Newsday)


Here’s some stuff I’ve written recently, with links. Apologies for this data dump!

-“Insomnia: The Opera” gets a star-studded reading! The excellent Sandra Tsing Loh convinced Marilu Henner, John Michael Higgins (a regular in the Christopher Guest and the Pitch Perfect movies), Jim Turner (MTV’s Randee of the Redwoods), musician Julian Fleisher, and John Fleck (one of the NEA Four), among others, to read my recent New Yorker humor piece “Insomnia: The Opera” aloud for “Bookish,” the web series Sandra hosts for S.C.N.G. It’s here. Music by Susan Marder. (Also: “Insomnia” in its original prose incarnation was recommended by Scientific American.)

-I went camping at the country’s newest national park, which is gorgeous but which is located in between a power plant and the world’s largest steel mill (New York Times)

-RECENT-ISH STUFF IN THE NEW YORKER: I asked fashion designer Norma Kamali to help me style a wearable sleeping bag so I could go out for dinner in it…As a hedge against COVID-19, I undertook a series of everyday activities–grocery shopping, going to the bank, etc.–while wearing a 4-foot, plastic bubble over myself. (New Yorker) BONUS: While enbubbled, I also met up with a dance buddy, for some socially-distanced dancing (photos here on Twitter)…I imagined being the cat that the Bidens are bringing to the White House.

-Something that my boyfriend and I have been doing in our living room for the past eight years has become a national obsession during the pandemic. (Los Angeles Times)

-I’ve been asking “What if…?” a lot in Airmail, the online weekly from former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. Here are a few: What If All the Miscreants That Trump Pardoned Were Forced to Become School Teachers?, What If Kanye West Actually Became President?, What If Lindsay Graham Loses His Senate Seat and Opens a Slightly Dowdy Gay Bar Called Feathers?

-Attorney Daniel Uhlfelder is making a difference during the pandemic. How? By dressing up as the Grim Reaper. (New Yorker)

-Toilet paper hoarding: why have people been doing it doing the pandemic? What would Freud say? (New Yorker)

-How do farmers determine what is and isn’t “ugly produce”? (New Yorker)

-Everything you’re afraid to ask about human composting (New Yorker)

-The city of Chengdu may replace its street lights with an artificial moon. Could New York City do it? (New Yorker)

-Kanye West is running for president?! I imagine his first 100 days. (Airmail)

-The website Goop now has a section for men (Airmail)

-The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a show devoted to camp (Los Angeles Times)

-I spent a lot of the spring lying on my floor reading “Don Quixote” (Los Angeles Times)

-Book clubs have gotten especially clubby (New York Times)



-An algorithm: If you like writing e-mails that have more than nine exclamation points, then you might also like going to a gym where you smash furniture with a hammer. (My humor piece from the New Yorker.)

-Not to sound alarmist, but are you perchance looking for tips for dealing with your outrage fatigue? Here are some, from an Op Ed I wrote for the L.A. Times.

-Why are so many novelists writing for TV now? It’s not simply that there are many more TV shows now than there used to be–I mean, Netflix alone will release 800 new TV series and movies this year. There are lots of other reasons, too, most of them itemized in this piece from the New York Times. (Bonus for fans of “The Wire”: I interviewed creator and head writer David Simon for this.)

-Did you know that at many swanky restaurants, for whatever reason, you can ask for a black napkin? You might get a slightly sheepish reaction, but do it you can. Monsieur et madame, I present for you The black napkin: a tiny history , in which I went to five upscale NYC restaurants and spilled on myself. Yes, another sterling example of hard-hitting journalism. (And thanks to the shout-outs from Eater and the L.A. Times, as well as the Orange Coast’s epochal headline “Black Napkins: Where Are They Now?”).

-Looking for ways to deal with difficult relatives and other holiday flotsam? Here are some ideas that I shared with the Canadian Radio Show “Out in the Open.”

I blame the Russians. (My recent Op-Ed from the Los Angeles Times).


I Meet Some Chickens

I have a piece in this week’s New Yorker in which I try to find the most pampered backyard chicken in Silicon Valley. (Why? Because a recent Washington Post article stated that, in Silicon Valley, having a pimped-out chicken coop brimming over with heritage breeds is “an eco-conscious humblebrag on par with driving a Tesla.”) Meet Chewbacca, Gwynnie, Marjo, and Betty.


Filthy filthy filthy

For a segment on the great public radio show Studio 360, I took the uncleanest person I know (comedian Dave Hill) to an exhibition of art made solely from dust, dirt, and smog. Listen here. Huge thanks to producers Sarah Lilley, David Krasnow, and, of course, the hilarious Mr. Hill.



I have the huge honor–or, rather, my new book does–of being reviewed by ballerina Misty Copeland on the front page of this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

[sound of heart and ego exploding]

(Update: And now I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the Book Review’s very funny editor, Pamela Paul, about my book. From the New York Times Book Review podcast.)


What Have I Done to Deserve This (from Vanity Fair)?


Sweating Out My Worth

The new fitness app Sweatcoin measures your footfalls and then rewards you with the app’s own digital currency (called, no surprise, sweatcoins). Would it be possible to turn sweatcoins into cold, hard cash? I endeavored to find out. My story in this week’s New Yorker.


First review of new book is in…

…And it is kind and happy-making.