>The “buy local” movement everyone associates with food applies perfectly also to art, nowhere was this more apparent to me than at my very own local coffee shop, Amore Coffee, where a group of musicians and writers gathered this past Thursday to celebrate our local claim to fame, Albert Park, the smallest dedicated park in the U.S.A. (according to Ripley’s Believe it Or Not).

Eugene Monnig, Kurt Koefod and James Dungan-Seaver (a.k.a. “The Albert Park Trio,” and “Cadenza Music All-Stars”) played classy jazz standards as well as you’d hear at any big city club; Leggo Lambe (also known as Tom Johnson of the Whiskey Sournotes) entertained in his own special way, giving everyone some yucks, singing one of his original tunes and then turning in a beautiful version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”; Kate Mulloy’s Turtle Quarterly poets Mike Finley and Daniel Bachhuber told us some “Lies” poems; and I got a chance to read from my novel-in-progress, Albert Park: A Memoir in Lies, test-driving its dark humor in front of a live audience (hi Mom!).

I’ve always been a big fan of the staycation, but not because it’s cheaper. I’m convinced there is so much to enjoy and no need to travel far to have wonderful experiences. Our walking tour of Albert Park was a hoot, and even the dogs enjoyed it.

So this is my pitch support your local arts: buy the literary magazine your neighbor publishes, go down the street to your neighborhood coffee shop and check out the art, buy some too while you’re at it. Toss a tip in the tip jar for your neighborhood musicians. Participate in local arts events and celebrate what’s so close to home. You’ll be presently surprised by the talent around you. Maybe you’ll want to join in. If you do, be sure to invite me!

And while you’re at it (shameless self-promotion follows), buy my book too! We’re having a big sale over at lulu this weekend – 20% off and free ground shipping when you use the code HOLIDAY305.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

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