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Live Active Cultures

Community, creativity and commerce mingle to restore the holiday spirit

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Before heading home, I visited Thornton Park's Mother Falcon for the opening of Lure of Velour, which sought to revive the lost art of black velvet paintings previously reserved for Elvis and the Last Supper. This handful of brave artists (including Ernie Turner, Jimmy Breen and Heidi Kneisl) introduced new subjects to the velour universe – including Kim Jong-Un riding a unicorn and a cat wearing sunglasses (my favorite, natch). While there, I stopped in the adjoining bar for a last look at September's Shining show; it will shortly make way for Dec. 22's Cream, which features gift-worthy work by Johannah O'Donnell, Thomas Thorspecken and Patrick Fatica, among others.

Finally, I ended my 18 hours of art-retail therapy with a Sunday-afternoon excursion to Stardust Video & Coffee's Grandma Party Bazaar, Orlando's essential annual artisan market. Much like every visit to IKEA, I never escape Grandma without buying beyond my limit. This year, I finally got that haircut (courtesy of Alchemy), along with a fish pillow-puppet from Brendan O'Connor, pastries and prophylactics from Jessica Earley, a Breakfast Club Enzian poster by Lure Design and a free hug from Doug Rhodehamel. The sun shone, shoppers smiled, elderly carolers warbled off-key: It was a nearly ideal family-friendly event, except for the "Majik Mall" tent's smutty anti-sex signage. (Were they sincerely insane, or just unsuccessfully ironic? Someone let me know.)

In the end, community, creativity and commerce combined to restore my holiday spirit. I'd like to think O.J. would have approved.

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