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Preparing a lavish feast of local talent

Emily Larson. Charlie Parr. Don Ness. Tin Can Gin. Teague Alexy. Dave Hundrieser. Naomi C, the fabulous tap dancer. And yes, a schmuck named Eddy Gilmore will also be included in the festivities.

The common thread among each of the luminaries (and even yours truly, the Cinderella figure) is local, homegrown talent. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, a lavish feast of local talent will unfurl at The Red Herring Lounge. Cornucopia, a variety show like no other, begins at 7 p.m., an accommodation for non-hipster moms and dads like you and me.

Due to a miracle, I've been able to organize this show without a budget and virtually no name recognition. That miracle is Duluth.

The reason all this has come together relatively easily is that Mayor Ness will be there. Rather than team up with him for a standard book event, a wider celebration of local goodness developed organically. Talent has crawled out from all corners of the woodwork in large part to thank Don for his years of service.

The tremendous goodwill most of us feel toward our mayor is a barometer of the health and positivity within our city. While it is rooted in real accomplishments, a sincere desire to serve and a rare authenticity, the intensity with which we love our mayor comes down to how we feel about Duluth.

Think of the contrast with respect to how we feel about most state and national leaders. "Those people" are thought of as distant, out-of-touch politicians.

Here we have turned a corner. Our mayor is the face of Duluth. Since we tend to feel pretty good about what's going on around here, we naturally look upon our leader with great favor. This should continue relatively seamlessly with Emily Larson.

At Cornucopia, she'll be giving a toast. You'll have the opportunity to meet her, Don and all the other talent that will be on stage and mingling with the crowd.

This will be a feast for all the senses. 100 percent local, organic awesomeness. With gratitude and serious love for one another, we'll celebrate a bountiful harvest that we've been blessed with locally. The goal is for everyone to come away with an appreciation for just how much more satisfying life is when we choose "local."

As a community we are coming into our own by often choosing to feed ourselves, entertain ourselves and spur one another on to good works. And we do it well. We're waking up to the fact that we need not look toward distant lands at a drab monoculture, simultaneously withered and bloated from its own excesses, for our cues.

Everyone participating has poured heart and soul into their craft, from local beer brewers to authors to top-notch musicians to elected leaders and my friend the tap artist. Mayor Ness, Teague Alexy and I will each give short book readings between the various sets. If we're lucky, we'll wind up with even more on tap.

The evening has the potential to be magical. I'm beyond excited to share the same geographic region with these people, the absolute cream of the crop. Being in the same room together, on the other hand, borders on the ethereal.

For no cover charge you'll have the opportunity to participate in this feast of thanksgiving among people you care for.

As I've mentioned here occasionally, I've been out of regular employment for some time. Remarkably, I've discovered that it is surprisingly easy to plug deeply into the community even when cash is in short supply.

I offer myself to you as a case study to demonstrate that it is possible to choose local when means are lacking. I almost used the word "poor," but that is a serious contradiction. I feel rich in every way.

Many of the best things in life are free. Loving, appreciating and observing the God-given talents of others, are but a few.

There are indeed things that are not free. These should be cherished and handled with utter gratitude. Whether through gleaning or purchase, the attainment of such experiences and objects through the efforts of real people — neighbors who offer you their hand in friendship — results in true thanksgiving and satisfaction.

Monthly Budgeteer columnist Eddy Gilmore is the author of a newly released book, “The Emancipation of a Buried Man.” Discover more at

Eddy Gilmore

Monthly Budgeteer columnist Eddy Gilmore is a freelance writer, father of twins and husband of one. Connect with Eddy at