GO VOTE, THEN GO AWAY 


Yay! It's fall! That means we can go outside to play again because temperatures have dropped ... to the 80s!

Give me a break. It's still too hot to do anything outside. That's why you'll find me in my house, like any sane person, cranking up the AC and shuffling through my Netflix queue.

Fall is largely a theoretical concept in Central Florida, since the "four seasons" model doesn't apply. The weather here is binary: either trying to steam you limp as a broccoli spear or kill you by drowning. No one cuddles up in front of the fireplace or shops for wool sweaters; palm fronds don't change color in the fall. Once I grasped that this wasn't going to be a whole issue devoted to Mark E. Smith, I realized that the point of OW's Fall Guide is to encourage you to go out (spend money) and avail yourself (spend money) of Central Florida's fine cultural institutions, theme parks, psychics and betting parlors (spend money, spend money, spend money).

Gentle readers, have you ever noticed that our special issues always center on spending money? Dining Guide? Go out to eat. Music Issue? Go buy drinks in clubs. Holiday Gift Guide? Duh.

Special issues are advertising vehicles – we're supposed to entice you with winning descriptions of local beauty spots, so record numbers of readers pick up the paper and eyeball the ads. Not that I have a problem with that – that's how newspapers work and those advertisers are paying my salary. But at the risk of enraging our advertising department, I'm going to recommend a fall activity that's completely free of charge.

Crispin Glover once said, "Women are sweet and girls are honey/But beat your meat and save your money." Sure, Glover is a creepy oddball, but he makes a good point: Resist the siren call of commerce and go DIY. There's one end-of-the-year thing you can do that doesn't cost money, brings you more satisfaction than cleaning out your closets and is absolutely Florida-appropriate. No, not Glovering yourself – voting.

That's Tuesday, Nov. 2, for those of you prone to blackouts. If you're over 18 – and our demographics say you are! – you've got until Oct. 4 to make sure you're registered and then another 30 days to make up your mind who gets your vote. If you want to send off disadvantaged kids to die a sandy death, tell other people what to do with their bodies, gut social service programs, hog a disproportionate share of natural resources and sit around polishing your AK-47 while waiting for the Rapture, that would be Bush. If you're a winsomely idealistic yet misguided fuckwit, that would be Nader. All the rest of you, get off your Bravo-watching, Cherry Garcia-eating asses, go down to your precinct and GO DO SOMETHING about this mess we're in.

Whew. OK. You've got a little over a month until Election Day; what to do until then? If you're not planning to spend the whole month obsessively clicking back and forth between CNN and Fox News, eating Xanax to combat Dubya: The Sequel-induced panic, Orlando does offer a few unique treasures, all of which can be enjoyed this fall.

You could go to Will's Pub to see Sam Rivers play Oct. 20 and think how lucky we are to have the resident Jazz Laureate play in our backyard from time to time. Or you could go to The Peacock Room, where adventurous arts programming has made a martini bar the de facto cultural center of a city whose cultural affairs department hasn't managed to provide one. Go to the Orlando Museum of Art and blow your mind standing in front of one of the Basquiat paintings hanging until Oct. 31 as part of the "Co-Conspirators" exhibit. Or just go to Rock & Roll Heaven and strike up a conversation with the staff – you're guaranteed to learn something (just don't tell 'em we sent you).

Now go away. I've got movies to watch, ice cream to eat and an election to worry about.

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