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  • My hometown has had a sudden desire to revitalize the downtown area ever since production of Public Enemies took place for a few glittering days in the summer of 2008. This movie, as you may be aware, featured an old, golden age of bank robberies and general debauchery, which included pretty street front facades covering up the otherwise drab and dreary (with very dark sunglasses on at night) store fronts. Clearly, the city had work to do.

    One of these efforts to cheer up the lovely downtown portion of Oshkosh was to promote a monthly art walk. These festivals included live music, performances, plenty of free coffee and, on more than one occasion, someone dressed as a dragon. Engaging the dragon in the cunning art of sword fighting was strictly frowned upon. Pulling his tail, however, was most highly encouraged.

    At last, the dream of a bustling downtown area filled not with cars and punk rock-esq too-cool-to-do-a-book-report-or-read-a-book non-vagabonds, but with music and the cheers of friends laughing around a saxophone and ukulele. Not even a butter rum latte of the day could stop us now! Our sublime slice of the coffee house life had arrived, if only for a few transcendent hours. We would toast the barista and have our drinks iced tonight.

    Here is where I must admit a most grievous obsession; at the very height of summer, spending hours upon hours in a single coffee shop was a great joy of mine. Perhaps the moment when you notice the store's music loop has rewound is the very edge of the slippery slope overlooking the Great Macchiato Sea below.

    Ah, if only the New Moon Cafe' would play Beirut.

    It has always been quite interesting to roam the stores of the two precious blocks of Main street that featured things other than printing shoppes. Oh, what a range those blocks have, however! Within one hundred feet of each other is a incredibly hipster anything-goes-exotic-oddity-import store, a music company that could stock both a fantastically loud band and a listener with even the broadest, most abstract taste in music, and let's not forget the marvelous candy store, of course.

    We must also consider the great joy of a weekly open mic night, not at a shady bar where recently divorced men seek out young ladies, but a stage where girls play fiddles and sing their own music, guys play keyboard, and acoustic guitar is not seen as a mortal sin. While bluegrass is a must, country music is as scarce or more so than an empty corn field. Many a night, rap music lullabies have earned a deafening, efficacious amount of applause. Hearts are not worn on sleeves, but sent through a microphone into the anxious ears of a diverse audience.

    Is any of this, in part, due to the film production our city was so humbly graced with? No, I do not think so, but I did take the opportunity to take a photo at filming site, many years later, with someone who may or may not have graced the silver screen.

    It was then that I met the Aristocrat of Main Street.
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