Editor's Note: Spring is in the air 

And with it comes CL contests, festivals and more …

It’s springtime! What, you didn’t notice?

Granted, seasonal differences are usually minimal around here (though there’s been a wintry nip in the air of late). When it comes to CL arts previews, though, we recognize three seasons: Fall (Sept.-Jan.); Spring (Feb.-April); and Summer (with our Summer Guide, which covers May-Aug.). Collect ’em all!

Seriously, I hope you do collect them, or at least bookmark their online equivalents at cltampa.com. If you’d been in CL’s offices when we were editing the Don’t-Miss-This lists, you would have heard assorted oh’s, wow’s and oh, cool, I didn’t know about that’s, often followed by calendar-marking and ticket-wheedling. Myself, I’m looking forward to Circle Mirror Transformation at Stageworks, the latest Mindy Solomon provocation in St. Pete, the various festivals Gasparilla, and The xx, whom Music Editor Leilani Polk highly recommends while warning fans that that they probably should have snagged tickets a long time ago. Turns out she’s right: they’re already sold out! (See, you have to act quick with these things.) I’m also stoked by the sheer energy of what’s going on in the Warehouse Arts District; see you on the trolley tour Feb. 9.

With this arts preview, we also revive another annual tradition: the CL Visions Photo & Video Contest. You’ll find all the details at cltampa.com/visions. We’ll be accepting submissions starting Thurs. Jan. 24 at noon, continuing through Thurs., Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. ($5 an entry, three entries per person per contest). The theme is “Local,” which you can interpret any way you like: Local colors, flavors, heroes, legends. Local artists, shops, scandals, headlines. Local lingo, flora, fauna. Or none of the above: Just take a picture that says what “local” means to you. Judges, who include such local lights as Tampa Photographer Laureate Ric Savid, award-winning filmmaker Victoria Jorgensen, and University of Tampa digital media maven Santiago Echeverry, will select top 10s and award $300 prizes to the winners. Readers can vote for their favorites beginning Wed., Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. through Thurs., Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. The top 10 judges’ selections and the top three readers’ choices will be printed in our Photo Issue on March 21 and shown in a gallery exhibition at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, with the winners announced at an awards reception March 21 at the museum. The video finalists will also be listed in the March 21 issue, and their work will be screened and the winners announced during the Gasparilla International Film Festival on Fri., March 22.

Our choice of the “Local” theme wasn’t arbitrary. It’s a conscious tie-in to another important event coming up this spring: Creative Loafing’s 25th birthday. We’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary with the Creative Loafing Festival from April 18-20 (our first issue was April 16, 1988). Details are coming soon, but suffice it to say we’re thinking of the festival as the pages of Creative Loafing come to life, with three days of panels, parties and special events featuring writers, newsmakers, artists, chefs and more whom you’ve gotten to know (and may have always wanted to meet) through CL.

Hence, the Local theme for our photo contest. We’re inviting you to do what we’ve been doing for 25 years: Go local. Focus on the faces and places, the telling details and the big pictures in the Tampa Bay area.

And tying together both this issue and the CL Festival, we’re reviving another tradition: 20 Under 25, our feature recognizing talented young artists under the age of 25. Only this time, in keeping with the anniversary, we’re seeking 25 Under 25.

Do you know a dancer who’s destined for big things? A singer-songwriter with an irresistible sound? An actor with a Tony (or at least a Norton) in his future? A painter whose work is already turning heads? Send recommendations for the 25 Under 25 list to me, david.warner@creativeloafing.com. Include an explanation of why this young artist is worthy of notice, with contact info (for yourself and/or the artist) and, if possible, examples of the artist’s work. Previous honorees have included a nationally recognized spoken word troupe, ballet dancers who’ve gone on to win spots with national and international companies, and a teenage musician who’s already gigging with grownups around the Bay area. The talent pool is deep, and the genres are varied; let us know who’s bound to be on our future Don’t-Miss-This lists.

And help us start celebrating a quarter century of going local — and loafing creatively.

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