It’s August, and summer’s almost over. The General Assembly’s gone home. Dubya’s retreated to the “ranch,” and Hillsborough and Franklin streets are quiet. It’s time to make sure we’re still having some fun. That’s where the Independent comes in; it’s our job.

So look for a run of fun in the next few issues of the Indy. Next week we’ll have the winner of our kids’ book contest. Here’s what olufunke moses, our arts editor, has to say about it:

This summer we wanted to invite our inner-children to come out and play. So we created the “Are We There Yet?!!?” Kids Short Story Contest–for adults.

The response was overwhelming.

It appears that many of you have stayed inside for too long–have not learned to dillydally after the streetlights come on.

Our grown-up contributors submitted stories about flying carpets, a sullen little girl, a curious rabbit, and travels to the Amazon, to Switzerland, to Italy, Africa. Some stories were principled; some sentimental, some pointless. But you had fun writing. And we had great fun reading.

Next week we’ll introduce you to the winner of our summer contest, a winner who will also enjoy an audio-taped reading of their narrative (which our staff members can’t wait to record!), and a bound copy of their story. It is clear to us, due to the numerous submissions, that we will have to set an annual play date, for our readers and ourselves.

We hope you’ll join us: play–clothes on.

Thanks, olu.

The next week, Aug. 20, look for a special edition of our regular Rock ‘n’ Roll Quarterly, with Sounds Local: The Independent Music Guide 2003. Russ Lane, an intern who was the arts and entertainment editor of The Daily Tar Heel at UNC-Chapel Hill, has spent the summer compiling entries from more than 300 local bands, musicians and music-related businesses to put together a comprehensive guide to making and listening to live music in the Triangle. The guide will have descriptions and contact information for every professional band that let us know they were out there. The listings are there to help people check out a band before they go see them, or for people who want to offer live music at parties and special events. But it’s also for the musicians themselves, to get their names in front of people and to remind the community what a large and dynamic force they are in all corners of the Triangle.

Then, on Aug. 27 look for a new kind of resource: Annual Manual, A Streetwise Guide to the Triangle. It’s not going to be your standard, Chamber of Commerce-style guide recommending lobbyists’ hangouts and functions with ticket prices in the triple digits . It will be a selective guide to living cheaply and well, with sections covering food, shopping, sports, the arts, and, of course, bars and music.

We’ll also make sure to keep you up on the news and commentary you aren’t getting anywhere else. But we want to make sure you’re having fun in the process.