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Donna Larsen, a singer/songwriter, explains her long sabbatical from local stages:

"Because I was a mom."

She still is a mom, but the kids are older now and there's this backlog of material to deal with. "I kept writing songs," she tells the Reader. "Children's songs. A lot of them." After all, it's not like she hasn't had a lot of time, in children years, to write music.

"My first child was born 13 years ago."

Larsen created what she calls a "kid's picture song book with a circus theme. I didn't know what I was going to do with it," she says, "until my kids found it one day." Their interest spurred her to finish the project.

Larsen approached an illustrator who was willing to complete the project, "and I found someone else to lay out the book, and that's when things really lined up for me."

There are now 1,000 copies of the book, printed and ready for delivery, sitting in cartons in Larsen's garage. They await only the completion of the accompanying CD.

"It was all about the book. I decided I wanted to perform live shows again. I had been out of the scene for so long."

She played a three-song opener for Lisa Sanders then booked herself into a few open mic nights at the Queen Bee's in North Park. "Alma [Rodriguez, the owner] liked what I did and she offered me a four hour slot. I said, how am I gonna fill four hours? And she said, you get other people to perform with you."

Larsen lined up 10 musicians for that night.

"It's happening again," she tells the Reader. "Only this time at ArtLab Studios on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights." Larsen's San Diego Indie Acoustic Original Artist Showcase kicks off in November with Josh Damigo as headliner. "It will be a full night of music and food," she says, "for $10."

"San Diego is a Mecca of talent. There are so many way talented songwriters here." She'd like to host the showcase four times a year. "But the name is too long. Maybe we can have a contest to see what to call it."

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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