It's not even the weekend, and the Miami Book Fair International has so far delivered a who's who of celebrated authors in Tom Wolfe, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros and others. Literary giants though they are, consider them a palate cleanser to what really draws the glut of book lovers to downtown Miami: The weeklong fair's most-popular and best-recognized feature, the open-air sprawl of booksellers and music known as the Street Fair.
Between Friday morning and Sunday night, the streets in front of Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus will be filled with kids' activities, food and the tented offerings of 200 local and international book vendors slinging all manner of bargain bestseller paperbacks and rare hardcover tomes to discerning bibliophiles. That's not to mention the Festival of Authors, featuring appearances and readings throughout the weekend.
New to the festival this year is MicroTeatro, a suite of nine mini theatrical plays performed in English and Spanish on the corner of Northeast First Avenue and Northeast Third Street, and the Kitchen, in which a dozen chef-authors including Hedy Goldsmith and Norman Van Aken discuss their cookbooks and demo their recipes at the Miami Culinary Institute. (Admission to the demos is free, but RSVP required.)
The festival's World Stage, headlined by Afro-Colombian jam band Locos por Juana and Grammy-winning Cuban pop-singer Lena Burke, also features jazz, rock and urban mash-up sounds from Ozomatli, Nimbaya! and retro-rockers Chick Habit. In honor of the Book Fair's themed country this year, which is Paraguay, classical guitarist Luz María Bobadilla and harpist Arami Malaise will also perform.
"It attracts two different kinds of audiences: lovers of visual arts, theater and music and dance, and lovers of literature, and brings them all together," says executive director Alina Interian, who has worked the Book Fair since 1989. "Maybe those who've skipped the fair in the past can finally enjoy it because of the literary and world-theater components."
Other indoor literary gatherings:
Friday: The Literary Death Match, 8-10 p.m. Friday at Bardot nightclub (3456 N. Miami Ave.), where authors armed with literature and booze duel with passages from their novels. 21-and-older, $10 at the door, preceded by a 6-8 p.m. pop-up book swap called Bookleggers: A Library on the Run. LiteraryDeathMatch.com.
Saturday: Miami humorist Dave Barry will discuss “Lunatics,” while Seth Reiss and Will Tracy discuss “The Onion Book of Known Knowledge,” 10 a.m. at Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, Second Floor, Room 3210)
Sunday: A “Pretty in Pink” twofer, of sorts, with the Brat Pack’s Molly Ringwald discussing her debut novel, “When It Happens to You,” at 11 a.m. and Andrew McCarthy promoting his nonfiction travel narrative “The Longest Way Home” at 4 p.m.
The Miami Book Fair Street Fair runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, through Sunday, Nov. 18, excluding nightly author events, at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Ave., Miami. Free on Nov. 16; $8 for adults, $5 for 62 and older, free for children under 12 on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. 305-237-3258 or MiamiBookFair.org.
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