Yes, people, writing is an art. Our own Savanna Stiff covers Miami Book Fair International, an event you should totally attend if you want to realize dreams of meeting cartoon characters from childhood books (and esteemed authors, of course).
Every November, Downtown Miami has the distinction of becoming the home of Miami Book Fair International, the most kickass book fair in the entire country. (Editor's note: this is 100% true.) It's a two week long event hosted by Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus, featuring an unbelievable number of authors who visit to speak about their craft. Better yet, most of the talks are free, and none are more than $10. The biggest attraction, however, is not the famous authors (Dave Eggers, Jay-Z, George W. Bush), but the street fair, which will be held this upcoming weekend, November 19-21.
My first experience with the book fair was back in high school, when I went to a school for lazy nerds in Downtown Miami. The Friday of the street fair, our school cancelled classes to allow us to explore the book fair under the condition we volunteer for a few hours by taking turns dressing up in character costumes for the Children's Alley (which, I might add, is really fun if you have a younger sibling or cousin to take along so you don't look like a creeper for wanting to color). This is how I came to be wearing a Little Critter costume in the sweltering heat, pictured above with an adoring fan.
Because I know you are all lazy, but I also desperately want you to come to know and love the book fair as I have, I've helpfully compiled a guide to the fair for you!
TRANSPORTATION: Parking is not fun downtown. Downtown is also full of tricky one-way streets, so I highly reccomend you take the Metro. Get off at Government Center Station, ask someone to point you toward New World School of the Arts, and start walking down 2nd Street. Stay on the sidewalk on the left side of the street (trust me, it smells better). You'll know you're walking in the right direction if you see a parking garage and a mural featuring Jim Morrison, which brings me to my next point...
FOOD: There's plenty of food to be found at the street fair, but if you want to feel really legit and go to a cool place downtown, hit up Red House Cafe. You'll pass it on 2nd Street before you pass New World and before you get to the book fair. It's a hippy, classic rock-themed sandwich shop that has an awesome mural featuring Narwhals inside. Yeah, Narwhals. I recommed the 35. (Fun fact, my friends and I spent so much time there in high school, the establishment put up a signed picture of us. Points if you can find it!)
STREET FAIR: Almost there! If you're heading down 2nd Steet, you'll pass New World on your left, then turn left on the next block. The fair will be large and brightly colored, so if you miss it I will have some concerns about you. The fair is free on Friday and $8 Saturday and Sunday. Once inside, I recommend stopping by my favorite seller, Bookleggers, for great deals on used books.
FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS: Visit www.miamibookfair.com for the full list of authors, but be sure not to miss...
An Evening With Patti Smith - FRIDAY NOVEMBER 19TH AT 8PM (ticket required)
Dave Barry on I'll Mature When I'm Dead - SATURDAY NOVEMBER 20TH AT 10AM
Dave Eggers - SATURDAY NOVEMBER 20ST AT 11:30 AM
Nick Zinner, Zachary Lipez, and Stacy Wakefield on Please Take Me Off The Guest List - SUNDAY NOVEMBER 21ST AT 4PM. (Editor's note #2: Savanna interviewed this crew on Indiefinable yesterday. If you weren't listening, which you should have been, lie and say you were so your friends will still talk to you.)