a little like, how did you spend your vacation. I went to the International Book Fair an annual gigantic event. The purpose was to find something that would enhance our own Book Fair on April 10, It will be our first and it has to be awesome even if it is just for one day. What with our Free Little Libraries about to make an appearance and our concern for literacy and how to engage everyone’s heart. I went down via the Train. The 7:08 right on time and while I was reading, waiting, the platform filled, this on a Saturday morning! Greeting the people at the Miami station coming from the train was a gauntlet of 20 some people with religious material. I was going to pick up literature and possibly a new book, so I declined, wise choice my bag would be full. My rendezvous was in the Grove a familiar spot. Right where Fred Hunt’s painted flamingo is still in front of the Mayfair. Two reasons, The Friends of the Lake Worth Library will have their first annual book fair on April 10 2016, and i am chairing it.
We entered close to the Children’s Alley and that is where I would find what kind of activities children like, this is after all the 30th year for this book fair. The face painting booth was empty! The poet busy on his old portable typewriter, something these kids have never seen, got their attention. Breakfast was Crepes and Cafe con leche at an outdoor campus spot. One Children’s book “We Dig Worms* by Kevin McCloskey (seen above here) was just named one of the top 10 graphic novel of 2015. I located Children book publishers. Some as close as DelRay. A whole row, a block long of tents of just “Books by Authors presenting at the Book Fair” They could easily be seen in the crowd via their Aqua name tags. hanging from lariats. Lines at the gate were getting longer and longer. Somehow we miss-read our destination on the small iPhone and found ourselves a block away at the Freedom Tower looking for a lecture.
This wrong turn was serendipitous as I saw one of the finest photo exhibits. Having showcased photography and judged it. This is a MUST GO SEE Words cannot describe the quality, the execution of this very personal statement by Eduardo del Valle. Missing one lecture, we headed to the next presentation. many overlapping.
There was a 78 pg. program, not counting the advertising pages. I took a quick photo from the 8th floor capturing the events vastness. Not possible as it surrounded the campus and filled two interior plazas that cross the entire Miami-Dade College. I spotted Mitch Kaplan rushing a few times, he is the owner of Books and Books in the Gables who started the fair 30 years ago . (At his first fair he had one of my Author/ Poet friend Pat Little Dog read, all the way from( Austin TX..) Exhausted from walking but not giving up we headed to the swamp it wasn’t marked but what a relieve we found ourself in a pavilion where Authors were reading about being transplants to Florida. All had a very individual take on this topic, our tropics. Totally unexpected, we were able to sit in comfort on IKEA furniture inside the swamp pavilion., Then it was time to go. Mean while i did find some awesome little book bags for kids which i tried to negotiate for our upcoming book fair. Times have changed in Miami a population of over 3 million. There is only one independent book store and that is the Bookstore in the Grove. The other is Books and Books, one in Miami Beach the other in Coral Gables neither in Miami and Cocoanut Grove is it’s own little fiefdom.
DAY TWO: VISIT with friends and a BIRTHDAY Starting out in Coconut Grove at Coral Bagels, a spot I often frequented, a great place to meet up with friends in common. The waitress still recognized me after six years. My picture is still hanging there . The stranger who agreed to take the photo, knew exactly which one we wanted include in this shot below.
The Albert Camus quote certainly strikes the right note . Sharing our breakfast is the Mango Strut Poster Artist 2015 working out details and this is a sneak peek, revisions still coming. Then on to Mad Hatter Art event, which I helped create. It has morphed. On our way we had to wait for these tour buses on Grand Ave. to drop passengers. On to the Barnacle Historic State Park where the tented artists were, artists without tents and required white skirted tables were on Main Hwy. . Right at the entrance I met with Trish who for two years strait has been the winner of best hat and certainly would have won again so they made her a judge this year. (She used to set up in front of my gallery)
Saw Silvano owner of Greenstreet Cafe busy as ever.
Then as in most towns there are empty storefronts and no one knows why. My gallery (seen here) is now a virtual something or another. Went down another street with some wonderful independent shops and was shocked to hear they will all be moving out, 16 shops to close. and move. The rents are going to be quadruple and who can afford the $4,000 price tag. Anyone reading this call our Lake Worth CRA and see if they cannot get some of these folks up here. There are several virtual offices where you can rent office space for meetings or for an hours meeting.
I spoke to one owner but she is already making her way to Savannah. Wonder what the Savannah CRA is offering her. This will literally kill the downtown that made Coconut Grove famous. Only one gallery left, Clyde Butcher gone, Peter Max gone. Blue Moon gone. Windisch-Hunt Fine Art, gone.