No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Fair Day 2

November 19, 2008

Photobucket Miami


Book Fair Day 2

Photobucket Marta & Kathy

Photobucket Marta

One thing about the Miami Book Fair is that the average day spent there passes by way too quickly. From the opening presentation by actor/author/bon vivant George Hamilton to the closing panel with Salman Rushdie & Nathan Englander, the final day of the fair seemed to fly by at amazing speed. You would think that 9 hours would leave plenty of time to see pretty much everything, but it was not the case once again.

Photobucket Vernon Jordan Jr.

Marta, Kathy & me actually spent much of the day off on our own so for example, while Kathy was attending Wally Lamb, Marta was listening to Edmund White, Nancy Milford & Stacy Schiff present on their new biographies and I was at a presentation by William McKeen & Steven Watts about their respective bios of Hunter S. Thompson & Hugh Hefner. Something for everyone at the book fair.


Photobucket Roy Blount Jr.

The writers that we saw on Sunday was an impressive list that included Michael Cunningham, Elizabeth Strout, Junot Diaz, Carl Hiaasen, Roy Blount Jr., Amitav Ghosh, Austin C. Clarke, Tom Hayden and former Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan, Jr. My favorite panel featured a trio of funny and poignant presentations by Rick Bragg, “The Prince of Frogtown”, Dudley Clendinen, “Tales of the New Old Age in America”, and Michael Gates Gill on “How Starbucks Saved My Life” (which has been optioned into a film to be directed by Gus Van Sant & star Tom Hanks).

Photobucket Dave Barry

Photobucket Kathy & Friends

Of course the fair isn’t limited to author presentations. There is a plethora of interesting stuff to do. The street fair features hundreds of vendors selling books as well as any number of social, cultural and community organizations and delicious food vendors. There is an International Pavilion with exhibits from a variety of Nations, a wonderful children’s area and new this year, a huge area for comic books.
There were also theatre groups performing street theatre including an interesting flash mob that remained motionless for more than 5 minutes in a rather surreal performance that is documented in the video clip below.

Flash Mob

The book fair is an awesome event and we are already planning to return next year. In the meantime, we returned to Key West and entertained Marta for a few more days before she headed home. We did many of her favorite things, going to an art opening at Lucky Street Gallery, having drinks at La Te Da and shopping at Fast Buck Freddies.

Photobucket Fast Buck's


Monday, November 17, 2008

Miami Book Fair -25th Anniversary

November 17, 2008

Photobucket Richard Belzer

Photobucket Amy Tan

Miami Book Fair -25th Anniversary

Photobucket Michael & Simpsons creator Matt Groening

Photobucket Rock Bottom Remainders

The Miami Book Fair International is one of a few annual “must attend” events on our annual calendar. One of the preeminent literary events in the nation, the fair this year celebrated its 25th anniversary and we were once again there to take part. Once again this year, my mother Marta made the trip down from North Carolina to attend as well.

Photobucket Scott Turow

Photobucket Frank McCourt, Richard Belzer, Alan Zweibel & Dave Barry

The fair has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity and the anniversary celebration brought out another exceptional roster of over 300 authors who attended the week long festivities. We made it up only for the big weekend street fair and the author presentations that are held in 15 locations around the campus of Miami Dade College in downtown Miami.

Photobucket Russell Banks

We actually arrived in time for the final evening presentation on Friday which featured a double header of sorts with a presentation on Cities of Refuge North America followed by a wonderful poetry reading by former U.S. Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Robert Hass. The Cities of Refuge presentation featured Russell Banks, Derek Walcott & Helge Lunde discussing how the program protects persecuted writers from around the world by offering them safe havens for them in the US. The program included two such writers as well; Swaziland’s Sarah Mkhonza & Irakil Kakabadze from the Republic of Georgia.

Photobucket Dennis Lehane

Photobucket John Dufesne

Saturday brought a full day of literary choices with an incredible array of authors to choose from. We began the day with a reading from John Dufresne, James W. Hall & Dennis Lehane. It was an excellent session. Next up was a presentation on a fantastic new book on the Civil Rights Movement, “Mine Eyes Have Seen: Bearing Witness to the Civil Rights Struggle”, featuring photographs by Bob Adelman and commentary by Charles Johnson. Other authors that we saw included; Dave Barry & Frank McCourt, actor/comedian/author Richard Belzer with former Saturday Night Live writers Alan Zweibel & Dirk Wittenborn and former White House press secretary Scott McClelland.

Photobucket Bob Adelman & Charles Johnson

Photobucket Richard Belzer, Larry Beinhart, Dirk Wittenborn & Alan Zweibel

Photobucket Marta meets Scott McClelland

The day wrapped up with a special 25th anniversary performance by some of the world’s best writers...and worst musicians and their band, The Rock Bottom Remainders. All most all of the original members of the band were here including Roy Blunt Jr,, Dave Barry, Carl Hiaassen, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Ridley Pierson, Sam Barry, Kathi Goldmark, Mitch Albom, Frank McCourt, Matt Groening & Greg Iles. They were joined by special guests the likes of Les Standiford, Richard Belzer & Alan Zweibel. It was a perfectly wonderful and dreadful performance. To see the writers having such a great time doing something other than reading from their work is quite a treat and certainly one of the highlights of the book fair. After a long day at the fair, we headed over for dinner and some shopping on Lincoln Road in South Beach.

Photobucket Scott Turow, Matt Groening & Dave Barry

Photobucket Scott Turow & Richard Belzer

Photobucket Frank McCourt

Rock Bottom Remainders * note cameo in lower left

Bob Adelman Website