Written and Photographed by: Veronica Suarez Editor-in-Chief
It was a cool night in Miami, a rare night in this sweltering city of palm leaves and coconut trees. The cupola of the Freedom Tower stood lonesome against the Downtown skyline—but through the oak main doors, a large crowd gathered within to witness the unveiling of the Miami Book Fair International’s 2013 posters.
Reporters scribbled, photographers snapped cameras, and the event dancers began the night with open umbrellas.
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. ” The luminous voice of Gene Kelly boomed through the large speakers inside the ballroom and groin ceilings.
Dancers from Miami Dade College twisted and twirled their bodies, open umbrellas flailing in the air as light as feathers or as swift as Gene Kelly’s tap feet.
Several members of the crowd joined the dance as the celebration ensued, hands clapping and fingers snapping: “Come on with the rain—I’ve a smile on my face!”
The Corinthian capitals on the columns, cast concrete cherubs, and hanging lanterns cascading with soft mellow light added to the allure of the classic evening.
After the dance, the director of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Delia Lopez, introduced this year’s posters with the help of Mitchell Kaplan, chairperson and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International, the largest book fair in the country.
It was a special night, with champagne glasses raised in the air for the toast and celebration of 30 years in the making.
To the anticipation of the crowd, the black curtains covering the posters were yanked away, and the animated illustrations were shown to a cheering audience. The first poster, created by Paul Pope, is of a boy reading a book with monsters hovering above him, bunched together in his imagination, competing for his attention. The second poster is of books flying in space, and it celebrates the culture of Spain. It was created by Spanish artist, Francisco Capdevila.
The theme of the Book Fair this year is a celebration of Spain’s literature and culture: Capdevila is one of Spain’s most relevant comic artists and illustrators, so the rendition of the poster is a natural choice. Pope’s poster was created for Generation Genius Days, the section of the Book Fair for kids and young adults.
After the posters were displayed, the arroz con pollo platters were ordained, and bocaditos disappeared from the room like runaway criminals. Servers came and went with many plates of delectable dishes pinched with toothpicks, while the guitar and drummer duo at the center stage of the room resumed their flamenco tunes.
Tucked away at the corner, the clicking and clacking of manual typewriters was heard as the vigorous fingers of the group from the Miami Poetry Collective crafted and created improvised poems for entreating guests.
Guests ate, drank red wine and champagne, and requested poems from the talented, industrious poets who clicked away on their typewriters.
The poems were marked with red hearts at the top of the page, an appropriate emblem for a night full of good food, dreamy music, and a wonderful tradition of literary arts. It was a historical night at a historical landmark with the sound of typewriters and the tune of flamenco players.