Books! Books!

And authors! Authors! Authors!

SUN 11/7

For nerds like us, our biggest fear is not that terrorists will bomb the Capitol when all of the congressmen gather to hear the State of the Union address but that stupid people might one day attack the Miami Book Fair. They will turn all the librarians to dust! They will do away with spell-check! They will rally around some illiterate fool and elect him as the leader of the free world. Wait -- did that already happen?

If you too ask Santa for the revised edition of the dictionary every Christmas, if you're anal about organizing your collection of bookmarks, if you still fantasize about your college poetry professor (Hello, David Kirby!), check out the Miami Book Fair -- an intellectual orgy of rock stars from the literary universe. The eight-day affair starts Sunday with National Public Radio's Isaiah Sheffer hosting a reading of short stories, followed by a political discussion with CNN commentator Donna Brazile and New York Times contributor David Brooks. On Monday, writer/director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, Mask) speaks, and on Tuesday, former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove takes the podium. Wednesday's star is Ann Patchett (author of the bestselling Bel Canto); Thursday features cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Maus. On Friday, November 12, Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Bonfire of the Vanities) will be pimping his white suit. This is followed by a street fair and lectures all day on the 13th and 14th.

The list of 200 or so authors who will appear is, all by itself, a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. It includes Miami homeboys Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen, Pulitzer Prize winner Ha Jin, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (who said that Dubya's presidency is "as though he borrowed the family station wagon from his dad and crashed it into the globe"). If none of these names rings a bell -- well, the author of the South Beach Diet Cookbook will be there. And maybe we can get you a copy of My Pet Goat. The Miami Book Fair takes place at Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson Campus (300 NE Second Ave., Miami). Call 305-237-3258, or visit -- Deirdra Funcheon

Brat packer comes to FLIFF

SAT 11/6

Frank O'Connor was born in a small Irish village in 1903. Andrew McCarthy was born in Westfield, New Jersey, in 1962. Author of such works as Guests of the Nation and My Oedipus Complex, O'Connor was a member of the Irish Republican Army and a prisoner of war. McCarthy, on the other hand, was a big shot of the big screen; his roles in '80s films like Pretty in Pink, Less Than Zero, and St. Elmo's Fire immortalized him as a member of the Brat Pack. O'Connor and McCarthy are as far apart as Madonna's front teeth. However, like many other pop culture icons, their lives intersect at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, where McCarthy makes an appearance at the screening of News for the Church, a film about O'Connor's life story. However, if you're looking for Blane McDonnagh, you'd better tune into VH1; this time around, McCarthy's on the other side of the camera, making his directorial debut. The actor/director/Brat Packer drops by for a question-and-answer session Saturday at the Parker Playhouse (708 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale), where his film screens at 3 p.m. Call 954-525-FILM. -- Jason Budjinski

Stand Up and Shake

A bingo bare-all

FRI 11/5

OK, so you're of the opinion that bingo is merely something to offer Gertrude and Mildred one last shot at winning before Father Time takes the rest of their chips. That's because you never started the game having already lost -- your clothing, that is. At Friday's Bare Butt Wiggle Waggle Bingo at Sunsport Gardens Family Nudist Resort (14125 North Rd., Loxahatchee), the only thing that matters is what's on your card; you'll be leaving your clothes at home. "It's like normal bingo, but when there's only one chip left on your card, you have to stand up," Sunsport Gardens owner Morley Schloss says. "And when you win, you start wiggling." Problem is, what if you don't want to put your clothes back on? Well, that's why you're staying overnight. Ground fees cost $30 per person, $24 for a couple. The bingo starts at 7 p.m. Call 561-793-0423. -- Jason Budjinski

Holy COL-e!

SAT 11/6

COL-e's career took off with an accident. But there's nothing accidental about the way this artist has pursued success ever since. Donatella Versace, P. Diddy, Lenny Kravitz, and Blues Traveler's John Popper all have her paintings in their collections. And to think it all started with a bucket of spilled paint. "I use a silicon mixture and a fluid, high-gloss enamel," the 33-year-old COL-e says of her gaily colored, textural paintings. "That day in my studio, I happened to spill the enamel into an outline I was working on." The next day, she had what was essentially a new style, and she's used it to create abstract renderings of jazz musicians, sunbathers, and portraits that the beautiful people can't seem to get enough of. Mind's Eye Gallery presents COL-e in collaboration with Las Olas Arts Center (600 SE Second Ct., Fort Lauderdale). Saturday's opening is from 6 to 10 p.m. Call 954-463-8833. -- Gail Shepherd

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