Author Meg Medina, Cirkus Theatre Project, Bookmarks Book Festival, and Outta the Bag
Did you know that the largest annual book festival in the entire state of North Carolina is free, open to the public…and in downtown Winston-Salem? Yep, Bookmarks is gearing up for its 10th annual Festival of Books and Authors with a veritable Who’s Who list of best-selling authors in every category and for all ages. Bookmarks executive Director Ginger Hendricks will fill us in on all things books. And did you know that for years now Cirque du Soleil has turned to the Triad for the lion’s share of its design and production talent? Oh, it’s true. The University of NC School of the Arts and Cirque are like this. Why, they’ve even got a little tag team thing going on next month that you can see for yourself, live in the comfortable confines of DeMile Theatre on the UNCSA campus. It’s called Cirkus Theatre Project and wait’ll you hear what these all-student run productions have in store this year. Outta the Bag is an hour of free lunchtime entertainment in Winston Square Park every Tuesday at noon. Program Director Lynn Byrd’ll set the scene for us. And for a sample of what’s to come at Bookmarks 2014, author Meg Medina and our own Bethany Chafin tackle the subject of teen bullying in Meg’s award-winning novel.
Meg Medina is one of the 40 writers to be featured at the Bookmark's 10th Annual Festival of Books and Authors on September 6th. Her most recent novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, is this year's recipient of the Pura Belpré award. The award is presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. Yaqui Delgado wants to Kick your Ass follows 15 turned 16-year-old Piddy Sanchez as she navigates the social, emotional, and physical effects of bullying.
On September 6th, during the Festival, at 11:00 a.m. Meg will be discussing the topic of bullying and young adult literature with writer Len Vlahos (The Scar Boys) in the Art Gallery of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, and at 1:00 p.m., Meg Medina will be presenting the Spanish English storytime in Winston Square Park. Meg Medina spoke with Bethany from her home in Virginia, and she began by telling Bethany about embracing her writing career.
For those interested in learning more about multicultural voices in literature, she recommends these resources: We Need Diverse Books Campaign, Pura Belpré Award Winners, the Coretta Scott King Awards, the American Library Association, and Reforma.
Cirkus Theatre Project
Nisshoku presents a young boy and his escape from the reality of his own broken home. He creates an imaginary world where he’s called upon to teach the sun and moon to co-exist in harmony before the earth is destroyed. Red Balloon draws from Japanese Noh theater in showing how an orphan boy rediscovers the beauty of childhood. Cirkus Theatre Project—the unique collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and their longtime partner University of NC School of the Arts—is now in its third season. You see years ago Cirque had used UNCSA’s campus for the site of their design and production conferences. Through that connection they learned what a unique place the school is with five highly specialized schools of art, and they realized that Cirque’s future depends on training artists now. So, to keep the Cirque du Soleil pipeline full of young talent, a few years ago, they approached UNCSA and set up the Cirkus Theatre Project. It allows students in all schools: dance, design & production, drama, filmmaking, music, and visual art, to explore their own ideas, and creative processes as a team. After passing through several rounds of auditions called Gateways, each of the all-student run productions are now in their 9th month of rehearsals, consultations, evaluations, and refinement and they’re ready to share with the world. UNCSA School of Drama student, actor Alex Bodine [BOH.dine], and UNCSA School of Dance alumnus, contemporary dancer Emily Chamberlin spoke with me about Cirkus Theatre Project, and they were joined by UNCSA Director of Scenic Design, and Cirkus Project Director John Coyne.
Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors
Bookmarks free Festival of Books and Authors is coming up September 6th in Winston-Salem with 40 authors presenting their work, signing books, and answering questions. Among them will be WFU alumna Emily Giffin whose just published 6th book was #1 on the NYT Bestsellers list. The Color of Water Author, Musician James McBride will discuss his new novel The Good Lord Bird about American revolutionary John Brown. Author/illustrator Edward Hemingway, grandson of Ernest, will be there too, and Karen Abbott will share her spellbinding true story of four women in the Civil War - a socialite, farm girl, abolitionist, and a widow - who were all spies. This is the Tenth annual Festival of Books and Authors. For the past five years it’s been organized by Executive Director Ginger Hendricks.
There’ll be several other events surrounding it like the sale of all books now at the Festival, and at Open Houses on August 27 from 4:30 - 6:30. Bookmarks is at the corner of Spruce and Second Streets, directly across from the Hanesbrands Theatre / Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. There you can visit the office to get ready for the Festival. All proceeds benefit Bookmarks and their many year-round literacy programs. Last year they reached 16,000 people in our community.
Outta the Bag
Outta the Bag is an hour of lunchtime entertainment in downtown Winston-Salem’s Winston Square Park every Tuesday at noon. It’s an intimate, shaded venue where local writers, performers and artists share their family-friendly work with live audience members who take an hour to kick back, enjoy their packed lunches and some good, free outdoor performances. Lynn Byrd is a published author who sits on the Winston-Salem Writers board. She, along with her friends at Recreation & Parks, Milton Rhodes Center, and the Arts Council recently resurrected the decades old tradition Outta the Bag.
Outta the Bag continues Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 PM through September 30, in Winston Square Park, located just above The Sawtooth School and The Milton Rhodes Center between Marshall and Spruce Streets in downtown Winston Salem. Anyone wishing to perform should contact Lynn directly.