Museum Partners With Iconic Bookstore

Book lovers living north of Miami have reason to rejoice this week: Books and Books, one of Dade County’s most important cultural institutions, is expanding into Broward, entering an agreement to host author events at the Museum of Art in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Books and Books remains the only South Florida literature chain with the cachet to attract internationally renowned author-celebrities, from Salman Rushdie to Bill Clinton to Venus Williams. Hopefully, some of that prestige will drift northward. The Fort Lauderdale expansion opens Thursday, with a spate of special events all weekend.

Local act the Jacob Jeffries Band will bring its brand of buoyant, keyboard-propelled pop-rock to the museum from noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. Friday. During the break from the music, Chef Allen Susser, of the museum’s newly expanded cafe, will host a conversation about food with local radio/TV host Linda Gassenheimer.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., children’s book author Pablo Cartaya will share his latest picture book, and at 3 p.m., City Theatre will preview short plays culled from more than 1,200 submissions by local and national playwrights for the company’s annual “Summer Shorts” production.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, the Museum of Art’s great and long-dormant resident theater company, the Inside Out Theatre, returns with a mounting of “Nowhere to Hide,” a musical about bullying. The show is performed by youth and for youth, recommended for ages 8 to 12. At 1 p.m., the museum will host a local author meet-and-greet with the likes of Kristy Kiernan, James Grippando, Evelina Galang, Lynne Barrett, Michael Hettich, Fabiola Santiago, Steven Raichlen, Thomas Swick and Adrian Castro. Finally, at 3 p.m., members of the Miami Poetry Collective will read poems inspired by specific pieces of visual art.

The best part about all of this is that it doesn’t cost a dime. Museum admission is free until 8 p.m. Thursday and until 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday. There is no indication at this point that Books and Books will have a full-fledged and well-stocked bookstore inside the Museum of Art; what is clear is that book lovers in Broward and Palm Beach counties will have a closer venue to see and hear their favorite authors, enjoy great cafe food and check out some compelling art in the process. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

The Museum of Art is at One E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For information, call 954/525-5500.