The Miami Book Fair International (MBFI) looms large with its literary prestige, but the week-long bibliophile fest isn’t all about the written word. Last year, the famous festival launched the Swamp, a Miami-inspired event space designed to showcase the city’s unique culture. This year, the Swamp is back, and it has a sister: the Porch.
“South Florida is changing and evolving, and we’ve tried to program the stages with what’s new and happening right here in our community. Capturing South Florida’s essence in the music, dance, film, visual arts and photography made here is our goal,” says Nicole Swift, program coordinator for MBFI.
With the guiding support of the Knight Foundation and the Miami Foundation, the two-pronged space is designed to offer a lineup of events that serves as “a cultural tapas platter,” quips Swift.
“Highlights this year include CircX cabaret show, an evening of South Florida storytelling with The Moth, dance parties with local bands like Oriente, the Spam Allstars, and Afrobeta, a queer quinceañera with Reading Queer, an evening of Improv with local comedy troupes, and a tribute to ¿Qué Pasa USA? with Pepe Bahamonde and former cast members — complete with croquetas and café con leche for breakfast,” explains Swift.
And that’s not all. There’ll be Swam Noir poetry jazz night; a one-on-one world’s smallest poetry reading, a shadow puppet theater performance, a Miami Against Humanity game, and plenty more. The list of events would be taxing for even the most dedicated cultural connoisseur.
The Porch is also bringing a whole host of new, fun stuff including Urban Oasis Project’s Farmer’s Market, veggie foods from Verde Farm and Cafe, outdoor games with the New Tropic, a type-in for typewriter enthusiasts, and a coloring book activity for adults with Doodler’s Anonymous, Swift says.
“We’ve invited back our very local beer company Biscayne Bay Brewing, who this year will be co-hosting a Beer Pairing and Bites evening with 180 (degree) Bistro,” she adds.
The inside venue will feature large-scale photographs of Haiti and Cuba by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carl Juste. Plus, there’ll be snapshots of the Everglades by AIRIE fellows Franky Cruz and Rebecca Reeve, and inflatable Giants in the City sculptures outside on the Porch.