I didn’t get to stalk Alton Brown but I still had a grand ol’ time at the Texas Book Festival. My buddy and I headed down there early on Saturday morning to catch Laura Bush’s discussion at the Paramount. For my friend, this talk was more about the fact that Laura started the book fest, was a librarian and attended the same grad program that she’s currently in, U.T.’s School of Information. For me, it was a mix of morbid curiosity, weird intrigue and an odd event for a liberal queer to be attending. Laura was a class act and I was impressed by her comic timing, catching a number of large laughs from the crowd of 40+ bookish types. She also provided a few antidotes bout her husband which, though I still cannot agree with his politics, made him seem more human than monkey. A large amount of the talk did surround her reaction to 9/11 and the days that followed and I was struck by the realization that she truly stood by her man, even though she seemed to have different ideas of how the events that followed should have occurred. Do I condone her silence? Absolutely not, but I do understand where it stems from.

Afterward we grabbed a bite from one of my fave hot dog joints, Dog Almighty which only has a shop down in South Austin. I was disappointed though by their food cart fare. If I had known it was going to be concession stand cheese on my hot dog, I would have stuck to frito pie.

We perused the vending booths and admired the loads of kids wandering around, ranging from infant to high school book clubs. The event and booth offerings were superb, it truly felt like this was a fest geared for all ages and interests.

My one and only book purchase was from Book Woman and I couldn’t be more excited. I picked up Girls to the Front, the true story of riot grrrl revolution by Sara Marcus which I’d been eyeballing on Amazon for several days. I was too young to catch the Riot Grrrl kick while it was still in full steam but it’s legacy got me through living in small town Texas. Hurray for my local feminist book store having one copy at it’s vendor stand!

Overall, it’s free festivals look these which cater to a wide range of ages and encourage learning that make me love Austin.

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