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Brooklyn Book Festival and WILLiFEST Amp Up this Weekend's Arts Scene

By Amy Zimmer | September 21, 2012 11:29am | Updated on September 21, 2012 12:28pm

BROOKLYN — Literary heavyweights and budding auteurs are packing Brooklyn this weekend for book readings, film screenings and music performances.

The Brooklyn Book Festival and WILLiFEST, the Williamsburg International Film Festival, will take place at venues across the borough this weekend with readings from more than 280 authors, screenings of 100 films, and an array of performances by local bands.

The Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its seventh year, will feature a record number of options for bibliophiles and booksellers at its main event on Sunday — which is free this year for the first time. 

Best-selling authors as Paul Auster, Sapphire and Joyce Carol Oates are among those scheduled to appear Sunday at more than 104 panels on 14 stages.

“Brooklyn, or ‘Book-lyn’ as I like to call it, has more writers per square inch than almost anywhere else in the country, all contributing to our growing reputation as the epicenter of the literary universe,” Borough President Marty Markowitz said in a statement. It’s “where authors from across the globe gather each fall for the Brooklyn Book Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious free literary festivals.”

Not to be outdone by their literary counterparts, the three-year-old international film festival WILLiFEST, which gives emerging and established filmmakers a place to show more than 100 works to “tastemakers and industry professionals,”  will offer movie and short film screenings at venues across the borough, along with a block party and kids' music performances on Saturday.

WILLiFEST “strives to bring the most diverse arts festival to New York City” and calls itself the “world's fair of festivals,” according to its website.

Here are some of this weekend's highlights:

Brooklyn Book Festival:

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Pete Hamill, Paul Auster and Edwidge Danticat will read from their works and talk about how living in Brooklyn has influenced their writing, St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St.

At noon Sunday, Edwidge Danticat makes another appearance with heavyweights Walter Mosley and Dennis Lehane discuss their characters — and the darkness that often enshrouds them — at the Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, actor Tony Danza talks with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at the outdoor Main Stage at Borough Hall Plaza, 209 Joralemon St.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Tina Chang (Brooklyn Poet Laureate), Billy Collins (US Poet Laureate 2001-2003), Ishmael Islam (NYC Youth Poet Laureate) and Philip Levine (former US Poet Laureate 2011-2012) read from their work at the Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, "Sex in the City" actress Kristin Davis will speak about marriage and monogamy along with syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage and others at St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St.

Other events will take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street) and Plaza, Columbus Park, St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights Public Library, Brooklyn Law School, the Brooklyn Historical Society and St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Brooklyn-centric Films: “The Domino Effect” zooms in on Brooklyn real estate by looking at the complex networks of banks, developers, politicians and nonprofits involved in the plans to redevelop the famed sugar factory in the shadows of the Williamsburg Bridge. (Union Docs, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.) “Brooklyn Castle,” a documentary about I.S. 318, traces the winning chess exploits of the Williamsburg school, where more than 65 percent of the students are below the federal poverty level. (El Puente, Sunday, 2 p.m.)

Producers’ After Party: The festival’s producer Robin C. Adams and associate producer Nya Benitez welcome an evening of mingling and networking during an “after-the-music” party at Larry Lawrence Bar, 295 Grand St., on Saturday, 10:30 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.

Blockbuster Block Party: The family-friendly event will be jammed with games, crafts, food vendors and basketball — with Bucket Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters (from 3 to 4  p.m.) and the Brooklyn Nets making their mark in the borough by bringing staging kid-centric and adult activities.  The event takes place Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Grand Street between Roebling Street and Driggs Avenue. Blakes will also show off his moves a few blocks away at El Puente, 200 S. Fourth St., at 2 p.m. during a free kids concert with the Z Brothers.