The Dallas Museum of Art and Friends of the Dallas Public Library's annual Arts and Letters Live literary festival is like the bibliophile's version of the conventions held for comic-book collectors and sci-fi fanatics. Arts and Letters Live must get a fancier name than "convention" or "expo" because its books have more pages and fewer illustrations. But, like cons, Arts and Letters Live draws in a gamut of celebrities from cult heroes to New York Times best sellers, the literary equivalent of Peter Mayhew (Star Wars' Chewbaca) and Julian Glover, the sci-fi triple threat who was in Star Wars, a James Bond flick and the third Indiana Jones movie.
This year, there are hip, young writers who were hot when their books came out and will be again when the movie versions are released (Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and Melissa Bank, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing), 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay), a rare appearance by Art Spiegelman, who wrote two comic books about the Holocaust, and a tribute to the tempestuous relationship of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald starring Cabaret comrades Natasha Richardson and John Benjamin Hickey, plus events for kids and the Literary Café series at Club Dada.
Lending a hometown feel to the proceedings is Texas Bound, a series of readings by actors, authors and other celebrities of short stories by Texans. The first one of 2002, "Texas Stories: The Home Team," kicks off Arts and Letters Live this week with readings by a trio of local actresses (Mary Anna Austin, Connie Gold and Kitchen Dog Theater's Tina Parker) and former Dallas Cowboy and national literacy advocate Daryl Johnston. Even book-lovers need a chance to get their dork on in public.