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A look at Disney World’s new Pandora-World of Avatar land

It’s not a movie set, but visitors to Disney World’s new Pandora-World of Avatar land are in for a cinematic experience.

The 12-acre land, inspired by the “Avatar” movie, opens in Florida in late May at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. It cost a half-billion dollars to build.

The marquee attraction is Flight of Passage, where a 3-D simulator plunges riders into a cinematic world. You feel like you’re riding on the back of a banshee, a bluish, gigantic, winged predator that resembles something out of the Jurassic era. Wearing 3-D glasses and straddling what resembles a stationary motorcycle, you’re strapped in, then the lights go out, a screen in front lights up and you’re swooped into a world of blue, gigantic aliens called Na’vi, with moon-filled skies, plunging waterfalls, jumping marine animals and towering ocean waves.

The ride provides an enchanting and intoxicating five minutes that touches all the senses. Blasts of air and spritzes of mist hit your face, and as you fly through a lush forest, a woodsy aroma wafts through your nostrils. A visitor could go on the ride 20 times and not catch half the visual details.

Disney designers are quick to say the new land is the star of the action, not the backdrop. “The character is being portrayed and played by the place itself and that’s different than a set,” said Joe Rohde, the design and production leader of Pandora -World of Avatar.

Other aspects of Pandora can’t quite compete with the excitement and immersion of Flight of Passage. Much of Pandora, at least during the daytime, is hard to distinguish from the rest of Animal Kingdom, Disney’s almost 20-year-old zoological-themed park with lush landscaping, an emphasis on conservation and a Noah’s ark range of animals.

At night, though, Pandora transforms into a sea of color with glowing lights on artificial plants and even in the pavement.

The enormous blue Na’vi aliens from the “Avatar” movie appear sparingly, really just on Flight of Passage and a second attraction called Na’vi River Journey. Before going on Flight of Passage, visitors walk through a tunnel in a faux mountain until they stumble upon a laboratory that includes a Na’vi floating in a tank.

“It’s not as simple as a guy in a costume painted blue walking around out here,” Rohde said of the aliens. “We know they are culturally present around us but we will meet them when we go on an excursion.”

The other main attraction, Na’vi River Journey, is an indoor river ride in the dark, lit up by glowing creatures and plants. The ride culminates with a Na’vi animatronic woman beating on drums as a chorus of voices reaches a crescendo. Images of the Na’vi riding horse-like creatures appear behind lush foliage, glimpsed in the distance from the river.

Disney has been building attractions themed on movies since Disneyland opened in 1955 with rides inspired by Snow White, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Often, as with Pandora, the attractions open years after the movies debut. “Avatar” came out in 2009. Director James Cameron’s sequel isn’t due out until 2020. Lands based on “Star Wars” are scheduled to open in Disney parks in California and Florida in 2019.

Pandora-World of Avatar isn’t tied to a narrative from the film but rather tells a story set in the future, after humans degraded the jungle through industrial folly and a resurgence of nature overtakes the human-built environment. That theme is a recurring architectural motif, for example with a beverage stand and cantina made to look like they were built for industry by humans but then overrun by plant life.

Throughout Pandora, real plants intermingle with artificial plants that resemble alien pods or Dale Chihuly glass sculptures. It’s difficult to distinguish what is real.

“We were trying to get as close as possible to fool the eye,” said Zsolt Hormay, a Disney creative executive.

At the entrance, visitors hear a cacophony of bird chirps and animal cries. A circle of drums connected to faux tree roots allows visitors to drum and then get a response of drumming or pulsing lights.

The focal points are a 135-foot (41-meter) mountaintop where Flight of Passage is located as well as “floating mountains” that appear to be suspended in air but are actually made of concrete. Engineers use tricks to make the park appear bigger than it is. The artificial foliage gets smaller as it goes higher on the mountain to give it the illusion of distance.

Disney also is testing out a new way to order food at Pandora. Before going to the park, visitors can pull up a menu on the My Disney Experience mobile app, order lunch and go about visiting the park. When it’s time to eat hours later, they can go to the canteen, tap on an app a button that notifies the cooks they are present. Several minutes later their food will be ready in a special line.

Jon Landau, the executive producer of the original movie, says he hopes Pandora does for visitors what the film did for movie-goers.

“I hope when people come to Pandora and their eyes will be open and they will look at the world a little differently when they go back across the bridge,” Landau said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Lockheed Martin is moving ballistic missile jobs to Florida

Lockheed Martin Corp. plans to move about 300 ballistic missile program jobs from California to Florida’s Space Coast over the next two years.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. spokesman Matt Kramer told Florida Today that the employees moving to Brevard County will work on testing and maintenance for the Navy’s Trident II D-5 Fleet Ballistic Missile.

The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles. Kramer said Lockheed Martin also will move additional missile program employees from Sunnyvale, California, to Colorado over the next several years.

Lockheed Martin currently has nearly 1,000 employees in Florida. In January, the company completed renovations to a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station facility that had been built in 1961 for NASA’s first manned spaceflight program.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Political consultant, competitive grillmaster Josh Cooper competing to be FOX’s new MasterChef

Josh Cooper is more than a skilled Florida politico; he’s also a widely respected Tallahassee grillmaster.

And now Cooper, a founding partner of Strategic Information Consultants and a competitive barbecue chef, is hoping to become the next “MasterChef.”

MasterChef, in its eighth season on the FOX Network, is a reality cooking show hosted by award-winning celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay that takes a batch of home cooks from around the nation, invites them to Los Angeles for the “Battle for a White Apron.”

A new MasterChef will emerge through a series of competitions, including elimination and pressure tests, team challenges and a “mystery box” ingredient cook off.

Cooper will join the other hopefuls in producing their own signature dish, presenting it to the panel of Ramsay and other world-class chefs.

After several elimination rounds, 20 finalists will move forward to head-to-head competitions, with one winner will be awarded the title MasterChef, a cookbook deal and a $250,000 grand prize.

Throughout his career, Cooper had taken his skills — in both politics and grilling – from Washington to Tallahassee by way of Memphis, where in 2008 he became part of a  competitive barbecue team called the Swinos.

“When I got to Memphis I met all these guys from Swinos. My passion for food and fun was hooked up when they asked me to join the team,” Cooper told the Tallahassee Democrat in 2014. “I’ve been cooking barbecue ever since.”

Over the years, the Swinos has been recognized in dozens of competitions, professional and backyard contests as well as several Top Five finishes and People’s Choice Awards throughout Florida.

On occasion, Cooper lends his considerable culinary skills to INFLUENCE Magazine, most recently featured in the Winter 2016 edition for the “In the Kitchen with …” series.

For MasterChef, Cooper will be one of 40 home cooks from 18 states – four from Florida – who successfully auditioned for a spot, in a diverse group including a debt collector, dentist, PE teacher, Harvard student, swimsuit model and two ministers. Cooper will be representing his home state of Ohio.

This year, the competition is again hosted by Ramsay and world-renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi. The third judge, new to MasterChef, is Aarón Sánchez, the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur.

If he wins, Cooper will take his spot along previous MasterChef winners: Shaun O’Neale (Season Seven), Claudia Sandoval (Season Six), Courtney Lapresi (Season Five); Luca Manfe (Season Four); Christine Ha (Season Three), the first-ever blind contestant; Jennifer Behm (Season Two); and Whitney Miller (Season One).

The eighth season of MasterChef begins Wednesday, May 31, (8:00-9 p.m. ET/PT) on FOX.

How pink became sine die tradition in Tallahassee

Pink is what distinguishes the last day of Florida’s Legislative Sessions.

Lobbyists, consultants, former lawmakers and observers, clad in pink outfits, roam the Capitol hallways during the session’s final hours.

Pink is the tradition for Capitol veterans to pay tribute to the late lobbyist Marvin Arrington.

“Marvin was here for a long time, and he had a tradition of wearing a pink sports coat on the last day of Session,” said Wayne Malaney, who lobbies for newspaper publishers.

In 2002, Arrington succumbed to a heart attack in a parking lot a block north of the Capitol. It was the Monday of the last week of session for that year.

By the time people realized he was in crisis, smoke from the spinning of his car tires filled the downtown area.

“Marvin wore pink carnations and no one serving today was here when Marvin was, but those who remembered him by wearing pink,” said Keith Arnold, who served in the House in the 1980s and 1990s and now lobbies.

The last day of the 2002 session, Arrington’s son, Reynolds, and nephew, Patrick, showed up at the Capitol wearing Arrington’s trademark pink jackets. Joining them are more than 100 lobbyists sporting pink: carnations, jackets, shirts, all responding to Reynolds’ request to remember his dad with a display of pink.

“Anyone that’s man enough to wear pink at your age is man enough for us to listen to,” former Speaker James Harold Thompson said to the Orlando Sentinel.

People observe traditions for a variety of reasons. They are a tool to keep up predictability in a changing world, to create self-identity for a group within a larger society and serve to transfer knowledge from one generation to the next.

“I wear a hideous pink jacket for Marvin; he was a great guy, a wonderful man,” Dave Ramba said. “His son comes for the final day and we as a community watch out for him, he was just 13 years old when he lost his father. We’ll all be wearing pink carnations.”

Marvin Arrington’s father, C. Fred, served in the Florida House in the 1950s and Marvin would tell friends he grew up at the Capitol. Among lawmakers, their staff and journalists he was known as a “white hat,” an honest broker of information.

For some Tallahassee politicos wearing pink is a statement of values.

“We respected him greatly for his intellect and honesty,” said Steve Schale, who knew Arrington while working for Rep. Doug Wiles. “And my way of paying homage to the way I think we are supposed to treat this business as advocates is to wear pink for Marvin Arrington.”

Seeing pink at the Capitol on Session’s final day, to paraphrase Artis Whitman, is a visual reminder of how each generation takes nourishment from earlier ones, giving knowledge to those who comes after.

Or, then again, Ramba may be right: It’s a hideous fashion statement but a fun way to remember a “great guy and wonderful man.”

Lobbyists wear their pink, in honor of Marvin Arrington, an insurance lobbyist with an affinity for pink who died during the last week of the 2002 Session, on the fourth floor Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo by Phil Sears

Cinco de Mayo met with more ambivalence in age of Donald Trump

For years, Yazmin Irazoqui Ruiz saw Cinco de Mayo as a reason to eat tacos and listen to Mexican music.

The 25-year-old Mexican-born medical student left Mexico for the U.S. as a child and celebrates the day to honor a homeland she hardly remembers.

But the Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident said she’s reluctant to take part in Cinco de Mayo festivities this year as President Donald Trump steps up federal immigration enforcement and supporters back his call for the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I mean, what is it about? You want to eat our food and listen to our music, but when we need you to defend us, where are you?” Irazoqui Ruiz asked about the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the country.

She isn’t alone. Trump’s immigration policies and rhetoric are leaving some Mexican Americans and immigrants feeling at odds with a holiday they already thought was appropriated by beer and liquor companies, event promoters and bars.

Latino activists and scholars say that ambivalence is bolstered by the hazy history of Cinco de Mayo and by stereotypes exploited by marketers.

The once-obscure holiday marking a 19th-century battle between Mexico and invading French forces is now a regular celebration in the U.S., where party-goers flock to bars for cheap margaritas and tacos. Television beer commercials often show mostly white actors on a beach celebrating.

“The narrative around Cinco de Mayo seems to say, ‘this day really isn’t yours’,” said Cynthia Duarte, a sociology professor at California Lutheran University.

Tequila company Jose Cuervo is playing off the notion that the holiday is largely overlooked south of the border by throwing a party in a small Missouri town called Mexico. More than 90 percent of people there are white and less than 2.5 percent of Mexican descent. The company is marketing the event on its Facebook page as “Mexico’s First Cinco de Mayo.”

Jose Cuervo said in a statement the idea come from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency, and has been well received on social media.

“Consumers consistently tell us that Cinco de Mayo is a great way for them to reconnect with people they care about and enjoy a few cervezas,” said John Alvarado, vice president of marketing for Corona beer, which is made by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16), Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the victorious ragtag army of largely Mexican Indian soldiers against the invading French forces of Napoleon III. The day is barely observed in Mexico, but was celebrated in California by Latinos and abolitionists who linked the victory to the fight against slavery.

During the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, Mexican Americans adopted Cinco de Mayo for its David versus Goliath storyline as motivation in civil rights struggles.

This year, some immigrant enclaves have canceled or reduced Cinco de Mayo celebrations over fears that party-goers could be exposed to possible deportation. In Philadelphia, a Cinco de Mayo-related celebration was scrapped after organizers determined turnout would drop over concerns about immigration raids.

Others worry that parties could take a cruel spin, with revelers, emboldened by Trump’s crackdown, mocking and even attacking Mexicans. In Waco, Texas, a college fraternity at Baylor University was suspended after throwing a Cinco de Mayo party where students reportedly dressed as construction workers and maids and chanted “Build that Wall,” a reference to Trump’s signature campaign promise. The party sparked an investigation and campus protest.

“I don’t like to be so angry or shut people down for celebrating,” said Joanna Renteria, a Mexican-American blogger in San Francisco. “But when anyone makes an ignorant comment about my culture, it does affect me.”

She plans to celebrate by wearing a huipil – a loose tunic designed with colorful patterns of birds and flowers – that she bought in her family’s hometown.

Mexican-American rapper Kap G appeared in a Black Entertainment Television sketch in which he argues about the origin of margaritas – a drink with a murky history – at an office meeting.

“It’s not even a Mexican drink, bro,” the Georgia-based entertainer says before hammering a piñata against a table in a fit of rage.

Not everyone is turned off by Cinco de Mayo. Randy Baker, owner of the popular Rio Bravo Brewing Co. in Albuquerque, is unveiling the brewery’s new German-style beer Imperial Kolsch on Cinco de Mayo. The brewery is calling it Fünf de Mayo.

In Colorado Springs, a nonprofit group that provides scholarships for Hispanic students is holding a Cinco de Mayo “Fiesta & Car Show” featuring mariachi music and dances. Orlando. Florida, is throwing a Chihuahua dog race, and other cities are hosting Cinco de Mayo beauty pageants.

Some other places may not celebrate at all.

Jose Luis Santiago, an immigration advocate, said migrant workers in Homestead, Florida, are more likely to celebrate Mexican Mother’s Day May 10 and leave the Cinco de Mayo drinking and partying to ritzy neighborhoods near downtown Miami and in Miami Beach.

“Maybe we will get together and barbecue, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal for us,” Santiago said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Joe Henderson: ‘Stop the Presses’ was fond farewell to a grand ol’ dame named Mama Trib

In a crowded grand movie theater in the middle of downtown Tampa on Wednesday night, the people who produced the Tampa Tribune finally got a proper send-off.

It was one year to the day that the newspaper where I and hundreds more worked was bought and closed by our rival, the Tampa Bay Times. They said then it was a business decision; better for the market to have one healthy newspaper than two struggling ones.

That one that had published daily since 1895 — my paper — had to go.

But those who watched the première of Deborah Kerr’s expertly produced documentary “Stop The Presses” at the grand Tampa Theatre in the heart of downtown knew better. The closing of the Tribune wasn’t just a business decision to any of us. It was a personal, painful loss to the employees and to many in the city.

I know it was personal to me. I worked at the Trib for nearly 42 years — about two-thirds of my life so far. Many, many others felt the Trib was almost as much their families as their blood relatives.

Maybe that’s why we called her Mama Trib.

The film was a celebration, even the parts that were hard to watch. It gave all of us who loved the Trib a slice of our dignity back. It was validation that we were more than numbers on a spreadsheet.

Unlike last May, there were no armed guards this time watching to make sure no one flipped out on the day we had to clean out our desks for the final time.

There was no somber pronouncement from Times CEO Paul Tash, as there was last May 3, telling us we would not be printing the customary final edition granted to soon-to-be-extinct newspapers.

There were no human resources executives from the Times to tell us about our severance packages.

The film began with a trip inside the darkened ghost ship that was the Tribune building in the days after the closure was announced. There were leaking pipes, piles of rubbish, rooms that had been where major news stories were planned and executed were in shambles, as if they had been swept away by a massive storm.

In a way, that’s exactly what happened.

It went on to focus on each department — press room, advertising, circulation, packaging, the executive floor, and the newsroom. That all-encompassing look at the people who produce a newspaper left no doubt that we really were a family.

There was a huge turnout for the film, practically filling the place. A lot of old faces who had gone on to other things came back to say goodbye, along with many of us who stuck around.

I’m sure there were tears, especially the scenes toward the end that showed the Tribune building being demolished to make way for a riverfront residence tower. I also know there were hugs and gleeful shouts as we ran into people we worked alongside — in some cases for many years.

And there was one more thing — the last edition we never got to produce last year. Kerr, whose husband George was the operations manager at the Trib, had the idea of that unique way for us to have our final say.

My contribution to that section carried a headline that read “We just wanted the chance to say thank you.”

That was really it. I know the economics of the newspaper game and changing reader habits. The fact you’re reading this on a website that specializes in breaking political stories and commentary is proof that nothing stays the same.

I get it.

I’m not sure if there are immediate plans for another showing, but Kerr would like to have the film become part of the curriculum in colleges where journalism is taught.

Here is what I am sure of though: Watching that film and printing that final section gave us all some needed closure, and now it is done. We return to our normal routine with a smile for the good times, thanks to one final fond memory of a grand ol’ dame named Mama Trib.

Florida Blue health plan resolving multiple withdrawal error

Florida Blue says it’s resolved an error that caused multiple withdrawals to be taken from the bank accounts of nearly 10,000 consumers to pay their May health insurance premium.

Florida insurance officials said Wednesday that Florida Blue consumers were seeing multiple withdrawals instead of the scheduled one-time payment. Florida Blue blamed the error on a third-party vendor.

The overdrafts caused some clients to have their bank accounts frozen.

Attorney Kristin Longberry tells the Orlando Sentinel she paid her monthly premium of $2,000 on Friday. She later discovered they’d billed her 71 times, withdrawing $142,000, causing the bank to freeze her account.

On Monday, Florida Blue reversed all the transactions, but noted it may take extra time for some banks to complete the process.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Florida bolsters response to opioid-addiction crisis

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Wednesday to combat opioid abuse in the state, where he said the number of overdose deaths has reached epidemic proportions.

Scott’s executive order will free up nearly $30 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services. And it comes as a series of workshops focused on addressing the opioid abuse crisis launch in the state’s hardest-hit areas.

“I know firsthand how heartbreaking substance abuse can be to a family because it impacted my own family growing up,” Scott said in a statement. “Families across our nation are fighting the opioid epidemic and Florida is going to do everything possible to help our families.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015 nearly 3,900 people died across the state as a result of opioid abuse.

Scott’s declaration has bolstered the Florida Legislature’s effort this year to address the opioid abuse crisis in several proposals.

“The governor deserves credit for recognizing the immensity of the problem,” State Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Democrat from Lake Worth, said. “People are dying, and now we can all come together to work on solutions and save lives.”

Among the measures state legislators are considering is one that rewrites the state’ drug trafficking statute and puts fentanyl — a synthetic drug that can be 100 times more potent than morphine — at the same level as heroin. The measure would create tougher penalties for dealers and users, specifically those caught with fentanyl. This drug is associated with more than 700 deaths in the state last year.

The state Senate unanimously approved the bill Wednesday. If passed, drug dealers could face murder charges in cases where a buyer overdoses and died.

Opponents of some provisions in the measure say it will increase the state’ inmate population and will criminalize drug addicts who should be getting treatment instead.

Lawmakers are also trying to crack down on sober-living homes that make false marketing statements in order to draw in more patients. The fate of that bill remains uncertain after its passage in the House a week ago. With two days left in session the Senate has yet to put it on its schedule for consideration.

A bill that places new restrictions on how doctors prescribe painkillers has also moved along in the Legislature. Under this bill, pharmacies would have to report the dispensing of a controlled substance to a state database after the end of each business day, rather than on a weekly basis.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

 

Florida consumer sentiment in April drops from record high

Consumer sentiment among Floridians in April dropped 3.5 points to 95.7 from a record-high reading of 99.2 in March, according to the latest University of Florida consumer survey.

Despite the ups and downs in the index during the first four months of 2017, consumers are overall more optimistic compared with those same months in 2016.

Among the five components that make up the index, one increased and four decreased.

Perceptions of one’s personal financial situation now compared with a year ago rose 2.2 points, from 88.7 to 90.9. This is the highest reading for this component since February 2005.

Opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a major household item such as an appliance dropped 1.9 points, from 103.4 to 101.5.

Taken together, these two components represent Floridians’ perceptions about current economic conditions.

“Despite the decrease in one of the two components that address present conditions, current perceptions have remained stable in recent months, reflecting the favorable economic conditions that have prevailed in the state,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The three components that measure expectations of future economic conditions all shifted downward between March and April.

Expectations of personal finances a year from now declined 2.3 points, from 107.5 to 105.2. Anticipated U.S. economic conditions over the next year decreased 6.8 points, from 99.3 to 92.5. Finally, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years showed the greatest decline, from 96.8 to 88.2, an 8.6 points change.

“Most of the pessimism in this month’s index figure comes from the unfavorable expectations about the future state of the economy. Notably, these perceptions are shared by all Floridians with the sole exception of those with an income level over $50,000,” Sandoval said.

“It is worth noting that those with incomes of $50,000 and over display favorable perceptions in all five components of the index. In particular, they have a very strong positive expectation about their personal financial situation one year from now. This might be a result of the proposed tax reform announced by the federal government, which is expected to slash the tax rates on corporations and high-income individuals,” Sandoval said.

Economic data in Florida continue to be generally positive. In particular, Florida’s labor market continued to expand in March. Over the last year, 246,100 jobs have been added in Florida, a 3 percent increase. The industry sector gaining most jobs was education and health services, followed by professional and business services. There were also increases in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, as well as the construction industry.

A particular bright spot: Florida’s unemployment rate in March dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.8 percent, which is the lowest rate since December 2007, right at the beginning of the Great Recession.

Conducted April 1-27, the UF study reflects the responses of 568 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida.

The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.

Midtown Reader to share love of reading, community on Indie Bookstore Day

Book lovers and supporters of shopping locally can fuel their passions Saturday during National Independent Bookstore Day.

Midtown Reader, Tallahassee’s newest and hottest independent bookstore, is taking part in the third annual nationwide event, held on the last Saturday in April, with hourly specials from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Founded by influential political adviser Sally Bradshaw, Midtown Reader is one of nearly 500 independent bookstores in 48 states celebrating the power of reading and shopping locally, hosting author appearances, children’s activities, special deals and other promotions.

Every indie bookstore is unique, as will be every party on Indie Bookstore Day. To find the nearest bookstore joining the festivities, visit indiebookstoreday.com.

Midtown Reader’s contribution to the community-based celebration includes a schedule of activities and highlights of local author/children’s events.

On Saturday, Midtown Reader will have an hourly flash-sale table, rotating with series of sales categories, filled with fun books and titles curated by its knowledgeable staff.

The party begins at 10 a.m. with “Books to Read Over Coffee” followed by:

— 11 a.m.: Storybook Hour and Crafts for Kids with the Lion in costume from THE LION IN PARIS by the award-winning Beatrice Alamagna + Flash Sale – Books for Young Animal Lovers

— Noon: Flash Sale — Books to Drool Over

— 1 p.m.: Flash Sale — Books for Book Lovers

— 2 p.m.: Flash Sale — Books for Artists and Art Lovers

— 3 p.m.: Flash Sale — Books that Give Us the Creeps

— 4 p.m.: Flash Sale — Books from Around the World

— 5 p.m.: Flash Sale — Books that Give Us Hope

— 5:30 p.m.: Reading and signing with author Skip Horack/THE OTHER JOSEPH introduced by author Jimmy Kimbrell/SMOTE.

All-day events include live music, a special “Blind Date with a Book” table and raffles with prizes for those taking part In the Midtown Reader Passport event, as well as drawings for those sustaining and supporting members.

Each purchase gets a special bookstore cookie, and every $100 purchase comes with a free Indie Bookstore Day tote.

Also, literary-themed cocktails will be available at the Reader’s neighbor, Waterworks, Tallahassee’s premier Tiki bar and eatery.

Visitors to the shop can also make their mark by signing and adding their favorite book to the “Tallahassee’s Favorite Book” wall.

Midtown Reader is at 1123 Thomasville Rd. in Tallahassee; more information is at midtownreader.com or by calling (850) 425-BOOK(2665).

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