Preview: art|DBF integrates artists’ books, music, theater, storytelling, acrobatics into book fest

Kevin Hamilton:  Day of the Rope (1991)
Kevin Hamilton: Day of the Rope (1991)

The AJC Decatur Book Festival enfolds all sorts of reading matter in its grand embrace. On the table, so to speak, during Labor Day weekend you’ll find not just your traditional fiction and nonfiction, but comic books, graphic novels and children’s picture books.

ArtsATL will add artists’ books to the mix. For the uninitiated, the term “artists’ books” refers to artworks that manipulate any or all aspects of the book form. ArtsATL in Conversation: A Look at Nexus Press will present the history and achievement of the now-defunct publisher and beacon of the genre, which produced a stream of inventive and innovative artists’ books.

Kevin Hamilton:  Day of the Rope (1991)
Kevin Hamilton’s inventive artist’s book, Day of the Rope (1991), published by Nexus Press

Editor Catherine Fox will moderate an illustrated discussion with former directors Clifton Meador, Michael Goodman and JoAnne Paschall, who guided artists from around the world to express themselves and extend the form. Goodman will talk about the early history of Nexus Press. Paschall will discuss the projects by international artists to mark the 1996 Olympics. Meador will speak about how the Nexus Press books of the 80s prefigured the photo book explosion of the past 15 years. It will take place 1:15-2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 6, at the Decatur Library.

The event is presented under the umbrella of art|DBF a three-year-old program that presents theater, storytelling, dance, music and more throughout the weekend. Curated this year by Kimberly Harbrecht, operations manager of Atlanta PlanIt, art|DBF will include 30 participating arts organizations and nearly 70 artists and performers.

“This year we are incorporating as many art elements as possible into the existing fabric of the festival, so, instead of art|DBF performances having their own separate venue, you’ll see them [on] DBF author stages,” she explains.

“We also wanted to make sure that everything has a literary connection,” she says. “So from circus acts to stage plays, there is a literary twist to each performance and activity.”

Serenbe Playhouse’s Secret Garden.
Serenbe Playhouse’s Secret Garden.

Decatur Square Plaza will remain the hub, the site of the Atlanta PlanIt pavilion, which will house more than 10 arts organizations and an interactive haiku project, as well as the Community Bandstand, which will host a variety of music and theatre performances throughout the weekend. A few examples:

IiQOQiKMJ9EvOgYCJrzuxRfWCgBljke9isk8UFVolt8Imperial OPA Circus‘ roving stiltwalkers and acrobats will enact moments of The Great Gatsby Circus throughout the campus and the Community Bandstand. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Soul Food Cypher, a “positive” rap group, and members of the audience will freestyle based on images and words inspired by the DBF program. 1:30-2:15 p.m. Sunday, Community Bandstand.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company will present pop-up performances of some of the bard’s iconic scenes. 3:30-4:15 p.m. Saturday and 2:15-3:00 p.m. Sunday.

Join ArtsATL critics moderating panels during the fest:

Anjali Enjeti: Endangered Lands and Lives.

Soniah Kamal: Daring Female Photographers.

Scott Freeman: The Legacy of Southern Rock.

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