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Lit Crawl brings books to bars, galleries, and theaters this Saturday

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Minneapolis and St. Paul are always topping national lists for literary cities, so it stands to reason that we finally get caught up with the Lit Crawl craze, an ingenious happening that has swept cities like San Francisco, New York, and Austin. Basically, the idea is to have a slew of book-themed events throughout the day at different venues for an off-beat day of word loving.

According, to Anne Saxton, who does marketing and events for Bryant-Lake Bowl and other venues owned by restauranteur Kim Bartmann, the idea for the crawl came as Bartmann was traveling to a conference in Toronto.

“They had a Lit Crawl happening there and she wanted to try and start one in Minneapolis,” Saxton says. “I reached out to various lit groups to gauge their interest and it took off from there.”

For the most part, the scheduled events are more playful than a regular literary reading. For example, at 3 p.m. at Magers & Quinn, there’s going to be literary fortune-reading, where soothsayer booksellers reveal your future reading material.

Later at 4:30 p.m., at Barbette, editors from the Growler Magazine and other guests will stage experiments with editing copy in real-time, challenging audience to a game of emoji translation as they read through press releases and parse fact from fiction in the world of food and drink stories.

SooVAC Gallery has a kind of double event, with the closing of the “EKPHRASTIC” storytelling experiment by Megan Vossler and a pop-up “book bar” presented by the Riveter and Magers & Quinn. Vossler and a team of 25 artists have been working for the past five weeks, expanding a narrative work on paper located on the front gallery wall. What started as just three panels has been added to by various artists, weaving new storylines and characters into the narrative fabric.  For the event on Saturday, which begins at 6 p.m., writers James Cihlar, Heid Erdrich, and William Reichard will be presenting their responses to the piece in word form.

"EKPHRASTIC" by Megan Vossler and others at SooVAC

"EKPHRASTIC" by Megan Vossler and others at SooVAC

Also at SooVAC, Riveter magazine and Magers & Quinn will be hosting a “book bar,” offering a selection of five curated books. “Essentially, it’s a pop-up book store,” says Joanna Demkiewicz, one of the founders of Riveter. “We wanted it to be a bit playful.” She notes that all the books are from women authors, including Mary Louise Parker’s memoir, Dear Mr. You.

At 7:30 p.m., head back to Barbette for some life advice from poets. People can submit questions via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #lifeadvicefrompoets, and then questions will be drawn from a beret and answered by poets Faith Sullivan, Sun Yung Shin, Sally Franson, Michael Kleber-Diggs, and Ed Bok Lee.

“We're giving them free reign with how they want to answer," says Melissa Wray, from the Loft Literary Center. “It can be in poetic form, it can be humorous, serious — anything they want. We're playing off of the ‘serious poet’ stereotype, so it's meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek.”

After that, you might want to check out the Popcorn Story Hour, presented at 9:30 p.m. by Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, and Milkweed Editions at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Part improv, part reading, part workshop, the event will see the three presses battle each other over three rounds through very silly prompts and audience input. 

You can check out the event page for a full list of events, but make sure you end up at the Red Stag at 10 p.m., where DJ Shannon Blowtorch will help you dance out your day of literature hopping with some great tunes.