Like most of literate Tucson, I was at the Tucson Festival of Books last weekend, which, in its second year, drew hundreds of authors and thousands of people. I'm not sure of the final crowd count, but there was word going around that it is now the seventh-largest book festival in the country. (I heard this from two different people, so it passes the truthiness test.)
One of the things that helped increase interest this year was the focus on social media. If you followed @TFOB on Twitter, you got real-time updates on what was happening at the different venues. The festival's Facebook fan page provided links, photos, updates and a platform for user feedback. By the time the event was over, the page had 1,600 fans. That's 1,600 people who were giving free promotion to the event. Strategies like these are necessary to not only build buzz and provide information these days; they also get people interacting with content and providing the golden word-of-mouth that is at the heart of social networks themselves.
The one thing I found lacking, however, was the amount of videos from the festival. You remember videos, right? They're those things that are easier to enjoy on a computer than, say, a book. A quick YouTube search revealed plenty of stuff from last year's festival, but only a handful of videos (so far) from last weekend's event.
There is a many-fold benefit for the organizers of the festival to post video. Foremost, it expands the reach to people who may not have been able to make it out to the UA. Second, it gives the authors something to refer their fans to. Third, it gives an added oomph to the sponsors who were promoting each panel.
And more sponsors = more authors for next year.
On the politics front, we shared Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' vow to vote in favor of health-care reform—if the Senate bill was adjusted to reduce the financial impact on Arizona; brought you the news that Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard turned in his paperwork to qualify for the gubernatorial ballot and Clean Elections funding; followed the budget battle at the Arizona Legislature; and updated our Blogislature project with the status of the other bills we're following.
We previewed the Water Project festival that's taking place in conjunction with Solar Rock at Himmel Park on Saturday, March 27; highlighted Tucson Weekly arts editor Margaret Regan's nationally televised panel on border issues at the Tucson Festival of Books; and, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, shared a recipe for Irish soda bread.
On the science beat, we posted a new video of a lecture from the UA's captivating "Mind and Brain" lecture series that continues on Tuesday nights at Centennial Hall; revealed why female moths are bigger and more beautiful than male moths; and, of course, shared more of those beautiful photos from Mars.
We gave a shout-out to many of the amazing musical acts appearing in Tucson last week, including Little Dragon at Club Congress, Keb' Mo' and Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta at the Rialto Theatre, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow at Solar Culture Gallery.
There's more to mixing cocktails than pouring one liquid into another. In this week's special Yum! dining guide, Adam Borowitz looks into the high-end, signature cocktail trend, which is popular in places like New York and San Francisco, and is gaining traction in Tucson. At TucsonWeeklyTV.com, Aaron DeFeo, bar manager of Hotel Congress and Maynards Market and Kitchen, gives us the inside scoop on the art of a good cocktail.
"While we get rid of the aircraft noise, let us also do away with the vehicular noise. Those loud stereos and mufflers are killing us. Noise from vehicles has gotten four times worse than before. Those aircraft are thousands of feet above our heads, but those cars are right next to us on the road, and they drive within feet of our homes. And most of the noise comes from drug addicts and gun-toting drunks who kill anyone for telling them to be quiet ... let's rid our streets of unwanted, noisy and dangerous cars/trucks/buses. I say we pass a bill that eliminates all motor vehicles from the streets of Tucson. We can bike, walk or ride horses through town. Let's not stop with the aircraft; let's rid ourselves of all the noise once and for all."