Thinking about coming to the Festival of Books at USC this weekend? This year you can take the Metro, eat at food trucks and stay for a comedy show, all in addition to the oodles and oodles of book events. Here are some hints to help you organize your visit. And bring a jacket! This year the temperature is predicted to be on the cool side -- highs are expected to be in the mid-60s.
The Festival of Books app. The app is free in the iTunes store. It includes a complete schedule of appearances, from which you can build your own must-see list. There is helpful information about exhibitors and food on site, and also a map that shows where the festival events are being held.
Go Metro. The Metro Expo Line's Expo Park/USC station is next to USC's campus. From Culver City, take the Expo Line direct to USC. From Downtown, take the Expo Line to USC; those taking the Red Line and Purple Line can transfer to the Expo Line at the 7th Street Station downtown. From Long Beach, take the Blue Line to the Pico Station and transfer to the Expo Line to USC. Gold Line riders can get off at Union Station and transfer to a shuttle bus running free to USC, beginning at 9 a.m.
Dash from Downtown. The Dash's F Line will be running its downtown-to-USC circuit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are 50 cents.
Park for $10. Parking lots at and around USC have filled up quickly in years past. If you drive and arrive early, parking in most lots is $10.
Hungry? In addition to the USC eateries that will be open, a number food trucks will line Downey Way. They include the Grilled Cheese Truck, Belly Bomz, India Jones Chow Truck, Jackson Thai BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster, and White Rabbit (it doesn't serve Lewis Carroll-style cakes and tea -- it's Filipino fusion). A list of eateries can be found in the app.
Kids: The children's stage features authors kids love but requires no advance tickets: Just walk up and find a spot to sit. Children's book authors who will be appearing there include Jon Klassen, Yuyi Morales and Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton.
Author appearances: Some interviews and panel discussions have sold out, but there are still tickets to many others available online. Tickets are free, with a $1 processing fee. At the festival, walk-ins are OK when there is room, and there are standby lines at the door to each sold-out appearance in case there are ticketholders who can't make it.
Book signings: Authors sign books after their appearances in tents where their appearance will be posted. Their books are for sale in designated areas from local independent booksellers. In addition, many local bookstores hold their own signings with authors who may or may not be involved elsewhere in the festival: Stop by Mysterious Galaxy's booth, for example, to see who is scheduled to sign there.
Booths: In addition to bookstores, there are many local businesses and organizations that will be at the festival. The booths are set up across USC's campus, and include publishers like Angel City Press, Cinco Punto Press and Penguin (sending a bright orange truck), print magazine Black Clock and online magazine the Rumpus, nonprofits 826LA and PBS SoCal, and organizations like the Jane Austen Society of North America and the Horror Writers Assn., which hopefully won't be located next to each other.
Evening entertainment: The two-hour comedy and musical extravaganza Wits (as heard on NPR) will be recorded live in USC's Bovard Auditorium on Saturday night. Featured performers include the comedian Margaret Cho, the band Superchunk, Okkerville River's Will Sheff, musical director John Munson and the house band the Witnesses and host John Moe. The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets are $34 to $65.
Got a question not answered above? Leave it in the comments or check out the small print at our festival website.