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WestportReads project focuses on why 'Gatsby' is so great

Updated 3:41 pm, Monday, December 24, 2012
  • "The Great Gatsby," is one of the focal points of a Westport Public Library program in January and February that will delve into the life and works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Photo: Contributed Photo, ST / Connecticut Post Contributed

    "The Great Gatsby," is one of the focal points of a Westport Public Library program in January and February that will delve into the life and works of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Photo: Contributed Photo, ST

 

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Westport Public Library will hold a series events in January and early February celebrating the late American author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his classic Jazz Age novel, "The Great Gatsby," as part of its 10th annual "WestportReads" community reading program.

Fitzgerald lived with his wife Zelda in Westport in 1920 in a house near Longshore Club Park on South Compo Road.

Beyond Westport, interest in Fitzgerald is mounting nationally with the impending release of a new film version of "The Great Gatsby," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.

In recognition of the Fitzgeralds' time in town, 20 names will be drawn by lottery to attend a talk by former Staples High School English teacher Gerry Kuroghlian at the house where they lived, according to the library. The talk, which will include light refreshments, will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.

Related events, each of which will offer a chance to enter the lottery, include:

Flapper headband workshop: For teens, middle school and up; register online. 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5. library's McManus Room.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American dream: Mark Schenker, Yale College associate dean, will lead a nonpolitical consideration of what "The Great Gatsby" continues to say about the nation, its history and individuals. 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6. McManus Room.

From novel to opera -- Gatsby at The Met: Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos directed the opera version of "The Great Gatsby" for The Metropolitan Opera. He will discuss the opera's libretto, written by John Harbison, and present musical selections from the score. 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7. McManus Room.

WestportReads out loud: A host of local celebrities, including Library Director Maxine Bleiweis, sportswriter Frank Deford and First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, will read the first two chapters of the book. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9. McManus Room.

Discuss "The Great Gatsby:" A talk on the book that in 1922 F. Scott Fitzgerald announced as "something new -- something extraordinary and beautiful, and simple and intricately patterned." 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10. Seminar Room.

WestportReads and dances: Learn to dance the Charleston, the Peabody and the Blackbottom with Robin and Ed Poska, directors of Ballroom Magic. For adults and teens; partner optional. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11. McManus Room. Register online. $15.

Perspectives on Gatsby: An inter-generational discussion of "The Great Gatsby" will be held by senior citizens Sybil Steinberg and Dick Leonard and two high school seniors at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave. 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12.

Dance time for kids -- learn the Charleston: Robin and Ed Poska, directors of the Westport/Weston Cotillion, will teach the Charleston to children in grades 2-5. 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. McManus Room. Register online.

Prohibition takes on the first national pastime: Writer and broadcaster Eric Burns will discuss how Prohibition had as much to do with politics, economics and geography as it did with alcohol consumption. 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14. McManus Room.

PageTurners discusses Two Gatsby-related books: The library book group PageTurners will discuss two books, "Gatsby's Girl" by Caroline Preston and "The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love" by James L.W. West III. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15. Sheffer Reading Room.

The Roaring Twenties: The 1939 movie starring Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart will be shown. 106 minutes. 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15. McManus Room.

And all that jazz: Todd Bryant Weeks, writer and jazz historian, will celebrate jazz with examples, stories and a love for the music. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. McManus Room.

Discuss the man who would be F. Scott Fitzgerald: A talk on the mystery by David Handler will be held. 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Sheffer Reading Room.

Midnight in Paris: The 2011 movie will be screened. 94 minutes. 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. McManus Room.

Author talk: Handler will discuss his mystery "The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald." 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. McManus Room.

Kids -- Mysterious Book Society: A discussion of young adult novel "Dave at Night" by Gail Carson Levine. 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Higgins Room.

Seminar-style discussion of Gatsby: UConn Professor Kathy Knapp will lead a seminar-style discussion of "The Great Gatsby," which is the Spring 2012 UConn Reads selection. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29. McManus Room.

The Great Gatsby: The film "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Bruce Dern and Sam Waterston will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, 75 Church Lane. Tea will be served at this event co-sponsored by Westport Cinema Initiative, given Daisy and Gatsby met at tea. $10 per person. Purchase tickets online at westportcinema.org or at the door; advance reservation is preferred.

Gatsby--style party: An event with live jazz, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be held with an opportunity to learn the Charleston. Dress will be festive, flapper or dapper. 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Buy tickets at westportlibrary.org; $75 per person. For information, call Cindy Clark at 203-291-4824. Proceeds from the party will benefit the library's programs.

WestportReads is an annual program "dedicated to strengthening the community through the shared experience of a book or author," according to a release. All programs, with the exception of the Feb. 9 fundraising gala, are open to the public, and some programs require registration at westportlibrary.org.

For information, phone 203-291-4800 or check westportlibrary.org