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Trailfest 2015: Alabama Events

Trailfest 2015 events in Alabama are made possible by major grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Alabama State Council on the Arts - click to visit their website                                National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Arts                South Arts

 

 

John Davis, Steinway ArtistJohn Davis plays Blind Tom: Music as Storytelling

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Mobile, Alabama

When Thomas Wiggins, the popular pianist known as "Blind Tom," appeared in Mobile for performances on November 17, 1891, The Mobile Daily Register reported that he attracted larger crowds than ever before. Earlier in the year, on May 4, The Birmingham Age Herald advertised Tom's forthcoming appearance as "marking an event in musical history in every town." The current and acclaimed Steinway Artist John Davis brings the music of Tom back to Mobile in a matinee performance staged at The University of South Alabama's Laidlaw Auditorium for Trailfest 2015 and with sponsorship by the University of South Alabama’s Department of Music, the Mobile Arts Council, Broussard's Piano Gallery and Mobile Arts CouncilAcademy of Music, the Mobile Public Library, the Historic Mobile Preservation Society and the Southern Literary Trail.

John Davis's Blind Tom Series is made possible in Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Tuskegee and Demopolis with grant funding by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. For more about Blind Tom and John Davis, visit the Trail's page on the Series.

This performance is presented in memory of writer Albert Murray, a Mobile native and Southern Literary Trail author whose books include "Stomping the Blues" and other essays on the history and influence of African-American music.

Albert MurrayPlace: Laidlaw Auditorium, The University of South Alabama
Day and Time: Sunday, February 22, at 3 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Mobile Arts Council at 251.432.9796.

A special invitation: Broussard’s Piano Gallery and Academy of Music, 1541 East Interstate 65, Service Road South, will host a public reception for John Davis at its Gallery on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at 5 p.m. For information, call the Gallery at 251.344.8856 or the Mobile Arts Council at 251.432.9796.

 
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CD cover for John Davis plays Blind TomJohn Davis plays Blind Tom: Music as Storytelling

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tuscaloosa at The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center

In his latest record, The Diving Board, Elton John sings "The Ballad of Blind Tom" with lyrics by Bernie Taupin that recall Tom's concert trips "down to Tuscaloo." John Davis plays Blind Tom in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center as part of a career that includes performances and features on NPR's "All Things Considered," NBC's The Today Show, and Good Morning America on ABC. Davis has been profiled by The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Oxford American. For more about Blind Tom and John Davis, visit the Trail's page on the Series.

Thomas Wiggins known as "Blind Tom"During one of his Southern tours, Thomas Wiggins was forced to listen to the musical efforts of an Alabama lady at the piano. When she finished, "Blind Tom" commented, "I will play the number as the lady should have played it." When the audience at the Dinah Washington Center hears John Davis play Blind Tom, they will be listening to a contemporary master whose previous recital venues have included Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Wigmore Hall in London. Davis earned a Master's Degree in Piano at Julliard after achieving his B.A. in history and Russian language and literature at Brown University.

Place: The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Greensboro Avenue
Time: 7 p.m.
Admission: Free
Information: Call 205.758.5195 ext. 7.

 
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Albert MurrayJohn Davis plays Blind Tom: Music as Storytelling

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama

"Blind Tom" appeared in concert on May 19, 1864, in Tuskegee. One of his audience members from Kentucky, Frances Woolfolk Wallace, wrote afterwards of Tom's concert: "He is certainly one of the greatest wonders of the day, indeed the greatest. He played the most difficult pieces, composed and arranged beautifully." To conclude Black History Month at Tuskegee University, John Davis will play the compositions of Blind Tom in the University's historic Chapel for students and the public. See a complete schedule for Black History Month at Tuskegee.

Davis performed a concert of Blind Tom's music in 2000 at the Martin Luther King Festival in Atlanta with sponsorships by National Public Radio, the Atlanta Symphony, the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and Morehouse-Spelman College.

Tuskegee University LogoFor more about Blind Tom and John Davis, visit the Trail's page on the Series.

This performance will be presented in memory of Albert Murray, a Tuskegee graduate and teacher, whose books about African-American music include "The Hero and the Blues" and "Train Whistle Guitar," a novel. Mr. Murray is one of the honored writers on The Southern Literary Trail. This concert is presented in sponsorship with Tuskegee University.

Place: The Chapel at Tuskegee University
Day and Time: Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 3 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call 1.334.725.2383.

 
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The Demopolis Opera House, where Blind Tom playedJohn Davis plays Blind Tom: Music as Storytelling

Friday, February 27, 2015
Demopolis, Alabama

Demopolis native James Haskins, the country's most prolific writer of African-American history books, notes in his Black Music in America: A History Through its People: "People who really knew music, including the leading musicians of the time, were very respectful of Blind Tom, for they recognized that he was a master musician." Surviving records of the Demopolis Opera House, now restored downtown as "Rooster Hall," document that Tom appeared for concerts in the town on March 4, 1879, and April 25, 1885. It is appropriate that pianist John Davis of Brooklyn should conclude his series for the Southern Literary Trail of performances from the works of Blind Tom in a Trail town where a venue that hosted Tom remains vibrant today. For more about Blind Tom and John Davis, visit the Trail's page on the Series.

Local partners for Davis's public performance in Demopolis are the Two Rivers Arts Council, the Marengo County History and Archives James HaskinsMuseum, the Marengo County Historical Society, the Demopolis Public Library, the Canebrake Players, Friends of Gaineswood, and the Tiger Arts Guild at Demopolis High School. In addition to grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, grant support for Demopolis programs featuring John Davis is provided by South Arts, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Visit South Arts website.

The performance in Demopolis is dedicated to the memory of James Haskins whose other books include "The Cotton Club" and "Mr. ojangles, The Biography of Bill Robinson."

Place: The Demopolis High School Auditorium
Date and Time: Friday, February 27, 2015, at 7 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Demopolis Public Library at 334.289.1595.

 
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Gaineswood in Demopolis, ALTennessee Williams: The Alabama Tribute at Gaineswood And The Marian Gallaway Theatre

Monday, March 2, 2015
Gaineswood in Demopolis

During his courtship of Edwina Dakin, Tennessee Williams's mother of Columbus, Ms., Gaius Whitfield sent her a postcard of Gaineswood, his ancestral home in Demopolis, noting in the margins: "Am sorry I didn’t get to see you again before I left."

Though the courtship did not blossom into marriage, Gaius entered theatrical history as a role model for one of the "gentleman callers" that matriarchal Amanda Wingfield recalls in "The Glass Menagerie." Edwina Dakin with children Rose and Tom ("Tennessee")Under the direction of Allison Hetzel, University of Alabama Theatre students present excerpts from "Menagerie" and other Williams plays such as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in the grand drawing room of Gaineswood with introductions by members of the Canebrake Players and a keynote address by Dr. Ken Holditch, author of "Tennessee Williams and the South" and a professor emeritus of the University of New Orleans. For more background, read the Tennessee Williams/Alabama Tribute page.

The event is presented and sponsored by the Southern Literary Trail, the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance, Friends of Gaineswood, and the Canebrake Players. Additional support is provided by the Demopolis Public Library, Marengo County Historical Society, the Marengo County History and Archives Museum, Two Rivers Arts Council and the Tiger Arts Guild at Demopolis High School with grant funding by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: Gaineswood in Demopolis, 805 So. Cedar Avenue
Day and Time: Monday, March 2, 2015, at 6 p.m.
Admission: Free
Information: Call Gaineswood at 334.289.4846

 
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Marian Gallaway Theatre at the University of AlabamaTennessee Williams: The Alabama Tribute at Gaineswood and the Marian Gallaway Theatre

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The Marian Gallaway Theatre at The University of Alabama

Upon leaving the University of Iowa, where he was a student of theatrical arts, Tennessee Williams wrote that he left Iowa City with "a great deal more theatre knowledge than I had brought there," thanks to his friendship with Marian Gallaway. He became the acclaimed playwright of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. She defied the boys' club atmosphere of college campuses during the 1940s and 50s to establish the Department of Theatre at the University of Alabama where she became known as the unstoppable "Doc Gallaway." At the Marian Gallaway (University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama)beginning with a budget of only $2000.00 annually, "Doc" even made the costumes and wigs for every performance. For more background, visit the Tennessee Williams/Alabama Tribute page.

Gallaway never kept her enduring friendship with Williams a secret, even dazzling her students with claims that she inspired Blanche in Streetcar. The playwright did use her last name, repeatedly, and Doc's persona for characters in several plays. For this special presentation in the Theatre named for Marian Gallaway in 1976, contemporary UA students under the direction of Allison Hetzel perform excerpts from the plays of Tennessee Williams. Dr. Ed Williams, who knew and worked with "Doc," and Dr. Ken Holditch, who knew Tennessee, share commentaries and reflections on Gallaway and Williams.

This event is presented by the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance in collaboration with the Southern Literary Trail for Trailfest 2015 with grant support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: The University of Alabama's Marian Gallaway Theatre
Address: Rowland-Johnson Hall on Stadium Drive, near the intersection of Marrs Spring Rd. (Parking in the ten Hoor Parking Decks)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Theatre box office at 205.348.3400.

 
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House on HMPS Homes TourThe 46th Annual Homes Tour of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society

March 13 and 14, 2015
Mobile, Alabama

In its 80th year, the Historic Mobile Preservation Society invites its annual Homes Tour visitors into the parlors and onto the grounds of Mobile's most intriguing homes. Many of the places and boulevards along the Tour route inspired Southern Literary Trail writers Albert Murray, William March and Eugene Walter. Walter lived in the Cox-Deasy House on the atmospheric grounds of Oakleigh, a grand mansion with interpretive tours of Mobile and the city's evolving history. Oakleigh is the fascinating starting point for the 46th Homes Tour that will emphasize contemporary living in historic settings.

Place: Originating at Oakleigh and various Tour locations
Days: Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, 2015.
Admission: TBA
Info: Call 251.432.6161 or visit www.historicmobile.org.

 
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Cast of the Eugene Walter Porch Play, from left, Joel Vig, Carolyn Haines, Sue Walker and John Hafner.The Eugene Walter Porch Play: Eugene Walter at Large...plus Eugene Talks Truman!

Saturday, March 14, 2015
Mobile

From the porch of the Cox-Deasy House, where Mobile writer Eugene Walter lived, Broadway actor Joel Vig (original cast of "Hairspray") re-unites with previous castmates Carolyn Haines, Sue Walker, John Hafner and singer Jordan Nocon to return with the popular Eugene Eugene WalterWalter Porch Play as a feature of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society (HMPS) Homes Tour. Walter met Truman Capote at children's matinees on Saturdays at the Lyric Theatre in Mobile. About Capote, Walter said, "He was an imp. He was a real imp."

Eugene will have more to say about Truman at this year's Porch Play, all delivered Southern-style by the cast and followed with a champagne reception hosted by HMPS and the Southern Literary Trail. Presented with grant support by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). (Two weeks after the Porch Play, Joel Vig will present "Truman Talks Tennessee" at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Visit the TW/NO Literary Festival page for details.)

Place: The Cox-Deasy House at Oakleigh
Time: 3 p.m.
Admission: Free for the Play, though tickets must be purchased to go on the Homes Tour.
Info: Call Oakleigh at 251.432.6161.

 
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Carnegie Visual Arts CenterPower, Poverty and the TVA, an Exhibition

March 17, 2015, and continuing through April 2015
Hartselle and Decatur

In his novel about the encroachment of the Tennessee Valley Authority into Northwestern Alabama, Mud on the Stars, Hartselle native William Bradford Huie writes: With the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority the entire valley became one vast Project. From the river's confluence with the Ohio "Mud on the Stars" book coverclear back into the Tennessee and Carolina mountains, the valley was lifted up and pegged out on the drawing boards of the architects and planners.

With an exhibit at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur, Alabama, original artworks on canvases will interpret the theme Power, Poverty and the TVA so critical to the history of the Valley region. A reception will celebrate the opening of the exhibit at the Carnegie on March 17, followed by a Lunch and Learn on March 18 for interpretations of the art on display, inclusive of Hartselle Train Depotvintage photographs from the TVA and local archives.

The exhibit will remain on display through April 2015, but additional Trailfest programs through Saturday, March 21, 2015, include a one-man show by Decatur actor Chuck Puckett, portraying Addie Pray author Joe David Brown, and a screening in Hartselle of the 1960 acclaimed film Wild River based, in part, on Mud on the Stars. The film is directed by Elia Kazan and stars Montgomery Clift.

Place: The Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St. N.E., Decatur
Dates: Opening March 17, 2015, and continuing through April 2015
Admission and Info: Call the Carnegie Visual Arts Center at 256.341.0562.

 
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"Directed by William Wyler" and "Jezebel" with Bette Davis

Introduced by the Director's daughters Catherine Wyler & Melanie Wyler
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Mobile at The Mobile Public Library, Ben May Main

Melanie Wyler and Catherine WylerMargaret Tallichet, an aspiring actress and daughter of David Compton Tallichet of Demopolis, moved from Dallas to Hollywood where she married William Wyler, an established director with the Oscar-winning "Jezebel" already among his credits. "Talli" and William Wyler became close friends with Lillian Hellman, another Demopolis descendant and the playwright of "The Little Foxes" and "The Children's Hour." The Wylers' daughters Catherine and Melanie visit Mobile for Trailfest 2015 to introduce two of their father's films and a special screening of "Directed by William Wyler," a documentary produced by Catherine Wyler.

William Wyler became a Hollywood legend and remains its most Oscar-winning director with films such as "Funny Girl," "Roman Holiday," "Wuthering Heights," "Dodsworth," "Ben-Hur" and "The Best Years of Our Lives." In "Directed by William Wyler," the director was interviewed about his career just three days before his death on July 27, 1981. Actors and actresses he guided to acclaim and Oscars are also interviewed for the film including Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, Audrey Hepburn and Barbra Streisand.

  Wyler on location for "Roman Holiday"   Wyler directs Streisand in "Funny Girl."   Bette Davis and William Wyler  
  Wyler on location for "Roman Holiday"     Wyler directs Streisand in "Funny Girl."   Bette Davis and William Wyler    

The Wyler Family on location for "Roman Holiday""Directed by William Wyler" will be introduced by Catherine Wyler in Bernheim Hall at the Mobile Public Library, Main Branch, on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at 2 p.m. It will be followed by "Jezebel" with Bette Davis and introduced by Melanie Wyler. A drama of the South, "Jezebel" proved to be Bette Davis's first A-level motion picture with a top Hollywood director at the helm: William Wyler. Starring opposite Henry Fonda, Davis won a Best Actress Oscar for the role.

All Wyler films are presented by the Southern Literary Trail with partners The Mobile Public Library, The Mobile Arts Council, and the Historic Mobile Preservation Society with grant support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: Bernheim Hall, The Mobile Public Library on Government Street
Time: 2 p.m. for "Directed by William Wyler," followed by "Jezebel"
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Library at 251.208.7097 or the Mobile Arts Council at 251.432.9796.

 
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"The Little Foxes" directed by William Wyler"The Little Foxes" Directed by William Wyler

Introduced by Catherine Wyler and Melanie Wyler
March 22, 2015
Mobile at the Mobile Public Library, Ben May Main

With nine Oscar nominations in 1941, "The Little Foxes" directed by William Wyler was the most Oscar-nominated movie about Alabama until "Forrest Gump" won Best Picture in 1994. The film was adapted from Lillian Hellman's stage hit inspired Bette Davis and William Wylerby her Demopolis family, the Marxes, who are buried in Mobile. Bette Davis plays Regina, based upon Hellman's grandmother Sophie Marx Newhouse, who seeks ownership of a cotton mill expected to yield millions. To achieve her goals, Regina must overcome the Marx Family plot, Mobileblockades thrown her way by scheming brothers and an unsympathetic husband. At the time of its release, The New Yorker declared Wyler's film as "a major screen achievement." A reception of light refreshments to honor Catherine Wyler and Melanie Wyler will follow the film.

Place: Bernheim Hall at the Mobile Public Library, Government Street
Day and Time: Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 2 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Library at 251.208.7097 or the Mobile Arts Council at 251.432.9796.

 
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"The House with Laughing Windows" with Eugene Walter as priest (courtesy of Don Goodman)The Eugene Walter Lecture by Don Goodman

The Reel Life of Eugene Walter
March 29, 2015
Mobile at the Mobile Public Library, Ben May Main

Donald Goodman, a Eugene Walter biographer (The Happy Table of Eugene Walter, Southern Spirits in Food and Drink) and manager of the Mobile writer's estate, presents "The Reel Life of Eugene Walter" with rarely-seen clips from the movies in which the writer appeared. Walter enjoyed long sojourns in New York, Rome, and Paris when he wasn't at home in the South. He was a man of arts and letters who landed roles in many foreign films ranging from low-budget Italian thrillers to internationally renowned classics directed by Frederico Eugene Walter in "The Private Lesson" (courtesy, Don Goodman)Fellini. Through it all, Walter's world-view remained uniquely and steadfastly Southern.

Local partners for Reel Life are the Mobile Public Library, the Mobile Arts Council, the Historic Mobile Preservation Society, and the Southern Literary Trail. A reception of light refreshments will follow the lecture.

Place: Bernheim Hall at the Mobile Public Library, Government Street
Day and Time: Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 2 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Library at 251.208.7097 or the Arts Council at 251.432.9796.

 
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A Railroad Crossing in DemopolisThe Way We Worked, A Smithsonian Exhibit and The Way We Worked Creatively

April 9, 2015, through May 2015
Demopolis

"The Cotton Club" by James Haskins of DemopolisThe Marengo County History and Archives Museum, the original Merchants Grocery beside a busy railway just south of downtown Demopolis, hosts the traveling Smithsonian Exhibition, The Way We Worked, with support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in April and May 2015. Spanning the years 1857 to 1987, the exhibition's 86 photographs depict America's workplaces and how the country's workforce has been shaped by social change, equality and freedom for over a century.

In collaboration with the Marengo County Historical Society, the Museum will supplement the exhibit with its own programs about Alabama cabinet makers, featuring Christopher Lang (Lyon Hall, Saturday, April 11, at 1 p.m.), and the work of ministers and rabbis ("Rock in a Weary Land," Morning Star Baptist Church, April 19, at 2 p.m.). These partners plus the Demopolis Public Library and the Southern Literary Trail will also add a unique Demopolis imprint to the exhibit with The Way We Worked Creatively, featuring the creative work of writers, artists, and designers influenced by the town.

Bette Davis in "The Little Foxes"Promotional photo for "The Cotton Club" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1984) from book by James HaskinsSome of their creations such as the book The Cotton Club by Demopolis-born James Haskins and The Little Foxes, Lillian Hellman's play about her Demopolis family, have even translated into meaningful work for the artists of Broadway and Hollywood. To illustrate the point, Donna Meester, Jacki Armit and Daniel Whitlow of The University of Alabama Theatre Department in Tuscaloosa will construct likenesses of film costumes worn by Bette Davis (The Little Foxes, 1941) and Diane Lane (The Cotton Club, 1984) for the exhibit.

Place: The Marengo County History and Archives Museum, Walnut St., Downtown Demopolis
Dates and Times: April 9, 2015, through May 2015.
Opening Night: Thursday, April 9, 2015, at 6 p.m. with champagne reception
Admission: Free for all events
Info: Call the Museum at 334.289.0599.

 
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Courtesy, Monroe County Museum"To Kill A Mockingbird," the play at Monroe County Museum

April 10, 2015 through May 15, 2015
Monroeville

The Mockingbird Players of Monroeville present the 25th season of "To Kill a Mockingbird," the play, based upon the Pulitzer Prize winning novel. The Georgia-Pacific Amphitheater is home for the popular play on the grounds of the Monroe County Museum and the Old Courtesy, Monroe County MuseumCourthouse in the heart of Monroeville, regarded as the model for Maycomb in the novel. During the famous trial scenes of "Mockingbird" when Atticus Finch defends the falsely-accused Tom Robinson, the drama moves into the actual courtroom where Harper Lee's father practiced law. Annually this production of "Mockingbird" attracts audience members from around the world. This year, the Jane Austen Society of Australia will be among the audiences as its members tour the Southern Literary Trail. Tickets are available on February 2, 2015, for groups and on March 2, 2015, for all others.

Place: The Monroe County Museum in Monroeville, Alabama
Dates: April 10, 2015 to May 16, 2015
Times and tickets: Call 251.575.7433 or go to www.monroecountymuseum.org.
Info: Call 251.575.7433

 
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Alabama Book FestThe Alabama Book Festival

April 11, 2015
Montgomery

"Addie Pray" by Joe David BrownThe Southern Literary Trail and its tri-state organizers annually host a popular tent at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery's historic Old Alabama Town. Free brochures and publications about the Trail, its literary landmarks and festivals will be shared under the tent. As a special feature of this year's Festival, the Southern Literary Trail will sponsor a reading from Joe David Brown's novel of con-games in Depression-era Alabama, "Addie Pray," by members of the Alabama Readers Theatre. Addie was depicted by actress Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon" (1973), Hollywood's version of Brown's book transplanted to Kansas.

Place: Old Town Alabama, Montgomery
Day and Time: Saturday, April 11, 2015, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call 334.240.4500.

 
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"Addie Pray," re-titled "Paper Moon"Community Reads: Addie Pray by Joe David Brown

Hartselle, Alabama, and Demopolis, Alabama

With a unique partnership by their libraries, two Alabama Southern Literary Trail towns Hartselle and Demopolis are collaborating for community reads of an unheralded Alabama novel, Addie Pray by Joe David Brown, throughout Trailfest 2015. Copies of the book, a source novel for the 1973 Oscar-winning film Paper Moon with Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal, will be available for the public to borrow at the Demopolis Public Library and the William Bradford Huie Library in Hartselle.

Set during the origins of the Tennessee Valley Authority in North Alabama, Addie Pray begins in Marengo County of West Alabama where Addie and her (probable) father "Long Boy" sell their first deluxe-edition Bible to an unsuspecting widow in Demopolis. After a road trip up Highway 31, populated by the poor workers of the Depression, the two sell their second Bible in Decatur, adjoining Hartselle, to another unsuspecting A "confidence game" is underway by the two leads of "Paper Moon" (Paramount Pictures).victim of their con-games.

Consequently, these Community Reads follow the pathways of the book by Joe David Brown, a native of Birmingham, who learned about "confidence games" as a police reporter for The Birmingham Post. Among the first 20 Paratroopers to land in France during World War II, Brown received the Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre with palm. Ultimately he became a reporter for The New York Daily News and a writer for Time-Life Books.

Dates: Continuing
Demopolis Info: The Demopolis Public Library, 334.289.1595
Hartselle Info: The William Bradford Huie Library, 256.773.9880

 
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Bluff HallThe Marengo County Historical Society Pilgrimage

April 11 and 12, 2015
Demopolis

Trailfest 2015 coincides with a pilgrimage of home and vintage sites hosted every second year by the Marengo County Historical Society. The Society operates two popular house-museums in Demopolis: Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall. The mansions will be featured on the tour route in addition to homes and architectural treasures Lyon Hallrarely opened to the public. This year's pilgrimage will adopt the theme of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum: The Way We Worked. Demopolis and its diverse history have influenced generations of writers, architects, artists, designers, architects and storytellers. The Pilgrimage reflects this history.

Place: Originates at Bluff Hall, 407 N. Commissioners Avenue
Days: Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12, 2015.
Info, tickets and times: Call 334.289.0282. (Tickets are available at Bluff Hall.)

 
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Ralph EllisonThe Ralph Ellison Lecture at Tuskegee University

April 15, 2015
Tuskegee

The Ralph Ellison Lecture at Tuskegee University features distinguished scholars and writers who present critical examinations of significant intellectual, philosophical and aesthetic issues. The meaningful event is open to the public. Ellison's legacy and his association with Tuskegee University as a student and one of its distinguished alumni are the foundation and inspiration for the annual event.

Place: The Kellogg Conference Center at Tuskegee University
Day and Time: Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at 3 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call Kellogg Center at 1.800.949.6161 or the Tuskegee Archives at 334.727.8888.

 
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Sylviane A. DioufReflections on Emma Langdon Roche by Sylviane Diouf

April 16, 2015
Mobile at the Mobile Public Library, Ben May Main

Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian and curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. Her acclaimed books include "Slavery's Exiles" and "Dreams of Africa in Alabama, The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story "Dreams of Africa in Alabama" by Sylviane A. Dioufof the Last Africans Brought to America." For her research of the Clotilda, Diouf was affected and inspired by Emma Langdon Roche, a Mobile artist and writer who published a book in 1914 about her journeys and those of other enslaved African-Americans along the Gulf Coast. The writings of Roche influenced future novelist Zora Neale Hurston, who was born in Alabama near Auburn, and some of her paintings survive today within the collections of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society.

The Society partners with the Southern Literary Trail along with the Mobile Public Library and the Mobile Arts Council for this presentation by Diouf, who will speak on Roche's influence. Dr. Kern Jackson of African-American Studies at the University of South Alabama will provide the introduction. This event is supported with a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: Bernheim Hall at the Mobile Public Library, Government Street
Day and Time: Thursday, April 16, 2015, at 6 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Mobile Public Library at 251.208.7097 or the Society at 251.432.6161.

 
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Joe David Brown's Addie Pray (Simon and Schuster, 1971)."Addie Pray" Day

April 17, 2015
Demopolis

Joe David Brown's 1971 novel "Addie Pray" begins: They say my mama, Miss Essie Mae Loggins, was the wildest girl in Marengo County, Alabama. After her mother dies in a scandalous accident on the Black Warrior River, Addie teams up with Mose Pray, nicknamed "Long Boy," to engage in a career of con games beginning in Demopolis and going north to Decatur "a few years before and after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President for the first time."

One of America's most endearing Southern novels of the 1970s was made into one of the decade's most popular films by Director Peter Bogdanovich in 1973 with Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Addie. The film was re-titled "Paper Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon" based on "Addie Pray" (Paramount Pictures).Moon" and the locales were moved to Kansas.

Addie is not in Kansas anymore. For Addie Pray Day, she returns to her home, Marengo County, for a book discussion and readings by some of Alabama's most prominent literary scholars and authors. Demopolis natives Bert Hitchcock (Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of A Nation) and novelist Billy Cobb (A Walk Through Fire) lead the discussions and readings from Addie Pray throughout the Day including performances from the book by The Alabama Readers Theatre with Don Noble, the host of Alabama Public Television's popular Bookmark. The events conclude with a free screening of the Oscar-winning film in the Demopolis High School auditorium.

These events are presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian Exhibit, The Way We Worked, at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum by the Museum, the Demopolis Public Library, the Marengo County Historical Society, the Two Rivers Arts Council, the Canebrake Players, the Tiger Arts Guild and the Southern Literary Trail with grant support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: Demopolis, Alabama, Public Library and Demopolis High School
Admission: Free for all events
Information: Call the Library at 334.289.1595.
Places and Times:

  12 Noon at the Demopolis Public Library for "Lunch at the Library" with a discussion of "Addie Pray" by Dr. Bert Hitchcock  
  6:30 p.m. in the Demopolis High School Auditorium for the Alabama Readers Theatre presentation of excerpts from Joe David Brown's "Addie Pray"  
  7:30 p.m. A showing of "Paper Moon" with Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal and Madeline Kahn in the Demopolis High School Auditorium  

 
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Truman Capote (Press Photo)The Alabama Writers Symposium

"Red Dirt Roads and Feet of Clay"
April 23 to 25, 2015
Monroeville

Literary Alabama is distinguished by its writers who have walked the red dirt roads of Alabama and left a legendary trace along the landscape. The annual Alabama Writers Symposium sponsored by Alabama State Community College (ASCC) features "red dirt roads and feet of clay" as its theme. For two days, celebrated writers including Rick Bragg and Ravi Howard will convene with book enthusiasts in the Alabama hometown of Harper Lee and Truman Capote.

In conjunction with the Southern Literary Trail, the Symposium will present Alabama Writer's Symposiummembers of the Alabama Readers Theatre including Don Noble (host of Alabama Public Television's Bookmark) and poet Jennifer Horne with readings from Joe David Brown's "Addie Pray" and Truman Capote's "House of Flowers." Musicians and vocalists from ASCC will accompany the "House of Flowers" reading with songs from the Broadway show inspired by Capote's story set in Haiti. These programs are supported with a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: Alabama Southern Community College and various locations in Monroeville
Dates: Thursday, April 23, 2015, to Saturday, April 25, 2015
Reservations and Information: Call 251.575.8226.

 
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"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams

April 24 to 27, 2015
Demopolis

TThe Canebrake Players of Demopolis continue the Alabama tribute to Tennessee Williams during Trailfest 2015 with his "memory play," The Glass Menagerie. It relates the dreams and frustrations of a working-class Southern family whose fragilities might be represented by the glass animal collection of the character Laura Wingfield. Laura was handicapped by a childhood illness and left at home with her domineering mother Amanda and rebellious brother Tom.

In his production notes for the play, Tennessee Williams wrote, "When you look at a piece of delicately spun glass you think of two things: how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken." Director Susanna Naisbett directs the beloved classic in a town with a local connection to all those "gentleman callers" so vivid in Amanda's memory. Walter Brown McCord, a founding director of the Canebrake Players, was also connected to the playwright via a friendship in the theatrical community of New York City. For more background, visit the Tennessee Williams/Alabama Tribute page.

Place: The Canebrake Theatre at the Old School on Main, Demopolis
Dates and Times: Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 25, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m.; and Monday, April 27, at 7 p.m.
Admission: $10.00 per adult and $7.00 for students.
Info: Call 334.289.3128.

 
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Pearl Bailey (in a press photo for "St. Louis Blues," Paramount Pictures)Truman Capote's House of Flowers in Words and Music

April 25, 2015
Monroeville

Now in its 60th year, a musical version of Truman Capote's novella, House of Flowers,, premiered at the Alvin Theater in New York City on December 30, 1954. Like Capote's story, the show was set in a West Indies brothel with music by Harold Arlen ("Over the Rainbow") and a stellar cast that included Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, and Geoffrey Holder. It was revived in 1968 for another New York production. Neither enjoyed long runs, but Capote proudly declared the show "provided Harold Arlen the opportunity to produce one of his most original and masterly achievements." Capote was right. Songs from House of Flowers have become standards for current masters of Broadway showtunes such as Barbra Streisand and Audra MacDonald.

Al Hirschfeld drawing for the original production of "House of Flowers," premiering December 30, 1954, at the Alvin Theatre in New York City.The Southern Literary Trail proudly joins the Monroe County Museum, the Alabama Writers Symposium, and Alabama Southern Community College (ASCC) to present a reading of Capote's story by Don Noble of Public Television's popular em>Bookmark program and Alabama poet Jennifer Horne, accompanied by musicians and vocalists from ASCC who perform selections of Arlen's songs from the show. The matinee in the courtroom of the Old Courthouse precedes the evening performance of To Kill A Mockingbird as part of the Monroe County Museum's annual Gala. House of Flowers will be free and open to the public with grant support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: The Monroe County Museum (Old Courthouse), Monroeville
Date and Time: Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 3 p.m.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Museum at 251.575.7433 or the Symposium at 251.575.8226.

 
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P.J. Johnson (Imogene) and Tatum O'Neal (Addie) on stairs within the Exchange Hotel (Paramount Pictures)."Paper Moon" at the historic Capri Theatre

As part of The Fitzgerald Museum Gala weekend
April 30, 2015
Montgomery

In the art-deco Capri Theatre within Montgomery's Old Cloverdale neighborhood, the 1973 film classic Paper Moon will be presented as a feature of the annual Fitzgerald Museum Gala weekend. After reading the source novel Addie Pray by Birmingham native Joe David Brown, Director Peter Bogdanovich has written that he decided "to move the story out of the Tennessee Williams/William Faulkner/Truman Capote sort of South in which the book is set." He transferred the book's Alabama locales to Kansas and the Midwest for the film.

Alabama audiences will recognize the film's references to towns near Montgomery such as Troy and Hayneville. Alabama historians will also know that the Exchange Hotel, used for a critical scene and the A vintage post card of Montgomery's Exchange Hotelcome-uppance of Miss Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn) in the film, was a long-time hotel in downtown Montgomery. In the book, Addie Pray (Tatum O'Neal) describes the Exchange Hotel of Montgomery to be "pretty much like it had been in Civil War times. You know, old heavy leather furniture in the lobby, with lots of potted plants, and big, high-ceilinged rooms with transoms over the doors."

Place: The Capri Theatre, 1045 East Fairview Avenue
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Info and Tickets: Call the Fitzgerald Museum at 334.264.4222 or the Capri at 334.262.4858.

 
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A Port 68 Design by Mark AbramsPlace in Art and Design: Influences from Home

May 1, 2015
Demopolis

As an event for the Smithsonian Exhibition, The Way We Worked, during its Spring 2015 stop at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum in Demopolis, acclaimed artists in writing, painting and design with attachments to the town talk about the influences of home on their work. Demopolis native Rusty Goldsmith, retired Rector of St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands of Birmingham, speaks about the impact of Demopolis on his sermons and essays appearing in The Sewanee Review. One of Goldsmith's essays recalls the days of the Lyon Hall c. 1850-53venerable Merchants Grocery in the building that now houses the Museum.

CCarolyn Goldsmith's artworks have been displayed in regional galleries such as the Monty Stabler Galleries (Birmingham), the Judith Proctor Gallery (Seaside, Florida), and the Bennett Galleries (Nashville). Her work has also been presented by Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute and the Huntsville Museum of Art. Mark Abrams of Demopolis is an ARTS Award winner and designer for Port 68, a home décor company specializing in table lamps, accent furniture, upholstered chairs, benches and home accessories. All will discuss the influence of home and place on the way they have worked.

This event is presented by the Marengo County History and Archives Museum, the Marengo County Historical Society, the Demopolis Public Library and the Southern Literary Trail as a feature of em>The Way We Worked exhibition with grant support by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Place: To be announced.
Date and Time: Friday, May 1, 2015 at time to be announced.
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Museum at 334.289.0599 or the Library at 334.289.1595.

 
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Zelda and Scott FitzgeraldThe 21st Annual Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Gala

90 Years of "Gatsby"
May 2, 2015
Montgomery

IIn the Old Cloverdale home once occupied by America's iconic Jazz Age couple, the annual Fitzgerald Museum Gala salutes Zelda and Scott with revelry, food, dancing and music under a tent on the lawn and within the surroundings of a well-known American romance. Fine art and decorative objects by local artists are offered for silent auction. This year's Gala observes the 90th anniversary date of Fitzgerald's seminal 1920s novel, "The Great Gatsby." The ticketed event always proves to be a premiere social occasion for Trailfest celebrants and visitors.

Place: The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, 919 Felder Avenue, Montgomery
Date: Saturday, May 2, 2015
Time: 8 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Info and Tickets: Call the Museum at 334.264.4222.

 
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Courtesy, University of Alabama Press"Truman Capote and the Legacy of In Cold Blood" by Ralph Voss

Presented with the Maysles Brothers film "With Love from Truman"
May 28, 2015
Montgomery

Author Ralph F. Voss was a high school junior in Plainville, Kansas, in November of 1959 when four members of the Herbert Clutter family were murdered in Holcomb, Kansas, by shotgun blasts from two unknown intruders. In his book and this special program, Truman Capote and the Legacy of "In Cold Blood," Voss examines Capote and his famous book about the murders from many perspectives: the crowning glory of Capote's career and its larger status in American popular culture. As depicted in many films including the Oscar-winning Capote, the investigations by Capote and Harper Lee in Kansas have assumed legendary status and become part of the story. For this event, co-sponsored by the Trail and the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Voss will also introduce the rarely-seen short Maysles documentary about Capote in 1966: With Love from Truman. Presented with grant support from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Place: The Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery
Date and Time: Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 12 Noon
Admission: Free
Info: Call the Archives at 334.242.4435.

 
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