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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



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

At three Alabama Public Libraries
March 1, 2015, and thereafter
Decatur, Hartselle and Demopolis

With a unique partnership among their public libraries, three Alabama towns Decatur, Demopolis, and Hartselle 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, the William Bradford Huie Library in Hartselle and the Decatur Public Library.

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 victim of their con-games.

A "confidence game" is underway by the two leads of "Paper Moon" (Paramount Pictures).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.

Dr. Bert Hitchcock will present a lecture on "Addie Pray" as part of Decatur's Community Read of the book in the lobby of the Princess Theatre, 112 2nd Ave. N.E., Decatur, on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at 7 p.m. Dr. Hitchcock is Professor Emeritus and Hargis Professor of American Literature from Auburn University.

Dates: Current and continuing in Demopolis and Hartselle; begins on March 1, 2015 in Decatur.
Demopolis Info: The Demopolis Public Library, 334.289.1595
Hartselle Info: The William Bradford Huie Library, 256.773.9880
Decatur Info: The Decatur Public Library, 504 Cherry St. N.E., 256.353.2993.

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Power, Poverty and the TVA

An Exhibition and Examination through Art, Film, and the Printed Word
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, and continuing
Various locations in Decatur and Hartselle

"Power, Poverty, and the TVA" is a month-long examination of the TVA through art and film and the printed word. This in-depth study, produced exclusively for Trailfest 2015, launches on March 17, 2015. All events are free and open to the public.

In his novel Mud on the Stars, Hartselle native William Bradford Huie writes about the encroachment of the Tennessee Valley Authority into Northwestern Alabama:

"With the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority the entire valley became one vast Project. From the river's confluence with the Ohio clear back into the Tennessee and Carolina mountains, the valley was lifted up and pegged out on the drawing boards of the architects and planners."

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The Carnegie Visual Arts CenterChanging Vistas of the Tennessee Valley

An Exhibition
March 17, 2015, to April 25, 2015
The Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur

The Carnegie Visual Arts Center officially opens the exhibit Changing Vistas of the Tennessee Valley with artworks by a consortium of twenty-five artists from the Huntsville/Decatur area called "The Committee." The exhibit was created as part of Trailfest 2015. An historical timeline of archival articles and photographs of the Tennessee Valley before and during construction of the TVA will accompany the exhibit.

Place: The Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St. N.E., Decatur
Admission: Free
Info: Call 256.341.0562.

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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

"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

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
Info: Call 251.575.7433

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Truman Capote (Press Photo)The Alabama Writers Symposium

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

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

The 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

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 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

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

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.

Carolyn 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 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

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

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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