Library gears up for Chautauqua—May 2, 2008
Chautauqua will be back in Hastings this summer with events and workshops for all ages. The main events will take place July 2 through July 6, but there will be book discussions and two movie screenings in May and June to help us prepare.
The Chautauqua theme for 2008 is “Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties.” Five scholars will portray humorist Will Rogers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Louisiana Governor Huey Long, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and writer Zora Neale Hurston in evening performances and lead public workshops.
Two books will be discussed in preparation for Chautauqua, Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston and All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. The library has 25 copies of each book available for check out. Two films will also be shown, The Plow That Broke the Plains and The Grapes of Wrath.
Mules and Men was Hurston’s first collection of ethnographical work. Trained by folklorist Franz Boaz at Barnard College, Hurston’s task was to create a record of African-American folklore. The book is divided into two sections, the first being the stories she gathered around her hometown in Florida and the second being tales of voodoo culture in New Orleans. The book discussion, led by Honey Lou Bonar, will be Thursday, May 15 at 7:00 PM in the library meeting room.
Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for his political novel, All the King’s Men. Willie Stark is an idealistic populist when he begins his political career in a southern state as easily recognized as Louisiana as Willie is recognized as Huey Long. In a classic tale illustrating the corrupting nature of power, Warren takes the reader on Willie’s downward spiral to destruction. Discussions of this title will be held Thursday, May 15 at 10:00 AM, led by Pam Bohmfalk, and Thursday, June 12 at 7:00 PM, led by Rob Babcock and Doug Kinnear.
The movie The Plow That Broke the Plains, is a 1936 documentary produced by the United States Resettlement Administration to illicit support and sympathy for New Deal Programs. It will be shown at the Hastings Museum on May 29 at 7:00 PM, with dessert and discussion starting at 6:00 PM.
On June 26 at 7:00 PM, the second film, The Grapes of Wrath (1940), will be shown. Based on John Steinbeck’s novel, it follows the Joad family as they flee the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and seek a new life as migrant workers in California. Again, the discussion and dessert will precede the movie at 6:00 PM.
All Chautauqua Events are free and open to the public. Copies of the books are available for check out at the Hastings Public Library and copies of the two movies will be available for check out after they are shown at the Museum.