Last week we launched the Fairfield Ten — an exhibit at the Fairfield Museum celebrating the great musicians and songwriters that have lived here the past hundred years.
I was on the committee to choose the list. It wasn’t easy because so many great artists have lived in this area. My work on the Fitzgerald film has provided a keen insight to the breadth and depth of talent here dating back to the early 20th century so I knew selecting ten musicians was not going to be easy.
Quite frankly, you could find ten interesting nominees every decade or at least in each category of music, from classical to rock, Broadway to jazz, punk, funk, even disco — our task was to choose the best of the best, while at the same time including various eras and genres.
First thing we did was invoke the 25-year rule — nominees had to have started their professional careers prior to 1989. Nominees also had to have a permanent residence here for more than a few years. That alleviated the pressure of addressing the abundant crop of current players worthy of consideration or those that were here for just a short visit. … Read the rest
I’m pleased to announce that I’m one of this year’s Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest winners for my short story, Twelve Miles — 48 Stops.
This is gratifying because F. Scott Fitzgerald was so closely associated with this publication. As many of you know, I’m working on a film about his time in my home town of Westport, CT. Getting published by the Saturday Evening Post as I’m knee deep in Fitzgerald footage feels karmic, as if there’s some sort of Mojo happening.
The title represents the distance traveled by a young African-American girl to work each day to the A&P where she works at a cash register. The idea came from shopping at my local Stop & Shop where most of the workers, black, come by bus from Bridgeport–most of the customers are white and live in Westport. It took years to find a way to write this story without it feeling preachy or contrived.
An early version bounced around for years, and then after seeing the documentary film Ten Feet From Stardom, I figured out what needed doing.
Davida, the young girl in the story, was inspired by a remarkable woman who I used to … Read the rest
Just returned from an academic conference in Montgomery, hosted by the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society. I was there with my documentary partner, Deej, to film and present our Westport Fitzgerald thesis to scholars from around the world.
About 175 Fitzgerald fanatics attended the four-day event, comprised mostly of academics who have dedicated their life to the study and teaching of one America’s greatest novelists.
Our objective was to interview experts on Scott’s early years and The Great Gatsby to ask about Westport’s impact on the Fitzgerald’s writing (Zelda wrote a novel called Save Me the Waltz.
The society and the folks from Troy University in Montgomery were very helpful. In the thirty-six hours we were down there, we got to speak to several leading scholars including the noteworthy German professor, Herr Docktor Horst Kruse of the University of Muenster, who has dedicated the better part of sixty years to the study of Fitzgerald and his writing.
I won’t spoil the narrative as to what we learned, but I can tell you that these people know the Fitzgeralds and the world they inhabited and it was inspiring to be around such passionate people. We came to the right event for … Read the rest