Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story

Inspired by a 1996 New Yorker article by the esteemed Westport writer, Barbra Probst Solomon, who first connected the Gatsby dots to Westport, Deej Webb and myself picked up Barbara’s baton because her piece was ignored by the Fitzgerald scholars. Besides writing numerous books and essays, Barbara had also started a literary magazine with her good friends Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer, and yet nobody bit on her thesis.

Sam Waterston played Nick Carraway in the '74 Gatsby, and he plays a person interested in literary history in our film: Boats Against the Current.

Sam Waterston played Nick Carraway in the ’74 Gatsby, and he plays a person interested in literary history in my film: Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story

We interviewed more than a dozen scholars, dug into the archives at Princeton, made a presentation at a Fitzgerald Society Conference in Montgomery, Alabama. We even journeyed up to Burlington Vermont when it hit 18 degrees below zero to film one of Fitzgerald’s granddaughters, who incidentally, rarely speaks to anyone

What we uncovered was not only surprising, it made us realize that the Westport Fitzgerald home was much more than just about Gatsby, which let’s face it, should suffice for any literary buff (come to the event to learn more).

But the narrative isn’t just about what happened here in 1920, it’s about what’s happening today. This remarkable home is still unprotected–meaning, anyone could buy it and make it tomorrow’s Teardown of the Day, just like Ray Bradbury’s home in Los Angeles, which in 2015 was torn down before anyone could stop it.

bobbie and us

The dynamic duo with Scott and Zelda’s Granddaughter.


November Tour Dates with Declan O’Rourke

I’m appearing next week in New York at Rockwood Music Hall 2, World Cafe in Philly and FTC in Fairfield. I’ll be playing original songs and reading an excerpt from my novel: My Year as a Clown — which incidentally was chosen by Amazon this month to be part of their Kindle Big Deals.

Thursday, November 13 @ 6:30 Rockwood Music Hall 2, New York City

Friday, November 14 @ 8:00 World Cafe Upstairs, Philadelphia

Saturday, November 15 @ 8:00 Stage One, Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield, CT

I will also be appearing at the Ridgefield Library on Thursday, November 20 @ 7 to talk about the documentary I’m making with Deej Webb.

Here’s a clip I took with my iPhone while in the studio with legendary drummer Omar Hakim:


Fairfield/Westport’s Top Ten Musicians of the Last Hundred Years

rockin eve

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. Here’s our list:

Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson, The Remains, Leonard Bernstein, David Brubeck, Jose Feliciano, Chris Frantz & Tina Weymouth, Richard Rodgers, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards, Keith Richards and Donna Summer.

Upon reflecting over this list, I realized that it doesn’t matter what sort of music floats your boat, each of these artists has touched you in some way.  These songs were part of growing up, celebrating graduations, birthdays and weddings, they’ve been in the movies we love and these songs have gotten us threw tough times too. These artists made music that mattered. And as I’ve been listening to their tracks over the past few months, its clear that these artists made music that endures.

Because it was too damn hard to whittle our list to just ten, we also identified another 11 great names and profiled them on the museums’ website.

Opening night we had a panel discussion and I was fortunate to be asked to moderate. In the photo above from that night, I felt like Forest Gump because I had no right to be in a photo with such an esteemed list of musical talent, even if I was a player behind the scenes. Still, it was a wonderful experience to have the honor of introducing each of these incredibly talented musicians.

The exhibit runs through April, so if you’re in the area, check it out.

West Village Reading, Tuesday September 17 @ 7 PM

IR Approved Sticker 2I’m reading next Tuesday at the Indie Reader event Authors Unbound. I’ll be joined by three other authors. I’ll be reading from My Year as a Clown as well as playing the song that’s a free download in the book. Hope to see you there.

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