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In the fall of 2013, The City of West Hollywood, with The West Hollywood Library and Friends of The West Hollywood Library, presented the inaugural Weho Reads, a community-wide celebration of reading and literature. Modeled after the National Endowment for the Arts’ successful The Big Read program, Weho Reads presented 2 weeks of special events, panels, book discussions and a movie screening inspired by 2013's featured book, The Age of Dreaming by local author Nina Revoyr. The Age of Dreaming is part historical novel, part mystery, and part story of unfulfilled love, all told through the voice of a forgotten star who must gradually come to terms with his past.
Below is a list of events that were part of Weho Reads 2013. You can watch video from some of the events at www.weho.org/wehotv .
Sunday, September 29: West Hollywood Book Fair
A must for lovers of literature, food and more provides the kick off for Weho Reads! A limited number of free books provided by the Friends of the West Hollywood.
Library will be available.
Location/Time: *West Hollywood Park from 10:00am-6:00pm
Tuesday, October 1: West Hollywood Women’s Book Club
Women's discussion of The Age of Dreaming.
Location/Time: *West Hollywood Library Community Room from 7:00-8:30 pm
Wednesday, October 2: Nina Revoyr in conversation with David Ulin
A lively conversation between the author of The Age of Dreaming and David Ulin,
respected author and LA Times Book Critic.
Location/Time: *City Council Chambers at the Weho Library from 7:00-9:00 pm
Friday, October 4: Secrets, Scandals, Sordid Stories and the Silver Screen
A panel of fiction and non-fiction authors take a fun and serious look at Hollywood’s colorful history. The panel will be moderated by Alex Espinoza and features Jerry Roberts, Henry Scott, Jerry Stahl and Carol Wolper.
Location/Time: *City Council Chambers at the Weho Library from 7:00-9:00 pm.
Saturday, October 5: Hollywood Places / Hollywood People
In this special “double feature”, Don Seligman speaks about the places that were
important to early Hollywood as chronicled in his recent book on the Silent Movie Era and Tom Gregory presents “Talking Pictures”, a lecture/presentation based on never-before-seen pictures from his forty-nine years of collecting autographed photos. He tells stories of the people behind the pictures and the commitment that has fueled his life-long passion.
Location/Time: *City Council Chambers at the Weho Library from 4:00-6:00pm
View both programs here.
Saturday, October 12: Silent Movie Screening
Silent film featuring Sessue Hayakawa, who was the real-life inspiration for The Age of Dreaming.
Location/Time: *West Hollywood Library Community Room from 4:00-6:00 pm
*West Hollywood Park, West Hollywood Library Community Room & the City Council Chambers are all located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. For parking info and event details on events please visit: www.weho.org/art.
Free copies of The Age of Dreaming were generously donated by the Friends of the West Hollywood Library bookstore. Also, copies were available for purchase at Book Soup at 8818 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Summary of The Age of Dreaming
Jun Nakayama was a silent film star in the early days of Hollywood. By 1964, he is living in complete obscurity, until a young writer, Nick Bellinger, tracks him down for an interview. When Bellinger reveals that he has written a screenplay with Nakayama in mind, Jun is intrigued by the possibility of returning to movies. But he begins to worry that someone might delve too deeply into the past, and uncover the events that led to the abrupt end of his career in 1922. These events include the changing social and racial tides in California—and the unsolved murder of his favorite director, Ashley Bennett Tyler.
Spurred on by his fear of a potential “misunderstanding,” Jun begins to track down his surviving acquaintances from his years as Perennial Pictures’ greatest star. In the process, he recounts the lives of several other figures from the silent film era: Elizabeth Banks, the working class girl from St. Louis who becomes a major Hollywood diva. Nora Minton Niles, the dreamy, childlike teenage actress controlled by her ambitious mother. Hanako Minatoya, the elegant actress and playwright who serves as Jun’s inspiration and foil. And Ashley Bennett Tyler, the British director whose guiding hand turns Jun into a star. But what Jun ultimately discovers is far more complex and personal than even he could have imagined.
The Age of Dreaming alternates between the 1960’s and the height of the silent film era. It is also the story of a man caught between worlds. Jun must try to please both his Japanese and American fans, and while he is adored by moviegoers—especially women—he’s despised by public officials, who see him as a threat to American power and racial purity.
The Age of Dreaming explores the history of Los Angeles, the heady beginnings of the movie industry, and the interplay of race and celebrity. It is part historical novel, part mystery, and part story of unfulfilled love, all told through the voice of a forgotten star who must gradually come to terms with his past.