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Home > The Great Gatsby


Celebrate the Roaring Twenties with your friends at the Fresno County Public Library! In association with the National Endowment for the Arts, we will be reading “The Great Gatsby” as part of the Big Read 2014. Bootlegging, high society, feminism, romance and war are just some of the themes explored in what many critics call the best work of Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald


Whether you are the big cheese, a bootlegger, blue nose or even a bull, you need to check out our complete list of events!

Don’t know if you are bull or blue nose? Then take a look at Slang of the 1920’s!

These events are the Cat’s Meow

bullet Read-a-Thon:

The kickoff event for the “The Great Gatsby” will be at Cuvee’ in the Tower District. This joint is just hotsy-totsy! A host of local celebrities, elected officials and all around keen people will read excerpts from the book at twenty minute intervals.  This is a 21 and over event so no deb or fish gets in unless they are on the level! There will be a “no host” bar, but don’t be getting spifflicted just for kicks! For all of us who don’t like the giggle water appetizers of the 1920’s and punch will be provided.

1140 N. Van Ness Ave

March 5 from 4 to 8 pm

bullet Silent Movie Viewing: The Lost World:

We take blockbuster movies for granted and stream them wherever we are, but for the people like Mr. Gatsby they were a reason for putting on the Ritz! One of the greatest films of that era, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1925 silent film “The Lost World” will be shown at the historic Warnors Theater. Tickets are free and you can pick yours up at your local library branch.

Warnors Theater
1400 Fulton St.

March 6 at 7 pm

bullet The Birth of Jazz and The Great Gatsby:

Jazz Fresno presents music of the 1920's by Les Nunes.  Tin Pan Alley was where the beat started and the hits just kept on coming! Every speakeasy or ritzy joint was known for some amazing music and Jazz Fresno is going to give a taste of what it was like.

Woodward Park Library

March 18 at 7pm

bullets The Great Gatsby Live Theater Performance:

See a live performance of The Great Gatsby play at the historic building, The Grand, which is the old San Joaquin Power and Light building (across the street from the Warnors Theatre). Tickets are free at any Library branch.

The Grand
1401 Fulton St

March 20 at 8 pm
March 21 at 8 pm
March 22 at 2 pm and 8 pm
March 23 at 2 pm

bullets Gargoyles, Chevrons and Zigzags… Oh My!:

During the Roaring Twenties, the Art Deco design style was all the rage. It was used for many buildings nationwide, including Fresno and even the world famous Ritz Hotel in Paris! In this illustrated talk Karana Hattersley-Drayton, the City of Fresno’s Historic Preservation Manger, will discuss the origins of the style and its application to buildings in the United States.

Fig Garden Library

March 25 at 7pm

bullet The Harlem Renaissance in the Roaring Twenties:

The Museum of African American History is hosting a performance on the poetry of Langston Hughes as well as the music and dance of the Harlem Renaissance. You cannot imagine how influential the Harlem Renaissance was on the rest of society, but this event will certainly give you a better idea.

African American Historical and Cultural Museum
1857 Fulton St.

March 28 at 6 pm

bullet The Great Gatsby Speakeasy:

This is the party of the year with live music, dance, and Flapper & Fella contest. Hors d’ oeurvres and no host bar featuring cocktails from the 1920’s will be available. Don’t be Joe Palooka! You need to be at this joint! The event will be hosted at the Fresno City College Library and just like a speakeasy from the 1920’s, a password is needed for admittance. Just tell the Darb at the front they are the "Bee's Knees" and the juice joint will be open for business!

Fresno City College Library - Map
1101 E University Ave

March 29 at 8 pm

bullet Flappers, Debs or Dolls? Art and Women of 1920’s:

Women gained the right to vote in 1920 and many of the old stereotypes that had held women back for so long were being bumbed off. Still, as some of the slang of that time will attest, women had a long way to go and still do before getting their fair share. In honor of Zelda Fitzgerald and Women’s History Month, Arte Americas will be hosting artwork exclusively done by women who were and remain the bee’s knees.

Arte Americas Casa de Cultura
1630 Van Ness Ave

March 5 thru May 28, contact Arte Americas for specific hours

bullet These Ladies were the Real McCoy:

Fresno City College will showcase a swell display highlighting women who were making history during the 1920's including  Georgia O'Keefe, Isadora Duncan and  Amelia Earhart.  Library Conference Room.   Visitors can ask a library staff member for access or call 442 - 4600 ext 8150. 

Fresno City College - Map
1101 E University Ave.
Paid parking only

bullet Bus Trip to Hearst Castle:

Our bus may not be a breezer, but it ain’t no flivver either! William Randolph Hearst, media magnate, built his famous home in San Simeon, CA and it was a coveted destination for the Hollywood and political elite in the 1920’s. If you were a big cheese, you went to Hearst Castle. We will be taking a bus trip to this California landmark for an evening tour complete with character’s in costume. Attendees must be able to stand for an hour and forty minutes, climb 308 steps and walk three quarters of a mile.

Registration starts March 5 ends March 20.  To register call 600- 6227.

April 5th, 11am - 11pm for the 6:10pm tour.
Cost per person is $55.00, due March 20.
No refunds after March 28.

Bus departs Fresno City College at 11am.
Parking is available in parking lot A.
Bring a bag lunch.  Dinner on your own in Morro Bay
Snacks will be provided on the bus.

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The 1920’s were about many things, but fun and games were a very big part of the lifestyle dubbed the Roaring Twenties. Take a look at a little gaming tribute to these times and to Mr. Gatsby here.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Service and Arts Midwest.

The Library also thanks these generous local sponsors for their support of The Big Read.

The Big Read (NEA), Jazz Fresno, ABC 30 HD, KJewel 99.3 FM, Kyno 1300 AM, Valley Public Radio, Fresno County Federal Credit Union, Fresno City College, CA Arts Academy, Radio Bilingue, 21 Univision, The Fresno Bee and Arte Americas.

ABC 30