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Ava Gardner Museum

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Tennessee Williams Lecture Held at Ava Gardner Museum Thursday, October 7

Lecture given by Dr. Joseph Flora

Smithfield, NC, October 02, 2010 --( Each year the Ava Gardner Museum celebrates Ava's life and career by hosting the Ava Gardner Festival. This annual event includes heritage tours, screenings of classic Ava Gardner films, and special exhibits.

This year’s festival will kickoff during the Ava Gardner Festival Gala on Friday evening, October 8th and will continue Saturday, October 9th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2010 Ava Gardner Festival marks the 10th anniversary of the Ava Gardner Museum.

During the months leading up to the festival, community residents will be encouraged to read the Tennessee Williams play The Night of the Iguana, the cinematic version in which Ava Gardner starred. After having read the play, community members are invited to attend a lecture about Tennessee Williams and his life at the Ava Gardner Museum on Thursday, October 7th. Starting at 6:30pm, the lecture will be presented by Dr. Joseph Flora, a Literature professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Arriving in Chapel Hill in 1962 following a year of full-time teaching at the University of Michigan, Joseph Flora has spent the majority of his career at UNC. He has served as associate dean of the Graduate School and twice served as department chair (1980-91).

Flora has co-edited with Robert Bain several bibliographical and critical studies of Southern literature, and is editor of The English Short Story 1880-1945. In 2002 he edited, with Lucinda MacKethan, The Companion to Southern Literature. With Amber Vogel, he edited Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary; it received the 2006 Jules and Frances Landry Award. He is on the editorial boards of Studies in Short Fiction, The Southern Literary Journal, The Thomas Wolfe Review, and The Hemingway Review. He has been president of The Western Literature Association, The Thomas Wolfe Society, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, and the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English.

Other activities scheduled during the Ava Gardner Festival include the Gala on Friday evening, October 8th. At the Gala, the Museum will unveil its newest exhibit in the Museum’s largest showcase, Ava on the Small Screen. Items from Ava’s television projects The Long Hot Summer, Harem, A.D., and multiple appearances in the television series Knot’s Landing will be featured. This exhibit will run through the end of May 2011. Tickets to the Gala are $50 per person and all-day admission to the Museum on Saturday, October 9th is $5.00 for everyone.

On Saturday, October 9th, in partnership with the Johnston County Heritage Center, heritage tours will be scheduled throughout the day. Visitors will be shown points of interest in Ava's hometown, including Ava's birthplace, the Teacherage where she grew up, the Howell Theater where Ava first went to the movies, and will end with a visit to her gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park. Heritage tour passes are $10 per person.

During the Festival, the classic Ava Gardner films The Barefoot Contessa and The Night of the Iguana will be screened at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield during the afternoon of Saturday, October 9th. That evening at 7:30 PM, the musical Show Boat will be screened at the Neuse River Amphitheatre, 200 Front St., Smithfield Town Commons. All film screenings are free to the public.
For accommodations, two local hotels are offering special Ava Gardner Festival discounts. The Best Western Smithfield Inn (919-989-4047) is offering a special rate of $64.00 + tax and the Sleep Inn & Suites of Smithfield (919-209-2360) is offering a 15% discount on rates. Call the hotel directly and mention the Ava Gardner Festival to take advantage of these special discounts.

For more information about the festival and “Reading Tennessee Williams,” please call the museum at 919-934-5830.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, or by calling 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors and groups and $4.00 children.

Contact Information
Ava Gardner Museum
Jessica Meadows Hammett

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