Ray Bradbury Week is Coming to Los Angeles

Aug 20, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Ray Bradbury is considered one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. His indelible and iconic “Martian Chronicles,” established Bradbury as a serious and talented writer.

Its commercial success only added to his burgeoning career. The book describes man’s attempt to colonize Mars, where the story and theme is about the effects of colonization on the Martians, and the colonists’ reaction to a massive nuclear war on Earth.

Another of Bradbury’s best-known works is the book Fahrenheit 451. It’s set in the future in which a totalitarian government has banned the written word.

The protagonist, in the book, enjoys his job as a professional book-burner. But he begins to question his duties the when he learns of a time when books were legal and people did not live in fear.

Subsequently, he starts to doubt what the actual purpose of his book burning serves and to whom; and he begins stealing books marked for destruction while meeting a professor who agrees to educate him.

When his pilfering is discovered, he must run for his life.

If not ironic and a sad commentary about our present world, many societies and government regimes regularly ban books to be offensive for various reasons, but the end result remains the same—people are denied knowledge and are kept in the dark for nefarious purposes.

How many times this has occurred throughout history is countless.

Fahrenheit 451 is similar in theme of mass brainwashing and loss of control in other books as well known including George Orwell’s, 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World.

The 1966 film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 (1966) was made by the world famous French director Francois Truffaut, and starred Julie Christie, where it ended up receiving several nominations.

Bradbury’s work has won countless honors and awards, including the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award (1954), the Aviation-Space Writer’s Association Award for Best Space Article in an American Magazine (1967), the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. His work was also included in the Best American Short Stories collections for 1946, 1948 and 1952.

His total literary output is close to 600 short stories, more than 30 books and numerous poems and plays.

In 2004 Bradbury received a National Medal of Arts. He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An asteroid is named in his honor, "9766 Bradbury", and the Apollo astronaut named a crater on the moon "Dandelion Crater", after his novel, Dandelion Wine.

Bradbury also received an Emmy Award for his work as a writer on ‘The Halloween Tree’, and many other awards and honors. His works are translated in more than 40 languages and sold tens of millions of copies around the world.

From August 22nd – 28th, 2010, Los Angeles will be host to Ray Bradbury Week:

The schedule of talks, movie screenings, special guests, plays, and other derivative works of Bradbury will be held as follows:

Monday, August 23rd – The Diversity Department of the Writers Guild of America will present a stage reading of Ray Bradbury’s one act play, The Wonderful Part of Wisdom, starring James Cromwell. The play starts at 7:00pm.

Tuesday, August 24thThe Playboy Foundation presents a special screening of Fahrenheit 451, preceded by a discussion with Ray Bradbury and Hugh Hefner moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter and Hero Complex blogger Geoff Boucher. The event starts at 7:00pm.

Wednesday, August 25thThe City of West Hollywood and Green School of Hollywood is presenting a play based on Fahrenheit 451 adapted for and performed by children. The event begins at 7:00pm.

Thursday, August 26thThe Downtown Central Library will host a special screening of Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998), starring Joe Mantegna, Esai Morales, Edward James Olmos, and Clifton Collins, Jr. Special guests will include Joe Mantegna and Clifton Collins, Jr. This starts at 7:00pm.

Saturday, August 28thThe Paley Center for Media will present Ray Bradbury on Television, which consists of three television productions based on works by Bradbury—Ray Bradbury Theater: The Banshee (1986); American Playhouse: Any Friend of Nicholas Nicleby is a Friend of Mine (1982); and The Electric Grandmother (1982). The productions start at 1:00 p.m.

All events are free to the public and are in celebration of the totality of all of Ray Bradbury’s writings and projects.

It’s bound to be a creative, serious, and screenwriter’s dream to have this opportunity to have this week held here throughout Los Angeles.

For more information, be sure to check the Ray Bradbury Week Facebook page.

Lastly, great stories and storytelling are timeless.

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