Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Roots Panel Special Guests Announced

Santa Monica Citywide Reads has now officially begun. It's day two of our four-week program, and 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for Santa Monica's community reading program. In case you've not been paying attention, this year's featured book is the NAACP Image Award nominee, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Wench is the story of four slave mistresses in the years prior to the Civil War. Piggybacking on the theme of slavery, we decided to look back at Alex Haley's landmark portrait of Americans of African descent, Roots. We started a six-day screening of the full miniseries yesterday, and that series continues through this Saturday afternoon. Following the final episode screening on Saturday, Feburary 19th, at 3:00 p.m., we're also hosting a very special discussion panel on Roots with original cast members from that landmark television event. The panel was originally planned to include LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett, Jr., but due to schedule changes that took them out of town on the date we had planned, both Mr. Burton and Mr. Gossett had to bow out. We'll miss them, for sure, but we've still got two cast members who will celebrate the legacy of Roots with us. And, appropriately enough, given that Wench is a story of four women, written by a female author, it turns out that our panel will be headlined by women.

The panel will be moderated by entertainment journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, and panelists will include actresses Lynne Moody and Beverly Todd. Other cast members may join us, but we won't know until the day of the program.

If you're interested in joining us for this panel, the program is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for the cast discussion and will be released at noon on Saturday, February 19th in the Main Library's north lobby. One ticket per guest, and guest must be present to receive a ticket. No prior reservations are available. The screening of episode 6 will begin at 1:00 p.m. in our Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. Ticket holders may enjoy this episode's screening, or join us later for the panel. Following the conclusion of the episode 6 screening, at 3:00 p.m., the cast panel discussion will take place in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium as well. Remember: tickets are required for Auditorium seating for the cast panel, so be sure to stop by early and pick up a ticket before they're gone. Seating is first come, first served, until seating capacity has been reached.

The Main Santa Monica Public Library is at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401. If you need to reach us by phone, call (310) 458-8600, or you can find us on the web at http://www.smpl.org/.

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