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During November, South Pasadena Public Library is participating in a Big Read project along with the arts organization ‘Shakespeare at Play’ of Burbank. Shakespeare At Play is a recipient of a grant to host the NEA Big Read, not only in Burbank but elsewhere around LA County, including in South Pasadena.  The Library is encouraging the community to check out, read and discuss the scintillating Vietnam War novel that the New York Times has declared a “Book of the Century.”  Many copies of the book are available for checkout in a display on the first floor of the South Pasadena Public Library.

On Thursday, November 16 at 6 p.m. in the Library Community Room, a mini-concert of Vietnam War-era rock music will be performed by the extraordinary Hollywood Rhythm Kings. At 7 p.m. that same night, the Library will screen “Platoon, one of the most acclaimed of all war films. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, William Dafoe, and Tom Berenger, the blockbuster won the 1987Academy Awards for “Best Picture” and “Best Director” for Oliver Stone, in addition to Oscars for “Best Editing” and “Best Sound Mixing.”

In Vietnam, Chris (Sheen), a raw recruit, at first wonders whether he will be able to survive in jungle conditions. But he gradually adapts and begins to see that the platoon is divided into two groups, one that believes in total war and another that believes in compassion and humanity. “Platoon” is  one of the few serious motion pictures to depict the Vietnam war directly and it’s the only one written and directed by a Vietnam vet. Shot in the Philippines in 54 days on a low budget, it grossed over $127 million.

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book. The program supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. The NEA Big Read is focusing on “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. Refreshments will be served and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Special thanks to the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the Rialto Theatre, and 210eastsound.

Harry Yadav
Author

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