Get out your glad rags for ‘Gatsby’ gala

Great Gatsby Gala
They had a hotsy-totsy time at the Great Gatsby Gala at the Roseville library last year.  (submitted photo)
They had a hotsy-totsy time at the Great Gatsby Gala at the Roseville library last year. (submitted photo)
This year’s gala promises even more fun and frivolity, plus the chance to be a character in an upcoming William Kent Krueger novel. (submitted photo)
This year’s gala promises even more fun and frivolity, plus the chance to be a character in an upcoming William Kent Krueger novel. (submitted photo)

Library’s puttin’ on the ritz for 2nd year

Under the racy headline “The Seamy Side of Society,” Los Angeles Times book reviewer Lillian C. Ford reported in 1925:

“F. Scott Fitzgerald, who won premature fame in 1920 as the author of ‘This Side of Paradise,’ a book that first turned into literary material the flapper of wealthy parents and of social position, whose principal lack was inhibitions, has in ‘The Great Gatsby’ written a remarkable study of today. ... F. Scott Fitzgerald has arrived.”

Highbrow novels about flappers? Rich, socially-connected ones without inhibitions?

Other than Ford, blue-nosed critics—and perhaps Mrs. Grundy readers—weren’t sold. When Fitzgerald died in 1940, at the age of 44, only 25,000 copies of the novel had sold and the common consensus was “Gatsby” was a failure.

Well, as we now know, that was all banana oil. The names “Scott Fitzgerald” and “Gatsby” now conjure up an American classic and ‘20s youth putting on the ritz, hitting the gin joints and spooning in the back seats of flivvers.
 
Shake a leg

The Ramsey County Library’s “Great Gatsby Gala” is back for a second year, slated for 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Roseville library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., and planners say it’ll be firing on all cylinders.

Cast your cheaters on the copacetic catalog:
- a chance to wear your best ‘20s flapper and dapper wear, with prizes awarded for the best getups
- a background track of the best Jazz Age music, with games and dancing
- an appearance by author William Kent Krueger, Minnesota author of the bestsellers “Ordinary Grace” and the Cork O’Connor series
- an auction for the chance to be immortalized in print and audio as a named character in one of Krueger’s upcoming books
- hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auctions
- chances to win guided tours of both Fitzgerald’s old St. Paul haunts and the buildings at the former TCAAP site in Arden Hills

Though it’s held at the Roseville library, the gala raises funds to add to the lending collections at the Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North St. Paul, Shoreview and White Bear Lake branches, as well.

Last year’s gala brought in $25,000, and if planners hit their target goal this year of $30,000 they’ll be able to add more than a thousand new items.

So, ankle on over. It’ll be the cat’s meow.

Tickets are $50 each and may be purchased online or in advance at the library; they will be $60 at the door. Of each ticket price, $25 is tax-deductible.

For tickets or more information go to www.rclfriends.org or visit your local library.
 

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