Ray Bradbury Birthday Week

When Ray Bradbury marks his 90th birthday on August 22 his hometown of Los Angeles will honor him with a seven-day celebration. Today, August 20, the Los Angeles City Council “adopted forthwith” a resolution proclaiming Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles, August 22-28, 2010.

Here are some of the many events and exhibits taking place:

The Writers Guild Foundation is presenting a Ray Bradbury Exhibit at Shavelson-Webb Library in the WGA, west building.  Bradbury materials such as book and script covers from the library collection will be presented in a couple of display cases. The library is open to the public 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays–Fridays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays (closed the last Friday of each month). LOCATION:  WRITERS GUILD, FIRST FLOOR, 7000 W. THIRD, LOS ANGELES.

On Monday, August 23 the Diversity Department of the Writers Guild of America, west presents Ray Bradbury’s one-act play, “The Better Part of Wisdom,” read by James Cromwell (“That’ll do pig.”) Set in 1950s London, the drama centers on a dying, 80-year-old Irishman enduring a farewell tour of relatives who discovers that his beloved grandson is gay. Directed by Steven Paul Leiva. LOCATION:  WRITERS GUILD, 7000 W. THIRD, LOS ANGELES – SECOND FLOOR. TIME: 7:00PM. INFO: (323) 782-4589. RSVP: diversity@wga.org with “Wisdom” in subject line

On Tuesday, August 24 the Playboy Foundation will present a screening of Fahrenheit 451 starring Julie Christie, Oskar Werner and Cyril Cusack. The film will be preceded by a discussion with Ray Bradbury and Hugh Hefner moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter and Hero Complex blogger Geoff Boucher. LOCATION: WRITERS GUILD THEATER 135 SOUTH DOHENY DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS  (JUST SOUTH OF WILSHIRE). TIME: 7:00PM. RSVP: Simone at 312.373.2049.

On Thursday, August 26 the Los Angeles Public Library’s Richard J. Riordan Central Library will host a special screening of Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, starring Joe Mantegna, Esai Morales and Edward James Olmos. LOCATION: RICHARD J. RIORDIAN CENTRAL LIBRARY, MARK TAPER AUDITORIUM 630 WEST FIFTHE STREET, LOS ANGELES. TIME: 7:00PM. RSVP: EMAIL  rbw451@aol.com with “Ice Cream” in subject line.

On Saturday, August 28 the Paley Center for Media presents “Ray Bradbury on Television,” three television productions based on works by Ray Bradbury. Doors open to the Center at Noon and admission is free. The screening schedule is as follows: 1:00 PM Ray Bradbury Theater: The Banshee (1986)  An episode from the landmark cable TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, and based on Ray’s autobiographical short story about his relationship with famed film director John Huston when Ray was in Ireland writing the screenplay for Huston’s Moby Dick.  Starring Peter O’Tool as the Director and Charles Martin Smith as the Writer.  2:00 PM American Playhouse: Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend of Mine (1982). Starring Fred Gwynne (The Munsters) as “Charles Dickens” and featuring Ray Bradbury as the voice of the boy as a man. 3:00 PM The Peabody Award-Winning The Electric Grandmother (1982). Starring Maureen Stapleton, Edward Herrmann and Paul Benedict. LOCATION: THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA, 465 N. BEVERLY DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS. RSVP: 310-786-1036

There are two other birthday events, not part of the week in LA but that deserve mention somewhere.

First,  UCLA has posted a tribute website. After all, that’s where Ray typed Fahrenheit 451 on rental typewriters in the Powell Library basement. There are videos and graphics and a quiz. I only scored 6 out of 7 — surely you can do better.

Second, The Saturday Evening Post is featuring a new story by Bradbury—“Juggernaut”—in the September/October issue. The Post’s collaboration with Bradbury traces back to 1950 when it published his short story, “The World the Children Made.” Over the years the Post has published 14 short stories and two poems by Ray.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Steven Paul Leiva.]

Update 08/21/2010: Video of Ray’s appearance at the LA City Council is here on Facebook (registration required).