Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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As the city of Asheville prepares to celebrate the life and art of Zelda Fitzgerald for the second year in a row, pop culture awareness of the famous flapper has reached an all-time high.

There are two big Hollywood movies in the works, as well as a Amazon series streaming now. As The Hollywood Reporter states, “A-list movie stars are racing against each other to tackle the Jazz Age icon who also suffered from schizophrenia.”

Jennifer Lawrence’s movie, titled simply Zelda, has Ron Howard on board, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Scarlett Johansson film, titled The Beautiful and the Damned, is based on a play written by her famous husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Reporter writes that Millennium Films, which is financing the project, has the cooperation of the Fitzgerald estate “and will incorporate newly unearthed transcripts from a sanatorium in which Zelda Fitzgerald was confined that indicate her husband misappropriated his wife’s ideas as his own.”

That sanatorium was Highland Hospital in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood. Zelda died there in a tragic fire that killed nine women on March 10, 1948.

The Amazon series, titled Z: The Beginning of Everything, stars Christina Ricci. Here’s more from

As a result of an effort led by Jim MacKenzie, a fan of writers and writing who also helps leads the nonprofit Pop Project, which donates books to prison, Asheville City Council named a day in honor of Zelda. MacKenzie organized a day full of readings, an art auction, music and more to celebrate Zelda’s legacy.

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Day is back again this year, set on that fateful day of March 10.

Here’s a list of events:

Friday, March 10, noon

Asheville Art Museum On the Slope, 175 Biltmore Ave., Asheville: Art Break: The Art of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald; Museum staff will host a viewing of and gallery talk about artworks by Fitzgerald. The gallery talk will include a reading by local writer and poet Melanie McGee Bianchi.

Friday, March 10, 6 p.m.

Malaprop’s Bookstore, 55 Haywood Street: As part of the ongoing project Celebrating the Birthdays of Dead Writers: the afterlife of the written word, Monika Gross of At-A-Site Theater will be offering intimate one-to-one readings of Zelda Fitzgerald’s writings. Attendees will be invited to choose from a menu of selections and then enjoy a short 1 to 3 minute reading. Participants may then pick a “memorial” card to take away with them from a collection of cards with quotes by Ms. Fitzgerald.

Saturday, March 11, 2017, 6-9 p.m.

The Academy at Terpsicorps, 1501 Patton Avenue, Asheville
Recital The Muses of Terpsicorps – Performing “Zelda’s Dance” the pre-professional component of Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance will be performing a short homage to the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. The work focuses on her torrid relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald and her subsequent struggles with identity and mental illness.
ART SALE This Outsider Art Sale is by artists who are participants or friends of Aurora Studio & Gallery *(see info below).
Asher Leigh & Friends – Music
Asher Leigh stepped into musicianship and songwriting at age 25. Asher offers listeners and community a safe place to relate, integrate, and re-discover a sense of wholeness. Audiences include young adults, youth, children, parents, survivors of sexual violence, those recovering from addiction, and other servant artists. Her music and services can be found at !
Heather Taylor and Sean Jerome come together to honor the Americana soul side of music. Digging deep with her “smokey tone and hypnotic vibrato”, Heather writes original tunes from the heart. Sean Jerome balances out Heather’s octave mandolin strums, with silky slide guitar licks. Pairing the genres of Folk, Americana and Blues, these two have something to say.
Monika Gross of At-A-Site Theater will be offering a “tasting menu” of short selections of Ms. Fitzgerald’s writings that attendees may choose from for an individual reading.

Sunday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.

Firestorm, 610 Haywood Road, Asheville.
Two readings will close out the second annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Celebration. Tom Downing will read excerpts of Zelda’s work. Tom first read Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald in college along with other writers of the period and remembers being drawn to her powerful voice. Additionally, local writer and poet Melanie McGee Bianchi will read an article she wrote which was excerpted in a book by Maureen Corrigan about the “Great Gatsby.”

Tuesday, March 14, noon

Malaprop’s, 55 Haywood Street, Asheville – Discussion Bound book group. The Asheville Art Museum will host a discussion of Guests on Earth: A Novel by Lee Smith. This book imagines the relationship between a teenaged orphan girl and Zelda Fitzgerald, both patients at a mental institution in Asheville, NC. The author has created, through a seamless blending of fiction and fact, a mesmerizing novel about a world apart – in which art and madness are luminously intertwined.

LOOK FOR ADDITIONAL LISTINGS FROM: THE ASHEVILLE FILM SOCIETY, showing films at Grail Moviehouse, 45 South French Broad, Suite 130, Asheville. ORBIT DVD – Hosting a ZELDA GAMING EVENT, 781 Haywood Road, Asheville.

Events have been coordinated by the above listed community organizations. Special thanks to Jim MacKenzie who sponsored the proclamation for Zelda Fitzgerald Day on March 10th and to *Aurora Studio & Gallery for coordinating events. Aurora Studio & Gallery a supportive studio for artists affected by mental health needs, addiction and/or homelessness.:

Finally, here’s a link to a great NPR story about Zelda and F. Scott’s fated time in Asheville.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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