JDM’S 100TH BIRTHDAY EVENTS


First event:

Opening event with  JOHN JAKES,  DON BRUNS, HALL, CAL BRANCHE  was on  Friday 1-22 at 6:00 PM:  SELBY LIBRARY

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That’s Maynard MacDonald on the screen (opening welcome) after which I presented a slide program on JDM.  

Then we had a Q and A with John Jakes, James Hall, and myself on stage.

Selby Library auditorium holds 200 people and there were no empty seats.


                        THE JOHN D. MACDONALD WRITING



                            TIM DORSEY            2016

      Cal Branche and Tim Dorsey at the Award Ceremony

JDM AWARD was at 2:30 pm TUESDAY 1-26 in the Selby Library followed by a Happy Hour reception at Libby's on Osprey 4 to 7 PM

  Sarasota County Book One:  One Community promoted reading of JDM’s books.

  A MYSTERY TOUR was held April 2, 2016 and reports are that a great time was had by all.

Day of events wraps John D. MacDonald celebration

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Seven months of 45 programs honoring esteemed Sarasota author John D. MacDonald culminate this Saturday, July 23,  with a daylong 100th birthday party and the unveiling of a historical plaque. The programming is presented by Friends of Selby Library.

The program begins at 10:15 a.m. at Selby Public Library (1331 First St., Sarasota), where MacDonald archivists Cal and Nola Branche will present a slideshow and read letters sent between MacDonald and his wife, Dorothy. 

At 11:15 a.m., the Asolo Repertory Theatre Play Readers will present theatrical readings of MacDonald’s works. The author, who died in 1986, wrote more than 70 books (21 of  them  in the  Travis McGee series ) and are than 450 short stories.

An official program will begin at 1 p.m. outside the library at Five Points Park, including the reading of a proclamation and the dedication of a plaque in MacDonald’s honor. Two of MacDonald’s grandchildren, Andrew and Margaret MacDonald, are expected to attend the ceremony, which will feature comments from Kenney DeCamp, chair of the MacDonald Tribute Committee; Liars Club historian Richard “Doc” Glidewell; One Book One Community director Ellen India; and Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw.

“He’s one of the most well-known and prolific authors to be associated with the city, and there wasn’t any sort of plaque or acknowledgement of him,” said India. “We’re really excited about this dedication.”

Marcus (great grandson), Margaret, and Andrew MacDonald.

After the ceremony, guests are invited back to the Selby Library for birthday cake (decorated like book jackets) and 

A 2 p.m. free screening of “A Flash of Green,” an independent movie adapted and directed by Victor Nunez from MacDonald’s book of the same name. 

 Cal Branche read his comments after the film:

"It is common knowledge that John D. MacDonald cared deeply about Florida’s natural landscape. Few actions seem to have upset him more than the willful destruction of the rich and varied native life along our coasts. It is in good part from this anger that “A Flash of Green” grew.

One might imagine many story lines that would address these concerns. When I first read the novel, I was struck by his choice. Instead of centering on the heroics of the environmentalists or the ruthless indifference of the developers, he chose the journey of Jimmy Wing, local reporter and friend to all. As an essentially good man he is drawn into the dark manipulations to undermine those trying to save Grassy Bay, the focus of the struggle, from dredging and filling. Wing turns out to be good at this underhanded job, and he must eventually face his own guilt and partial responsibility for the outcome.

For some readers and viewers of this movie, this fall of a good man is simply not acceptable. As a filmmaker, it has been interesting to ponder this. We seem to enjoy knights in heroic battle, and equally to vicariously be present as the bad have their cruel way. Jimmy’s arc, his fall from grace and his struggle to regain some part in the community was an compelling part of what drew me to the story . Ed Harris conveys every nuance of Jimmy’s journey, and the triumph of the developers is made all the more unsettling.

I recently got to see the movie again after many years. What struck me and I think the Florida audience is how unfortunately current it remains . John. D. did not intend a happy ending, but perhaps one that might challenge us to rise above the inevitable defeats both outward and inward that can invite despair at the very moment we need to keep going.

It was an honor and a deep experience to try to bring “A Flash of Green” to cinematic life. Jimmy, by all standards, is an odd duck, which is why for me he is wonderfully human and why his and our world is still worth trying to save.

Victor Nunez

July 22, 2016

The party continued with a MacDonald Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. at Libby’s Cafe and LBar, 1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota.

At 8 p.m. any who are interested will journey to Siesta Key Beach for a champagne toast and the hope of seeing a “green flash.”

“The programming has been influencing the community,” India said. “The library books are always checked out, and booksellers in town said they just can’t keep them in stock. It’s kind of nice to keep that legacy alive,”  she added.


One of the special cakes made for the occasion:



© bill 2014