“Mad About Ava” Tapped as a County-wide Cocktail Party

Ava_board-208x720 In 1963 Ava Gardner was happy living in Madrid, away from Hollywood where paparazzi would not leave her alone. But film director John Huston convinced her to leave Spain to play Maxine Faulk in Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana in spite of the playwright’s objections. Williams thought Ava was too beautiful for the part and wanted to cast a “beaten up old dame” like Bette Davis, who played Maxine on Broadway. Huston replied, “Ava Gardner is a Tar Heel from North Carolina, someone that sticks to his position in the battle line…. Ava can belt it out.… You’ll see a very fine actress at work.” cocktail_party_invitationPuerto Vallarta, a little known town on the western Pacific coast of Mexico, was invaded by a star-studded cast to film The Night of the Iguana. For the 2013 Ava Gardner Festival, the Ava Gardner Museum will channel the flavor of the movie and the decade of the 60s with cocktails, food, and fashion to commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary. “Ava Gardner was a JoCo girl, so this year’s event is going to be a county-wide party to celebrate the museum’s anniversary,” states Todd Johnson, Museum Director. “It promises to be a lot of fun, and I can really sense a lot of excitement in the air not only with locals but also with all the guests who travel from points across the country each year to pay homage to our homegrown Hollywood star.” The event will feature a 1960s “Mad Men” dress-up contest and patrons can enjoy specialty martinis named for Ava, craft beers, and wine cocktails, as well as food and entertainment. Activities at the museum on Friday night include heavy hors d’oeuvres, specialty drinks, new exhibits based on The Night of the Iguana, and entertainment by Columbian-American guitar player Carlos Castilla. This year’s Grand Prize Drawing will be for a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In addition, the museum plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Night of the Iguana by showing the movie on Saturday, October 5th, and Sunday afternoon, October 6th, in the museum’s theatre. This year’s festival is presented by Smithfield’s Chicken N’ BBQ, a popular restaurant chain which started out in Smithfield in 1964. The restaurant’s owners have a love for vintage movies, and each of the 34 restaurants has an Ava Gardner photo wall as a tribute to Smithfield’s native daughter. For more information visit avagardner.org

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