Dennis Beaver, founder and curator of the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit at 513 Truman Ave., spearheads the annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration in recognition of the famed playwright's birthday. Born March 26, 1911, Williams lived in Key West with his partner Frank Merlo and helped shape the island's literary culture.
After a March 2 kick-off party at the Key West residence of Beaver and his partner, Bert Whitt, the celebration continues with Monday night screenings of three Williams films at Key West's Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St. Scheduled are "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" set for 6 p.m. March 7, "The Fugitive Kind" at 6 p.m. March 14 and "Summer and Smoke" at 6 p.m. March 21, followed by a5:30 p.m. reception and film forum March 28. Tickets are available online at www.tropiccinema.com or at the door.
Moving from film to stage, local performers are to present readings of some of Williams' most compelling letters and correspondence in a production titled "Tennessee Williams Letters, LIVE" at 8 p.m.Sunday, March 13, at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St.
For aspiring writers hoping to emulate Williams' talent, the festival features an annual poetry contest and a new short story writing contest.
In addition, both professional and recreational painters are encouraged to enter a challenge that celebrates one of Williams' favorite pastimes. Artists in the plein-air painting contest will be given three hours -- the amount of time Beaver said Williams allowed himself to paint in one sitting -- to set up a canvas outside Key West's Waterfront Playhouse Saturday, March 19, and paint the theater where the playwright once read to sold-out audiences. All paintings are to be exhibited and the winning creation is to appear on the theater's 2016-17 playbill.
Rules, registration and deadlines for all contests are available at www.twkw.org.
Williams' own paintings are to take center stage at noonWednesday, March 16, during a discussion and VIP tour of a new exhibition of his original artwork at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. An opening reception for the permanent exhibit is set for5:30 p.m. the following day.
Celebrations conclude with a birthday reception and awards presentations at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Tennessee Williams Center at 513 Truman Ave. As well as honoring the 105th anniversary of the playwright's birth, attendees can meet other Williams enthusiasts and view new videos, photos and exhibits at the center.
Event information: www.twkw.org
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY