Literary, cinema celebration begins today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — Listen closely, Natchez is laughing.

The 21st annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration gets started today and the “Humor in the Deep South” themed conference is sure to be filled with giggles and belly laughs.

Conference events kick off at 9 a.m. today and lasts until Sunday afternoon. The four-day event is packed with lecturers, authors, plays, workshops and movie screenings.

The conference is headquartered at the Natchez Convention Center on Main Street, but some events are scheduled at alternate venues.

Most of the NLCC events are offered to the public free of charge.

Today’s highlights include two screenings of “Steel Magnolias” with commentary by Charles Vahlkamp, professor emeritus at Centre College in Kentucky. The movie will be shown at the Natchez Mall Cinema IV. Screenings are at 2:30 and 5 p.m.

Natchez Little Theatre is also performing “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” in conjunction with the NLCC. Tickets for those 7 p.m. performances today through Saturday and the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee are $15 each and can be reserved by calling NLT at 601-442-2233.

Friday’s schedule includes a bevy of speakers beginning at 9 a.m. Mark LaFrancis will screen his latest documentary film, “Now! That’s Funny! Jokes, Stories and Other Musings from the Deep South,” at 10:15 a.m. at the convention center.

Also on Friday is the grand opening of the Richard Wright Exhibit Hall and Finley Collection of West African Art at 5 p.m. at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture on Main Street.

Saturday has been designated Horton Foote Day, honoring Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screen player writer. At 9 a.m., Scott Dixon McDowell, professor of film at the University of Southern Mississippi, will present a lecture titled “The Humor of Horton Foote” and will also screen his documentary film on Foote’s life.

Saturday will be highlighted by the 4:30 p.m. awards ceremony honoring three southern writers who have exhibited excellence in their respective genres.

The day will wrap up with a screening of Horton Foote’s film “A Trip to Bountiful” at 8:15 p.m.

The NLCC wraps up on Sunday with three Ellen Douglas Writing Workshops at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez Campus.

The first, featuring Jackson-based political cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, starts at 8:30 a.m.

For a full schedule of events visit www.colin.edu/nlcc.