Hemingway Days 2010 Literary Events Spotlight Creativity and Heritage

Fans of good writing can explore a roster of literary and theatrical events during Hemingway Days 2010, set for Tuesday through Sunday, July 20-25. The festival celebrates the literary accomplishments and exuberant Key West lifestyle of legendary writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived on the island throughout the 1930s.

The 2010 schedule includes readings and presentations, a one-man theatrical performance and the announcement of the winners of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.

Lorian Hemingway, critically acclaimed author of “Walking into the River,” “Walk on Water” and “A World Turned Over,” also is a journalist whose work has appeared in publications including “GQ,” “Rolling Stone” and “Esquire” magazines.

A granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, she has directed the short story competition since its inception in 1981. The literary contest was created to recognize and support the talents of emerging writers.

The winners of the 2010 competition are to be announced at 8 p.m. Friday, July 23. The first-place writer is to receive $1,000 and publication, while second- and third-place winners are awarded $500 each and others receive honorable mentions.

The awards announcement and reception traditionally take place at Ernest Hemingway’s first Key West residence, Casa Antigua, 314 Simonton St. Completely restored since Hemingway’s era, the property is a showplace with a soaring central atrium garden open to the sky.

The awards reception is to include a reading of the winning entry, a discussion of Casa Antigua’s unique history by owner Tom Oosterhoudt and tours of the property. Admission is free.

Writers whose work has been influenced by Key West are to star at an evening of readings and presentations Wednesday, July 21. Scheduled for 8 p.m., the literary gathering is hosted by Wyland Galleries of Key West at 623 Duval St.

Notable participants are to include photographer and expert angler Jeffrey Cardenas, author of “Sea Level” and “Marquesa: A Time & Place with Fish”; author, editor and poet George Murphy; Mark Howell, the critically acclaimed editor of Key West’s “Solares Hill,” and Wendy Tucker, who brought many Key West stories to national prominence during her long tenure with the island’s daily newspaper.

“Voices, Places, Inspirations” also features a reception where attendees can view paintings and sculptures by Wyland Galleries artists. Admission is free.

In addition, Hemingway Days attendees can enjoy a one-man dramatic production written and performed by Brian Gordon Sinclair. Sinclair, who has showcased segments of his planned six-play cycle on Hemingway at past festivals, has done extensive research into the author’s life, work and motivations.

Sinclair is to re-create Ernest Hemingway’s personality and adventures during a thought-provoking storytelling presentation titled “Hemingway’s Hot Havana.” The curtain is to go up at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at the Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St.

Sinclair plans a second performance at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 23, as a memorial to the late Jean Klausing of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, who helped guide Hemingway Days for many years.

Additional Hemingway Days details can be found at www.hemingwaydays.net.

For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539), or visit the Keys website.

‘Papas’ to Vie for Hemingway Look-Alike Honors in Key West

Slated for 1 pm Saturday, July 24, Outside Sloppy Joe’s

Photos by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

For more than 125 stocky, bearded men gathering in Key West in mid-July, donning a sweater won’t be just a fashion statement or reaction to a cool breeze. Choosing to wear a cream-colored wool fisherman’s sweater could mean the difference between victory and defeat in Sloppy Joe’s “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.

The look-alike challenge takes place at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St., frequented by Ernest Hemingway when he lived and wrote in Key West throughout the 1930s, and is a highlight of Key West’s July 20-25 Hemingway Days celebration. Preliminary rounds are set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 22 and 23, and the newest “Papa” is to be chosen during a final round beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24.

Past entrants have come from as far away as Australia and Kazakhstan to compete in the quirky contest, dressing in safari togs, wool fisherman’s turtlenecks and other garb associated with the Pulitzer and Nobel winner’s “Papa” persona. Some are longtime repeat contenders, and all must prove their resemblance to a judging panel of past contest winners.

Judges are to include 2009 winner David Douglas, a mechanical contractor from Cypress, Texas, who triumphed over 145 other candidates while dressed in a wool fisherman’s turtleneck sweater despite 90-degree heat. His attire emulated Ernest Hemingway’s appearance in a famous 1957 photograph by Yousuf Karsh.

“It’s very possible the sweater did it,” said a perspiring Douglas after the victory, earned on his eighth attempt. “It’s about 120 [degrees] inside the sweater, but it’s worth it.” Douglas said he shared Hemingway’s fondness for fishing and cocktails, but limited his writing to checks and text messages.

In addition to the contest, look-alikes are to take part in a variety of other Hemingway Days events. Among them is an evening welcome party set for Wednesday, July 21, at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd.

Aspiring Ernests are to prove that their affinity for the author is “no bull” during Sloppy Joe’s “Running of the Bulls,” a lighthearted salute to the famed annual run in Pamplona, Spain. Though it features manmade pseudo-steers instead of the real thing, the sporting spoof typically draws large and enthusiastic crowds. 

Before the run, from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, the look-alikes plan to be available for photos on Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s. Afterwards, they are to host a belated “birthday party” outside the bar to celebrate the July 21 anniversary of Hemingway’s 1899 birth.

Many “Papas” test their strength in another Sloppy Joe’s event: an annual arm-wrestling challenge. The contest is set to begin with a noon registration Sunday, July 25, with prizes awaiting winners in multiple categories.

The look-alikes also plan to present a number of scholarships to Florida Keys students during the festival. Established in 2000, the scholarship program is funded primarily by contributions from “Papas” and their supporters.

For information about Sloppy Joe’s “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest and other look-alike events, visit www.sloppyjoes.com. For more Hemingway Days information, visit www.hemingwaydays.net.

David Douglas, center, beams after winning the 2009 “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike contest late Saturday, July 25, 2009, at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Fla. Douglas, a 55-year-old Cypress, Texas, mechanical contractor, won the contest that chooses the man that best emulates Ernest Hemingway. Douglas, who won after eight tries, is surrounded by previous Hemingway look-alike winners. The event was a highlight of the six-day Hemingway Days festival that ends Sunday, honoring the author who lived in Key West in the 1930s. Photo courtesy: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO.

Hal Howland Book Signing

As part of the annual Hemingway Days festival, Hal Howland will join fellow Key West authors Michael Haskins and Wayne Gales at A Novel Gathering on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, in the Sanctuary Lounge at the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, 305-293-1818 ext. 7225. Howland will sign copies of his books After Jerusalem, The Human Drummer, and Landini Cadence.

Howland will join Haskins and Gales at 1 pm on July 21 on KONK AM, 1500 on your radio dial.

From 7 to 10 pm on most other Fridays, Howland accompanies jazz guitarist Chris Burchard at Ilona’s Garden Café, 416 Appelrouth La., Key West, 305-517-6865. Enjoy great Hungarian cuisine, a fine selection of wines and microbrews, and refreshingly quiet, intelligent music.

For more information www.halhowland.com!

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