BRATTLEBORO >> Latchis Arts celebrates the publication of "Greek Epic: The Latchis Family and the New England Theater Empire They Built," with a special event, reading, and book signing by author Gordon Hayward on Saturday at 10 a.m., as part of the Brattleboro Literary Festival. A Greek breakfast, open to all, will be served starting at 9 a.m.
"Greek Epic" is a fascinating and lively book that combines local history and personal stories with sweeping themes in the news today — immigration, the American Dream, and the importance of family, community and culture. Author Gordon Hayward, a nationally known garden designer, writer and lecturer, and current president of Latchis Arts, the non-profit organization which oversees the Latchis Memorial Building, spent more than a year conducting scores of interviews with local historians, Latchis staff and board members past and present, many Latchis family members and even the granddaughter of Louis Jambor, the Hungarian immigrant artist from New York City who painted the murals on the Latchis Theatre walls in 1938.
The result is an engaging and eye-catching 220-page book with 85 color and black-and-white photographs that brings to light the extraordinary Latchis family, their journey from Greece to Brattleboro, the challenges and successes of their assimilation into their new community and American culture, the resilience they showed through changing times, cycles of fortune and loss, and hurricanes and fires, to build a 14-theater empire in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Ultimately, the book is a testament to the hard work of four generations of a remarkable family and the dedicated group of community-minded people who stepped in to save the Latchis Memorial Building and make sure it continues to serve as a cultural hub for future generations.
"Movies and the performing arts are centered in Brattleboro around the nearly eighty-year-old Latchis Memorial Theatre, which, since 2003, has been overseen by what is now Latchis Arts, a non-profit for which I have been board president since October 2014. I have written this book to further this cause: to keep the theater thriving, to maintain and restore this magnificent historic building, and to celebrate its contribution to the culture of southeastern Vermont," writes Hayward in the Introduction to "Greek Epic."
"Greek Epic" sells for $22.50; proceeds from the sale of the book benefit Latchis Arts, whose mission is to preserve the Latchis Memorial Building for future generations and to promote and host cultural events and activities to benefit our local communities.
For more information and additional copies of the book, visit latchisarts.org.