James Curtis to Appear at Westside Center's Annual Literary Tea on 12/12

JAMES CURTIS, a critically acclaimed author will appear as the Guest Speaker at the Westside Center for Independent Living's Associates' (WCIL's) Annual Literary Tea to be held on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at a private home in Beverly Hills, CA, at which time Curtis will talk about and sign copies of his latest critically acclaimed book, Spencer Tracy, A Biography.

Tickets for this fundraising event are $80 each, and may be secured by calling Jenn Gunn Steip at the WCIL office at 310-568-0107, ext. 25. The event is open to the general public, but reservations are required. Information about the address of the event will be given at the time when reservations are secured. To learn more about WCIL, please visit the website, www.wcil.org.

Born in Los Angeles, author James Curtis grew up on a diet of junk food and commercial television. Gradually, his tastes improved. As an adult, he revisited a lot of the programming he consumed as an ardent fan of old movies. Most of it failed to justify his earlier enthusiasm. Some, however, not only held up, but actually improved with age.

Curtis tends to respond to strong stylists--the fiction of Raymond Chandler and Kurt Vonnegut, the music of Duke Ellington, the paintings of George Bellows and Edward Hopper. And so it is with filmmakers. Over time, he has addressed himself to book-length studies of people who have had a lasting impact on the art of film, as well as on his own peculiar life.

In addition to his work as an author, James Curtis has enjoyed a career as a consultant and business executive in the computer and health care industries.

James Curtis if the author of W.C. Fields: A Biography; James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters; and Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges. Curtis is married and lives in Brea, CA.

"What is a good actor?" Humphrey Bogart once asked. James Curtis responds by saying: "To me, Spencer Tracy is a good actor, almost the best because you don't see the mechanism working, the wheels turning. He covers up. He never overacts or is hammy. He makes you believe what he is playing."

From the time of his screen debut, Spencer Tracy was considered one of the finest actors in motion pictures. And although he disapproved of honoring one single performance each year with the Academy Award, he won two Oscars back-to-back and was nominated for Best Actor nine times--a record equaled only by Laurence Olivier. In 1999, a survey by the American Film Institute ranked Tracy among the 10 greatest male stars of all time.

But since his death in 1967, Tracy has also been one of the cinema's most maligned figures, the subject of lurid stories and unsubstantiated claims, many centering on the nature of his 26-year relationship with actress Katharine Hepburn. In James Curtis's Spencer Tracy, A Biography, the first new biography on the screen legend in 40 years, the record is set straight. Written with access to Tracy's own papers and date books--and with the cooperation of his daughter, Susie Tracy--it brings unprecedented clarity and detail to the story of the brilliant but tortured man at the core of the popular legend.

Drawn from interviews with more than 100 friends and co-workers, and Illustrated with 124 photographs--many published in this book for the first time--Spencer Tracy, A Biography is certain to stand as the definitive biography of the man George M. Cohan called "the best goddamned actor I've ever seen."

The book, which is published by Alfred A. Knopf features 124 photographs and is 1,001 pages in length.

Founded 1981 by Helen Levin, Betty Deutsch and Louise Escoe, the Associates of the Westside Center for Independent Living are a group of active community members who are dedicated to the cause of independent living for seniors and people with disabilities. In support of this mission, the Associates use their skills to educate and develop community advocates, support WCIL programs through membership development, provide volunteer services, and present fundraising events.

The WCIL Associates Steering Committee consists of: Betty Underwood Deutsch, Tea Party Hostess; Ruth Kraft, Steering Committee Chair; Suzie Levin Corben, Honorary Chair; and members Louise Escoe, Marjorie Fasman, LaVetta Forbes, Barbara Gordon, Trudy Kallis, Jean Katz, Ruth March, Marcia Solomon, Dorothy Straus, Dascha Auerbach Stuart and Ruth Tober.

Westside Center For Independent Living was established in 1976 with the mission of providing seniors and people with disabilities the tools to achieve the goals of independent living self-assurance, community acceptance, unlimited access, and the right to self-determination.

Programs and services include individual and systems advocacy, assistive technology, employment services, independent living skills, information and referral, peer counseling, peer support and employment training, personal assistants, home accessibility, and Transition Services from hospital, skilled nursing facility or institutional facility and the Empowerment Alliance.

More than 70% of WCIL's staff is made up of people with disabilities. Each staff member has a unique commitment to assist others with disabilities, and their understanding, guidance and support gives those we serve the confidence to reach out toward their own independence.

WCIL has three Westside service sites, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach, providing programs and services. The geographic service area runs from Malibu to San Pedro, to West Hollywood, and included the Westside of Los Angeles along with Carson.

To learn more about the Westside Center for Independent Living, please visit the website www.wcil.org. A disability need not be disabling.

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