Big Read Events

Big Entertainment – 30 EVENTS IN 28 DAYS


Tallgrass Express String Band

tallgrass express string band

The Big Read opens with the Tallgrass Express String Band, pride of the Flint Hills.
■ Marvin Auditorium
Sun Feb 1 | 3-4 p.m.

The Big Read Artwalk

Enjoy art and have a chance to win a copy of True Grit.
■ NOTO Arts District, Warehouse 414, SouthWind Gallery, Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery
Fri Feb 6 | 5:30-8:30 p.m.

*Time and Telling in True Grit

A multimedia program exploring history, culture and biography, with a place for True Grit in both historical and contemporary contexts.
■ Marvin Auditorium 101AB
Sun Feb 8 | 2-4 p.m.

*Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Cowboy poet Ron Wilson and friends will read original poems and discuss the elements of authentic cowboy poetry.
■ Marvin Auditorium
Sun Feb 15 | 2-4 p.m.

True Grit, the Path to Success

David Meketon, The Duckworth Lab at University of Pennsylvania, identifies two traits predicting success: grit and self-control. Learn more about the non-cognitive predictors of success.
■ Washburn University Memorial Union A & B
Tue Feb 17 | 7-8:30 p.m.

What True Grit (Might Have) Looked Like

FM STeele photo of Barney O'Connor on horse

Photo courtesy of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University

This genre-crossing exhibit juxtaposes F.M. Steele’s photographs with passages from True Grit to help visitors envision the world in which the characters had their adventures. From the Center for Great Plains Studies.
■ Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Mon Jan 26 – Fri. April 24 during library hours

Jim Hoy, author and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, will revisit the history captured in the photos of F.M. Steele. Visit the Sabatini Gallery to view the exhibit.
■ Marvin Auditorium 101B
Thu Feb 19 | 7-8:30 p.m.

True Grit Living History

Participate in this live history event presenting two perspectives of the Old West experience for women.
■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Sat Feb 21 | 3-4:30 p.m.

*The Big Read Keynote

Thomas Fox Averill discusses the novel True Grit, defines the Western genre and considers what the story says about our culture.
■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC

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Cowpoke Festival

Try on a cowboy hat, touch saddles from the old west and learn to rope.
■ Marvin 101 BC
Sat Feb 21 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Big Read Finale: Don Williams at TPAC

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Don Williams will sing The Big Read home with his warm hickory baritone. Williams is an American country singer, songwriter and a 2010 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame. For tickets, visit or call 234-2787.
■ Topeka Performing Arts Center 214 SE 8th Avenue
Thu Feb 26 | 6 – 7 p.m. Single Action Shooting Society talk and gun showcase | 7:30 p.m. Don Williams Concert 

Young Guns & Gallant Geezers: Age & Heroism in True Grit

two cowboys old & young

Image courtesy of Topeka Magazine

Folk music group, Jeff and Deb with Bill‚ present 5 period-authentic songs based on the heroes and villains of True Grit. Vanessa Steinroetter, assistant professor at Washburn University, and Vicky Trembly, comedian, are presenting. Co-sponsored by Topeka Magazine.
■ Shepherd’s Center, 3033 SW MacVicar
Fri Feb 27 | 10:30 a.m.- Noon

Big Read at Helping Hands Humane Society

bulldog in cowboy outfit
The library and Helping Hands are partnering at the shelter in a western-themed adoption event that has pets posing as stars of the Old West.
■ Helping Hands Humane Society – 5720 SW 21st St
Sat Feb 28 | 1-4 p.m.

The Big Read Film Series

True Grit 2010
110 min | Rated PG13 ■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Fri Feb 6 | 6:30-9 p.m.

Unforgiven 1992
131 minutes | Rated R ■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Fri Feb 20 | 6:30-9 p.m.

True Grit 1969
128 minutes | Rated G ■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Fri Feb 27 | 6:30-9 p.m.

The Searchers 1956
119 minutes ■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Fri Feb 13 | 6:30-9 p.m.


Book Group Reading Together

True Grit by Charles Portis is considered one of the great American novels. Read the book and attend a discussion. Call 580-4540 to join.

True Grit: Dutch Grit
■ The Dutch Goose – 3203 SW 10th
Fri Feb 6 | 6:30-8 p.m.

Classics Made Modern
■ Marvin Auditorium 101C
Mon Feb 9 | 1:30-3 p.m.

Presbyterian Manor Book Club
■ Topeka Presbyterian Manor
Mon Feb 9 | 4-5 p.m.

Crestview Chapter Chat
■ Crestview Community Center / 251-2963 to register
Wed Feb 11 | 1-2 p.m.

True Grit Book Discussion
■ Millennium Cafe
Tue Feb 17 | 1:30-3 p.m.

Grub & Grit Book Discussion
■ Boss Hawgs BBQ – 2833 SW 29th
Thu Feb 19 | 7-8:30 p.m.

So Many Books
■ Perkins Room 201
Sun Feb 22 | 3-4:30 p.m.

Bean There, Read That
■ The Classic Bean – 2125 SW Fairlawn Rd
Tue Feb 24 | 7-8:30 p.m.


Make Your Own Mustache

[8-12 years]

Join the big, hairy, kick-off celebration for the Kids Big Read selection, Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger.
■ Tweens Area 121A
Mon Feb 2 | 4-5 p.m.

Quick Draw, Cowboy

[8-12 years]

Come sit a spell with Michael Perkins, fastest draw hereabouts – fastest at drawing pictures, that is. He’ll learn ya to draw a cowboy picture so purdy you’ll be as happy as a calf in clover.
■ Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Sat Feb 7 | 2-3 p.m.

Books Into Movies

[12-18 years] Come to The Edge and watch True Grit, an exciting western about fourteen year old Mattie Ross, a girl searching for the man who killed her father. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat. You definitely want to win a copy of this book!
■ The Edge – Teen Room 114
Wed Feb 11 | 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Ropin’ a Twister

[All ages] Author Coert Voorhees and Kansas Ballet Academy join forces to perform the dramatic ‚ Storm Wrangler!‚ and KCDC staff meteorologist Kyle Morris will demonstrate a tabletop tornado. This is a free companion program to The Big Read. Program attendees can receive $1 off general KCDC admission.
■ Kansas Children’s Discovery Center
Sat Feb 21 11 a.m.-Noon & | 2-3 p.m.

Cowpoke Festival

Try on a cowboy hat, touch saddles from the old west and learn to rope.
■ Marvin 101 BC
Sat Feb 21 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Squirt Gun Shooting Gallery

squirtgun cowboy.eps
[8-12 yrs] Lenny Flem, Jr and Jodie O’Rodeo save their world with sheer grit and carnival capers. The Kids Big Read Finale has capers of its own. Try your aim at the squirt gun mustache shoot. Dig for, well, maybe it’s gold. Vaporize the villain. Ride off into the sunset, a hero indeed.
■ Lingo Story Room 121
Wed Feb 25 | 3-5 p.m.