Greg Sestero, author/actor, to appear at the Mid-South Book Festival


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As everyone with any current culture awareness knows, Room is the Best Picture-nominated, and Best Actress-winning (Brie Larson) movie of this week's Academy Awards ceremony. 

This blog post is not in any way about that movie, but it is why I was confused when Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, contacted me today to tell me that someone connected with the film had been booked for this September's Mid-South Book Festival.

I am clearly on the low end of pop-culture consciousness because The Room, as it turns out (with its all-important article), is the cult classic starring Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Dean implored me to stop whatever it was I was doing (poking around Facebook) and get a copy, as though this journalistic locomotive might be so quickly halted. "It's epic," he reiterated. 

The Room has been called "the best worst movie ever made" and "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." And people love it. In fact, it sells out showings all over the place and fans have watch parties in their homes. 

The book The Disaster Artist is a bestselling look behind the scenes of the making of the movie that cost $6 million to produce and earned a total of $1,800 at the box office. From Goodreads: "Readers need not have seen The Room to appreciate its costar Greg Sestero‚Äôs account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and interpersonal relationships to achieve the dream only he could love. While it does unravel mysteries for fans, The Disaster Artist is more than just an hilarious story about cinematic hubris: It is ultimately a surprisingly inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of a supremely enigmatic man who will capture your heart."

"We are excited to add Greg Sestero to the Mid-South Book Festival," Dean told me. "Cult film enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that his presentation at the festival will be free and open to the public, and we are working with Indie Memphis to have a screening of the film before the festival. Even more exciting is that the movie version of The Disaster Artist will open in theaters one month after our festival." That film version is directed by and stars James Franco.

The announcement of Sestero comes on the heels of the news that Lauren Groff, author of the bestselling Fates and Furies, will also be a part of the fall festival. In only its second year, 2015's event saw 80 authors and 5,000 attendees. And that's way more than attended the first run showing of The Room when it was released in 2003. 

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