Do It Today: 'El Lector' opening reception and more

Some background: Lopez's piece reflects two sides of his family history and two aspects of the Ybor cigar industry. His Cuban maternal grandfather, Wilfredo Rodriguez, was the last surviving lector (hired to read aloud local Spanish newspapers and fiction to immigrant workers). Lopez’s paternal grandfather, Servando Lopez, was a Spaniard and master cigarmaker who hand-rolled cigars for Red Skelton and Winston Churchill and led the charge with laborers to create the first unionization in Ybor City’s cigar factories.

The library presents the exhibit in conjunction with National Literacy Month, to impart the importance of Tampa’s historic role in the literacy movement for Cuban, Italian and Spanish immigrants who worked in Ybor City’s cigar factories.

The free reception includes snacks from Olympia – mini authentic Cuban sandwiches, mini devil crabs, guava and cheese pastelitos (!) – and begins at 6:30 p.m.

Also, the library recommends reading The Immigrant World of Ybor City by Gary R. Mormino to get the full historic context of Lopez’s piece. John F. Germany Library is at 900 N Ashley Drive, Tampa; 813-273-3652.

In the mood for a book with historical relevance that’s heartwarming and a little bit of a tearjerker at the same time? Mark Mustian, an attorney and city commissioner in Tallahassee, will read from and sign his latest book, The Gendarme, at Inkwood Books at 6 p.m. Described as a testament to the power and consequences of memory, Mustian’s poignant story centers on Emmett Conn, a World War I vet with memory loss from a brain injury and increasing senility. In addition, he has to cope with recurring nightmares of being a gendarme in Turkey during the Armenian genocide. Ultimately Emmett must find a way to apologize, to correct his mistakes and find reconciliation. Inkwood Books is at 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa; 813-253-2638.

If you’re one of those lucky people who got a few extra days off tacked onto the Labor Day weekend vacation and you happen to have a season pass for Lowry Park Zoo, MOSI or Florida Aquarium, September is Swaptember. You can switch things up today and get into one of the other local fun places for free. For instance, zoo pass holders (with valid ID) can receive free admission to the Florida Aquarium and MOSI any day in September, or vice versa.,,

Here’s a thoroughly Tampa event for you: an opening reception and exhibition of artist Elio Lopez’s latest major work, “El Lector (The Lector)" at the Louise and Arnold Kotler Art Gallery of the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa.

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