Straight-Up Fun 

For Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, the time had come to put more fun into the organization's fund-raising efforts. That's the idea behind "Literatini," an evening of martini tastings and more sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, and the Booksellers at Laurelwood. The place and date: the Booksellers at Laurelwood on Thursday, June 21st.

The night's food will come from the Booksellers' bistro. Music will be by students at the Visible Music College. And the martinis will be the product of some of the city's favorite watering holes: Acre, Alchemy, Bari, Grove Grill, the Hilton, and Interim. You? You be the judge. Vote for your favorite martini and browse for a good cause. Twenty percent of book sales will go to Literacy Mid-South, where volunteers tutor Memphians in reading.

"It was just something I came up with at, like, 2 in the morning, in bed and after a few nights of ... martinis," Dean says of the event. "It'll be fun. You can drop in, enjoy yourself, and look at books, hopefully buy some books."

You can also treat yourself to Literacy Mid-South's very own "literatini" martini, but Dean says the recipe will be a surprise: "It'll be a surprise, because we don't have it yet! Three people have volunteered to work on it."

Proceeds from the "Literatini" event will go into a general fund for books, supplies, tutor training — everything Literacy Mid-South needs to get teachers started.

According to Dean, "We now have about 250 volunteers serving about 550 Memphians, with dozens of adults on our waiting list. But statistics show about 120,000 people in the city need our services. We depend on funding. We depend on tutors. I'd say we need about 120,000 volunteers!"

"Literatini," The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Thursday, June 21st, 6-9 p.m. Tickets: $35/person; $50/couple, available online at literacymidsouth.org or thebooksellersatlaurelwood.com.

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