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Aviation Day Book Release & Classic Film

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Mon 8/19: 7:00p





Celebrate Aviation Day with author Cindy Weigand and Magic City Books at Circle Cinema! The special event will feature the release of Cindy’s new biographical fiction “Big Jack, Cowboy Aviator,” and a screening of 1975’s aviation drama “The Great Waldo Pepper” starring Robert Redford. Tickets on sale now, $10 members and $12 non-members. Books will be on sale separately.

Before the film Magic City Books will talk with Cindy about the book, which explores the life of her great granduncle and pioneering aviator John Wesley “Jack” Ashcraft. “Big Jack, Cowboy Aviator,” recreates his flying life as revealed to Cindy through numerous newspaper articles that he saved, family histories, and letters home. The historical fiction story includes thirty family and vintage photos, several of which will be displayed on the big screen during the discussion. After the talk and film, copies of the book will be on sale for Cindy to sign.

About the book: The year is 1925. Confident of his aerobatic skills and fueled by his determination to make a name for himself, Jack Ashcraft leaves a humdrum flying business to join the Gates Flying Circus, billed as the World’s Greatest Exhibition Aviators. As their star performer, he makes headlines in newspapers throughout the eastern United States. Along the way, he befriends pioneering aviators and free-thinking flappers, flies in a transcontinental air race, and leads a simulated air attack on New York City. But his chosen calling conflicts with his family’s desire for him to be closer to home. When tragedy strikes, Jack struggles to come to terms with the dangerous reality of flying and his desire to return to the life he loves.

About the film: After WW1, an ex-pilot (Robert Redford) takes up barn-storming and chance-meets a former German ace fighter pilot with whom he co-stars in Hollywood war movies depicting aerial dog-fights. Originally released in 1975 from director George Roy Hill, the film is an excellent showcase of the aerial stunts and maneuvers that Jack Ashcraft performed.

About the author: Cindy Weigand grew up on the prairie of western Oklahoma listening to her grandmother’s stories and has loved stories ever since. She is the author of an anthology, Texas Women in World War II, The Republic of Texas Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2003. In 2023, she published a novella, Ride of Passage based on reminiscences of her childhood. Big Jack, Cowboy Aviator is a historical novel, but also biographical fiction in that it is based on the life of a great uncle who was a pilot in the 1920s. Weigand is also a film enthusiast and founder of GTX Film which produces an annual film festival in Georgetown, Texas. She served as President and Executive Director until 2023. She now resides in Tulsa, OK.

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