“Perfect Storm” author to headline Gloucester 400+ event May 13 | News

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Before there was “CODA” there was “The Perfect Storm.” The blockbuster film was based on the book of the same title chronicling the loss of the fishing vessel Andrea Gail out of Gloucester with all hands onboard in the 1991 “perfect storm.”

Sebastian Junger, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Perfect Storm,” will return to Gloucester on May 13 for a special event at Cruiseport Gloucester to benefit Gloucester 400+.

Billed as “an enthralling presentation and dialogue with Sebastian Junger,” the event will benefit the commemoration in 2023 of Gloucester’s 400th anniversary as America’s oldest fishing port. Tickets are available online at gloucesterma400.org: VIP tickets at $150 include access to an intimate pre-event gathering in the Harbor Room with Junger and guaranteed seating in the first two rows for the main event. Premium seating at $100 per ticket guarantees seating in the third through fifth rows. General admission tickets at $50 guarantee seating in rows 6 to 10. The VIP reception begins at 6 p.m. Doors open for the main event at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7. Light bites are included with admission and there will be a cash bar.

Junger is the author of numerous other best-selling works including “Freedom,” “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” “War”, “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire” as well as co-director of the documentary film “Restrepo,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the winner of a Peabody Award and the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He lives with his family in New York.

“In ‘The Perfect Storm,’ Sebastian Junger was able to capture the reality of the dangers faced daily by those who have gone to sea from the port of Gloucester since 1623,” said Bob Gillis, Gloucester 400+ Committee tri-chair along with Ruth Pino and Bruce Tobey. “We are honored to have him join us as we prepare to commemorate our city’s 400th next year.”

As “CODA” does today, The Perfect Storm painted a realistic picture of the lives of Gloucester fishermen and the people who love them. Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail, played in the film by George Clooney, smarting from an earlier failed trip, heads out for one last late-season trip in October 1991. After hauling onboard thousands of pounds of fish, the crew is faced with a failed ice machine and is forced to head for port in the face of two powerful weather fronts and a hurricane. The massive seas engulf the vessel and it is lost with all its crew.

Bobby Shatford, the youngest member of the crew, was also prominently featured in the book and the film (where he was played by Mark Wahlberg), as was the Crow’s Nest, the local bar presided over by Bobby’s mother, Ethel Shatford. With the 1997 book staying on the New York Times best seller list for an entire year and the 2000 film achieving box-office success, hundreds of visitors came to Gloucester in search of the Crow’s Nest and other local landmarks.

“The Perfect Storm,” both the book and the film, was an economic boon for Gloucester, attracting visitors from around the country to our community, said Tobey.  “We are grateful for that but always mindful of the underlying tragedy in the loss of the Andrea Gail and her crew, who joined the ranks of the hundreds of other Gloucester fishermen lost at sea during four centuries of our history.”

The year 2023 marks 400 years in the history of America’s oldest seaport, recognizing the arrival of English colonizers in 1623. The theme of the quadricentennial, “Our People, Our Stories,” focuses on commemorating Gloucester’s history through the lives of all those who lived here, including but not limited to the Pawtucket peoples, English colonists, free and enslaved Africans, and European and Latinx immigrants who have all shaped and been shaped by the place that is now called Gloucester. This commemoration seeks to be truthful in telling a complex history.

Proceeds from this and other fundraising efforts will help to make all events on the quadricentennial accessible to all. To order tickets to the May 13 event featuring Junger, please visit gloucesterma400.org.

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