With the popularity of the new movie version of "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, who could resist dressing up in vintage fashions for what the Valley Humane Society is calling a swank evening of delectable eats, live music and glorious revelry at a "Great Catsby" event on July 27?

Yes, that's spelled C-a-t-s-b-y, as in cats and dogs. After all, the funds raised will be used to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for cats and dogs in need of help.

The Saturday evening event will be held at the Veteran's Memorial Hall in downtown Pleasanton. I will attend with my wife, and I can't decide whether to dress as Jay Gatsby himself or Nick Callaway, both characters from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 masterpiece that inspired this fundraiser. Of course, either way I'll probably end up looking more like a disheveled Ernest Hemingway, while my wife's beauty will rival any actress who has ever played Gatsby's love-interest, Daisy Buchanan.

At the event, guests will dance to the 17-piece big-band sound of the CoolTones and a roaring twenties casino will feature roulette, blackjack and craps. You need not speak easy to patronize the "Prohibition bar" (no host) for a taste of the signature Pink Pussycat cocktail. Delectable eats will be provided by local restaurants such as Chianti's, Handles Gastropub, Eddie Papas and the executive chef at Castlewood Country Club. Dessert is courtesy of Nothing Bundt cakes and Sweet Blessings.


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If you act fast to buy your $65 ticket, you may still be able to get in on a Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament (buy-in required) for an additional $35. Seating for the tournament is limited to 24 spots, and prizes will be awarded to the top three winners.

The event itself can accommodate at least 200 people, so don't be shy. And of course, no fundraiser is complete without an array of silent auction items on which guests may bid during the evening.

Tickets are available online at www.valleyhumane.org or by calling 925-426-8656. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. July 27 in the Veterans Hall at 301 Main Street in Pleasanton. Dressing up in 1920s fashions is optional. Having fun is not. Hope to see you there.

Soul music: Speaking of cool cats, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin will be honored at Pleasanton's Firehouse Arts Center for one show only at 8 p.m. July 20

Johnny Trotman pays homage to the great Ray Charles, who pioneered soul music, integrating R&B, gospel, pop and country. Performing as Aretha Franklin will be Felicia White. Known as the "Queen of Soul," Franklin has more than 60 Top 20 hits, 18 Grammies and was the first female inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $15 to $25, with child, senior and group discounts available. Tickets can be bought at www.firehousearts.org, by calling 925-931-4848 or in person at least two hours before the performance at the box office at 4444 Railroad Ave., Pleasanton.

Reach Jim Ott at jimott@sbcglobal.net.

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