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Artesians will have a chance to travel back to the Jazz Age for an evening that’s sure to be the cat’s pajamas Thursday as the Artesia Arts Council hosts a Speakeasy Gala at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center.

True to the era, guests will be required to enter the OPAC through the back door starting at 6 p.m., where “Big Al” will be awaiting the password.

Inside, attendees will have the chance to hoof it to the sounds of The Texas Gypsies, a trio specializing in ‘20s music. Finger foods and giggle water – non-alcoholic options are also available – will be on offer, and a silent auction and 50/50 raffle will also be held.

“There might be some gamblin’ in the back room, too… we’re not sure, but the coppers are not invited,” said Laurie Schotz, executive director of the AAC.

The event is serving as a fundraiser to benefit the arts council’s building fund.

“The good news is that we’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary during the 2018-19 season, but the bad news is that we’ve found out we do not have a building fund if anything should majorly go wrong,” said Schotz.

Tickets to the Gala are $10 each, and membership in the arts council is not required. They may be purchased at the OPAC box office, 746-4212, where holders will then be provided with the secret password.

The speakeasy event is part of Artesia Reads month, a joint effort between the Artesia Public Library, Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center, and the AAC that is encouraging residents to immerse themselves in the stories of “The Great Gatsby” and “Alice in Wonderland” during the month of February.

The band will be set up in one corner of the OPAC stage, freeing up the remainder of the stage for dancing. In the “back room” (the OPAC lobby), flappers and sheiks will be able to use play money provided to them at the door for gambling.

“Jay Gatsby will be our host for the evening,” said Schotz. “Daisy will also be here with her husband Tom, along with Nick and Jordan.”

Attendees of the Gala will then have the opportunity to see the actors portraying those famous characters in action free of charge at 7 p.m. Saturday when the National Players present “The Great Gatsby” at the OPAC.

“Tickets to the play are $20, so we’re asking you to pay $10 to come and have a great evening Thursday, then your name will be put on the list to come back Saturday and see the stage show,” Schotz said.

Those who would prefer to see the National Players’ production of “Alice in Wonderland” at 2 p.m. Saturday will have the option to trade.

Period costumes are not required but are encouraged.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Schotz. “There’s a lot of different, fun aspects to it, and we hope everyone will enjoy it.

“We try to give back to the community as much as we can, so we hope the community will come out, support us, and just have a great time.”