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HBO is gearing up for another highly-anticipated television event: the film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451. Directed by Ramin Bahrani and starring Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon alongside Michael B. Jordan in the lead role as Guy Montag, the film tells the story of a dystopian future where books are banned and literally burnt to a crisp. While we know that sounds like a good idea for the college students out there currently prepping for finals week, the events play out way more grim than you’d expect.


In preparation for the film’s premiere this week, HBO hosted its exclusive “Speakeasy 451” event at Brooklyn’s Union Hall. Influencers, activists and artists in the NYC area all came out for Day 1 of the three-day event, which was hosted by Blavity Editor-In-Chief Lilly Workneh, who led a Q&A with author Colson Whitehead about how the themes in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad relate to those in Fahrenheit 451. Bahrani was also in attendance to speak on how the project came together, and the night was capped off by a DJ set from BMAJR and a stellar performance by up-and-coming R&B chanteuse Ella Mai.

See more pics below from the Speakeasy 451 event, which will go on for two more days leading up to the premiere of Fahrenheit 451 on HBO this Saturday (May 19) at 8 PM ET/PT.

Anthony Prince and rapper CJ Fly
Image: HBO®

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead
Image: HBO®

Colson Whitehead and Lilly Workneh
Image: HBO®

‘Fahrenheit 451’ director Ramin Bahrani
Image: HBO®

Attendees enjoying the Speakeasy 451 set-up on display at Union Hall in Brooklyn
Image: HBO®

Image: HBO®

Image: HBO®

R&B singer Ella Mai performing onstage at the ‘Speakeasy 451’
Image: HBO®

Singer Ella Mai
Image: HBO®

Attendees enjoying the sounds of NYC DJ BMAJR
Image: HBO®

NYC influencers enjoying the custom drinks at the Speakeasy 451
Image: HBO®

Also, see below for info on the Speakeasy 451 events happing tonight and tomorrow:

Thursday, May 17th Programming:

Host: Antwaun Sargent (Art Critic and writer)
Speaker: Robert Battle (Artistic director of Alvin Ailey dance troupe)
Performance: Kevin Olusola
DJ: Kenneth Kyrell

Friday, May 18th Programming:
Host: Mykki Blanco (Rapper/poet/activist)
Speaker: Kimberly Drew (Art curator and social media manager of the Met)
Performance: Bosco
DJ: Devon Craig Johnson