LAKEVIEW — At first, Tiffany Keane said she was embarrassed by how much the death of science fiction author Ray Bradbury affected her a year ago.
She wished she had a funeral or memorial to go to — anything, she said, to personally commemorate the passing of the author who inspired her to enter storytelling.
The then-24-year-old had just graduated from Columbia College with a theater degree — "What do you do with yourself?" she said — and a dream of starting a science fiction and fantasy theater company.
She had decided against it. But the emotional reaction from the death of Bradbury and the need to pay tribute changed her mind.
"I heard his voice in my head going 'No, don't wait. The time is now. Don't second guess yourself'," she said, mentioning a famous Bradbury quote, "Just jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down."
The embarrassment passed, and now her Other World Theatre company will be producing the memorial for Bradbury that she never had: The Ray Bradbury Festival at the Strawdog Theatre, starting next week.
"My main goal is to honor his memory," she said. "It's the least I could do, put together something like this for him."
The Ray Bradbury Festival's main event will be a rendition of "Fahrenheit 451," the author's well-known book about a city where firefighters burn houses with books in them. The three-day festival will also feature Bradbury-inspired art, a panel discussion about Bradbury's legacy in science fiction and presentations of the author's radio plays.
All the events will be free, with a $5 suggested donation. Keeping the art free is in the spirit of the author, who was an advocate of libraries, Keane said.
Other World Theatre, as a science fiction and fantasy-focused group, plans to honor different authors in the future, Keane said. But this year's event is personal.
"This is kind of like the funeral that I never got to go to," she said. "I really just want people to come and celebrate the work of this great guy."
The Ray Bradbury Festival runs June 7-9 at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway St. The play "Fahrenheit 451" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 7, 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 8 and 2 p.m. June 9.