Three Nights of Live Music and Swing Dancing Celebrating the Life of Frankie Manning

Frankie manning dancer in harlem 1The Frankie Trifecta is a celebration of the centennial of dance legend Frankie Manning, the most celebrated Lindy Hop dancer in history.  Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Billie “Eleanora Fagan” Holiday

Billie Holiday Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Continue Reading →

Mae West’s Harlem State Of Mind, 1930′s (video)

d6Harlem has always been a combination of high and low, from the 1920′s to the 1930′s Mae West made a name for herself on the Vaudeville circuit with plays as a connoisseur of Harlem culture. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Renaissance Casino, 1924

Harlem Renassance BallroomThe Harlem Renaissance Ballroom opened in 1923. The casino was built by the black-owned Sarco Realty Company. The Ballroom at 138th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, quaked with the frenzied rhythms of the Lindy Hop. Continue Reading →

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, The Great, 1905 – 2001

dorothy-dandridge-latin-dance-red-3Before she created the original, legendary Playboy Bunny outfit, Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001), designed for divas like Dorothy Dandridge and she created the stage costumes for the Dance Theater of Harlem. Continue Reading →

Souleo: After deaths, Dianne Reeves Finds A Beautiful Life

Dianne Reeves_Credit_Jerris MadisonOn the surface the title of Dianne Reeves’ new album, Beautiful Life seems straightforward enough, but it holds a deeper significance for the singer after experiencing two major deaths. Continue Reading →

Carl Van Vechten’s Harlem Color

Sanneh01Ella Fitzgerald, 1940

In “White Mischief,” in this week’s issue of the New Yorker magazine, Kelefa Sanneh writes about Carl Van Vechten, a “New York hipster and literary gadabout” who was an unlikely champion of the African-American experience as it unfolded on the streets of Harlem in the nineteen-twenties. Continue Reading →