Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Available in print and digital formats!
|AVAILABLE ON AMAZON|
From the secular to the spiritual, Afro-Cuban music and dance were rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Yet, after The Cuban Revolution of 1959, international relations were shattered, artistic freedoms ended and travel was restricted to the tropical island once known as America's favorite vacation spot.
Although the best talent from Cuba has long been forgotten in the states, Afro-Cuban culture still has a strong hold on many U.S. troupes who incorporate a rich Latin blend into their repertoires.Still, there is much to be discovered about how the Afro-Cuban craze landed and took root in American soil.
Created by TRIBES Entertainment for The Harlem in Havana Project, BROWN-SKINSHOWGIRLS, VOL II: The Cuban Edition is a black and white photographic collection of the Cuban women who performed rhumba, salsa and calypso on Leon Claxton’s “Harlem in Havana” Revue in the 1950s. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of these talented performers who wowed American and Canadian audiences, and helped popularize Latin entertainment in a way that still resonates today.
All attempts have been made to verify the names and whereabouts of the women, and men, appearing in this book. Thanks to this special collector’s edition, they will never be forgotten. Get ready to be titillated!
Click here to learn more.
Friday, March 30, 2018
|Dancer and Choreographer|
Andrea Woods Valdés
Later on this year, the long-awaited documentary film JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana by producer and director Leslie Cunningham, will shine a light on this rich history. This weekend, Cunningham teams up with cinematographer Kelly Creedon in Durham, NC to conduct some of the final interviews for the film. Lined up are two powerhouse academics, dancer and choreographer Andrea Woods Valdés and artist and writer Dr. Joan Francisco Valdés Santos.
JIG SHOW is the story of 'Harlem in Havana', one of America's most successful traveling shows that birthed music icons, broke carnival records and significantly influenced Black and Latin entertainment during the Jim Crow era. The film also unearths the legend of African American showman Leon Claxton, a world-renowned impresario whose vision, passion and determination produced a multicultural stage show that still resonates with wonder today.
Arguably the hallmark girl show revue in North America, Claxton's popular midway attraction introduced a chorus-line of brown skin showgirls performing exotic, rumba, salsa and calypso dances. The film considers Claxton's work in pre- and post-revolution Cuba- maneuvering government and working closely with Cuban officials and nationals, such as the first recorded Santeria singer Mercedes Valdés' and Cuban dance troupe, The Cuban Dancing Dolls, who traveled and performed early salsa and rumba on Claxton's show before the revolution. Claxton not only presented dance troupes from Havana, Cuba, he discovered new talent all over the Caribbean, including Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad where the merengue dance was born. Read more.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The Harlem in Havana Photography Exhibition
Coming 2018, this photography exhibit features more than one hundred never-before seen images taken of The Harlem in Havana Revue spanning the 1930s through the 1960s.
to purchase cool collectibles!
Posted by Leslie Cunningham at 5:55 PM
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Get the Harlem in Havana Collector's Magazine in digital, print or via IPad! This special collector's edition features 28 pages from the 1955, 1958 and 1959 Harlem in Havana show programs that feature cast members and includes autographs from the entertainers themselves.
Posted by Leslie Cunningham at 7:48 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Capitol Dance & Cinema Festival's feature film series continues Saturday, July 29 @ Dance Exchange with a work-in-progress screening of the coming documentary film JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana by filmmaker Leslie Cunningham.
- 7:00pm - 7:30pm Harlem in Havana Photo Exhibition and Event Seating
- 7:30pm - 8:30pm Film Screening Q &A with filmmaker
The event is hosted by Jen Ray of Dancinema.
Brown Skin Showgirls Books Available for Purchase!
Free Admission! .
7117 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland
Posted by Leslie Cunningham at 4:58 PM
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Some of the Entertainment Legends Who Toured and Performed on Leon Claxton's Shows Before Becoming Big Stars
|MICKI LYNN, 1950s|
Micki Lynn was discovered by Leon Claxton in a West Coast nightclub. She toured and performed on Harlem in Havana for several seasons before recording with Capitol Records.
|The Avalons, 1950s|
The Avalons, a popular Doo Wop group from the Tidewater VA area, joined Leon Claxton's Road Show and toured throughout the United States for several seasons in the 1950s and 60s.
|Chuck Berry, 1940s |
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Chuck Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave some of his first public performances on Leon Claxton's road shows before going onto become the King of Rock and Roll.
|Five Pennies, 1950s|
The Five Pennes Doo Wop group started performing in Knoxville, TN. Around 1955, the group toured with the “Harlem in Havana” variety show, organized by producer Leon Claxton before recording with Motown Records.
Posted by Leslie Cunningham at 10:09 PM