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JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s HARLEM IN HAVANA- Preserving An American Entertainment Legacy

HARLEM IN HAVANA flier 2013 - 1

PRLogOct. 10, 2014DURHAM, N.C.The last remaining of the great entertainers from one of America’s most successful traveling shows are finally telling their stories in JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, the forthcoming documentary film from producer/director Leslie Cunningham.

Cunningham’s compelling new film delves into the legend and truth behind Leon Claxton’s epic stage revue, Harlem in Havana- a so-called ‘colored jig show’ that helped launch the careers of entertainment heavyweights Chuck Berry, Rufus Thomas, Redd Foxx, Fontella Bass and Merceditas Valdes. One of the leading attractions on the world’s largest carnival midway in the 1930‘s, 40s, 50s and 60s, Harlem in Havana had profound impact on American entertainment and popular culture in ways that still exist today.

 

 

Part of a larger work known as the Harlem in Havana Project, Leslie Cunningham (Leon Claxton’s granddaughter) is working to archive this explosive chapter in American entertainment through a diversity of mediums including the film, a photography book and traveling photography exhibit and harleminhavana.com, the project’s official website.

“The carnival stage is often overlooked when recalling the history of black and latin entertainers and their impact on American popular culture,” says filmmaker Leslie Cunningham. “This is a never-before-told story of a little-known legacy that will enrich the whole of our cultural knowledge…We are engaged in the necessary work of cultural preservation. If we don’t talk to these entertainers now and mediate the telling of this story, the history will die with their memories and their generation.” READ MORE.

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