Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: The Apollo Theater and American Entertainment
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment celebrates the seventy-five year history of the Apollo Theater, Harlem's landmark performing arts space and the iconic showplace for the best in jazz, blues, dance, comedy, gospel, R & B, hip-hop, and more since it opened its doors in 1934. This beautifully illustrated book is the companion volume to an exhibition of the same name, organized by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with the Apollo Theater Foundation. It offers a sweeping panorama of American cultural achievement from the Harlem Renaissance to the present through the compelling story of a single institution.
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing brings together a diverse group of twenty-four writers to discuss the theater's history and its intersection with larger social and political issues within Harlem and the nation. Featuring more than 300 photographs, this volume brings to life the groundbreaking entertainers in music, dance, and comedy—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, James Brown, Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx, Honi Coles, and Savion Glover, to name a few—who made the Apollo the icon that it is today. The Apollo Theater has been the setting for soaring achievement and creativity in the face of enormous challenges. In telling this truly American story, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing is a celebration of the lasting contributions of African Americans to the nation's cultural life.
ISBN 10: 1588342697
ISBN 13: 9781588342690
Richard Carlin and Kinshasha Holman Conwill
RICHARD CARLIN is a music writer and editor. He is the author of Words of Sound: The Story of Smithsonian Folkways and general editor of the Facts on File Encyclopedia of American Popular Music, among other works. He is currently executive editor for college music textbooks at Pearson/Prentice Hall. KINSHASHA HOLMAN CONWILL is deputy director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, she has organized more than forty exhibitions and writes frequently on art and museum management.
This beautifully illustrated book is a welcome addition to the study of African American performers and their impact on the US as a whole. Highly recommended.
This book is nothing short of a treasure trove—a vivid reminder of the years I spent on the Apollo Theater stage, getting my act together and learning alongside show-business legends such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington. It's a joy to know that the world can finally hear the story of a theater that holds such an honored spot in American culture.
For seventy-five years the Apollo has stood as the flagship of that legacy, playing an indelible role in building, celebrating, preserving, and promoting our nation's cultural heritage. Those who need proof of that fact can find it right here in this book