Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
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Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment
Foreword by Smokey Robinson
Since its transformation in 1934 from a “whites only” burlesque theater to a showplace of African American music, dance, and comedy, the Apollo Theater has exerted an unprecedented influence upon American popular culture. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing traces the history of the Apollo Theater, charting the rise and fall of musical and entertainment genres featured at the Apollo as they intersect with larger social and political issues within the Harlem community and the nation.
Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing brims with stories and photographs of famous entertainers who performed there—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, James Brown, The Jackson Five, Redd Foxx, and Honi Coles to name a few—in addition to objects and ephemera related to the performers and the theater and its owners. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing brings into high relief the achievements of African American entertainment, and highlights the developments that indisputably shaped the contour of American culture. Hardcover; 272 pages; 316 color photographs; 8.5"l. x 11"w.
Exhibits on major themes in American history and culture can be found at the National Museum of American History.
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