Tag: Jazz

Jazzing up the 1920s: Harley Foxx

Jazzing up the 1920s: Harley Foxx

FB: Harley Foxx
IG: harleyfoxxburlesque

Hello friends,

As you know, we are taking Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque to Boston next month, so we thought we’d take a moment to introduce you to the fabulous performers who will be joining us.

First up, meet Harley Foxx, who will rep the 1920s. This swing and jazz aficionado shares some of her favorite things about this glamorous decade, including her love for the iconic Josephine Baker.

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1920s?
My favorite thing about this era is defined by the music and the dancing. My mother used to play Duke Ellington and Count Basie records, and she sang Billie Holiday around our house. As I got older I started swing dancing and it became even more infused into my soul.

I really love listening to “hot jazz” music, and those old syncopated rhythms. I have gradually been building this collection of swing music and I am totally amazed and humbled by the never-ending wealth of great music just waiting to be heard.

But aside from that, as a DJ I like to play whatever I think will keep people dancing – whether it’s chunky, up-tempo, or even contemporary swing. Some of my favorite artists include the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Chick Webb, Django Reinhardt, Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Fats Waller (of course), Bob Crosby, as well as Wingy Manone. My love for both the music and dance are something that I try to share with everyone in my life.

Photo: Veronica Tays

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be?
I would love to sit down with the great Josephine Baker.

She had an independent spirit and had to learn to provide for herself and make her own way. This free and bold behavior led her to perform across the country and eventually she was able to sashay away to the Paris stage during the 1920s.

She was confident in her abilities and performed with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. She had a perfect blend and I try to embody her character and flair in some of my pieces. Baker went on to perform and choreograph for 50 years in Europe.

Although racism in the States often restricted her from gaining the same fame at home as she did abroad, Baker fought segregation through organizations like NAACP. I would love to chat with her about where we are now in entertainment, burlesque and politics. Things are different from the 1920’s but I definitely feel like she would be a great mentor and be able to offer some insight and guidance.

Photo: Mandi Martini

3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the 1920s?
Beyoncé is a great pop superstar who isn’t afraid of celebrating black brilliance and has often given nods to the black women performers who’ve inspired her. Beyoncé has paid tribute to Tina Turner and in 2006, she celebrated Jospehine Baker.

Beyoncé’s affinity for Baker comes as no surprise. Baker’s control of her art and her image were unprecedented for her time. Baker, a black woman beloved by white audiences, built her name by working within the status quo to transgress social boundaries. In her later life she became a civil rights activist.

Beyoncé does the same. Beyonce has also been able to navigate a space that tended to exclude (or at the very least limit) black women for a long time. Mainstream music and pop music specifically. Her album Formation made a lot of people realize how political and “woke” Beyoncé is. But she has always given nods in her music and videos on where she stands, her support to the artists who came before her, and her black culture.

Josephine baker and Beyoncé are two artists I love and admire and the fact it’s their blackness that makes them unique. I have found I don’t have to separate the blackness from the art. If you want to participate, indulge, be entertained, you must acknowledge black lives and black issues in the process. That is what they do and what I hope to do too.

Come see Harley and the rest of our magical lineup on October 7 at The Rockwell, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, 02144. Doors open at 9:30. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Hispanic Federation to help with hurricane and earthquake relief.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 1920s HERE.

 

Music Movie Monday: Big Bands and Film Noir – the ’40s

Music Movie Monday: Big Bands and Film Noir – the ’40s

Music

With the Depression over, people began returning to the dance halls and the era of Big Band Swing was underway. The top dogs in the field were Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Glenn Miller Orchestra
Benny Goodman
Artie Shaw

Glenn Miller was killed while en route to a USO show when his plane crashed into the English Channel, and his death is considered the end of the Big Band Era.

With the close of the swing era, we see the emergence of  bebop and jump blues, two forms of up-tempo jazz. As the decade rolled on, jazz and blues began to make their way into the mainstream, with such singers as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald reaching national prominence.

Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday

“Crooners,” such as Bing Crosby were in vogue and by the end of the decade, Frank Sinatra would become the first teen idol.

Bing Crosby

Crosby’s 1942 “White Christmas” is the best-selling single of all time, with an estimated 50+ million copies sold worldwide.

Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra

Singing cowboys were also a thing, with Gene Autry among the most famous of these.

Gene Autry

Movies

After a rough start in the early ’40s because of the war and loss of foreign markets, the movie industry rebounded and by 1946 was at peak profitability.

You can’t talk ’40s film without Casablanca, the 1942 romance starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The movie won Oscars for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director, and gave us such classic lines as “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “Round up the usual suspects,” and “We’ll always have Paris.”

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca

Another hallmark of ’40s film was film noir, literally “black film,” which evolved from ’30s gangsters movies and reflected a darker and more cynical mood among the country. Film noir features ominous plots, fatalistic heroes and dangerous femmes fatales (shoutout!). The first definitive example of this genre was The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart as hard-boiled detective Sam Spade and was directed by John Huston in his directorial debut.

Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sidney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon

On a more optimistic note, the films of Frank Capra idealized the underdog and the triumph of the “common man.” The most “Capraesque” of his movies is 1946 holiday feature It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.

And finally, there’s Orson Welles’ 1941 Citizen Kane, which has been called the most influential movie of all time. The film is renowned for its cinematography, innovative plot structure and memorable musical score. Stanley Kubrick, Sydney Pollack and Woody Allen are among the filmmakers who list Citizen Kane as one of the best movies of all time.

So there you have an overview of music and films of the 1940s. If you want to read more, check out the sites below.

filmsite.org
Wikipedia
retrowaste.com

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day!

xoxo

Gettin’ Jazzy with it: The ’20s

Gettin’ Jazzy with it: The ’20s

Hello friends,

On April 22, LFF will take you on a whirlwind journey through the 20th and 21st centuries with Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Before that though, we thought we’d tease you by highlighting each decade, one by one, in the weeks leading up to the show…

…So roll your stockings, bob your hair and pour yourself some bathtub gin because it’s time to get your Charleston on. Welcome to the Roaring Twenties!

Ain’t we got fun

The decade begins on an upswing, with WWI (known then just as “War”) having ended and a housing boom underway. People are moving off the farms and into the cities. Mass production and technological advances bring never-before-seen wonders like automobiles and phones to the masses, paving the way for all those melodramatic “Don’t Text and Drive” PSAs that will pop up in your Facebook feed 90 years later.

“It can wait”…until they invent the iPhone

The economy is thriving and despite prohibition, booze is plentiful, thanks to Al Capone and Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

But don’t get too excited, because every awesome bender ends in a hangover and the Roaring Twenties’ bender is no exception. On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashes and the Twenties finds itself puking up its guts in a warehouse parking lot while getting beaten by the pimp who stole its wallet. But hey, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A lot happens before that.

Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights):

1920

Jan. 16: The 18th Amendment goes into effect, making prohibition the law of the land.

What could go wrong?

Speakeasies and bootleggers immediately pop up everywhere, while young women known as “flappers,” drunk on jazz and actual booze, embrace new-found freedom by shortening their skirts, cutting their hair and posting selfies in Collier’s magazine.

#itgirl

Aug. 18: The 19th Amendment passes, giving women the right to vote. In 2016, they consider giving it back when they see who their candidates are.

1923

April 18: The first home game is held at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s also the first time Yankee fans chant “1918,” although it doesn’t have quite the same cachet as it will in 2004.

Wanna see my big bat?

1924

Nov. 27: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade marches through Manhattan, cheered on by 10,000 spectators, 243 of which will be trampled to death the next day at the first Wal-Mart Black Friday Sale.

1925

April 10: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is published, making Daisy Buchanan a household name, and, for several generations of Boston-area college students, synonymous with date rape and Jaeger-induced blackouts.

Ah college

1926

Oct. 22: Ernest Hemingway publishes The Sun Also Rises, a novel about horrible people drinking and sleeping their way around Europe, which introduces us to bullfighting and the “Lost Generation,” AKA the 20th century version of the whiny millennial.

1927

May 20-21: Charles Lindbergh makes first nonstop transatlantic flight from NYC to Paris.

Let me show you why they call me “Lucky”

1928

Aug. 28: Not to be outdone by C-Lind, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to South Wales. Nine years later she will disappear while trying to fly around the world. Maybe she should have quit while she was ahead? (Just sayin.)

Nov. 6: Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover elected president. Since there is no late-night TV, it’s up to Dorothy Parker to make the requisite “Hoover? I don’t even know ‘er!” joke.

1929

Feb. 14: In what will become known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Al Capone’s men murder seven rival gang members in a bid to take control of Chicago’s organized crime syndicate, compelling authorities to dub him “Public Enemy #1.”

Geez, gun down a coupla dudes in a parking garage and you never hear the end of it

Capone was convicted of tax evasion two years later, got sent to Alcatraz, went crazy from syphilis and died in 1947 at age 48 of a brain hemorrhage. However, his greatest accomplishment will still be posthumously trolling Geraldo Rivera in the 1986 special, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault.

Oct. 29: AKA “Black Tuesday.” Wall Street crashes, turning the Roaring Twenties into the Whimpering Twenties and ushering in the Great Depression.

Italy’s Crown Prince apparently had a shitty day too

The economic downtown will last until 1939, and if that isn’t bad enough, the 1930s also gives us Hitler, the Dust Bowl and The Wizard of Oz. But I guess that’s a tale for next week, so be sure to check back on Wed.

Until then,

Flapper? I don’t even know ‘er!

Stay tuned for info – tickets will be on sale soon!

Triad Poster