Tag Archives: Lew Leslie

Les Acacias, Night-Club, Paris

The Acacias night-club was a hall at the rear of the Hotel Acacias sited at 47 Rue des Acacias near the Bois de Bologne with a garden utilized for the summer. It was one of the many night-resorts in Paris in the Jazz Age that became a favoured rendezvous of high society throughout the 1920s. The roster of performers who appeared at Les Acacias was astonishing, providing a veritable Who’s Who of glittering international stars of stage and cabaret.

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Club Alabam in New York

From the 1910s, into the 1920s and 30s, Black culture in all forms proliferated in Harlem and became known as the Harlem Renaissance. In particular there was a flowering of jazz music, performance and night-clubs in the early part of the 1920s. This trend extended into Manhattan, first with Lew Leslie’s cabaret venue called the Plantation in 1922 and then with the Club Alabam in 1924. At the same time Black artists invaded Montmartre in Paris and established a comparable ‘Harlem in Montmartre.’

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Who was Gertrude Johnson?

A few years ago a batch of rather delightful costume designs were sold on ebay all drawn, and many signed, by the rather enigmatic Gertrude A. Johnson. But who was Gertrude Johnson? Since the drawings come from America one can deduce that she was American and the distinctive style of her work, reflecting the prevailing eccentricities of the Jazz Age, clearly places them in the 1920s.

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The Ambassadeur Show 1926

The Ambassadeur Show 1926

Edmund Sayag’s first show at the newly renovated Café des Amabassadeurs was Lew Leslie’s all-black production Blackbirds of 1926. Direct from New York, Blackbirds capitalised on the success of The Revue Negre, featuring Josephine Baker, staged earlier in 1925 and was an instant hit.

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Cafe des Ambassadeurs

Cafe des Ambassadeurs

The Café des Ambassadeurs was one of most fashionable and best-known summer venues in Paris situated on the Avenue Gabriel at the entrance to the Champs-Elysées near the Place de la Concorde. Named after the nearby Hotel Crillon that had become the residence of foreign ambassadors, it was founded in 1764 as a simple open air bar, a small pavilion was added in 1772 and it evolved into one of the most famous of the Parisian café concerts.

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Moss and Fontana

Moss and Fontana

Marjorie Moss and Georges Fontana were the most graceful and sought after British dancing duo in the Jazz Age. They secured high praise in London and Paris in the 1920s before conquering New York in the late 1920s and were regarded by some as ‘the greatest pair of dancers since the Vernon Castles.’

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Bee Jackson and the Charleston

Bee Jackson and ‘Hey! Hey! Charleston’

The blond and vivacious Bee Jackson was described as the Charleston Queen and was certainly one of the more prominent advocates of the dance in America and Europe but did not ‘invent’ the dance itself. In the midst of a brilliant, international career she died tragically in her mid twenties.

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Edmund Sayag

Edmund Sayag’s Extravaganza’s

Variously described as the ‘liveliest man in show business’, ‘showman par excellence’ and ‘the Florenz Ziegfeld of Europe,’ Edmund Sayag arose to prominence in the mid 1920s owning or managing several prestigious European venues. He was hailed for putting Ostend back on the map and making Les Amabassadeur café-restaurant in Paris, the world’s most famous night-time rendezvous for the rich and famous.

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