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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.