Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #17: Up in Harlem @ Apollo & Lenox Lounge, GZA, Dessa, & The Relatives, Concerts & Events

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2013 02:50pm | Post a Comment

In this installment of the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog I take a visit up to Harlem where the Apollo Theater (left) is holding strong. Unfortunately, another African American cultural landmark, the nearby legendary Lenox Lounge jazz club, recently faced eviction. In addition to a run down of some of the concerts and events (including NY Restaurant Week and free national monument admission day next week) in the week ahead, I also report on last weekend's WFMU benefit concert with The Relatives and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Bell House, and the GZA headlined show at Stage 48.
 
"This is where it all started. Before American Idol. Before Star Search and before all of these other great shows that are on, it was the Apollo Theater that really was the springboard to jump everything off," Vanessa Rogers, producer of Amateur Night at the Apollo, told me when I stopped by the Apollo Theater in the heart of Harlem. For close to eight decades (two of them televised on "Showtime at the Apollo") the legendary Harlem theater has been fueling dreams and jump-starting a seemingly never ending line of careers that have been kick-started at the Apollo. Since Superstorm Sandy hit, the Amateur night got put on hold. It will resume in early March with national regional auditions to get to Harlem taking place in the interim. Over the decades countless greats came to shine courtesy of the Apollo.  Billie Holiday, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Jackson, Stephanie Mills, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys,and Dave Chappelle are all among those who came to the historic uptown Manhattan venue on 125th Street as unknown 'amateurs' but left as future American superstars.

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