Monday, May 3, 2010

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing - Smithsonian Books

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing edited by Richard Carlin and Kinshasha Holman Conwill

This book is amazing, beautiful and filled to capacity with information. Its the entire history of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. Even the tree of hope. At amateur night at the Apollo, kiss the tree hope stump before coming on stage for luck.

In 1965, the owners of the Apollo Theater donated $5,500 to Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement. The book highlights many Apollo theater acts like James Brown, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald Aretha Franklin and Pearl Bailey.

The history of Harlem is intertwined with the story of the Apollo. Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing tells the story of how Harlem became Harlem, beginning in 1905 with White tenants moving out. The struggles Black renters faced with higher rents.

The text is very readable. Including many quotes and references. There are also personal stories from the artist.

There are amazing photographs of every era at the Apollo Theater beginning in 1914. If this book had no text it would still be worth it. The pictures alone tell many stories.

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing is published by Smithsonian books. In Washington D.C. they've opened an exhibit with the same name to celebrate the 75 anniversay of the Apollo Theater

I've linked this post to Non Fiction Monday. The round up can be found at Bookends

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Wow - don't know how I missed hearing about this one. I'm so happy to see a book on the Apollo and by Smithsonian Books! How awesome!! Glad to hear it's good - I'll be tracking it down.