Watch the official trailer for JIG SHOW!

JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a documentary film by Leslie Cunningham

New Film by TRIBES Entertainment Coming 2020!

TRIBES creator and documentary filmmaker Leslie Cunningham is making the film that has become her life’s work. Nearly ten years in creation, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana is preparing for big screens around the globe in 2020. Watch the extended trailer now!

In the feature documentary produced by TRIBES Entertainment Films, Cunningham and a cast of colorful characters take viewers on a personal tour of her grandfather’s iconic Black and Cuban stage revue that broke carnival records across the U.S. and Western Canada, birthed music icons Rufus Thomas, Fontella Bass and Mercedes Valdés, and significantly impacted Black and Latin entertainment during Jim Crow. Also unearthed is the life and lore of producer Leon Claxton, a brave African-American showman who left an extraordinary legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams.

Extended for Harlem in Havana fans around the world, the film trailer showcases the iconic outdoor revue through breathtaking never-before-digitized show photographs, rarely seen historical clips and on-interviews with former performers, past patrons, historians and academics who bring their perspective to the conversation. JIG SHOW also features classic and new music that honor Claxton, one of Tampa’s most beloved showmen, the voluptuous brown-skin showgirls and tenacious entertainers of color who bravely showcased their talents on the front-line of racial polarization and left an indelible mark on entertainment around the globe.

The film is part of a larger body of documentary work called The Harlem in Havana Project, a transmedia project Cunningham started to help revive the show’s rich history through a variety of thought-provoking content, including:

“This project is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of the Black and Cuban performers that shaped American entertainment before television. Above all else, my goal is to rescue this arts and entertainment history from death and insert “Harlem in Havana” and the story of the traveling ‘jig show’ into the narrative of American popular culture before these memories and artifacts die with the individuals that carry them”, says Cunningham.

View the film media kit here. Learn more at jigshow.com.

Contact the filmmaker at lesliecunninghamfilms@gmail.com or info@harleminhavana.com.

Brown-Skinned Showgirls

JIG SHOW, A new film by TRIBES, helps preserve an American entertainment legacy

TRIBES Entertainment News- Oct. 10, 2014DURHAM, N.C. The last remaining of the great entertainers from one of America’s most successful traveling shows are finally telling their stories in a new documentary by TRIBES Entertainment Films titled, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana.

A compelling historical document produced and directed by Leslie Cunningham, the film delves into the legend and truth behind top road show producer Leon Claxton’s epic black and Cuban stage revue, Harlem in Havana– a so-called ‘colored jig show’ that helped launch the careers of entertainment heavyweights Chuck Berry, Rufus Thomas, Redd Foxx, Fontella Bass and Merceditas Valdes. One of the leading attractions on the world’s largest carnival midway in the 1930‘s, 40s, 50s and 60s, Harlem in Havana had profound impact on American entertainment and popular culture in ways that still exist today.

Leslie

Leslie Cunningham

Part of a larger work known as the Harlem in Havana Project, Leslie Cunningham (creator of TRIBES Magazine and Leon Claxton’s granddaughter) has been working to archive this explosive chapter in American entertainment through a diversity of mediums including the film, a photography book and traveling photography exhibit and harleminhavana.com, the project’s official website.

“The carnival stage is often overlooked when recalling the history of black and latin entertainers and their impact on American popular culture,” says Leslie Cunningham. “This is a never-before-told story of a little-known legacy that will enrich the whole of our cultural knowledge…We are engaged in the necessary work of cultural preservation. If we don’t talk to these entertainers now and mediate the telling of this story, the history will die with their memories and their generation.”

Slated for release in late 2015, JIG SHOW is currently in the early stages of production as Cunningham works to collect stories from the last of the living performers to grace her grandfather’s stage. Interviews are being conducted with subjects across the American South and West focusing on Tampa, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis followed shortly by Western Canada as the search for production funding sources is underway. You can help TRIBES preserve American entertainment history- Donate to the documentary film project at  jigshow.com or harleminhavana.com.

Contact:
TRIBES Entertainment Films
Email: info@jigshow.com 
Phone: 919.218.8620