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Swing City: Newark Nightlife, 1925-50 Paperback – April 1, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Swing City is an enlightening book that documents the entertainment scene in Newark, New Jersey, from the Jazz Age through the Swing Era and into the bebop years. . . . Kukla has called upon her well-honed skills as a journalist, conducting extensive interviews with . . . practically anyone who could shed light on the heretofore undocumented history of entertainment in Newark.
(Notes)

[Newark] has launched many illustrious entertainment careers, including tho (Black Ethnic Collectibles)

From the Back Cover

When people think of the hottest cities of the Jazz Age and Swing Era, New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago immediately spring to mind. But Newark, New Jersey was just as happening as each of these towns. On any given evening, you could listen to a legendary singer like Sarah Vaughan or laugh at the celebrated comedy of Red Foxx. Newark was a veritable maze of thriving theaters, clubs, and after-hours joints where the sporting folks rambled through the night.

Swing City is based on interviews with musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, bartenders, waitresses, nightclub owners, and their families and is heavily illustrated with rare photographs from the author's personal collection. Barbara J. Kukla covers the vaudeville acts, the musicians who started at Newark's Orpheum Theater and went on to join famous bands, and the teenage dancers who started as chorus girls and eventually toured with famous tap dancers. She also describes the house rent parties of the 1930s, the "colored only" clubs, the entertainment at Newark's 1,000 saloons during Prohibition, and the Coleman Hotel where Billie Holiday often stayed. Throughout the book, which concentrates on performers' lives and personalities, Kukla discusses music and other forms of entertainment as social and economic survival tools in Newark's Third Ward during a time of ruthless segregation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; New edition edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813531160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813531168
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I received this book as an early birthday present. My wife knows how much I love jazz history and this book really delivers. Ms. Kukla has done masterful work and I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend it highly to anyone who enjoyed Ken Burns' Jazz documentary.
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Format: Paperback
Newark really "had it going on" and as I read this book it coincided with the stories I heard from my parents, who definately partied in Newark's "hot spots" back in the day.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Newark's Police Detective T.O.'s mission was to guide and protect his family along with the public welfare. I was the oldest of his children and his namesake. So much he tried to share with his low-keyed modest presentation that did not penetrate my adolescent mind. Ms. Kukla's book stimulates my memories and attracts them into a stream of understanding about a time in Newark where youngsters dreamed and feverishly practiced music to climb an acceptable social ladder to reach the level of "clean" Many of his friends and acquaintances are placed in context with the Great Depression and WWII hardships and challenges. Ms. Kukla's product is respected and appreciated.
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By Ambodian on February 22, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not everything happened in NY.
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