THE DARK STAR FROM HARLEM
A Non-Traditional Musical Celebration of 
Josephine Baker.

Written, Produced and Directed  
by Glynn Borders

Music, Lyrics, Arrangements and Orchestrations by 
Mario E. Sprouse

"Dear God, what a wonderful show is "The Dark Star From Harlem." 
              -- Jerry Tallmer, New York Post, October 2, 1990.
THE DARK STAR FROM HARLEM  is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Fractured Atlas will receive grants for the production through, DARK STAR FROM HARLEM, LLC. 

Be sure to visit our History/Future page
Please donate to our show. 
Just click Josephine!
By Glynn Borders 18 Jan, 2018

The Charleston was the first freestyle form of dance.  Before that, partnered ballroom dancing like tango and the waltz were the norm. 

Josephine Baker may have lead the charge but the Charleston craze belonged to everyone after the First World War.  So, when you're doing today's popular dances, keep in mind, the Charleston started it all.

By Glynn Borders 29 Dec, 2017
The economy in Paris was booming. It was an amazing comeback after the first World War. Paris was a happy place. Parisians began to embrace anything that was new and depicted freedom. Maybe that’s why the avant-garde became so popular. Non-traditional art forms began to spring up. Dada, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Surrealism and eventually African.

AFRICA AND THE AVANT-GARDE

A popular vacation for wealthy Parisians, in the 1920’s, was the African safari. African masks and sculptures, as souvenirs and investments, were suddenly all over Paris. They were as popular as any painting by Pablo Picasso, who, became infatuated with Africa. The African obsession became widespread amongst avant-garde artists, including Paul Colin, Jean Cocteau, Michel Leiris and many others. Under this influence they created the word, Negrophilia. Which literally means, love of the negro. This period also lead to the influx of African immigrants.

LA REVUE NEGRE, JAZZ AND THE CHARLESTON

A group of African-American musicians, singers and dancers were assembled to create, La Revue Negre. The Negro Review. With them, in 1925, was a nineteen-year-old chorus girl named, Josephine Baker. Their mission. Introduce Paris to a brand-new music called jazz and a hot new dance called, the Charleston. Jazz musicians were known as improvisational artists, so once, again, freedom was the name the of the game. To Parisians, nothing represented freedom more than dancing the Charleston, often in the streets and without music. They would simply say to one another, “hey-hey”, and everyone danced to the music in their hearts.
By Glynn Borders 13 Dec, 2017

After all, she was one of the most photographed women in the world during the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Which, of course, was unheard of for an African American woman at that time. But Josephine didn’t believe in limitations, so she became an expatriate living in Paris. 

Not only was she one of the most famous women in Europe, she was, also, one of the most loved.

By Glynn Borders 04 Dec, 2017
Welcome to our blog.

I’m Glynn Borders. Each week I, or one of my creative teammates, will submit fun facts and information about Josephine Baker. We will bring you anniversaries, quotes, tid-bits, stories, photographs and the occasional update on the progress of our production. THE DARK STAR FROM HARLEM opens at La Mama Experimental Theater, New York, Fall, 2019.

Why Josephine Baker?

Here’s my long answer.

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, right across the river from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. We got their TV channels and they got ours. I loved watching Canadian football and local shows like, “The Friendly Giant” and “Swingin’ Time” with Robin Seymour, our version of America Bandstand. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) syndicated shows from the United Kingdom and we watched Monty Python a few years before it was an American thing. They also syndicated shows from France and they often broadcasted music hall performances of the amazing Josephine Baker. She was the first entertainer I ever watched in another language. It didn’t matter that I didn’t understand what she was saying or what she was singing about. But I got it. I was absolutely captivated by that strange old black lady with the long eye lashes and too much make up.

I began looking for her on Channel 9, always after midnight. Especially in the summer time. I couldn’t figure out why I liked her so much. Maybe it was the way she looked, so visually over the top. Maybe it was the way she sang, with such a uniquely sounding voice. Sometimes like a bird. Sometimes like a powerful force of nature. All the while, wearing a wide array of outrageous costumes. Long before Cher and many others. Every now and then she would blow my mind by singing in English. I was simply fascinated. Who was this old lady?
THE DARK STAR FROM HARLEM
 
Opens at LaMama Experimental Theater
New York
Spring 2019

LaMama 1990
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