Logline

The glorious legend of Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana- a so-called "Jig Show" that endures racism, segregation and immigration laws to become popular in the 1940s through the 1960s, and the brave African-American showman who left an extraordinary entertainment legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Watch the New Film Series On-Demand; Donations to SUSO!

    

    JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana 
     A 3-part documentary film series by Leslie Cunningham
    (2021 | Total runtime 1:52min)

    For a limited time! Watch on VIMEO On-Demand 

    Visit the film series viewing page on Vimeo, a video hosting, sharing, and services platform. Learn how to watch On-Demand Videos 

    We're giving $1 from every online order to Stand Up Speak Out - NC. SUSO. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Oct 9 - Durham community "Final Work Progress" Film Screening | Pre-Show - JIG SHOW! (location change)

 

JOIN US OCT 9 for a new film work presented by The Hayti Black Filmmakers Collective! JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana a documentary film by Leslie Cunningham 

Durham community "Final Work in Progress" Film Screening | Pre-Show, Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701.    

Featuring live performances by Hip Hop Poet Mr. Rozzi Doors open at 5:30pm! Come early and remember to wear a face-mask. 

Get tickets at haytifilmnextleveloctober.eventive.org. (Can’t make the live event? Choose Virtual screening)

Presented by Hayti Film Festival Next Level and the Hayti Black Filmmakers Collective. Sponsored by The Forest at Duke, ABC-11 WTVD, and Lincoln Community Health Center

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

TWO HAYTI BLACK FILMMAKERS COLLECTIVE DRIVE-INS / SCREENINGS OCTOBER 2021



In celebration of the Hayti Black Filmmakers Collective (HBFC), the Hayti Film Next Level series brings you two HBFC member films in October. These offerings will be presented the 2nd weekend in October featuring two drive-ins and online virtual screenings.

First we’ll screen the award-winning The Passing On (directed by Nathan Clarke and produced by HBFC member Lana Garland) at a drive-in on Friday, October 8th. Then on Saturday, October 9th it’s a night at the carnival with JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana (directed and produced by HBFC member Leslie Cunningham). Both films will be available online after their drive-in appearances.

The Passing On synopsis
Three professions ushered Black former slaves from poverty to the American dream:  preacher, teacher, and undertaker. Lewis Funeral Home has functioned within this tradition as a pillar of the Black community in San Antonio, Texas since 1909. While  Black funeral homes close across America as a result of the loss of Black  neighborhoods and gentrification, Lewis’ current chief embalmer James Bryant cares  deeply about this institution after a career of preparing over 10,000 bodies. And he’s  damn good at it, having been named the National Embalmer of the Year in 2016. Now,  James puts his faith in a new generation to continue this vanishing legacy. He’s met  with resistance from his young intern, Clarence Pierre, who himself is conflicted about  his commitment due to the judgment he feels from the Black community as a queer,  Christian man. https://thepassingonmovie.com

JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana synopsis
A magical journey into the complexities of American entertainment, race history and family, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana is a compelling documentary produced by director Leslie Cunningham who shines a spotlight on her family's Black and Cuban traveling revue- a so-called “Jig Show" that endures racism, segregation and immigration laws to become popular in the 1940s through the 1960s. Also unearthed is the legend of producer Leon Claxton, a brave African-American showman who left an extraordinary entertainment legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams. https://www.jigshow.com/Visit jigshow.com

Both filmmakers will be in attendance. The JIG SHOW drive-in will also have a pre-screening “tease” of the type of entertainment that would have been presented at Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana!

Buy your tickets for both films at HaytiFilmNextLevelOctober.eventive.orgThis event is sponsored by The Forest at Duke, ABC-11 WTVD, and Lincoln Community Health Center. 

Contact: Lana Garland, film@hayti.org

About the Hayti Heritage Center

The Hayti Heritage Center preserves and advances the heritage and culture of the historic Hayti community in Durham, NC and the African American experience through programs that benefit the broader community, locally, nationally, and globally. 

HAYTI FILM NEXT LEVEL is a monthly series featuring great films, panel discussions, and workshops. The series is offered every 2nd Friday leading up to a fundraiser in June 2022, supporting the Hayti Heritage Film Festival (HHFF), one of the longest running Black Southern film festivals in the nation. 


 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Slippage @ Duke University Fall Series presents a special student screening JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana



Sunday, August 29 at 3pm the SLIPPAGE @ Duke University 2021 Fall Series presents a final "work in progress" of Durham-based creator, Leslie Cunningham’s new documentary film series (part 1 and 2) “JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana”. This is a special screening for students. Slippage@Duke is directed by Thomas F. DeFrantz at the Rubenstein Arts Center. All events will be in the SLIPPAGE lab, Room 202, Rubenstein Arts Center. All events are free and open to the public. There will be capacity limits and masking protocols. For more information email:t.defrantz@duke.edu or visit https://slippage.duke.edu.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Burlesque artist Bebe Bardeaux featured!

Burlesque artist Bebe Bardeaux talks about the history of Black Burlesque in JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana! 

In August of 2020, the New York School of Burlesque Book Club held an online event hosted by Bebe Bardeaux where filmmaker Leslie Cunningham talks about the history of Harlem in Havana, her family's legacy and the Brown Skin Showgirls book. Parts of the virtual interview will be featured in the JIG SHOW film series showing online now   

Affectionately known as "The Doll of D.C.,"Bebe Bardeaux", is an award-winning burlesque performer who has wowed audiences all across the nation from coast to coast! Bebe took home the 2019 Golden Smile Award at the Golden Legends Champion Challenge and the #1 top prize at the 2018 Washington D.C. Burlypicks competition. She was nominated for the 2018 New York Burlesque Festival's Hottest Freshman Award and the 2018 Best of Gay DC Best Burlesque Performer Award. 

BEBE brings her critical perspective to the film project. She is a published burlesque historian and author of the forthcoming book SHAKE QUEENS, and has been featured in several leading pinup magazines. 

A special thank you to Bebe Bardeaux, the New York School of Burlesque and headmistress Jo Weldon for creating the platform to share the legacy of Harlem in Havana, an important part of the the history of Black Burlesque!    

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Meet the indy artists behind JIG SHOW

Filmmaker Leslie reached out to a few of her favorite indie artists to help tell the story of JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana. Featured in the film are the works of Hip Hop Poet Mr. Rozzi; African born-musician Mamoudou Balde; rock-n-roll musician and music composer Gordon Tittsworth, spoken word poet and activist Monica Daye, visual artist Derrick "Benetez" Bryant and Atlanta-based R&B artist Jeremy Johnson (aka J’DA Prynce)
who lent his voice for narration in part 2, and signed on as executive producer for the film.

     
Mammoudou Balde
African Musician 

Monica Daye
Spoken Word Artist

Derrick "Benetez" Bryant
Visual Artist

Jeremy Johnson
Writer and Musician

Mr. Rozzi
Hip Hop Poet
   
Gordon Tittsworth
Music producer & composer




Saturday, February 27, 2021

JIG SHOW!? Brown-Skinned Showgirls, One Legged Tappers, and a Lucumi Ritual Dance. Celebrating Black History Month.

New documentary film series shines a spotlight on Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana and a little-known aspect of African American culture. Watch Part One in Celebration of Black History Month! 

DURHAM, N.C. - Feb. 22, 2021 - PRLog -- Step right up, folks! The last remaining great Black troupers are finally telling their stories about one of America's most successful traveling shows that broke carnival records from the U.S. to Western Canada, birthed music icons like Rufus Thomas, Fontella Bass and Mercedes Vald├ęs, and significantly impacted Black and Latin entertainment during the Jim Crow era. Also unearthed is the legend of one of Tampa's most beloved showman, Leon Claxton Sr., a brave African-American impresario who left an extraordinary legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams. 

"The idea of calling the film 'JIG SHOW' continues to make me uncomfortable, as I suspect it will make others uncomfortable as well," says Leslie. In part one of the film series, Leslie addresses her discomfort and deals with the racist slur head-on. Read more now.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

View the HARLEM IN HAVANA Collectors edition online!

(IPad, PDF or Web Viewer)

The Harlem in Havana Collector's Edition features 28 original pages taken directly from the show's annual program booklets in 1955, 1958 and 1959. Showcasing outstanding cast members, including Micki Lynn, The Five Pennies and the Cuban Dancing Dolls, some of the pages in this special edition include autographs from the entertainers themselves!  View now. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Supporting SUSO-NC

We're donating $1 from every order online to SUSO!

Supporting Stand Up Speak Out - NC (SUSO) - SUSO aims to empower individuals they serve by providing advocacy and  therapeutic support through Art Therapy for children and teens who are victims or witnesses to domestic violence and sexual abuse. Read more now

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Musician Jeremy Johnson signs on as Executive Producer

Musician and performing artist Jeremy J. Johnson of Applaud You Talent Group LLC, has officially signed on as an executive producer (EP) of the JIG SHOW documentary film. Jeremy is a seasoned musician, performing artist and entertainer who has performed internationally as a lead vocalist with popular R&B bands, including Heat, SolcetFre Project and Soul Brothers Band-the Ultimate James Brown Tribute Band.  

Learn more at jeremyjjohnson.com


Sunday, August 2, 2020

New York School of Burlesque Book Club Show presents "Brown Skin Showgirls"


August 5, 6 pm-730 pm EST on Zoom/Facebook Live. 

Join the New York School of Burlesque Book club show for an hour of books and burlesque! Burlesque Historian Bebe Bardot will guest host, interviewing author/filmmaker Leslie Cunningham about her book Brown Skin Showgirls
Learn more now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

2019 Grant Recipient of "Filmed in NC"

Just announced! JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana is a 2019 Grant Recipient of Filmed in NCDurham-based documentary filmmaker Leslie Cunningham will join ten other filmmakers from North Carolina who will receive project funding in this year. 
Read more.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Don't wait for the film! See the BROWN SKIN Showgirls!

BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS is a black and white photographic collection of the Black and Cuban women who innovated dance on Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana Revue in the 1930s through the 1960s. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Black and Cuban performers that shaped American popular culture. Learn more

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 SDF Grant Recipient

Just announced! JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana has been selected as an official 2017 Southern Documentary Fund Filmmaking Grant recipient. SDF supports documentary films made in and about the South. The grants are made possible thanks to the generous support from the Mark Duke Biddle Foundation. Visit southerndocumentaryfund.org.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

JIG SHOW hits FRESH DOCS, Friday, September 22, Durham, NC!

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a feature documentary film in progress by Leslie Cunningham who takes viewers on a tour of her grandfather’s Black and Cuban traveling show that endures racism, segregation and immigration laws to become popular in the 1940s through the 1960s. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress. Following the screenings, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker will be held, during which the audience provides valuable feedback. Note: This screening is a Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite. Friday, September 22nd @ 7pm, Full Frame Theater, American Tobacco Campus, Blackwell St. Durham, North Carolina 27701

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Work-in-Progress Screening in DC, Saturday, July 29th!

Capitol Dance & Cinema Festival's feature film series continues Saturday, July 29 @ Dance Exchange with a work-in-progress screening of the coming documentary film JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana by filmmaker Leslie Cunningham.
  • 7:00pm - 7:30pm Harlem in Havana Photo Exhibition and Event Seating 
  • 7:30pm - 8:30pm Film Screening Q &A with filmmaker

The event is hosted by Jen Ray of Dancinema
Brown Skin Showgirls Books Available for Purchase! 

Free Admission! .
Dance Exchange
7117 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland



Friday, March 17, 2017

JIG SHOW work-in-progress screening, April 4, Beyu Caffe, Durham, NC


Step Right Up, Fam, Friends and Supporters- You are invited to a work-in-progress screening of my coming doc film- JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana - Durham, NC - Tuesday, April 4th @ 7:00pm at Beyu Caffe.

The Southern Documentary Fund presents Docs For Us / By Us: a new 3-part series in partnership with Beyu Caffe, Black documentary filmmakers from Durham present works-in-progress, reaching out for community support, resources and ideas as their stories take shape. This series takes place monthly on Tuesday evenings, 7:00 PM at Beyu Caffe, 341 W. Main St, Durham. Part of Beyu Caffe’s #BeConnected program. Learn more now.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tampa Production Underway!

Doc Rivera Interview at the Showmen's Museum in Tampa, Florida - With Gazio Productions

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Don't wait for the film...See the BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS now!

Support the film project and be one of the first to receive Brown Skin Showgirls: A black and white photographic collection of burlesque, exotic, shake, salsa, rumba and chorus line dancers, strippers and cross-dressers from Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana Revue, 1936 to 1967. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Black and Cuban performers that shaped American popular culture. Get ready to be titillated! A portion of the proceeds will help to complete this film project. 


LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK
ORDER ON AMAZON

Saturday, August 8, 2015

HARLEM IN HAVANA heads to Cucalorus Film Festival

JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana, a compelling new documentary film by Leslie Cunningham, has recently been accepted into the Cucalorus Film Festival. Cucalorus is a non-competitive festival focused on supporting innovative artists and encouraging creative exchange. 

The festival is held each November in historic downtown Wilmington, North Carolina with screenings of 150 films from around the world. The Works-in-Progress program plays on the double meaning of the word “progress” by supporting films in-production by progressive filmmakers exploring social justice. 

The program showcases up to ten projects and provides direct financial support to at least 15 filmmakers through honorariums, travel stipends, lodging, airfare and rental fees with a special focus on supporting North Carolina filmmakers. The program includes community engagement events, public and private screenings, impact strategy sessions, and one-on-one consultations. Films in the 2014 program focused on the environment, sociopolitical action, race, and the South. 

The Works-in-Progress program is a partnership between Alternate ROOTS, Working Films, the Southern Documentary Fund and is funded in part by the North Carolina Arts Council and Alternate ROOTS. 

Visit Cucalorus Film Festival to learn more.