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Connie's Inn was a Harlem, New York City nightclub established in 1923 by Connie Immerman (né Conrad Immerman; 1893–1967)[1] in partnership with two of his brothers, George (1884–1944) and Louie Immerman (1882–1955). Having immigrated from Latvia, the Immerman brothers operated a Harlem delicatessen and made their fortune as bootleggers.[2] Their club was located at 2221 Seventh Avenue at 131st Street from 1923 until 1934. Acts featured there included Louis Armstrong,[3] Fats Waller, Wilbur Sweatman, Peg Leg Bates,[4] Bricktop[5] and Fletcher Henderson. Unlike the Cotton Club, Connie's Inn featured African-American performers but did not restrict its audience to whites only. Members of the Ziegfeld Follies, heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt, and numerous others poured in from downtown to enjoy the shows at Connie's Inn and were sometimes influential in moving their revues to Broadway.

Leonard Harper became the Connie's Inn in-house producer during its glory days.

In the early 1930s, the Immermans moved Connie's Inn to a downtown location. There, they produced one of their last great revues, Stars Over Broadway, which starred Billie Holiday and featured Bessie Smith as a temporary fill-in for Holiday when she was ill.

The Great Depression forced Connie's Inn to close and the Immerman brothers to obtain individual employment. In April 1934 the Harlem site re-opened as the Club Ubangi and featured famous lesbian, gay and bisexual entertainers such as Gladys Bentley and comedian Jackie Mabley, later known as Moms Mabley[6]

ReferencesEdit

  • Allen, Irving L. The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech. New York: Oxford University Press (1993), pg. 75; OCLC 252594695
  • Wintz, Cary D., and Paul Finkelman. Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. New York: Routledge (2004), pg. 581; OCLC 61355447
  • Lerner, Michael A. Dry Manhattan – Prohibition in New York City. Harvard University Press (2007), pg. 216; OCLC 436296861

Inline citationsEdit

  1. ^ "Connie Immerman Is Dead at 74; Owned Noted Dry Era Nightclub; Known for Ups and Downs Worked in Restaurant," The New York Times, October 25, 1967
  2. ^ Vaudeville, Old & New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America, by Frank Cullen, New York: Routledge (2007), pg. 262; OCLC 141225880
  3. ^ Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong, by Gary Giddins, New York: Da Capo Press (2001), pg. 86; OCLC 423806124, 874279476
  4. ^ "Peg Leg Bates, One-Legged Dancer, Dies at 91," The New York Times, December 8, 1998
  5. ^ "Connie's Inn," by Aberjhani, Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Aberjhani & Sandra L. West (eds.), Facts on File (2003), pps. 67 & 68 (article); pg. 68 (reference to "Bricktop"); OCLC 882542889
  6. ^ "Moms Mabley," Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History (online), Article: "Moms Mabley," Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.;OCLC 753932268 (retrieved March 17, 2017)

Coordinates: 40°48′46″N 73°56′43″W / 40.812802°N 73.94537°W / 40.812802; -73.94537