Don't Stop the Music: The Celebrity Club

Thursday, April 16, 2015

6:30 PM-7:45 PM

Cost: Free and Open to All

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Thu, 2015-04-16 18:30 - 19:45

"Do It Man: The Story of The Celebrity Club"

Join filmmakers Norm Grant and Tom Shaker for a presentation about Providence’s Celebrity Club, using the film trailer and a few clips to give the audience an idea of their film, currently in production.


"Do It Man: The Story of The Celebrity Club" is a documentary about many things. It's about music, history, racism, crime and urban renewal, but most of all, it’s about Rhode Island's people. This film tells the story of the legendary Celebrity Club, located in Randall Square and owned by Paul Fillippi.

The club featured top national jazz and R&B acts as well as local talent in the 1950s. Musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Fats Domino. Rhode Island music legends like Duke Belair, Art Hazard, Clay Osborne and Dr. Ed Coates share their personal stories about the club and growing up in Providence in that era. Celebrity Club MC Steve Kass also shares his memories.

Music is just one of the stories that has become evident from the interviews. The Celebrity Club is believed to be the first interracial nightclub in New England. As in other parts of the United States during this era, Rhode Islanders also suffered from the effects of racism. This is reflected in the comments by some of those that have been interviewed for this project, and it is significant because it deals with a turning point or, at the very least, a step forward in race relations for our state.

About the Filmmakers

In addition to his work as a cultural historian and filmmaker, Norm Grant is a photojournalist, with photos appearing in the New York Daily News, Boston Globe, New England Magazine, Hartford Courant, USA Today, Sailing World and Bloomberg Finance. He also produces digital video for marketing purposes, training and instruction, and oversees the operation of CCRI's TV studio and video production across all campuses.

Tom Shaker is a professor at Dean College where he directs the Media Studies and Communications Program. Tom has worked in radio, television and film production in Los Angeles and Boston. In addition to being a documentary filmmaker, Tom is co-writing "A Treasury of Rhode Island Jazz & Swing Musicians." A popular speaker on Jazz History & RI Diner History, Tom hosts "The Soul Serenade" a soul & funk show on WICN, an NPR radio station in Worcester, MA. He is also on the Board of Directors of the American Diner Museum and the New England Jazz Alliance.

Parking is available at the Providence Hilton Parking Garage: $3/3 hours.Bring ticket for stamping at the Library.

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