Oh, for the days of Prohibition when everything fun was illegal and booze was a gateway drug exposing America's impressionable youth to all that hot jazz pouring out of the speakeasies. In Harlem, it has been said, there was no finer place to get loaded and take in a striptease than the Cotton Club. Oh, sure, the place had mob connections, the entertainment was built around racist stereotypes, and African-American performers like the great Cab Calloway were instructed to compose exotic "jungle" music to give white patrons a thrill. But hey, this was the 1920s, Don Imus was barely in his 30s, and the line between overt racism and mutually beneficial cultural exchange was a fine one indeed. Besides, where else could you rub shoulders with gangsters, find Jimmy Durante poking his big nose into Mae West's business, and groove to tunes performed by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Lena Horne. This weekend at the Galloway Coffee House in Galloway Methodist Church, performers from the Memphis Theatre Project will attempt to recreate the Cotton Club (minus the strippers, tommy guns) by presenting an evening of live entertainment centered around the music of Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Louis Jordan, and Irving Berlin. Apparently Harold Arlen didn't make the cut. Tickets for The Cotton Club Comes to Cooper are $10 and available at the door.
"The Cotton Club Comes to Cooper," Friday, April 20th-Sunday April 22nd at 8 p.m. $10. Galloway Coffee House, Galloway Methodist Church, 1015 S. Cooper (272-2973)