Beloved Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes was constantly invited to both bid whist (an extremely popular social card game) and rent parties. He saved hundreds of invitations from his arrival in Harlem in the early 1920’s through the early 1960’s! These parties were held primarily in Harlem apartments to raise rent money, socialize with both new neighbors and those from “back home”, play card games, dance aka as cut a rug and enjoy down home cooking and libations away from the post reconstruction oppression. Actor/Playwright/ Storyteller Daniel Carlton creates a world from archival historical invitations to dramatize Harlem history from the 1920’s–1960’s using the settings of the various parties.
We invite you to come experience an ever changing Harlem as we wait for Langston Hughes to arrive. From returning soldiers to Garveyites to Socialites, church ladies, deacons and politicos, Harlem has been referred to as the epicenter of Black Culture during the 1900’s to the 20th Century, the Harlem Renaissance took place during a time of virulent racism and rich artistic expression. Who were the hosts and the guests of these infamous rent parties? Come meet some of the colorful characters imagined and historical.
The evening concludes with a dance party featuring Harlem’s own DJ Nessdigital spinning classic jazz and soul from Bebop to Hip Hop, Soul and funk. Come cut a rug!