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This and That, or, Swiped Calypsos

This and That, or, Swiped Calypsos

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction This and That, or, Swiped Calypsos
Source:
Stolen Time
Author(s):
Shane Vogel
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226568584.003.0001

This chapter introduces the "calypso craze" of the 1950s and the central figure of the story, Harry Belafonte. Stolen Time is not an exhaustive history of the fad, but rather looks at specific instances of the calypso craze that illuminate the shape of black fad performance in the United States across a range of overlapping media: nightclub acts and sound recordings (chapter 1), film (chapter 2), television (chapter 3), musical theater (chapter 4), and dance. Rather than a sociological approach that details where and how the calypso craze was consumed, Stolen Time instead looks at the creative and unexpected ways that black performers themselves used the conditions of fad culture to (dis)engage with the entertainment industry, trip the performance circuit between the United States and the Caribbean, and shape the history of performance in the United States and its relationship to the black diaspora.

Keywords:   calypso craze, Harry Belafonte, black fad performance, nightclub acts, film, television, musical theater, dance, black diaspora, United States

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