February is Black History Month — every day this month look at Travalanche for short biographical articles on African American vaudevillians and related subjects. And please go here for over 200 past articles on great African American performers (as well as some examinations of white performers who felt called to “black up” as minstrels — a propitious time too to reflect on that bizarre phenomenon). And if you have someone in mind — Bert Williams? Eubie Blake? Bessie Smith? — just type the name into our search function. I bet we already have who you’re looking for!
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.