Well folks, Harlem Week is here! Never mind that it lasts a month instead of an actual week... but anyway! It originally was "Harlem Day," in 1974 and was just one day to celebrate this neighborhood and all it has to offer. Harlem may not have the best reputation, but those who swear to never venture into these parts are not adventurous and need to be taught some things.
First of all, it has the famous Apollo Theater! Back when it first came around in 1914, it was known as Hurtig and Seamon's New Burlesque Theater. However, African-Americans at first were not allowed to attend or perform in these shows. In 1933, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia began a campaign against burlesque, and this was one of many theaters shut down. Sidney Cohen opened it again as the 125th Street Apollo Theater in 1934. They took away the burlesque parts of the show and made it a variety review and redirected their marketing towards the African-Americans who lived in Harlem.
The Apollo was then taken over by new management the following year in 1935 and they ran it for many years until yet again new management took over in 1978 and closed again in November of 1979. Finally, in 1981, it was purchased by Percy Sutton who happened to be a lawyer, politician, media and technology executive, and part of a private investors group. He then added a recording and television studio.
After becoming popular under the new management of Mr. Sutton, The Apollo Theater received state and city landmark status and in 1991 it was established as a private, not-for-profit organization to manage, fund, and oversee all of their programming. Today, the Apollo is known for its concerts, performing arts, education and community outreach programs, and also its amateur night in which aspiring performers can present on a real stage in front of an audience and get a feel for what it's really like to be in the industry.