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Jazz Age Culture

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  1. Jazz Age Culture

  2. Prohibition Era • 1920 – 1933 • With passage of the 18th Amendment, it became illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell alcoholic beverages in the US • Prohibition led to a dramatic increase in crime and decrease in tax revenue • Era ended with the passage of the 21st Amendment which repealed Prohibition

  3. Speakeasies • Establishments which continued to sell alcohol illegally, despite the ban • Often required a password or some other identifying mark to gain admission • Many were operated by organized crime syndicates

  4. Bootlegging • The illegal manufacture and transport of alcohol • Some bootleggers made “bathtub gin” a homemade brew that could be deadly if not mixed correctly • Others were “moonshiners” who made corn liquor in stills hidden in the countryside

  5. Al “Scarface” Capone • 1899 – 1947 • America’s most notorious gangster, he ran his crime syndicate out of Chicago until being convicted of tax evasion in 1931; he eventually died in prison of heart failure complicated by syphilis • Ran alcohol, prostitution, and gambling operations • Ordered the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929 which eliminated several of his rivals

  6. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

  7. 1920s Hollywood

  8. Silent Films • Motion pictures initially did not have sound, so audiences had to be able to understand plots through entirely visual means; this forced actors to use highly exaggerated motions • Many early films were comedies because “slapstick” provided effective visuals • Most successful actor of the 1920s was comedic star Charlie Chaplin

  9. Metropolis(1927) • Silent film made in Germany which many consider to be the first significant “science fiction” film ever made • Silent movies, since they used no spoken language, could be effectively played anywhere in the world

  10. The Jazz Singer (1927) • First “talkie” or film which had a synchronized soundtrack for dialogue • This film’s success spelled the end of the silent picture era

  11. Sports • Many spectator sports were extremely popular, including golf, tennis, boxing, and swimming • Baseball had become “America’s pass time” • Football began to gain prominence with the founding of the National Football League (NFL) in 1920

  12. “Red” Grange • 1903 – 1991 • “The Galloping Ghost” • The first American football star, Grange played for the University of Illinois and then for the NFL’s Chicago Bears as a star running back

  13. Jack Dempsey • 1895 – 1983 • World Heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926 • First boxer to draw more than $1 million in ticket revenues for a fight

  14. “Babe” Ruth • 1895 – 1948 • Played for 21 years (1914 – 35), mostly for the NY Yankees • Hit 714 home runs (still 3rd most ever) • Lived a celebrity lifestyle – drank heavily, smoked, and womanized – a trend he started that lives on today with many professional athletes

  15. The Lost Generation • Term used to describe the generation which reached adulthood during the 1920s • These young people were “lost” in that they felt trapped by the corrupt, greedy society in which they lived and their own experiences in WWI

  16. F. Scott Fitzgerald • 1896 – 1940 • Author of The Great Gatsby(1925) • Wrote numerous short-stories (including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and screenplays in addition to his 4 novels • Died from a heart attack induced by alcoholism

  17. Ernest Hemingway • 1899 – 1961 • Author of novels such as The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, and For Whom the Bell Tolls • Rugged adventurer who liked bullfighting, hunting, mountain climbing, and other dangerous hobbies • Committed suicide due to depression and alcoholism

  18. T.S. Eliot • 1888 – 1965 • American author, playwright, and poet • Famous works include the play Murder in the Cathedral, and poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and The Waste Land

  19. Eugene O’Neill • 1888 – 1953 • American playwright • His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society, engaging in depraved behavior, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair

  20. Charles Sheeler • 1883 – 1965 • American artist • Modernist • Supported himself by working as a commercial photographer who specialized in architecture; much of this experience is reflected in his painting

  21. Works by Sheeler

  22. John Marin • 1870 – 1953 • Modernist artist best known for his watercolors and abstract landscape paintings

  23. Work by Marin

  24. Edward Hopper • 1882 – 1967 • Realist painter • Many of his paintings are dark and feature scenes of urban life • Focused on using light and shadow and on placement of his figures within his paintings to strike the proper mood

  25. Nighthawks by Hopper

  26. Harlem Renaissance • African-American cultural movement of the 1920s and 1930s, centered around the Harlem neighborhood of NYC • Included new literary, artistic, and musical styles which would go on to heavily influence American culture of the mid and late 20th century

  27. Claude McKay • 1889 – 1948 • Writer and poet who wrote novels Home to Harlem, Banjo, and Banana Bottom • One of the first authors of the Renaissance, McKay represented a new African-American voice, one which rejected the ideals of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey, in favor of taking pride in his culture and pursuing full civil rights and racial solidarity

  28. Langston Hughes • 1902 – 1967 • American novelist, playwright, short story writer, and magazine columnist • Pioneered new form of poetry known as “jazz poetry” • Much of his work focuses on the theme “black is beautiful” and takes pride in the diversity of African-American culture

  29. The Cotton Club • 1920 – 1940 • Famous Harlem nightclub which featured jazz and blues music • Catered to a mostly white audience, so marked the first significant exposure for many whites to black musical styles

  30. The Apollo Theater • Harlem theater which originally opened in 1914, but didn’t become a predominantly black venue until 1934 • Fell into decline in the 1960s and even became just a simple movie theater before being revived in 1983; today it has protected federal landmark status

  31. Louis Armstrong • 1901 – 1971 • Nicknamed “Satchmo” • Jazz trumpeter and singer • Popularized “scat” or singing using disjointed syllables instead of words • Rose to fame quickly during the 1920s and was equally popular with both black and white audiences

  32. Duke Ellington • 1899 – 1974 • Orchestra leader, pianist, and song writer • Elevated jazz from an urban musical form to a nearly classical level with his “big band” style • Led his orchestra for over 50 years

  33. Billie Holiday • 1915 – 1959 • Crossed jazz over to standard “pop” (popular music) • Also a song writer, helping write such hits as “God Bless the Child” and “Lady Sings the Blues” • Unfortunately, she became a lifelong drug addict and died from liver failure after years of legal troubles

  34. Josephine Baker • 1906 – 1975 • Dancer, singer, and actress • Baker was the first African American to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer • Extremely popular in Europe, her exotic stage show featured her scantily clad or even nude • In later years she became heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement

  35. Charlie Poole • 1892 – 1931 • North Carolina musician who, along with his band the North Carolina Ramblers, became the first major national country music recording act • When not recording, he earned money as a textile mill worker and as a moonshiner • Died of an alcohol induced illness at just 39

  36. Stop here! –next week!The 1930s

  37. Hollywood Escapism • As the Great Depression set in, people desperately wanted to escape their troubles, even if only for a few hours • Movies offered a cheap form of escapism (most theaters were also heated and air-conditioned as well, allowing people to escape the chill or swelter of their apartments!)

  38. Marx Brothers • Popular comedic act of the period, they starred in such films as Animal Crackers (1930), and Duck Soup (1933) • Made feature films from 1921 to 1957 • 13 of their films were included in the top 100 comedies ever made

  39. Walt Disney • 1901 – 1966 • Created Mickey Mouse who first achieved success in the cartoon short Steamboat Willie (1927) • Disney would go on to grow an animation, film, and theme park empire

  40. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

  41. The Wizard of Oz

  42. Gone With the Wind

  43. Dracula & Frankenstein

  44. Radio Serials • Many people’s chief form of entertainment was the radio, which featured episodic programming much like television does today, including such action characters as the Green Hornet and Lone Ranger, as well as numerous “soap operas” (dramatic programming aimed at women and usually sponsored by laundry soap companies)

  45. Grant Wood • 1891 – 1942 • Artist best known for his Regionalist style paintings of the American Midwest, especially the painting American Gothic (1930) which won him a $300 prize • Many believed the painting was meant to be satirical, but Wood insisted that he intended it to represent the steadfast spirit of farmers

  46. American Gothic Parodies

  47. Thomas Hart Benton • 1889 – 1975 • Muralist • His fluid, almost sculpted paintings showed everyday scenes of life in the United States • Also part of the Regionalist style, many of his works focus on the Midwest or NY City, the two places he spent his entire life in

  48. John Steinbeck • 1902 – 1968 • Author of The Grapes of Wrath, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the tragedies which befell his fictional family of Oklahoma farmers during the Dust Bowl • Also wrote Of Mice and Men, a story about the tragic relationship between two poor migrant farmers

  49. William Faulkner • 1897 – 1962 • Nobel Prize winning novelist and short-story writer • Nearly all of his works are set in the South • His unique style often included using stream of consciousness and focused on a wide range of characters