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Do It, Man! The Story of The Celebrity Club

Do It, Man! The Story of The Celebrity Club” is a documentary about many things. It’s about music, history, racism, crime and urban renewal, but most of all, it’s about the people of Rhode Island. It’s about the power of music bringing people together.

This film tells the story of the legendary Celebrity Club, located in Randall Square and owned by Paul Fillipi. The club featured top national jazz and R&B acts as well as local talent in the 1950s with musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Fats Domino. The Celebrity Club is believed to be the first interracial nightclub in New England and was closed in the early 1960s to make way for urban renewal projects. It has never been permanently recognized by the state, but locals remember and still cherish their memories of the best musical venue to ever hit Rhode Island. This film celebrates those memories.

Norm Grant & Tom Shaker | 1 hr 13 min | United States | English

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Director’s Note

Norm Grant is a videographer for the Marketing and Communications department at the Community College of Rhode Island. He began his career as a photojournalist. His photos have appeared in the New York Daily News, Boston Globe, New England Magazine, Hartford Courant, USA Today, Sailing World and Bloomberg Finance. Norm is also a documentary filmmaker and teaches CCRI communication courses as an adjunct instructor. He enjoys music, travel and being near or on salt water.

Dr. Tom Shaker has been a college professor for over 30 years, teaching at various institutions including Northeastern University, Dean College & WPI. He is also a writer, co-authoring A Treasury of Jazz & Swing in Rhode Island. Over the years, Tom has worked in radio, television and film production in Los Angeles, Boston & Providence. Tom’s the host of “The Soul Serenade” featuring classic soul & funk music on WICN in Worcester, MA every Monday night. He is also a speaker for The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and speaks throughout the state about the History of Diners and also about Jazz History in Rhode Island. Tom’s on the Board of Directors of the New England Jazz Alliance & the American Diner Museum.

https://www.wpri.com/news/street-stories/when-musical-legends-played-providence-at-the-celebrity-club/174547000