Where did Bostonians go for live entertainment on a Saturday night from the 1940s through the 1970s? They went downtown, to enjoy lively jazz clubs, Broadway tryouts, and nightclub floor shows. Lexington Community Education invites you to join author Richard Vacca on a downtown walking tour that traces the footsteps of Bostonians at play in decades past.
The walk wanders where the lights were brightest, through the Theatre District and neighboring Bay Village—once so dense with nightclubs, it was nicknamed “the Conga Belt.” We’ll visit long-shuttered night spots like the Tic Toc, Rio Casino and Latin Quarter. We’ll meet jazz masters, Broadway actors, pop singers, standup comics, and a gangster or two. This is a stroll through a half-century of Boston’s entertainment history, when a whole style of nightlife flowered and faded, the color line came down, and redevelopment dramatically altered the area.
The 90-minute, moderately paced walk starts at 10:00 on Saturday, June 5 (rain date Saturday, June 12). Starting point is on the Boston Common, at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets.
Richard Vacca, author of The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places, and Nightlife 1937–1962, and co-author of What, and Give Up Showbiz?, has been researching Boston’s nightlife scene and its jazz history for the past fifteen years. He writes regularly on these topics on his website, richardvacca.com.