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Vaudeville days are here again at LIU

The wide-ranging cultural impact of vaudeville and the historic Brooklyn Paramount Theatre in the 1920s and 30s will be the topic of a special conference at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, April 25. Featuring panels with writers, critics and researchers along with rare film clips and a musical performance and reception, the event is free and open to the public.

The conference, entitled “Vaudeville at the Brooklyn Paramount,” recalls the history of the famed Paramount theatre, now part of the Brooklyn Campus, and explore the vaudeville variety art form and its influence on American popular culture in the 20th century.

More than 10 scheduled speakers will include Dave Kehr, film critic for “The New York Times”; Norman Steinberg, writer of “Blazing Saddles,” now teaching screenwriting at the Brooklyn Campus, and Joe Franklin, talk show icon and host of the weekly “Memory Lane” program on WOR.

Popularized in venues throughout the United States as accessible entertainment for the whole family, vaudeville performances included acts from the worlds of music, acrobatics, dance, comedy, trained animals and magic. When the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre opened in 1928 as a destination for viewing the new “talkie” films, it included vaudeville with the cinema offerings, drawing performers such as Mae West, Ginger Rogers, Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Ethel Merman.

Although vaudeville was eclipsed by radio, film and television, it left an indelible influence on formats for diverse and democratic nightlife.

“Vaudeville at the Brooklyn Paramount” takes place in the Spike Lee Screening Room, LLC 122, on the Brooklyn Campus, located near Flatbush and DeKalb avenues in downtown Brooklyn, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A reception with a performance by the Sol Yaged Quartet will begin at 5 p.m. The event is open and free to the public.

For information, contact 718-488-1185 or 718-488-1191.

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