Billie Holiday Sells Out Loew’s Sheridan


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June 19, 1957, Vol. II, No. 34

Voice Concert Sell-Out

The Village Voice and Jean Shepherd proved last Saturday night that one of the liveliest of the “lively arts” has massive appeal in Greenwich Village. “Jazz music,” said Monday’s New York Times, “successfully invaded new territory at midnight Saturday when 2500 packed Loew’s Sheridan Theatre in Greenwich Village to hear a program headed by Billie Holiday and the Modern Jazz Quartet.”

Interest in the show was so intense that fully one hour before curtain-time the entire square block on which the Sheridan is located was encircled four-deep by people waiting to get in. Jazz-lovers who were admonished by patrolmen to get to the end of the line were thrown into confusion trying to find the end of a line that had no end. The entire house was sold out, with more than 500 people being turned away.

The evening went off smoothly before an enthusiastic audience. The only suspense was involved in getting jazz singer Billie Holiday, who was performing in a Philadelphia club until 12:30 a.m., back to New York in sufficient time to sing on the stage of the Sheridan. The Voice driver made it, and she was able to close the show with some 10 songs, including her classic “Don’t Explain.”

As Others See Us

[From the July issue of Holiday magazine]

And how about the Village Voice? Within a year of its birth it attained a five-figure circulation. The celebrity of its contributors (from Norman Mailer to Steve Allen, from J.B. Priestley to Gilbert Seldes), the datelines of its dispatches (Carmel, Soho, Rome), and the scope of its subscription list (forty-one states and eight foreign countries) have made it the organ of the Egghead International. I think it has earned its present position because of — not despite — the fact that its publisher is a still practicing psychologist, its editor a free-lance writer, and neither ever came near a linotype machine before.

The Night People

By Jean Shepherd

…The concert went over well, I think. However, it must be made very clear that neither myself nor the Voice is in the jazz business. Last fall when Ed Fancher and I got into a casual conversation over a pizza one night about things we would enjoy doing, a plan for a whole series of informal fiascos began to loosely evolve. The jazz shows have only been the beginning events. Actually, all we do is to think of something we would enjoy seeing ourselves, and then we try to organize it so we can. We also charge prices we would want to pay at the box office. Naturally, we haven’t made much money, but we did hear Billie Holiday.

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