Artist Martine Syms presents an original performance commission by O, Miami and based on the history of Overtown.
On January 12, 1963, Sam Cooke played an energetic and memorable concert in Miami, FL at Overtown’s Harlem Square Club. Despite being professionally recorded by his label RCA, the album that resulted, “Live at the Harlem Square Club”, wasn’t released until 1985.
Nite Life is a guided tour of Sam Cooke’s legendary performance. This two-person lecture interprets the history of a black vernacular through the personal experiences of Cooke, local performers, concert-goers, and other scenesters. Using archival materials, oral history, memoir, and fiction, Nite Life enacts the intergenerational dialogue produced by the music itself.
Live at the Harlem Square Club is included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time and shows a different side to Cooke, one that doesn’t match the polished-and-scrubbed persona he presented to white audiences.
Syms has created two responses to the album: a text piece that will be displayed on fences in Miami’s Design District in April, and this two-person, “one-night only” performance at Gramps Bar in Wynwood.
Admission is free.