Aqua Lounge, The
Videomaking Consultant - Barry Dornfeld
Humanities Constulant - Jacqueline Akins
Post Production - Iain Conliffe
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, the Aqua Lounge was Philadelphia's premier venue to hear progressive jazz. Located on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia, the venue was the hub of a vibrant local arts community drawing people from all over the region. Regular visits by Jazz artists such as Dave Burrell, Bootsie Barnes, and Wilbur Ware elevated the Aqua Lounge to legendary status among jazz lovers. While the club closed its doors around 1975 and 52nd Street's reputation as a center for the arts declined, the area has recently been experiencing a revival. The Aqua Lounge's old location is now occupied by the African Cultural Art Forum (ACAF), a group that showcases the work of artists of African descent. "What we would like to do," says ACAF owner Rashie Abdul Samad, “is establish an institution that would maintain the African culture in this part of the world." The Aqua Lounge: The Renaissance of 52nd Street portrays the 1960s 52nd Street arts scene through the memories of its former patrons, and shows the work of current artists and appreciators who are nurturing the street's decade's-old arts community.