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Leo's Casino Arts & Music Collaboratory -Cleveland Funk Not Fight Safe Space

The Bootsy Collins Foundation has officially designated Leo's Casino Arts & Music Collaboratory as the Funk Not Fight Safe Space led by Funk Extraordinaires, Mr. Ron Fuqua and Dr. Fred Wheatt.

Funk Not Fight Safe Spaces host a network offering a variety of programs designed to strengthen the foundation of children and young adults in the community who are at risk for violence.   In collaboration with area schools, city officials, the judicial systems and law enforcement, the Funk Not Fight Initiative links those in need to counselors, parenting forums, community resources, mental health services and more along with a variety of performing arts activities designed to allow children and young adults explore their passion.  We've got the Funk!  

Funk Not Fight in Hough/Midtown Cleveland

CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLEVELAND HISTORY:

LEO'S CASINO


"LEO'S CASINO was a premier showcase in Cleveland for R&B and Motown artists. The co-owner of Leo's Casino, Leo Frank, got his first taste of the entertainment business while serving in the Navy in 1945. He was in charge of a theater on a base near San Francisco that featured Bob Hope, Harry James and other prominent entertainers. In 1952 Leo Frank opened his first club, called Leo's, at E. 49th St. and Central Ave. It started as a bar but expanded into a jazz room, featuring musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderley. The building burned down in 1962. With his business partner Jules Berger, Leo Frank started Leo's Casino in 1963 at the old Quad Hall Hotel at 7500 Euclid Avenue. The new Leo's held about 700 people and served dinner. Admission was two dollars. The club continued to feature jazz until R&B acts quickly took over. The club usually had three shows a night, Thursday through Sunday.

Between 1963 and 1972, an illustrious entourage of musical acts performed at Leo's Casino, including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, the Supremes, the Temptations and the Four Tops. Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin gave some of their first performances at the club while Otis Redding made his last stage appearance at the club prior to his fatal plane crash in 1967. The club also provided a springboard for numerous comedians, such as Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson and Redd Foxx.

Because of its racially mixed audiences, Dick Gregory called the place, "the most fully integrated nightclub in America," however Frank always explicitly made it clear that social justice had nothing to do with his motivations. His reason for opening the nightclub was to make money. The club served as a unique haven in the midst of the racial tensions that gripped Cleveland in the 1960s. In 1966 during the Hough riots, just a few blocks away, hundreds of people, black and white, waited in line to see the Supremes. The Supremes played two sets on Sunday night, July 24, but the police told the club's owners to cancel the third show and shut down the club. Leo's Casino shut down for four weeks and then reopened with Ray Charles."

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SAVE THE DATE!FUNK NOT FIGHT LOVE FESTJUNE 30TH, 2024 5PMMALTZ PERFORMING ARTS CENTER ATCASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

Bootsy Collins and Pepperminte Patti CollinsRelease National Funk Not Fight MovementIn Cleveland at The Rock & Roll Hall of FameMay 11, 2023

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