FEBRUARY 13

Josephine Baker said it best when she sang, “J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris.” The City of Light has always had a special allure for African-Americans. From World War I to the present, the city has hosted a lively community of black artists, writers, musicians, leftists, intellectuals, and plain old want-to-get-away-from-it-all types. While biographies of famous expatriates and francophiles like Baker, James Baldwin, and Miles Davis abound, in his new book, Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light, U.C. Santa Cruz professor Tyler Stovall presents all of them under one roof for the first time. In addition to the big names, he covers stories of the less famous who made an impact on the city—the nightclub owners, restaurateurs, merchants, and businesspeople who made it possible for a black community to exist. The book covers almost 100 years of history, and Stovall does an admirable job of connecting the expats’ personal stories to worldwide and stateside political and historical events. This depth of context is the book’s main strength, as the book doesn’t offer any heretofore untold revelations. The timing of such a book is particularly apt. Just as the ’20s saw the Jazz Age, the ’90s have produced an international hiphop movement. French rapper MC Solaar cross-pollinates with stateside lyricist Guru to positive effect, setting the stage for a whole new generation of black Americans to make the trans-Atlantic trip. At noon at National Archives Theater, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 501-5000. (Holly Bass)