A special event presented by the JPT & Charter Books:

Lady Sings the Blues

With author Paul Alexander in-person with his new biography of Billie Holiday, Bitter Crop.

Pop superstar Diana Ross portrays legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in this powerful biographical drama. Beginning with Holiday's traumatic youth, the film depicts her early attempts at a singing career and her eventual rise to stardom, as well as her difficult relationship with Louis McKay (Billy Dee Williams), her boyfriend and manager. Casting a shadow over even Holiday's brightest moments is the vocalist's severe drug addiction, which threatens to end both her career and her life. (1972, 142 mins)

Paul Alexander will introduce the film with his expert insight and conduct a Q&A after the film.

Tickets are $48 for admission + book, or $18 for just admission.

Bitter Crop: The Heartache And Triumph Of Billie Holiday's Last Year from author Paul Alexander is a revelatory look at the tumultuous life of a jazz legend and American cultural icon. In the first biography of Billie Holiday in more than two decades, Paul Alexander—author of heralded lives of Sylvia Plath and J. D. Salinger—gives us an unconventional portrait of arguably America’s most eminent jazz singer. He shrewdly focuses on the last year of her life—with relevant flashbacks to provide context—to evoke and examine the persistent magnificence of Holiday’s artistry when it was supposed to have declined, in the wake of her drug abuse, relationships with violent men, and run-ins with the law. During her lifetime and after her death, Billie Holiday was often depicted as a down-on-her-luck junkie severely lacking in self-esteem. Relying on interviews with people who knew her, and new material unearthed in private collections and institutional archives, Bitter Crop—a reference to the last two words of Strange Fruit, her moving song about lynching—limns Holiday as a powerful, ambitious woman who overcame her flaws to triumph as a vital figure of American popular music.

PAUL ALEXANDER has published eight books, among them Rough Magic, a biography of Sylvia Plath, and Salinger, a biography of J. D. Salinger that was the basis of a documentary that appeared on American Masters on PBS, Netflix, and HBO. His nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Newsday, New York, The Guardian, The Nation, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone.


Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams





144 min