Chinese American | KALW

Chinese American

 


 

On this edition of Your Call, we speak with Chinese-American journalist and writer Helen Zia about her new book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution. Zia tells the story through the eyes of four young people who fled Shanghai during the Communist revolution in 1949.

The new documentary, The Chinese Exclusion Act, examines the 1882 law that was established after decades of anti-immigrant rhetoric and violence against Chinese immigrants.

Courtesy of Grant Avenue Follies

From the 1940s until the 1960s, San Francisco’s Chinatown was home to a thriving Chinese American nightclub scene. The clubs had names like Forbidden City, the Chinese Skyroom, and the Shanghai Low. They had showgirls, ballroom duos, comedians, jazz singers, and magic acts -- all featuring Asian-American entertainers. These clubs had wide appeal: celebrities like Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, and Lauren Bacall were all spotted over the years, along with tourists, businessmen and locals.

Photo by GooWakJai, 2010 / http://www.flickr.com/photos/goowakjai/

San Francisco’s Chinatown has interested many tourists over the years. Every day people visit to learn about Chinese American History. 

Lenora Lee, a native San Franciscan dancer and choreographer, makes large-scale interdisciplinary work that tells the stories of Asians in America – stories that she says aren’t represented in the mainstream media or in art. And her latest piece, "Reflections," is a response to what Lee says she witnessed as a Chinese American growing up in San Francisco.