Chinese Nightclubs in San Francisco and Forbidden City

WHEN: May 12, 2010, 6 p.m.

WHERE: San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco

WHAT: Chinese Nightclubs in San Francisco, featuring the Grant Avenue Follies

Enjoy a dance presentation by the Grant Avenue Follies who bring to life the legacy of Chinatown’s Nightclub Era. Originally formed by four former professional dancers from the Chinatown nightclub scene of the 1950s and ‘60s, this energetic troupe of seniors now consists of 12 dancers who perform regularly throughout the Bay Area.  In addition, author and cartoonist Trina Robbins will be speaking and signing copies of her book, Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs.

RELATED EXHIBITION: Forbidden City: the Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs

From the late 1930s to the early 1960s, Chinese nightclubs flourished in San Francisco’s Chinatown. They were the first, and in those days the only venues for talented Asians who sang or danced professionally.  Get a glimpse of that world in, Forbidden City: the Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs, an exhibition based on the book of the same name by renowned cartoonist Trina Robbins. Programs, menus, matchbooks, costumes and photographs from the heyday of Chinese nightclubs are on view. The exhibition gives a chance for the men and women who performed in these nightclubs from 1937 to 1964 to tell their stories in their own words. They also tell of the stories of those performers now gone, like tap dancer Tony Wing, Larry Ching “The Chinese Frank Sinatra,” and Stanley Toy who made a comeback at the age of 89. Forbidden City brings back to life an age of glamour and a long neglected slice of Asian-American history.

WHERE: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco. Exhibition on view through June 12, 2010.

For more information, visit or call (415) 557-4277. All programs at the Library are free.

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