Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs

Experience the excitement and glamour of San Francisco’s Chinese nightclub scene as the “Grant Avenue Follies,” a troupe of former nightclub dancers, perform. Author Trina Robbins will sign copies of her new book, Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs. The exhibit of the same name, filled with photographs, menus, oral histories, and costumes, is on the 6th Floor of the Main Library, April 10-June 12.

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 and danced professionally.  Dubbed “The Chinese Frank Sinatra,” or “the Chinese Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers,” Asian performers entertained the GIs during WWII and drew Hollywood stars to local clubs to see their acts.  In her new book and the accompanying exhibit, Forbidden City:  the Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs, author Trina Robbins has gathered the stories of men and women who performed in this segregated world.  The exhibit includes vintage photographs, costumes, menus and other mementos from the clubs and performers.  Forbidden City celebrates an age of glamour, as well as a long-neglected slice of Asian American history.

Sponsored by the San Francisco History Center

also from the San Francisco Burlesque Review

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