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‘Swinging Chinatown’ Exhibit @ Old Mint Fri-Sun

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Soft, twinkling lights, snappy dance numbers, beautiful girls, and suppers of eastern delicacies called things like Chop Suey– What a night you could have in that enchanting Chinatown!  The possibilities as endless as the stars in the heavens!

By the thirties, San Franciscan xenophobia had ebbed to a level where a night in Chinatown was considered thrilling and exotic instead of an instant trip to depths of depravity at the hands of the Mongol horde terrified Victorians had heard tale of.

Although culture could be co-opted into drinks laden in paper umbrellas and doubtless objectification, between the thirties and the seventies the district also became a large community of Asian-American talent and the setting of a boom era of swank nightlife and culture.

The SF Museum and Historical Society is continuing a special exhibit this weekend in honour of this lantern-lit history and as part of Year of the Tiger festivities entitled Swinging Chinatown at the Old Mint on 5th Street.  Regular price is ten, and, with membership, five, but I’m told that student ID might suffice in lieu of the latter.

Apparently some of the old guys and goyls that once glided across the floors of places like the Forbidden City Club have been hanging out around the place as well. What’s a cover if you get to bask in the glitterati of Grant Avenue?

Swinging Chinatown: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs
The Old Mint
88 5th Street (btw Market & Mission)
[South of Market]

Photo from DVD Beaver.  Yeah it’s really called that.

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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.