The Art Deco Society of California (ADSC) is proud to host Arthur Dong in a virtual event celebrating his new book Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films on Thursday, May 20 at 5pm PST/8pm EST. This book provides a spectacular view of the Chinese American impact on the movies, from some of the earliest films set in America’s renowned Chinatowns to contemporary hits and artists that are remaking the face of Hollywood.
The program will feature a book discussion and series of film clips led by Mr. Dong, followed by a moderated Q&A session after the talk. This program will be hosted on Zoom: The event link and information on how to obtain a personalized, autographed copy of the book will be sent to all ticket holders in advance of the event date, as well as approximately 2 hours prior to showtime. Tickets are $5. Click here to purchase tickets and here to purchase the book.
For the curious, a bit more about the book:
Filled with page-after-page of stunning vintage images, this lavish coffee-table book is not only an opulent and entertaining look at some of the movie world’s most fascinating characters, it also illustrates the myths, misconceptions, and memorable moments of the Chinese and Chinese Americans in films made in the United States. Hollywood Chinese brings to life the history of these films as only Arthur Dong, an award-winning filmmaker, can—vividly, with an eye for detail that captures the drama inherent in how Asian cultures have been portrayed by Hollywood studios.
Exploring the ways the American film industry has celebrated Chinese and Chinese American culture, Dong also examines how that industry subtly—and not so subtly—projected stereotypes into its movies. His book Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films explores the power of these images and their lasting impact.
Hollywood Chinese spotlights archival material selected from more than 2,000 pieces of movie memorabilia the author has collected since his youth, when he was growing up in San Francisco Chinatown and during his ten years of research for his documentary of the same name—the genesis of his new book. Featuring Dong’s trove of cinematic artifacts—photographs, posters, lobby cards, stills, press kits, and other ephemera—Hollywood Chinese visually explains many of the social and cultural attitudes on race over the past century, to show how those attitudes have played out in Hollywood films. Although Hollywood Chinese centers on the Chinese, its analysis will resonate with other ethnic and marginalized groups as well, challenging racist assumptions about minorities in America, biases that were especially pervasive in early Hollywood films.
As a counterpoint to Hollywood’s yellowface and whitewashed caricatures, Arthur Dong includes his personal interviews with Chinese and Chinese American artists who have produced, directed, written, and starred in Hollywood films. These chronicles of resistance will empower readers with inspiring alternative narratives. Ang Lee, Nancy Kwan, Justin Lin, James Hong, Joan Chen, Wayne Wang, David Henry Hwang, and Amy Tan provide insights, while Dong’s impeccable research traces the uphill battle fought by pioneers such as Marion Wong who was the first Asian American to direct and produce a feature in California. Hollywood Chinese features an Afterword by award-winning producer Janet Yang.
A San Francisco Chinatown native, Arthur Dong is an Oscar-nominee, a Peabody and Sundance award-winning filmmaker, author, and curator whose work centers on Asian American, and LGBTQ stories. Dong’s films about Asian American history and culture include The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (2015), Hollywood Chinese (2007), Forbidden City, U.S.A. (1989), and Sewing Woman (1987). Among his films on LGBTQ issues are Coming Out Under Fire (1994) and Licensed to Kill (1997). Dong has curated exhibitions showcasing his extensive archive of cultural ephemera, including Chop Suey on Wax: The Flower Drum Song Album, Forbidden City, USA, and his most recent, Hollywood Chinese, on display at the iconic Formosa Café in West Hollywood. Hollywood Chinese is the second book highlighting Chinese American culture by the Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong. His first book, Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs 1936–1970 received an American Book Award in 2015.