Before Wayne Wang was a famous director, he was an art-school punk who made Chan Is Missing, one of the scrappiest and greatest San Francisco films of all time. A screening of Chan would be a perfect partner for Bonnie Tsui's new book, American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods. Tsui's critical perspective takes in San Francisco's famous district, of course, but also the Chinatowns of Los Angeles, New York City, and Honolulu, plus the fledgling one in Las Vegas. Her blending of historical and contemporary concerns and realities, the clash of fear and independence she describes, and ultimately, her warm love of the people served by these communities makes us think of Wang's old filmic mash note. This one you can curl up with, though. Tonight's reading is hosted by the Chinatown Community Development Center's Rev. Norman Fong.
Tue., Sept. 29, 6 p.m., 2009