This weekend, after visiting the TarFest Music and Art Festival, I ventured out to spend my Saturday night in Chinatown to help celebrate the 75th Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The energy of the evening was diverse and explosive. All ages and ethnicities enjoyed the cultural performances, moon cake sampling, workshops, and moon viewing from telescopes. I could tell that Fall was in the air from the chill of the night. Now, I don’t believe in coincidences, however, one of the volunteers called up to sample a moon cake said that her name was Zenobia! Now imagine that.
Incidentally, this area, where the festival was held, is considered “New Chinatown,” formed in 1938. In fact, in the early 20th century, this part of Los Angeles was called Little Italy. Actually, the original Chinatown was first established in 1880 near Alameda and Macy Street, where the current Union Station and the Mexican-themed Olvera Street are. At the time the original Chinatown existed there was even a Chinese Opera House. However, by the early 1900′s this part of town began to decline and redevelopment started to occur at its present location. It took about 40 years to reestablish the project elsewhere. Consequently, the only reminder of the old Chinatown near Union Station is the Chinese American Museum. I will have to take a visit to that area to show you around.
Nevertheless, the New Chinatown is a blend of a Chinese-American theme. It’s so colorful and beautiful to me. I love to see all the lantern style lights glow at night. I’ve always admired the architecture of Central Plaza. One can say that it’s the Hollywood version of Shanghai. In fact, did you know that Chinatown Los Angeles was designed by Peter Soo-Hoo and Hollywood film set designers? Now isn’t that something? In addition to the exotic style buildings there, I love the public art. One statue that caught my eye in particular was of Guan Yin. She was everywhere, and I loved it. She is the Bodhisattva associated with compassion.
Another piece that caught my eye was a Bruce Lee Statue that had its unveiling just this past June of 2013. I’ve long admired this great Kung Fu Master for his skill of the art and philosophical thinking. He believed that any knowledge ultimately led to self-knowledge. His influences involved Taoism, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Buddhism. Consequently, Bruce Lee was a well-known atheist. He was born in Chinatown San Francisco under the Chinese zodiac of both the hour and the year of the Dragon. Also, did you know that his father was an Opera singer and actor? You know, as a youth I can remember watching Lee and Jim Kelly in the movie Enter The Dragon. Incidentally, Kelly was the first African-American martial arts film star that went on to make many other movies.
The last time that I was in Chinatown was for Chinese New Year. If you haven’t done so already, you should really try to make it out to see this village. It’s a must experience. It looks great at night and is full of a mixture of music and crowd. There are great eateries and art galleries that I’ve visited…in addition to shops that one can buy little mementos from. In fact, that’s one thing that I love about Los Angeles, there are so many little towns in which to explore and get to know about different cultures. Notably, Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the United States of America.
I always learn something, and that is: to always be yourself. And to express yourself, to have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate-Bruce Lee