Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Flower Drum Song, June and July 1962

St. John Terrell’s Music Circus
Lambertville, New Jersey
June 1–17, 1962

Cleveland, Ohio
July 2–15, 1962

Garden Centre Theatre
Vineland, Ontario, Canada
July 30-August 4, 1962

(Next post on Wednesday: Flower Drum Song, August 1962)

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Flower Drum Song, January 1962

Thunderbird Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

This Is Las Vegas
January–February 1962


(Next post on Wednesday: Flower Drum Song, June and July 1962)

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Photography: The Emperor’s Death Mourned in New York Chinatown, November 18, 1908

Officially, Emperor Kwang-Su (Guangxu) died on November 14, 1908. Reports of his unconfirmed death appeared in several American newspapers on November 13, 1908.

New York Evening Post, November 13, 1908

The New York Times, November 17, 1908, said
... The Chinese Merchants’ Association, or “Jong Wah Gong Shor,” met at 16 Mott Street yesterday afternoon and passed resolutions for mourning for the death the Emperor. The mourning, blue and white, will be put up to-morrow on all the stores throughout Chinatown to remain until the association shall order it removed.  Chinese Consul Ho was present with many of the Government students. ...

On November 18, 1908, many buildings were draped to mourn the death of the emperor.

Mott Street numbers 14 (right, Mon Far Low 
Restaurant), 16 (middle) and 18 (left). 

The New York Evening Post, November 18, 1908, said 
Joss Row in Mott Street
One Temple Mourns Emperor; The Other Doesn’t

At No. 16 the Blue and White Drapery Is Out and the Dragon Flag Is at Half-Mast—But There’s No Love for the Manchus at No. 20—Prayer Ships Are the Same Size.

On the front of the Joss House at No. 16 Mott Street are draperies of white and blue, the mourning colors, for the dead Emperor. The Joss House at No. 20 Mott Street is not so draped, and isn’t going to be, and so, by this fact, incidental to the close of a reign in China, is revealed a secret of the Oriental colony that shimmers and sightseers would not have learned otherwise.

But it is evident now that Chinatown has its church row just like any New England hamlet, with the orthodox and the liberal meeting-houses set on opposite sides of the village green, figuratively making faces at each other.

And like the village churches, each of the Joss Houses claims to be the best and oldest and only true Joss House.

On the one at No. 16 Mott, there was the sign in English, “The Main Temple.” On the rival temple, the legend read: “The oldest Joss House in the United States, established 1874.” But those signs didn’t necessarily convey the idea that there was friction between the priests and the congregations. The real truth was learned when an English-speaking Chinaman was asked why there was no blue and white bunting on No. 20, and why the yellow sun and dragon flag on that building was not down to half-mast. The man appealed to was evidently a worshipper at the Main Temple, for he spoke with contempt of No. 20.

Monopoly of Patriotism.

“That’s no good,” said the Chinaman. “Go to Main Temple, the real Joss House at 16.”

When convinced that his questioner had no offering of tea or chicken for either altar, but merely wanted to know about the difference in belief as to bunting, the Chinaman explained that the Chinatown worshippers at No. 20 were all haters of the Manchus and so would not drape their building to honor the memory of a Manchu Emperor.

“No. 16, all patriots,” he added. “Emperor is Emperor, Manchu or not, so the Main Temple put on mourning and lowers the dragon. No. 20, no good. Just a show for white people in automobiles.”

Beyond telling why No. 20 would not put on mourning for a Manchu, the pillar of the Joss House at No. 16 could not explain why the temples were not in accord. And there is nothing in the joss houses themselves to indicate on what rock of dogma, the split came.

As many incense sticks are burning in one as in the other, and, incidentally, the price per package which sight-seeing heathen are charged at each place is the same. The prayer papers that are burned at the altars are exactly as long and as wide at No. 16 as they are at No. 20, and neither high priest can say truthfully that his burners are more beautifully embroidered or that his altar is more wonderfully carved than that of the other high priest. 

In the blue and white draped temple a Chinaman with a basket full of savory and steaming offerings of rice and nuts and dried duck was bumping his forehead on the floor in front of the altar at No. 20, but at the same time another Chinaman was brewing fragrant tea in front of the Joss at No. 16; and one worshipper seemed just as devout as the other. So an hour among the temples was not sufficient for a layman to get at the truth of the matter. 

It may be a safe inference that the advocates of No. 16 are more devoted than their rivals, because to get to the altar, they have to climb three long flights of dark back stairs, the same stairs that so many timid sight-seeing persons have ascended With nervous, squeamish fear that perhaps they should have been contented with buying Joss House picture postal cards, instead of actually visiting the place. 

At the other temple, the Joss is only two flights up, and the high priest thinks that it is much easier for aged Chinamen to come there and much more convenient for Americans to buy their altar souvenirs from him.

The New York Sun, November 19, 1908, also reported the differences between the Joss Houses at 16 and 20 Mott Street. 

The New York Herald, November 19, 1908, printed a photograph of buildings, at 14 and 16 Mott Street, draped in Chinese mourning colors blue and white.

Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, December 3, 1908, published a photograph of 7–9 Mott Street which was the location of Soy Kee & Company, Port Arthur Restaurant, and the Chinese Empire Reform Association.

The Bystander, December 30, 1908, printed a Topical Agency photograph of 14 (right) and 16 Mott Street covered in drapery. 

(Next post on Wednesday: Flower Drum Song, January 1962)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Chu F. Hing’s Painting of ‘Akaka Falls

In mid-1925 Chu F. Hing and his wife, Helga, traveled from Chicago to San Francisco. From there they sailed to Hawaii and stayed from July 1925 to December 1928. 

A rare look at Hing’s early fine art work is provided by Kalei Hanchett who graciously shared the following photographs of Hing’s painting of the spectacular ‘Akaka Falls. The canvas, dated January 3, 1926, measures 17.5 x 23.5 inches / 44.5 x 59.7 centimeters; with a frame 23.5 x 29.5 inches / 59.7 x 75 centimeters. 

The profile of Hing has been updated with a 1944 article about kite-making; 1949 art review; 1950 census; 1960 art review; and an obituary. Click on “About the Artist: Chu F. Hing” below.

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