Intl. Notebook Apr 29 2010
CHASING AMY
Flame of the Barbary Coast.

This is the oldest tabloid we’ve managed to locate so far. No surprise it’s The National Police Gazette, which began publishing in 1845. This issue, printed on pink cover stock, is from April 1941 and features burlesque dancer Amy Fong. Fong gained fame stripping at Charlie Low’s renowned San Francisco club Forbidden City, starring in a revue called China Dolls. It could have been “doll”, singular, because Fong was the only Chinese, or indeed, even Asian, dancer in the show. Forbidden City—located in an area of San Fran that once was home to its infamous Barbary Coast vice district—mainly catered to Chinese patrons, but Fong became popular enough to go mainstream, and toured nationally with revues like Modes and Models, Sunkist Vanities, and Moonlight Maids, always as the only Asian performer.

We think her story is probably real interesting, considering the time period involved and the probability that many Americans likely did not consider her ethnicity distinct from that of the Japanese enemy they were fighting in the Pacific, but she’s one of those figures we lose in the mists of time. We know she announced her retirement in 1942, but she must have made a comeback, because we found a flyer of a performance in Pittsburgh from 1949. After that, nothing. Maybe one day more information will appear on Ms. Fong and we’ll learn this pioneering woman’s full story. Until then, we’ll have to make do with hearsay and a few photos.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 02
1954—Joseph McCarthy Disciplined by Senate
In the United States, after standing idly by during years of communist witch hunts in Hollywood and beyond, the U.S. Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for conduct bringing the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. The vote ruined McCarthy's career.
December 01
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
November 30
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
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