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.
May 09
1949—Rainier Becomes Prince of Monaco
In Monaco, upon upon the death of Prince Louis II, twenty-six year old Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi, aka Rainier III, is crowned Prince of Monaco. Rainier later becomes an international household name by marrying American cinema sweetheart Grace Kelly in 1956.
1950—Dianetics is Published
After having told a gathering of science fiction writers two years earlier that the best way to become a millionaire was to start a new religion, American author L. Ron Hubbard publishes Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The book is today one of the canonical texts of Scientology, referred to as "Book One", and its publication date serves as the first day of the Scientology calendar, making today the beginning of year 52 AD (After Dianetics).
May 08
1985—Theodore Sturgeon Dies
American science fiction and pulp writer Theodore Sturgeon, who pioneered a technique known as rhythmic prose, in which his text would drop into a standard poetic meter, dies from lung fibrosis, which may have been caused by his smoking, but also might have been caused by his exposure to asbestos during his years as a Merchant Marine.
May 07
1945—World War II Ends
At Reims, France, German General Alfred Jodl signs unconditional surrender terms, thus ending Germany's participation in World War II. Jodl is then arrested and transferred to the German POW camp Flensburg, and later he is made to stand before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials. At the conclusion of the trial, Jodl is sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal.
1954—French Are Defeated at Dien Bien Phu
In Vietnam, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which had begun two months earlier, ends in a French defeat. The United States, as per the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, gave material aid to the French, but were only minimally involved in the actual battle. By 1961, however, American troops would begin arriving in droves, and within several years the U.S. would be fully embroiled in war.
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