by Frank Chin
PARIS 1905-1930- ARTISTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD (EVEN CHINA & JAPAN- ) FLOCK TO PARIS TO GET OVER THE WARS-GET ACQUAINTED WITH SOMETHING NEW TO REFRESH THE SENSES-
ARTISTS OF DIFFERENT BELIEFS MINGLED AND CAST KNOWING GLARES AND PASSED CIVILLY WITH ART FROM CAFÉ TO CAFÉ TO THE MONTMARTRE WHERE THEY LIVED AND WORKED. THE ARTISTS FOUND GERTRUDE STEIN, AND WRITERS FOUND SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY and SYLVIA BEACH – who risked her bookshop to publish James Joyce’s ULYESSES.
Berkeley in 1958 was the Paris I’d read about since I was 14 years old. Wardess Taylor was in Berkeley. Writers. Artists. UC Bookstore displayed castings of The Little Dancer by Degas in their big window on Telegraph. Down Telegraph, walking away from Sather Gate, the entrance and exit from the UC campus, cross Bancroft Way to Als Smoleshop on the Bayside corner and I forget on the other hillside corner. A block of class pricey restrataunts , clothing stores, designer mass produced art and and artifacts, and further down Telegraph toward Oakland, coffeehouses, Mexican restaurants, and the Cinema-Guild dual theater- owned by Pauline Kael and showing the Janus series of movies from Europe, Mexico, Japan. The Lundberg’s for music and musicians. San Francisco North Beach-Chinatown for flamenco guitar spreading from Spaniards to the street kids. Jackson Burgess admitted me, a freshman into his grad fiction writing class of 12 that included Henry Park missionary’s son raised in Ethiopia, Fred Haines, a Navy vet, who published his fiction in tit mags, avaiable at Al’s Smokeshop , xxx another vet and an actor in the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, who was a hit in his pretty boy role in Edward Albee’s THE SANDBOX. What was the actor’s name? He and Fred were the real working writer and actor in the first showing of a play by Edward Albee. He wrote me after I published my collection of short stories. He had a bookstore around Palo Alto, Stanford University way. Maybe it’s better I forget his name. If he committed suicide, I don’t want to touch him. If what I last hear is false, I’m sorry. The loss of any talent hurts all art. Fred Haines, won an Oscar Nomination, for writing James Joyce’s ULYSSES for the movies. And directed his script for the movie of Herman Hesse’s STEPPENWOLF that starred Max Von Sydow, the mythic knight who plays chess with Death in Igmar Bergman’s THE SEVENTH SEAL. Seventh Seal: a reference to Revelations in the Bible. Another book I had to read or be stupid in an unknown world. But Berkeley was where old books old art come to be revered in safety.
I’m tuning my computer to docs of Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s Paris and see I don’t know WWI, 1914-1918, as well as I should.
I’m too old to not know the immediate past I face. There are no fellow Yellows on the tube, I turn away from Johm Wyane in THE SEARCHERS and more and more to the soothing believable acting of Alec Guiness as Smiley in a script by John LeCarre.
BOB FERGUSON Attoney General OF WASHINGTON –CHALLENGES TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER AGAINST IMMIGRATION from 7 MUSLIM COUNTRIES- EO 9066 is mentioned a lot.
No one notices the Japs are the only oft mentioned minority, not to show. Bu† we know different, don’t we, dear Reader? Don’t we?
What’s the difference between NiseiJaps and Whites? The Nisei serve the White man. The Chinese-Americans checked their identity at the door of the White world. They were no longer Chinese, but looked Chinese. They are Ornamental Orientals. As loyal as homedogs. All they know of Chinese comes from White Hollywood storytellers and Hollywood Ornamental Orientals in the movies and tv and teachers in the news of now.
My body’s shutting down, fuses blown, feelings fuzzing out. I’m not going to see my plays done right. I’m looking for the Yellows as smart as Paris before the Depression hit in 1929. We never had Paris. My Paris was Berkeley where Yellows disliked fellow Yellows and hissed at Yellows. The streets of Berkeley were walked by writers that win Oscar Nominations, for adapting James Joyce’s ULYSSES for the movies. The English Dept is run by Mark Schorer, glittering biographer of Sinclair Lewis, who writes novels celebrating a stiffening conformity that drives Hemingway and Dos Passos and Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein to Paris. Schorer’s book is interesting. He says he is writing about a writer he doesn’t like, but he admires Sinclair Lewis, writing
In 1930, Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer from the United States to receive the award, after he had been nominated by Henrik Schück, member of the Swedish Academy. In the Academy's presentation speech, special attention was paid to Babbitt. In his Nobel Lecture, Lewis praised Theordore Dreiser, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, and other contemporaries, but also lamented that "in America most of us— not readers alone, but even writers—are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues," and that America is "the most contradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today." He also offered a profound criticism of the American literary establishment: "Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.
Certainly, Henry Miller would approve of writerly activism for truth. In Paris, Henry Miller writes about American bread and bread products lacking of taste, flavor or texture . All the identifying characteristics of bread’s identity as bread, and what violence has to be done, to give it taste, campared to real bread baked in Paris. Smartmouth Kate Coleman, used to come smash down at the Med for an expresso. She gets a reporters job at NEWSWEEK and calls Hubert Humnphry a war monger, she writes it, reports it to NEWSWEEK they print it and she’s fired. I’m in the Med when I read NEWSWEEK. It’s warm in the high ceilinged coffee house. Fog has turned to floating rain. The insides of the large windows are fogged. The Med is a clean well lighted place.
The disappearence of Brueners Xmas Window with the electric trains running around a tiny town, of toy houses, and three story hotels, and lights in every tiny window around a giant Xmas tree, and shiney presents. The disappearence of movies at the Paramount Theater. The disappearence of one block long and one block wide Houswives Market. The Whites of Oakland boarded up their relics of the past and left town. The walk from Bruener’s down Telegraph to Broadway DeLaurer’s Books and Magazines, the crosstreet street of used books and documents, like letters with a President’s signature, and photos signed by Gen Douglas MacArthur, through the soldiers and sailors in civvies crowding the two blocks of Entertainment Centers with open storefronts showing movie machines. Oakland –Alameda was famous for glimpses of Roberta Pedron, star of the movie machines walking with her beautiful tits. Enough to make a boy faint. Every walk to Chinatown used to be a walk with the clowns freaks and fleas of the whole Oakland circus, from Bruener’s Furniture to Chinatown to Jack London Square and the mixed waters of the Alameda estuary. Chinatown says it’s dying. The grocery stores in the new Chinatown after the Vietnam War by Clinton Park have already moved to greener pastures, with larger parking lots.
Those are the happy memories I rmmember now and then to keep fresh but the wounds I’ve taken like a man, and the wrongs I have buried are the only fresh memories unremembered, I’m into an age beyond Chinese lifetime. Nothing to do but remember and wish I were dead.
FEB 14, 2017- VALENTINE’S DAY –
Seattle is Paris to me. The people from the journalists Jim Halpin, the police reporter, Jim Compton, starts in Seattle, then goes to the near east, learns Arabic and reports for NBC, and finds his way back to Seattle and KING TV, lives in Seattle as Paris. Lots of bright lights go from the Seattle locals to NBC and PBS , the movies, to Hollywood, like Keye Luke, and James Wong Howe and Yellows with ambitions James Omura, Bill Hosokawa, James Sakamoto, writers John Okada Monica Sone, artist Fay Chong and George Tsutakawa, Paul Horiuchi. Ruby Chow and hubby Ping Chow the cook hidden in the kitchen revived Cantonese opera and made Seattle a food stop with restuarants run by opera stars. Seattle asserts the city as where Asia shows its identities out loud and in color. I’ve tried to revive the Yellow joy of boys and girls hopping for the tall grass, like rabbits, and proud of our artists, for our reasons. Reasons that were alive in the Seattle Chinatown- NionMachi.
No longer. Ruby Chow’s designated heir to her, kindly in your face activism, gets spoken Cantonese into the Seattle Schools, but hesitates at the literay reason for teaching Cantonese. Mandarin is also in the schools. She complains about the Prof’s C-Span speeches about China-American policies but hesitates to write him about his defense of Chinese manhood.
A prominent Seattle lawyer-Emeritus Prof-with a way to ears in high places, declines to defend Chinese manhood by telling Pres Clinton and Pres Obama they gave their Medals of Humanities and Arts to Maxine Hong Kingston, as White racist fraud. Maxine brags about her literary fraud in CONVERSATIONS WITH MAXINE HONG KINGSTON, by Maxine Hong Kingston. Kingston’s THE WOMAN WARRIOR leads to the rise of Yellow Feminismo. Chinese men are bad. We Yellow women want real men. Whoopee! And the Yellow men know nothing and gratefully take the feminist contempt of Yellow women.
The story of Yellow sex and love has been dickless, witless misogynist men and beautiful and talented Yellow women yearning to be free since San Francisco Cameron House Charles Shepherd’s racist screed THE WAYS OF AH SIN hit the Social Darwinists morning papers.
In Hollywood the Woman Warrior’s contempt for Yellow manhood leads to Creative writing exalting White racist ignorance of the Chinese children’s story. The Yellows write to White tastes.
The children’s stories start with the telling of a parent. The American-born Yellows haven’t known the Chinese children’s stories since the hundred years of the 19th Century. I don’t have the time or energy to restore the Chinese stories to the people , but I can telll a few stories and eat around the restaurants I remember. Ho Ho’s down 6th Ave from the Panama. J’s Sushi. Mikes Noodles. Taylor’s Oysters, Il Terrazo Carmine. Yum. Yum. As David Ishii, the bookseller says when addressing food he’s going to eat.
People who want me to speak will get me to speak if they put together enough money to cab me to Bob Hope (Glendale-Burbank) Airport and fly me to Seattle-Tacoma then, cab me to the Panama Hotel, corner of 6th Avee & Main Street, where they pay for my seven day stay, and arrange with Seattle Schools and the Panama Hotel for an audience of 20 children and a parent or parents for an hour of my children’s storytelling. The storytelling shot with 3 cameras- (1) A static cam over my shoulder and behind me for views of the kids faces facing me. (2) Ext Panama lower level view interior through window- (3) Hand held - They have the rest of the week. To talk to me. I want a $100 a day food money, and the return fare home. And $10,000 honariam.