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Forbidden City, USA

Forbidden City, USA

Directed by Arthur Dong

Generously supported by the Voy and Fay Wong Family Endowment

May 18th, 2024 7:00 pm


Free admission and Q&A with filmmaker Arthur Dong! The screening will be followed by a special performance by the Grant Avenue Follies!

It was the swinging 30s. The big bands of the 40s. It was San Francisco night life – Baghdad by the Bay. And the crowds were packing the nation’s premiere all-Chinese nightclub, Forbidden City. Like the Cotton Club of Harlem which featured America’s finest African American entertainers, Forbidden City gained an international reputation with its unique showcase of Chinese American performers in eye-popping all-American extravaganzas.

Forbidden City, U.S.A. captures this little-known chapter of entertainment history and puts it center stage, featuring a cast of original nightclub performers. “The Chinese Sinatra”, “the Chinese Sophie Tucker”, and the “Chinese Sally Rand” are just some of the spirited personalities that strut their stuff and share triumphant and often side-splitting tales of adventures in the cabarets of yesteryear.

This screening is presented as part of UCR ARTS’ AAPI Film Series Supported by the Voy and Fay Wong Family Endowment.


Film Details

Director: Arthur Dong
Studio: Deep Focus Productions
Country: USA
Release Year: 1989
Rated: Unrated
Running Time: 56 minutes


“Dong’s film gracefully shows how one semi-underground club brought all manner of American contradictions to the surface.” – Robert Koehler, Los Angeles Times