Chinese Historical Society of SF

Today was an awesome day. I went with a friend to the Chinese Historical Society Museum on Clay St to see their collection of miniatures by Frank Wong and they happened to be having an exhibit on Bruce Lee.

The miniatures were even better than I expected. Here’s a 3D view of the biggest one. Do check it out, it’s mind-blowing. The whole thing is smaller than a carry-on.

And here’s my favorite one – the Chinese New Year.

Besides the miniatures there were also some really cool and funny murals celebrating Bruce Lee and an adorable collection of miniature models of imaginary statuary by the local students. The statues were LEGO-sized, made of anything from cardboard to 3D printing, and celebrated important figures of progress. I am not quite sure how these are connected to Bruce Lee, but that’s probably because I did not have the time to watch the accompanying videos yet.

The We Are Bruce Lee exhibition in general was very interesting and heavily tilted towards showing his importance as a builder of good inter-racial relationships, his impact on race relationships, and his all-around good-guyness. I think I understand better why he was so beloved during his life time and will probably watch some of the movies. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one and that is obviously an oversight. The exhibition included a short excerpt from Fist of Fury where Bruce Lee kicks a “No Dogs Or Chinese Allowed” sign – it looked awesome, especially the complete indifference of the Japanese woman who is seeing her entire escort smashed up.

What really made the exhibition for me is the digitally-enhanced giant mural. It is a triptych, with the side pieces being entirely digital and showing things like rain, hills, trees, and quotes from Bruce Lee, and the center piece showing Bruce Lee as the Burning Bush.

The underlying mural is awash with motion. The dragon moves. The fire running over his body is occasionally replaced by lightning. There is rain and flood. Neither my words nor the picture below, nor the picture accessible through the 3D view of the exhibition can convey the least part of the mural’s magnificence.

This is Bruce Lee as God. The accompanying text says that he transcends space and time and is worth reading in its entirety.

It was so amazing to be able to share the experience of seeing this worship with a friend. It is impossible to describe, and the moment of stunned amazement is so much better when shared.

Here are more art works by the Macro Waves Collective.

We continued to lunch at the Hang Ah Dim Sum which has been on my list for awhile. It’s over 100 years old, and is the first Dim Sum place in SF. After tasting the shrimp and coriander dumplings I fully understand why they lasted so long. After lunch we dropped by the Fortune Cookie Company to see the cookies being made and get one of the hot crispy discs. It was very hard to resist buying a bag of glazed cookies, but the long line helped.

Overall a perfect outing and now there are two more places on my “love to visit” list.

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