SF Pride’s new ‘Chinatown Pride’ show to highlight LGBTQ culture in Chinatown

Image: Huang Meng Wen, ‘Suits and Corsages,’ 2015, Courtesy of the Artist
By Joe Kukura - Published on March 16, 2021.

The isolation (and financial wreckage) of the ‘lost year’ of 2020 is spilling over into 2021. Last month’s Chinese New Year and Parade had to be cancelled, depriving the neighborhood of significant tourism income, and June’s upcoming SF Pride celebration is still uncertain, with organizers currently saying “we cannot be sure when such large-scale gatherings will once again be safe” but they “are working on exciting alternatives.” 

We mention these two annual events in the same sentence because their organizers have put together an unconventional crossover event for next week. SF Pride announced via a Monday release an event called Chinatown Pride, which they bill as “a combination drag show, video compilation, and tour of neighborhood landmarks.” The event is Thursday, March 25, 6-7 p.m., and tickets are available online.

The event is a collaboration between SF Pride and the Lunar New Year Parade partner the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (CCC). It builds on the CCC’s current exhibition WOMEN我們: From Her to Here, but promises “an evening of queer art and Chinese culture that features art, drag performances, cocktail demonstrations, and more.”

Chinatown Pride will culminate in a drag performance by Pearl Teese, filmed by Stephen Quinones, and shot “on the pedestrian bridge connecting Portsmouth Square to the Hilton Hotel.” The bill also lists Mr. Jiu’s owner Brandon Jew among a lengthy list of the event’s contributing performers and artists.

There’s also a focus on landmark Chinatown venues of the past and present, like the historic Forbidden City that inspired the musical Flower Drum Song, and current faves Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and Li Po Lounge. These will be featured in segments on Safe Spaces & Queer Stories in Chinatown, a particularly urgent issue in light of recent attacks in the neighborhood. CCC Executive Director Jenny Leung adds in a release the collaboration will “show Pride, love and take a stand against hate and racism. Especially now, it’s so important to build safe and inclusive spaces for a just future.”

Chinatown Pride is Thursday, March 25, 6-7 p.m., tickets here ($25-$100)

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