Departures: 'Chinatown' Explores the Role of Iconic L.A. Destination Through a Century of Chinese Migration

Link to download press release: Departures Chinatown.doc

Chinatown in Los Angeles.jpg

To tourists or the uninitiated in Los Angeles, Chinatown
appears to offer a kitschy glimpse Chinese culture - paper lanterns strung
across buildings designed to replicate traditional architecture and cheap
plastic trinkets for sale in dozens of shops. These first impressions dissolve
quickly for anyone curious enough to do some exploring. With the launch of
Departures "Chinatown," KCET offers an
invitation to experience this vibrant cultural destination as part of its
ongoing Web-exclusive series of neighborhood portraits.

Chinatown's rich history and dynamic present come to life
through the voices and experiences of community members, activists, students
and historians. Produced in association with the Chinese
American Museum
and Chinatown
Service Center Youth Council
, Departures
"Chinatown" takes a look this iconic locale and its role within a cultural
community that extends from the heart of Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley. 

Student Reporters.jpg

The influx of Chinese from Canton and later migrants from
Southeast Asia and Taiwan (among other places) has created multiple layers to
the story of what it means to be a Chinese American in Los Angeles. Among the
hundreds of participants helping to tell this story in
Departures "Chinatown" are Suellen
, Museum Director and Curator of El Pueblo Historical Monument, who
discusses early arrivals of Chinese to Los Angeles, a produce strike initiated
by courageous Chinese business owners and discrimination faced by Chinese
Judy Chu
, who talks about her decision to enter politics, the ever-changing
demographics between districts in Los Angeles and her experiences as a business
owner; the late community activist
, who explains, in his very last interview, how Chinese Americans
endured a civil rights struggle during the onset of World War II and his fight
to rescind a ban on cooking traditional Chinese orange duck; plus interviews
with gallery owners, journalists and many more.

Each Departures
journey begins by traversing a digital panorama filled with images of familiar
sights and hidden gems. Visitors can click on icons and delve deeper into
stories and visuals, including interactive slide shows and video profiles.
Executive producer is Juan Devis, KCET New Media Director.

Support for Departures
comes from Adobe Youth Voices, Boeing and City of Los Angeles Department of
Cultural Affairs.