Historical narratives surrounding Asian performers in the 40s are few and far between. Many people know Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, and Sophie Tucker, but there are other names like Dorothy Toy and Larry Ching that have little to no recognition. The performers in these Asian nightclubs paved the way for many others. The project aims to educate people and give them a glimpse into that world.
This story is inspired by the Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco that ran between the 1930s- and 1970s. They featured Asian dancers that drew in predominantly white crowds and were one of the few places Asian women could make money when education and jobs were not opportunities afforded to them. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
While mainly following what the Forbidden City in San Francisco was like, it also takes inspiration from the Lancing Girls of Singapore, The Chop Suey Circuit in America, the China Doll nightclub in New York, and the Dance Halls of Shanghai.
The heart of this story is about the strength of these Asian-American women. Against the odds, they were extremely resourceful and smart in finding means to enrich their lives. There is so much vibrancy and excitement in this world. Not only were there obstacles to overcome, but there was a great deal of fun to be had as well.