Salute to San Francisco’s famed “Forbidden City” Night Club

Celebrating a period when a night out on the town was a rich issue and when dress, drinks, design and music all had a one of a kind style, the yearly “Art Deco Preservation Ball” in San Francisco always guarantees a night harkening back to a more joyous and impressive time.

Introduced by the Art Deco Society of California over 30 years ago, the yearly event includes live music, entertainment, a floor show and plenty of fun for everyone. The 2016 Ball featured a tribute to San Francisco’s famed “Forbidden City” Chinese American night club, popular in the city in the 1930s through the 1950s.

Art Deco Society Program Director Theresa LaQuey’s dad worked in one of San Francisco’s most popular of such clubs as a pianist and LaQuey grew up listening to stories about the memorable night club, best known of the dance clubs that started in the 1930s which showcased Asian American entertainers as the stars. “They were made by ambitious Chinese American business visionaries, and had their prime amid the 1940s, and particularly amid World War II, where servicemen and their buddies or dates framed long lines to get in.”, said LaQuey.

The First Art Deco Preservation Ball was held in 1984, three years after the Art Deco Society was shaped. The organization, one of many nationally, is committed to protecting the numerous features and types of pop culture, essentially from years spreading over the period between the World Wars, approximately 1918-1942, known as the “Art Deco” period.

“It was an alluring and complex period, the start of cutting edge style and behavior, yet with manners and decency. The cutting edge state of mind is found in the engineering of the day, with its restless, crisscross and geometric shapes and structures, indicating first the excited pace of the 1920s, transitioning to Streamlined Moderne configuration in the more grave 1930s of the Great Depression,” said said Therese Poletti, Preservation Director for the ADSC. “The design of the time truly brings out its evolving times.”

The annual ball is held in distinctive Art Deco-style venues, and the current year’s venue – the memorable Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco’s North Beach – ranks as one of the most memorable. “We cherish Bimbo’s; the building itself was initially the Bal Tabarin Club designed by famed San Francisco architect Timothy Pflueger, San Francisco’s best-known Art Deco planner. The club has been rebuilt but many of its Deco period touches remain and it is a notorious venue in San Francisco,” said Poletti.

The evening’s entertainment includes bay area favorite period orchestra, “Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra”, and a spectacular floor show by the famous “DecoBelles”, founded by Laurie Gordon, a Rockettes-quality dance troupe that performs at the Ball each year. “Our grants try to respect late recovery or reclamation of works of the Art Deco period, at whatever point conceivable, or long-standing stewardship or different commitments to safeguarding the soul of the Art Deco time in California,” said Poletti.

Open to the public, the annual event invites attendees to experience and take in more about the period, and the association that would like to protect its memory – participants are urged to dress in vintage attire, further giving the occasion a truly memorable feel.