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  • Shirley Fong-Torres 1946 - 2011, noted cooking personality, author, and SF Chinatown culinary school and tour operator of "Wok Wiz"

    Posted by Admin

    Friends and family honored Shirley Fong-Torres' life at memorial services in San Francisco on July 24. Her life and vivacious personality touched people worldwide with her books, television appearances, and her Wok Wiz company's daily guided walking and culinary tours of San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach.   

    Shirley was born November 16, 1946 in Oakland, daughter of Connie and the late Ricardo Fong-Torres, and was a graduate of U.C. Berkeley. She was a teacher in Texas and California, a chef, and after working in marketing for Levi Strauss, she created Wok Wiz in 1985, offering tours, as well as cooking lessons. Her business drew rave reviews and quickly grew, and she built a staff of tour guides to meet demand. She wrote such books as San Francisco Chinatown: A Walking Tour, The Chinese Kitchen, Wok Wiz Chinese Cookbook, and The Woman Who Ate Chinatown. Shirley wrote articles for many food and travel publications and frequently appeared on radio and television including The Food Channel, History and Discovery Channels, and inflight for Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas Airlines and JetBlue.

    She was active in many community groups and often served on the board of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. She had homes in San Francisco and Pacifica. She and her former husband, Richard Dong, were the parents of Tina Dong Pavao, and she was a vivacious, fun-loving grandmother to Tina’s two daughters with Matt Pavao, Maggie and Stella. Shirley is also survived by sister Sarah Watkins, brothers Ben and Burton Fong-Torres, and Sarah’s children, Lea and Jason Watkins. A wonderful brother, Barry, preceded Shirley in death in 1972. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of several organizations, including the Chinese Historical Society of America, the Community Youth Center, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

     Her family has set up a Facebook page for friends and fans. 



  • Don't Miss the 14th Season of Shakespeare by the Sea - Free Admission!

    Posted by Admin

    Don't miss the 14th season of Shakespeare by the Sea with 40 free performances at 21 parks in 19 LA and Orange county cities in Southern California. Once again, admission is free to this season's performances. The season opens June 9, 2011 with the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and one week later on June 16, with the opening of the ultimate family drama The Tragedy of King Lear. Performances continue through August 12. 

    All performances are in the evening starting at either 7:00pm or 8:00pm. Audiences are encouraged to gather with friends and family early to dine picnic-style under the stars to make the most of this classic entertainment experience. Learn more at or by calling 310-217-7596.  

    This season’s performances under the stewardship of founding member and Producing Artistic Director Lisa Coffi, are sponsored by Orange County Community Foundation, Union Pacific Railroad, Newport Beach Arts Commission, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, and Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

    Cities on this year’s tour include: Altadena, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, La Crescenta, Laguna Niguel, Lakewood, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Playa Vista, Rossmoor, Rowland Heights, San Pedro, South Pasadena, Torrance, Whittier, and two different parks in Rancho Palos Verdes. See production schedules, full location information, and times at 

    Click here to see a map of all locations San Pedro: Point Fermin Park Altadena: Farnsworth Park Beverly Hills: Roxbury Park El Segundo: Recreation Park Glendale: Glenoaks Park Hermosa Beach: Valley Park La Crescenta: Two-Strike Park Laguna Niguel: Crown Valley Community Park Lakewood: Monte Verde Park Long Beach: Museum of Art Manhattan Beach: Polliwog Park Newport Beach: Bonita Canyon Sports Park Playa Vista: Playa Vista Commercial Campus Rancho Palos Verdes: Fred Hesse Jr. Community Park Rancho Palos Verdes: Terranea Resort
  • Vicky Shen’s “Adultolescence” screens at the Ray Stark Family Theatre at USC School of Cinematic Arts on June 6

    Posted by Lia Chang

    USC film school graduate, Vicky Shen, humbles the “Tiger Mom” controversy with her new film Adultolescence, which she wrote, produced, co-directed with Zoe Bui and starred in. Check out Adultolescence, which recently played at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, at the free screening on Monday, June 6 at the Ray Stark Family Theatre at USC School of Cinematic Arts, The screening will be followed by a Q&A.

    Adultolescence tells the story of Lea May (Vicky Shen), a Chinese-American artist suffering from post-college career ennui, who returns home to live with her parents (Jeanne Sakata as Mrs. May and Michael Yama as Mr. May) after having been disowned by her strict, immigrant mother.

    Clementine Ngo Anh portrays the ten year old Lea May in Adultolescence

    Ms. Shen used the story of stagnation for one twenty-something to reveal larger themes of the economics of emotions for post-grads, boomeranged back home after college. The film also blends the dual identity of American-born children of immigrant parents.

    “This film’s greatest asset is demystifying the TIGER MOM debate by revealing that there is no unifying rulebook when it comes to Asian parenting and garnering an interesting portrayal of an Asian mother by humanizing the individual, rather than making her a stereotype,” said Ms. Shen.

    Vicky Shen

    Vicky Shen received a B.A. in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Her advanced student film, The Killing Seasons, which she wrote, directed and acted in, garnered awards at several film festivals, including the Tampere International Short Film Festival, and was a finalist at the DGA Student Awards. Her screenplay Untitled Hours Project was a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute and Steven Spielberg’s Chesterfield Writer’s Project. She is also an honoree of the mentorship program, Project:Involve at Film Independent ( home of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival), where Adultolescence was mentored by Kayo...

  • Photos: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Extends at Met through August 7

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010), Corset, Dante, autumn/winter 1996–97, Lilac silk faille appliquéd with black silk lace and embroidered with jet beads, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø/Art + Commerce

    On Sunday afternoon, I stood in line for over an hour for the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, the hottest ticket in town, in The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The breathtaking exhibition, on view in the Metropolitan Museum’s second-floor Cantor Galleries, features approximately 100 ensembles and 70 accessories from the late Mr. McQueen’s prolific 19-year career, and is a celebration of the fashion designer’s extraordinary contributions to fashion.

    Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010), “Oyster” Dress, Irere, spring/summer 2003, Ivory silk organza, georgette, and chiffon, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø/Art + Commerce

    Since opening on May 4, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty has been drawing crowds, with the highest attendance of any public opening day for a Costume Institute exhibition; that attendance was second at the Met only to that of Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings in 2005. More than 180,000 people have seen the show. Set to close on July 31, the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition has been extended until August 7.

    Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010), “Jellyfish” Ensemble, Plato’s Atlantis, spring/summer 2010, Dress, leggings, and “Armadillo” boots embroidered with iridescent enamel paillettes, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø/Art + Commerce

    Starting Monday, June 6, you can take advantage of Met Mondays with McQueen, with additional hours that the exhibition galleries will be open. Tickets for special viewings to see the exhibition on upcoming Mondays (when the Museum is closed to the public) between 9:30 am and 2:30pm are $50 per person, with entries...

  • Meeting, and Googling, a real Asian Pioneer by Ben Fong-Torres

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    May 30, 2011

    What a great way to end a terrible month. Here it was, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I spent most of May with a cold, a bout of laryngitis and general misery.

    But I saved up energy for a couple of events, including a birthday bash for my pal Sherry Hu, the veteran reporter at KPIX-TV (“CBS 5”) who just retired after 34 years there. She and husband Karl Nichols chose to celebrate with about 60 friends at the Silver Dragon restaurant in Oakland.

    And at our table, there were Art and Mary Fong. Sherry’s cousin, Bob Wong (a classmate of mine in junior high school) is married to Sheryl Fong, daughter of Art and Mary. Got it?

    Across the table, Art waved at me, so I went over and learned that he’d seen me on various broadcasts of the Chinese New Year Parade and at community events. Now, finally, we were able to say hello.

    Fong, who is 91, encouraged me to Google him. “Art Fong, HP,” he said. HP—as in Hewlett Packard. Long before it became known for its printers and computers, this company, beginning in the late Thirties, specialized in electronic test equipment. Art Fong would become one of the most valued engineers at what became one of the most inventive tech companies in war time. And, as he told me, “Back prior to 1940, it could not have been done.  It took WWII for them to let us do these things.”

    What “things?” I did as I was told. I Googled Art. Talk about your Asian Pacific Heritage.

    In 1946, Fong, a native of Sacramento, had just left MIT, where he was a key figure in the Radiation Lab, doing radar research for the US Department of Defense. Soon, he got a call from Bill Hewlett, who had started a high-tech engineering company in Palo Alto with partner Dave Packard. Hewlett had heard of Fong’s radar and microwave work; HP, his daughter Sheryl told me, wanted to get into the microwave business. Fong also did some moonlighting at the Browning Laboratories, where he was credited with developing the first...

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