Read about our next CW event with Open Show, report from the Locke StoryTour, progress on Mapping the Traces Web project, and encore for City Beneath the City exhibit. Meet Locke StoryTour participant Gene Larson & CBC exhibit vistor Ginny Stearns!

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Upcoming Events

Thursday, Nov 15, 7-9 pm
Living Memories: Chinese Whispers + Open Show

A Visual History of the Chinese in the Bay
Maritime Museum, 900 Beach St., San Francisco 94149.
Registration Required.

Press on City Beneath the City @ San Jose ICA
San Jose Mercury News
Stanford Report
ABC 7 News
TVB (Chinese)
China News (Chinese)
Sing Tao Daily (Chinese)

Share Your Stories 
about the early Chinese settlers in your community, and members of other cultures that interacted with them.

Story Cookies

Donate $25 and get a special package with 8 cookies (random selection) from the collectible first edition of 15 Chinese Whispers Story CookiesTM! Each cookie's "fortune" features a quote from a Chinese WhispersSM story.

Chinese WhispersSM 
is a multi-site community storytelling project about the Chinese who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad and settlements of the American West. It is envisioned to unfold across the geography of the American West in place-based productions that engage local communities in recounting local stories. It will also result in an interactive online mapping platform that brings together research, geography, and storytelling. Visit for more information.

Chinese WhispersSM is supported in part by the California Council for the HumanitiesSan Francisco FoundationSan Francisco Arts Commission, and individual donors like you, with special thanks to Malcom Margolin and Heyday.

Partners include Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, Chinese Historical Society of America, Placer Arts Council, and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Chinese WhispersSM is a member of the Intersection Incubator a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists. 


Photo Credit: Drew Darmon, Chelsea Lee, Rene Yung, Root Division, National Park Service

Sunscreen and Smiles on Locke StoryTourTM

More than two dozen people from the Bay Area and the Sacramento region gathered in the Delta town of Locke on a bright September Sunday for a unique StoryTourTM of the last rural Chinese town in the United States. Our guides, 3rd gen Locke native and CW story contributor Jeff Lee, and photographer and Locke resident James Motlow, enlivened the tour with insider stories of this town built by the Chinese for the Chinese. Tour highlights included the Dai Loy Museum, the town’s former “gaming parlor,” seen through the lens of Jeff’s memories as a young boy; the Chinese School House where tour participant Bessie Hahn delivered a stellar impromptu rendition of the Chinese national anthem, inspired by the calligraphied lyrics on the wall; and a convivial meal at Locke Garden Chinese Restaurant, located in the town’s first building.

We also visited nearby Walnut Grove and Isleton, and wrapped up the rich and memorable day by chilling over ice cream on Main Street, Isleton! For more photos check out our Locke album on Facebook. Many thanks to our guides and everyone who came out to Locke to make the event a success, and so much fun. We were so inspired by your enthusiasm, we’re already plotting the next Chinese Whispers StoryTourTM -- bringing local history to life through personal stories, and breathing new meaning into place and heritage. 

Seeing Stories – Chinese Whispers+Open Show

We’re excited about our next innovation in bringing overlooked history to light through multimedia storytelling and community collaborations. We are pleased to partner with social screening network Open Show in an evening of visual history about the Chinese in the Bay Area, with a dynamic lineup of featured presenters – the Chinese Historical Society, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Friends of China Camp, and the San Francisco Maritime Historical National Park, along with a new Chinese Whispers media presentation with excerpted Golden Gate stories. Thanks to the SF Maritime Historical National Park who partnered with us on our Februrary workshop reading aboard ferryboat Eureka, for hosting this event at the beautiful Maritime Museum with its breathtaking, panoramic view of the Bay. Mark your calendars for this not-to-miss event on November 15! See sidebar for details.

A Mapping Milestone

Back in the studio, we’re proud to complete the proof-of-concept for Chinese Whispers: Mapping the TracesTM, our online mapping project that brings together research and storytelling. Stay tuned as we continue our collaboration with scholars and mapping specialists on this exciting project.

City Beneath the City Exhibition Comes Home
City Beneath The City: Market Street Chinatown San Jose, the art installation by Project & Artistic Director Rene Yung that weaves together cultural history and archaeology, closed an enormously successful run at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. We are pleased to announce that CBC will take new form at the Stanford Archaeology Center, home of the Market Street artifacts collection. Rene will be working with students and faculty at the Center on the show. If you missed the installation in San Jose, be sure to catch CBC when it opens at Stanford in December.

CW Making Waves Across the Pacific
Chinese Whispers and Rene Yung are featured in China News, the second largest news service in China (article in Chinese only). 

Wishing you a bountiful Autumn!

— Chinese Whispers Team

Meet the CW Community  

Meet our growing community here! The CW Community is made up of all kinds of people spanning generations -- professionals, scholars, retirees, students, "regular folks" who joined us to bring forgotten stories to light.
Locke StoryTour participant Gene Larson, an archivist with the California State Library, reflects on the day's events:

"There were so many interesting points during the tour. In the schoolroom when the two women sang the national anthem of Sun Yat-sen's government. Jeff in the gambling parlor describing his grandfather's place in Locke's history. And outside the restaurant when there was a discussion on the language of the neighboring provinial dialects spoken at Locke and Walnut Grove that were mutually unintelligible--two of the women on the tour said they spoke one of the dialects, then a quiet gentleman spoke up to say he spoke the other dialect.

"It was a very enjoyable and informative tour."
City Beneath the City exhibition visitor Virgina Stearns is a San Francisco eco-artist. In the installation's "Community Pages," she muses on the Market St. Chinatown artifacts that most captured her imagination:
"The bowl fragments next to fish bones. The shattered bowl seems to speak the sudden and violent demolition of the Chinatown by arson. The porcelain fragments so beautifully painted seem to carry the memory of the homeland so far away. I love the labeled bags of soil and bones."

Our sincerest thanks to all of the community members who are helping to bring history to life.

Copyright © 2012 Rene Yung, All rights reserved.