Anna May Wong Must Die at The Roxy on Tuesday

Glamour, sex, beauty, fame – Hollywood legend Anna May Wong had it all. She was the most famous Chinese woman in the world during the 1920s and 30s, and yet she struggled to get decent parts while white actors played the juiciest Chinese roles in “yellowface”.

No difference there, then.

Film critic Jasper Sharp, of the website Midnight Eye, introduces a screening of Piccadilly (1929), her best known British film, as part of an Anna May Wong themed night at the Roxy.

Writer and performer Anna Chen presents an extract from Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend and a multimedia illustrated reorientation of Anna May Wong. Extending her recent BBC Radio 4 profile of the actress, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, Anna reveals how Wong and the Chinese were depicted in films and what they were up against during Yellow Peril fever in this personal appreciation of the world’s first Chinese movie star.

Shanghai sounds from Resonance FM Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter

Drinks provided by the Akashi Sake Brewery.

Entry £4, cash on the door only.
There are table reservations for dinner however, so if anyone wants to reserve a table they can via or 020 7407 4057.

26 May 2009 at 19:00
The Roxy Bar & Screen
128-132 Borough High Street
London SE1 1LB,
United Kingdom

Thanks to the Anna May Wong Society for their brilliant work and allowing me to use their images.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

18 thoughts on “Anna May Wong Must Die at The Roxy on Tuesday”

  1. Your AMW Society link didn’t work, because of a spelling mistake.

    Do you have a post that I could put up. or could write one for my blog about Anna Mae Wong?

  2. Readers of the writings of Chairwoman Miaow are invited to

    SATURDAY 20TH JUNE, 11 am – 6 pm at Ruskin College, Walton Street, Oxford

    Supporters of the event include Oxford & District TUC & local IWW

    Books, talks, badges, workshops, posters, postcards, DVDs, CDs, music, culture, short films, magazines, lectures, warm atmosphere, fellowship, meet new people, education, entertainment, magazine, newspapers etc. To book a stall/more info. email us!

    Includes 100th Anniversary of 1909 RUSKIN COLLEGE STRIKE meeting, the first radical student uprising in English history that saw students breakaway to form radical & anti-capitalist educational networks such as the PLEBS LEAGUE and CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGES + Talks/workshops on anti-fascism & anti-racism, situationism/dada/surrealism, anti-capitalism, people’s history, trade unions, war, peace & empire, radical bookselling, bash the rich marches, psychogeography, feminism & women’s equality, social ecology, popular & radical education, poetry/culture/art, music etc

    Speakers include –

    COLIN WAUGH Radical educator/FE teacher, active on the Post 16 Educator journal, recently author of pamphlet on the 1909 Ruskin College Student Strike & Plebs League
    IAN BONE English anarchist associated with Class War group. In 1984 he was labelled ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’ by a British tabloid newspaper & was involved in the legendary Bash the Rich marches on wealthier areas of England such as Kensington, Henley-on-Thames & Hampstead.
    RICHARD SEYMOUR Author of ‘The Liberal Defense of Murder’, a searing critique of the B52 liberals and pro-war left & the brains behind Lenin’s Tomb, one of the best-known political blogs in Britain, listed in 2005 as the 21st-most-popular blog in the country.
    ANDREW BURGIN Radical seller/collektor of books, badges, posters, pamphlets & other emphemera. As press officer for the Stop the War Coalition he has worked particularly closely with the Military Families against the War campaign. He has also been linked to the Public Reading Rooms in London . . .
    JUDITH ORR Author of ‘A Rebel’s Guide to Women’s Liberation’
    MALCOLM HOPKINS Our man from Housemans, London Town’s oldest radical bookshop who boast the largest range of radical newsletters, newspapers and mags of any shop in Brtain! He also does talks on situationism, dada, and surrealism – top bloke!
    Cllr JOHN TANNER Lefty Labour Councillor supports good causes like the Palestinians and anti-fascism – top bloke!
    DAVID RENTON Independent writer & historian. Written extensively on the history of anti-fascism including ‘When We Touched the Sky’ a history of the Anti-Nazi League & ‘Red Shirts & Black’ (Published by Ruskin College Library) the story of how the facist Blackshirts were driven out of Oxford in the 1930s.
    CIARAN WALSH IWW/Wobblie Member involved in Traveller education. ‘The IWW is a union unlike any other. It is a grassroots, democratic and militant union that seeks to organise ALL workers in ALL industries in ALL countries’ … Sounds like a good idea!
    PETER DWYER has done many silly and good things including working with NGOs and the labour movement in South Africa and speaking at World Social Forums in Rio, Mali and Kenya. During the daytime he teaches radical economics at Ruskin College
    GUY DEBORD Sadly Monsieur Debord can’t make this festival, but we have received a copy of The Society of the Spectacle – The Movie that will receive a free screening and Ruskin College premier during the course of the bookfair
    LUCY PARSONS once described by the Chicago police as ‘more dangerous than a thousand rioters’, Parsons died in 1942, she will be brought back to life for one day during the bookfair with a public reading of her infamous address To Tramps


    For more info. – or

  3. Respectable Citizen, that's more than a bit naughty, posting an ad for your event on my blog, especially as I see the SWP and their sympathisers make up a large portion of the speakers, and they have been directly part of the problem that I am attempting to challenge in my Anna May Wong piece.

    Any group whose top Central Committee members declare that racism against the Chinese "doesn't count because the axis of racism is black & white", and then fails to rectify this is dubious.

    Any group that alienates its Chinese members because we are "all in catering and therefore petit bourgeois" needs a good talking to (not that they listen).

    Any group that exploits its members as coolie labour while the "leaders" draw a wage shouldn't call itself a friend of workers (I ended up with £16K on my credit cards, establishing and entirely funding the STWC press operation, plus their other media work, out of my own line of credit).

    And any leftist who takes the credit for the work done by others and feebly allows the egos of their organisational masters to come before the cause is in need of some serious consciousness and conscience-raising. Yes, Andrew Burgin, I am talking to you and you know what I am talking about.

    All in all, a text book example of expoitation, alienation, replicating power relations found under capitalism, and rendering someone invisible, just like … ooh, what happened to Anna May Wong. But at least she wasn't screwed over by the left.

    BTW, I have been advised to read about Richard Wright's experiences in the US left as I am assured I will find some powerful parallels.

  4. Miaow, naughtiness is our middle name! A friend of mine who is a Ruskin student is involved in setting this up

    But I fear you compleletly misinterpret the nature of the event which aims to provide a space outside of activists safe comfort zones and traditional organisational barriers of the left (hence the proletarian bookfair format) – the full programme is yet to be published – sponsored by Oxford & District TUC among others & a very broad spectrum of the left including anarchists, socialists, trade unionists, feminists & environmentalists is involved.

    Speakers such as IAN BONE, founder of Class War, can hardly be described as an SWP sympathiser nor fellow traveller! Nor is Guy Debord part of the IS tradition.

    The first speakers invited to come along included Paul Mason of Newsnight fame, Peggy Seeger, the musician who is involved in an archieve at Ruskin College, Pam Currie, Nat. Sec of SSP (who has links to Ruskin College) & Mary Davis, author of COMRADE OR BROTHER? a feminist history of the labour and trade union movement, a distinguishing feature of which is Davis’s critical examination of questions of race and gender equality at various junctures. Unfortunately, while all in principle agreed to speak the date wasn't congenial to them.

    Anyway, a flyer to pin on noticeboards can be found here:

    And if you are travelling down from outside of London, the venue is in the city centre. Directions:

    Hope to see you down there, Miaow! The event will be sure to provide maximum working class satisfaction. And check out Ralph Ellison, INVISIBLE MAN (if you haven't already)

  5. Very best of luck, Madam Miaow, for your première of Anna May Wong Must Die tomorrow. It would be nice to think that some of those involved with the Arcola’s yellowface extravaganza would see your show at some point.

    Now, Respectable Citizen, you may have coined your name with ironic intent, but you are indeed acting as a respectable citizen of the British Left, and it seems to pervade your mindset, because Madam Miaow’s healthy and justified disrespect for a bunch of frauds, bullies and cowards isn’t getting through to you.

    Why would anyone want to listen politely to such people after being on the receiving end of their behaviour? – while all the time these same people were posturing before the public as socialists?

    You’d probably answer that there’s room for vigorous debate at the event you’re helping to organise. Maybe so. But that’s still not the point. Everyone there can agree or disagree on the political positions these princes of the left adopt for public consumption, but it’s their behaviour off stage that Madam Miaow takes issue with.

    Unfortunately exposing such people as shams who mislead workers and even their own party members isn’t the kind of thing that’s possible in the respectable left events people like you organise. (And if it was, there’d be no chance that they’d accept your invitation.)

    Every time they’re given a platform, they’re given credibility in front of a new audience. They’re often plausible. What they say may sound fine. It may be the kind of thing you and I would both applaud (in the abstract). But what they do with their organisational power when they’re out of the public eye is a very different matter. They’re a serious obstacle to the development of any effective British left. They should be exposed and removed, not encouraged. Which side are you on? Time to start thinking about this.

  6. Babeuf, I'm not a member of the SWP, indeed I have many profound disagreements with the group particularly around some of the issues raised, but nor do I support a position of total "no platforming" of everyone & anyone from the organisation. But with due respect, your tone is somewhat patronising, you know nothing of my politics nor the politics of the forces involved in setting up this event & clearly do not understand what the event is about. Maybe check out the latest edition of MayDay Magazine – and you might get a whiff of where I'm coming from.

    David Renton (who left the SWP around 6 years ago) has been invited because he has connections with Ruskin College and its pioneering organic intellectual, Raphael Samuel & is author of a very interesting pamphlet on the RED SHIRTS (of which he will speaking), a militant anti-fascist group set up in the 30s by ruskin students and trade unionists to drive Oswald Moseley's Black Shirts out of Oxford where they were getting a base

    Your issue seems to be that Andrew Burgin has been invited to speak – on the subject of radical bookselling & that in a whole day of talks, events and happenings supported by Oxford & District TUC and the local IWW – including a commemoration of the 100th anniversary – on a wide variety of subjects there are a couple of trotskyist speakers.

    Someone who was invited to speak has links with the Communist Party, there are many good reasons to criticise the CP and its history, but does this mean that nobody from the CP has anything of interest or worthwhile to say?

  7. You are so casual about the issues raised as a result of your Spam, Respectable, that you give me the creeps.

    You so don’t get it. Or you do and you are being disingenuous.

    Either way, kindly keep your Spam off my blog. Your off topic propagandising is banned.

  8. Possibly off topic, possibly not eveninteresting but…a friend at university 40 years ago had a father who had served in the [British] Chinese Consular Service before and during World War 2; one of his colleagues had, miraculously for the class system of the period,entered the service from a very poor family, inspired to learn the language and live in the country by seeing Anna May Wong at the movies.

  9. Any group that alienates its Chinese members because we are “all in catering and therefore petit bourgeois” needs a good talking toTalking to? I think you got that a bit wrong.

    You were into the STWC for 16 grand? Of your own money? You never told me that. How the fuck did that happen?

  10. Hi Dave,

    That includes all the Socialist Alliance work I did, as well as break the back of the anti-war press after 9/11, often working 8am to gone midnight, 7 days a week because no-one else would do it … until they saw something was up for grabs personally.

    The SA work included national press for Paul Foot’s mayoral campaign for the London Socialist Alliance. He did write that I was “the best press officer in the country”, but he still wouldn’t make sure I had fair treatment. They were his mates, after all, and I learnt the hard way that friendship/cronyism comes before solidarity in the left.

    The debt built up over several years of not being paid while they were all on a wage and looking after their own careers.

  11. Brigada,

    Thanks for your comment. Not off topic at all, but spot on. That’s a fascinating angle on the Anna May Wong effect.

    Oh, and I will say a word of appreciation for the IWW. The Wobblies appear to be the only group that tried to work with the Chinese and bring them into the labour movement, so I will always have a soft spot for them.

  12. Thanks you so much for sending me this link, Rustbelt. Someone else told me about it and I thought I’d missed it. Fantastic! I’ll watch it later and let you know what I make of it.

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