buy music!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Thirty Years Ago Today in LA: Hong Kong Cafe Opens

Diane Chai of the Alley Cats
Alley Cat Dianne Chai

On June 7, 1979, punk rock got a new venue in LA's Chinatown. Sure, Madame Wong's, the kitschy restaurant turned rock club was thee place to play in downtown LA by '79, but some of the harder, punker acts couldn't get booked there. Esther Wong, the Madame herself, was particular about who graced her stage, and more important, about how the audiences treated her real estate.

Enter the Hong Kong Cafe, across a courtyard from Wongs, they offered up another stage for local bands. The Plugz from LA and UXA from San Francisco initiated the club on this night, 30 years ago. On this same night, across town, on the west side (where Madame Wong also had a restaurant & club), The Go Gos were playing at Club 88.

hausfrau for the web
Always this year's model, Belinda Carlisle, before she Go Go'd

The Alley Cats, featuring the sultry Dianne Chai (pictured above) played the Hong Kong Cafe's second night, and played again later in the month, lending the club some credibility early on, which was cemented by performances by local heroes, such as X before the month was out.

john and exene96
John Doe and Exene

In 1979, the cure for the Summertime Blues was a new club in town, for sure.


Paris400 said...

Great pic of Belinda Carlisle.

Wow - she's in Hairspray now!

Totally a reason to go to London now.

Heresy & Heretic said...

Oh wow!

Im very saddened and honored at the same time to be the 1st to post a comment on HONG KONG CAFE. HK CAFE, was a hidden treasure. If u want to find a place to watch more Mexican kids singing along to all the lyrics of the Smiths to rocking out local punk rock performances of X, Red Hot, Minutemen, to even young rising bands from the 90's like Voodoo Glow Skull and many was such an interesting place. Everyone that goes to this club are always fond of the high ceiling and 2nd floor level to overlook the bands, and this kind of Chinese opium lounge meets some of the most grimiest and tough kids of LA. This is also my 1stplace where I caught the Specials....another of one those landmarks in Los Angeles....that was loved and lost.....I remember a punk rock show where a fight broke out and that was the end of it....

Strainers said...

Great place for shows and great times it was. Besides LAPD. Not enough is written about the Hong Kong over the years to me.Remember the Taco stand across the street? Who's got all the old photo's of shows in 79 80? Besides Jenny? I don't have money to buy them. I'd love to see them and enjoy the lost true greatness of our City of Los Angeles Punk Rock

Wendi said...

Great place indeed! I too was there the night broke out and ended it...I even know who was in it...but why name of the many places that opened the door of my youth to the universe of my sonic youth!...thanks for posting. :)