Friday, June 7, 2013

Empress Pavilion 1989-2013

Back in the dinosaur days of the mid-1980s, when we still saw most of our Asian movies in dedicated ethnic theaters in Chinatown or China Valley or Artesia's Little India, one of the key dividends of being a Hong Kong Cinema or Bollywood fan were the opportunities the fixation afforded for eating lots of Asian food. Restaurants were carefully ear-marked for movie night meals in the vicinity of each theater. No matter how bad the film turned out to be, there was always a plate of Crispy Salty Shrimp to look forward to.

These experiences have shaped my sense that the ideal Asian cinema blog would be less like Deadline or even Twitch and way more like Chowhound -- dedicated above all to the experience of moviegoing. Listings of favorite Asian cinema venues would be accompanied as a point of honor with restaurant recommendations, as as an aspect of the complete experience.

In part this ideal is nostalgic. The Bollywood houses have survived; are in fact flourishing. There is one fairly lavish multiplex in LA Koreatown, but it shows mostly Hollywood films with Korean subtitles. The Chinese theatrical exhibition circuits, alas, are no more.

Now LA Observed is reporting that one of LA Chinatown's most beloved dim sum emporiums, Empress Pavilion, in the Bamboo Plaza mall on Hill Street, is closing. Those of us who were led to Chinese food by a love for Chinese movies should observe a moment of silence.

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