On the Scene: Sept. 25

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Symphony Gala first nighters Annie Wong, Richard Barker congratulate Chair Sharon Seto on wonderful supper. Photos courtesy of Gerrye Wong.

When the San Francisco Symphony Gala Opening Night is announced, all the ladies of the area must swarm to their favorite designers to choose their gowns, for this year’s event brought the brightest and best designed dresses of the season.  In tune with the colorful invitation by Rose de Here Design, San Francisco’s City Hall Rotunda was aflame of turquoise and chartreuse table settings with magenta highlighting and beautiful women. Seen at the Symphony Supper, chaired by an especially lovely Sharon Seto,  were Eva Jones, Dr. Andrew and Flora Zee, Teresa Hu with handsome son Scott, Iris and Michael Chan, Thao and Jerome Dodson, Annie Wong, Richard Barker,  Ye-Hui Lu, Ken Auletta, Gaetano Amorosi, Marc Abrahamson, Elizabeth and Richard Fullerton, Stephen Lee, Catherine Hwang, Linda Frank  and David Seto.  Festivities lasted all night, whether it be at the VIP Patrons Tent dinner or the younger set’s Symphonix Dinner in the City Hall South Court. San Francisco’s mild fall weather even added to the evening’s pleasures, with just a light breeze as the hundreds of patrons walked the Polk Street red carpet to enter  the City Hall dinners.

Symphony Supper guests (from left to right): Rada Brooks, Chair Sharon Seto, Gerrye Wong, Julie and Tony Gemignani.

Although the many activities pre and post concert would certainly be enough to entice anyone to come out that night, Michael Tilson Thomas’ energetic conducting the world class San Francisco Symphony orchestra and Joshua Bell’s spectacular violin performance was the topping on the evening’s cake.  Utter silence from the sold out audience was proof positive that tonight’s symphonic presentation was one of the best, and when Ravel’s Bolero solos were played, I felt like everyone was holding their breath in rapturous enjoyment, and eagerly anticipating  the triumphant ending.

Ye-Hui Lu and Gerrye Wong enjoying SF Symphony Supper at City Hall

Following the concert, the crowd billowed out into the street, which had colorful stilt walkers and jugglers entertaining the patrons munching on ice cream bars and hot French fries offered to the happy crowd.  Wandering into the adjoining tent you could dance to lively music and enjoy more eating treats served especially by Nick from Tommy Toy’s. I salute SF Symphony leaders who had something for every age group to enjoy and partake in that evening.  Even leaving the crowd, I was enthralled to see our beautiful City Hall spotlighted in blue, obviously from the City Center lighting festivities of Salesforce’s own party that evening.  Yes, the city was hopping that night – from the casually dressed onlookers, to the resplendent formal wear of those celebrating the San Francisco Symphony’s Season opening.  The City by the Bay was never more beautiful with its beautiful people!

Symphony Supper diners enjoy ambiance of City Hall Rotunda Balcony.


The Asian Art Museum was the setting for over 100 men and women who had been invited to the private launch of prestigious Clarins French skin care company, to witness the US launch of its “Shaping Facial Life Collection”. As explained by the New York team who came from Clarins’ USA home office, Asian women are very conscious of their skin care and facial impurities, but when questioned, many said they were more  concerned with not only wrinkles, but drooping features.  Clarins’ took those needs to heart and very soon, concerned about the interest in the changing of a woman’s facial contours as she ages, they set their company scientists to work to find a product that could allay these fears and develop a product and process which women who follow it diligently will discover amazing results.  Han Wen, Marketing and Product Development lead for Clarins was at the Macy’s Union Square launch of the new product to tell potential patrons the method to use the gel crème products.  An expert in beauty science and trends, Han told me about the latest technologies, newest ingredients and customer insights that the company has been concentrating on to bring out this new product.

Clarins Executives Han Wen and Erin Cohen launched Clarins’ Face Lift Collection at Macy’s Union Square

Although very young in appearance with flawless skin, Han told us she had been in the beauty and skin care industry for over 10 years.  She and Erin Cohen, Director of Public Relations, explained that San Francisco’s Union Square Macy’s was targeted for the first USA launch of the new product, and lucky San Francisco women were anxious to learn from the Clarins beauty specialists there what to use and how to use it.  I agreed with Han that with time, our facial features slowly start to age and skin slackens, forming lines and wrinkles that spoil the face contour and the youthful look of a person’s facial silhouette. So of course, I wanted to try the new Defining Eye Lift and Shaping Facial Lift Wrap.  I especially liked the Clarins’ comforting cream-mousse with its exclusive blend of Chinese barley and gingko biloba, said to relieve the puffiness and roundness due to fluid retention caused by stress and sleep. Enjoying the demonstration were Sharon Seto, Xiaojun Lee, Jenny Chiu, Wendy Soone Brodee and Lily Samii.

Guests at Clarins’ Launch at Asian Art Museum (from left to right): Brad Murray, Jenny Chiu, Sharon Seto, and Xiaojun Lee


Chinese Historical Society of America’s Gala Voice and Vision Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco was another jam packed evening of silent auction, jewelry and clothes sales for this annual fundraising event. Over 350 patrons enjoyed the program led by Emcees Bevan Duffy and Genny Lim, who introduced Executive Director Sue Lee and Board President Barre Fong.  It was nice to see three women honored this year: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Community Historian Connie Young Yu and Journalist Manli Ho, and renew old acquaintances from my own CHSA Board and Capital Campaign Chairmanship days with Sarah and Phil Choy, Laura Lai, Calvin Fung, Bruce Chin, Daniel Quan, Ling Chi and Linda Wang, Randal and Dorothy Low, Frank Jang and meet new CHSA supporters Kaleen Woo, Claudia and LeRoy Quan, photographers Elaine Lee and Horatio.  Nice highlight came when Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Chiu made their visit and remarks to the audience, and a splashy visit had a Beach Blanket Babylon songstress belt out San Francisco. I am proud to say that since the time when the CHSA Board of 10 years ago, led by Phil Choy and Lorraine Dong, worked very hard to purchase and open the Clay Street Museum of Chinese American History of America, the group has continued to bring new exhibits and interesting projects of history to the museum and enlisted a fine group of dedicated volunteers to continue the ongoing mission of sharing Chinese American history. I salute you all.

Calvin & Gerrye Wong, Buck Gee congratulate CHSA Honoree Connie Young Yu. Photo by Frank Jang


The San Francisco Chinese Culture Center traditionally brings “Harmony and Bliss” to their patrons with a celebration gala/wine pairing dinner for its many supporters October 13 in San Francisco. Co-chairs Maggie Mui and Susan Tom say their evening at the Empress of China will be an evening of wine and fine dining while honoring local heroes of the community.  Star power honorees this evening will be the following:  Bridge Building Award – US Senator Dianne Feinstein; Community Building Award – Maurice Chuck; Artist Achievement Award – Yuan Yuan Tan.  As Executive Director Mabel Teng explained, “These fine leaders and guests of honors embody the community involvement and artistic spirit upon which our Center was founded. “  When asked where the proceeds of the dinner will be going towards, Communications Director Monica Tzeng said, “Specifically we are interested in emphasizing our
Visual Arts an Education program such as our upcoming exhibitions, “Dynasty to auction that night include a Terra Cotta chariot and four horses from Xian, Pat Tseng jade pendant and 120,000 Asia miles donated by Cathay Pacific Airlines!

For info:  www.c-c-c.org.

Voice and Vision Table Sponsor Anita Chan brought friends from South Bay and SF to the CHSA dinner.


It was heartwarming to know that the historic fishing village of CHINA CAMP, the only one left of its kind from 24 original villages that once dotted the California coastline in the late 1800s up to the 1930s. is still in operation – a place of refuge for bikers, hikers, campers, bicyclists, fishermen and swimmers.   China Camp was slated to be closed due to budget cuts for the State Parks System, until a group of fervent fans of China Camp said that is not possible.  So from an original 25 member group called the Marin Cultural Club came new supporters and a Friends of China Camp organization was resurrected with a mission to save China Camp earlier this year, when news of a possible CC closure became known.  As Chairman Ernest Chung told us, “The group originally was started by a ranger who, at the time was looking for ways to raise funds to support programs at the park. We changed our mission and focused on saving the park from closure and started a membership/donors drive and now have over 1400 member donors. With much fundraising and dedication, the group has raised over $300,000 this year”, Chung added proudly.

Friends of China Camp Board Members greet media to share plans for China Camp opening.

Under AB 42, which was signed into law last year, non profits like FOCC can become operators of parks on the closure list by demonstrating the needed capacity and viable plans to operate the park.  And that is exactly the challenge the group has taken on:  operating the park to keep it open for the next three years.  The Chinese Village at China Camp is open daily for visitors, with docent talks on the weekends.  Frank Quan, who has lived at China Camp most of his 87 year old life, still runs the little store with his cousin Georgette. All of this is done through the volunteers from the FOCC and six State Parks Employees whom the group pays to help run the park.  At a meeting for media to tell us more about FOCC’s plans, active participant Ed Lai admitted it will take about $500,000 a year to run the park, plus capital expenditures projected at $80,000 this year, and this is without any of their volunteers being paid.    The Friends of China Camp must be applauded for their dedication to restoring the historic China Camp Village which they plan to develop a self guided walking tour to highlight its historic aspects, and eventually, develop a more informative museum to chronicle the area’s Chinese history.

A project of this magnitude needs the attention of all who realize the importance of maintaining and sharing our proud Chinese history in California.  As Chang further explained, “We have been able to muster the strong support of many in the community who are determined to help save the park, and our progress is due to our Board, who have worked tirelessly to rally the community to save the park, and the many State Parks employees who have been most supportive of our plan.”  He continued, “FOCC is a subcommittee of the Marin State Parks Association and by entering into an agreement with the California State Parks, FOCC will be able to retain all revenues generated from park use for the operation of China Camp.  However, we will still need to raise significant funds annually to supplement these revenues so community support will be critical to our success.”

Andrew Leong. center seated, celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends Dr. Randall Low, Denise Schutt, Dottie Low, Claudia Quon, Liane Quan, Charlie Yu, Leroy Quon.

On October 14, a celebration and activity filled afternoon is planned at China Camp, so this would be a fine opportunity to enjoy a fine fall day to learn more about the beauty of China Camp State Park and its many facilities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing and swimming.  The Grace Quan, a replica of an old Chinese junk, will be there for all to see, and you can meet the dedicated volunteers of FOCC to show your support of their cause. It is an open free day at the park for all to enjoy.  For more info on tours and activities and how you can support this hard working organization, contact Friends of China Camps Community Relations Director Ed Lai, (310) 365-0629, elai@edwardlai.com; or log on to friendsofchinacamp.org.

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