Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Elderly Asian Hipsters of Chinatown Pretty Come to 41 Ross Gallery

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM

  • Andria Lo/Chinatown Pretty

Few things warm our hearts more than the sight of Senior Hipsters. Whether they're impeccably attired riding the 45-Stockton or just looking good while pushing a grocery cart up a steep street, older San Franciscans who take time to look their best make the rest of us unafraid of growing old in a youth-obsessed city with a challenging terrain.

  • Andria Lo/Chinatown Pretty
Chinatown Pretty, a blog by photographer Andria Lo and writer Valerie Luu (who is also one half of Vietnamese pop-up Rice Paper Scissors) chronicles Chinatown residents over the age of 70 as they go about their day, using a Cantonese translator when necessary. A non-condescending look at an often-invisible segment of the population — older folks, often women, many of whom are immigrants — Chinatown Pretty makes the simple point that in spite of ads telling us that people over 35 can and do look really hot.

One octogenarian subject, Shi Ping Tay, wears acid-washed jeans that someone gave her, and cuts her own bangs. Whether or not her look feels special or is just an accommodation with the financial circumstances of the average Chinatown senior is almost irrelevant, because of the confidence and ease with which Shi Ping Tay takes on her neighborhood. Another subject wears a dazzling bolo tie made from Mardi Gras beads, while a third has a maroon cap that makes him look rather mischievous. Combining recent gifts with handmade, vintage pieces is a hallmark of the millennial hipsters of Oakland and the "accidental" hipsters of Grant Avenue.

To celebrate this glimpse at a singular S.F. street style subculture, community space 41 Ross Gallery is staging an exhibit of Chinatown Pretty images. Opening Friday, Dec. 4 with complimentary dim sum and beer, it will include translated inteviews on panels next to the images.

It sorts of makes you want to take Iris Apfel, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Baddie Winkle shopping on Stockton Street.

Chinatown Pretty opens Friday, Dec. 4, 4-9 p.m., at 41 Ross Gallery, 41 Ross Alley, 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"