back arrow99% Invisible

319- It's Chinatown

Episode description

For Americans, the sight of pagoda roofs and dragon gates means that you are in Chinatown. Whether in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, the chinoiserie look is distinctive. But for people from China, the Chinatown aesthetic can feel surprisingly foreign.

The same goes for fortune cookies.

Two stories from the 99pi archive about the complex and interesting ways China has been interpreted by America.

It’s Chinatown

episodes iconMore Episodes

325- The Worst Way to Start a City

October 16th, 2018

31:07

Sam Anderson, author of Boom Town, guides us through the chaotic founding of Oklahoma City, which happened all in one day in 1889, in an event called the Land Run.

Plus, we talk about Operation Bongo, the …

Punk Style: Articles of Interest #6

October 12th, 2018

30:48

There is this myth that it’s frivolous or unproductive to care about how you look. Clothing and fashion get trivialized a lot. But think …

Blue Jeans: Articles of Interest #5

October 9th, 2018

26:10

For the most part, we tend to keep our clothes relatively clean and avoid spills and rips and tears. But denim is so hard-wearing and hard-working that it just kind of amasses more and more signs of wear. So …

Hawaiian Shirts: Articles of Interest #4

October 5th, 2018

23:18

There are a few ways to tell if you’re looking at an authentic, high-quality aloha shirt. If the pockets match the pattern, that’s a good sign, but it’s not everything. Much of understanding an aloha shirt is …

Pockets: Articles of Interest #3

October 2nd, 2018

21:13

Womenswear is littered with fake pockets that don’t open, or shallow pockets that can hardly hold more than a paperclip. If women's clothes …

Plaid: Articles of Interest #2

September 28th, 2018

18:55

Lumberjacks wore plaid. Punks wore plaid mini skirts. The Beach Boys used to be called the Pendletones, and they wore plaid with their surfboards. Lots of different groups have adopted the pattern over the …

Kids' Clothes: Articles of Interest #1

September 25th, 2018

23:52

Clothes are records of the bodies we’ve lived in. Think of the old sweater that you used to have that's just not your style anymore, or the …

324- Billboard Boys: The Greatest Radio Contest of All Time

September 19th, 2018

28:49

The year was 1982, and in the small city of Allentown on the eastern edge of Pennsylvania sat an AM radio station called WSAN. For years, it had broadcast country music to the surrounding Lehigh Valley -- an …

323- The House that Came in the Mail

September 11th, 2018

32:11

The Sear & Roebuck Mail Order Catalog was nearly omnipresent in early twentieth century American life. By 1908, one fifth of Americans were subscribers. At its peak, the Sears catalog offered over 100,000 …

322- The First Straw

September 5th, 2018

24:49

A straw is a simple thing. It’s a tube, a conveyance mechanism for liquid. The defining characteristic of the straw is the emptiness inside it. This is the stuff of tragedy, and America.

The invention of …

180- Reefer Madness

September 9th, 2015

14:54

There are around 6,000 cargo vessels out on the ocean right now, carrying 20,000,000 shipping containers, which are delivering most of the products you see around you. And among all the containers are a special subset …

162- Mystery House

April 28th, 2015

16:04

According to legend, Sarah Winchester’s friends advised the grieving widow to seek the services of a Boston spiritual medium named Adam Koombs. The story goes, Koombs put Mrs. Winchester in touch with her deceased …

142- And The Winner Is

November 26th, 2014

13:49

There’s a little trophy shop called Aardvark Laser Engraving  down the street from our office in Oakland. Its small but bustling, and its windows are stuffed to the brim with awards made of all kinds of materials and in …

Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store