Wednesday, March 27, 2019

From Boyle Heights to Beijing: Lotus Blossom Blog Post Appears in Chinese Film Journal

Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member and frequent contributor to this blog, Rudy Martinez, put together a fascinating multi-part post a little over two years ago on the 1920s silent film Lotus Blossom, the first Chinese-American movie and which was filmed in Boyle Heights.

After Rudy's post was published, contact was made by Dr. Ramona Curry, an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois and arrangements were made for Professor Curry to give a talk on the film's star, Lady Tsen-Mai (Josephine Moy) at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, whose director, Paul R. Spitzzeri, edited the blog post and made the contact with Dr. Curry.

That lecture was given a year ago this week and one of the accidental outgrowths of setting the event up is that contact was made with a student at U.C.L.A. whose mother is a film scholar in China.  Though Professor Qin Xiping could not come out for Professor Curry's talk, she did arrange for a translation of Rudy's excellent post in the 5 October 2018 issue of the journal Contemporary Cinema, produced by the China Film Art Research Center of the Communication University of China.

Professor Qin sent copies of the journal to Rudy recently and a couple of scans from the article are shown here. It is really great that this happy accident transpired, so that the story of the first Chinese-American film and its making in Boyle Heights was shared, through the efforts of Professor Qin with readers of the journal across the Pacific.

Friday, March 1, 2019

In Memoriam: Col. Melvin "Bud" Weber, 1925-2019

Buddy was born on December 20, 1925 at White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights.  He attended Bridge Street School, Hollenbeck Junior High School and graduated from Roosevelt High School Class of 1944. 

He was a member of the Roosevelt High School Alumni Association where he participated in special events for scholarships and fundraising.  He was honored as a recipient of the Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame Award- Teddy Roosevelt.  This honor meant the world to him.

He was also a member of the Saxons, a club that lasted for several decades.  He was a recipient of the Saxons Pride of Boyle Heights Award. 

One of his most memorable experiences was serving as a project advisor for the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles.  The project was a large exhibit entitled – Boyle Heights Power of Place.  His love for Boyle Heights inspired the formation of the Boyle Heights Historical Society a year or so later and Buddy worked closely with the Society’s founding board of directors.

His love for Boyle Heights was apparent in all he did and as an advisory board member for the Boyle Heights Historical Society, he wrote and presented a special booklet entitled “I Am An American Citizen of My Birthplace in the Boyle Heights of Los Angeles, CA, USA” wherein he wrote “The Boyle Heights  - An Enduring Legacy of a Way of Life An Historical Treatise and Personal Perspective.” 

He also participated in the Boyle Heights History Day events as a presenter and guest speaker.  He was Grand Marshall in the 2008 Boyle Heights Annual Parade and it was a memory he said he would always treasure.

Buddy was a member of that generation we know as “the Greatest Generation” and served in the Army from 1944-47.  He received his Certificate of Retirement from the U.S. Air Force in December of 1985.

He was a recipient of the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and numerous other medals.  He also received the Presidential Unit Citation Battle of Okinawa. 

He worked in the education field for several years after his retirement from the Air Force. 

He never stopped doing all that was good for others.  He was a man admired and loved by so many and his friendships lasted a lifetime.  He was a long-time member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Rancho Santa Margarita.  Buddy is survived by his beloved family: His wife, Brenda; his daughter, Tracie; his son, Kevin and his grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

With love and appreciation we say “farewell and thank you” to Buddy Weber with a final salute for a life well lived, a lifetime of service and always giving to others.