In 1938, the Chinese American community in Los Angeles hosted the Moon Festival in Old Chinatown as a fundraiser for Chinese victims of the Sino-Japanese War. Held against the backdrop of Bowl of Rice fundraisers across the United States, and the demolition of most of Old Chinatown by the construction of Union Station, the 1938 Moon Festival attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Old Chinatown while providing a stage for local Chinese Americans to perform self-representations of Chinatown to visitors. Focusing on Chinese American performances such as those of the Los Angeles Mei Wah Girls’ Drum Corps, this article examines the extent to which Chinese Americans utilized the festival’s performances of race and gender to challenge Orientalist ideas about the their community.

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