FEATURES | MUSIC | BOOKS | DRINKS | FORUMS | GAMES | LINKS | ABOUT


advertise on Tiki Central

Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
  [Edit Profile]  [Edit Preferences]  [Search] [Sign Up]
[Personal Messages]  [Member List]  [Help/FAQ]  [Rules]  [Login]
Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Madame Wong's, Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
Goto page ( 1 | 2 Next Page )
Madame Wong's, Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
Chub
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 264
From: Detroit, MI but now in sunny Los Angeles
Posted: 2010-09-15 10:17 am   Permalink

Name:Madame Wong's
Type:restaurant
Street:949 Sun Mun Way - Chinatown
City:Los Angeles
State:CA
Zip:90012
country:USA
Phone:624-5346
Status:defunct

Description:
Here is some info I found on wikipedia about the owner, Esther Wong and what became of the restaurant... "Esther Wong started in the early 1970s as the owner of “Madame Wong’s," a Los Angeles Chinatown restaurant with a floorshow. Polynesian dance acts weren’t attracting customers, yet when Paul Greenstein, a Los Angeles "bum vivant," first approached her husband George about booking bands, she declined. Greenstein's persistence, and the fact that he had already given the nearby "Atomic Cafe" a new lease on life (cross-polination between owners' children worked the magic), caused her to agree to a trial run in Fall of 1978. Initially, under Greenstein, a showcase for unsigned, unbookable punk-bands, Madame Wong's was one of few places such bands could perform. With the exit of Greenstein, Madame Wong's morphed into a power-pop palace with bookings more influenced by a now-interested Wong. Notable bands that she showcased included a “who’s who” of rock music, including The Knack, The Police, The Motels, The Go-Go's, Naughty Sweeties, Oingo Boingo, Los Illegals, The WILD, The Kats/The Nu Kats, The Wigs, Daniel Amos, The Kempsters, Guns N' Roses, Black Flag, Fear, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Glass Target, The Twisters, and The Ramones. Eventually this led to her nickname, the “Godmother of Punk.”
She closed the original “Madame Wong’s” after a fire in 1985 and “Madame Wong’s West” in Santa Monica, California in 1991."
She died from emphysema and lung cancer on August 14, 2005 in Los Angeles, California, and was survived by her second husband, Harry Wong, two children, Frank Wong and Melinda Braun, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren



 
View Profile of Chub Send a personal message to Chub  Goto the website of Chub     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Chub
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 264
From: Detroit, MI but now in sunny Los Angeles
Posted: 2010-09-15 10:19 am   Permalink


_________________


 View Profile of Chub Send a personal message to Chub  Goto the website of Chub     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 2:15 pm   Permalink

Well from someone who had been to Madam Wongs & the Atomic Cafe,to many times to mention way back in the day
The place really was the "New Wave venue" very few "Punk" bands played there, Madam Wong:"the Punk crowd make to much trouble"

More the dayglow crowd then the old school punk scene, no floor shows & bad food was the mode.
The place had nothing to do with "Tiki" but was a place of note in the late 1970s & 1980s L.A. music scene.

The action was at the Masque,The Starwood,Al's Bar,Cathay De Grande etc.and of course the Cookoo's Nest in Orange County if you wanted to see Punk bands.

The Atomic Cafe was a little dive cafe downtown close to Al's Bar,Very cheap food,open 24 hours,a Punk rock hang out like Okie Dogs was at the time.






[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2010-09-15 14:17 ]


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1303
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2010-09-15 3:01 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-09-15 14:15, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:

More the dayglow crowd then the old school punk scene, no floor shows & bad food was the mode.
The place had nothing to do with "Tiki" but was a place of note in the late 1970s & 1980s L.A. music scene.




Hmmmm... Are you speaking about the original Mdm Wong's or Wong's West? From the ad above it appears to me that it had a Polynesian floor show and "tiki" drinks - but maybe that was all gone by the late '70s/'80s when you hung out there.




_________________
"I am Lono!" -- Hunter S. Thompson


 
View Profile of arriano Send a personal message to arriano      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 3:10 pm   Permalink

It was all gone by the time they started booking shows, maybe in the 60s or early 70s still?
Madam Wong's West was where all the New wave bands played in the 80s

I don't remember any thing going on later at the Chinatown location by then,if it was even open still,before the fire?
if so I did not see any shows at the old location at that time.



[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2010-09-15 15:18 ]


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Chub
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 264
From: Detroit, MI but now in sunny Los Angeles
Posted: 2010-09-15 6:37 pm   Permalink

I think there needs to much more investigating done on this location during it's pre rock venue days. Does anyone know exactly when Madame Wong's opened exactly? Any pics from the early days (pre rock venue)?
_________________


 View Profile of Chub Send a personal message to Chub  Goto the website of Chub     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 7:47 pm   Permalink

This reminds me that Chinese Restaurants were the Bastion of old school Tiki style drinks
and in many cases Tiki Decor for many years,although not really a Tiki Bar, for many this was their only access
to Tropical cocktails and ambiance.


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3097
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-09-15 8:43 pm   Permalink

I visited both Madame Wong locations at least a few times in the early 80's but I don't recall any Polynesian decor. Of course that doesn't mean there wasn't any.

Blogger
"Vermin On The Mount" had this to say about the Chinatown location:

"In 1978 she opened her doors to unheralded local musicians and bands like X, the Police and the Motels graced the stage in the second-story, Polynesian-themed restaurant."


 View Profile of Hakalugi Send a personal message to Hakalugi      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 8:48 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-09-15 20:43, Hakalugi wrote:
I visited both Madame Wong locations at least a few times in the early 80's but I don't recall any Polynesian decor. Of course that doesn't mean there wasn't any.

Blogger "Vermin On The Mount" had this to say about the Chinatown location:

"In 1978 she opened her doors to unheralded local musicians and bands like X, the Police and the Motels graced the stage in the second-story, Polynesian-themed restaurant."




I remember plain decor & sticky floors! did not see many good shows there....
now the Starwood,that's a whole....well you know!


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-09-15 8:51 pm   Permalink

Didn't any of you 1st generation LA Punkers frequent the Hong Kong Cafe ??

Also Chub, where did you find that image ?? Nice find !!


 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 9:12 pm   Permalink

Not so much John-O, we kind of looked down on the Madam Wongs shows too!
most of the bands we liked played in Hollywood & Downtown mostly.

I never missed X at the time,I remember them at the Starwood alot,then hanging with the band at the Zero Zero club for afterhours
The GoGos opened for X so many times, they were always around too.


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Chub
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 264
From: Detroit, MI but now in sunny Los Angeles
Posted: 2010-09-15 9:13 pm   Permalink

Ok ok...I think we've established that most of the Polynesian decor vanished by the late 70's or early 80's. The ad I posted was from the Los Angeles Chinatown Visitors Guide from 1978. Obviously the picture used, predated the rock venue years. Does anyone have any pics of the interior pre '78? Maybe a cocktail or food menu?
_________________


 View Profile of Chub Send a personal message to Chub  Goto the website of Chub     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6298
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-09-15 9:22 pm   Permalink

The one thing I know,it was a "Chinese Restaurant" first and foremost and not a Tiki Bar.



[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2010-09-15 21:25 ]


 
View Profile of Atomic Tiki Punk Send a personal message to Atomic Tiki Punk      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3097
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-09-15 9:50 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-09-15 18:37, Chub wrote:
I think there needs to much more investigating done on this location during it's pre rock venue days. Does anyone know exactly when Madame Wong's opened exactly? Any pics from the early days (pre rock venue)?




Not a whole lot on the internet regarding pre rock venue history.

I did however find this
Picasa photo album.

Lot's of images but no good interior shots. There are some news clippings though where I found these bits of info:

  • Madame Wong's opened in Chinatown in 1970.

  • The Polynesian revues were personally recruited by Mrs. Wong on trips to Hawaii.

  • The name of the revue was "The Polynesian Maidens".

  • Their first "Rock 'n' Roll" show was October 3rd 1978.


Not much really...
















 View Profile of Hakalugi Send a personal message to Hakalugi      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-09-15 9:54 pm   Permalink

1978 ??

Didn't the New Wave shows at Madame Wong's start in 1979? That means that Madame Wong's went from Poly-Pop to "Punk" without skipping a beat.

There's your Tiki --> Punk Rock devolution (evolution?) connection !!

I'm so happy.

And let's not forget the Mabuhay Gardens (albeit Filipino) in SF that was "kitschy Oriental" hosting Punk Rock during the same time.

UPDATE - Good work Hakalugi !! Muchas Gracias.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-09-15 21:58 ]


 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Goto page ( 1 | 2 Next Page )
U-Moderate:
  
v1.5

[ About Tiki Central | Contact Tiki Central | Advertise on Tiki Central ]
(c) 2000-2014 Tikiroom.com (tm), Tiki Central (tm)

Credits & copyright infomation