By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
“A Dragon Lives Here: Do you know Bruce?” continues its popular run with its fourth installment, featuring more of Bruce Lee’s personal effects at the Wing Luke Museum in the International District. Standup comedian and host of CNN’s “United Shades of America,” W. Kamau Bell provides a video introduction with Lee’s daughter, Shannon, to this latest installment. The latest exhibit opened on March 9 for patrons, and to the public the following day.
“Seattle was the place where my father first established community,” Shannon Lee explained to Bell in the video. “He loved the energy and multiculturalism of Seattle.”
The exhibit features a closer look at Bruce Lee’s history in Seattle. Reaching back through the assistance of the Bruce Lee Foundation, classwork from his days as a college student at the University of Washington (UW), personal poems, and television interviews are a part of the latest showing. The original writings from Lee provide a unique glimpse into the philosophy and insight which cultivated his martial arts career and eventually his breakthrough into movies and the consciousness of America. The Wing Luke has held three previous installments, each focusing on a distinct part of Lee’s life and influence. From his days on First Hill, to teaching martial arts on the lawns at the UW, to meditation at Greenlake, this installment has more on Lee’s days spent in the city. It also features an old menu at Ruby Chow’s Restaurant on Jefferson Street, where Lee worked as a waiter.
A unique part of this edition is a video at the entrance which takes a look at the gravesite of Bruce Lee at the Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill. The video interviews people speaking about the reason they come to visit his grave and the important influence he had on their lives. Shannon Lee also talks in the interview about the immense number of visitors that come throughout the year.
Brandon Lee, Bruce’s son who passed away in 1993 due to an accident during the filming of “The Crow,” is buried next to his father.
In addition, a portion of the exhibit shows some of the greatest fight scenes involving Lee in television and the movies. There are also rare television interviews with Lee.
As a holdover from previous exhibits are workout equipments used by Lee to train. There is also the famous demonstration at the Long Beach International Karate Championships in 1967 in which Lee introduced the “one-inch punch” and “two-finger push-ups.” The video exemplifies the extraordinary physical condition of Lee and his unique abilities.
The Oakland-based comedian, Bell made a special trip to Seattle in early February to shoot the 6-minute video with Shannon Lee to introduce this installment. According to staff at the Wing Luke, Bell wanted to eat lunch at Tai Tung, where Lee and his friends frequented. In fact, he ate at Lee’s favorite table at the restaurant, which is just down the street from the museum. While many might not think Bell as the first choice to be the voice for a Bruce Lee exhibit, he acknowledges the influence the martial arts/television and movie star/global icon had on his life. Bell notes he took up martial arts when he was younger, but saw a deeper meaning in overcoming obstacles in Lee’s movies.
“All great men have beginnings and this is what Bruce Lee’s looked like,” said Bell in the video.
A Dragon Lives Here: Do You Know Bruce? Part 4 is currently at the Wing Luke Museum. For more information, visit wingluke.org.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.