Happy Holidays! I want to thank all of you who’ve been reading the installments of DOUBLE THUNDER and to let you know that I won’t be posting any subsequent ones, now that I’ve acquired a literary agent. May she have all the luck in the world in finding a good publishing house for the book so that you’ll be able to read it as it should be read: between the covers of an actual (rather than scrolling through a virtual) book! As soon as that happens, I’ll be happy to let you know.
As 2022 comes to a close, I’d like to thank those of you donated to the completion of The Kim Loo Sisters documentary during our 2015 IndieGogo campaign and to share with you the progress we’ve made since then.
The Kimmies’ story in a nutshell: Early in the 20th century, the son of itinerant cobblers in China and the daughter of peasant farmers in Poland immigrated to America and met in Minneapolis, MN, the middle of the United States. They fell in love, married and started a family. Their four oldest daughters would become a popular jazz vocal quartet, perform on Broadway and in Hollywood, and join the USO to entertain American and Allied troops stationed in Europe during WWII. Those four daughters are my mother, Jenée, and my three maternal aunts, Alice, Maggie and Bubbles. It’s such an honor and a privilege to tell their story.
The pandemic that began in early 2020 didn’t dampen our efforts to promote the film and to continue to grow a community around the Kimmies. On the contrary, because of the lockdown, we acquired a larger audience through Zoom sessions, including our latest at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With the rise of anti-Asian sentiment, other educational and cultural institutions—San Diego State University, the Association of Asian American Studies, Colgate University, the Chinese Historical Society—partnered with us to screen clips from the film and to discuss incidents of racial discrimination that the four sisters encountered compared to experiences of Asian Americans today, nearly a century later. In a rare in-person event, the Kimmies ‘appeared’ at New York’s Film Forum singing Take Me Out to The Ball Game in author Susan Delson’s visual teaser for her recently published book Soundies.
Prior to the pandemic, we had the honor of being one of the five finalists in The Paley Center for Media DocPitch Competition in 2015. We traveled the country giving private preview screenings at New York’s Museum of Chinese in America, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, Chinese American Historical Museum in Chicago, Mall of America in St. Paul, Chinese Historical Society in San Francisco, University of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles, and 1882 Foundation in Washington, DC.
In the years since our IndieGogo campaign, we published a Kim Loo Sisters page in Wikipedia as well as the film’s official companion ebook JUST US GIRLS. We were interviewed by The Wall Street Journal columnist Marc Myers for his music website JazzWax, Cathy Wurzer for Minnesota Public Radio, and Lani Nelson for the television program Sinovision, among others.
These are just some of the highlights that come to mind.
I wish I could tell you that, thanks to your generous support, we’ve been able to complete The Kim Loo Sisters documentary. However, to finalize the film we still need to raise postproduction funds: the money to pay for 20 song licenses, sound mix, and color correction. We are nowhere near raising the amount we need unless a very deep-pocket angel drops down from heaven! That said, I cannot promise you when, or even whether, the film will be finished. But this I do promise: I will continue to raise awareness of—and funds for—the Kimmies’ remarkable story and promote their film to the best of my ability.
With gratitude, and wishing you a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year,
Leslie Li and The Kim Loo Sisters Team