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"You Don't Know Jack" Film Screening

On March 24th join us for a screening of "You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story," co-presented by the Asian Art Museum.

"You Don’t Know Jack" tells the fascinating story of a pioneering American entertainer Jack Soo, an Oakland native who became the first Asian American to be cast in the lead role in a regular television series Valentine’s Day (1963), and later starred in the popular comedy show Barney Miller (1975-1978). Featuring rare footage and interviews with Soo’s co-stars and friends, including actors George Takei, Nancy Kwan and Max Gail, comedians Steve Landesberg and Gary Austin, and producer Hal Kanter, the film traces Jack’s early beginnings as a nightclub singer and comedian, to his breakthrough role as Sammy Fong in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway play and film version of The Flower Drum Song. The film also explores why Soo, a former internee who was actually born Goro Suzuki, was forced to change his name in the post WWII era, in order to perform in clubs in the mid-west. Because of his experiences, throughout his career in films and television, Soo refused to play roles that were demeaning to Asian Americans and often spoke out against negative ethnic portrayals.

Directed by Jeff Adachi, whose award-winning film The Slanted Screen premiered at SFIAAFF in 2006, "You Don’t Know Jack" reveals how Jack Soo’s work laid the groundwork for a new generation of Asian American actors and comedians. Adachi’s latest film “America Needs a Racial Facial,” premieres at the SF International Asian American Film Festival on March 12.

Director Jeff Adachi will be in attendance and participate in Q&A. Refreshments generously provided by the Asian Art Museum.

Jeff Adachi is the elected Public Defender of San Francisco, and a pension reform advocate. Adachi received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1985. Adachi has tried over 150 jury trials and handled 3,000 criminal matters during his career. Adachi is the only elected Public Defender in the state of California and runs an office of nearly 100 attorneys and 60 staff members, which has a $30 million budget. According to estimates, the office represents over 23,000 people each year who are charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. The office is known for several innovative criminal justice programs, including Drug Court, Clean Slate expungement services, and a full-service juvenile division. Adachi was featured in the 2002 PBS documentary Presumed Guilty, a film about the San Francisco Public Defender's office, its difficult cases and complex defense strategies. Adachi has received several accolades for his tenure as Public Defender on a local and national level.

The Asian Art Museum is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Earlier Event: March 17
Celebrating Jazz at the Blackhawk
Later Event: April 4
Lunchtime Speaker Series: Jane Kim