Awkwafina to Star in Film Exploring California Punk and Asian Restaurants

Awkwafina at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  (Rich Polk/Getty Images)

Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina has signed on to an as-yet-untitled Topic Studios film exploring the role of Asian restaurants in the California punk scenes of the 1970s and 1980s, Deadline reports.

The film is inspired by a Topic.com piece by Madeline Leung Coleman, "How Chinese Food Fueled the Rise of California Punk." The article examines how Asian restaurateurs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento in the late 1970s opened their doors to first-wave punk bands during the country's recession.

Featured in the piece is the Mabuhay Gardens, a Filipino supper club in North Beach known as the first and most important venue for San Francisco punk, thanks to the support of proprietor Ness Aquino.

The Broadway venue, which began hosting shows in 1976, featured groups such as Crime, the Dead Kennedys and the Avengers, and was booked by storied promoter Dirk Dirksen. The "Fab Mab," as it was known to punk patrons, is the setting of many live photographs by Ruby Ray and Bruce Conner, while its red alleyway (now officially renamed for Dirksen) served as a sort of portrait studio for the artist Jim Jocoy.

Louder, Faster, Shorter, a 1978 film by Mindaugis Bagdon, documents performances at a benefit concert that year at the Mabuhay for striking coal miners in Kentucky, and provides a striking snapshot of the early San Francisco punk scene's undisputed epicenter.

Few details are available about the Topic Studios film featuring Awkwafina, and it's unclear whether it will be set in San Francisco.

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