Bruce Lee: A Retrospective
Part 1: A look back at the life of Bruce Lee

San Francisco is one of the world's most popular cities to visit. And for a few months, the City by the Bay hosts one of the rarest and most exclusive exhibits in the world: the Bruce Lee Retrospective.

Bruce Lee watches over the entrance ot the exhibit.
A large poster of Bruce Lee from the movie Game of Death greets visitors to the exhibit.


 More of this Feature
• Part 2: Bruce's private letters
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Bruce Lee Educational Foundation
• Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

The Chinese Cultural Foundation of San Francisco, the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation, and the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts produced an exhibit that shows Bruce Lee not just as a martial artist, or as an actor, but as a talented, unique individual, who contributed to the world around him and the world at large in many lasting ways.

Now showing through 18 February 2001, the exhibit features over 240 pieces of Bruce Lee memorabilia and personal papers, from Lee's widow Linda Lee Cadwell as well as from the collections of Dan Inosanto, Perry Lee, Yori Nakamura, Jeff Chinn, and Warner Brothers studios.

The Chinese Cultural Center's mission is to showcase Chinese and Chinese-American art and culture. In the past, exhibits have included showings of Taiwanese art, or Chinese ceramics, or exhibitions of traditional dance or music. But the Bruce Lee exhibit is the first to focus on an individual, particularly one of the modern era.

"So far, over 5000 people have visited," said a Chinese Cultural Center representative, describing the popularity of the Bruce Lee exhibit over its first month. "They come from all over the world; lots from Japan and Hong Kong, plus England and Europe."

An Actor's Life

The exhibit contains many interesting artifacts from Bruce Lee's acting career, including the following items:

  • suits and costumes Lee wears in the movie Enter the Dragon
  • storyboards and script segments from Enter the Dragon
  • posters and stills from Lee's Hong Kong movie career

There's also a whole case of Green Hornet memorabilia; posters, books, and other ephemera from the 1960s. One whole wall is covered with magazines featuring Bruce Lee on the cover--both martial arts magazines and general-interest magazines.

The Consummate Martial Artist

One of the more popular sections of the exhibit is are the displays covering Lee's martial arts career, including the following items:

  • unique training equipment, like Lee's grip exercise apparatus and wrist roller
  • foam arm shield and kicking pads used in Lee's backyard school
  • Bruce Lee's headgear and gloves

The exhibit includes a nice touch with each artifact--a photo of the item in use. Often, the photos are ones we've seen a million times--there's Lee swinging those yellow nunchaku in the movie Game of Death--and the nunchaku are right there in the display case.

Next page > Take a peek at Bruce Lee's private life > Page 1, 2

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