Bruce Lee Anniversary Weekend

Posted in Art, Movies, News on July 18th, 2008 by Hyphen

Bruce Bruce

Dru posted this up today, and honestly, I’m a little ashamed I didn’t even realize it was starting today. If you were sleeping like me, this weekend marks the 35th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s tragic death. Along with Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, and Kurt Cobain, Bruce is synonymous with Seattle. Thus, it’s only right that we do it big this weekend in his honor. Here’s a piece from the Seattle P.I. that details everything that’s happening.

Bruce Lee: His legacy lives
On 35th anniversary of his death, his family considers a museum

Ho Ho Seafood Restaurant at 651 S. Weller St. might look like an ordinary International District business.

Few might know that one of the world’s fastest martial artists — the sinewy, U.S.-born Bruce Lee — once used the basement as his first training studio.

Now, on the 35th anniversary of his death, his family wants to honor his physical prowess, love of philosophy and noted acting career with a multimillion-dollar museum in the Seattle area.

Drawings for the free-standing building and remembering his legacy will be part of a three-day celebration beginning Friday at the Seattle Art Museum.

“His happiest times were from his time spent in Seattle,” daughter Shannon Lee said. “It makes sense to have the museum there (in Seattle). … The core idea behind it is the notion of taking action.”

The weekend celebration will include a showing of “Enter the Dragon” and an exhibit of about 35 items, such as movie posters, from his acting career. On Sunday at 11:30 a.m., his family and supporters will hold a public graveside memorial at Lake View Cemetery.

Lee died July 20, 1973, at 32. “Enter the Dragon” was released that year.

Linda Lee Cadwell, his widow, wants the proposed museum to include more than just items from his movies and his 1960s role as Kato, the fighting chauffeur, in the television series “The Green Hornet.” His family envisions the building housing offices of the Bruce Lee Foundation. They also want to use the museum as a research facility that focuses on how Lee developed his own style of martial arts, as well as his views on combat, life and psychology.

“One of the reasons why he is so relevant today is that people have discovered him layer by layer,” Cadwell said. “… He led a life of significance and meaning.”

Lee was a writer and someone who took Eastern and Western philosophy seriously. But Cadwell realizes many people admire her husband for his martial arts skills and lightning-fast speed.

The building could cost tens of millions of dollars and will require much fundraising, Shannon Lee said.

The items on display this weekend will include publicly unseen photos from “Enter the Dragon” and promotional items, such as badges and flip books, said Perry Lee, no relation, who helped organize a 2003 exhibit on Bruce Lee in Seattle.

This weekend, Seattle resident Jesse Glover and Woodinville resident Taky Kimura will join Lee’s other early students during panel discussions. Many students are in their 70s and 80s.

“This will be one of the last opportunities for people to meet a lot of his early students,” Perry Lee said.

Born in San Francisco on Nov. 27, 1940, Lee was living in Hong Kong before he came to Seattle to stay with family friends Ping and Ruby Chow.

That invitation helped Glover, now 72, become Lee’s first student.

After Glover saw Lee perform during a Seafair demonstration and realized Lee had stellar skills, he spotted him as the two walked to Edison Technical School (now Seattle Central Community College). Glover tried to get Lee’s attention by running in front of him and kicking telephone poles.

“He probably thought I was nuts,” he said.

The two started practicing at Glover’s apartment. During their first session, Glover tried to attack Lee. But Lee countered the move and grabbed Glover’s arms, applying pressure to them. Before Glover could move his arms, Lee already knew which way his opponent was going to move.

“Right away,” Glover said, “I knew this guy was unique.”

Kimura, 84, recalls one phrase Lee often uttered: “Be like water.”

Kimura believes Lee said that so his students could adapt — like water — to fast-changing situations. He realized Lee was fast when they once practiced together. Lee quickly had him on the ground. Lee’s controlled hits were so fast and fierce that Kimura felt a breeze hitting his forehead. But Lee was not physically touching him.

“It scared the holy hell out of me,” he recalled.

Kimura, who is Japanese-American, said he long had low self-esteem. Lee told him to be proud.

“I believe with all my heart that he left a tremendous message of righteousness and to feel good about yourself,” Kimura said.

At the University of Washington, Lee studied philosophy and often practiced on campus. In 1964, he left Seattle and moved to California, where he started a school and his Hollywood career.

Cadwell said one of the most important lessons her husband learned during his years of questioning and discovery was this: “If a person is successful, it all leads to greater knowledge of oneself and how to handle situations. People get beyond the physical bullying and morph into a person who has a philosophy and doesn’t feel the need to fight.”


Most events in the three-day celebration will take place at the Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave. The exhibit is free. Some events cost money.

FRIDAY: Starting at noon, seminars and demonstrations. At 7 p.m., a $125-per-person private reception and “Enter the Dragon” screening.

SATURDAY: From 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., seminars and demonstrations. At 7 p.m., a screening of “Enter the Dragon” costs $10 per person. (At 2:30 p.m., a free screening of the movie will take place at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St.)

SUNDAY: From 9 to 11 a.m., free meeting with martial arts instructors. At 11:30 a.m., graveside memorial at Lake View Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave. E. A luncheon will be held at New Hong Kong Restaurant, 900 S. Jackson St. Cost is $50 per person.

Ticket information, general details and Lee’s official biography can be found at Send questions to Tickets can be bought at the door, depending on space.

Enter The Dragon in the theater on Saturday night? I’m there.

And a reminder: come work out with us at Foundation Crossfit Saturday at noon! WWBLD? He’d be there.

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