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Q&A—ATOMIC CAFE: The Noisiest Corner in J-Town

  • 50 mins


Please note that this Q&A is a panel only. Click here to watch the film ATOMIC CAFE, available for viewing from September 24 to October 31.

In the late 1970s, when L.A.’s punk rock scene was exploding, an unlikely family-owned restaurant in Little Tokyo started by Japanese Americans returning from America’s WWII concentration camps became one of its most popular hang-outs. That’s when Sansei “Atomic Nancy” with her “take-no-prisoners” punk make-up and demeanor took the café over from her parents and cranked up the jukebox. Infamous for its eclectic clientele—from Japanese American locals and kids from East L.A. to yakuza and the biggest rock stars of the day—the Atomic Café became an important part of L.A.’s punk rock history.

Now, the Atomic Cafe’s life and legacy is highlighted in a new film by Tadashi Nakamura and Akira Boch that explores its many sides—from the 1940s opening to its last days on First Street. Join Nancy Sekizawa aka “Atomic Nancy,” her daughter and artist Zen Sekizawa, Remy De La Peza, and Nakamura and Boch for a conversation in celebration of the Atomic Café.

The Q&A will stream live on JANM’s YouTube channel on Sunday, September 27, at 2pm PT. Click here to watch the stream.

This program is presented in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum and the Little Tokyo Service Center.

This film is an early project from Little Tokyo Service Center’s “creative placekeeping” work. Funded by ArtPlace America, this work is an effort to partner with artists and culture bearers to define, own, build, and sustain the Little Tokyo community. This project – which is a collaboration between creative practitioners and community developers demonstrates the power of owning and telling our own stories — especially during a time when physical spaces connected to those stories are being destroyed.

Little Tokyo Service Center is turning 40! Join their Virtual Anniversary Gala on October 10, 2020 at 6 pm PT as they celebrate their diverse programs, recognize what can be accomplished together, and share their vision that builds on 40 years of service. FREE! Register to attend, bid in their silent auction, and donate at:

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Directed by Akira Boch, Tadashi Nakamura

In the late 1970’s, when L.A.’s punk rock scene was exploding, an unlikely family-owned restaurant in Little Tokyo became one of its most popular hang-outs.

Dates & Times



Sun, Sep 27
2:00 pm