Skip to content. Skip to more features. Skip to most popular. Skip to footer.


Savoring Spring, Bruin-Style


By Bekah Wright, Photos by Dave Lauridsen

Published Apr 1, 2012 8:00 AM

The Public School: Chinatown 101

Sean Dockray M.F.A. '05 in downtown Chinatown near the Hill Street exit off of the 110 Freeway.

Spring is the season of opening—minds as well as flowers. And in Los Angeles' colorful Chinatown, there's a unique opportunity to savor the season in a whole new way. Journey down to lantern-strung Chung King Road and take a class at The Public School, founded by Sean Dockray M.F.A. '05. Here, the eclectic courses run the gamut from reading groups and a narrative film series to subjects like Derivatives and Demonology and Echo Park Communism.

After graduating, Dockray stayed in Westwood for three years and taught at the university before launching the school. "What began as an exhibition program went through a natural evolution with the most energetic and exciting element standing alone: The Public School," he explains.

Subjects in the ever-evolving curriculum come via proposals submitted by students. "It's organic in the way it unfolds," Dockray says of the course offerings. "If it's an idea that captures someone's imagination, it can happen." The Public School's primary goal, though, is to be "a meeting place for collective self-education," he adds. "We want people to have a deeper connection with the subjects and each other."

Chinatown is the perfect environment for this kind of avant-garde continuing education. Some of Dockray's preferred haunts: "Ooga Booga to shop for clothing and books; Fong's for Chinese antiques. Via Café for the vegetarian spring rolls, Vietnamese sandwiches and ginger limeade." Dockray foregoes Chinatown's hip bar scene to hang with the regulars and listen to Blondie on the jukebox at Hop Louie.

When it comes to his favorite spot, though, Dockray lowers his voice as if sharing the answers to a final exam. "The top of Bamboo Plaza's parking garage—it has the best city views and is great for watching fireworks."



Most Tweeted

    Range: Nov 14, 2021 – Present

      Range: Oct 15, 2021 – Present

        Range: Aug 31, 2021 – Present