It was a fun day, at Word On the Street
I always check out Word on the Street Book and Magazine fair, held annually at Library Square on the third Sunday of September.
I arrived to find Ian Hannomansing of CBC TV's Canada Now, introducing the national librarian of Canada – Mr. Roch Carrier, author of the classic children's book (and NFB animated short), “The Hockey Sweater.”
My girlfriend Deb spent some time volunteering at the Kogawa House display, organized by The Land Conservancy of BC. It was only a year ago, that Joy Kogawa's childhood home was threatened with demolition, the same weekend that WOTS occured last year, and we presented Joy with a Community Builder Award, from the Asian Canadian Writers's Workshop at the Ricepaper magazine 10th Anniversary Dinner. What a difference a year makes.
We couldn't stay long because we had to pop off to a dragon boat practice, but returned immediately after practice.
We arrived back at the mainstage with a few dragon boat paddlers in tow, just in time to watch the IMPROvisors on the mainstage in the south plaza of Library Square. What a surprise to see Diana Bang performing! I first met Diana while she was performing with her “other” sketch comedy group – Assaulted Fish (a salted fish – get it?)
I dropped by the tent for Ricepaper magazine and Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop at the Magazine Mews. It was great to see friends Don Montgomery and the Ricepaper gang. A big surprise to see my cousin/author Janice Wong signing copies of her book CHOW: From China to Canada – memories of food and family. So sorry I missed seeing Evelyn Lau who had been at the tent from 1-2pm.
Up the street at the Harbour Publishing tent, I got a nice hug from my friend Marisa Alps. I first met her when I interviewed her for a 1995 article I wrote about Asian Canadian writing and the Go For Broke Revue (the precursor to explorAsian's Asian Heritage Month Festival in Vancouver). I bought several “hurt” copies of The BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians. It's a great book, and I can remember showing Joy Kogawa her listing under the chapter Top 10 Authors.
Then just a few feet away from me at the Tradewind Books tent, I spot my friend Elizabeth Sheffrin – usually known as a textile artist. She created the wonderful Middle East Peace Quilt. It turns out that Elizabeth is now a book illustrator for Abby's Birds, written by Ellen Schwartz. The book isn't out in stores yet – but Tradewind did have copies at the tent.
And Trevor Lai always has his booth set up, where he draws pictures of Ralphy the Rhino. Trevor has self-published a series of children's books following Ralphy's adventures. Trevor is an amazingly talented artist, who can whip up large sketches and tell a story as kids listen and follow intently.
Just before I left, I bumped into Ron Mah, who was carrying petition for the Chinese Head Tax Redress. It's important that a true redress honours each head tax certificate -not just the surviving head tax payers and spouses who are still alive.
And I even saw an accordion performed today. Poet Rowan Lipkovits did a reading at the Poetry Tent, accompanied with a small accordion. At the end of the day, we bumped into each other and shared some accordion talk. He e-mailed me later… with an idea to perform together for Co-Op Radio… something about an accordion program. Sounds interesting!
Wow! What a day!