Todd Wong getting ready for “Battle of the Bards”



Somehow this 5th generation Chinese-Canadian who has never set foot in Scotland is becoming a  go-to guy for Gaelic and Celtic culture in Vancouver? 

It took me by complete surprise when Steve Duncan initially asked me to play Robert Burns in a literary poetry slam for Celtic Fest Vancouver, based on the “Battle of the Bards” originally done in Dublin.

Steve wrote on his blog Commerical Drive – Live!,

Every year I put on some type of literary event for the festival. This year it's The Battle of the Bards Pub Crawl. A cross between Dublin's world-famous literary Pub Crawl, and the phenomenally popular Poetry Slam (which makes it's home right here on the Drive at Cafe Deux Soliels every Monday and produces consistently top spoken word artists.

For this event, hosted by the lovely Ravishing Rhonda, Dylan Thomas, W.B Yeats and Robbie Burns (played masterfully by Damon Calderwood, Mark Downey and Todd Wong – of Gung Haggis Fat Choy fame)
go head-to-head in a poetry face-off at 3 different venues and are
judged by members of the audience the grand finale is a karaoke battle
at Ceili's Pub, with a live DJ (local spinmaster
Michael Louw) and celtic fiddler Elise Bloer.

Och!  And explorer Simon Fraser was born in Vernont to Loyalist parents, and he never set foot in Scotland either!

The “Battle of The Bards” event is catching a buzz in Vancouver poetry and performance circles now.  Professional actors are playing poets Dylan Thomas and William Butler Yeats.  But Robbie Burns is being played by cultural activist Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong.” 

Todd Wong (me) is not a professional actor, despite taking some acting classes at Capilano College.  I think I am at a disadvantage by being culturally challenged not having grown up with an Ayreshire accent, as well as being alcohol absorption challenged because of the Chinese DNA.  How will I survive this literary pub crawl?  But I hope to have a few surprises in store.

I can't reveal details of these surprises or upcoming articles in the media… so please stay tuned.  They are each different in subject matter and direction… both each were fascinating chats, and both wanted new pictures of Toddish McWong in action around Vancouver….  more details later.

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