Monthly Archives: November 2011

Vancouver Asian Film Fest plays this weekend

The Vancouver Asian Film Festival is now 15 years old.

I started attending VAFF around 2000, when festival founder Barb Lee came to a dinner event for Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, trying to promote VAFF.  Many years later, VAFF is now one of the biggest and best events in the Asian Canadian cultural scene.  It has grown from a one day event to a four day event.

Back in 2000, there were few movies that were made or set in North America, and made by North American Asians.  A lot of films shown at early VAFF events still came from Asia, while some came from the US. 

In recent years, VAFF has really matured into its own.  The Mighty Asiam Movie Making Marathon has helped to develop more local talent and films.  VAFF events now regularly feature Canadian directors and film makers, as well as actors.

Here are some of the 2011 VAFF 15 events that have caught my eye… that I wish I could attend – if I wasn't already committed to performing my accordion in the Heart of the City Festival this weekend.

PROGRAM 1 – Opening Night Presentation: Almost Perfect

Thursday November 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Love Letter to Vancouver by director Joanna Wong
PROGRAM 5 – Canadian Asian Stories
Saturday November 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM

PROGRAM 7 – Chicks on Flicks – Women in Hollywood: Then & Now
Saturday November 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM

PROGRAM 10 – Vancity Shorts

Sunday November 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Vancouver Squeezebox Circle performs 1:30pm Saturday Nov 5 @ Carnegie Centre

Accordion and Vancouver's 125 year History of Immigrants
2009_Sept_Accordion_Noir_Festival 044 by you.
“Squeeze Box Circle” is led by Rowan Lipkovits (front right with big
red accordion) at Spartacus Books.  I am in the front row kneeling wearing a black Terry Fox t-shirt, with my hand on Elena's beautiful red accordion! Usually the 1st Thursday of the
month – this session was Sept 10th 2009 as a special part of the Accordion
Noir Festival.

Come see the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle perform at Heart of the City
Festival.  We have been practicing for a month to create group
performances to represent songs from Italian, Chinese, Japanese,
Russian, Irish, Ukranian communities that have settled into Strathcona
and DTES neighborhoods over 125 years.  Plus we have some great solo
pieces to represent German, Italian, Jewish, Dutch communities and

Spoiler Alert !  I am playing solo versions of JS Bach's Tocatta in D Minor + St. Louis Blues

Group Songs are:

Mo Li Hua (Chinese)
O Solo Mio (Italian)
Freylach (Jewish)
Dark Eyes / Ochi Chyornye (Russian Song)
Bandura (Ukranian song)
Buddy Bowden's Blues (American)
Can Can (we will do as a group accordion march – outdoor to four
corners of Main & Hastings Street and into the Carnegie Theatre for
Neil Gow's Lament (Scottish)
Sakura – (Japanese)
La Bastringue / Reel des Ouvrieres (Quebec)

We had a preview in the Georgia Straight by Alex Varty

Cultures tangle in the Heart of the City Festival's Trisurgence

Straight.comAlexander Varty 27 Oct 2011

The brainchild of fifth-generation Vancouverite Todd Wong and members of Vancouver's burgeoning Squeezebox Circle, this free event uses the humble accordion

Dragon Boat paddling on Sunday Nov 6th

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team paddles Sunday

2011_Oct_Halloween 009
Karl and Steven hold up dragon boat paddles on Halloween Eve Day.  Karl paddled with the mask for most of the practice.

11am Sunday from Dragon Zone
False Creek Community Centre

We are continuing to paddle for fun and fitness – on Sundays throughout November.  I am also hoping to set up a paddle in voyageur canoes down the Harrison River or Fraser River from Hope to Chilliwack – so that we may see some of the spawning salmon, and the eagles who feed on them.  Our last competitve race was on Oct 8, for the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.  But last year some of our paddlers joined me for Day 4 & 5 of the “Paddle for Wild Salmon” down the Fraser River from Hope to Vancouver.  It was a 5 day journey to Jericho Beach – and while I started from Hope on Day 1, I skipped day 2 and 3, for work, then returned for Day 4 and 5, from the Katzie First Nations Reserver near the Golden Ears Bridge, all the way to New Westminster and Musqueam First Nations.  Day 5 we paddled from Musqueam, around Point Grey, and we landed at Jericho Beach.

Last Sunday

had a fantastic rain-less paddle last Sunday…   A number of people
messaged because they didn't want to paddle in the rain or cold.

But the rain stopped!!!

strong men, Karl, Aidan, Stephen Mirowski, Steven Wong, Guillaume and
Todd – paddled non-stop from Dragon Zone to Granville St. Bridge.  We
even paddled past Burrard St. Bridge and did a little stop at Sunset
Beach… before going for hot chocolate at Granville Island, courtesy of
Stephen Mirowski who had his wallet with him.  Aidan steered dragon
boat for his first time ever on the way back from Cambie Bridge to
Dragon Zone – GREAT PRACTICE!!!

This Sunday

11am is practice time – Yes we still show up rain or shine – the only thing that keeps us off the boat is
high winds… and if there is a monsoon… but we decide at the time of practice.

Hope to see you out paddling for Sunday –
weather looks rainless for now!

Cheers, Todd