Category Archives: Vancouver Heritage and History

Canada’s First Asian Canadian Writers Festival, September 21 to 25

LiterAsian poster5.6 print-page-001 copy

Our Theme – History and Memory
As Canada nears its 150 celebration of Confederation, it is timely for the Asian Canadian community to gather to reflect on its history.
Festival Pass
This year we are launching a festival pass. This $20 festival pass will allow the purchaser unlimited access to all five of our workshops and three panels as well as an annual membership to ACWW which includes subscription to the online version of Ricepaper magazine and discounts to some community partnership events. A good deal plus a great way to show your support to the Asian Canadian writing community.
Opening Event

Panel Discussion: Searching the Past – Locating History and Memory 
Vancouver Public Library, 350 W Georgia Street
Wednesday, September 21, 6.00pm

Our opening event will be hosted jointly by the Vancouver Public Library on Wednesday, Sept 21, 6pm at the Central Branch lower level, Alice MacKay Room. The panel will explore the different ways we chose to gather and record the past and illuminate the deeds of earlier generations. The panel will include Award-winning authors and editors, Paul Yee, Denise Chong, SKY Lee, JJ Lee, Simon Choa Johnston, Jean Barman and Judy Hanazawa.

Additional Panels

Crossing Boundaries: Writing the Diaspora
Chinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street
Friday, September 23, 6.00pm

Aside from the opening event panel at VPL, we have a Friday evening 6pm panel “Crossing Boundaries: Writing the Diaspora” at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum (555 Columbia Street). The panel will look at History and Memory from the perspective of diasporic writing when our writers situate their stories beyond Canadian shores. Panelists, Simon Choa Johnston’s new publication, The House of Two Wives begin his story in Calcutta by way of Bagdad and eventually end up in Hong Kong. C. Fong Hsiung traces the plight of the Hakka community following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. Fong Hsiung’s main character, Jillian Wu was sent to Canada as a picture bride to marry a man she had never met. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada. They will discuss their new book project to further elaborate on what didn’t ‘make it” into the film. Anna Wang Yuan is a Canadian novelist currently living in California. She edited an anthology “The Strangers” a short story collection by nine new generation ethnic Chinese writers, mostly immigrants who reflect the alienation of being a stranger in a strange land.

The Medium as the Message: Telling Stories Beyond the Written Word

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC
Saturday, September 24, 3.00pm

The written word is not the only way we can communicate our idea. This panel brings together storytellers, filmmakers and those who use other creative means to create effective content. Sarah Ling is a part of a team of producers, writers and filmmakers that are based in U.B.C. and together with elder Larry grant has chronicled Larry dual native aboriginal/Chinese heritage on film. Dan Seto uses youtube as a vehicle for his “Chinese Canadian Roots TV” to explore and chronicling his roots through cooking, culture, travel, history and events. 1985 to 1987, Paul Yee served as Chairman of the Saltwater City Exhibition Committee of the Chinese Cultural Centre and along with David Wong, help put together this seminal Exhibition about the Chinese in Vancouver. David Wong also published an acclaimed graphic novel,”Escape from Gold Mountain”. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada.  This is a multi-media panel where each panelist will showcase some of their activities and discuss the creative process behind work.

Workshops
Location for all workshops – UBC Learning Centre (612 Main Street)

1. The Self-Publishing Process (September 24, 11.00AM-12.30PM) – Workshop leader – Edwin Lee

2. Writing A Reflective Memoir: Telling a Great Story from Beginning to End (September 24, 1.00PM-2.30PM) Workshop leader – J.J. Lee

3. Literature and Rendering Memory (September 25, 11.00AM-12.30PM)Workshop leader – Denise Chong

4. Food and Inspiration of Storytelling from Memory (September 25, 1.00PM-2.30PM) Workshop leader – Larry Wong

5. Writing Effectively Using a ‘Trace’ and a ‘Hook’ (September 25, 3.00PM-4.30PM) – Workshop leader – Jean Barman

Book Launches

Book Launch: “Gently to Nagasaki” by Joy Kogawa 

Vancouver Public library, Central Branch, Lower floor, Alice MacKay Room
September 22, 6:30pmJoy Kogawa’s new memoir, “Gently to Nagasaki” is presented in partnership with the Historic Joy Kogawa House, the Vancouver Public Library, and Caitlin Press. This intimate exploration, both communal and intensely personal, invites you on a spiritual pilgrimage of forgiveness and resilience. Set in Vancouver and Toronto, the outposts of Slocan and Coaldale, the streets of Nagasaki and the high mountains of Shikoku, Japan, it is also an account of a remarkable life.
Book Launch: Picture Bride by C. Fong Hsiung Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver,
Saturday, September 24, 2.00pm
Following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. In Picture Bride, set during a period of changing times and changing values, twenty-year-old Jillian Wu leaves Calcutta to marry a man she has never met—Peter Chou, also a Hakka—with much anticipation, only to discover that he is gay. Forced by her husband to keep up the charade of a “normal” marriage, and pressured by her in-laws to have a child, she flees back to Calcutta, only to be disowned by her conservative family. A moving story with political overtones, Picture Bride confronts the politics of family, culture, and women’s rights.
Book Launch: The Strangers edited by Anna Wang Yuan

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC., Saturday,

September 24, 4.00pm

What kind of images does “Chinese” stir up in your mind? Do you think of strange-looking workers who built the railroads before 1900? Or the quiet math genius from your high school whose strange-sounding name you’ve long forgotten? Perhaps you recall the mysterious man who brought bags of cash to pay for a car or even a house. In a time of globalization, you’ve learned to work with strangers and live amongst strangers, yet you’ve probably only read books written by familiar names. Anna Wang Yuan compiled the nine stories and written the foreword.
LiterASIAN at WORD Vancouver (11.00am to 5.00pm Library Square)

Come join us at the annual Word Vancouver, down at Library Square and meet our featured writers, Paul Yee, Simon Choa Johnston, JJ Lee and Joy Kogawa.  Come and say Hello at the Ricepaper Magazine/literasian table  Word Vancouver is Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading event. Book and magazine fair celebrating literacy and the printed word. (http://wordvancouver.ca/2016-festival/)

Closing Event

Gala Dinner $50 per person 

Sunday September 25, 6pm

Golden Phoenix Restaurant 2425 Nanaimo StreetCome join in to share a meal that includes a 10-course Peking Duck dinner and have a chance to meet and talk to and get your books signed by the featured writers, in our 2016 program. Our Gala dinner is a fun-filled event which includes celebrity MCs and music from our literASIAN house band with lots of prizes and of course, a ten course Chinese meal.

The $50 ticket also offers a one-year membership to the ACWW as well as a one-year subscription to Ricepaper Magazine (online version) and discounts and special opportunities to community partner events. So come and support the creation of new writers and readers in our community and celebrate the end of another successful festival.

Italian for a day… in Vancouver

Italian Day, Commercial Drive, June 9

Italian for a day… Italian is actually the third language I learned, while I learned to play accordion. It is the language of music.. Rossini, Puccini… and O Solo Mio. I grew up near Commercial Drive and had lots of Italian-Canadian friends, and later I even had Italian girlfriends. I played accordion for their families. I cook fettucini and linguine noodles with beef stir-fry and Chinese oyster or soy sauce. And maybe… I will organize a dragon boat team for the Italian Cultural Centre.
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These two ladies were dancers in the flash mob that took place in front of the main stage, after the speeches finished.  About 20 dancers with carnivale masks did a synchronized routine – spectacular!  One of their mothers took this picture for me.

photo

 

 

 

 

My friend Giulio Recchioni is the Cultural director for Il Centro: Italian Cultural Centre. OMG… I am still wearing my kilt. I had just come from the Dragon Zone Regatta, racing with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. I think Giuilo would be a good paddler. Maybe we can create a dragon boat team for Il Centro: Italian Cultural Centre.

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson reads from the city proclamation to announce “Italian Day in Vancouver”

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After the speeches I chatted with Vancouver councilor Tony Tang (who wants to wear a kilt), Burnaby MLA Richard Lee, and Michael Cuccione – president of the ICC.
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Sardines on the big grill, at the PCOV – Portuguese Club of Vancouver – always a big line up here.

Naomi’s Road at West Vancouver Library is great… looking forward to April 23 at Italian Cultural Centre

Erica Iris and Hiather Darnela-Kadanoga play Obasan and Naomi, in a scene when the family leaves Vancouver on a train.

I saw the production at West Vancouver Library on Friday April 19th, and we both really enjoyed it.  Sam Chung returns as Stephen. The new singers are all good. Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga plays Naomi, Erica Iris plays the 3 roles Mother, Obasan and Mitzie. Henry Chen plays Daddy, Bully, Rough Lock Bill, Trainmaster.

I saw the original production in 2005/06 five times and enjoyed it immensely.  West Vancouver Library isn’t the best place to the performance because lighting was not the best, and the performer’s faces were often in shadows.  Close to 50 people came to the library for the free performance.

The performances by all singers are strong, and the storyline is strong.  Watching the perfomers, we were amazed at both the choreography of the movement on stage, as well as how the small versatile set is used and moved to simulate so many scenes: Powell Street, Living Room, Train, Internment Camp.   There were tears in my eyes as I watched the pinnacle scene of the opera.  It makes a powerful statement against racism and bullying.

Tickets are still on sale for Tuesday’s April 23 performance.

buy tickets on-line here:

http://italianculturalcentre.ca/highlights/naomis-road/

There will be a limited number of tickets available at the door.

Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga (soprano) plays Naomi


Erica Iris (mezzo-soprano) performs as Mother, Mitzi, Obasan

Sam Chung (tenor) plays Stephen
Photographs courtesy of Vancouver Opera, and available from the Naomi’s Road press kit http://www.vancouveropera.ca/2012-13-naomisroad-presskit.html

125 Places That Matter in Vancouver, includes Hastings Park Livestock building that housed detained Japanese-Canadians during WW2

Vancouver Heritage Foundation had a ceremony on Dec 1 to recognize the Livestock Building at Hastings Park, an important part of Japanese Canadian Internment History, as one of Vancouver’s Places that Matter.
At 1pm, everybody met in the Hastings Room, and MC Lorene Oikawa, told people the order of events.  We would do a walk to the Livestock Building for an unveiling, followed by a walk to Momoji Gardens for a Parks Canada unveiling.  Finally we would return to the Hastings Room for formal speeches, personal stories, and presentations in appreciation.
Marta Farevaag, Chair of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, watches as Mary Kitagawa steps back from unveiling the plaque for the Livestock Building at Hastings Park.
Mary had recently pushed for the University of British Columbia to recognize the Japanese Canadian students that were not allowed to finish their degrees at UBC because they were interned during WW2.  It was an emotional ceremony when 76 students were honoured with degrees at a special tribute 70 years later.  http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca/
Watch this video of Mary Kitagawa speaking about the detainment and internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2.  Roy Miki, Japanese-Canadian Redress co-leader and author stands at the top of the stairs in long dark coat and white hair.  Chinese-Canadian historian/author Larry Wong stands on the stairs in rust coloured jacket.  Lorene Oikawa, union leader and human rights activist stands on the right in red coat.
The Parks Canada plaque at Momoji Gardens was re-located for better public viewing, and unveiled.

One of the event attendees shares a personal moment, as she stands beside the plaque with photos of family members.

Naomi Yamamoto MLA, is the first Japanese-Canadian to be elected to the BC Legislature.  She shared a story how her father had spent 5 months living as a detainee at the Livestock Building.  Naomi explained that because her father was an older teen-aged boy, he was separated from his mother.  His father had already been separated from their family and sent to a labour work camp.  Unfortunately, her father could not attend the ceremonies on Saturday, due to not feeling up to it.
My friend Ann-Marie Metten was deeply touched by some of the personal stories.  She wrote:
“Mary Ohara’s story resounded. She told of her incarceration in March 1942 in the livestock barns at Hastings Park, still reeking with manure and infested with bugs. Birds flew overhead and fouled their blankets. Bedbugs bit at night, and the administrators brought in DDT and sprayed the bedding, including the blankets under which the children would sleep at night.

“At age twelve, Mary developed mumps and had to be isolated from others so as not to sprea the highly communicable disease. She and other children were moved to the coal-storage area under the livestock barns, where only a small hole high in one of the walls let in daylight. In the darkness, other young children cried for their families. She was held there for ten days.”
My friends: Ellen Crowe-Swords, Ann-Marie Metten (executive director of Historic Joy Kogawa House), and Joy Kogawa – author of Obasan, the first novel to address the issues of the internment of Japanese Canadians.  Roy Miki, Simon Fraser University Professor Emeritus and 2003 Governor General’s Award Winner for Poetry, had called Obasan, “A novel that I believe is the most important literary work of the past 30 years for understanding Canadian history.”
My friend Inger Iwaasa and my accordion.  Inger married a Japanese Canadian, and her daughter is pianist Rachel Iwaasa, who performed at Kogawa House for the presentation when Joy Kogawa was named recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.  Inger said she recognized each of the songs that I performed: Sakura, Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), O Solo Mio, Neil Gow’s Lament, Hungarian Dance No.5, Dark Eyes.  I wanted to perform a mixed repertoire that would represent many of the ethnic groups that had come to settle in Vancouver: Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Irish, Hungarian and Russian.
Todd Wong, Judy Hanazawa, Jessica Quan – special projects coordinator VHF, Mary Kitagawa, Lorene Oikawa, Tosh Kitagawa.

Charlie Quan, head tax warrior, Rest In Peace, 1907-1912

Charlie Quan stood up for Head Tax Redress in 2005 at age 98

Charlie
Quan was the the first person to receive a head tax redress ex-gratia
payment in 2006.  Charlie came to Canada as a small young child, and had
to pay $500 head tax, at the start of the previous century. In 2005, He
was a brave man calling for a full head tax redress and payment, when
others were feeling too afraid.  It was wonderful to meet and talk with
him, and I discovered he was the grandfather of one of my childhood
friends.



by
Todd
on Fri 20 Oct 2006 03:59 PM PDT

Charlie
Quan. Standing are Victor Wong, Gim Wong and Sid Tan – photo Todd Wong

I met Charlie through renowned head tax activist Sid Tan.  Sid told a story at Charlie's service in his eulogy, about how Charlie came up to him after the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in 2003.  “Charlie came up to me,” Sid says, “He said, you and Gim and Victor are doing a good job, but you need some help.”

“You're a head tax payer?” Sid says he thought maybe Charlie was a son or descendant of a head tax payer. But Charlie Quan had come to Canada at a young age, and in 2003, he was only 96 years old.

In the next few years, the head tax redress ramped up to one of the major issues of the 2005-2006 federal election campaign.  The Liberal Government of Paul Martin promised the ACE program of Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education.  But Charlie wanted an apology and a monetary redress.  He went on record as saying what he thought a fair price would be.  You can see him in this CBC interview. 

Check out my blog posts with Charlie here: http://www.gunghaggis.com/blog?cmd=search&keywords=charlie+quan

Sid Tan, friend of the family sent this message out yesterday evening.

In Memory of
Mr. Charlie Sang Now Quan
February 15, 1907 – February 23, 2012
 
Obituary
It is
with sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Charlie Sang Now Quan. Charlie
was born in Hoyping, China and passed away peacefully in Vancouver, BC on
February 23, 2012 at the age of 105. He was predeceased by his wife, Own Yee
Lee. He is lovingly survived by his daughter-in-law Chung Yit Quan, his two sons
Gary, Wesley, his six grandchildren and his seven
great-grandchildren.

He will be deeply missed
by his family and friends. The family has asked for privacy until after the service.

by
Todd
on Mon 27 Nov 2006 10:12 PM PST
members: Libby Davies, Charlie Quan, Jack Layton, ??, Gim Wong, Ujjal Dosanjh – photo Todd Wong

by
Todd
on Fri 20 Oct 2006 04:08 PM PDT
Charlie Quan holding cheque, Foon
Chang Ron Mah, Victor Wong and Todd Wong – photo Eric

by
Todd
on Thu 22 Jun 2006 10:38 PM PDT

Charlie Quan with his favorite grandson Terry Quan – my elementary school friend – photo Todd Wong

Chuck Davis' “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” mentions a Robbie Burns Dinner in Vancouver Chinatown

Chuck Davis' “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” mentions a Robbie Burns Dinner in Vancouver Chinatown

I am sorry to say that Chuck Davis never attended a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

The
following entry in “The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver”,
1935, ISBN 978-1-55017-533-2 (2011 edition) at page 151 states as
follows:  (brought to my attention by David J. Bilinsky)


(entry for 1928)

ALSO
AUGUST 25 A statute of the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-96)
was unveiled in Stanley Park by the Rt Hon. Ramsay Macdonald, the former
British Prime Minister.  The bronze and granite statute is an exact
replica of one standing  in Burns' birthplace in Ayrshire, Scotland
(Local Scots annually mark Robbie Burns Day on January 25, but it was in
the 1930's that fervour was particularly marked.  Even the Chinatown
Lions' Club organized an annual Burns dinner, complete with haggis
served with a sweet and sour sauce.)

Chuck and I knew each other though… I first encountered him many times at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, where he would often come to do research.  Later, I became involved with Chinese Canadian historical events and issues, and our paths would cross.  One time, we had a lengthy chat about the Janet Smith murder case, when a Scottish nanny was killed in Vancouver, and a Chinese house boy, was wrongfully accused of the murder, then later acquitted.

photo – photo Todd Wong
But Chuck did came to speak to the Vancouver Library workers during a historic
1st time ever strike – when I invited him to come out.  He was always very proud
that his book “The Vancouver Book” was the 2nd most stolen book at the
Vancouver Public Library.
photo – photo Todd Wong
I had organized an author's reading series for the CUPE 391 strikeline, inspired by 2 reasons.
1) Victoria author Terry Glavin had wanted to do research at VPL
2) a lot of community groups such as the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra had booked the
community rooms at VPL, and could no longer have a space to do public programs.

photo
This picture was takenin 2009, to mark the 250th birthday of Robbie
Burns.  We also did a virtual wreath laying in “2nd Life” – organized by
Dr. Leith Davis – director of Centre for Scottish Studies SFU – who had
just flown into Vancouver YVR from Scotland, and came straight to our
ceremony.  That night at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner – she declared
it the best Burns Dinner she had ever attended – having spent the
previous week in Scotland attending many Burns Suppers.

Read the story of the event here:
250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park

The Chinatown Lion Club dinners began at the Bamboo Terrace Restaurant
just over 50 years ago.  They continued for many years, many of them organized by
Vancouver lawyer Chuck Lew, but dwindled in recent years.  I attended
one of the dinners at Floata – possibly in 2009. We did a one time
merger…  maybe in 2010.  I asked Chuck about creating a 50th
Anniversary Robbie Burns Chinatown dinner for Vancouver Chinatown Lions
Club – but I don't think they ever had one…  He told me that it was
getting harder to organize… and even had asked me about organizing the
dinner for the Chinatown Lions Club – which I declined, in order to focus on Gung Haggis Fat Choy events.

For the record – Chinatown Lions Club always served the haggis
traditional style with sweet and sour sauce (or some kind of Chinese
sauce).  They never ventured into fusion cuisine.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinners have created a number of haggis-fusion-cuisine dishes –
including: deep fried haggis won-tons, deep fried haggis / seafood
dumplings, haggis won ton soup, haggis spring rolls, steamed haggis /
shrimp dumplings, steamed haggis / pork dumplings, haggis lettuce wrap.

Strombo wades in on the plagiarism issue of Ling Zhang’s “Gold Mountain Blues”

Plagiarism
and the Arts
George Stromboulopoulos comments on the current lawsuit
by authors Wayson Choy, Sky Lee and Paul Yee against Chinese born author Ling Zhang – and points out some infamous examples of plagiarism including George Harrison’s song My Sweet Lord vs He’s So Fine by The Chiffons. 

  

Here are some of the highlight’s from the article

Cold Play’s “Viva la Vida” VS Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly”

Strombo points out that unintentional plagiarism still gets you in trouble.  There are videos comparisons of Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” and “He’s So Fine”, as well as Cold Play’s “Viva la Vida” vs Joe Striani’s “If I Could Fly” which was was settled out of court in September, 2009.  Strombo also points out the successful lawsuit by the Isley Brothers against Michael Bolton, who had both released songs titled ‘Love is a Wonderful Thing’, only Bolton did it 25 years later.

More interesting are the literary references:

Teenager Kaavya Viswanthan, wrote a hit debut novel, ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life’ which was found to contain different portions of two young adult novels by Megan McCafferty.

Stephen Ambrose’s book ‘The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45’ was found to have copied full passages from six different books that had not been listed as sources.

The Terminator Movie VS Outer Limits segments

If story “ideas” are proprietary, then Ling Zhang may be in big trouble.  Strombo points out that James Cameron had admitted that the idea of the Terminator movie was based on ideas from “a couple of Outer Limits segments”.  Author of the segments was author Harlan Ellison who settled out of court and had his name added to the end credits of the film.

Disappearing Moon Cafe

Can it also be a coincidence that Paul Yee’s Saltwater City, Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe, Denise Chong’s The Concubine’s Children, and Wayson Choy’s Jade Peony, were the 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1996 winners for the City of Vancouver Book Awards
The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy

Check out the listed examples of plot and character similarities that have been printed in news stories, from the Federal Court Statement of Claim

Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe (1990), pg. 3

In grave danger, a young Chinese man is rescued and then cared for by a
beautiful girl, Kelora, of rare Chinese/ Native heritage.

Zhang Ling’s Gold Mountain Blues(2011), pp. 256-285

In grave danger, a young Chinese man is rescued and then cared for by a
beautiful girl, Sundance, of rare Chinese/Native heritage.

Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe (1990), pg. 237

The Chinese man is old now. Full of regret for his long lost love, Kelora, he dies after a visit from her.

Zhang Ling’s Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 511-513

The Chinese man is old now. Full of regret for his long lost love, Sundance, he dies after a visit from her.

Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony (1995), pp. 52-56

Wong Suk is disfigured after working on the railway. He rescues a white
foreman who becomes gratefully indebted as well as a good friend. When
the foreman dies, his son passes along a precious piece of gold.

Zhang Ling’s Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 70-72, 145-147, 377

Ah Fat is disfigured in a fight while working on the railway. He saves the
life of his white foreman. They become good friends over the years.
When the foreman’s wife dies, her will leaves money to Ah Fat’s son.

Paul Yee’s The Bone Collector’s Son (2003), pp. 62, 72-73, 79-80, 140-141

Fourteen-year-old Bing works as a houseboy for a white couple in Vancouver. He becomes a
target of white bullies, but his employer Mrs. Bentley rescues him.

Zhang Ling’s Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 309-326

Fifteen-year-old Kam Ho works as a houseboy for a white couple in Vancouver. He becomes a target of white bullies, but his employer Mrs. Henderson rescues him.

Paul Yee’s Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories (2002), pp. 73-78

Hard-working Shek buys a farm while younger brother Ping hates farm work and goes to the city to gamble. Shek pays everyone but Ping. Ping is unhappy. Ping kills Shek.

Zhang Ling’s Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 235-236, 241, 243, 246, 247, 249, 328

Hard-working Ah Fat buys a farm while his son Kam Shan hates farm work and goes to
the city to gamble. Ah Fat pays others but not Kam Shan. Kam Shan is
unhappy. He disappears.

Heart of the City Festival features concert & dinner at Ukranian Hall

Lots of cultural mix at Ukranian Hall
for concert & dinner event

Nov 6th, 3pm concert 6pm dinner
Ukranian Hall, 805 East Pender St.
Heart of the City Festival


First Nations, Chinese, Hawaiian, Ukranian, and British ethnicities and cultures mix together at Heart of the City Festival.  David Nahanee's First Nations family gave the opening welcome and drumming to open the festival.  Savannah Walling and Terry Hunter (back row) are the festival's founders and artistic directors.  Todd Wong (right) was guest accordionist.

William Nahanee explained to me that his family name is of Hawaiian origin, as Hawaiians had come to BC with traders, and settled into the Squamish Nation.  It is now a common name, he explained to me when I told him I had a friend named Nahanee in grade 8. 

I played solo accordion in the second half of the program.  I started out with the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), then a version of Scotland the Brave.  Terry Hunter had give me an introduction to the audience mentioning how I am the creator of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, so I explained that I wanted to acknowledge that Chinese and Scottish pioneers were the founding pioneer cultures of British Columbia – not English and French as in Eastern Canada.  I explained that my great great grandfather had come to Canada and ministered at the Chinese United Church, just up Pender St. It has been a pleasure to participate in the Heart of the City Festival, and I wanted to acknowledge the immigrant groups that have settled in Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside.  The next songs I played were J.S. Bach's Toccata in D Minor and the St. Louis Blues, to acknowledge German and American pioneers to Vancouver, and especially Jelly Roll Morton who had lived at the Patricia Hotel over on Hastings St.


The Ukranian Folk Orchestra played a number of songs for the concert.  Conducted by David Ho, who is Chinese, most of the members are of Ukranian ancestry, and all share an appreciation for Ukranian folk music.  Instruments included flute, violin, lute, mandolin, guitar, drum & percussion.  Sadly, they no longer have an accordion player, which prompted one of the band members asked me to join them.

2011_Ukranian 003

Bortsch soup, made from beets – a Ukranian staple, that I first had many many years ago made by a high school friend.

2011_Ukranian 007

Cabbage rolls!

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No Ukranian dinner would be complete without perogies.  One of my favorite foods I like to keep stored in the freezer, and smother them with cream cheese.

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Here is the completed dinner with salad, meat balls, beets, cucumbers, cabbage rolls and perogies!

Accordions at Heart of the City Festival

Accordions took over Carnegie Centre
for the Heart of the City Festival event
“Accordion To Immigrants”


Vancouver Squeezebox Circle performed Nov 5th at Carnegie Centre – l-r special guest Renee de la Prade of  “Accordion Babes” from California, Rowan Lipkowits, Ans, Glen, Todd Wong, Franz Gerber, Halke Kingma, (missing from photo is Alan Zisman) – photo Deb Martin

Fantastic accordion concert at Carnegie Centre…. with Vancouver Squeezebox Circle. We alternated solos and group songs. 

The inspiration for the event was to tell the story of 125 years of immigrants to Vancouver's Strathcona and Downtown East Side neighborhoods.

My solos were: St. Louis Blues and JS Bach's Tocatta in D Minor – +
Hungarian Dance #5 (turned into a duet with Halke Kingma whom I had never played
with before, and who hadn't played the song in 15 years.

Best unexpected moment was when Renee de la Prade joined us on stage to sit in – and I asked her if she would like a solo spot.  She stood up to play and sing an Irish whiskey song, then followed up with a Celtic Reel.

“How do you follow that?” I asked the audience, and performed JS Bach's Tocatta in D Minor, which the sound tech added some reverb through the microphone and sound systems to make the performance sound like we were in a big church.  Renee later complimented me on the performance, saying she really liked it.

2nd Best unexpected moment – was acknowledging that Jimi Hendrix had lived in Strathcona / Hogan's Alley at his grandmother Nona Hendrix's home, then having Rowan performing “Purple Haze” with a surprise bridge excerpt of “Star Spangled Banner”

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.
Accordions
“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
more!!!

Spoiler Alert !  I am playing solo versions of JS Bach's Tocatta in D Minor + St. Louis Blues
http://www.heartofthecityfestival.com/saturday-november-5/

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
1pm)
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