Monthly Archives: April 2006

Hip, Hapa, Happening and Interculturally Interesting April 28 to May 5

Hip, Hapa, Happening and Interculturally Interesting April 28 to May 5

There is
definitely lots of real cool stuff happening this week, especially with
the explorASIAN festival
celebrating Asian Heritage Month presenting
great stuff.  My weekend is packed.  I can't be down at
Centre A to help register head tax certificates on Saturday because I
am pulling a work shift at the Vancouver Public Library (proudly
wearing my 30 year service pin).  May 1st is Workers Day, and I
also can't be at the April 28th celebration at Capri Hall, which is
boasting lots of great multicultural and intercultural
performers.  And I can't  attend the Scottish stuff happening
on Saturday either.

night I attend the
BC Book Prize Gala, where Bill Richardson will be
MC.  I will be at a table with Joy Kogawa, Bill Turner (The Land
Conservancy) and my fellow Save Kogawa House committee coordinator
Ann-Marie Metten, as we toast the saving and purchase of Kogawa House.

Gung Haggis dragon boat
practice on Sunday afternoon 1pm.  It is the last day of the ADBF
public paddling program

Come join us for a 30 minute paddle in a
dragon boat for $2. Ipm – meet at the Green Trailer building in
Creekside Park – just a few paces south of Science World. 
Consider it a waterfront tour of Vancouver's
False Creek – much more interactive than the mini-ferries.

Great plays coming up with Simon Johnston's “Rice Rockets and Yacht People” and “Finding Home” by Welly Yang and Dina Morishita

Liutenant Governor's BC Book Prize Gala
Saturday, April 29
Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, 1128 West Hastings Street.
For more information, call the BC Book Prizes at 604-687-2405
Emceed by
Bill Richardson, this 22nd annual BC Book Prizes gala will recognize our
province’s finest literary achievements in seven categories, as well as celebrate the recipient of
the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
Free post-gala reception at 9:30 pm.
must be ordered by April 21.

Broadway Performer/Playwright Welly Yang and Performer/Co-Producer Dina
Morishita from FINDING HOME for an intimate Artist Talk and Q&A
event at Centre A

Saturday - April 29
7pm - 9pm
Doors open at 6:30pm

Admission: FREE
Centre A - Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
S.T.A.T.U.S. Coalition presents...
MAY DAY 2006**
"Long live International Workers' Day!"

Commemorating the International Workers' Struggle and Migrant Labour & Immigrant workers
CAPRI HALL, 3925 Fraser (corner East 23rd Ave)
5-10$ suggested donation- includes dinner
Community performers, poets, and multimedia presentations:
Dhol Nation Academy, Hugo Rojas, Marcus Youssef, Mariam Durrani, Mexican Migrant Workers,
Ndidi Cascade, Michael Franti, Kelis, K-OS, & Kardinal Offishall, Oscar Villalobos, Sinag Bayan,
Filipino cultural collective, Wayde Compton, Yyadzehe Gatica with the Consejo Indigena Popular
de Oaxaca

April 29, Seaquam Secondary School (11584 Lyon Rd., Delta).
Tix and info 604-463-3421,
Afternoon concert with performances by Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe
Bands, SFU Pipe Band,and the Heather Jolley Dancers (4 pm); evening
ceilidh and dinner featuring Blackthorn (6:30 pm)

April 29, 8 pm, Scottish Cultural Centre. Tix $25, info 604-929-1802.

Scottish fiddle champion Paul Anderson and singer-pianist George Donald perform on a program
with the Vancouver Scottish Country Dance Dem Team and local singer Wilma Paton.


May 4-13, Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Rd., Richmond). Tix $24/22,
The Gateway’s New Play Series presents Simon Johnston’s drama about the clash of values
between new Canadians and longtime Caucasian residents, focusing on a well-to-do couple from
Shanghai and their street-racing kids.


May 5 & 7, 7:30pm, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 W. 49th

Theatre piece about the struggle for peace and justice in Palestine and
Israel,and the profound effects of that struggle on people and
communities in Canada. Facilitated by Headlines Theatre with the
participation of local Jewish and Palestinian

explorYOUTH 2006: e-race

May 2, 7 pm, Vancouver East Cultural Centre (1895 Venables). Info

VECC Youth Week, explorASIAN, and MISCELLANEOUS Productions present a screening of clips 
from a DVD of the hip-hop musical e-race, plus a panel discussion featuring four young
writer-performers from Asian backgrounds, moderated by director and writer Elaine Carol.


May 2, 10:30 am, Silk Purse Arts Centre (1570 Argyle Ave., West Van.). 
Tix $10, info 604-925-7292.

UBC Opera members Michael Mori and Teiya Kashahara perform folksongs and arias from
the opera Turandot.

May 2, 10:30 am, Silk Purse Arts Centre (1570 Argyle Ave., West Van.). 
Tix $10, info 604-925-7292.
VSO violinist Akira Nagai and his wife, violist Seri, perform Western classical and various
kinds of traditional Japanese music.

Canadian Premiere & Opening Event for explorASIAN 2006
May 5 – 8:00pm
May 6 – 2:00pm & 8:00pm
The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage 2750 Granville St., Vancouver, BC
Tickets $88, $58, $38

Join Broadway Performer/Playwright Welly Yang, Dina Morishita, and friends in a
Night of Musical Theatre!

In a musical journey about finding home, Yang explores three generations of
family history: stories of leaving home and finding home, of love lost and love
found, and of dreams deferred and dreams realized. The show artfully weaves
together seventeen Broadway classics and contemporary songs by Elton John, Tim
Rice, Dan Hill and Luther Vandross among others.



Media Watch for Joy Kogawa House news weekend of April 28 to 30.

Media Watch for Joy Kogawa House news weekend of April 28 to 30.

Busy Busy day for Joy Kogawa and the Save Kogawa House Committee and The Land Conservancy.

Joy Kogawa and Bill Turner took a 7am ferry from Victoria to Vancouver,
following the jam-packed reading at Chapters bookstore last
night.  They went over to CTV and CBC television studios for

Kevin Griffin of the Vancouver Sun, phoned looking for Joy for a quick
comment.  He said the story will be running in Saturday's
Vancouver Sun.

Check out CBC Radio One 690AM in Vancouver. 
Sheryl Mackay, host of “North By Northwest” may have Joy Kogawa on air shortly after 7am.
Sheryl was one of our special guest readers at the April 25th “Joy of Canadian Words” at Christ Church Cathedral.

Joy will be attending the BC Book Prizes Gala on Saturday Night

Joy sent me this message today:

“In haste – on this miraculous day – got to go
make supper for grandkids”

Heather Skydt of The Land Conservancy wrote:

Check out CBC Newsworld or
The National tonight…:)
CBC Radio also did a blurb about the kogawa
announcement on BC Almanac today.
On Sunday, check out Joy on Colour TV (City
TV) 6:30pm.
Metro also had an article today, too.
The Vancouver Sun will
hopefully have an article in tomorrow's paper.


NEWS RELEASE                   



The Land Conservancy of British Columbia announced today that it is
moving forward with the purchase of the historic Joy Kogawa House and
will prevent its demolition.

“While we still need
to raise more funds to purchase and operate the house, our ‘option to
purchase’ expires this weekend,” explained
TLC Executive Director Bill Turner. “We are out of time. So TLC
has decided to step forward, and take out a mortgage if necessary, to
make sure that this important piece of our country’s heritage will not
be lost.”

Turner said that by exercising the option to purchase, it will put the future of Kogawa House under the control of TLC
and the community. This, in effect, will take away the threat of
imminent redevelopment.  The house had been the subject of a
development proposal, and a demolition permit had been requested.  The
City of Vancouver put that request on hold for three months in order to
TLC and the Save Kogawa House Committee the time to raise funds to purchase the property.

To date $230,000 has been raised from over 500 donors. TLC
needs $700,000 specifically to purchase the house and is seeking a
total of $1.25 million which includes funds for restoration and for an
endowment to allow the house to be used both as an educational site
addressing the issue of the internment of Canadians of Japanese
heritage during the Second World War and as a site for a
‘Writers-in-Residence’ program.

“We are confident
that, given enough time, we will be able to raise the necessary funds
for this project.  We have requests in to the City of Vancouver and to
the Government of Canada, as well as to many other potential donors,
and we remain optimistic that their support for this important project
will be forthcoming. In the meantime,
TLC is prepared to take on the risk and protect the site.”

Noted Canadian
Author Joy Kogawa was overwhelmed when told the news that her childhood
home would not be demolished. “Words can’t express how much this means
to me,” she said. “This is definitely a miracle. What a wonderful new

Turner said that TLC
would be exercising the option to purchase (i.e. making the legal
commitment) this weekend, and that the purchase will close at the end
of May. During that time,
needs to call on everyone who wants to help protect this important part
of our heritage to make their donation as soon as possible. Donations
can be made to
TLC at (604) 733-2313 or online at


For further information:

TLC:    Bill Turner (250) 213-1090;

Heather Skydt (604) 733-2313;

Save Kogawa House Committee:    Ann-Marie Metten (604) 263-6586;  

Todd Wong, (604) 987-7124;

KOGAWA HOUSE is being SAVED! It's REALLY happening! The Land Conservancy will purchase Kogawa House to create a Writing Centre.

HOUSE is being SAVED!  It's REALLY happening!  The Land
Conservancy will purchase Kogawa House to create a Writing Centre.

It's TRUE!  It really is going to happen!

The Land Conservancy is moving forward to exercise their option to purchase Kogawa House from the owner.

Lots of happy people around the world… now to make it REALLY HAPPENING!

The Metro News called me yesterday for a comment
for a story.

Reporter Tia Able said that Bill Turner had just told her
“We're buying the house – no matter what.  It's going to happen.”

I asked her. “Did he really say that? 

also asked why the purchase of the house was so important to me.

Obasan was the first Asian-Canadian book that made it okay for us to tell our
stories,” I explained that “as an 5th generation Chinese-Canadian, I know how
hard it was for my parents, my grand parents and my great-grandparents to find
acceptance in this country.  It was the same for the Japanese Canadians –
moreso because of the internment.

“Establishing Kogawa House as a
historical landmark for all Canadians means that we have gained acceptance and
are important.  Saving Joy Kogawa's childhoom home to share with all
Canadians is like Pierre Berton House, in the Yukon, or George Ryga's home in
the Okanagan or Emily Carr's home in Victoria.

“We can have a physical
place that says here was a home where Joy Kogawa lived as a child, until she was
interned.  It is a physical place like the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam,
or Anne of Green Gables Cottage in PEI, where people can say “This is where she
lived and played.” 

“Thousands of people visit Anne of Green Gables
Cottage, but she was fictional.  Joy Kogawa is real, Anne Frank was
real.  We need a place where we can say that racism can never do this

Bill Turner sent me an e-mail with the following:

“Yes I really said that.

“Heather and Joy will be doing a lot of media work this
morning.    They are taking the 7am ferry from Victoria to
Vancouver and going immediately to CTV where Joy will go on camera at

“Joy will then go to CBC TV for
an update filming to the segment they will show on the National
tonight.   I believe that around mid day the media release will go

“Last night's event at Chapters in Victoria was
packed.  It was a small venue but there were a lot of people
standing.   It was an emotional and exciting event and well worth
doing.   At that event I said again that this is going to happen that
today (Friday) we will be announcing that we are moving ahead with the purchase
and will borrow whatever necessary to make it happen.  

“Of course we
have to work hard to raise the rest of the money and in particular to pay off
the mortgage.” 

far $230,000 has been raised in a short fundraising campaign.  A
total of $700,000 is needed to purchase the house outright.  Next
steps will be fundraising for restoration of the house, and to create
an endowment for the continued running of the Joy Kogawa Writing Centre.

Sing Tao (April 24): story about Gung Haggis dragon boat team and the ADBF public paddling program

Sing Tao (April 24): story about Gung Haggis dragon boat team and the ADBF public paddling program

The ADBF public paddling program is a wonderful, safe and easy way to try out dragon boat paddling.  Life jackets and instruction are provided for $2, and your signature on a waiver form.

The most frustrating thing would be to find yourself paddling with 19 other people, who have no idea what they are doing.  We pair every paddling neophyte up with an experienced paddler, as a paddle-buddy + have two boats paddle side by side, so you can see what is going on.  We also have a mini-race to give you a chance to taste the adrenaline from dragon boat racing.

Sing Tao newspaper came out to the ADBF public paddling session last week.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team assists with the program, providing instruction and experienced paddlers for the 30 to 40 minute paddle on False Creek from Dragon Zone, the ADBF club house.  Last week about 9 new paddlers came out to try dragon boat paddling for the first time in their lives, and they had a blast!

Some of the paddlers have enjoyed the paddling experience so much, they have asked to join the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team!

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team emphasizes a multicultural atmosphere, simultaneously with fitness and fun.  The team was the 2005 winner of the David Lam Award for best representing the multicultural spirit of the at the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.

Coach Todd Wong (me), gives a short history of dragon boat racing from China to Vancouver, explaining some of the cultural and historical background of this 2000 year old activity that came to Vancouver in 1986.  Todd is an experienced coach, having won many medals coaching and racing on teams at races in Victoria, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Kelowna and Vancouver, since 1993.  He has served on the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Race committee, as well as the CCC Dragon Boat Association Board – where he helped to found the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragonboat Race.

I get my 30 year service pin at the Vancouver Public Library!

I get my 30 year service pin at the Vancouver Public Library!

Paul Whitney
(City Librarian), Todd Wong, and Joan Andersen (VPL Board Chair), after
the presentation of 25 year and 30 year service pins at a Vancouver
Public Library Board meeting.  You can see the gold pin with a
tiny diamond in my left lapel.  Cool! – photo Deb Martin.

25 and 30 year service pins were handed out tonight at the VPL board meeting tonight.

VPL Chair, Joan Andersen, invited each of the 20 library employees up,
while she read short biographies of each of them.  It was great to
listen to each biography, because they were personalized not only with
the locations of our work history, but also with our life interests and
community work.

There was my friend Bob Flesher, with whom I used to work on the
library delivery truck (Fridays were “hat day”); Susan Bridgman and Nanita Evans, with whom I
first worked at Joe Fortes Library 25 years ago.  Judi Walker and
Jane White are branch head librarians.  Susan Pendakur in Computer
Systems, Jennifer Haines at Kensington Branch.  And so many more
friends I have made over the years…Wow!

I can't believe that I have worked at the Vancouver Public Library for 30 years.

I like to say I started inutero, because my mother was working at the
Vancouver Public Library while she was pregnant with me.  I
actually started when I was still 15 years old while in highschool.

“Todd started part-time as an Library Assistant 1, and have risen to
become a Library Assistant III,” stated Library Board Chair Joan
Andersen.  “He is also known for much of my community work such as
working to help save the Joy Kogawa House, as well as Gung Haggis Fat
Choy, a combination Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year Dinner – which
now has served 600 people” (and which featured CBC Radio host Shelagh
Rogers as co-host at the 2005 dinner). 

“And has become an annual event at the library as the “Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry Night,” I added.

“Thank you for your service to the library, and for what you do in the community,” concluded Joan.

I first met Joan Andersen, in her capacity as CBC Radio regional
director English Language, through some of my activities with CBC
Radio.  She is a wonderful chair for the library, and receives
many compliments.  She actually used to be a librarian, before she
did a graduate degree in Human Resources and worked for the CBC.

Paul Whitney is City Librarian, whom I first met back in the 1980's
through a mutual friend, Susan Bridgman, who also recieved her 30 year
pin tonight.  Paul was formerly director of the Burnaby Public
Library up until a few years ago.  He does amazing advocacy work
on behalf of libraries.  I am proud to know them both.