Word on the Strike…CUPE 391 picket line adds creativity to annual Word on the Street event
It was a busy day down at Vancouver's biggest book and magazine fair, Word on the Street. Lots of authors including Ruth Ozeki, Meg Tilly, Stan Persky, Vincent Lam and many many more. Unfortunately… it rained a lot, but it didn't dampen spirits!
When I bumped into author Stan Persky and Hal Wake, Stan told Hal that the last reading he had done was the one I set up with Stan for the CUPE 391 picket line on August 24th. Stan thought it was so appropriate that since his books at the library were “locked up” and unavailable to the public, he could come down to Library Square and give a reading.
Joy Kogawa House Society also had a booth at the fair, located at the Canada Post parking lot site. Joy Kogawa House is not only the childhood home of one of Canada's most important authors, it is also the only publicly known house that was confiscated by the Canadian government while Japanese Canadians were being held in internment camps during WW2.
Ann-Marie Metten set up the display. David Kogawa took a turn attending it, then my girlfriend Deb Martin and I also took some turns. The display featured pictures of Joy Kogawa as a child at the house, and her grade 2 picture at David Lloyd George Elementary School in Marpole before the 1942 internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2.
We handed out postcard invitations to the November 10th Open House event, which will feature authors Ruth Ozeki and Shaena Lambert. The title of the event is War and Remembrance, and follows the 2 year anniversary of when we presented the Vancouver Opera's Touring production of Naomi's Road, at the Vancouver Public Library in 2005 to help build awareness of the campaign to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home.
For the Word on the Strike event held by CUPE 391, as an “enhanced picket line,” I played my accordion to help add musical ambiance. It was great to see so many people dancing to my tango, or waltzes. Author Jean Barman dropped by to say hello. Bill Saunders, president of the Vancouver District Labour Council, dropped by and we sang “O Solo Mio” together.
Cupe15 workers Randy and Diane, are also the leaders of the Cantastoria street theatre
group that has been going from strike site to strike site putting on their story about
hard-working labourers who build a strong community, only to be stepped on by the
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