Georgia Straight: a short list for new cultural czar – names Duncan Low, Jim Green, Judith Marcuse, Max Wyman… and Todd Wong

Todd Wong – a cultural czar?  Georgia Straight gives 50:1 odds.

With every new government, be it federal, provincial or municipal – there is sometimes a shake up in administration, as the new government wants to put people in place that will better reflect and carry out their policies. 

The Georgia Straight's Charlie Smith is speculating there may be changes at Vancouver City Hall. 

Frances Bula writes Everyone at Vancouver city hall waiting with bated breath suggesting that City Manager Judy Rogers may be gone soon. But the Straight's Matthew Burrows reports City Councilor Raymond Louie stating “she need not fear the axe now that Vision Vancouver will replace the NPA at the helm of City Hall.”  see City manager Judy Rogers needn't be worried: Raymond Louie

Meanwhile Pieta Wooley of the Georgia Straight reported that Vision Vancouver counselor Heather Deal told the Straight the party will be discussing staffing changes in the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs. see: New Vision for Vancouver arts community.

This comment let Charlie Smith to speculate what could happen at Vancouver's Office of Cultural Affairs.  Would present managing director Sue Harvey stay or go?  If so who would replace her.  Smith suggested possible names, and then for fun, gave odds for the possibility that such names might get the job.  see: Duncan Low, Jim Green, Judith Marcuse: a short list for new cultural czar Nov. 20.

Smith named Duncan Low 3:1, Judith Marceuse 5:1, Jim Green 5:1, Sue Harvey 7:1, Heather Redfern 10:1, Max Wyman 20:1, John Mclachlan Gray 100:1…. Todd Wong 50:1

I respect and know many of the names above, and they have all been involved in the arts much longer than I have.  I suspect Charlie Smith tossed my name into the ring for some fun, because my profile was significantly raised during the Library civic strike, I am now active on our library workers union local CUPE 391, and I am a person of colour.  My community work has also painted a broad strokes covering heritage with the Historic Joy Kogawa House; literary connections through the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, library, One Book One Vancouver; my many music, opera and theatre reviews on my website

Certainly arts manger Diane Kadota and dance choreographer Jay Hirabayashi of Kokoro Dance come to mind. Kadota has also been involved with the Powell St. Festival, while Hirabayashi founded the Vancouver International Dance Festival, and is a former board member for the Vancouver Arts Alliance.

While it is fun to speculate, I can't take Smith's suggestion of me seriously.  I am currently focused on making sure that the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner set for January 25th, 2009, will be the best Gung Haggis dinner yet.  There are plans to expand the dinner to other locations outside of Vancouver, as well as to be involved with other related projects.  It's been a big year of recognition for me already with receiving the BC Community Achievement Award in April, as well as having my full-size picture included in “The Party” exhibit at the Royal BC Museum.

See the Georgia Straights's article for the full list of names and reasons: Duncan Low, Jim Green, Judith Marcuse: a short list for new cultural czar

Here's the excerpt for Todd Wong

Todd Wong 50:1  Vision politicians like Wong, a
cultural activist who has helped them build bridges with multicultural
communities. Wong, a library assistant, was also a vocal advocate for
fellow library staff during the 2007 city strike. This won him some
points with the bigshots at CUPE, who have influence over Vision
Vancouver. Wong probably doesn't have enough management experience to
parachute into the top position, but stranger things have happened. He
could end up working in the Office of Cultural Affairs at a lower-level
post, which might help the City do more outreach. The fact of the
matter is the senior bureaucracy at City Hall is pretty damn white, and
that's going to change over time under Vision Vancouver. Whether Wong
will be part of that change is anyone's guess.

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