Monthly Archives: May 2009

Final event for Montreal poet John Asfour at Kogawa House, with Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson



Historic Joy Kogawa House celebrates success of its first writer-in-residence


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On April 20, inaugural Kogawa House writer-in-residence John Afour welcomed Shelagh Rogers, Jean Baird, George Bowering and George Stanley to Kogawa House for a joint Purdy Party with three BC Book Prize Poetry nominees Daphne Marlatt, George Stanly and Nilofar Shidmehr – photo Todd Wong

Kogawa House writer-in-residence John Asfour leaves a trail of inspiration behind as he packs his bags to return to Montreal on Sunday, May 31.

Final reading with Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson on Saturday, May 30th.

his residency in Vancouver Asfour has hosted a number of writers for
readings at the house, including Judy Rebick, Ann Diamond, and Daphne
Marlatt, George Stanley, and Nilofar Shidmehr—three poets nominated for
this year’s Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. On Saturday, May 30, Gary
Geddes and Ann Eriksson join him for a final reading.


has also welcomed visits from writing classes and he has coached
numerous individual writers. Following an evening class at the house,
SFU Writers’ Studio lyric poetry instructor Rachel Rose wrote: “John
has been so generous with his time, meeting many students for
individual consults.” Another writer said: “I had a very good,
productive meeting with John and learned more in meeting with him than
I had learned in a whole year studying creative writing at university.
He taught me how to edit.”


Asfour’s frequent writing consultations did not keep him completing a book of poems entitled Blindfold,
which is partly autobiographical—born in Lebanon, Asfour was blinded at
age 13 during the Civil War in 1958. His poems explore feelings of loss
and displacement and suggest that the disabled often feel like
foreigners in their own land, hampered by prejudice (sometimes
well-meaning), communications barriers and the sense of “limited
personality” that characterizes the immigrant experience.


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John Asfour was featured at the Vancouver Public Library on May 19th with Neworld Theatre's Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong read his poems in English – photo Todd Wong

in Vancouver Asfour also presented poetry readings to a variety of
audiences, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind,
Christianne’s Lyceum of Art and Literature, the BC Muslim School and in
collaboration with Neworld Theatre at the Vancouver Public Library. On
Thursday, 58 students from Killarney Secondary School will practice
their creative writing while scattered over the lawns, patio, and deck
at Kogawa house.


is the author of four books of poetry in English and two in Arabic. He
translated the poetry of Muhammad al-Maghut into English under the title Joy Is Not My Profession (Véhicule Press), and he selected, edited and introduced the landmark anthology When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, 1945–1987 (Cormorant Books).


Further information can be found on the website of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society at or by calling (604) 263-6586.





Kogawa House Society: Ann-Marie Metten (604) 263-6586


Notes to Editors:

1. Information on Historic Joy Kogawa House


Joy Kogawa House is the former home of the Canadian author Joy Kogawa
(born 1935). It stands as a cultural and historical reminder of the
expropriation of property that all Canadians of Japanese descent
experienced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Between 2003 and
2006, a grassroots committee fund raised in a well-publicized national
campaign, and with the help of The Land Conservancy of BC, a non-profit
land trust, managed to purchase the house in 2006.


with Joy Kogawa, the various groups decided that the wisest and best
use of the property would be to establish it as a place where writers
could live and work. Following the models of the writer-in-residence
programs in place at the Berton House Writers’ Retreat in Dawson City ,
Yukon , and Roderick Haig-Brown House in Campbell River , BC , the
Historic Joy Kogawa House writer-in-residence program brings
well-regarded professional writers in touch with a local community of
writers, readers, editors, and librarians. While in residence, the
writer works to enrich the literary community around him or her and to
foster an appreciation for Canadian writing through programs that
involve students, other writers and members of the general public.

in March 2009, as a partner with TLC, the Historic Joy Kogawa Society
will begin hosting writers to live and work in the house on a paid
basis. Funding is provided through the Michael Audain Foundation for
the Arts, the BC Arts Council, the Canada Council and through donations
from the general public.

Eating on Mayne Island… 4 eateries… all delicious!

Holidays and good food go together.

2009_May_Mayne Island 171Menu board on the patio of the Wild Fennel restaurant on Mayne Island – photo Todd Wong

On Mayne Island we visited the Wild Fennel Restaurant, Springwater Lodge, the newly renovated “Brickworks Restaurant on the Bay” at the Mayne Inn Resorts, and I even had breakfast at the Sunny Mayne Bakery Café.  So I did indeed visit all four restaurants listed in the Mayne Island brochure found on the BC Ferry, and also listed on the Mayne Island Chamber website:

We had caught the 7:20 ferry from Tsawwassen, so I ate dinner in the BC Ferry Restaurant, which is basically a  mini White Spot.  I had the bacon & cheese burger with fries… but substituted a soft drink for the frozen coffee drink that had a lot of mocha in it!  Definitely better than Tim Hortons!

At 7am, Friday, I woke up early and wanted to find a place for coffee and breakfast.  Where do the locals go?  It's the Sunny Mayne Bakery Café where I found delicious fried potatoes and scrambled eggs, which I ate with ketchup and HP Sauce.  Perfect!  They even make cappucinos and mochas too.  I opted for plain coffee to which I added some chocolate, honey, and cream.  Located in the town centre on 472 Village Bay Road, beside Tru Value Foods.

2009_May_Mayne Island 092 View of Bennett Bay from Bricksworks restaurant at Mayne Inn Resorts – photo Todd Wong

We went kayaking on Friday, and was very tempted to try to buy fresh crabs from the boat hauling up their crab traps in Bennett Bay – but I didn't bring my wallet on our 2 1/2 hour kayak excursion.  🙁

Oh well, after burning up an appetite kayaking and hiking to Campbell Point, we headed to “Brickworks Restaurant on the Bay” at the Mayne Inn Resorts.  The Resort is undergoing some rennovations, so it looks like it is closed from the street.  But we drove in and found a lovely upscale setting.  With a stunning view of Bennett Bay, we sat down and quickly ordered the special of the day, “Seafood Wellington” – salmon, haddock and prawns baked in puff pastry.  At $18, it was large and reasonably priced.  We cut it in two and shared it, along with the vegetables and rice pilaf.  We sat on the remaining sun on the patio and enjoyed our dinner along with Strongbow and cider.  If we hadn't already planned to spend the sunset hours on the other side of the island, we might have stayed longer.  I was tempted by the $3.99 pub special of a chocolate shooter cup, filled with “your choice” of liquer….

2009_May_Mayne Island 097 Haddock, Salmon and Prawns stuffed into something called Seafood Wellington.  It's a good thing I like to eat my rice and brocolli.-  photo Todd Wong

History of the Springwater Lodge

We next drove to the other side of the island, back to the town centre at Miner's Bay.  At 6pm, there was still a lot of time to fill before darkness fell, and on a small island there isn't a lot to do.  Best thing is go to the pub!  The good ol' hockey game was on the tv set, next to the pool tables.  Detroit 3, Chicago 1.  We went and sat on the patio, enjoying the wonderful view of Active Pass where we had seen orcas from the ferry only 24 hours earlier.  The 3 people at the table beside us all ordered the $18 chipotle prawn special, and said it was very good.  The other table had ordered 2 piece Fish & Chips and that looked good and was much cheaper at $11.99  We ordered the 3 piece for about $1.50 more and shared.  We also ordered the Mission Hill white and red wines.  What a wonderful way to spend a summer evening… restaurant hopping and having wonderful food.  No Killer Whales were spotted, but the BC Ferries tooted their horns and passed each other in Active Pass.

The Historic Springwater Lodge was originally built in 1892, and is the oldest continuously operated hotel in BC.  It was stopping point for miners headed to the Fraser River and Caribou Gold Rush. 

2009_May_Mayne Island 102 View from Springwater Lodge patio.  BC Ferries in the distance – photo Todd Wong

2009_May_Mayne Island 172 Peter smiles after telling us that he is the one (of the partners) that is responsible for the art work. – photo Todd Wong

After driving past the Wild Fennell 4 times on Friday, we went back on Saturday specifically for lunch.  It was the restaurant recommended by our kayaking guide,
and we also remembered it the book “Best Places to Kiss in the
Northwest – a romantic travel guide
.”  It's a cosy little place filled with art created by one of
the owners – Peter.  The food was very good, and not out of line with
any of the “west coast bistros” throughout Metro Vancouver – but it had
that special Gulf Island charm, and the prices are quite reasonable. The shrimp soup with wild mushrooms was very nice, and our sandwiches were delicious.  I had the smoked tuna clubhouse with shrimp and avocado aoeli.  Deb had the vegetarian hoagy with ceasar salad.  I think they were about $12 or $14 each. The restaurant is located at the Fernhill Plaza next to the Tree Frog Gallery, the Mackenzie Gallery of Fine Art and the nice store with all the glass work and pottery.

2009_May_Mayne Island 169Smoked tuna Clubhouse sandwich with shrimp and avocado aoeli, and with the Shrimp and Wild Mushroom soup of the day.  Yum!

2009_May_Mayne Island 170

Deb had the vegetarian hoagie with a caesar salad.  Lots of red and orange peppers, mushrooms, and greens.  Double yum!

Tailor Made documentary about Wong family tailor shop is re-broadcast on Knowledge Network

Watch “Tailor Made – the last Chinese tailor shop in Vancouver Chinatown”

'Tailor Made' is being broadcast again in BC on Knowledge Network on the following dates:

  • May 26/2009  10:00PM
  • May 27/2009   2:00AM
  • May 27/2009    7:00PM

“Tailor Made”is a wonderful documentary about the last tailor shop in Vancouver Chinatown.  It opened in 1913.   It made most of the zoot suits in Vancouver during the 1940's.  Sean Connery's picture is there with the tailors Bill and Jack Wong.  It's a Chinatown success story, that mirrors the history of Vancouver Chinatown, as the original tailor had to pay a head tax to come to Vancouver, as his two sons fought for Canada during WW2 when Chinese weren't allowed to vote, as his sons were unabled to get hired as UBC graduated engineers due to still prevailing racist sentiments, and how the youngest son became one of Vancouver's leading philanthropists and cultural leaders.

Bill Wong the tailor loves to attended the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.  His son Steven
paddles on our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  This is a
wonderful documentary that received a standing ovation at the Whistler
Film Festival.

and Jack's younger brother Milton Wong is one of Vancouver's important
figures, and former chancellor of SFU, and known as the “grandfather of
dragon boat racing” in Vancouver.  Both Milton and Steven were
interviewed for a German public television documentary addressing
multiculturalism in Vancouver.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat
team was featured too!
Check out:

own family has known the Wongs for many year, my aunts and uncles went
to school with many of the Wong family members.  My uncle Laddie works
as a tailor at Modernize Tailors.

In 2004, both the “Wong Way”
dragon boat team and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team
participated in a workshop to carve dragon boat heads at the Round
House Community Centre.

Check the Modernize Tailors Website:

Tuesday February 12, 2008 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
A naïve apprentice and a hot, young master tailor are both interested in taking over a legendary tailor shop in Vancouver's Chinatown, but they'll have a hard time convincing the hard-working Wong brothers to retire.

Modernize Tailors opened in 1913, and in the 1950s Bill and Jack Wong
took over from their father. Over the years, they've created suits for
all occasions and for customers from all walks of life-from lumberjacks
and new immigrants to movie stars like Sean Connery and politicians
like Sam Sullivan, then Mayor of Vancouver.

Now, a newer
generation is looking to make their mark and take over the Modernize
Tailors legacy. But will the 85-year-old Wong Brothers ever stop

Tailor Made was directed by Len Lee and Marsha
Newbery, and produced by Marsha Newbery of Realize Entertainment Inc.
It was commissioned by CBC Newsworld.

Knowledge Network: Tailor Made

'Tailor Made' is being broadcast again in BC on Knowledge Network on the following dates:

  • May 26/2009  10:00PM
  • May 27/2009   2:00AM
  • May 27/2009    7:00PM

Kayaking in the Gulf Islands: we visit Belle Islets Chain

Mayne Island is well known for its' sandstone formations which delight kayakers!

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Todd and Deb paddle past Little Samuelson Island off Mayne Island.  It was time for a mini-vacation.  We caught the last Thursday night ferry from Vancouver on May 21st, and returned on the 5:05pm from Mayne to Galiano to Tsawassen.  We even saw orca/killer whales in Active Pass on the ferry from Galiano to Mayne Island.

2009_May_Mayne Island 053 by you.

Deb paddles past some of the fantastic sandstone carved by the wave action of the Georgia Strait.

We paddled with Mayne Island Kayaking, located at Blue Vista Resorts.  Owner Doug Peers was our guide, and he led us through the currents so we could see lots of harbour seals, a sea lion, oyster catchers, guillemots, and eagles.

See Gulf Islands National Park

See more pictures at:

John Asfour, Kogawa House writer-in-residence gives reading at Vancouver Public Library with Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong of Neworld Theatre

John Asfour, Kogawa House writer-in-residence gives reading at Vancouver Public Library with Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong of Neworld Theatre
2009_May_KogawaHouse 003 by you.

John Asfour strums his oud (arabic lute), while Neworld Theatre's Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong read his poems – photo Todd Wong

John Asfour @ VPL
Tuesday May 19th
7:30 pm – 9pm FREE

Vancouver Public Library, Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level

Central Library,  350 West Georgia Street

night was wonderful.  Marcus and Adrienne dimmed the lights to create
an intimate setting.  Kirsty set up the book table.  I put out copies
of Ricepaper beside them…  I made the official VPL announcements
because VPL Community Librarian Sophie Middleton called me at 4pm,
asking  me, because she had an allergy issue.

Richard Hopkins
corrected me on my announcement of the June 9th event for VPL when the
George Woodcock Award will be presented to W.P. Kinsella (I had said
Patrick Kinsella)… and I did say that last year the award went to Joy

I gave brief intros and welcomes to John, Adrienne and
Marcus and Sahaib.  Acknowledging their upcoming events…  such as May
30th at Kogawa House, Mixie & the Halfbreeds, as well as to Ariadne
Sawyer of World Poetry, with her Gala anniversary at the Roundhouse
next Monday,

2009_May_KogawaHouse 002 Joh Asfour makes a brief introduction and acknowledges Neworld Theatre, Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, Vancouver Public Library and Sahaib – photo Todd Wong

gave a short introduction, and explained how the evening would work. 
First the translations read in English by Marcus and Adrienne, then in
Arabic by Sahaib.  Then followed by John's works.

We actually started at 7:40, and continued non-stop to 8:40.

It was a special magical evening.

The audience paid rapt attention.

“performance” flowed…. without the usual interruptions, explanations,
flippings of pages… etc that are at most poetry readings.

2009_May_KogawaHouse 011 Sahaib reads the original poems in Arabic language, while translator John Asfour plays his oud – photo Todd Wong

readings were all well done.  Marcus and Adrienne brought life and
drama to the words, as did Sahaib.  I didn't understand Arabic words,
but the rhythm, the rhyme, the meaning, and the presence were all
projected strongly.  The audience listened.  The audience paid
attention listening to words they didn't understand… listening to
sounds they understood… like music.

2009_May_KogawaHouse 009 John Asfour plays oud, while Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong read his poetry works – photo Todd Wong

duo voices of Marcus and Adrienne were matched in perfect timing, with
a warm chemistry.  Marcus' reading during “Beirut” emphasized the
“drunkeness” of the character, while Adrienne grounded the poem with
her narration.  “Gaza” was incredibly timely and insightful.  With
recent happenings in Gaza, I wished that we could have sent it out to
the media, or asked Adrienne how if felt having played “My Name is
Rachel Corrie.” 

2009_May_KogawaHouse 006 John Asfour plays oud – photo Todd Wong

playing of the oud, was soft or loud, slow or fast… accompanying the
poems like a musical soundtrack.  Afterwards, he told me he had played
12 songs, as well as improvisation.

2009_May_KogawaHouse 016 Marcus Youssef lead Q&A with John Asfour – photo Todd Wong

After the reading… Marcus led a Q&A for the final 20
minutes.  But I had to interrupt him briefly just to remind the
audience of the May 30th Kogawa House event, and the Mixies event…
and to share that Marcus had just been nominated that day for a Jessies
Awards… for artistic achievement.  Lots of audience applause.

This successful event reminder me of when we paired actors up to
read poetry” similar to our April 25th 2006 “Joy of Canadian Words” event that had featured:

  • Joy Coghill reading “Klee Wyck”, 
  • Bill Dow, Maiko Bae Yamamoto, Manami Hara and Hiro Kanagawa reading Dorothy Livesay's “Call My People Home”
  • Sheryl Mackay reading “Ann of Green Gables”,
  • Doris Chilcott reading Alden Nowlan,
  • Chief Rhonda Larrabee reading Thomas King's “Coyote and the Enemy Aliens”
  • jazz singer Leora Cashe singing Leonard Cohen's “Dance Me to the End of Love.”

Wow… definitely a wonderful collaboration of Neworld Theatre and Historic Joy Kogawa House Society…

2009_May_KogawaHouse 020Kirsty, Marcus, John and Adrienne – photo Todd Wong

Afterwards we went for snacks at Subeez restaurant down the street,
where we all joked and told stories, and complimented each other, and
deepened our friendships.

It was one of the best
poetry performances I have
witnessed in years.

Next reading at Kogawa House with Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson:
By reservation and donation only.

Telephone:  604-263-6586


Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a scholarly take as alternative to the “Scottish Discursive Unconsious”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy making it's way into the lexicon of journals about Scottish culture:
Dr. Leith Davis writes about Toddish McWong for Scottish on-line journal – The Bottle Imp

Leith Davis of SFU Centre of Scottish Studies, writes that “Gung
Haggis Fat Choy” bucks the trend of “Scottish Discursive Unconscious.” 

She writes: “In his contribution to the recent volume on
Transatlantic Scots
, Colin McArthur comments on what he calls
the “Scottish Discursive Unconscious,” a restricted range of “images, tones, rhetorical tropes, and ideological
tendencies, often within utterances promulgated decades (sometimes even a century or more) apart”…

“Vancouver, British Columbia, serves as a good test case for McArthur's comments. Like so many Canadian cities,
it has been home over the years to a large population of Scottish immigrants….
“There are indeed traces of the Scottish Discursive Unconscious at work in Vancouver….

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy takes many of the features of traditional Burns nights and gives them a non-traditional twist…The “Address to the Haggis” morphs into the “Rap to the Haggis,” featuring Joe MacDonald and Todd Wong with a
synthesized beat maker in the background. The “Toast to the Lassies” in 2009 was a rap-poem delivered by a
lassie with an all-male chorus. In addition, Asian elements are added, such as a “bamboo clappertale” about Robert
Burns and his teacher by Jan Walls and music by the Silk Road Music Ensemble. Haggis wontons and other delicacies
suggest a culinary as well as cultural fusion. Gung Haggis Fat Choy does not stop at mixing together those of Chinese
and Scottish heritage. Rather, its aim is to provide a celebratory venue in which those from all cultures can be
comfortable. The 2009 dinner opened, for example, with a blessing from Musqueam elder Larry Grant, a reminder,
perhaps, that we are all immigrants here at some time in the past.

Where traditional Burns suppers of today include very little poetry, apart from snippets of the bard's most
famous works, Gung Haggis Fat Choy keeps the spirit of Burns's creativity alive by featuring readings from
Asian-Canadian poets and donating money to the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, Ricepaper magazine and the
Joy Kogawa House. Kogawa was one of the first Asian-Canadian writers to reach a national popular audience
with her 1981 novel Obasan.

Read the entire article at:

Happy Birthday Dinner at Hapa Izakaya

Hapa Izakaya in Kitslano is one of my favorite restaurants.

2009_May 220

It was a 3 restaurant Kitsilano weekend, last week for my birthday.  On Friday we went to Sunset Grill, 2204 York Ave.  On Saturday we watched the hockey game and had Slum Dog Pizza at Hell's Kitchen 2041 4th Ave. West.  But for the “Big Day” we suggested some names… and eagrely decided to go to Hapa Izakaya 1416 Yew St.

Everytime we go there, the first bite of each dish is either “Wow” or “yummmmmm.”  A few months ago, we took a friend from Ottawa to Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano for his birthday.  Good choice!  It's a cozy atmosphere with lots of wood, as opposed to the more high-tech “clubby” feel of the Robson St. location.  Modeled after Japanese bistros in Tokyo, owner Jason Ault returned from Japan to open up Hapa Izakaya with a fusion twist.  As sushi was supposedly invented as finger food to eat while playing games, Izakaya bistros appeared as cheap places to eat and drink after work – but Hapa Izakaya takes it to another level.  It creates a tapas style menu, with a cultural fusion twist, and sets in a glossy upscale setting.  The Robson Street location is always buzzing, while the Kitsilano location is more laid back – but the food is great in both locations.

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We started with King Crab roll. “Yum” – Deb's favorite!

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Smoked Tuna Macaroni with Ume/Seiso sauce. “Wow!”

2009_May 216

Dynamite roll with spicy mango sauce “Yow!”

2009_May 223

Creme Brule topped off the evening!


Is “Flower Drum Song” an Asian-American version of “Sound of Music” by Rodgers & Hammerstein?

Just as the Von Trapp family hiked over the mountains for a chance of freedom from Nazi tyranny, the characters of Flower Drum Song find happiness in the pursuit of the “American Dream” both as immigrants coming to a new country, and as Americans finding their place.  The Flower Drum Wong musical (1958) was based on the book by C.Y. Lee (1957), and a movie version directed by Gene Kelly came out in 1961.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein had previously written musicals with Asian themes such as South Pacific (1949) and The King & I (1951).  Watching the movie versions as I grew up, I was always interested because they had Asian characters and actors.  The original musical and movie of Flower Drum Song became considered full of racist stereotypes during the American Civil Rights movement, but like the 1910 song “Chinatown My Chinatown” penned by Jerome & Schartz, it has an affectionate place in the hearts of many North American Asians.

About  year ago, I watched the movie version on dvd, and was amazed by the commentary from playwright David Henry Hwang, who re-wrote Flower Drum Song for a post-colonial America and stated, “I tried to write the book that Oscar Hammerstein would have written if he were Asian-American.” 

I really enjoyed watching the original movie.  There are great highlights such as Nancy Kwan singing “I Enjoy Being a Girl”, “A Hundred Million Miracles” performed by Miyoshi Umeki.  Most fantastic is the jazz dance sequence of the song “Chop Suey” is addresses the melting pot/cultural fusion of Asian America.  My friend Dan Seto always says that the song “Grant Avenue” is famous, and was very happy on his first visit to San Francisco to actually stand on Grant Avenue in Chinatown.  It would be as if Rodgers & Hammerstein had set the story in Vancouver Chinatown and wrote a song about “Pender Street.”

Check out this press release from Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and buy your tickets!



& Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG *
May 29

14, 2009




BC (April 2, 2009) – Continuing to celebrate 10 successful years as the city’s
premiere Asian Canadian theatre company, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT)
is excited to announce that it will be staging Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM
from May 29 to June 14 at
The Waterfront Theatre on Granville


is the very first time that this Tony award-winning Broadway musical will be
presented in
as a full production, during this, the 50th anniversary of the play.
Another milestone for
theatre will be the all-Asian-Canadian
, along with an Asian Canadian
production team
that includes director Rick Tae, choreographer Raphael Wong, set designer Janice Chiu, costumer designers Joyce Chung, Jeannine Sheares-Moon and producer Joyce Lam. Rounding out the team will
include musical director Christopher
and lighting designer Darren


notable highlights include actor and former
city councillor BC Lee and local
Asian comedian Tom Chin, in a cast
of eighteen that stars Issac Kwok as
young and impressionable Wang Ta, Rosie
as shy pre-arranged bride Mei Li, Jimmy Yi as hipster nightclub owner
Sammy Fong and Lannette New as
ready-for-the-altar showgirl Linda Low.


adding to the experience, VACT will include the use of sur-titles – Chinese text that’s
displayed above the stage so that non-English speaking Chinese members of the
audience will be able to follow along with the lyrics and the dialogue. This is
the second time that VACT has decided to use this visual aid to welcome as many
members of the local Asian community as possible – the first time being VACT’s
successful run last summer of the Asian version of Neil Simon’s THE ODD


& Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG, set in
of the late 50’s, takes a “colourful” approach to the age-old conflict that
affects even the traditional immigrant family – the Generation Gap. Sammy’s
folks have arranged a bride for him from
hoping to sever his relationship with showgirl Linda. Mei Li arrives shy and
naive – totally wrong for the modernized Sammy. But, she just may be the ticket
for Sammy’s buddy Ta, whose dad is trying to prevent his kids from discovering
rock ‘n roll, baseball, sports cars – a losing battle. However, Ta is smitten
with the sexy Linda – because she “enjoys
being a girl
.” Suddenly Sammy has to figure out how to get Ta and Mei
together so he can be with Linda. Of course, singing and dancing


DRUM SONG, first performed on Broadway in 1958, is seeing a revival lately. It
had fallen out of favour over the years as diversity awareness redefined how
minorities should be portrayed in the media. However, VACT’s production will
keep all of the original language of the play and attitudes of the day intact.
“Doing this, our audience will be able to
see the distinction in how far we’ve come and also be able to reminisce about
the past with a satirical sense of humour, “
says director Rick Tae. “It’s just amazing how far we’ve come,”
adds producer and VACT founder
Joyce Lam.  “We have 18 terrific actors and singers in
this cast. I remember clearly 10 years ago how we struggled to find 3
experienced Asian actors in all of
for our first play.”


more information, including cast and crew bios, please visit



Rodgers &
Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG

The Waterfront Theatre

Cartwright Street

28: Preview

29, 30, 31, June 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14



Purchase in

phone (604) 684-2787 with a $2.50 service charge

online or

Group Rates,
please call (778) 885-1973


performance Thursday May 28 at
8pm – $20

(only available
online at or cash-only at

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday evening performances at


$29 in
advance/$35 cash-only at door

matinees at
2pm (except
Wednesday June 3 matinee at
1pm) –

$24 in
advance/$30 cash-only at door


Rush Tickets: $17.50 cash-only at the door (max 2 per person)

and Seniors (65+): $20 cash-only at door

available Friday or Saturday evening performances)

Poet John Asfour, Kogawa House writer-in-residence joins Neworld Theatre May 19th at Vancouver Public Library

2009_April_Kogawa 018 by you.

John Asfour with “Joy Kogawa” and Judy Rebick at the April event for Historic Joy Kogawa House inaugural writer-in-residence programming. – photo Todd Wong

Two more events with John Asfour
will round out his third and final month in residence.

May  19 at 7:30 p.m.,
John presents an evening of Arabic poetry in
translation. John performs on the oud, or Arabic lute, as actors
Adrienne Wong and Marcus Youssef of Neworld Theatre read his poems and those of
Syrian poet Muhammad al-Maghut and Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s national poet.
This event will take place in the Alma VanDusen and Peter Kaye rooms on the
Lower Level of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 350 West
Georgia Street. Admission is free.

Back at Kogawa house on
Saturday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m.the final
evening of John's residency with ushe welcomes Gary Geddes
and Ann Eriksson for readings in celebration of John's residency. Gary Geddes
has written and edited more than 35 books and won a dozen national and
international literary awards, including the Gabriela Mistral Prize and, most
recently, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in BC. He will
read from Falsework about the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge in
Vancouver. Ann Eriksson’s new novel, In the Hands of Anubis, has been
described by the critics as wise, wicked, touching and funny. It ranges from
Cairo to Calgary to Ucluelet and has a cast of coyotes, tractors and dog-headed
gods. Her novel, Decomposing Maggie, appeared on bestseller lists in
2003. This event takes place at Kogawa house and seating is limited. To
reserve a seat, please respond to this message. 

I look forward to seeing you at one or both

Ann-Marie Metten


Telephone:  604-263-6586
Joy Kogawa House |  1450 West 64th Avenue |  Vancouver  | BC
|  V6P 2N4 |

Mabel Elmore and Naomi Yamamoto: First Canadians of Filipino and Japanese ancestry elected to BC Legislature

Mabel Elmore and Naomi Yamamoto elected to BC Legislature!

2009_May 248 by you.

Filipinos were the first Asians to come to North America.  Japanese Canadians were interned during WW2.  Both are now represented in BC Legislature.  The election of Mabel Elmore and Naomi Yamamoto will hopefully bring more diversity and inclusion to BC's Legislature, as Filipino and Japanese Canadians citizens have often been at the brunt of some of BC's legislation regarding racism and immigration.  Let us hope that the WW2 internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry, after their valiant fighting for Canada during WW1, will never happen again, nor affect other Canadians of ethnic ancestry.

2009_May 246

Mabel Elmore is proud to bring Filipino-Canadian representation to Victoria.  Elmore won Vancouver Kensington last night. When Mabel gave her short speech, her mother and cousins were standing nearby.  They were all very proud and happy that she was elected.

Naomi Yamamoto won North Vancouver Lonsdale for the Liberal Party, and will hopefully be in BC Cabinet.  Yamamoto has been chair of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.  She is also the daughter of Japanese-Canadian internment survivors.  Her father Mas Yamamoto celebrated her historic win with her on election night.
See: North Shore Outlook: Yamamoto becomes B.C.'s first-ever Japanese-Canadian MLA

2009_May 258

Jenny Kwan, BC's first Chinese-Canadian Cabinet Minister in 1988, was easily re-elected in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.

2009_May 279

Sharing a hug with friends Mel Lehan, who ran in Vancouver-Point Grey, and Meena Wong, who worked on Adrian Dix campaign in Vancouver-Kingsway.

Check out my pictures from last nights NDP party in Burnaby:

2009 BC Election: NDP party Vancouver Burnaby

2009 BC Election: NDP party…