Category Archives: Asian Heritage Month

8th Annual Asian Comedy Night – May 18 & 19 – 8pm

8th Annual Asian Comedy Night – May 18 & 19 – 8pm

The Vancouver Asian Canadian
Theatre presents:

Etch-Your-Sketch SKETCHOFF!#$%!!
8th Annual Asian
Comedy Night

May 18 and May 19
Roundhouse Community Centre
Theatre, Vancouver

It's comedy night time again and this year, we have 6
new sketch groups competing for the coveted Vancouver Rice Bowl.
Etch-YOUR-Sketch SKETCHOFF!#$%!! – 8th Annual Asian Comedy Night is happening on
Friday, May 18th and Saturday, May 19th. The first night, the teams are judged
by people in the industry and on the 2nd night, the audience is the judge with
their applause and measured with a decibel reader. Teams have a chance to win up
to $350!

With names like Slant Eyed Peas, Sfuu Man Chu, Bananadrama,
Yangtzers, Lick the Wax Tadpole and Disoriental, it surely will be a night full
of laughs.

If you're not going away this long weekend, and you want
something that will make you laugh … check out the 8th annual Asian Comedy
Night. A guaranteed night of some pretty funny stuff. Help support Asian
Canadian Theatre in Vancouver.

SKETCHOFF!#$%!! has been a sold-out event
every year and the annual show has provided a rare showcase for various Asian
stand-up comedians and sketch groups
from all over Canada and the US. As a
developer of new talent, VACT had previously
incubated such successful local
Asian-Canadian sketch comedy troupes as HOT SAUCE POSSE and ASSAULTED FISH.

Come cheer the Etch-Your-Sketchers on! HA HA's are guaranteed a night
filled with HaHaHa's!

$12 in advance in person at the
Roundhouse Theatre,
by telephone 604.713.1800, or online on
$15 cash at the door
14+, some coarse language and sexually
suggestive content


Centre A – Limits of Toderance: Re-framing the Multicultural State Policy

Centre A –  Limits of Toderance: Re-framing the Multicultural State Policy

Here's an interesting art presentation at Centre A, the Vancouver International Centre for Contempory Art.  They always have rotating presentations as well as special one-off presentations that make for an exciting vibrant Pan-Asian-Canadian and Canadian arts culuture.  Check it out!


Limits of Tolerance:

Re-framing Multicultural State Policy


EXHIBITION: May 19 – June 23, 2007

OPENING: Friday May 18, 8pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday,

11:00 -18:00

Sunday-Monday closed


SYMPOSIUM: Saturday May 26,

14:00 – 17:00, UBC Robson Square theatre

Speakers: Laiwan, Candice Hopkins and Keith Langergräber

Free to the public

Guest Curator: Liz Park


Presented with support from the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student
Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and
Theory, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University
of British Columbia.


A group exhibition with works by Dana Claxton, Stan Douglas,
Laiwan, Paul Lang and Zachary Longboy, Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew, Anne
Ramsden, Ruby Truly, Henry Tsang, and Paul Wong.

a country that has touted its multicultural policies, the resurgence of
racist attitudes after 9/11 prompts critical assessment of race issues
today. In an effort to review race politics in the context of Canada's
colonial and immigrant policies, the exhibition Limits of Tolerance examines a period in recent history when cultural diversity became Canada's state policy with the 1988 Multiculturalism Act.

the late 1980s, an increasing number of artists explored and questioned
their own identity based on race, gender and sexuality, as lobby
efforts and activism of people of colour and aboriginal ancestry gained
momentum. With the 1988 Multiculturalism Act demanding government
agencies to reform or invent equity policies, the arts and culture
sector in particular underwent a turbulent period in which comfort
zones of liberal attitudes were challenged. The present exhibition Limits of Tolerance
re-presents a selection of artworks produced in Vancouver in the late
1980s and early 1990s when artists, writers and academics engaged in
intense debates about identifications based on race, gender, and
sexuality. This selection emphasizes the various and often contrasting
ways in which artists deal with issues of identity and critique social
structures which inform their identity.

artists featured in the exhibition used non-traditional visual media
such as video, performance, and photo-installation to push the limits
of art production at a time when the concept of a singular culture was
under scrutiny. While some artists actively identified their subjective
positioning and sought to speak from within communities defined by
race, gender, or sexuality, other artists deliberately avoided such
self-identification or resisted being categorized under a homogenous
group. The differing strategies deployed in dealing with the question
of identity have insulated discussions of certain artists' works from
others. Yet this exhibition brings together these works in renewed
discussions of identity and reflects on the common place and time
shared by each artist despite his/her distinct experience of race,
gender and sexuality.

alongside the artworks are archival materials from the cultural equity
caucus for the former Association of National Non-Profit Artists'
Centres (ANNPAC), Minquon Panchayat (1992-1993), the film festival In Visible Colours (1989), and the exhibitions Yellow Peril: Reconsidered (1990), Self Not Whole (1991), Racy Sexy (1993).
 The records of these cultural activities help reframe the presented
art works in broader terms, which include social and political history
of Canada, and the changing questions of community in an increasingly
globalized world. Revisiting this recent past sharpens a critical lens
through which one can see how race politics is played out in art and
the sociocultural and political arenas today.

symposium will be held on Saturday, May 26, 14:00 – 17:00 at the UBC
Robson Square theatre, featuring Laiwan, Candice Hopkins, and Keith
Langergräber as speakers.  The symposium will explore questions around
issues of difference and marginality and analyze the present state of
the arts and culture field in Canada.

Centre A gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its patrons,
sponsors, members, partners, private foundations, and government
funding agencies, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the
British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the
Office of Cultural Affairs.


For more Information, please contact the gallery:


Tel: 604-683-8326


Liz Park, Guest Curator:

Makiko Hara, Curator:

Joni Low, Public Relations:

Veterans fought for Respect – recognizing the contributions of Chinese Canadians

Veterans fought for Respect – recognizing the contributions of Chinese Canadians


Veterans fought for respect

News Features By Matthew Burrows

Publish Date: May 10,

A younger George Ing (left) joined the Canadian military in peacetime, and to this day salutes the pioneering Chinese Canadian vets of the Second World War.

A younger George Ing (left) joined the Canadian
military in peacetime, and to this day salutes the pioneering Chinese Canadian
vets of the Second World War.

Retired lieutenant-colonel
George Ing knows how much 2007 means to Chinese Canadians.

On Monday (May 14), the 73-year-old
Richmond resident will join other army, navy, and
air-force veterans at a proclamation ceremony at
Vancouver City Hall
at 10:30 a.m. The day marks the 60th anniversary of the repealing of the
Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 (the Exclusion Act) in 1947, after many Chinese
Canadians had fought in the Second World War on two fronts–to defeat the
spread of fascism and to be recognized as equal citizens in Canadian society.

“I joined in peacetime, 10 years after
the war,” Ing told the Georgia Straight. “When they [Chinese
Canadians] went to war, part of their aim was to show they were worthy
citizens. When they came back, they would take up the task of lobbying to get
us the franchise, which they did. Most of us who weren't around and weren't of
age to do anything are grateful to these guys. We're very aware that it's 62
years now since the end of the Second World War.”

According to Wendy Au, deputy city clerk at
City Hall, the city proclamation Ing has helped organize is not part of Asian
Heritage Month but “coincides with it”.

“This year is significant because of all
the anniversaries,” Au told the Straight. “There will be a dual
ceremony on that day. There will be an official swearing-in
[Canadian-citizenship] ceremony, and we will be honouring
the Chinese Canadian veterans.”

The cities of Burnaby
and Richmond will join
Vancouver in proclaiming May 14 to 21 Chinese
Canadian Citizenship Week. It is 60 years since Chinese Canadians received the
right to vote, and it is also the 50th anniversary of the election of the first
Chinese Canadian MP, Douglas Jung, in Vancouver Centre. In 1907, anti-Chinese
riots took place in Vancouver 's
Chinatown .

Victoria-born Ing said his father died when he
was three, and his family knows little about him. Now a grandfather himself,
Ing said he does not know for sure whether his grandfather, an immigrant from
China , was a head-tax payer on arrival in
Canada . In
1903, the Canadian government raised the head tax on Chinese immigrants to
$500. In 1923, Ottawa prohibited new Chinese
settlement in Canada ,
only lifting the ban in 1947.

“I grew up as a kid in
Victoria , and I think we were all aware of
our status in the community,” Ing said. “We weren't regarded well. I
personally grew up with my family on welfare. I can recall a lot of people
making comments like, 'You're a burden on society.' I was a little bit too
young to do anything about it at that time.

“I did make the vow that this is not
going to happen to my kids,” Ing added. “I had to go and pick up a
welfare cheque as part of my responsibilities. Even
at my age, and I was a teenager, I found it humiliating. Yes, the family had to
survive and that was part of my job, but I did not like doing that. It was just
something inside. But we have broken out of that now. My family has done well
and we have broken out of the cycle. I'm proud of that.”

David Wong, 49, grew up on
Union Street in Strathcona.
He has a Web site ( that neatly documents a rich
family history spanning multiple generations in China and Canada, including the
fact that both sides of his family paid the head tax.

“Head tax is a whole other story,”
Wong told the Straight. “Overall, what is really important is that people
know the history of our nation. Whether that's Chinese Canadians or other
community groups, it's important that people realize how the nation got to
where it is today and where it comes from. Younger people take for granted a
lot of the things we have now, such as the ability to become professionals.
This essentially came at a price. These [Chinese Canadian] vets fought for the
right to become full-participating citizens and be accepted.”

Chinese Canadian Veterans dinner May 12 – celebrating 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship

Chinese Canadian Veterans dinner May 12 – celebrating 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship

This Saturday I have organized a table for the Chinese Canadian Veterans celebrating 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship.

it has been 60 years since Chinese Canadians actually have citizenship
and voting rights – largely due to the lobbying and enrollment of
Chinese Canadian veterans of WW2.

Please join me in recognizing the achievements of the vets for our community.

call me to join my table… or so I can make arrangements for another table.

Cheers, Todd

Below is the invitation from the Chinese Canadian veterans, Pacific Unit 280.

Dear Friends:

For the last several years, I have been the Chaplain for Pacific Unit 280, Chinese Canadian WWII Veterans.  

As we look at the vets now, most in their eighties and nineties, it's
hard to believe that this group of “grumpy old men” helped transform
Canada. Before WWII, Chinese couldn't vote, be a doctor, lawyer – or
even work at the Post Office or go to a public swimming pool.  Worse,
many had immediate family in China that were not allowed to come to
Canada.  All this changed because in WWII, these men and women were
willing to fight and prove themselves honourable to a Canada, that did
not treat Chinese, honourably.

On Saturday, May 12th, as part
of Asian Heritage Month celebrations, the Chinese Canadian Military
Museum and SUCCESS are hosting a citizenship affirmation and dinner to
celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Chinese getting the vote and the
formation of Pacific Unit 280.  It will be held at the Continental
Seafood Restaurant at 11700 Cambie Road, Richmond.   Tickets are $45
which include dinner and a a new DVD of twenty three vignettes of some
of the vets DVD of Heroes Remember, as well as other gifts.

For many, this is a last hurrah and I'm hoping you might be able to
come and say a word of thanks to the vets.   If you are interested, you
can get tickets from me or Lt. Colonel George Ing at (604)271-0197.

Blessings all.

Wesley Lowe (604) 739-9725

explorFILM workshop with Mina Shum and Greg Chan for Asian Heritage Month

explorFILM workshop with Mina Shum

and Greg Chan for Asian Heritage Month

sounds like a fun workshop for Asian Heritage Month.  I loved
Mina's films Double Happiness.  This message is from Don
Montgomery, executive director of explorASIAN.

explorFILM: Workshop | Panel Discussion | Film Screening |
Q&A – May 12

Saturday – May 12 – 9:30am to

Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street (at Davie)

Tickets: On sale at the door on the day of the event starting
at 9:00am

FREE admission for explorASIAN Members with presentation of
2007 Membership Card at the door. explorASIAN 2007 Memberships available at the
door (CASH only)

Non-members: $10/person without membership (CASH

Ticket price includes admission to the Greg Chan Acting for
Beginners Workshop (9:30am-10:30am), the Industry Panel Discussion
(11:00am-12:30am), and the film screening/Q&A with Mina Shum (1:00pm to



> > > > >

Acting for Beginners Workshop with Greg Chan

9:30am – 10:30am

got his big break in 1994 when he was cast as Uncle Bing in Mina Shum's first
feature film, Double Happiness. Since then, he's gone on to a number of roles in
television, movies and commercials.

His credits include “Once A Thief”
(1996; dir: John Woo), “Seven Days” (2001), “Dark Angel” (2001), “Da Vinci's
Inquest” (2004), “Intelligence” (2005), “Live Feed” (2006), and “Dragon Boys”

In addition to screen and TV acting, Greg has experience doing
voice-overs for animation projects. Hear Greg share his passion for acting and
his strategies for success in the film industry.

> > > >

explorFILM: Industry Panel Discussion – “So You Really Want to Get
Into the Film Industry?”

11:00am to 12:30am

Meet some of the Lower
Mainland's leading industry professionals and find out what it really takes to
make it in the film industry. Q&A follows panel


Olivia Cheng – Actor/Journalist (Broken
Trail, Entertainment Tonight
Canada )

Jason Furukawa – Director (Robson Arms,
Godiva’s, Cold Squad)

Derek Lowe – Producer/Actor (Dragon
Boys, Romeo Must Die, Crying Freeman)

Andrew Ooi – Talent Management (Echelon
Talent Management)

Darryl Quon – Stuntman/Actor (Alien vs
Predator 2, Night at the Museum, Dragon Boys)

Rick Tae – Actor (Robson Arms,
Intelligence, Godiva’s)

Debbie Walker – Publicist (Translucent

Katie Yu – Still Photographer (Kickin’
It Old School, Dragon Boys, Everything’s Gone Green)

> >
> > >

explorFILM: Mina Shum's “Long Life, Happiness &

1:00pm to 2:30pm 5th Anniversary Film Screening of “Long
Life, Happiness & Prosperity”

2:30pm to 3:30pm Q&A with Director
Mina Shum and some cast and crew members from the film

> > >
> >

explorFILM 2007 is presented by Shaw Multicultural Channel
(Channel 109)

Hope you can join us on Saturday.  Please pass
this email forward to anyone who is thinking of working in the film
industry.  Thanks!
Don Montgomery
Executive Director

110 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC   V6A
Office 604.677.1383
MAY is Asian Heritage Month in
Celebrating our 11th Anniversary in 2007

Evening of Poetry with Evelyn Lau and Indran Amirthanayagam – Monday!

Evening of Poetry with Evelyn Lau
and Indran
– Monday!
Check out this
exciting evening of poetry for Asian Heritage Month.  I have met
Evelyn a number of times, and even booked her for Asian Heritage Month
events when I helped to program events for explorASIAN. Evelyn is an
exciting reader with thoughtful penetrating words and images.

I also first met Senator Vivienne Poy in Ottawa, when I was working for
explorASIAN in 2002.  We discovered that we were related through
the marriage of her husband's aunt to my grandmother's eldest
brother.  What a small world it is!  She has been the patron
senator of spreading Asian Heritage month throughoutthe country, and was the first Chinese-Canadian appointed to the senate.

Evening of Poetry with Evelyn Lau
Indran Amirthanayagam (poet)


7pm to 8:30pm

Free admission – Open to the Public – Age 19+

Wild Ginger Asian
Fusion & Lounge

Tinseltown –
International Village (2nd Floor) – 88 West Pender Street,

With Special Guest
Senator Vivienne Poy (the first Canadian Senator of Asian

The Globe and Mail
named Evelyn Lau one of the most influential people in the arts. 

The author of nine books, including
Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid, Fresh Girls and Other Stories, 
Choose Me and the novel Other Women, Evelyn considers
herself more the poet than the prose writer.

Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in over a hundred
publications in Canada and the US,

including Best American Poetry 1992, Kenyon Review, Michigan
Quarterly Review, The Southern Review,
Malahat Review and Descant. Several of her books have been
translated into a dozen languages.

Evelyn Lau's first poetry collection, You Are Not Who You Claim,
won the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Prize;
her second, Oedipal Dreams, was shortlisted for the Governor
General's Award, making Lau, then 20,
the youngest person ever nominated. She was named Air Canada's
“Most promising Writer Under 30”,
has won the Vantage Woman of Originality Award.. Her new collection of poems is

Evelyn has read and
discussed her work at festivals, colleges and universities around the world,

and has been writer in residence at
UBC's Creative Writing Program, the Varuna Writers' Centre in Australia,
and Vancouver Community College. She
has also taught at Simon Fraser University.

Evelyn's bestseller “Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid” was broadcast
as a CBC-TV “Movie of the Week”,
starring Sandra Oh in her first movie

writes poetry in
English, Spanish and French.  He also translates from Spanish. 
His books include The Elephants of
Reckoning (1994 Paterson Poetry Prize), El Infierno de los Pajaros,
Ceylon R.I.P., and El Hombre que
Recoge Nidos.  Amirthanayagam’s translations of Mexican poet
Manuel Ulaca were included in
Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry.

Recent translations of Mexican poet Julian Herbert were published
in the Americas issue of BOMB.
next book The Splintered Face: tsunami poems will be published in the US in late

Amirthanayagam has received
fellowships from the US Mexico Fund for Culture for translations and
the New York Foundation for the Arts
and the MacDowell Colony for poems.  Amirthanayagam’s essays
have been published in the Hindu
(India), Reforma and El Norte (Mexico), The Daily News (Sri Lanka)

and the New York Times (United
).  His poems have been anthologized in The United States of Poetry,
ALOUD: Voices from the Nuyorican
Poets Café, The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America, Only the Sea Keeps:
Tsunami Poems, among others. 
Amirthanayagam performs his poems with the group Non-Jazz. 
He also directed Palabras en Vuelo:
Poesia en Conversacion, a program about poetry for public television
in Mexico. His next book in Spanish
Sol Camuflado is being revised for publication. Amirthanayagam won
the Poetry Prize of the Juegos
Florales in Guaymas, Sonora in 2006.

Amirthanayagam was born in Colombo, Ceylon in 1960. He came to the
United States in 1975.

He has been a
member of the United States Foreign Service since 1993. He has served his
adoptive country
in Argentina,
Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, Mexico, India and now as Public Affairs Officer at the
United States Consulate General,

Vivienne Poy
is an author,
entrepreneur, fashion designer, and historian, and is the first Canadian

of Asian descent to be appointed to
the Senate of Canada. She was appointed to the Senate in 1998.

She served as Chancellor of the University of Toronto
from 2003 until 2006. She founded Vivienne Poy Mode
in 1981 and over the following fourteen years enjoyed great
success in fashion design, manufacturing and retail.
She is currently Chairwoman of Lee Tak Wai Holdings
Ltd., and a member of the Board of the Bank of East Asia (Canada).

A Motion to designate the month
of May as Asian Heritage Month was introduced in the Canadian Senate

by Senator Vivienne Poy on May 29,
2001, and seconded by Senator Pat Carney. Senators Sheila Finestone,
Noel A. Kinsella, Nicholas W. Taylor
and Laurier LaPierre spoke in favour of it.

In December, 2001, the Senate of Canada passed a motion officially
designating May as Asian Heritage Month.

Presented by explorASIAN and Ricepaper

Beyond Multiculturalism: check out film screenings of “In the Shadow of Gold Mountain” at Rhizome Cafe

Beyond Multiculturalism:
check out film screenings of “In the Shadow of Gold Mountain” at Rhizome Café

The following notice was sent to me from No One Is Illegal -Vancouver, as they celebrate Asian Heritage Month with the screenings of two incredible films.  I reviewed and wrote about “In the Shadow of Gold Mountain.”   Check out these previous stories and interviews.


Celebrate Asian Heritage Month with a critical perspective on labour,
migration, and race in a special film screening and discussion…

Thursday May 3 @ 6pm
Rhizome Café, Vancouver
317 E. Broadway (corner Kingsway)
Films by donation $0-5

Organized by No One is Illegal-Vancouver and supported by Association
Of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society and South Asian
Network for Secularism and Democracy.


*** 6:00 PM:

“In the Shadow of Gold Mountain”. In the Shadow of Gold
Mountain travels from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the
last living survivors of The Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, in
force from 1885 until 1947. This unfair legislation plunged the Chinese
community in Canada into more than 62 years of debt and family

At the centre of the film are personal accounts of people like James
Wing, who, at the age of 10, was forced to pay $500 – the cost of two houses
at the time – to live with his father in Canada, and Gim Wong, a WWII
Veteran who witnessed his parents’ struggle to pay off their Head Tax debt.
This compelling documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity
Of generations of Chinese in Canada and reveals the profound ways that
history still casts its shadow.

* DISCUSSION in between films, including with community organizers for
Chinese-Head Tax redress and Kamagata Maru redress and memorial.

*** 7:30 PM:  “Continuous Journey”. The Kamagata Maru entered the port
of Vancouver in 1914. On board were 376 immigrants, who for two months,
lived like prisoners, threatened by famine and disease as the ship was
refused permission to land. At the time, Canadian society was characterized by
strong racist tendencies among people determined to preserve a
predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon heritage and who called openly for a
“White Canada Forever.” The incident of the Kamagata Maru marks a dark
chapter in Canada’s immigration history and contributed to the growing
anti-colonial sentiment in India. The film, which required eight years
of research, is solidly documented, packed with archival material, and
presented in an original way that resonates powerfully with
contemporary events.

For more information contact us at or call 778 885

May is Asian Heritage Month… all across the country

May is Asian Heritage Month… all across the country

From Halifax to Vancouver… and everywhere in-between… Asian Heritage Month will be celebrated.
Here are the websites for Asian Heritage celebrations in

Halifax: Asian Heritage Month 

Fredericton: Asian Heritage Month Committee

Montreal: Accès Asie

Ottawa: Ottawa
Asian Heritage Month Society

Toronto: Asian Heritage Month

Winnipeg: Asian Heritage

Edmonton: Edmonton
Asian Heritage Month

Calgary: imaginAsian

Vancouver :

David Suzuki: The Autobiography… wins the BC Bookseller's Choice Award

David Suzuki: The Autobiography…
wins the BC Bookseller's Choice Award
David Suzuki…

Congratulations to the winners
announced on Saturday, April 28, 2007
at the Lieutenant Governor's
BC Book Prize Gala
, emceed by William Deverell at Government House,
in Victoria.

Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie

Suzuki and Greystone Books
David Suzuki: The Autobiography

This is a great book!  I received it as a gift from my friend Ian
for my birthday last year.  Suzuki details many aspects of his
life.  His time spent in the Japanese-Canadian internment camps is
discussed in the chapter “My happy childhood in racist BC.”

Suzuki describes how his tenure at UBC was affected by his divorce, but
also how the assination of Martin Luther King affected his activism on
social and racial issues.  Some chapters describing his growing
commitment to environmental issues is fascinating, particularly the
descriptions of the Stein Valley Music Festival.

He also shares some stories about his children, both from his first
marriage and his second marriage.  Particularly interesting is how
his daughter Severn Suzuki-Cullis becomes committed to environmental
issues and develops the drive to attend the Earth Summit at Rio de
Janiero, becoming an environmental celebrity that captures the media
attention and an invitation to speak at the United Nations.

Dr. David Suzuki is indeed on of Canada's greatest living Canadians…

If you would like to sign a petition to have a park named after him….
call Vancouver Parks Commissioner Spencer Herbert.  Herbert has
proposed to have the park at 72nd Ave and Selkirk St. named after David
Suzuki.  This park is just around the corner from the Suzuki
childhood home that that was confiscated by the Canadian government
when the Canadian-born Suzuki family was interned during WW2 for being
“enemy aliens.”

Vancouver Sun: Dancer's Search for Cultural Identity – features Alvin Erasga Tolentino

Vancouver Sun: Dancer's Search for Cultural Identity – features Alvin Erasga Tolentino

I first met
Alvin Erasga Tolentino about 6 years ago at the Vancouver Public Library.  Alvin was starting up his new dance company Co. Erasga Dance
and he would use the computers in the Central Branch computer lab where
I worked at the time.  We hit it off, and he invited me to some of
his shows… and over the years, I have both attended and reviewed some
of his works (see
Alvin Tolentino's “She Said” – featuring vibrant contemporary Dance

He is considered one of the top Asian-Canadian dance choreographers.

This weekend he is featured at the Telus Studio Theatre in the Chan
Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC, on both Saturday evening and
Sunday afternoon.

Check out the Vancouver Sun article written by Kevin Griffin about Alvin on Saturday:

Kevin Griffin,
Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, April 28, 2007


By Co. Erasga

Telus Studio Theatre in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC

– – –

Alvin Erasga Tolentino was in the process of creating Field 1, eyebrows
were raised in the Philippines. Even the Filipino choreographer who
commissioned Tolentino was concerned about an outsider, who had lived
in North America for years, creating a dance work about rice, a food
staple utterly central to the way of life in the Philippines.

however, was confident, trusting his intuition. On a trip home to the
country of his birth five years ago, he realized he had to find a way
to synthesize the years he spent learning ballet and modern dance in
Canada with the memories and feelings he had from growing up for the
first 12 years of his life in the Philippines.

“I had a huge, huge need to turn to my roots,” Tolentino said in an interview.

was just beginning to understand who I was. So, I literally went back
to Asia to see where I came from and what was happening there.

was an eye opener for me. I really began to formulate in the structure
of my creation and my choreography about what it is like to integrate
that background, those roots, into what I know and into what I have
been transformed into in the Western world.

“Field is the result.”

is performing his reworked version of Field: 1, called Field: Land is
the Belly of Man, at the Telus Studio Theatre in the Chan Centre for
the Performing Arts at the University of B.C. tonight and Sunday.
Tonight's performance is pay-what-you-can in honour of International
Dance Day; Sunday's performance is a gala benefit at $50 a ticket for
the Multicultural Helping House Society.

After this weekend's
performances, Tolentino takes Field: Land to Toronto, Quebec City,
Montreal and Winnipeg. In August, Tolentino will be performing Field:
Land in the Philippines as well as in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

multicultural and international journey of Field: Land started in
Tolentino's birthplace, Quezon City, part of sprawling metropolitan
Manila. As a youngster, he performed in traditional Filipino folk
dancing in elementary school but said one of his strongest memories of
dance was watching an aunt dance flamenco when he was five or six years

The move from Asia to North America occurred because of his
mother, Zenaida, who arrived in Saskatoon to work as a seamstress. But
it took only one visit to Vancouver to convince her that West Coast
winters were preferable to the cold and snow of the Prairies.

Vancouver, Alvin, the eldest of three, attended Notre Dame high school.
Before graduation, he told his parents he wanted to leave the West
Coast to study dance at one of the country's centres of modern dance. On a
trip east, he visited Toronto and went to New York and Montreal, where
he immersed himself as much as possible in the world of modern dance.