45th Powell Street Festival

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Known as the largest Japanese Canadian art and culture event in the country, the Powell Street Festival Society (“PSFS”) is adapting to public health restrictions and revamping its programming this summer. Festival-goers can stay bubble-safe yet connected to the historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood for the annual festival celebration on July 31 and August 1, 2021.

45th Powell Street Festival

45th Powell Street Festival

The 45th Powell Street Festival offers an array of on-demand creative works, on-location performances, DIY workshops, and community-building activities. There will be no large public gathering event. The festival website will be the hub for programming throughout July, culminating in a critical mass of activity during the BC Day Long Weekend.

“We are prioritizing community connection,” says Executive Director Emiko Morita. “In consultation with our stakeholders, we’re supporting our grassroots groups to create self-sufficient, accessible interactions and resources. Martial artists, Japanese folk singers, actors, poets, musicians and dancers will host bubble-safe programs through the internet and/or in person, these events will then reverberate through photographs, YouTube videos, or Zoom virtual gatherings. Follow #PowellStFest to witness this high velocity of activity.”

The on demand content includes a showcase of local and international artist collaborations that PSFS commissioned specifically for digital consumption, including:

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Indish Food Truck Celebrates One Year with Farmers Market Fundraiser

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What better combo than a local farmers market, a tasty food truck, and a fundraiser that will help provide food security for children in our community? On Sunday, June 13th, Indish Food Truck will celebrate its one year anniversary at the Mt Pleasant Farmers Market with a fundraiser for Backpack Buddies.

Indish Food Truck Celebrates One Year with Farmers Market Fundraiser
Founders Tushar & Anant. Photo submitted.

Indish Food Truck Celebrates One Year with Farmers Market Fundraiser

Where: Mt Pleasant Farmers Market (8th Ave. & Guelph St, Vancouver)
When: Sunday, June 13, 2021 from 9:00am to 2:00pm
All proceeds from menu items purchased that day will go to Backpack Buddies

“While COVID is still impacting the community, Indish is helping out by doing what they do the best – serving delicious Indian food outdoors, with all precautions in place.”

Started by Tushar Shroff and Anant Singh, on June 13, 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, Indish is giving back to the community that has supported it through a challenging year. Indish food truck serves Indian-inspired cuisine that is cooked consciously and is healthy, with a few indulgences.

Tushar and Anant both immigrated to Vancouver in 2019, where they met and discovered that they shared their passion for serving the kind of food that they grew up with: food that was simple, healthy and delicious.

Indish Kitchen menu items. Photo submitted.
Indish Kitchen menu items. Photo submitted.

Menu items include: Paratha Wrap (flaky, crispy & chewy wrap enveloping all your favourite fixing); Coconut Korma; Butter Sauce; Poutine; Spinach Curry, Chana Kebab; Bun Samosa (a crispy samosa, smashed in a pav bun dressed with mint, tamarind chutney and our kachumber slaw); Sev Puri (crispy wheat crackers topped with potatoes, onions, and a trio of mint, tamarind and garlic chutneys, finished with crispy split-chickpea vermicelli bits) … and much more!

This Sunday, the team is contributing all of their birthday proceeds to Backpack Buddies, a local charity that provides backpacks full of meals to children in need. 

“While vulnerable students may take advantage of school-based meal programs during the week, few supports exist on weekends, when many kids suffer in secret. Backpack Buddies‘ community of donors, volunteers and caring partners address this crisis by discreetly providing bags of food to students in need every Friday, with enough meals and snacks to last the entire weekend. Backpack Buddies reaches out to hungry kids across BC with the food they need to learn and grow.”

Follow the Indish team on Instagram for more info about this fundraiser and where they’ll be next!

Summer Exhibitions at Surrey Art Gallery: Cindy Mochizuki and Henry Tsang

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The Surrey Art Gallery presents two solo exhibitions this summer: Cindy Mochizuki: Autumn Strawberry and Henry Tsang: Hastings Park from June 26 to August 28, 2021. Mochizuki and Tsang take camera and projection technologies and use them in unexpected ways to illuminate histories and everyday moments.

Summer Exhibitions at Surrey Art Gallery

  • When: June 26 to August 28, 2021
  • Where: Surrey Art Gallery (13750 88 Ave, Surrey)
  • Admission: Free
Cindy Mochizuki, Autumn Strawberry, 2021, animation still. Photo courtesy of artist.
Cindy Mochizuki, Autumn Strawberry, 2021, animation still. Photo courtesy of artist.

Cindy Mochizuki’s multimedia installation takes visitors back in time to Japanese Canadian farms in the twentieth century prior to WWII. Autumn Strawberry emerges from her artist residency at Surrey Art Gallery in 2019.

Mochizuki met with dozens of Nisei and Sansei (second and third generation) Japanese Canadians whose parents and grandparents had owned or worked on agricultural farms across the Fraser Valley. These sites included Strawberry Hill/Surrey, Mission, Haney, Langley, and Maple Ridge. Combining archival research with these collected stories of farm life, Autumn Strawberry weaves together a series of short vignettes imagined through a 60 minute hand-painted and digital animation projected onto the Gallery’s walls and screens. Visitors will life on these farms—women pickling, children polishing chicken eggs, and men picking berries. Mochizuki combines real with imagined characters and storylines in keeping with her art practice of historical re-creation. 

 “I’m grateful for the work that has already been done inside the Japanese Canadian community by those who have documented the Fraser Valley history of Japanese Canadians so carefully and for those who came to share their stories with me while in residence,” says Mochizuki. “Animation and its ability to blend both story and historical facts provides another lens to revisit familial histories and open other narratives inside this work.” 

Henry Tsang, Hastings Park: Building A - Livestock Building North, View Looking West, 2021, pigment ink on metallic paper, 122 cm x 91 cm. Photo by artist.
Henry Tsang, Hastings Park: Building A – Livestock Building North, View Looking West, 2021, pigment ink on metallic paper, 122 cm x 91 cm. Photo by artist.

Henry Tsang’s Hastings Park picks up where Mochizuki leaves off. His multimedia installation presents photographs and projections of four buildings at Hastings Park in Vancouver, where, in 1942, roughly 8000 Japanese Canadians were marshalled and detained prior to being sent to internment and labour camps in the BC interior, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. Among the four buildings is the Livestock Building—a place associated nowadays with the Pacific National Exhibition’s popular pig races and petting zoo. 

Tsang used a thermal imaging camera to create his images based in part on the compositions and staging of Leonard Frank’s documentary photographs of the Japanese Canadian internment in this temporary incarceration site. A thermal imaging camera is typically used in the construction industry to display differences in temperature by detecting light rays that are invisible to the human eye. Such photographs can reveal leaks or cracks in a building. 

Tsang says, “In using this camera, I’m asking the buildings to remember when they housed 8000 people. This camera exposes not only the current condition of the buildings, but also the past and hidden histories inscribed within. It can see things we can’t.” 

Join Cindy Mochizuki and Henry Tsang for a virtual conversation about their exhibits on Saturday, July 17 at 7:00pm via Facebook Live and YouTube.

Curated by Jordan Strom. The Gallery would like to acknowledge its community partners for these exhibitions: Powell Street Festival in Vancouver and Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby. 

The Arts Club Re-Opens for Summer 2021

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Today the Arts Club Theatre Company announced that it will reopen its venues for live, on-site theatrical productions this summer, starting in July. This special programming features two riveting solo shows, along with a powerful new audio play.

The Arts Club Re-Opens for Summer 2021

The Arts Club Re-Opens for Summer 2021

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran, who revealed the Art Club’s summer lineup, said, “Once the province announced the plans to lift restrictions, which included allowing limited indoor gatherings, we celebrated the news. Then we got busy doing what we do best—creating live theatre! And all this will be done in the most stable, safe way possible.”  

Corcoran described the summer programming as “solo shows that are inspiring, potent testaments to the power of theatre. These plays will be helmed by Vancouver talents Marie FarsiBobby Garcia, and Sherry Yoon, respectively, each of whom will be making their Arts Club directorial debut.”

I, Claudia July 22­–August 15, 2021
Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre  

The summer will kick off with I, Claudia at the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre starting Thursday, July 22. Lili Beaudoin will star in Kristen Thomson’s acclaimed play of a young girl coming into her own. Performed with costume masks to signal character change, this show’s uncommon form will offer audiences a surprising, engaging experience. I, Claudia, which was published by Playwrights Canada Press, has been adapted into a film that was featured on the CBC and at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story August 5–29, 2021
Granville Island Stage

The second in-person show, Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, will start at the Granville Island Stage on Thursday, August 5. Beau Dixon’s work is a celebration of the real-life miner Maurice Ruddick’s hopefulness, joyful spirit, and strength. His positivity and courage, which will be embodied by actor and singer Jeremiah Sparks, were a lifeline for himself and his colleagues during the 1958 mining disaster. This piece, and the music that is so integral to it, invites audiences to experience what it would take to live through an unimaginable event and shines with the resiliency of the human spirit.

Mala Audio play available September 1–28, 2021

For the third offering of the summer, the Arts Club is thrilled to release an audio version of the award-winning Mala, by Melinda Lopez. Making this work available in an intimate manner through digital means ensures that a wide audience can experience Carmen Aguirre’s commanding, funny performance as a woman who faces competing demands on her time and emotional resources. The audio play will be available from Wednesday, September 1.

All shows will be staged and produced in adherence to safety guidelines established by the BC government, including a current indoor audience capacity of 50 people.

Queer Arts Festival – Dispersed

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Queer Arts Festival – Dispersed is a three-week eco-apocalyptic exploration of queer experience and artistic expression in the face of an ongoing pandemic and marginalization. Vancouver’s premiere artist-run, multidisciplinary roister of art and culture, Queer Arts Festival (“QAF”) is back for its 13th year this summer, in a hybrid format with both online and offline events and performances.

Queer Arts Festival Dispersed 2021

Queer Arts Festival – Dispersed

  • Where: Various venues & online
  • When: July 24 to August 13, 2021
  • Tickets: Limited quantity of early bird passes are available online for $69 (that’s a 50%+ discount) only until July 1st.

For the first time, QAF’s suite of visual art, performance, music, literary and  workshop events will be presented in a dispersed format across the Lower Mainland—from the depths of the Sun Wah Centre and rooftop overlooking historic Chinatown, to Mountain View Cemetery, False Creek and QAF’s usual stomping grounds, the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre. Following the success of last year’s online festival, QAF will also have a streaming component.

Event highlights include: Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour and SD Holman’s visual art curation; a fabulously punk Japanese folk music and dance performance from Onibana Taiko and Alvin Erasga Tolentino; and a reimagining of Annea Lockwood’s 20th-century classic, Piano Burning, where fire becomes a vehicle for reclamation and decolonization (yes, they are burning a piano).

Event Lineup

Saturday July 24, 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Festival Opening | SUM & Sun Wah 268 Keefer
QAF’s opening: animating the Sun Wah Building from the basement, to the SUM gallery to the rooftop overlooking Chinatown and beyond, they’re launching the Dispersed QAF in champagne style with DJ O Show.

it’s not easy being green: Curated Visual Art Exhibition and Tour
Saturday July 24 to Friday August 13
Visual Art | SUM  & Sun Wah 268 Keefer Lower Ground
Navigating the heart breaking and familiar landscape of apocalyptic post-colonial collapse, artists selected by Co-Curators Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour and SD Holman explore how Queer Art unfurls and blooms in continued and stubbornly vibrant survival. 

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