On Friday night, Heather, Henry, Selena and I attended a spotlight on Japanese Canadian artist Midi Onodera at the AGO. This Reel Asian co-presentation included an intro by Lesley Loksi Chan (RA filmmaker), reflections/essays on Midi’s work by Monika Gagnon (Associate Professor, Communication Studies at Concordia University), Janine Marchessault (Associate Professor, Film Studies at York University), Kathleen Mullen (Director of Programming at Planet in Focus Film Festival), and Nadine Sivak (Policy Officer, Department of Canadian Heritage) and screenings of several of Midi’s work available on her DVDs through Art Metropole. My personal favourite was 10 Cents A Dance, a short that prompted a riot at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in the 1980s for its (some would say inappropriate) representation of the queer community. After knowing of Midi for several years, it was a real treat for me to be able to watch several of her films and hear her peers speaking highly of her work. By the way, if anyone is looking for work, Midi is hiring a new assistant – I swear she is not as scary as Lesley says she is.
On Saturday night, Sonia, Henry and I checked out the Night It Up! Markham Night Market organized by our friends at Power Unit. As a new initiative, we partnered with this long-standing event to present a free outdoor screening of Ip Man 2 (which we also screened last year in Richmond Hill). The inflatable screen was setup by Outdoor Air on the grassy ground at the corner of Town Centre Blvd and Hwy 7. Over 450 attendees got comfy with their Asian snacks and ooh-ed and aah-ed over Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung’s crazy kung-fu moves. Just imagine watching a martial arts flick with hundreds of your Asian relatives – yes, it was that good. Of course, we couldn’t leave the night market without trying out some of its local fare including stinky tofu (gold star to Henry for being the only one adventurous enough!), curry fish balls, octopus balls, Asian poutine (curry beef brisket on top of cheese, gravy and fries), potato twisters and BBQ lamb skewers. We also ran into some familiar faces like Asiansploitation‘s Franco (who also happens to be this year’s campaign poster boy and will be performing in their new show ALL GROWN UP July 21-23), Arthur Yeung (composer/musician for Suite Suite Chinatown) and Nelson Tam (who has helped organize Reel Asian’s RAMEN music night). If you didn’t get a chance to trek out to Night It Up this weekend, fear not! NAAAP Toronto hosts their 2nd Annual T&T Waterfront Night Market from July 21-24. Stop by the Reel Asian booth to say “hi” and eat some free popcorn…you will need something to wash down that octopi-breath