Flipside Festival 2012

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Carlos Bulosan Theatre in Partnership with
The Kapisanan Centre for Philippine Arts and Culture proudly present

Flipside Festival
March 8th-11th 2012
at 167 Augusta Ave, Toronto ON

Celebrating Filipino Artists including:
Free Interactive Gallery exhibits by Visual and Installation Artists
Free Workshops &
Tales from the Flipside
CBT’s 11th annual showcase of emerging professional Filipino-Canadian playwrights & theatre artists!

For the past 6 months members of The Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s Play Creation Unit have been introduced and exposed to various approaches of seeing and creation theatre. Lead by Director of Play Creation, Marjorie Chan, these four emerging professional playwrights are readying their scripts for mounted Carlos Bulosan Theatre Productions!

Theatre Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can at the door. There is limited Seating so please arrive on time.
Click on the Flyer below to see the details!


Happy Family Day from CBT

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Taking a less formal approach on the community blog – I thought to wish you all a Happy Family Day (Ontario Statutory Holiday) and tell you about the first time I went to the Philippines and met my family, all five Titas, all 25+ cousins, and all extended family.

For those who don’t know, I’m Canadian born with both Filipino and Scottish backgrounds. My father came to Canada from Scotland in 1965 and my mother came to Canada in 1981, they met years later in Toronto on a blind date in Toronto and fell in love. To give you a little more context my Lolo and Lola migrated to Canada under “Family Care” in 1992 my Lola “hated the cold” and migrated back within a few years while my Lolo stayed, and  became a citizen before his death in 2006. He is buried in Canada.

There was a lot of pressure, both conscious and subconscious, surrounding my December 2008 visit. I was fearful about how I would be perceived, my appearance, my upbringing and my lack of language all contributed to my growing anxieties of the unknown.  I couldn’t do research on the area, demorgraphics (and shark attack stats) etc. My mom’s small village which boasts a healthy population of six people isn’t even available on Google Maps! I was never told a single story about where or how my mother grew up, there are no photographs, home movies or letters, I was only given snip-its memories in the form of passive comments before the conversation was change.

I thought that my family would tell me stories upon stories about my Lolo and help me gain insight into my mother’s upbringing and her relationship with her Mother. My mother is the middle of five sisters and the only one who moved to Canada, via London, as part of the Foreign Domestic Worker Program (before it was called the Live-In-Caregiver Program.) I saw my mother as a balikbayan and how that affected her relationship with each family member. I was being treated like an outsider by my mother and was frustrated with her while she was able to grieve with everyone since the passing of their patriarch. I wanted to grieve too. (hashtag family drama).

As a first-generation Canadian I feel ever more enriched knowing where (both) my parents come from. My discoveries, shape and inform the person that I am. I urge and encourage children of migrant parents to keep asking questions and let your parents tell stories about the home-land.

Years later, an another trip in 2010, my relationship with my family is wonderful but it was a turbulent time trying to seek history when the history was deemed irrelevant compared to the current family dynamics.

So, today I’m working from my parents home – my dad and I are trying to fend for ourselves in the kitchen while my mother is in the Philippines visiting. She  phoned last night to tell me that everything is “fine” and I gave her a gentile reminder that it’s family day to which she barked “What day? don’t buy me a card, save your money!”

Salamat! Thank you! To my all time favourite Santa Guerrilla for letting me use their song “Oh Woman” for the video. Please check out Alex Punzalan’s new song  and like them on Facebook “Pacific Blues Music

Filipino Canadian Artist #6 Cassie Steele

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In an attempt to raise the profile of  Filipino Artists in Canada the Carlos Bulosan Theatre will be posting selected profiles of artists every day for the next week. This posting stems from an original blog post by aspiring Filipino Artists who came to CBT questioning diversity of Filipino artists on stage and the longevity of life in the Entertainment and Performing Arts sectors.

This Artist will be our final showcased installment. Not because there are only six working Filipino-Canadian Artists but that the six artists showcased are only the TIP of this massive iceberg of Filipino-Canadian talent. The Artists and their respective careers do prove that Filipino-Canadians can have a life in arts/entertainment and sustain themselves and achieve national and international status.

Today’s Artist is Toronto born actress and singer-song writer, Cassandra Steele. You may recognize her best for her role as Manny Santos from CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation and now as Abby on Much Music’s LA Complex


Fun Facts (thanks Wikipedia) Cassie began crafting her own songs to go with her poetry when she was in the first grade, she then began taking singing lessons. She attended London School of Dance in Scarborough and trained in ballet and jazz dance. Cassie was also a gymnast for quite some time.

Her debut album, How Much for Happy, was released in 2005, followed by two Canadian tours. Steele’s follow-up album, Destructo Doll, was released on July 21, 2009.

Filipino Canadian Artist #5 Jovanni Sy

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Stop! Hammer Time.
And what I mean to say is, Congratulations to Playwright, Actor, and Director,  Jovanni Sy who was just recently appointed the new Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre in Richmond BC.

Jovanni was the Assistant Director on Carlos Bulosan’s Miss Orient(ed) which was Nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Outstanding Direction & Outstanding Costume Design (Independent Division).

Jovanni has performed with theatre companies across Canada including Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (St. John’s), The Grand Theatre (London), The Citadel (Edmonton), The Banff Centre, Theatre Junction (Calgary), Globe Theatre (Regina), Nakai Theatre (Whitehorse), and Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. His most recent appearance was in Fear of Flight at the East Vancouver Cultural Centre during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Among his numerous film and television credits are regular roles on two CBC series—Riverdale and Side Effects.

In 2010, Jovanni was the Playwright-in-Residence at the Shaw Festival where he worked on The Birth of the American Empire (as told by those who received the Blessings of Liberty), an epic drama set during the Spanish-American War. In July 2010, Jovanni wrote and performed his one-man play, A Taste of Empire which was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Outstanding New Play.

From 2004-2009, he was artistic director of Cahoots Theatre Copmany. In 2011, he returned to Cahoots to perform his one-man play, A Taste of Empire (dir. Guillermo Verdecchia , in which he prepared  Bangos (traditional Filipino fish recipe) for us all to eat in the St. Lawrence Market Kitchen, while comically deconstructing the historical, political, and ethical implications of the dish, particularly in respect to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, and the globalization of jobs and food production. It was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Outstanding Production and Outstanding New Play or New Musical (Independent Division).

(he’s too legit to quit)

Filipino Canadian Artist #4 Ma-Anne Dionisio

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In an attempt to raise the profile of  Filipino Artists in Canada the Carlos Bulosan Theatre will be posting selected profiles of artists every day for the next week. This posting stems from an original blog post by aspiring Filipino Artists who came to CBT questioning diversity of Filipino artists on stage and the longevity of life in the Entertainment and Performing Arts sectors.

Today’s Artist is Ma-Anne Dionisio! I first met Ma-Anne two years ago at the Toronto Fringe’s Next Stage Theatre Festival, she was playing the lead in the new musical Just East of Broadway. I had one of those moments, thinking to myself “This is THE MA-ANNE of Les Mis, of Miss Saigon, of….awesomeness.”

Ma-Anne, raised in Winnipeg, was only in her teens when she first starred in the Mirvish Productions’ Miss Saigon at Toronto’s The Princess of Wales Theatre 19 years ago. She went on to play the role of Kim in international productions of Miss Saigon at Theatre Royal Drury Lane (London, U.K.); Capitol Theatre (Sydney); and more recently in 2003, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production.

But that’s not all! Here in Canada as she played The Princess in Aladdin (Dayton Entertainment); Sandy in Grease (the Elgin Theatre), and Maria in West Side Story (Stratford Festival), among others.

She reprised the role of Eponine in various productions of Les Miserables in various cities abroad: at the Nico Milan Theatre in Capetown; the Kallang Theatre in Singapore; the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre; and also with the International Touring Company in London.

Oh yaaa she’s also trying her hand at writing and is a member of CBT’s Novice Play Creation Unit.

 

Filipino Canadian Artist #3 Byron Abalos

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In an attempt to raise the profile of  Filipino Artists in Canada the Carlos Bulosan Theatre will be posting selected profiles of artists every day for the next week. This posting stems from an original blog post by aspiring Filipino Artists who came to CBT questioning diversity of Filipino artists on stage and the longevity of life in the Entertainment and Performing Arts sectors.

Today’s Artist is none other my good friend Byron Abalos, Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s Playwright in Residence for the 2008/2009 season and is making an imprint on the theatrical landscape in San Fransisco CA.

Promo Photo of Byron Abalos from the world premier of his play Brown Balls

Ryerson Theatre School Graduate, Byron Abalos is an actor, playwright, and producer. Recent acting credits: Andromache (Necessary Angel/Luminato), paper SERIES (Cahoots, Dora Nomination), Roshni (Theatre Passe Muraille), The Making of St. Jerome (eastBOUND Theatre, Dora Nomination), Banana Boys (fu-GEN), and The Corner (Next Stage/J Squared). His play, Remember Lolo, won the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award (SummerWorks 2005) and fu-GEN recently produced the world premiere of his play, Brown Balls, at Factory Theatre. Byron was named one of NOW Magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists for 2010.

Fun Fact: Byron gets faked out in a basketball game in a 2010/2011 Chocolate Milk Commercial AND his voice-over repertoire includes The Magic School Bus.

Filipino Canadian Artist #2 Hazel Venzon

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In an attempt to raise the profile of  Filipino Artists in Canada the Carlos Bulosan Theatre will be posting selected profiles of artists every day for the next week. This posting stems from an original blog post by aspiring Filipino Artists who came to CBT questioning diversity of Filipino artists on stage and the longevity of life in the Entertainment and Performing Arts sectors. I had the pleasure of seeing and meeting Hazel Venzon this past June at Magnetic North with the show Kismet: one to one hundred.

Hazel is a multitalented artist who enjoys combining theatre with other mediums in innovative ways.  She studied Sculpture and Performance Art at the University of Manitoba School of Fine Art, and graduated from Vancouver’s Studio 58 Acting Program in 2006.  In addition to her own projects, she has worked with many of Vancouver’s independent theatre companies such as Boca Del Lupo, Ruby Slippers, Rumble Theatre, The Chop Theatre Society, Theatre Replacement, and Urban Crawl.

In 2010, she took a residency with Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse and created Embrace, a by-verbatim show about the Filipino community’s immigration experiences to Canada.  At present, she is writing a commissioned play for Nakai, which was showcased at The Pivot Festival, this past January 2012.  Recently, she was part of The Chop Theatre Society‘s remount of Kismet: one to one hundred at Presentation House and was in to Holland facilitating and producing Mammalian Diving Reflex‘s world renowned social performance piece  “Haircut By Children”.

Hazel is a strong believer in community outreach, constantly looking for ways to engage with different ethnic communities, age ranges, and social classes – stretching the definition of ‘culture’ for herself. Hazel was born in Winnipeg, MB.

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