One of the most famous names in the world now has a permanent home in Montreal. Barbie Expo is the largest permanent exhibit of Barbie dolls in the world and is open to the public for free at Les Cours Mont Royal. I had a Barbie doll when I was a kid and it was one of my favorite toys. I loved the dresses my mom made for her out of scrap material. They weren’t as fancy as Mattel couture, but I thought they were beautiful. The Barbies in this exhibit wear outfits designed by top designers such as Vera Wang, Bob Mackie, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein and Versace. With dolls that resemble Beyonce, Barbara Streisand, Jennifer Lawrence, Lucille Ball and more, the exhibit is a fascinating commentary on fashion and pop culture.
When I was a teenager and working part-time, there was a Classics bookstore at a nearby shopping mall, and that was where I headed on payday. My meager paycheque wouldn’t have gone far in a travel agency, but in a bookstore, it took me anywhere I wanted to go. I checked out the bestsellers before heading to the mystery section. On the top of my list were books by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot was my favorite) and the Peanuts series by Charles Schultz. I still have those books, now slightly yellowed, packed in a box. Back then, I thought working in a bookstore would be a dream come true. Continue reading
I saw the exhibit on the Fabergé Eggs at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this week and they are an excellent example of this week’s Photo Challenge: Endurance. They are stunning pieces of art and craftsmanship that have endured over time. Carl Fabergé also created other jeweled and gold encrusted items such as frames, dishes, umbrella handles, cane handles, and carvings, but it’s the famous eggs that caught my imagination.
There was a gathering at Galerie V-Trimont in Westmount on Friday, October 18th for a unique art collection that might be the first of its kind in Canada or even in the world: paintings done entirely with nail polish.
This beautiful art collection was created by Genevieve P.M.Roy, a local Montreal artist of French and Chinese heritage who I met when I joined a Dragon Boat team a few years ago. Roy greeted guests who sipped wine and munched on appetizers as they viewed paintings inspired by her passion for music, acting, and singing. The evening was definitely a family affair. Her mother, Quee Ying Wong, helped organize the evening and her father, Michel Roy officially opened the evening with a speech while her aunt, Jennifer Wong, sold raffle tickets at the door.
The paintings began as gifts to friends. It was while she was working on one such painting when she realized her nail polish was just the color she was looking for. She experimented with products from different companies and created works featuring vibrant color and glitter.
The vernissage was also a fund raiser. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings and a souvenir book will be donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children which plans to open a new facility in Montreal in the fall of 2015.
Roy is also a blogger and cultural reporter for Mountain Lake PBS. Visit her web site at http://genevievepmroy.weebly.com/index.html
There’s one thing that David Chang, the main character in my book, Guitar Hero, and I have in common: it’s a love of Beatles music. I twisted and shouted to their songs as I grew up. My Chinese immigrant parents shook their heads in wonder when my brother, sister and I spent our allowance buying Beatles albums at the local Woolworth store. With my friends, Kim (blogger Tranquil Dreams; read her post about the exhibit here) and Jennifer, I got a chance to relive those times at the exhibit The Beatles in Montreal at Pointe-à-Callière museum.
Starting from the beginning as The Quarrymen, the exhibit tells their story through photos, memorabilia, posters, newspaper clippings and video clips which of course include their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The museum also recreated the famous rooftop session at Apple Studio in London. By hanging the screen from the ceiling, it feels as if you’re on the street with the crowd that day on January 30, 1969. You also have the chance to be the 5th Beatle, that is, if you have the courage to sing karaoke in a museum so quiet you can hear a pin drop. (We faked it.) Equally fascinating is the video on how the museum installed John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce.
The details surrounding their performance at the Montreal Forum on September 8, 1964 are the stuff of entertainment talk shows, like how the fab four rested inside the Forum while a fake limousine with four police officers wearing wigs distracted two thousand screaming fans outside.
The exhibit is a real blast from the past and runs until March 30, 2014.
When I was a kid, one of my favourite comics was Superman. While other kids fantasized about having x-ray vision and being able to fly, I idolized Lois Lane. I mean, I knew I would never, ever have super powers, but I could, maybe someday, be a writer and have adventures like Lois. After all, she covered Superman’s adventures for the newspaper, so she was right there with him as he fought the bad guys, and even saved his life a few times. Lois Lane was undoubtedly a strong influence when it came to my career choices.
So when the annual Comiccon convention hit Montreal this past weekend, I bought a one day pass and went with my friend and copy editor, Virginia Modugno. A must-see for us was the Q&A with the cast of Battlestar Galactica. The lineup to see Edward James Olmos, James Callis, Tahmoh Penikett and Michael Hogan was really long, but they were worth the wait.
There were so many events for gamers and fans of horror and sci-fi: comedy skits, movie premieres, screenings, a video game room, and the Q&A with celebs. We also saw Felicia Day and Christopher Lloyd as eager fans took turns asking questions.
The exhibition hall had tons of memorabilia, collectibles, costumes and comics. What would Comiccon be without tons of comics? Or without the autograph sessions and photo-ops with the celebrities who created such memorable characters? Besides the ones I mentioned above, Gillian Anderson , George Takei and Lou Ferrigno among others were set up at one end of the hall to meet their fans.
And how did they get there? Well, parked at the other end of the exhibition hall was the Ghostbusters station wagon, Dr. Who’s phone booth, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the hovercraft that a young Luke Skywalker raced in a prequel. There was literally alot of ground to cover at the Palais des congrès, but undoubtedly, the day belonged to the fans. Just seeing the costumes, the creativity and feeling their enthusiasm was worth the price of admission. I don’t know the names of all these characters, so if anyone recognizes any of them, let me know.
Since it was my first time, it was all a bit overwhelming, and when it ended at 7p.m. I was exhausted. It was loads of fun, and maybe I’ll go back next year. Maybe I’ll even shell out the extra bucks for a photo-op with a celebrity.
I didn’t see anyone there dressed up as Lois Lane, but I suppose it could have been me. I was there with my camera, taking it all in as Lois would have, watching the superheros do their thing.
On August 17th, I posted a blog about a Chinese Tea Salon in which I gave a short talk about the inspriration behind my writing. Well, the on-line video is now available on the Asian Canadian Wiki. You can watch all of the presenters including myself by clicking on this link http://www.asiancanadianwiki.org/w/Chinese_Tea_Salon_in_Montreal . Each video is about 5 minutes.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail invitation to a Chinese Tea Salon. The invitation explained that the event was “to meet, eat, drink and exchange about diverse projects in the arts, community and academic sectors. This gathering is inspired from tea houses in China (茶館, cháguăn or 茶屋, cháwū ) traditionally similar to the America Café, but centred on tea and to chat, eat and socialize.”
It sounded interesting and it was potluck. I bought mini chocolate chip muffins at the grocery store after work and headed over to the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University where the salon was being held.
The tea salon was inspired by Montreal artist Mary Wong who has been organizing tea houses for visual artists. This evening, which was organized by Janet Lumb and moderated by Alice Ming Wai Jim, an Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at Concordia University, was an opportunity for Montrealers to talk about their projects.
It was a fascinating evening. Each speaker had an interesting angle on their research and artistic project:
- Olive Li Hui, a visiting professor, teaches a course about Chinese-Canadian women writers at Sichuan University in China;
- Tracy Zhang explained how acrobatics is used as an instrument of cultural diplomacy in Taiwan and China;
- Alan Wong spoke of race and sexuality;
- Cheryl Sim, a media artist, talked about her project exploring the relationship women have with the cheong sam;
- Parker Mah presented a trailer for his documentary Être Chinois au Québec (Being Chinese in Quebec). You can see a trailer on Youtube or at Être Chinois au Québec.net
- Leslie Cheung, a PhD student, talked about youth of color, the second generation and their search for identity;
- Joanne Hui asked and answered the question “How does art teach?”
- Henry Tsang, an associate professor at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, B.C., gave an impromptu talk on what it is to be Chinese;
- And yours truly gave a brief talk about the inspiration behind my writing.
I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the speakers by trying to explain their projects, but a five minute video tape of each presenter, including me, will be available soon on the Asian Canadian Wiki site. I’ll post it when its available. To read more about the presenters and the evening itself, click here.