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Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture
New Harbourfront Centre 2005 Summer Festival
Friday July 22 through Sunday July 24, 2005

TORONTO, July 13, 2005- Harbourfront Centre celebrates the cultural and artistic vitality of China past and present at a new summer festival! Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture (July 22 through July 24) is a vibrant display of Chinese Arts and artists from Canada and beyond that serves up internationally recognized Canadians like Kid Koala, Lee Pui Ming, Kai Chan and Judy Fong Bates alongside the Canadian debut of China's groundbreaking "Sister Drum" worldwide singing sensation Dadawa. Some of the country's best modern dancers honour influential Chinese dancer and choreographer Madam Dai Ai Lian with a tribute of original solo pieces. Prominent Chinese-Canadian playwrights and authors offer up their works while a variety of traditional dance and music completes the yin and yang of Dim Sum!
All events are free admission and suitable for the entire family. All events take place at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen's Quay West, Toronto). Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture is  Harbourfront Centre's first major summer festival to explore the contemporary Chinese cultural identity.

On the Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture weekend Harbourfront Centre Infodesk personnel will be available to answer questions in Cantonese and Mandarin. For general information (in English only) the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

MUSIC (concert listings below): A kaleidoscope of innovative international and Canadian contemporary music will be featured. The festival finale offers the Canadian debut of international recording star Dadawa (Zhu Zheqin), who in 1995 became the first China-based artist to be signed to major record label deal since 1950. Her World Pop album Sister-drum and the song of the same name is a milestone in China music history (it became the first Chinese recording ever to be distributed worldwide in 56 countries and regions simultaneously and sold over a million copies).

Internationally acclaimed Kid Koala (Montreal) transforms renowned turntable sound collages from CD to live show by using four turntables and astounding technique! Arguably the best freestyle rapper in the world right now - Jin's (Miami) meteoric rise began when he won multiple BET Freestyle Fridays championships on the 106 and Park show. This resulted in a Ruff Ryders' records contract. His debut album The Rest Is History features contributions from Kanye West and Wyclef Jean.

Toronto's The Quartertones perform an Urban music mix of live rare groove Funk, Soul and Jazz over a laptop and drum machine. This unique group features three Jazz musicians along with two nationally known veteran hip-hop producers (DJ Serious and Planet Pea). Vancouver's No Luck Club are a three member hip-hop explosion of styles and sound bites hailed by music critics across North America. The group were included as part of Urb Magazine's influential Next 100 last year. Mississauga hip-hop emcee Masia One has achieved much respect and recognition for her lyrical and vocal talents - she performs with the M1 Academy. The Chinese Canadian Youth Cabaret showcase features author Day's Lee, Jazz vocalist Edward Tsoi, Soul singer Moulann and fashion designs by Letty Lam. This showcase is produced by the Chinese Canadian National Council - Youth Council (CCNC Youth Council).

Bridging the gap between contemporary and traditional Chinese musical offerings (and East/West musical traditions) are Toronto pianist/composer Lee Pui Ming - whose works fearlessly blend and transcend Classical, Jazz, World and Folk music. Pui Ming will perform a special repertoire of popular Chinese songs from the 1950s and 1960s at this concert.
Vancouver's Orchid Ensemble, whose trio of performers use ancient instruments and traditions (from China and beyond) to create accessible and elegant World music. Toronto's George Gao has an international reputation as a master erhu player and composer who constantly applies the instrument to Classical and modern forms. He has performed solo worldwide as well as composing music for TV and Film. Toronto's Yellow River Ensemble is a professional Chinese music troupe performing traditional and contemporary Chinese music on instruments such as the dizi (transverse bamboo flute), zhongruan (moon guitar), hulusi (gourd based reed instrument), gaohu (high-pitched bowed lute), erhu (python-skin bowed lute), guzheng (Chinese zither/harp), xiao (vertical bamboo flute), and various percussion instruments. Montreal Pipa (Chinese lute) and Guzheng (Chinese zither) performer Liu Fang performs solo Pipa at the festival as well.  
Chinese Opera is represented by two performances. Little Pear Garden Collective presents Peking Opera - Murder of a Concubine (Song by Xu Feng Ze - Yan by William Lau - Music by Jiangsu Province Chang Rong Peking Opera Company - July 23 at 1 p.m.). Starlight Cantonese Opera stages excerpts from the Cantonese opera Prince White-Dragon and the Lady General (performed by Alice King-Ying Chan, Fong Siu Mei, and Marianne Lui - July 24 at 1 p.m.).
Dim Sum Concert listings:
Friday July 22 - Liu Fang (6 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
July 22 - Lee Pui Ming (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 22 - Erhu and Flute duet performance with Min Jun Gao (9 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
July 22 - George Gao Ensemble (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Saturday July 23 - Peking Opera - Murder of a Concubine (1 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
July 23 - Erhu and Flute duet performance with Min Jun Gao (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
July 23 - M1 Academy featuring Masia One (2 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 23 - The Quartertones (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 23 - Jin Tha MC (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 23 - Kid Koala (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 23 - Chinese Canadian Youth Cabaret featuring author Day's Lee, Jazz vocalist Edward Tsoi,
Soul singer Moulann and fashion designs by Letty Lam (9:30 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
July 23 - No Luck Club with DJs Basic Soul Unit and John Kong (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room)
Sunday July 24 - Yellow River Ensemble (12:30 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
July 24 - Starlight Cantonese Opera (1 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
July 24 - Orchid Ensemble (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
July 24 - Dadawa (Zhu Zheqin) - (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)

DANCE: Dim Sum, in partnership with the Little Pear Garden Collective, presents the world premiere of a Lotus Dance Tribute to Madam Dai Ai Lian (Beijing, China) - widely acknowledged as the most influential person in Chinese modern dance (1940s to present). Nine prominent Canadian dancers (including Zihao Li, Lee Huang, Emily Cheung, Jeffrey Chan, Cynthia Tsang, Peter Chin, Elena Quah, Xiao-nan Yu and Ryan Boorn) will perform  classical and contemporary solo dance pieces at the Studio Theatre (8 to 9:30 p.m.). This unique commission, curated by William Lau, celebrates the many artistic accomplishments and 90th birthday of Madam Dai Ai Lian - who will also be present at this event.

Four celebrated Toronto community dance groups take to the outdoor Toronto Star Stage. Groups like the Echo Dance Association (July 23, 3 p.m.), the Chinese Dance Workshop Folk Dance Group (July 24, 2:30 p.m.), the Toronto Chinese Dance Company (July 23, 3 p.m.) and the Orient Dance Company (July 24, 4 p.m.) present a rich variety of traditional and modern Chinese dance.

The works of prominent Chinese-Canadian authors and staged readings of works by playwrights (in a series called Orient Express) will be featured in a series of readings throughout the weekend (details below).
Then and Now author readings (July 23, 12:30 p.m., Brigantine Room) include Vancouver's Judy Fong Bates (whose works Midnight at the Dragon Café and China Dog and Other Tales from a Chinese Laundry have placed her in the top echelon of Canadian writers) as well as Calgary author and illustrator Ange Zhang, whose book Red Land, Yellow River won the prestigious Bologna Children's Book Award, and Toronto's Terry Woo - whose novel Banana Boys received wide acclaim and was made into a popular fu-GEN theatre production last fall at the Factory Theatre. Hosted by Margaret Chan.

Orient Express (Friday July 22 at 9 p.m., July 23 at 4 p.m. and July 24 at 4:30 p.m. - Brigantine Room)
Dim Sum, in partnership with the fu-GEN Theatre Company, presents staged readings of plays by nine Chinese-Canadian playwrights. Excerpts read in English by Chinese-Canadian actors. Actors* appear courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. Stage excerpts directed by Nina Lee Aquino. Conceived and curated by the fu-GEN Theatre Company
    Friday July 22 at 9 p.m.
Marty Chan's play Mom, Dad, I'm Living with a White Girl features
readings by Jo Chim*, Grace Lynn Kung, Richard Lee* and John Ng*
Keira Loughran's play Little Dragon features readings by Jo Chim*, Grace Lynn Kung, Richard Lee* and John Ng*
Zöe Huang's play R.O.C. [Republic of Confusion] features readings by Jo ChiRm*
    Saturday July 23 at 4 p.m.
Betty Quan
's play Mother Tongue features readings by Ella Chan, Marjorie Chan* and Norman Yeung
Marjorie Chan's play The Madness of The Square features readings by Ella Chan and Marjorie Chan*
Norman Yeung's play Pu Erh features readings by Norman Yeung and Richard Tse*
    Sunday July 24 at 4:30 p.m.
David Yee's play Acquiesce features readings by Richard Lee*, John Ng*, Jovanni Sy* and David Yee
John Ng's play The Wonder of Larry Kwong features readings by
Richard Lee*, Jane Luk*, John Ng*, Jovanni Sy* and David Yee
Jovanni Sy's* untitled play will also be performed by him

KIDS/Families: Free Dragon Boat rides for families take place on the Natrel Pond and our Kids Tent will offer Lantern Making craft activities (noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday July 23 and Sunday July 24).

Acclaimed Toronto visual artist Kai Chan curates the exhibition 4 Souls, 2 Worlds - which will include works by contemporary Chinese-Canadian artists Millie Chen, Ed Pien, Kayo O'Young and Lily Yung. This exhibition will be on display throughout the summer at Harbourfront Centre (July 16 to September, 2005 - York Quay Gallery).

FILM: This exceptional free admission film series in the Studio Theatre lincludes an exciting shorts program, a Hong Kong Cinema Showcase and acclaimed features by directors like Wang Xiaoshaui and Ang Lee in addition to a documentary about master acrobat, illusionist and vaudevillian Long Tack Sam.

Chinese Shorts Series (Friday July 22, 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre)
Curated by Grace Bai and Paul Moran (suitable for audience 18 )
Exercise with Chin Yung (Wenhwa Ts'ao/ USA/ 8 min)
Images from seven years of home movies playfully introduce us to the filmmaker’s father, Chin Yung, who constantly exercises in public. Minimal text between images provides colourful insight into the complex relationship between father and daughter.
Just Smile and Nod (Katie Yu / Canada / 9 min)
10 year old Matt is reluctant to visit Grandpa who doesn't "talk proper English". Grandpa's groove talkin' reveals an unexpected communication breakdown.
Fly (Luo Li / Canada / 5 min)
Experimental techniques and hand painted brush strokes show birds in flight that inspire and bring life to Chinese calligraphy.
Bridge Passage (Nicole Chung/ Canada/ 6 min)
Set to Broken Social Scene music, this stylish film poem deals with urban alienation and the ability of love to provide solace.
A Chink in the Amour (Baun Mah / Canada / 26 min)
A tongue-in-cheek exploration into what it means to be Chinese. >From driving to kung fu, volunteers undergo tests to challenge the Asian stereotypes.
Hong Kong Cinema Showcase (Friday July 22, 9 p.m., Studio Theatre)
In partnership with the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office and Long Shong (Suitable for Audience 18 )
Throw Down (Johnnie To | Hong Kong | 2004 | 95 min)
An homage to Akira Kurosawa that maintains Johnnie To’s signature filmmaking style of amazingly choreographed action, quirky humour, hyper-kinetic editing and stunning cinematography capturing the colours and contrasts of Hong Kong. The director of The Mission and PTU presents the story of a former Judo champion, now Jazz club owner, Sze-To (Louis Koo) on a downward spiral. Everyone wants something from him but Sze-To is too alcoholic, in debt and aimless to help anyone - including himself. To’s outstanding technical ability as a director is shown in one of the greatest bar fight scenes in the history of Hong Kong cinema. However, this is not a film all about action. Instead To uses Judo as a metaphor for fallen characters.
    Throw Down preceded by A Century of Hong Kong Cinema
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Ltd. (2004 | 10 min)In this celebration of Hong Kong’s cinematic history a montage of classic shots from familiar films (including scenes with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and films from Chow Yun-fat and John Woo) combine with rare archival black and white footage, Mandarin musicals and early kung fu movies.
Beijing Bicycle (Wang Xiaoshaui | China | 2002 | 113 min)
Curated by Jane Kim (screening Saturday July 23, noon, Studio Theatre)
Guei (Cui Lin) arrives in Beijing from the countryside to deliver packages by bicycle. He meticulously tracks the large payments to his employer in order to take ownership of the bike essential for the job. But when he nearly finishes paying it off, the bicycle disappears. Guei searches the city to find that Jian (Li Bin), a student, has claimed the bike as his own. The film gently uncovers the realities of modern China where Guei and Jian must deal with the struggles between class, human nature and the rites of passage. The editing builds up a dramatic and exciting rhythm to reflect contemporary urban life in China.
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (Ann Marie Fleming | Canada | 2003 | 89 min)
Curated by Jane Kim (screening Sunday July 24, 1 p.m., Studio Theatre)
Long Tack Sam was a Chinese acrobat, master illusionist and 1920s vaudeville sensation who lived a fantastical life on and off-stage. Although he worked with Laurel and Hardy, Orson Welles and the Marx Brothers, Vancouver-based filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming never knew this about him even though he is her great-grandfather. Fleming travels to five countries interviewing family and magicians who share memories of his life and the times he lived in. She stylistically blends interviews, archival footage and playful animation to create a visually stunning and historically rich testament celebrating his spirit.
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (Ang Lee | Taiwan | 1994 | 124 min)
Curated by Jane Kim (screening Sunday July 24, 3:30 p.m., Studio Theatre)
Ang Lee, director of Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, wonderfully examines food, family and tradition in the international success, Eat. Drink, Man, Woman. An aging master chef Tao Chu (Sihung Lung) lives with his three very different daughters. Food in this film is not only a significant visual motif but it plays a pivotal role in the characters’ lives. Each of the family members seek out their own perfect recipe for love as the film captures the beauty of the streets, countryside and in the kitchens of Lee’s native country Taiwan.
FOOD: Cooking demos by Toronto chefs represent the four different regional cuisines in China as well as dishes infused with Chinese influences. Witness the creation of delicious steamy buns, dumplings, dim sum and Chinese-infused Thai, then take the recipes home and try them yourself! Hosted by Chef Christian Pritchard. Food demonstration samples cost $1each.  
(Saturday July 23 - Lakeside Terrace - 3 p.m.) - Chinese Infused Thai Cooking
Thai Lemon Grass Chicken Soup & Tropical Fried Rice with Logan Fruit by Chef Sasi from the Sasi Thai Restaurant.
(Saturday July 23 - Lakeside Terrace - 5 p.m.) Dim Sum
Har Gao and Siu Mai (steamed Shrimp and Pork dumpling), vegetarian Spring Rolls by Bright Pearl Seafood Restaurant.
(Sunday July 24 - Lakeside Terrace - 2:30 p.m.) Northern Delight 
Chinese Traditional Buns restaurant demonstrates "Gao Bu Li" steamed buns and Northern dumplings
(Sunday July 24 - Lakeside Terrace - 4:30 p.m.) Cantonese Cuisine
Bright Pearl Seafood Restaurant prepares Chicken with Lemon Sauce, and Chicken with Black Bean Sauce.
PANEL Discussions (Brigantine Room):
Mom, Dad, I’m not an Engineer! (Saturday July 23, 2 p.m.)
Artists and their parents face off about Asian parental expectations when it comes to what their children pursue as a career. Join in this intimate dialogue about coping with identity and value differences between generations. Hosted by Margaret Chan.
What is Chinese? (Sunday July 24, 2 p.m.)
Join established Dim Sum festival artists like dancer Madam Dai Ailian from China, visual artist Kai Chan and others while they talk about what sparks their creative juices, how their diasporic identity influences their artistic practice, and where they call "home". Hosted by William Lau
WORKSHOPS (Marilyn Brewer Community Space):
Traditional Chinese Paper Cutting Demo (Saturday July 23, 2 p.m.)
Master Weiqi Zhou demonstrates this ancient paper craft with precision and delicacy.
Calligraphy Demo (Saturday July 23, 4 p.m.)
Master Hon-Biu Cheng shows traditional Chinese Calligraphy in paper and ink. Your name written in Chinese at this interactive demo.
Tea Talk (Sunday July 24, 12:30 p.m. & 3 p.m.)
Traditional Herbalist and Tea Enthusiast Jayme Cannon explores the many benefits to be enjoyed from drinking tea daily. Topics: tea harvesting/preparation, ancient Chinese harvesting techniques/history, flowering teas (an ancient tea preparation)

DEMOS (Zoom Room):
Theatre Improv Demo (Saturday July 23, 3 p.m.)
Actor, writer, comedian, producer and director Jane Luk (four time nominee for the Canadian Comedy Awards for Funniest Female Improvisor and a senior member of The Bad Dog Theatre Co) leads an improv demo for all ages
Stage Combat Demo (Sunday July 24, 3 p.m.)
Siobhán Chin & Richard Lee (general manager of fu-GEN Theatre Company) lead this exciting demo for all ages.

Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture
is generously supported by the Canadian Foundation for the Preservation of Chinese Cultural and Historical Treasures (CFPCCH).

More Harbourfront Centre summer information at

Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4518,
Bill Bobek, 416-973-3442,
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