Residency in Japan!! View this email in your browser
Powell Street Festival Society • パウエル祭協会 | Celebrating Japanese Canadian arts and culture since 1977

TWO WEEKS LEFT TO APPLY for our new Artist Residency in Japan!

The Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS) is pleased to present its inaugural partnership with the Artist in Residence Yamanashi (AIRY) program. This artist-run initiative, based in the mountainous region of Yamanashi, Japan, focuses on cultivating community, connections, and work between artists from Japan and abroad. Artists in this program are provided accommodation, studio space, local outreach opportunities, and a final exhibition. PSFS will cover airfare, residency fees, and offer a per diem for eligible applicants. Applications will be open from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15, 2019.


  • Applicants must identify as Japanese–Canadian 
  • Be at least 21 years of age 
  • Able to participate in the residency for the full duration — one month in April 2020
  • CV should demonstrate at least 2 years of artistic practice; all genres of art are welcome 
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident 

More information on the program, accommodations, and accessibility can be found here

Please attach the following to your submission. Email applications to

  • this completed form
  • a one-page letter of intent (description of project)
  • a CV (no more than 2 pages)
  • 3-5 samples of work (larger files to be sent via weblink) 

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Powell Street Festival hosted over 16,000 people on August 3 and 4, 2019


Read the science behind our festival statistics!


In Memoriam Gordon Kadota

We have lost a most significant community leader last month. We asked Rick Shiomi, one of Powell Street Festival's first coordinators, to reflect on Gordon’s impact in the early days of the festival.
I have only the fondest memories of Gordon as a person and a mentor at a critical juncture in my life. In regards to the Powell Street Festival, Gordon was a key player in not only making that first festival happen but also in supporting the festival for many years.
At a critical point in the process of putting on that first festival, when some in the community were against holding it at Oppenheimer Park, Gordon stepped in as a kind of neutral facilitator to persuade those people that the festival could be a benefit to the whole community (as has been proven over the decades of success). I attended so many meetings with Gordon who negotiated the cooperation of various leaders in the community, marveling at his patience and ability to bring around even the most resistant. He also brought in his business contacts to support the festival and because he was totally bilingual, he was the perfect person to MC the festival in those early years. Gordon accomplished all these difficult tasks with a style and a sly sense of humor that I truly admired.
I always felt supported by Gordon, even when I ended up scraping his car and he did everything quietly and on an even keel. Gordon was a man of tremendous organizational skills and a deep understanding of human nature, as embodied in his “Colombo” style personality. In fact, he was my inspiration for the “Sam Shikaze” character in my first play Yellow Fever. It was through encountering him in his trench coat and ironic style that I could imagine a nisei wise guy detective who could fire off one liners effortlessly, solve crimes and play the reluctant romantic lead. So I will always be deeply indebted to Gordon both personally and professionally.

Lessons from I-Hotel:
A reading and conversation on a San Francisco SRO
with Karen Tei Yamashita

Friday, November 8 from 8-10pm 
InterUrban Gallery, 1 E. Hastings, entrance on Carrall

In this conversation between author Karen Tei Yamashita and writer/community organizer Erica Hiroko Isomura, lessons and stories from I Hotel (Coffee House press, 2010) are discussed through the context of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood in which low-income, racialized, and stigmatized residents struggle for justice everyday. In a society increasingly divided by race, class, and beyond, what lessons can we take away from Yamashita’s work?
The conversation and reading will be followed with a dialogue featuring members from SRO Collaborative and Right to Remain, and will be open to questions from the audience.

Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of seven books, including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently, Letters to Memory, all published by Coffee House Press. Recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and a US Artists Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is Professor Emerita of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Karen Tei Yamashita Reading with Guests
Saturday, November 9 at 7pm
Massy Books, 229 E. Georgia

Congrats to Shizuka Kai, Jess Amy Shead, and Randi Edmundson on winning a Wuchien Michael Than Fund Grant for Otosan


We are happy to announce that Powell Street Festival Society is a supporter of this project, which will be shown at PSF 2020!

Otosan is a work in development, a puppet show for families featuring table-top puppetry and wildlife documentary footage.

“Otosan” means “father” in Japanese, but in a gentle and friendly way. It invokes a feeling of nostalgia. Otosan is based on key creator Shizuka Kai’s real-life experience of trying to connect with her father, a wildlife videographer. In the play, little Shizu hides in her father’s suitcase and travels secretly to his most dangerous destination… the ”North.” At first, Shizu is a big nuisance to her gruff, no-nonsense father. As they encounter grizzly bears, snowy owls, white wolves, and other Arctic critters, Shizu scares the animals away, ruins her Otosan’s films, and puts the pair in danger. Otosan and Shizu are forced to face challenges together, and eventually, they learn the value of one another’s unique way of solving problems.

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Thank you again to all of our festival supporters!
You can see the full list on our website!
© 2019 Powell Street Festival Society, All rights reserved.

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