Are Musicians Being Driven From Chinatown?

August 27th, 2014 No comments

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (8/26)- According to Chinatown officials traditional Chinese musicians are being driven slowly out of Chinatown. According to Wilma Pang, with A Better Chinatown Tomorrow (ABCT),”last Friday (8/23) about the constant harassment and complaints to Central Station about the “success” of elderly musicians playing on various locations through out Chinatown. I know City Hall is very stringent about paid sound permit. However, the cost is prohibitive. No one can afford to pay. I helped the elderly a few times with my own money, but I just can not afford to continue. However, the elderly have determined to go out and play anyway. Does City Hall really care about the elderly who contribute so much of San Francisco’s Chinatown’s tourist income?”

The complaints are detailed as,”numerous complaints from various individuals and merchants’ in Chinatown about the street musicians. The latest came from the 2nd floor of 737 Grant Ave. On Wed. 20th, a woman across the street “ordered” the musicians to stop playing in front of Eastern Bakery…”

According to Wilma Pang,”I am very much aware of the cumbersome and stringent regulations of obtaining a sound permit,and the cost is at least $60 per day per location if it is available. Therefore I wrote numerous emails to related departments and Supervisor Chiu to request a waiver of fees for Portsmouth Square so the elderly can enjoy singing and listening to music. No one from City Hall responded to my plead. Mind you, any time anyone calls Central or Park and Rec, if there is a permit, and when police comes around, they can legit won’t interfere the musicians.

Initially, I paid a few times. That was at least 3 years ago…. I told the elderly musicians and attendees about the situation and asked them to stop. They came out anyway, and more defiant and determine than ever! The police usually just let it go since they see the elderly really enjoy themselves and tourists likewise. If you google “SF Chinatown Street Musicians,” There are so many postings about them.

There are ways to waive the fees, but it seems no one from top down is willing to do so. All I am asking is to waive the fees and let the elderly enjoy themselves and at the time same showcasing authentic culture to the public. I have heard many good comments from visitors from all over the map about their appreciation for what they believe to be most authentic.

Sadly according to Wilma Pang,”I think there is a deeper issue on the plight of street artists in general. We used to see a lot more in North Beach, such as the Beatniks in the 50′s. However, the imposed fees chased them out. And the lofts were build for the living artists on SOMA. Soon after they were built, they were sold for profit. What I am saying is San Francisco was known for the arts. The irony is no artists can afford to live and work here. And as for the elderly in Chinatown who have contributed so much, yet, they were treated badly if not abused. What can I say as a professor of music? Do you think Supervisor David Chiu really cares about the abandoned elderly? Why do I have to end up picking the tab as a elderly myself?”

- Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc

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Wilma Pang in an interview by Blair Pan, a student from PRC on SF Chinatown

August 7th, 2014 No comments

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11th Dragon Boat & Zhongzi (Chinese Tamales) Festival

May 8th, 2014 No comments

IMG, ABCT Zhongzi Festival, May 25, 2014

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AAEHS (Asian American Elderly Humanitarian Society)

 

AAEHS and ABCT present:
11TH DRAGON BOAT & ZHONGZI (Chinese Tamales) FESTIVAL

 

                          

Kick-Off: Saturday, May 24, 2014 @ 4:30 pm
Lion Dancing on Grant Avenue, SF—marching from the Chinatown Gate (Bush Street) to New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant (Columbus & Broadway); and then to Stockton Street, turning on Clay Street to Waverly Place for a grand finale.

Special Dragon Event:
Sunday, May 25, 2014 @ Noon
Dragon will march the same route on Grant Avenue from the Chinatown Gate. At Waverly Place, the grand finale will feature the Chinese Folk Music Group.

LION DANCING: EVERY SATURDAY
From May 24 to August 30, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

For a total of 15 Saturdays, Lion Dancers will march on Grant Avenue from the Chinatown Gate to New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant (Columbus & Broadway); and then to Stockton Street & Clay Street and ending at Waverly Place. 

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar, or June 2nd this year. There are two parts to this major festival. Rice tamales (zhongzi or joong in Cantonese) are eaten. And the other renowned activity is dragon boat racing. The two traditions go hand in hand—based on a historical patriotic poet named Qu (Chu) Yuan, who lived about 2,000 years ago. He was beloved by the common people but could not help them because of corrupt officials. He chose to jump into the river rather than obey the emperor’s orders. People respected his heroic act and they made zhongzi during this time of year, throwing them into the river so sea creatures would not eat his flesh. Traditionally, dragon boat races include lots of drumming to scare away any creatures who would approach his body. In commemorating this historical event, and the 3rd most important festival in Chinese tradition, ABCT will feature lion/ dragon dancing, Chinese folk music and the symbolic food of zhongzi.


For more information, please contact Wilma Pang at (415)-296-8701.

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11th Annual Chinese New Year’s Event Jiaoze / Dumpling Making Sessions

January 23rd, 2014 No comments

ABCT (A Better Chinatown Tomorrow) and New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant

Fun informal cooking lessons and an opportunity for media photos & stories.

Celebrate the Year of the Horse

11th Annual Chinese New Year’s Event


Jiaoze / Dumpling Making Sessions

Jiaoze-Making and Eating: Welcome the Year of the Horse with traditional Jiaoze (dumpling) and Tang Yuan (sweet rice balls) making. Everyone can learn how to make these traditional foods!

Entertainment: Enjoy Chinese instrumental music, ramen & hand-pulled noodle demonstrations, opera face painting, origami, calligraphy and more…..

Free Two-Day Event: Coinciding with the Flower Market Fair on Grant Avenue.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

12 pm to 3 pm (on both days)

Language of the Birds Plaza, Chinatown, S.F.

At New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant, 606 Broadway (at Grant/ Columbus Avenue)

Only once in a blue moon are there two “new years” in January: The sun calendar new year on the 1st and the lunar new year on the 31st—the beginning of the Year of the Horse. Jiaoze-making is a family tradition on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Every family, young and old, participates throughout Northern China. The Cantonese have a different version called Tong Yuen—a small round sweet rice ball. ABCT presents this tradition of making both Jiaoze and Tong Yuen. Every one is welcome to join in and learn the versions. And it is free!

Jiaoze (northern China tradition) and Tong Yuen (southern China tradition).

“Tradition: Cultural continuity in social attitudes and institutions.”

Dumpling-making is a socially-binding experience for Chinese-Americans and friends / visitors alike. Since ancient times, Jiaoze and tang yuan are eaten on Chinese New Year’s Day. The Jiaoze’s shape resembles that of ancient gold and silver ingots or a crescent moon, symbolizing a hopeful year of plenty.


For information, contact wilma.pang@yahoo.com
or call Wilma Pang at (415)-296-8701 check out the video on jiaozi and tang yuan: www.panasiansf.com

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“MAKING JIAOZI (DUMPLINGS) FOR THE YEAR OF THE HORSE”

January 17th, 2014 No comments

Making Jiaozi before the beginning of New Year’s is a tradition through out China and the overseas Chinese community. It symbolizes wealth for the coming year and every family member, from young and old should make their own. However, the Cantonese speaking community has another version, that is making Tang Yuan, (sweet rice balls) instead. One will see how these two traditional food items on this show.

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Greetings

December 23rd, 2013 No comments

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“Will SF Chinatown Be Able to Survive A Recent “Man-Made” Quake, the Central Subway?”

December 22nd, 2013 No comments

After the major 8.0 earth quake in 1906 SF Chinatown was flattened completely! City Hall already had plans to rebuild Chinatown in a different location then. However, our forefathers banded together tried to prevent this move. No such luck. Finally, through diplomatic channels, they appealed to the Empress Dowager of Qing (Ching) Dynasty. Then City Hall agreed to rebuild at the present location.

After over 100 years later, the recent major construction of the Central Subway which “projects” this major project will bring prosperity to Chinatown. Will it? With blocked streets, dust and noise; one of the most important industries from local and tourist income, the restaurants are being hit the hardest. Can they survive this man-made quake?

This interview with Diana Ding of dingding.TV is in Mandarin and will be on air on Sino TV on Thursday Dec. 26 at 11:00 P.M. or watch it online here 24/7.

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A Tale of Grant Ave. Upper and Lower

December 2nd, 2013 No comments

What made SF famous in the 50′s were the Beatniks on Upper Grant (N Beach) and the busy live poultry markets on Lower Grant (Chinatown Sandwiched the two Grant Ave’s two distinct colorful neighborhoods was Broadway, Coral Doda for her famous boobs…….

Today? Upper Grant is so “so peaceful, and clean, ” except for a few bars, and lower Grant is so quite that merchants wish more pedestrians would shop at their art good stores. As for Broadway? what can one say?……

Chinatown and NB were both recently recognized for its unique neighborhoods. Both hoods contribute to City Hall with a hefty yearly $7 billioin in revenue from tourist industry. City Hall takes for granted this cash cow will survive on it’s own and turns a blink eye and a deaf ear on its number one green industry opt for the destructions of historical buildings for a questionable Central Subway, chasing every artist out, claiming they are “driving customers away” on Broadway!

I ask, what is SF without its street musicians, living artists, historical buildings? Will visitors ditch the cable cars, for riding the subway all the way Fisherman’s Wharf?

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Halloween! It’s time to party and make believe!

October 11th, 2013 No comments

Traditionally, children go out on the night of October 31st to “trick or treat.” Grown ups too, dress up as some character to attend parties.

This special TV show is about “making believe,” through stories and songs of great beauties of China.

Princess Wang Zhao Jun, one of four most beautiful women of Han dynasty, (220B.C. to 208 A.D) was sent to appease Mongols…..

Beloved Concubine Yang Kuai Fei, toppled the great Tang Dynasty (618-906) with her beauty……

Princess Chang Ping of Ming Dynasty, (1368-1644) born to the royal family at the end of Ming, had to die on her wedding night……

Songs sung by Prof. Pang and members of the Chinese Instrumental Ensemble of A Better Chinatown Tomorrow, (ABCT)

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August 31st, 2013 No comments

This year the Autumn Moon Festival falls on the 19th September. As it so happens, the Sea Music Festival to take place at the Hyde Street Pier, coincides with this major celebration in SF Chinatown on Sept. 14th.

The story of this poplar opera is about a Sea Princess who asks a scholar named Liu Yi to deliver a letter to her father, the Emperor of the Sea to rescue her from an abusive husband and expresses her wish to return to the Sea Palace.

After returning to the Sea Palace, the Emperor arranges a “Miss Lu” to thank the scholar for saving the Princess’ life…. On the wedding night, the scholar, is confused about the resemblance of the Sea Princess with “Miss Lu,” his arranged bride. The Princess finally reveals her real identify. He is overjoyed to hear his true love is married to him!

Vocalists: Prof. Wilma Pang, Sea Princess, Ms. Peiling Zhao, Liu Yi the scholar.

Sea Music Festival
Saturday, September 14
2:00 P. M.
Hyde Park

Program:
Happiness
Chinese Instrumental Ensemble,SF
Autumn Moon Over Lake Ping

May Music Fill the Air
Vocalist: Pei Ling Zhao

Ode to Sea Coral
Guest Vocalist: Diana Ding

Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon (1)
Vocalist:
Prof. Wilma Pang
A popular song of the 30′s sung in Mandarin

“Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon”(2)
Vocalists: Pei Ling Zhao
Wilma Pang

When Will I See You Again?
Vocalist: Wilma Pang

Note: This year, the Autumn Moon Festival falls the 15th day of the 8th Month in the Lunar calendar or on the 19th of September. This is the second largest Festival in Asia. As it so happens, the Sea Music Festival coincides with the Moon Festival. The selections for this program will be “sea” or “moon” related.

“Beautiful Flowers and the Full Moon” (2) is a very popular Cantonese opera aria from Liu Yi Delivers the Letter.

The story of this popular opera is about a Sea Princess who is married to an abusive husband. In desperation, she meets a scholar brave enough to help her. She asks the scholar to deliver a letter to her father, the Emperor of the Sea, to rescue her and expresses her wish to return to the Sea Palace.

At the Sea Palace, the Emperor thanks the scholar and matches him with a woman named “Miss Lu.” Little does the scholar know, “Miss Lu” is the Princess he has met and is in love with.

On the wedding night, he is confused about the resemblance of the Sea Princess with Miss. Lu, his arranged bride. Princess of the Sea finally tells him her real identity. He is overjoyed to hear his true love is married to him!

Principal Vocalists:
Wilma Pang “Princess of the Sea.”
Pei Ling Zhao, Liu Yi, the scholar.
Guest Vocalist: Diana Ding, founder of Ding Ding TV

Prof. Wilma Pang is a faculty member of the Music Dept. of City College of San Francisco who has performed extensively– nationally and internationally promoting Chinese songs. She currently organized and pioneered a program, Only in SF Chinatown, where traditional Chinese music is heard on Grant Avenue.

Ms. Pei Ling Zhao is known to sing the male roles in Cantonese opera.

Chinese Instrumental Ensemble, SF appears regularly in SF Chinatown.

This TV show is just a preview of the latest DVD. For more, please contact Wilma at 415 296 8701 or email: wilma.pang@yahoo.com.

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