Yesterday I got to interview the acclaimed Toronto author Anthony de Sa – Barnacle Love (2008), Kicking the Sky (2013) – for the RTPi show “A Hora dos Portugueses.” After a sit down conversation at the Sanderson Toronto Public Library branch, we walked down Palmerston Ave’s “memory” laneway where much of the action in Kicking the Sky takes place, inspired by Anthony’s own experiences of growing up in Toronto’s Portuguese community in the 1970s. One of my favourite interviews so far. Episode to air sometime in January.
Yesterday I spent the last evening of my 35th with the hilarious Mike Rita, one of the top new stand up comedians in Toronto. I got to hang out with Rita and record our conversation while driving between shows – in the style of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee – and later interview him on the stage of Vapor Central, where he hosts his weekly Stoner Sundays.
The son of Portuguese immigrants from São Miguel island, Rita has turned his (sometimes painful) memories of growing up Portuguese in Toronto into one of the most popular comedy acts in this predominantly immigrant city, and across the Portuguese diaspora on this side of the Atlantic. He is an improbable but dedicated role model for new generations of Portuguese descendants, who are now growing up with a familiar voice in the Canadian mainstream – something he lacked. Rita works hard to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, both in the comedy world – including Toronto’s giants Jim Carey, Mike Meyers, and Russell Peters – and in his own family history by continuing the risk-taking tradition of his immigrant parents while choosing his own path.
Thank you Sôr Rita. Foi um prazer.
Our filming for RTPi’s “A Hora dos Portugueses” continues. Last week we interviewed Sandy Miranda, the bass player for Fucked Up, one of the most prolific and international punk/hardcore bands from Toronto, winner of the Polaris Prize in 2009 (nominated again in 2012). We sat down with Sandy on the stage of the legendary Horseshoe Tavern and talked about her experience growing up as a child of Portuguese immigrants from Pico and Viana do Castelo, and how that has impacted her music career.
(Texto em português segue-se ao inglês)
Earlier this month I started a new project with Pedro Rodrigues of RoughCut Audiovisual (and Luis Moreira) producing content for Portugal’s international public broadcaster RTPi’s new daily TV show “A Hora dos Portugueses.” We are now interviewing various individuals at the heart and on the fringes of Canada’s Portuguese communities, focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on the more modern aspects of the Portuguese immigrant and ethnic experience, especially among the Canadian-born or -raised generations. Last week we filmed our first episode at the Saudade store in Little Portugal, where we interviewed Nancy Fernandes and Connie Freitas. This episode will air on RTPi later this month.
Our goal is to use the footage gathered for this show in future PCHP/RoughCut projects, such as, possibly, a documentary and digital media exhibits.
No início deste mês começei um novo projeto com o Pedro Rodrigues da RoughCut Audiovisual (e Luis Moreira) na produção de conteúdos para o novo programa diário da RTPi “A Hora dos Portugueses.” Estamos agora a entrevistar vários indivíduos no coração e nas franjas das comunidades portuguesas do Canadá, privilegiando os aspetos mais modernos (sem excluir os mais tradicionais) da experiência emigrante e étnica portuguesa, especialmente entre as gerações nascidas ou criadas no Canadá. A semana passada filmámos o nosso primeiro segmento na loja Saudade no bairro Little Portugal, onde entrevistámos Nancy Fernandes e Connie Freitas. Este episódio vai ser transmitido na RTPi nas próximas semanas.
O nosso objetivo é utilizar o material recolhido durante estas gravações em outros projetos futuros do PCHP/RoughCut, incluíndo, possivelmente, um documentário e exposições digitais.
Starting on November 1st, 2015, I will be a postdoctoral visitor with the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University, working in close relationship with the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, the Department of History, and the Portuguese faculty at the Department of Languages, Literature, and Linguistics. My responsibilities will include directing the public history and archival outreach activities of the Portuguese Canadian History Project, as outlined in its strategic plan; conducting research on Lusophone diaspora topics; and teaching a fourth-level undergraduate history course.
This position has been made possible thanks to a generous financial donation from a prominent member of Toronto’s Portuguese-Canadian community, resulting from the ongoing fundraising campaign by the PCHP and York University’s Division of Advancement. A formal acknowledgment of this donation and related organizational partnership will be made later.
Very excited to be joining the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies team, and grateful for York University’s ongoing support for the PCHP.
Stay tuned for more.
Yesterday I gave an interview for the OMNI TV show “Nós Portugueses,” hosted by Bill Moniz. Our conversation focused on diaspora, multiculturalism, and the political life of Portuguese Canadians. The show should air on November 22.
Ontem dei uma entrevista para o programa “Nós Portugueses” da OMNI TV, entrevistado pelo apresentador Bill Moniz. A nossa conversa focou os temas da diáspora, multiculturalismo e a vida política dos luso canadianos. A transmissão do programa está agendada para dia 22 de novembro.
Since coming into power in 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken various steps to redefine Canadian citizenship and reassert its value under a territorial, militaristic, loyalist, conformist and Anglocentric interpretation. As numerous commentators have noted, these reforms have unfolded within Harper’s broader campaign to (re)define the meaning of being Canadian along conservative ideals and British traditions. Conservative officials deny the existence of such an underlying agenda, arguing their reforms simply addressed specific problems in the system, such as massive fraud and application backlogs. Recent citizenship debates in English Canada have dwelt mostly on the question of whether it is a right or a privilege; on issues of legality and process; and on measures of loyalty, attachment or worthiness. But there is more to it.
I wrote a three-part series for ActiveHistory.ca exploring the historical narratives and political myths supporting the Conservative government’s parochial views on Canadian citizenship, and how they affect Canada and its expats’ places in the world.
Part one – “It’s about history. But whose?” – focuses on the policies and the politicians; part two – “Who
killed spawned Canadian citizenship?” – on the historians; and part three – “Whence they left” – on Canada’s expats and diasporas.