13 October 2008

PANEL DISCUSSION ON GROWING UP IN HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN

I received this announcement from Philippine Expressions Bookshop:

PANEL DISCUSSION ON GROWING UP IN HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN

Saturday, October 18, 2008
4:00pm - 7:00pm

Remy's Art Gallery
2126 West Temple Street near Alvarado
Los Angeles (Street parking only)

Free and Open to the public.

Due to limited space, RSVP is requested.
(310) 514-9139 or email

Remy's Gallery is the same venue of the traveling photo exhibit, Singgalot: The Ties That Bind which is ongoing. This Smithsonian-sponsored exhibit on Filipinos in America ends on Sunday, October 26 and people who will attend the panel discussions will also have a chance to view the Exhibit.

Gerald Gubatan, an urban planner by training heads the panel of four who will discuss their experiences growing up at different periods of time in Temple Street area, before it was declared Historic Filipinotown. Born and raised in the Temple-Beverly area in the 1960s-1970s, Gubatan attended Belmont High School in the 1970s and later on went to UCLA. Currently a Senior Planner with L.A.'s Community Redevelopment Agency, Gerald has served as Chief Planner and Legislative Deputy for various elected officials in Los Angeles City Hall and Sacramento. He is founding Board President of Fil-Am Arts; former Board President of SIPA, Inc.; and a charter member of the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD).

Other members of the Panel include authors Noel Alumit, Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier and Carina Monica Montoya also known as Carina Forsythe who will autograph their books during the event. The panelists will share their memories of life in the area, their challenges growing up in an enclave and their own visions of the future of Historic Filipinotown. Also invited as resource persons are stakeholders of Historic Filipinotown: Susan Dilkes FASGI), Joselyn Geaga Rosenthal (Remy's Art Gallery), Joel Jacinto (SIPA) and Rose IbaƱez (Filipino American Library) and their representatives.

Noel Alumit is a Los Angeles Times Bestselling author. His recent work, a gay-themed novel, "Talking to the Moon" is set in Historic Filipinotown. His family moved into the area in the 1970's and never left. His first novel, "Letters to Montgomery Clift" won the Stonewall Book Award and Violet Quill Award. Alumit studied playwriting at the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute at East West Players. His one-man show, The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar was voted one of the best solo shows of the year by the San Francisco Gay Guardian and played to sold-out houses across the country. He's proud to be on this panel exploring life in his childhood neighborhood.

Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier's family had lived in Temple Street from 1941 to 1953. Her Filipino grandmother on her mother side was from Baguio. While growing up, her best friend was Rita Hernandez who became Pilar Surat, an actress, then married a Director/Producer named Devlin. Surat passed away years ago; her son is also a Director/Producer in Hollywood. Bonnievier has a B.A. in English Literature, an M.A. in Cross Cultural Education and had attended a doctoral program in Theater and American Literature. Her various experiences include serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia and as a member of the teaching staff at the University of San Francisco, the University of Denver, John Hopkins University and more recently, at UC-Irvine. She has led writing workshops for members of the World Bank in Washington, DC. and had taught language arts in Japan, Germany and Spain. Her first book, "Autobiography of a Stranger" (Times International, Singapore) was used as a text in a Women Writers' Course at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Bonnivier’s second novel, "Seeking Thirst", will be released in a few months and she is now on her third novel, "Force Field Ancestors".

Carina Monica Montoya spent most of her growing years in and around the corridor of Hoover/Temple/Parkview/Union/Carondelet Streets. Her mother was active with the old St. Columban Church, Filipino Community Center (now FACLA), Santa Maria Ilocos Sur Association, Philippine Women's Club, and the Caballeros De Dimasalang. As a child, she attended all their events, including being a candidate for their Miss Philippines contest in 1970. Her interest in local history is personal; her father was one of the first young Filipino men to arrive in Los Angeles and find work in Hollywood. She had collected vintage images of early Filipinos and the memoirs of Filipinos in Hollywood span more than 80 years, dating back to early 1920s. She compiled and edited this photographic history which is the the subject of her book, "Filipinos in Hollywood". Her second book, "Historic Filipinotown" in Los Angeles is forthcoming. She attended CSU-Los Angeles, and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in American History. When not doing historical research, Montoya is a Judicial Assistant to a US federal judge in downtown LA. She is also an active reservist in the US Navy, having been recalled to active duty in 2001-2003 to support the fight against terrorism in Operations Noble Eagle and 'Enduring Freedom'.

Signed copies of their books are available by mail order, if you are unable to attend the event. The Panel Discussion is sponsored by Philippine Expressions Bookshop as part of their ongoing outreach program, in collaboration with the Singgalot Host Committee. For those interested in the schedule of the Singgalot Exhibit, please call Remy's (213) 484-2884 for more details.

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Philippine Expressions Bookshop
The Mail Order Bookshop dedicated to Filipino Americans in search of their roots. We blazed the trail in promoting Philippine books in America. 2008 marks our 24th year of service to the Filipino American community. Thank you for your support. Mabuhay !

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