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Date: February 19, 2013
Contact: John Cunnane, 415-561-7049

 Storytelling Aboard 19th Century Sailing Ship Celebrates Lunar New Year of the Water Snake

Poetry/Folk Memories Honor Bay Area and Sierra Nevada Chinese Pioneers' Spirit of Transformation

Saturday, February 23, 2013, 2:30-4:30pm aboard the 1886 Square-Rigger Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier

Chinese Whisperssmin partnership with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park will present "Transformations and Renewals," an afternoon of poetry, storytelling, interactive game and presentation on board the 1886 Balclutha on February 23, 2013, 2:30-4:30 p.m. In honor of the lunar new year of the Water Snake, the event will celebrate the spirit of transformation in pioneering immigrant communities in the San Francisco Bay and Sierra Nevada. The Snake symbolizes transformation and renewal. This program is accessible and appropriate for all ages. Boarding pass for Balclutha: $5. Space is limited.

 The event will feature a reading by noted San Francisco poet Genny Lim, and multimedia storytelling from Chinese Whisperssm, a research and community storytelling project about the Chinese who helped build the American West. Community members and proxy tellers will relate handed down family stories, excerpted from place-themed Chinese Whispers productions in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and the Bay Area. The program will also include a game of "Chinese whispers", also known as the "telephone game", where audience will transform a secret message to parallel the way in which history is changed in retelling. It will also include a presentation by Park Exhibits Curator Richard Everett on the history of the Chinese cannery workers such as on the Balclutha, through the eyes of journalist Max Stern who shipped out "incognito" with the cannery hands. Audience members are invited to take a self-guided tour of the "Chinatown" section of the ship after the program.

 Chinese Whisperssmwascreated by Project and Artistic Director Rene Yung, to bring to light the overlooked history of the Chinese who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad, mines, and settlements of the American West, through an innovative program of research, community storytelling, and cross-cultural public engagement.

 Rene Yung is an internationally exhibiting artist, designer and writer. Her cross-disciplinary works articulate the hidden and the overlooked by connecting community, history and place in creative forms. A native of Hong Kong, she has exhibited at venues including TransCulture, part of the 46th Venice Biennale, and her installation "City Beneath the City" showcasing artifacts from the San Jose Market Street Chinatown excavation is currently on display at the Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford, CA.

 San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park includes a fleet of historic ships, the Maritime Museum, a Visitor Center, the Aquatic Park Historic District, and a maritime library. The park offers both regular programs and special events. For more information, call 415-447-5000 or visit the park's website at

 Chinese Whisperssmis supported in part by Cal Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission, and is fiscally sponsored by the Intersection for the Arts. To learn more, please visit

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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