May 4, 2007

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


AUTHOR: Jordan Bartel

Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution seems tailor-made as a celebration site for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Its many museums and festivals often celebrate the cultural group through individual exhibits or performances.

So throughout May, the Smithsonian will devote much of its calendar to recognizing Asian Pacific Heritage Month with everything from martial arts demonstrations to film screenings. Here are some highlights. All programs are free, unless otherwise noted.

First up is Get Your Kicks on Route 66: Martial Arts in America

This is a martial arts showcase scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium.

Get Your Kicks will feature local masters in Chinese kung fu, Japanese aikido, Thai kick boxing and Filipino kali and eskrima.

The Freer Gallery of Art will screen “The Taste of Tea

The Freer Gallery of Art will screen “The Taste of Tea” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the museum’s Meyer Auditorium.

Katsuhito Ishii’s absurdist – though poignant – film is set during one summer in the life of the Haruno family. The movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets are required. Call 202-357-3030.

Asian Pacific Heritage Music and Dance

Other events not to miss this weekend include a showcase of Asian Pacific Heritage Music and Dance from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the National Museum of Natural History, Kodomo-No-Hi: It’s Children’s Day! Held at 10:15, 11, 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art Friday, and The Art of Origami (tickets are required) at the S. Dillon Ripley Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Culture of Native Hawaiians

Next weekend, make a stop at the National Museum of the American Indian for a feature on the culture of native Hawaiians. The May 12 and May 13 event will include hula dancing, cooking demonstrations, an outdoor fire pit and storytelling sessions. For details, go to

21st annual Asian Arts and Crafts Festival

The 21st annual Asian Arts and Crafts Festival, held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the National Museum of Natural History, will feature Cambodian stone and metal sculpting, Chinese paper folding and Korean calligraphy. Sushi fans will enjoy Beyond Sushi: Culinary Japan from Classical to Modern, a demonstration of the art of making the delectable food by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 22nd St. N.W., from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 12. Tickets are required. Call 202-357-3030.

Other events not to miss during the month:

The History of Japanese Theater: Kabuki (tickets required) at 6:30 p.m. May 16 in the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, “Robots, Science, Technology: Japan Creates the Future” (tickets required) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19 in the National Academy of Sciences Auditorium at 2100 C St. N.W. and What’s Cookin’ on the Asia Trail? (tickets required) at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. at the National Zoo’s visitor center auditorium. Cap off the month with the free Asian Pacific Heritage Festival from 1 to 3 p.m. May 26 at the National Postal Museum.

Finally, a not-to-miss exhibition is “Within the Emperor’s Garden: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion” at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. Running through June 3, the exhibition features a model of the pavilion, or Wan Chung Ting, a celebrated example of classic Chinese architecture which still stands in the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was built circa 1420 and rebuilt in 1533. Also on view is a case with examples of carving tools.

For a complete calendar of events and ticket information, go to the Smithsonian’s website. For general Smithsonian information, call 202-633-1000.


Jordan Bartel is a staff writer for the Carrol County Times. Jordan Bartell can be reached at 410-857-7862 or

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