Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Philip Glass, Hal Willner, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto in Japan Society’s Concert for Japan on 4/9 in NYC

On Saturday, April 9 from 11:00 am-11:00 pm, Japan Society presents CONCERT FOR JAPAN, 12 hours of music and special activities to benefit Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. 100% of proceeds from the event and tax-deductible contributions made on site to the relief fund will go to organizations that directly help victims recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. With dozens of performances throughout the day, confirmed gala blocks organized by John Zorn feature Philip Glass & Hal Willner, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Zorn (starting at 1:00pm); and Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bill Laswell and gigi band (starting at 6:00pm).

Other artists participating in CONCERT FOR JAPAN include Masayo Ishigure (koto), Mutsumi and Masumi Takamizu (ji-uta sankyoku), James Schlefer (shakuhachi), Sadahiro Kakitani (ryuteki), Taikoza (taiko), Taka Kigawa (piano), and Yumi Kurosawa (koto) and NY-based Japanese female-led bands: Echostream, Hard Nips, The Suzan and Me & Mars.

11 AM
*No ticket required
New York Suwa Taiko Association (with allied members from: Taiko Masala, New York Taiko Aikokai, Sakura Taiko, Ninja Taiko, Brooklyn Genki Daiko and Taiko Club of Brooklyn Waldorf), Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir

1–2:20 PM
GALA BLOCK ticket required – SOLD OUT (No late seating)
Philip Glass & Hal Willner
Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson & John Zorn

2:45–4:00 PM
*No ticket required – seating is first come, first served
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL MUSIC: Masayo Ishigure and Miyabi koto shamisen ensemble (koto, bass koto, shamisen, shakuhachi), Sadahiro Kakitani (ryuteki), Mutsumi Takamizu and Masumi Takamizu (koto/vocal), Yumi Kurosawa (20 string koto), James Nyoraku Schlefer and Kyo Shin An Shakuhachi Dojo (shakuhachi)

4:15–5:15 PM
*No ticket required – seating is first come, first served
WESTERN CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: Mari Kimura (violin), Makoto Nakura (marimba), Taka Kigawa (piano), Lisa Bielawa (composer/vocalist).

6:00 – 7:20 PM
*GALA BLOCK ticket required – SOLD OUT (No late seating)
Ryuichi Sakamoto with Special Guests
M.O.D. Technologies featuring Bill Laswell, Gigi, Bernie Worrell, Hideo Yamaki and many others

8–10:30 PM
*No ticket required – seating is first come, first served
TAIKO & ROCK/POP BANDS: Taikoza (taiko, shakuhachi, fue), Salmé, Echostream, Me & Mars, The Suzan, Hard Nips

10:30–11 PM

In addition to the music, CONCERT FOR JAPAN offers special activities for all ages over the course of the event: making origami cranes and washi lanterns for good wishes and recovery, basic Japanese language lessons with the theme “Reach out to Japan,” and unlimited access to Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven & Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, Japan Society’s current gallery exhibition. Throughout the day, visitors are invited to explore the Japan Society landmark building from top to bottom capturing images with a camera or phone, to redeem a gift from Gifu Prefecture or MUJI.

In Japan Society’s classrooms, visitors discover a new side of Japan through inventive and instructive workshops:
• Reach out to Japan by learning basic Japanese phrases to show support and offer help. During the 30 minute sessions led by Toyota Language Center teachers, participants practice basic language for reaching out to those in need and common phrases to use when sending messages to Japan. The sessions are designed for those with no previous knowledge of Japanese. Ticketing opens at 11:00am for classes between 11:45am-2:15pm and at 2:15pm for sessions scheduled 2:30-5:30pm.

• Master calligrapher Masako Inkyo introduces the basics of shodo calligraphy, an art form using a brush and charcoal ink on paper, wood plaques and fabric. Participants are invited to create messages of peace and hope to take home, and also enjoy Ms. Inkyo’s exhibition of calligraphy on display. Ticketing opens at 11:00am for classes between 11:45am-2:15pm and at 2:15pm for classes scheduled 2:30-5:30pm.

• Origami USA volunteers teach participants how to use the Japanese art of paper folding to transform ordinary paper into beautiful flowers and elegant cranes. From kid-friendly designs to complex challenges, there is something for everyone. A selection of inspiring origami artwork will be on display. Reservations not required; participation on space-available basis 11:00am-6:00pm.

• Kamishibai Storytelling transports children and families to a world of mythical creatures and folktale heroes. Kamishibai, literally ‘paper drama,’ is a form of storytelling that flourished in Japan 1920s-50s, and is now enjoying a renaissance in Japanese and American schools, libraries and cultural centers. Lively stories combining visuals, song and movement and promoting themes of cooperation and generosity, will delight all ages. Stories told by Teri Gindi, Keiko Sawaguchi and Kumiko Yamakado. Ticketing opens at 11:00am for classes between 11:45am-2:15pm and at 2:15pm for sessions scheduled 2:30-5:30pm.

• And take part in art! Revel in a field of illuminated rice paper lanterns in Japan Society’s stunning atrium, or create a lantern to add to the collaborative installation. Inspired by traditional Japanese lantern festivals, the project explores the use of light and shadow in Japanese architecture and celebrates the ephemeral, fleeting nature of materials traditionally used in Japanese rituals and events. Lantern-making and paper-shaping instruction given by architect Aki Ishida’s students from the Rhode Island School of Design. Participation on space-available basis

Event admission includes unlimited access to the iconoclastic exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven & Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, highlighting some of the most incredible and darkly breathtaking contemporary art from Japan. A taxidermy deer covered in thousands of glass bulbs; mutant noh theater masks; an arresting series of photographs, demonstrating the quiet power of life and nature; and a 23-foot mural of misty mountains made of millions of expired businessmen are just a few of the eye popping objects on display. In honor of the CONCERT FOR JAPAN, Japan Society’s spring 2011 exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art (March 18 – June 12) offers extended viewing hours from 11:00 am-8:00 pm.

Japan Society’s main floor reception room transforms into the comfortable j-LOUNGE – a place for guests to relax with a drink and watch a video feed of the CONCERT FOR JAPAN. Specialty beverages from Japan, such as beer, sake, plum wine, green tea, canned coffee, juices and sodas will be available for purchase.
Saturday, April 9 from 11:00 am-11:00 pm.
Entrance Fee: $5, cash only at the door. (Does not include gala blocks; seating is first come, first served.)
Gala Blocks:
$100 per block (includes entrance fee and assigned seat), limited to two tickets per order, advance sales are available online at, by calling Japan Society’s box office at 212- 715-1258, or in person at 333 East 47th Street between First & Second Avenues.
1:00 pm Gala Block
Philip Glass, & Hal Willner, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and John Zorn.
6:00pm Gala Block
Ryuichi Sakamoto solo, and Bill Laswell with gigi band.

Visit for the most up-to-date information.

All proceeds from CONCERT FOR JAPAN go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Taking advantage of Japan Society’s expertise in bringing together American and Japanese experts to collaborate on social issues, the fund was established March 12 to work with Japanese and American nonprofit organizations that are on the frontlines of disaster relief and recovery in Japan. One hundred percent of the tax-deductible contributions to the fund will go to these organizations that directly help victims. In addition, Japan Society will give half of all ticket and admission sales made March 14-June 30, 2011, from all events to the fund. Those wishing to donate to the fund can go to or mail a check to Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, New York 10017; Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to Japan Society and indicate “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” on the check. For additional information, email

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street). For more info call 212-832-1155 or visit

CONCERT FOR JAPAN generously supported by Mitsubishi International Corporation and Kikkoman Corporation. Origami USA, in-kind donation of directions/diagrams & volunteers. Lantern installation funded by Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) Education grant and RISD Architecture Department. Yamaha Piano provided courtesy of Yamaha Artist Services, New York. Special thanks to Aki Ishida, Aki Ishida Architect PLLC; RISD students from Wintersession 2011 Architectonics Studio; Teri Gindi, kamishibai storyteller; Keiko Sawaguchi; kamishibai storyteller; Origami USA volunteers. Rewards provided by Ohashi Ryoki Co., Ltd. of Gifu Prefecture and MUJI U.S.A., LIMITED.

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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Minami Tamaki LLP & Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) – Helping Victims of Japan Earthquake
Restaurants Respond for Relief, Chef Arnold Wong Hosts Benefit for Japan Night at E&O Trading Co. in SF on 4/10
Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund
André De Shields stars in Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens 5/14-6/12
House of Payne-Payneful Visit Episode features Denise Burse as Claretha Jenkins on TBS
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
Photos & Video Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas-In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on One Life to Live. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and New York Undercover.


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