Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Lia Chang

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Lia Chang

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates their 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1, 2011. The two day festival will feature the best of both traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and culture, including dance, martial arts, manga, costume play (“cosplay”), workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the Garden’s Japanese plant collections.

Among the more than 60 events and performances on the schedule for 2011 are a host of new features, including a performance by Morning Musuko, a 15-member brassy J-pop big band; a specially commissioned contemporary dance work by the respected Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company; and a Puzzle Plaza where visitors can immerse themselves in with Sudoku, kakuro, LaQ and the legendary game of go.

Returning favorites include performances by Okinawan-pop stars happyfunsmile and martial artists Samurai Sword Soul, plentiful manga and anime activities including signings by famed manga artists and a live collaboration between Veronica Taylor (the voice of Pokemon) and artist Misako Rocks!, and several hands-on activities for kids to enjoy.

Weeping Cherry Trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. © Lia Chang

Weeping Cherry Trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. © Lia Chang

During this season celebrating its historic relationship to Japanese culture and horticulture, the Garden reflects on the recent tragic events in Japan, and invites visitors to find opportunities for contemplation amidst its flowering cherries, Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the bonsai exhibition Graceful Perseverance, and more. At Sakura Matsuri, visitors will be invited to make an origami crane that will eventually join thousands of others sent to Japan as a gesture of support and unity.

Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. All activities take place rain or shine, with indoor locations provided for most activities in the event of rain. A detailed schedule for the festival is available at Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students with ID; kids under 12 and Garden members are admitted free of charge. Admission fees will be charged all weekend, including Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. (On all Saturdays without scheduled public programs, the Garden will continue to extend free admission from 10 a.m. to noon.)

For a complete schedule of events and performers, visit
Music, Dance, and Martial Arts
• Concerts by fifteen-member Brooklyn-based J-pop big band Morning Musuko
• Earth-shaking taiko drumming by Taiko Masala and Soh Daiko An electric performance by Neo Blues Maki, who blend soul music with traditional enka poetry
• A thrilling karate demonstration with international dojo World Seido Karate
• Expressive traditional classical and Okinawan works by Dancejapan (featuring legendary dancer Sachiyo Ito, who has performed at every Sakura Matsuri since 1981)
• J-Pop Culture: Cosplay, Manga, and Anime
(presented in partnership with the NY Anime Festival)
• BBG’s Parasol Society Promenade through the for the Victorian maidens, boho bo-peeps, and Tokyo goth girls
• Manga and Anime Artist Alley with renowned manga creators signing their best-known works
• A Cosplay Fashion Show featuring over a dozen of the most extraordinary hand-made costumes in the city
• A chance for visitors to interact with their favorite live characters during Improvised Anime
• A Dance Party with performance group IchiP! for visitors to practice the popular Japanese group dance para para with the pros
• Traditional & Contemporary Arts and Culture
• Exquisite urasenke and sohrenyu-style tea ceremonies
• A demonstration of how to make the essential Japanese staple dashi with Brooklyn’s Momo Sushi Shack
• A satellite store from Kinokuniya—America’s largest Japanese bookstore—offering language, travel and art books in addition to a robust selection of manga
• Reflections in Tea, an interactive installation with artist Michele Brody where visitors can pen memories of past experiences with tea
• Vintage kimonos for a visitors to try on
• Gyotaku fish printing art demonstrations for all ages
Flowers, Bonsai, and Garden Tours
• Guided tours of Graceful Perseverance, BBG’s striking new bonsai exhibition, plus a talk with BBG’s curator of the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum
• Ikebana flower-arranging demonstration and exhibit with expert Fumiko Allinder
• Trained BBG Garden Guide-led tours of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Japanese tree peonies (if they are blooming), and flowering cherry collection
For Families
• Hands-on workshops for kids, inspired by both horticulture and Japanese culture, where young ones can make their own tea bag, try taiko drumming, and create miniature Noguchi-inspired sculptures
• An upbeat hanagasa odori flower hat dance parade
• A children’s Suzuki recital from Brooklyn College’s Preparatory Center featuring “Sakura, Sakura” and other pieces for strings
For more information on BBG’s flowering cherries and Hanami events, please visit

Bookmark and Share

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
Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Sidney Poitier among honorees at Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Edison Ballroom on May 22
André De Shields stars in Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens 5/14-6/12
32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8, 2011
Vikas Khanna’s Holy Kitchens Karma to Nirvana premieres at New York Indian Film Festival on 5/7 at Tribeca Cinemas
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Duke Ellington Week 2011 Events in NY, April 25-30
Foremost American Taiko Artist, Kenny Endo, to perform in Tokyo on April 24 and April 30
Video: Denise Burse as Claretha Jenkins on House of Payne
Photos and Video of Kenny Endo’s TAIKO THUNDER at Skirball Center in NYC
National Cherry Blossom Festival Invites Public to Stand with Japan
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
Photos: Chinese New Year Festival at The Huntington in San Marino
New York Blizzard of 2010
Snow in New York City’s Central Park
Bellagio Christmas Holiday Botanical Display in Las Vegas
Monet’s Water Lilies on view at MOMO through April 12, 2010
My Botanical Beauties for the LIU/King’s County Hospital Center Nursing School
RED opening reception at Gouverneur Healthcare Services
AAJA member Lia Chang’s RED photographic exhibit part of Chinese New Year celebration
Lunch at The Modern, A Stroll Through The Conservatory Garden in Central Park
Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias, Tulips and Narcissus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Spring in New York is a Veritable Color Riot
Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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. 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”.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on