April 23 – April 27 USC Pacific Asia Museum

April 23, 2014

For a full listing of exhibitions and events, go to pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu

Inagaki Nenjiro Pagoda: Yasaka Japan, 1976 Woodblock print on paper Gift of an Anonymous Donor 2006.4.3

Friday, April 25, is FREE FOURTH FRIDAY so admission is free for everyone all day.

A New Way Forward: Japanese Hanga of the 20th Century
This week at the museum, we are putting the finishing touches on the upcoming exhibition opening April 25. A New Way Forward: Japanese Hanga of the 20th Century presents examples of shin hanga and sosaku hanga side-by-side to highlight their shared aspects as well as their distinguishing characteristics.

Fusion Fridays at the museum take art + entertainment to a new level by keeping the museum doors open late and bringing together guest DJs spinning in the courtyard, a cash bar featuring Angel City Brewery beers, prizes, and L.A.’s best food trucks in the museum’s adjacent parking lot, with special performances and activities each evening. The 2014 season of Fusion Fridays begins May 16, and continues on  June 20, July 18 and August 15 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Each evening is free for museum members and $15 for nonmembers.

  • May 16 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A night of dragon dancing and salsa lessons kicks off the season to highlight the exhibition The Other Side: Chinese and Mexican Immigration to America. The YoroKobi photo booth will be onsite, plus Don Chow and India Jones food trucks.

Tickets can be purchased at fusionfridays2014.eventbrite.com 

ONGOING  EVENTS (With the exception of the Museum Tour, all events have additional fees. For details, call Visitor Services at (626) 449-2742 ext. 0. or visit our website) 

Yoga Thursdays • 12:30 – 1:30 pm $10 per class or buy a series and save. Beginners welcome!

Tai Chi. Saturdays • 8 – 9:30 am $10 per class; free to first time students. Beginners welcome!

Chinese Calligraphy Saturdays • 8:45 – 9:45 am Come in for a free observation of this six-week series class. $80 per person, $50 if also enrolled in Chinese Brush Painting.

Chinese Brush Painting Saturdays • 10 am – Noon Come in for a free observation of this six-week series class. $120 per person.

Museum Tour Saturdays • 1 – 1:30 pm Docent-led tour looks at the highlights of the museum’s collection.

Haiku Third Saturday of the month • 2 pm

Hawaiian Music and More Sundays 10:30 am – Noon Learn how to play the ukulele or guitar and sing traditional songs in this 12-week series class open to musicians of all levels. Students must provide their own guitar or ukulele and those under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. $160 members, $180 non-members.


Last Chance for Fusion Fridays!

August 8, 2013

Fusion FridaysOur popular summer series Fusion Fridays is coming to a close next Friday, August 16. It’s been a fantastic season so far, so let’s look at the highlights!

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In May, we kicked things off with an Indonesian shadow puppet show with live gamelan music. Sponsors Wells Fargo and Yelp! provided a fun photo booth for all to enjoy.

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In June, visitors were enthralled by the dramatic Maori haka warrior dance and other Pacific Island dances, with help from the crowd. Audience participation continued with Japanese festival summer dances.

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In July, we had a beautiful Thai dance performance followed by two Korean dances– one of which included not one, but THREE drums for each performer!

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At each evening, visitors also enjoyed the galleries, the evening’s crafts and activities, the food trucks, and the bar featuring our partner Angel City Brewery.

You won’t want to miss 2013’s last chance for late-night performances, activities, food trucks and more in our fabulous courtyard. On August 16, we’ll have a bhangra dance instructor teaching the latest moves from South Asia, and a Chinese lion dance performance. Look for another great photo booth courtesy of Wells Fargo, crafty activities, and more! Make sure to reserve your tickets in advance on Eventbrite! ~CM

Bon Odori and Fusion Fridays

June 20, 2013
Bon Odori

A member of Kotobuki No Kai performs Bon Odori, Kotobuki No Kai will teach two dances at Fusion Fridays.

Throughout Japan, the summer Obon festivals usually include a form of group dancing called Bon Odori. While Obon festivities usually take place in July and August in Japan, we’re getting started a little early at tomorrow’s installment of Fusion Fridays, when Kotobuki No Kai will demonstrate and teach attendees some of these traditional dances.

Obon festival is a Japanese holiday with Buddhist and Confucian roots to honor one’s ancestors, and celebrates the filial piety of Buddha’s disciple Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren in Japanese). Mokuren had a vision of his deceased mother suffering in the afterlife, and asked Buddha how to alleviate her suffering. Buddha instructed Mokuren to give offerings to Buddhist monks returning from their summer retreat. Once he did this, his mother was released from suffering and Mokuren danced with joy.


Shuzo Ikeda, Mokuren, Japan, 1965, Woodblock print on paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Jude, Pacific Asia Museum Collection, 1977.55.19

During this holiday, people visit and clean the graves of their ancestors. During this time, ancestral spirits are said to visit household altars. This is also a time for the community to gather for food, drink, dancing and fun activities while wearing yukata, the light summertime style of kimono. These festivals traditionally close as participants float illuminated lanterns down a river, symbolizing the departure of the spirits until the next year. Large Japanese immigrant populations have spread the Obon festival around the world, including Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and the U.S., and similar festivals are practiced in China and Korea.

Bon Odori dances vary across Japan, and musical accompaniment can vary as well. These dances have their roots in folk traditions welcoming the spirits of the dead and are performed by the entire community in a circle. At Fusion Fridays, Kotobuki No Kai will teach Tokyo Ondo and Kyushu Tanko Bushi. Tokyo Ondo is named for Japan’s capital, and involves a combination of claps and simple arm movements as the group moves in a circle. Kyushu Tanko Bushi, or “The Song of the Coal Miners,” is a regional dance from Kyushu that recalls the miners at the now-shuttered Miike Mine. Movements in this dance mime digging, cart pushing, lantern hanging, and gazing at the moon. As in Tokyo Ondo, the dance moves in a circle as the participants gesture.

With all the Obon festivities throughout Los Angeles in the summer, you’ll definitely want to learn Bon Odori at Fusion Fridays! And if that’s not your style, the evening also features Pacific Island dance performances, food trucks, art activities, and a cash bar in our courtyard. Tickets are available in advance on Eventbrite or at the door. ~CM

Puppets and Gamelan at Fusion Fridays!

April 12, 2013
Maria Bodman Balinese Wayang Kulit

Indonesian shadow puppets. Courtesy of Bali and Beyond.

At our Fusion Friday premiere on May 17, we’ll have a fantastic Indonesian shadow puppet performance accompanied by live gamelan music courtesy of Bali and Beyond. This group was recently here for a Free Family Festival, and was so awesome we couldn’t wait to have them back!

Shadow puppet shows have been performed in various parts of Indonesia for centuries. Made of intricately cut rawhide and bamboo sticks, these shadow puppets are manipulated by a single puppeteer to tell a story. Moving the puppets behind a screen with a lamp suspended behind it, the puppeteer can serve a number of functions– he or she (traditionally male, but not in the case of Bali and Beyond) will handle the puppets, narrate the story and even create sound effects with the feet. This is a complicated task that requires great skill both in performance and multitasking!


Bali and Beyond takes us behind the scenes– even though they’re not seen by the audience, the puppets are brightly painted and the lamp holder is delicately carved.

These shows are traditionally accompanied by gamelan music, which can also accompany dance and other performances and ceremonies. Gamelan is a term for a set of instruments meant to be played together rather than the musicians themselves. These instruments can include gongs, bells, drums, flutes, string instruments and xylophones, all of which are specifically tuned to the other instruments in the gamelan. Each performing group varies in the number and variety of instruments and musical style, particularly by region. For example, Bali’s gamelan gong kebyar is characterized by changing tempo and dynamics very suddenly, while Javanese gamelan is usually slower and more relaxed. The music can sound quite unfamiliar to Western ears because common gamelan musical scales use five or seven unevenly spaced notes to an octave, while the Western chromatic scale has eight evenly spaced notes. The tuning also varies from gamelan to gamelan, so instruments are not interchangeable. Think of it this way– if you play a key on one piano and then on another, they should be the same note if properly tuned. For gamelan instruments, they’ll always be different– the note is completely dependent on the musical scale and tuning of the whole gamelan. Going further, the piano key immediately to the left or right of the first key played would also be the same on two different pianos. For gamelan instruments, that’s not the case either.

At our May 17 premiere of Fusion Fridays, Bali and Beyond will perform a shadow puppet show accompanied by a two-person xylophone gamelan– check them out in the video above. After their performance, they’ll give you a peek behind the scenes and show you how the puppets move, the special effects, and of course the gamelan. Make sure you get your tickets early so you don’t miss out! ~CM

Popping up at Fusion Friday

June 28, 2012

Fun summer evenings in our courtyard continued on June 15 with the second installment of Fusion Fridays! For this “Pop Up” night, visitors enjoyed a karaoke lounge, a group graffiti activity, and much more.

In the courtyard we listened to DJ Ireesh Lal, who brought along his trumpet to create an even more upbeat sound. Upstairs, the karaoke lounge was hopping with some great voices and some entertaining performances. Visitors explored the exhibition Gajin Fujita: Ukiyo-e in Contemporary Painting and took inspiration from it as they added their own marks to a plexiglas wall in the courtyard, and took pictures throughout the galleries in a photo scavenger hunt. Check out their uploads here, and see all our great photos on Flickr!

Wish you were there? Come to the next event, Sound Off, on July 20! We’ll have live performances from Minyo Station, DJs Jeremy Loudenback and Arshia Haq playing their favorite Bollywood and bhangra soundtracks, and trucks India Jones and Paradise cookies in our lot. Free for members, $15 general admission. Reserve or buy your ticket on Eventbrite now! ~KS

Fusion Fridays are back!

June 7, 2012

Fusion Fridays, Pacific Asia Museum’s signature summer evening series, is back! We kicked it off—literally—on Friday, May 18, with sumo matches, taekwondo, and much more.

Andrew Freund, director of the California Sumo Association, introduced us to the basic principals of sumo. Then world sumo champion Byamba took on challengers, including some of our guests, in real matches in our courtyard. After a short break Xplore taekwondo broke boards, reached heights through careful balance, and sliced apples midair in an impressive display.

Guests also enjoyed listening and dancing to the sounds of DJ Yuki Shimotakahara, exploring the new exhibition Masterpieces of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, providing their own voiceovers to kung fu movies in an activity led by artist Nori Shirasu, and eating food from trucks Nom Nom and Coolhaus.

Sad you missed out? Come to our next event, Pop Up, on June 15, 7:30–10:30 pm. We’ll have a karaoke lounge, a group graffiti project, DJ Ireesh Lal spinning in the courtyard, and trucks Clean Street Food and Paradise Cookies in our lot. Free for members, $15 general. Reserve or buy your ticket on Eventbrite now! ~KS

Remember the cameras? Here’s the result!

September 29, 2011

We’re quite excited, so this post is one big group hug. As you may remember, our June Fusion Friday’s unofficial entertainment included a video shoot as part of our participation in the LA County Art Commission’s ENGAGE program. It’s amazing how long it can take to get a 2-minute video just right, but now we’re proud to announce…


This video shows off what makes Pacific Asia Museum awesome– the art, the education, and the events. The ENGAGE program has really helped us keep you all up-to-date on our ever-growing exhibition and program schedule through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Our followers have grown at an astonishing rate, and we hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve shared with you. So, tell us what you think!

Thanks so much to the LA County Arts Commission and our wonderful actors from OPM Comedy for helping to make this happen. Pacific Asia Museum wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of our community partners! ~CM