Asian American Neighborhood Festival Recap
By Robert Bernstein
The Asian American Neighborhood Festival brought varied Asian cultural performances to the Presidio Historic Park in Santa Barbara for the eighth year in a row.
Here are my photos and videos!
The Performance Schedule was as follows:
11:00 AM Gamelan Sinar Surya
11:30 PM Camarillo Lion Dance Troupe (continued on next page)
12:00 PM Bob Sedivy
12:20 PM Santa Barbara Wu-Hao Tai Ji Association led by Chao Pang
12:40 PM Traditional Chinese Martial Arts by Master Yun Chao Zhang
1:00 PM Hulaanyone?
1:30 PM Taiko Drumming performance by Togen Daiko of Oxnard Buddhist Temple
1:50 PM Japanese Folk Dance directed by Roberta Cook
2:10 PM K-Pop Dance Performance by SS805
2:30 PM UCSBreakin'
The Festival is hosted by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation to raise awareness of this historic district. People are very aware of the Spanish thread in our history, but the Asian history was very important and is often forgotten. And, unfortunately, many of the Spanish and the Asian historic buildings were on the same sites at different times in history.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Presidio Neighborhood included Chinese and Japanese communities. Just a few decades ago the large Presidio building had been a Buddhist temple.
One visible reminder of the Asian era is the former Jimmy's Oriental Gardens, now Three Pickles. Founder Jimmy Chung's granddaughter Barbara Chung was on hand for the festivities and posed for this photo:
The Okamoto Kitchen food truck came up from Sherman Oaks for their Santa Barbara premiere. Unfortunately, this critically important part of the Festival did not work out well. While some people did get food, many more waited in line for a long time and came away with little or nothing. Most of us ended up eating at other local restaurants. Next year, let's hope the Festival organizers are able to find a food vendor who can provide both the quality and quantity of food to match the quality and quantity of the rest of the Festival!
When we arrived Hulaanyone? had just begun to perform
Next came Taiko Drumming by Togen Daiko of Oxnard Buddhist Temple
Here is my video of their performance
As is usual at many of the best events in Santa Barbara, Gary Atkins provided superb sound services
Drumming continued as part of the Japanese Folk Dance. Members of the audience were called up to participate in learning and performing a series of dances. Roberta Cook led the dances.
As the Folk Dancing finished up, the UCSB K-Pop group SS805 waited to start their performance:
K-Pop originated in South Korea but has become popular in the US, too. Check out my video!
And here are some still photos of their performances, too!
Between sets some of the dancers waited their turn to perform
And the numbers and energy grew!
The audience was loving it!
Last and definitely not least: UCSB Break Dancing group UCSBreakin'
I got some still shots like these
But you really must watch my video to appreciate their energy and creativity and the risks they were willing to take for their art!
Some of the performers smiled and posed for me as the Festival wrapped up
It is a small Festival by Santa Barbara standards, but one well worth experiencing! Watch for it again this time next year!