The largest Chinatown in the Detroit area is across the border in Windsor. However, Madison Heights hosts a significant Chinese community in southeast Michigan, and the Association of Chinese Americans is the hub for all things Chinese. The Lunar New Year, which begins on January 23, 2012, is the most important celebration in the traditional Chinese culture; it is a time when families gather for a large feast and remember their roots. Within every Chinese organization there will be special events for Lunar New Year, but here are some of the very best Chinese arts and culture events in Detroit.
Price: $180 (Box), $149, $129, $99, $80
Shen Yun Performing Arts, the largest and most elaborate spectacle celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year comes to the Detroit Opera House Jan. 26-29, 2012, under the auspices of the Michigan Oriental Culture Association and Falun Dafa Association. A 40-piece symphony orchestra and 55-plus performers present classical Chinese dance arts from the past 5,000 years. There will be some 20 sets, each having elaborate costumes and unique themes celebrating the variety and scope of performance arts from five millennia. The Falun Dafa Association preserves and promotes Chinese culture for the benefit and enjoyment of southeast Michigan.
Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan – Lunar New Year Celebration
Washtenaw Community College Lawrence Building
4800 E. Huron River Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
The Lunar New Year celebration will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Washtenaw Community College (WCC) from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. From 2 to 4:30, there will be children’s performances which include a colorful lion dance, a traditional Chinese orchestra, martial arts demonstrations, regional dances, yo-yo tricks, and Chinese New Year stories, songs, skits, films and poetry. A market festival with games and crafts will be featured from 3 to 5 p.m. The ticket price includes a Chinese buffet dinner, which will be offered following the performances.
Association of Chinese Americans – Chinese Community Center
32585 Concord Drive
Madison Heights, MI 48071
The Association of Chinese Americans holds an annual Lantern Festival at the Chinese Community Center; it marks the culmination of the 15-day Lunar New Year celebration. The 2012 Lantern Festival will be celebrated Feb. 4; it is a free event open to the community, and is family-friendly. The festival will include games and activities for children; area organizations will have booths promoting their activities, traditional holiday Chinese food will be sold, and there will be many performances with singing and dancing.
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m.-5p.m.
Prices: $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth ages 6-17. DIA members are admitted free.
The Detroit Institute of Arts holds 2,600 Asian artifacts, including 59 Chinese works of art, all of the highest quality, dating from antiquity to the present. To honor Chinese Lunar New Year, the DIA kicks off the “year of the dragon” with a classical southern style lion dance on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The dance is followed by a demonstration of various Kung Fu forms.
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Organ concert 7:30 p.m., Film at 8 p.m.
Prices: $4 for most films
The Redford Theatre is a historic building featuring Chinese décor, according to interior design expert Robert Hawley. Although most of its original décor was painted over, concealed or removed during World War II because citizens confused it for being Japanese, the Motor City Theatre Organ Society has restored much of the theatre to its original splendor. The society presents classic films and musical concerts regularly. On the request list for upcoming films is The Last Emperor (1987), which won nine Oscars. Check the theatre website for film listings.
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Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. His work can be found at Examiner.com.