The Mall's seen it all over the years. But a life-sized rice paddy? A tribute to trial lawyers? The Smithsonian offers these and other spectacles through July 6 (except Monday and Tuesday) at the 20th Annual Festival of American Folklife, which focuses on Japan, Tennessee, the conservation of traditional craft and, of course, trial lawyers.
*Forty participants from Japan show how Japanese folklore is rooted in rice. There'll be ritual planting ceremonies daily at noon and 3:30. You can hear folk music and see theatrical kagura dancing. Craftsmen make casks for saki, which will be on sale along with other Japanese foods throughout the festival. Kids have their day in the sun at daily origami, doll-making and taiko drum workshops.
*The 90-member Tennessee contingent offers heaps of down-home cooking, traditional crafts and such demonstrations as moonshining. A continuous music program includes the original Sun Rhythm band, which plays rockabilly Saturday at 3:30 and Sunday at 11:45. There'll be a special concert, "History of Country Music" Saturday from 12:30 to 2:45. Sunday offers a "History of the Blues" from 12:30 to 2:45 and includes Field Stones, Booker T. Laury and Jessie Mae Hemphill.
*The festival also focuses on the folklore surrounding the trial lawyer. You can see 36 attorneys from around the nation engage in mock courtroom scenes, where they'll demonstrate the necessary skills for winning over judge and jury. The lawyers will swap war stories and discuss their tactics and such legal issues as capital punishment. There'll be a special performance and discussion about Clarence Darrow, Friday at 4:10.
*The center stage is devoted to the music of past festivals. The performers include the cajun band Beausoleil and a San Juan Pueblo Indian group from New Mexico.
The festival is from 11 to 5:30, Friday through Sunday. Weekday hours and schedules are available at festival information booths or by calling 357-2700.