Tag Archives: entertainment

Man Up

Justin Chon and Kevin Wu’s ‘Man Up’ Available on Vimeo On Demand

by KoreAm Staff | @KoreAm

The first time Justin Chon and Kevin Wu (a.k.a. KevJumba) teamed up in a film, they were Chinese immigrant brothers who become involved with a NYC Chinatown gang. This time around, things are a bit more lighthearted, although Wu still has his glorious mullet.

Man Up is a buddy comedy follows 19-year-old slacker, Martin (Kevin Wu), who has big plans after high school graduation—to do absolutely nothing. He plans to spend all summer hanging out with his friend, Randall (played by Chon), and playing video games, but his summer plans get complicated when Martin’s girlfriend, Madison (Galadriel Stineman), reveals she is pregnant.

After delivering the big news, Madison refuses to see Martin until he grows up, as his demeanor is carefree to a fault. Her family sees him as an unambitious bum who can barely take care of himself, let alone a newborn. Thus, Martin and Randall embark on a “manquest” to figure out what it means to be a dad and “man up.”

Man Up 1

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The film is now available to rent or buy from Vimeo On Demand. You can watch the trailer below or check out the Man Up website.

Man Up – Trailer from MAN UP Film on Vimeo.

Man Up is also Chon’s directorial debut and is the first film to be released from Off the Dock, a full-service digital studio that was recently acquired by Lakeshore Entertainment. The film is produced by Kinetic Pictures with distributor Supergravity Pictures.


Above image via USA Today

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Meet the Team Behind EXP: “I’m Making a Boy Band”

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Columbia University student Bora Kim riled up the K-pop world about a month ago when word of her MFA thesis project–a non-Korean boy group named “EXP”–spread across the web. Titled “I’m Making a Boy Band,” or IMMABB, Kim’s project has been underway since October of last year.

It’s hard to believe, but the minds behind IMMABB aren’t part of a huge talent agency in South Korea. Instead, the band’s producers primarily consist of three people: Kim, an interdisciplinary artist and sociologist from Seoul; Karin Kuroda (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2013); and Samantha Shao (Maastricht University, Netherlands, 2013).

They each have their individual duties, from overseeing editorial content, social media, research, budgeting and marketing–all while looking forward to EXP’s first mini-album in November and finishing up the “I’m Making a Boy Band” documentary next year.

To help cover the costs of the mini-album, IMMABB is asking for $30,000 in funds from Kickstarter by June 7. Backers can expect plenty of incentives, from EXP T-shirts, signed copies of their mini-album, tote bag, tickets to a VIP screening of their documentary and even private karaoke sessions with the guys.

KoreAm caught up with the IMMABB team for a quick conversation regarding their initial reaction to the controversy surrounding EXP, as well as a glimpse into their future plans.


There must be a lot going on with the band’s training, documenting the project, producing the music and other responsibilities. How big is the team working on the project? 


IMMABB: It must be hard to believe because people keep asking us that question! But it is really just the three of us! Bora, Karin and Sam. [As] for the music, dance, video, photo, we bring in artists who really believe in the project and become collaborators. This is why we started the Kickstarter campaign. We want to give our collaborators what they deserve for their amazing work and hard efforts.


You’ve mentioned your surprise at the reactions and controversy in the media once the Internet heard about EXP. What were some of your immediate observations you had in how many of these outlets presented EXP?


IMMABB: When the controversy first occurred, there was a K-pop forum website that asked “Who’s more handsome? EXO or EXP?” After you answered that question, it asked “Why?” and it gave two options: “I like Asian men” OR “I like white/black men.”

This has been one of the most striking products of the controversy; to this day, we still contemplate what that dichotomy really does, in addition to having “white/black men” as one category. It isn’t clear if the person who posted the question was “Korean” or “Western” or both or neither. It doesn’t matter to us because it generated really interesting dialogues about K-pop and identity politics, amongst [K-pop] fans and our peers (who are also fans).

Though we knew the topic of sexualities would come up, I think we were also quite surprised (and saddened) at the amount of homophobia generated by commenters. Many of these hate comments are from actual K-pop fans (judging by their social media profiles), and it’s interesting because K-pop stars are often called “gay” or “too girly” or “weak” by people who are not familiar with K-pop. These comments imply to us that K-pop boys can do things while our boys cannot do those same things.

What are some of the different approaches in how you will be promoting EXP to Korean audiences?


IMMABB: We haven’t started promoting EXP to our Korean audience yet but the Korean audience who have seen our English content have given us great feedback! We are getting scouting offers from different Asian companies, including ones in Korea, so we think we’ll be in Korea soon.

Be sure to check out EXP’s first single on iTunes and visit IMMABB’s Kickstarter page for EXP’s upcoming mini-album.

Recommended Reading


“Columbia Grad Student Creates K-pop Boy Band ‘EXP’ for Thesis Project”

“Bora Kim Profile: Columbia University School of the Arts”


All images courtesy of IMMABB

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Brian Tee

Brian Tee Cast as Shredder in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2′

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Brian Tee will play the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain Shredder in the next installment of producer Michael Bay’s reboot, Variety reports.

Tee will be replacing Tohoru Masamune, who played Shredder in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Megan Fox returns as the Turtles’ good friend April O’Neil, alongside Will Arnett, who plays Vern Fenwick, a coworker who fancies April. As for first-timers, Stephen Amell will portray Casey Jones, a hockey mask-donning human vigilante, while Tyler Perry will play scientist Baxter Stockman.

Variety notes that Tee is no stranger to popular franchises, as his credits include The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Mortal Kombat: Legacy. He’s set for a busy 2015, as he’ll be appearing in Jurassic World as Takashi Hamada, and he recently finished filming a NBC drama pilot for Love Is a 4 Letter Word. Tee also recently appeared alongside Diddy and Lee Byung-hun in a Funny or Die parody trailer for Rush Hour 4 / Face-Off 2.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is slated to hit theaters on June 3, 2016.


Image via Variety

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Los Angeles Film Festival to Hold Gala Screening for ‘Seoul Searching’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Seoul Searching has been selected for the Los Angeles Film Festival‘s annual gala screening.

Written and directed by Benson Lee, the coming-of-age indie film premiered to popular acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and screened at CAAMFest last month. The movie is loosely based on Lee’s own experiences at a Seoul summer camp in 1986. With an ensemble cast led by Justin Chon, Jessika Van, Esteban Ahn, Albert KongTeo Yoo, Byul Kang and Cha In-pyo, the John Hughes-inspired teenage romantic comedy and its director were the subject of KoreAm‘s February/March issue.

On the television side, the Festival will hold a gala premiere for the new MTV/Dimentsion TV series Scream on June 14.

The festival runs from June 10-18 in downtown Los Angeles at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. LIVE. You can find more information on passes and the full list of films screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival website.


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Megan Lee Wins Lawsuit Against Soul Shop Entertainment

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

K-pop star Megan Lee won the legal battle against her former agency, Soul Shop Entertainment, on Friday regarding the nullification of her five-year contract.

The Korean American singer filed the lawsuit against Soul Shop in November, claiming that she received unfair treatment and verbal abuse from Kim Tae-woo‘s wife Kim Ae-ri and mother-in-law, who serve as the agency’s management director and chief director, respectively. Lee also accused the agency of signing a contract tying her to the musical All Shook Up without her consent.

Soul Shop, however, denied these allegations and accused Lee of breaching her contract by participating in the final audition for Nickelodeon’s upcoming series Make It Popwithout notifying the label.

On Friday, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that Soul Shop cannot force Lee to engage in broadcast, film and musical stage activities against her wishes and cannot sign contracts in relation to promotions without the artist’s permission. It added that such acts were “an invasion of personal rights, personal autonomy and occupational freedom.”

The court also deemed some of Lee’s contract terms to be unfair. One such term gave Soul Shop the freedom to terminate the contract without giving any compensation to Lee, while requiring her to pay a large penalty fee for any contract violations, according to the Korea Times. Another term stated that Lee’s contract period would begin on the “day of her debut” and not the time of signing.

Soul Shop has expressed their interest in appealing the case. Meanwhile, Lee is preparing for the April 6 premiere of Make It Pop.


Featured image via International BNT

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The Hollywood Mamalogues: The Heart of an Actor


Today has been a rough day. As some of you may know, Aubrey’s father and I haven’t been a couple since Aubrey was an infant, so we co-parent between our two homes. Her father’s house is in a neighborhood zoned for farm animals, and Aubrey recently acquired two pygmy goats as pets. They were sweet little, friendly goats that loved people. Just yesterday, Aubrey and her friend from across the street were walking them around the neighborhood like dogs.

However, when the girls went to check on the goats this morning, they found out that one goat had been killed by a coyote while the other had gone missing. The little female goat is still missing, and we’re hoping she jumped the fence during the attack and escaped. Needless to say, Aubrey is devastated and traumatized.

No one, especially not a small child, should have to see the massacred remains of their beloved pet. I just wish my daughter had been at my house last night, so she didn’t have to witness that terrible sight. But what’s done is done, and after a very difficult start to the day, we are moving forward.


Aubrey is involved in a wonderful children’s theater group. It is a small community organization comprised of mostly regular kids who aren’t professional actors. Aubrey adores this place. The theater group is currently rehearsing the play Aladdin, Jr. for performances in December, with Aubrey playing the titular role of Aladdin. Today she has rehearsal from 12-4 p.m., but I assumed she would be too upset to go.

People often ask me how to get kids into show business or if I think their kid has what it takes. I tell them my honest opinion: My kid is talented, but she’s not exceptional as I believe that all children have talents. Some kids are great at sports, some are gifted painters and others may have great interpersonal skills. My kid can sing and act well, but when it comes to other activities, she’s just a normal 7-year old.

When parents ask me for advice about getting their kids in the business, I usually say their child will let them know if acting or performing is a calling for them. You should be able to tell because they love it. They are interested in it. They want to do it in their free time. They can’t wait to do it again. If your kid doesn’t seem compelled to act or perform, then don’t waste your time and don’t fool yourself. You will know. Your child will tell you if you listen.

But I realize dishing out such simplistic advice is easier than living it. Even after three and a half years of Aubrey being an actor, I have moments of doubt. I wonder if she’s happy—if I’ve made a wise choice for her and for us as a family. Just as my child is not exceptional, neither am I, as a mother. I think most parents wonder if they’re making the right choices for their children, and I am no different.

Today, after several sad phone calls and texts, I was prepared to comfort a sad little girl at home for the afternoon. So when I asked Aubrey’s father if our daughter was going to go to theater practice, I was really surprised when he said she really wanted to go.

It’s true, there really are no people like show people. I think Aubrey knew she would find further comfort in a place she loves—the theater. This theater is a safe place for her and a place where she can be herself and show her feelings. So she went.

Her dad dropped her off at the theater, and shortly after, a fellow mom friend called to tell me that when she was dropping her daughter off, she saw Aubrey still crying her eyes out. Her sleeves were wet from repeatedly drying her own tears. Another little girl was comforting her and helping her to relax.

As much as it breaks my heart to think of her crying at play rehearsal, I know Aubrey chose to be there. She chose it because it’s a place where she feels love. And how lucky is she—are we—that she has found her people at such a young age?

Aubrey may never act again after Modern Family. Who knows? But for now, my little girl is an actor. Even though this morning has been fraught with sadness, I think we’re on the right track. Aubrey has the heart of an actor, and she’s where she wants to be.


Amy Anderson is a Korean American adoptee, comedian and actress. She created and hosted the first Asian American standup showcase “ChopSchtick Comedy” at the Hollywood Improv. She has appeared on Comedy Central, VH1, AZN, and the Game Show Network. Her daughter Aubrey Anderson-Emmons plays the role of Lily on the Emmy-winning show Modern Family.

The Hollywood Mamalogues will be published online biweekly. Read the previous Mamalogue here

Photos courtesy of Amy Anderson.

Cr: Richard Foreman/FOX

Sung Kang to Star in ‘Gang Related,’ Premiering Tonight on Fox


Actor Sung Kang, best known for his film roles in Better Luck Tomorrow and the Fast and the Furious franchise, will be gracing the cover of KoreAm’s June issue and talking about his latest project for the small screen. You’ll have to wait a few more weeks until you can get your hands—or eyes—on it, but you can catch Kang’s new TV series, Gang Related, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Kang plays Detective Tae Kim, part of an elite Los Angeles Police Department Gang Task Force. It’s his first role as a TV series regular, and the role was created for him by the show’s creator and executive producer Chris Morgan, who wrote several of the Fast and the Furious movies.

“[Chris] sees me as a quintessential alpha-male Korean,” Kang tells KoreAm’s Ada Tseng, “and what he wanted to do was to present a character that seems like he’s always brooding and pissed off, but humanize him with a dark backstory.”

The Wire’s Ramon Rodriguez, Terry Quinn of Lost fame and the Wu Tang Clan’s RZA also star in the Fox series.

Image via Fox.


First-ever K-town Night Market Features L.A. Food Trucks, Live Entertainment

Seoul Sausage Company, founded by (from left) Chris Oh and brothers Ted and Yong Kim, is serving as the official food truck curator for the inaugural K-town Night Market.


“Hi, my name is [insert your name here], and I’m a food truck addict.”

Admit it, we all get a little excited when one of these nomadic gastronomical mobiles parks itself around the corner and offers gourmet foods at a reasonable price. But what happens when the best of these trucks all gather together in a glorious, mouthwatering union?

The K-town Night Market is what happens. Taking place at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles this Friday and Saturday, April 18-19, this inaugural event will feature some of the best food truck fare this city has to offer, headlined by Seoul Sausage Company, the Season 3 winners of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.


“We’re trying to bring that old night market to L.A., you know?” said Danny Park, one of the founders of the K-town Night Market. “We want to celebrate the diversity of Koreatown, but also celebrate Korean culture, too.”

As the night market’s official food truck curator, Seoul Sausage, led by Korean Americans Chris Oh and Yong and Ted Kim, has lined up an impressive and eclectic list of food truck participants, including the seasons 1 and 2 winners of The Great Food Truck Race: Grill ’Em All and The Lime Truck, respectively. They will be joined by Jogasaki, Bowled and Beautiful, East L.A. Tacos, India Jones, White Rabbit Truck, Belly Bombz, Fluff Ice, Coolhaus and Carb&Nation. Food vendors Ramen Burger and Korean American Brian Huskey’s Table 13 (Huskey was featured on Bravo’s Top Chef) will also offer their culinary fare.

Appealing to more than just the sense of taste, the event organizers are also working together with Kollaboration and ElektroPR to present a variety of K-pop workshops and live music. Organizers said that the two-day event will be split to showcase more of the Korean performers on Friday, while Saturday’s stage will feature multicultural artists. The performance line-up includes Korean American rappers Parker (Dumbfoundead) and DANakadDAN, YouTube star Lydia Paek, hip-hop artist Scoop Deville and Detroit-born K-pop singer Chad Future, among others. There will also be merchandisevendors featuring L.A. clothing brands, art exhibits and a carnival area for guests of all ages.

Friday’s market begins at 4 p.m. and ends at midnight; Saturday’s market runs from 2 p.m. to midnight. For more information, visit ktownnightmarket.com or facebook.com/ktownnightmarket. The Robert F. Kennedy campus is located at 701 S. Catalina St., Los Angeles, CA 90005.