Tag Archives: entertainment

Top Chef Texas Recap – Week 3

by Monica Y. Hong

This week our two Korean American chefs, Beverly Kim and Edward Lee, give us a taste of their cooking styles and personalities as we finally get to see them duke it out on Top Chef Texas.

As Beverly is getting ready at the Top Chef house for the first day of real competition, she unfolds a piece of paper and places it up on her mirror.

“I printed out a sheet that says, ‘Congratulations, Beverly Kim Clark!!!! You have won Top Chef Season 9 and $125,000!!!!!’ I look at it everyday. If I can believe it, I’m going to achieve it. I keep telling myself that.” Another week, another trusty piece of paper. Last week’s “I CAN I MUST I WILL” worked out for her so all I can say is to each his own.

The 16 “cheftestants” enter the kitchen for their first quickfire challenge only to be met with a terrarium filled with snakes. Each chef has a small covered box in front of them that contains a succulent serpentine surprise. They have to cook up some rattlesnake in one hour, with the best viper winning them immunity and $5,000. Sssuper! Continue reading

Dia Frampton Releases Video For New Single 'Broken Ones'

by Y. Peter Kang

Dia Frampton, champion of the disenfranchised, is occupying the meadow in a new video for her debut solo album.

The singer and runner-up on reality singing contest “The Voice” will be releasing her album “Red” on Dec. 6. The first single is “The Broken Ones” and the video features Frampton’s sister Meg and other members from the sisters’ band Meg & Dia. In addition, three of Frampton’s little sisters (it’s a family of six girls!) also served as extras in the video, playing “broken” people.

“They needed girls so I told them to let my little sisters do it,” Frampton told iamKoreAm.com in a phone interview.

David McClister, who directed the video, told The Hollywood Reporter that the video is a cross between “‘Where the Wild Things Are,” “Lord of the Flies” and the lost boys from “Peter Pan.”

In the video, Frampton sings and plays piano in a woodland hideaway for a bunch of orphan-looking teenagers. They are invaded by some woodland toughs and after a furious battle (spoiler alert!), emerge victorious.

Frampton said she wanted to show her family some of the behind-the-scenes aspects to her job.

“I’ve been doing this thing for awhile I feel like it’s one of those jobs that you can talk about it but nobody understands what it means,” Frampton said. “They got to see what goes on with a video shoot and see how I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and be ready to shoot at 6 a.m. to get the good light. We were there for 16 hours and they got to see what I do.”

Frampton will be the opening act for her “The Voice” mentor, country star Blake Shelton, whose 26-date tour is set to kick off in January. Shelton, known for his somewhat brash demeanor, tweeted earlier today: “If you haven’t downloaded Dia Frampton’s ‘The Broken Ones’ there’s a real good chance you’re not getting laid this weekend…”

“The Broken Ones” was released on iTunes on Nov. 15.

Dia and her sisters and mother (far right) on the set of “The Broken Ones.”

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Wednesday's Link Attack: Roy Choi, Margaret Cho, Anthony Kim

Roy Choi to open Sunny Spot next week
Los Angeles Times

Roy Choi of Kogi, Chego and A-Frame says he’ll be opening new restaurant Sunny Spot on Nov. 18 in Venice in the former Beechwood space — “think roadside cookshop, where every day’s a holiday.”

Inspired by the cuisine of the West Indies, Sunny Spot’s menu runs the gamut from double-fried jerk chicken and rum-glazed prawns to slow-roasted whole goat and papaya-guava honey pot salad with crushed cashews, red onion, lime and tarragon (pictured).

N.Korean Elite Sniper Defects
Chosun Ilbo

An ex-member of an elite North Korean special warfare unit defected across the West Sea on Oct. 30. He crossed the sea on a raft made of tires, it emerged on Tuesday.

Under questioning by the National Intelligence Service, the military and police, the man, who is in his early 30s, said he had been discharged from the marine sniper brigade five years ago and then worked as a civilian member in a military unit.

Watch Margaret Cho Invade Bonnaroo, Accost Indie Rockers
Spin.com

Last week, we watched Das Racist drag their parents to Bumbershoot. Today, to herald the release of Margaret Cho’s stand-up concert film, Cho Dependent — and say farewell to SPIN’s first-ever “Funny” Issue — we have footage of the comic and friend-of-indie-rockers everywhere bugging the shit out of everyone backstage at the 2010 Bonnaroo festival to the sounds of her “Baby I’m With the Band” (featuring Brendan Benson). Watch carefully to see who embraces the Cho, and who eyes her warily (the list of guest stars includes Conan O’Brien, Reggie Watts, Doug Benson, The Flaming Lips, Weezer, OK Go, the Gossip, The Punch Brothers, and GWAR).

Hines Ward: ‘It’s about the team’
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Hines Ward did not start in Cincinnati, and he played a limited number of snaps in the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Bengals. If the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver has been demoted he is taking it in stride.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Ward said. “We won the game that’s the bottom line.”

Ward said his health wasn’t an issue, and that the coaches didn’t tell him before the Bengals game that his playing time would be diminished.

North Korea’s unusual experiment in tourism [SLIDESHOW]
Washington Post

The normally closed, secretive country is trying to open its doors a crack to foreign tourists, particularly from China, as a way of earning hard currency.

[In the photo above,] Chinese tourists converge on the house where the late Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s “Great Leader,” was said to be born.

Anthony Kim – The future’s bright
Sky Sports

Anthony Kim has endured plenty of lows over the past 12 months, but feels he’s now on course to hit new highs.

The Language of Many: ‘The Language Archive’ at East West Players [REVIEW]
Hyphen

During the LA premiere of The Language Archive at East West Players, the scent of warm bread wafted through the theater. There’s nuance to smells, I’m told, a layering that is discernible to even the most indiscriminate noses. The same could be said of language and of theatrical plays that go beyond just the black and white categorization of “good” and “bad.”

As with my nose, there’s a certain level of layering that I’m oblivious and, like the bread smell, there was something comfortable and familiar with the The Language Archive. I spent the evening trying to figure out where I’ve seen this story before.

Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines wins CIF state girls golf title
ESPN.com

Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines won the CIF state girls golf championship in a two-hole playoff over Cha Cha Wilhoite of Palm Desert at the Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Cho and Wilhoite were the only two golfers to shoot under par in the tournament. Both were 1-under, 71, after 18 holes.

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S. Korean football fans demand coach’s ouster
AFP via Google News

Angry fans called Wednesday for the resignation of coach Cho Kwang-Rae after South Korea suffered a stunning 1-2 defeat to underdogs Lebanon in the third round of regional World Cup qualification.

The official website of the Korea Football Association (KFA) was flooded with critical postings, with one suggesting a petition campaign to press the KFA to dismiss Cho.

Newspapers also lambasted South Korea for playing what Chosun Ilbo daily called a “game of sleepwalkers”.

Asian women struggle to make films
City Times (San Diego)

For many filmmakers, the festival serves as an opportunity to create change in the industry through gaining exposure and connecting with people.

“Support from groups like this has been invaluable in helping further my career,” said Mina T. Son, a Korean American filmmaker who screened her short, “Making Noise in Silence,” at the festival. The the short follows the lives of two Korean-American students at the California School for the Deaf. Son returned to the festival to receive an award for Best Short Documentary for the second year in a row.

Derek Kirk Kim Completes Season 1 of ‘Mythomania’ Live-Action Web Series [Video]
Comics Alliance

The Eisner and Harvey-winning cartoonist behind such works as Same Difference and Other Stories, The Eternal Smile (with Gene Luen Yang) and Good As Lily (with Jesse Hamm), Derek Kirk Kim has completed the first season of his live-action Web series Mythomania. Written and directed by Kim, the show follows aspiring cartoonist Andy Go as he navigates the joys, challenges, sacrifices, screw-overs and other assorted indignities suffered by those who seek their fortunes in the comic book book business. The show is an honest and personal (perhaps too personal, in the case of episode seven) into what life can be like for cartoonists, and how easy it can be to face not only rejection but also opportunity.

Serial Smacker Hits Seoul’s New Mayor
Wall Street Journal

There’s a new addition to the diverse and colorful ranks of South Korean protesters: a woman who is a serial head-smacker.

The 62-year-old woman has only been publicly identified by her last name, Park. She has been going around for the past few months hitting left-wing politicians on the head.

On Tuesday, she walked into an event in a subway station where Seoul’s new mayor, Park Won-soon, was speaking, got right up behind him, then hit him on the head and called him a “communist.”

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Sung Kim, SNSD, SK Soccer Team Loses

Foreign minister meets new U.S. ambassador
Yonhap News

The new top U.S. envoy to South Korea, Sung Kim, paid his first visit to Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Tuesday after taking office as Washington’s first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul.

Sung Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, arrived in Seoul last week as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul, becoming the first Korean-American to take the job since the two nations established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

“I’m sure that your presence in Seoul will be a kind of symbol of the close relationship between our two countries,” the foreign minister told the ambassador.

Interview: Girls Generation Talk Fame, K-Pop, and World Domination
Complex.com

KoreAm contributor Jaeki Cho penned this lengthy Q&A with K-pop megagroup SNSD, a.k.a. Girls Generation.

Complex: I’ve noticed from footages that almost all the performances are done with heels on. How are your feet?

Sooyoung: We’re dying in pain! After a concert, our feet are literally burning.

Seohyun: A lot of calluses.

Yuri: Our feet are in bad shape.

Taeyeon: We take care of them, but they get messed up so easily.

Yuri: We’ve been wearing heels for so long, we’ve gotten so used to them that we feel more comfortable wearing them when we’re going up on stage. It straightens our postures; it makes us feel more confident. It’s not comfortable, but we’re so adjusted now that it feels weird without them.

K-pop: Soft Power for the Global Cool
Huffington Post

In recent years, even I have noticed the increasing amount of strangers I meet (both Asian and non-Asian) who become keenly interested in me once they confirm my Korean background: What is Seoul like? Do I watch Korean movies? What are my favorite Korean foods? Who are my favorite music groups, and have I met any of them? (Quite a big change from my early childhood in the suburban Midwest where many people would take the liberty of assuming I was Chinese!)

As an avid cultural traveler, I truly appreciate these conversations with so many individuals who are utterly fascinated with Korean culture. While I do not believe that this is the sole result of K-pop music’s popularity, the initial platform of these early dialogues are usually based upon either Korean pop music or Korean films (quickly followed up by Korean food, education, and plastic surgery).

Undoubtedly there are skeptics of K-pop’s global influence and utility as a soft power tool — but I find such hesitation towards this cultural explosion to often: a) stem from a limited racial approach to the subject, and b) originate from taste levels so mainstream that there is little chance for awareness of trends and cultural currents not yet adopted by big corporations and media.

N.Korea Joins Twitter Era
Chosun Ilbo

The North Korean propaganda website “Uriminzokkiri” on Monday joined the global craze for social networking sites by adding Twitter and Facebook tags.

That makes it even easier for North Korean propaganda to reach South Korea unfiltered, since content can now be shared with the click of a mouse. The “share” function is limited to posts denouncing South Korea.

North Korean websites like Uriminzokkiri are blocked in South Korea but can easily be accessed overseas, and can then be shared by overseas Koreans to reach South Korean users.

Will the North Koreans rise up?
CNN

What we can say for sure is that the North Korean press has simply not reported on any of the popular uprisings of 2011, obviously for fear of sparking protests within North Korea. In fact, Pyongyang issued a statement in March simply saying Libya’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program made it more vulnerable to western intervention. In other words, ‘We, the North Koreans, will keep our nukes as our insurance policy against regime change.’ So don’t expect Pyongyang to disarm anytime soon. The regime interprets the fall of Gadhafi as a cautionary tale. Don’t disarm; don’t try to talk to the west; don’t open up.

Meanwhile, the suffering of the North Korean people continues. Just last week, UNICEF reported that millions of children there are at risk of being severely malnourished. These children will be more vulnerable to disease and stunted growth. And there’s little hope that the government has the ability to help even if it wanted to.

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[Korean] Bloggers Penalized For False Review
Wall Street Journal

Bloggers trying to profit from their daily activities are nothing new. But the government decided over the weekend that some South Korean bloggers have crossed a line.

On Sunday, the Fair Trade Commission sanctioned 47 bloggers and Internet café owners for “deceitful behavior” that helped them to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The antitrust watchdog levied a total of 20 million won ( $18,000) in fines on four influential bloggers – known in Korea as “power bloggers” — for not telling readers that they received a commission in return for writing favorable reviews of products and organizing group purchases. The fees ranged from 2% to 10% of the total sales.

Lebanon shocks South Korea in World Cup qualifying
AP via Globe and Mail

Lebanon pulled off an astonishing 2-1 win over South Korea in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Beirut on Tuesday to stay firmly on course for a place in the fourth round.

Ali Al-Saadi gave Lebanon a shock 1-0 lead in the fifth minute but then cancelled out his earlier effort by conceding a penalty, converted by South Korea’s Koo Ja Cheol in the 20th. Abbas Atwi restored Lebanon’s lead from the penalty spot at the half-hour mark and his side held on to seal a priceless victory.

Group B leader South Korea has 10 points, the same as Lebanon, which trails on goal difference after five games. Third-place Kuwait has eight points, while United Arab Emirates has zero.

North Korea upsets Japan as tensions boiled in World Cup qualifier
AP via Herald Sun

Playing before a capacity crowd at Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pak gave North Korea a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute with an angled header beyond the reach of Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

The match had no bearing on the outcome of the group – Japan has already qualified for the next stage while North Korea can not make it – but there is always tension in this fixture between two nations that do not have diplomatic ties.

This was the first time the Japanese men’s team had played on North Korean soil since 1989.

That tension bubbled over at times, with several shoving skirmishes breaking out. North Korea had Jong Il Gwan sent off in the 77th minute for an aggressive tackle on Atsuto Uchida.

Koreans to Benefit from Automated Immigration Checks in U.S.
Chosun Ilbo

Most Korean travelers can soon enter the U.S. without face-to-face interviews with immigration officers at the airport. Seoul and Washington in a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii on Sunday agreed in principle to put them through electronic immigration gates instead.

Once the new program is in place, Korean visitors to the U.S. can avoid long immigration queues by putting their e-passports to the screen of an automated counter.

To benefit, travelers have to register with a smart entry system Korea implements to get approval from both governments as “trusted travelers.” “Trusted travelers” are those whose biometric information, including fingerprints and photos, is registered with the government, and who are deemed to present no risk.

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U.S. soldier allegedly set fire to bar
Yonhap

A U.S. soldier in Korea will be questioned by South Korean police on charges of setting fire to a bar in Seoul, investigators said Tuesday, amid growing public outrage after series of rape cases by American soldiers.

The private first class, whose name was withheld, from the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) was suspected of setting fire to a pub in Itaewon, an area popular with foreigners in Seoul, at 2:30 a.m. by pouring oil on a stove, according to Yongsan Police Station which controls the area.

The Country That Loves PC Gaming So Damn Much
Kotaku

Unlike Japan, South Korea has been predominately a PC gaming country. One of the major reasons for the lack of game console penetration was due to protectionism that made it difficult, if not impossible for Japanese companies to sell their wares in Korea—and vice versa.

The cultures are changing. Japan is opening itself up to Korean products, slowly. Ditto for South Korea. Nintendo now releases localized versions of games and hardware. However, the relationship that Korean gamers traditionally have with gaming is through the PC. And the game of choice is traditionally StarCraft.

The crazy wonderland of Seoul’s party motels
CNNGo

They used to be called “love motels,” for obvious (and optimistic) reasons.

Heavily stigmatized, Seoul’s love motels were long regarded as nothing more than glorified DVD rooms, with decor straight out of adult movies. Horrified parents would hold public protests if any were built in their neighborhood.

In recent years, however, a new generation of Seoul’s boutique motels have started styling themselves as “theme motels” and “party motels,” and have made much headway in making motels become socially acceptable, and even sought after — day or night.

Monday's Link Attack: Patty Kim, Seung Hoon Choi, Dumbfoundead

Harrisburg Councilwoman Patty Kim to challenge Rep. Ron Buxton
The Patriot-News (Penn.)

Harrisburg City Council Vice President Patty Kim will challenge state Rep. Ron Buxton for his House seat next year, she said today.

Kim, a six-year veteran on council, said fellow Democrat Buxton has not fought hard enough to stave off a state takeover of the city, which is more than $300 million in debt. “He has not rolled up his sleeves or taken any position that could positively contribute to a solution,” she said, pointing to the Capitol. “His seat is not a chair to hide behind. I’m calling him out on this unacceptable lack of leadership.”

The End of Delusion
Esquire.com

Joon Pahk’s Jeopardy run finally ended when he lost in the semifinals of the game show’s Tournament of Champions.

There is only one elite competition in which I still believed — honestly believed — I could be one of the best: Jeopardy!

I believed that until precisely 8:01 p.m. on Friday night, when I finished watching the third (and final) Tournament of Champions semifinal.

Even before the game, there was a feeling that this could be a bloody, epic, inter-planetary death match. It was the Jeopardy! equivalent of a title-unification fight. Roger Craig, Joon Pahk, and Mark Runsvold were pitted against each other. Never mind what they do in real life or where they’re from. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are the fourth, sixth, and tenth all-time money winners, not including tournaments, in Jeopardy! history. Craig also holds the record for the single greatest game ever, when he went home with $77,000. (Pahk and Runsvold also eclipsed the $50,000 mark during their original runs, a feat accomplished by only five men not named Ken Jennings.) Now the three of them were on the stage at the same time.

Walk-on Husker guards Long, Choi go the distance against Penn State
HuskerExtra.com

Seung Hoon Choi, a walk-on offensive guard from Lincoln Christian, had just played every snap in a crucial Big Ten triumph for 19th-ranked Nebraska.

Pretty satisfying, no doubt.

“Yeah, it’s all right,” Choi said with a grin, in his usual understated manner, after the 17-14 victory against No. 12 Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to learn Choi’s name.

Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown struggled to pronounce Choi’s name. He didn’t struggle finding words of praise for Choi and right guard Spencer Long, who also played every snap against the nation’s eighth-ranked defense.

Justin Chon celebrates the premiere screening of ‘Jin’ at the CGV Cinemas
Examiner.com

It was a cool Sunday evening at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown as the red carpet was rolled out for the premiere screening of Il Cho’s short AFI Thesis Film, ‘Jin’ starring Justin Chon, Josiah D. Lee and Ben Baller.

Recently arriving from China for the filming of the upcoming “21 and Over” from the makers of “The Hangover,” Justin Chon definitely did not have a hangover as he walked the red carpet posing for the photographers and interviewing with various media outlets for the premiere of the short film. Chon mentioned that this film illustrated his more serious side as many people know him in real life as being a crazy, fun loving guy. Many may recognize the young actor from the “Twilight” franchise and also the tv show “Just Jordan.” Chon’s next big feature release will be “From The Rough” starring Taraji P. Henson and Michael Clarke Duncan.

John Cho’s Funny Christmas Story
Fresno Bee

Often actors will do interviews together, especially if they play characters who are closely connected. That meant Kal Penn and John Cho spent weeks together promoting “A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas.” It’s nice to have someone to carry the interview load, but it means the actors hear each other’s stories repeatedly.

Penn’s heard Cho talk about his belief in Christmas in almost every interview, but he hasn’t gotten tired of the story. In fact, he even brings it up if Cho forgets. That’s what happened during our talk.

“I came to America when I was 6 from Korea. We didn’t believe in Santa. When we came to the States, my parents were trying to be good sports and told us about Santa Claus,” Cho says at Penn’s insistence. “It sounded weird. A fat Caucasian old man invading your home, eating your food and either leaving gifts or fossil fuel. Santa is a creepy, obese home-invader.

“It was just a weird thing to believe.”

Despite his misgivings, Cho went along with what his parents told him. That belief didn’t last long because his Christmas present from Santa was wrapped in the box that held the vacuum cleaner his parents had purchased a few days before Christmas.

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Man Held in Beating of an Elderly Woman
New York Times

A homeless man accused of clubbing an elderly woman with a piece of wood on a Midtown street had to be subdued after acting erratically while awaiting arraignment on Sunday night, the authorities said.

The police said they did not yet know what prompted the assault, which occurred in front of 10 East 40th Street about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The woman, whose name, Kim Chong, was confirmed by the police, is 74 and lives in Queens. After the attack, she was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where she was treated for a broken arm and received stitches for a head wound. The police said she had been struck with a two-by-four.

Ashes to beads: South Koreans try new way to mourn
AP via San Francisco Chronicle

The intense grief that Kim II-nam has felt every day since his father died 27 years ago led to a startling decision: He dug up the grave, cremated his father’s bones and paid $870 to have the ashes transformed into gem-like beads.

Kim is not alone in his desire to keep a loved one close — even in death. Changes in traditional South Korean beliefs about cherishing ancestors and a huge increase in cremation have led to a handful of niche businesses that cater to those who see honoring an urn filled with ashes as an imperfect way of mourning.

“Whenever I look at these beads, I consider them to be my father and I remember the good old days with him,” a gray-haired Kim, 69, told The Associated Press in an interview.

Dumbfoundead: A Rap Battle Vet Grows Up
MTV Hive

Some jokesters will forever be at the back of the bus, exhaling spitballs at the driver for cheap laughs, but Dumbfoundead is shedding that image and sitting with the big kids. A Korean-American by way of Argentina and Mexico, the L.A. rapper, born Jonathan Park, began his career at the informally famous open-mic Project Blowed in South Central. “I used to go every week to freestyle, battle and perform,” he tells Hive. “It was like rap school for me.” He made the transition from local celebrity to online monolith as he began making runs through the West Coast division of Grindtime, one of the most popular battle rap circuits, spinning off one hilarious, sharp Youtube victory after another.

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Coralville man who doesn’t want wife to wear dress accused of assault
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

A Coralville man was charged with assault Sunday after police said he punched and kicked his wife.

Eung N. Kang, 37, of 2245 Oakleaf St., Apt. 201D, was charged with domestic abuse assault without intent causing injury at 11 a.m. Sunday at his residence.

Kang and his wife argued because he didn’t want her to wear a dress, Coralville police reported.

He ripped the dress and when his wife pushed him away, Kang punched her in the head and kicked her in the stomach, police said.

Two S.Korean climbers killed in Himalayas
AFP via Google News

Two South Koreans fell to their deaths while climbing a treacherous course in the Himalayas, weeks after three colleagues went missing and were presumed dead, according to mountain authorities.

Kim Hyung-Il, 43, leader of the K2 Extreme team, and Chang Ji-Myeong were killed on Friday when they fell as they were ascending on the notorious Cholatse north face, the Korean Alpine Federation said.

Their bodies were later recovered by two colleagues who left the base camp in search of them after radio contact was lost.

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North Korea ‘opens luxury goods store’
AFP via Google News

North Korea has opened a department store in its capital offering luxury goods for the ruling elite to try to bolster loyalty before a second dynastic succession, officials and reports said Monday.

The store named Potongkang opened in February, selling imported high-end brands such as Chanel and Giorgio Armani as well as medicine, furniture and food, a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.

Monsters Calling Home

Monsters Calling Home – Growing Up from dchae on Vimeo.

November Issue: Smashing Pumpkins' Jeff Schroeder's Infinite Booklist

Photo credit: Jeff Liu

We featured Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder in the November issue of KoreAm. Aside from recording music and touring with the band, Jeff is also finishing his graduate studies in comparative literature at UCLA.

He took time out of his busy schedule to share some of his favorite avant-garde Asian American works of fiction and poetry.

Crossings by Chuang Hua (1968)
Crossings is one of the earliest works of Asian American experimental writing and is the only novel Hua published. Influenced by William Faulkner, Virginia Woolfe and Marcel Proust, it chronicles the protagonist’s numerous travels across borders of both space and time. I’ve read Crossings many times, and with each reading, I discover new themes. I find this book important because it provides a necessary artistic representation of hyphenated identity that is different from the more sociological bent of other forms of scholarly writing.

Dictée (1982) and Exilée/ Temps Morts (2009) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Upon its publication in 1982, Dictée was overlooked by the mainstream literary press and scholars of Asian American literature. The book—which mixes poetry, fiction, historical writing and visual art to explore the themes of war, immigration and transnational identity— experienced a renaissance in the mid-‘90s and today is considered the most well-known work of avant-garde Asian American writing. Exilée/Temps Morts is a more recent collection of the late Cha’s out-of-print writings. Her passages on the acquisition of new language, explorations of the Korean War and interest in the French avant-garde strongly connect with my interests. Continue reading

Top Chef Recap: Beverly Kim Cleans Up

by Monica Y. Hong

This week on Top Chef Texas we finally got to meet our other Korean American hopeful, Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in Chicago. With Chef Edward Lee “on the bubble” following last week’s season premiere, Chef Kim’s performance is vital to our getting at least one KA into the top 16. No pressure.

Ten ingredients are presented to 10 chefs in the third and final group to decide who goes to the round of 16. Choosing from a variety of ingredients such as oxtail, brussel sprouts and rice, our girl Beverly goes with octopus.

The chefs are separated into three groups based on the amount of cooking time they are allotted for their chosen ingredient. Chef Kim is part of the third group and will have a full hour to prepare her eight-tentacled friend.

“Tom and Hugh are walking around the kitchen so I’m just feeling a little nervous and scared,” Kim says. But she doesn’t look scared when she starts tearing apart the octopus with her bare hands. Despite being a petite chef, she shows no signs of fear or weakness. Continue reading

Thursday's Link Attack: 2NE1, Steven Yeun, Hines Ward

Black, Korean leaders to commemorate 20th anniversary of L.A. riots
Los Angeles Wave

Seeking to create a multicultural Los Angeles that exists in lasting harmony, Korean-American and Black community leaders are spearheading a committee to commemorate next year’s 20th anniversary of the 1992 civil unrest.

South Korean students’ ‘year of hell’ culminates with exams day
CNN

Most South Korean students consider their final year in high school “the year of hell.” It is when all students are put to the ultimate test.

About 700,000 test applicants sat down in classrooms across the country Thursday to take their college entrance exams — also known as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students, all to ensure they made it on time.

Younger students gathered in large groups outside school gates, some having arrived at 4a.m. to mind a good spot, waiting to support their school seniors. Cheers exploded throughout the school grounds as test applicants arrived, most being guided by their anxious parents.

Englewood Cliffs may get new councilman tonight
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Gloria Oh was elected councilwoman for Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Once Oh, the highest vote-getter Tuesday and first Korean-American to win office in the borough, and Aversa are sworn in Jan. 1 the Democrats will hold all but one council seat.

World, Get Ready For 2NE1: MTV Iggy’s Best New Band In The World!
MTV Iggy

The meteoric rise of 2NE1 could be a fable, foretold by the epic video for their recent single, “I Am The Best.” Dark gives way to light, as a mysterious hooded creature appears in the distance. As the camera swoops in, flashbulbs pop, synths and beats explode, and BOOM! the ladies of 2NE1 take the stage, twirling in tight black pantsuits and sensual abandon. “I am the best!” they sing, and you can almost hear their millions of fans around the world screaming in concurrence, reveling in the awesome, almost otherworldly presence of this dazzling and fierce foursome. If they aren’t the best, then they are certainly something approaching perfection.

Clap Your Hands to the Geek
Hyphen

Adam Warrock — the Korean American attorney turned pop culture-obsessed rapper who won 2011’s Kollaboration Atlanta, the city’s annual Asian American talent show — is nothing if not hard to define. Whether rapping about This American Life’s Ira Glass or X-Men, he’s aware of the pitfalls of being boxed into the nerdcore genre, a school of hip-hop that focuses on themes like sci-fi and comics. While he also raps about race and identity, he doesn’t want to be labeled strictly as an Asian American artist either.

Farmer-Legislator Vows To Keep Fighting Korea-U.S. FTA
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Kang, a farmer from Sacheon, South Gyeongsang province, is one of the most recognizable members of the 299-seat parliament. He almost always wears a traditional hanbok, stands on the front line of every protest that his Democratic Labor Party supports and is willing to resort to shoving, fisticuffs and other minor violence to make his point. He has staged weeks-long hunger strikes and chained himself to the door of the main assembly chamber.

Now, the DLP and other opposition parties (including the biggest, Democratic Party) continue to resist any type of compromise with the ruling Grand National Party over the Korea-U.S. FTA. On Thursday, for the second week in a row, the ruling party canceled a plenary session. The next plenary is set for Nov. 24, which gives the parties two more weeks to argue over the FTA.

Q&A – Steven Yeun (Glenn)
AMCTV.com

Q: You stated once that your parents were upset when you told them you were not going to be a doctor or lawyer. Have they come around yet?

A: Oh absolutely. They’re now on full-throttle brag mode. They’re Korean parents, and they just wanted me to have a structured, safe life and when I told them I wanted to do this they were worried that I’d be struggling. This industry is up and down, but right now they don’t have to worry about me.

‘Walking Dead’: Why Glenn is a total stallion [RECAP]
Washington Post

But that didn’t stop Maggie from whipping off her clothes and getting down to some serious Glenn business.

Sure, she later said it was a “one time thing.” But it seems pretty clear that she’s got a bad case of the Glenns and a burning desire for another taste of go-to-town expert. And really, can you blame her?

Glenn, you are an inspiration, a hero, apparently a halfway decent lover, an excellent keeper of pregnancy test secrets and amazingly adept at rope-tying under duress. And for that, we salute you.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis Fined $20K for Hit on Steelers’ Hines Ward
SI.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been fined for his hard hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, the Carroll County Times reports. NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweets Lewis was fined $20,000 for the hit.

During the game, Lewis’ play did not result in a penalty but the league believed the helmet-to-helmet hit was worthy of a fine. The play left Hines Ward “dazed” and the wide receiver did not play for the remainder of the game.

Korean star pitcher Yoon could be in MLB in 2012
Yahoo Sports

Right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, the 2011 MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, could play in the major leagues as soon as next season, his agent said Tuesday.

Scott Boras, whom Yoon and another WBC standout, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, hired recently, said he would speak with Yoon in the near future about entering the posting system, in which major league teams bid to win exclusive negotiating rights with a player. If Yoon, 25, chooses against posting, he would be a free agent next season. Ryu, 24, can post before the 2013 season and would hit free agency in 2014.

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More US states accept Korean drivers
Korea Times

Florida is the latest among a recent string of U.S. states that agreed to simplify what’s usually considered a complicated process for drivers.

Maryland was the first to ink a deal with Seoul a year ago, followed by Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts and Texas.

Under the new agreement, Korean drivers can acquire a U.S. license by presenting a valid Korean license with proper translation to the motor vehicle authority. The deal only applies to non-commercial motorists and some states require drivers to surrender their Korean license in exchange for a U.S. equivalent.

First Into Seoul? No Thanks
The Asian Lawyer via Law.com

As Korea has inched towards liberalization of its legal market over the past several years, there has been much speculation about which international law firms will be first into Seoul. Now, with the U.S. Congress ratifying a free trade agreement with Korea last month, the time for action is close at hand.

So the race is on, right? Not exactly.

Though a number of firms have been vocal about their desire to enter Korea at the earliest opportunity, many leading Korea practice lawyers privately express reservations about relocating to Seoul, citing everything from children’s school commitments to a preference for the warmer weather, lower taxes, and more expat-friendly environment of Hong Kong, where most international firms currently base their Korea practices.

South Korea’s High-Tech Arsenal
Chosun Ilbo

New high-tech weapons and equipment may be needed to counter the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles. But what’s in the arsenal already? Here is a review of 10 high-tech weapons made in South Korea.

What Does The [Korean] National Flag Mean?
Chosun Ilbo

FYI.

South Korea’s wasted youth
BBC News

South Korea’s education system is held up as a model around the world. Some 80% of its high-school students now go on to further education.

But according to South Korea’s president, that academic success is creating its own “social problem” – a youth unemployment rate of 6.7% in October, more than twice the national average, even as parts of the labour market are hungry for workers.

South Korea’s Exam Suicides
Al Jazeera via YouTube