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 →
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 →
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Rapper Dumbfoundead, a.k.a. Jonathan Park, released his sophomore solo album “DFD” on Nov. 1 to an overwhelmingly positive reception from fans. Currently, “DFD” continues to impress with a 5-star rating on iTunes with hundreds of positive reviews. The album showcases the Korean American rapper’s life and individual sound and the 13 tracks make up a more mature album where Park reflects on his past relationships and experiences.
Park said in an interview with iamKoreAm.com that his previous solo effort, “Fun With Dumb,” was created while he was distracted by working different jobs. The 25-year old, who sometimes moonlights as a comedian, said “DFD” marks the first time he has fully committed himself to pursuing a career as an MC.
Your new album is titled “DFD” can you tell us why you chose that name for this album and if it holds a special significance?
It’s pretty much the acronym for my full rap name Dumb-Found-Dead. I wanted to shorten it and make it more grown. It can have different meanings as well (Don’t Fall Down, etc.). It’s all up for interpretation.
Where did you draw the majority of your inspiration and creativity for the creation of this album? Continue reading →
Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death spread through the South Korean stock market on Tuesday, driving share prices down and causing the won to plunge against the U.S. dollar. The KOSPI hovered around the 1,915 point level, similar to Monday’s close, but fell steeply at around 2:20 p.m. when the rumors hit the market. It closed down 0.8 percent (15.96 points) at 1,903.14.
A Playboy queen in chef’s whites City A.M. (London)
IMAGINE, for a moment, the head chef at a Playboy Club. Whatever image just sprang to your mind, I am fairly certain it is not Judy Joo. A Korean-American former Wall Street banker (she was a sales-trader on the fixed income floor of Morgan Stanley; her husband works for a hedge fund in London), Joo has been executive chef at Park Lane’s revamped Playboy since it opened in June. The New Jersey-born graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering left banking and a fat salary to become a chef – taking rather a gamble on many fronts. We meet this most impressive and unlikely Playboy employee.
Q. What made you decide to make the leap from banking to cheffing?
A. I suddenly realised: I’m enjoying being a banker but I don’t love it. I was regularly taking a shuttle from LaGuardia to Boston and found myself grabbing the free cooking magazines in the bus station. I felt like Barrons and the Economist were more like homework. So after a while I was like: why don’t I just do what I love and follow my dream and my passion?
Winter Olympics a Bigger Boost for Korea Than K-Pop Chosun Ilbo
Foreigners who live in Korea or have visited the country say Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics did more to boost Korea’s image than K-pop.
The Corea Image Communication Institute, which looks for ways to improve Korea’s image abroad, surveyed 211 foreign diplomats, academics, CEOs, artists and other opinion leaders from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7, and 55.3 percent said the Pyeongchang bid played the biggest role in improving Korea’s image.
Next were K-pop (18.6 percent) and Shin Kyung-sook’s international bestseller “Please Look After Mom” (16.7 percent). Others cited novelist Lee Oe-soo, figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, English Premier League footballer Park Ji-sung and singer Rain.
In contrast, 39.2 percent of 303 Koreans who were surveyed cited K-pop as playing the biggest part in boosting their country’s image abroad, followed by the Pyeongchang bid with 36.6 percent.
[VIDEO] South Korea pushes its pop culture abroad BBC News
Once under the thumb of, and then in the shadows of its more powerful neighbours like Japan, South Korea is emerging in the 21st century as a dynamic, global force. Rajan Datar reports on how it has now become a major exporter of popular culture.
Seoul dismisses Japan’s request to call off Dokdo concert Yonhap
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday dismissed Japan’s recent request to cancel a scheduled musical concert on South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, saying it was “needless” to even consider the request.
S. Korean man sends his cut-off pinky to Japanese embassy
Yonhap News via Korea Herald
An unemployed South Korean man has been booked for investigation after he cut off part of his left pinky and sent it to the Japanese embassy in protest of Tokyo’s territorial claim to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, police said Wednesday.
Rain Chosen as Assistant Instructor at Army Boot Camp Chosun Ilbo
Father gets suspended term for beating daughter with bamboo stick
Yonhap via Korea Times
A Seoul appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling and sentenced the father of a teenage girl to a suspended prison term for beating her with a bamboo stick and forcing her to do long physical workouts.
The father, identified as Choi, 48, was indicted last year on charges of harsh treatment of his 15-year-old daughter. In addition to beating her with a bamboo stick, he was accused of forcing her to run on a treadmill for more than an hour at a time and to perform other workouts as punishment for not studying hard or being wasteful.
I admit that I have a flat butt. Please, no jokes. I’m a little sensitive about it. Once I asked an ex-girlfriend if they thought I had a nice ass and they said I had a wonderful personality. I should have known then that the relationship was doomed.
Jeff Schroeder, the guitarist of The Smashing Pumpkins, gives us the inside scoop on the resurgent band, drops hints about the forthcoming album and explains how a Ph.D. in literature fits into the picture.
story by Oliver Saria
photographs by Jeff Liu
Jeff Schroeder is no James Iha, the original guitarist for The Smashing Pumpkins. He’s better. Yeah, I said it. He can actually hang musically with Billy Corgan, the tortured genius behind the Pumpkins’ signature guitar- heavy sound. Other ways Jeff isn’t James: Jeff isn’t Japanese American. He’s biracial—Korean and Caucasian. Jeff didn’t drop out of college like James; in fact, he’s finishing his Ph.D. in comparative literature at UCLA. And Jeff, unlike James, is actually on speaking terms with Billy.
I stress their differences to make a larger point: This ain’t the ’90s anymore. And it would behoove fans to remember that, if they happen to catch the band on their 12-city U.S. warm-up tour this fall in preparation for what promises to be a busy 2012 for the reinvigorated band, packed with more tour dates, reissues of their past catalog and a brand new album, Oceania. Be forewarned, though, the Pumpkins aren’t interested in reliving the past.
“We’re not going to be a ’90s retro nostalgia band,” Jeff insists. “We have no desire to do that. We’ve been offered tours with other ’90s bands. We just honestly feel like it’s the kiss of death. Once you’ve done that, you’ve accepted that your moment in the present is over, and all you can do is recreate people’s past fantasies.”
Oddly enough, Jeff was one of those people. As a teenager growing up in Orange County, California, in the early 1990s, he, like many of his peers, loved The Smashing Pumpkins, one of that decade’ s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands. Continue reading →
Steven Yeun: ‘The Walking Dead’ aims for my groin Zap2it
“It seems like ‘The Walking Dead’ just kind of aims for my groin,” Steven Yeun, who spent the latest episode dangling inches above a water-bloated zombie in a well, tells Zap2it.com.
‘Walking Dead’ Creator Talks Steamy Sex Scene MTV.com
This week’s episode finally turned up the heat and gave us a whole lot of flesh — but not the kind “Walking Dead” heads are typically used to.
We’re talking, of course, about the steamy sex scene between go-to odd-jobs man Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Maggie (Lauren Cohan), daughter of farmer Hershel Greene. After Glenn successfully roped in an incredibly gruesome zombie at the bottom of a well (seriously, did you see that thing? That’s Greg Nicotero at his finest!), the former pizza delivery boy clearly demonstrated enough cojones to win Maggie’s heart — or at least her body. But following the spontaneous sexual encounter, Maggie called it quits, leaving Glenn more than a little bit confused about what just happened.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul to meet with executives at several major IT companies over the next couple of days. One of the first stops was the Blue House, where he talked with President Lee Myung-bak about cooperation between Korean IT firms and Google, and Mr. Schmidt said Google intends to set up a YouTube channel for Korean pop music, or K-pop.
Judging by the response to a recent series of K-pop concerts around the world, that’ll get plenty of interest online.
Interview: Miss Korea 2011 talks fashion, her new job and plastic surgery CNNGo
For Miss Korea 2011 Yi Seong Hye, photoshoots, interviews, community service and learning how to do her hair and makeup herself are all part of her weekly official duties as the public relations ambassador for the country.
After spending 13 years in the United States — she attended high school in Boston and is currently on leave from studying at Parsons in New York — Yi had to learn a great deal about Korean culture upon returning to to the country of her birth.
“The pageant was actually not why I returning to Korea,” says Yi, who turns 23 this week.
“I came back to be back with my family and to learn about Korean culture, and then the lucky opportunity of entering the pageant came along.”
Boat With 21 North Koreans Found Off South Korea’s Coast New York Times
Twenty-one North Koreans, including women and children, were found adrift in a boat off the west coast of South Korea last Sunday and asked for asylum, the South Korean military said Saturday.
The five-ton boat was spotted by a South Korean Navy patrol 23 miles south of the maritime border disputed by North Korea. The people on board were transferred to a maritime police boat and taken to Incheon, a major port outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.
“When they were found, they immediately expressed their intention to defect,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “A joint inquiry team from the related government agencies are investigating what motivated them to defect.”
N.Korean soldiers shoot refugee in China: activist
AFP via Google News
A refugee was shot dead by North Korean border guards last month after reaching Chinese soil in a strengthened crackdown on escapees, according to a South Korean activist.
“During my trip to a border area on October 22, I witnessed a man shot to death after arriving in China,” Kim Yong-Hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told AFP.
The man in his 40s was apparently shot by the North’s guards from near the northern border city of Hyesan and died in front of Chinese soldiers, he said.
“After a sound of shooting across the river, I saw him groaning and crawling on the ground. Several Chinese soldiers were there but did not care,” Kim said.
8Asians.com Readers Asked, John Cho Responds! 8Asians
Do you think it’s harder for the Asian American community to catch their big break in the biz? Why do you think it is or isn’t? – Anunez587
JC: Obviously, it is. You just look around and it’s a numbers game. There are fewer parts for Asians. The concept of “the big break” is something that works against Asians in that the majority of parts available to Asians aren’t meant to break anyone’s career open — they’re modest roles. So even if a person has a long career, there may have never been a “break.” I don’t know if my career has ever really “broken,” or if I’m just descending step by step. The concept of a break implies these floodgates will open and I don’t even think that has happened for me or Kal.
Korean-Japanese billionaire to give away fortune Korea Herald
Han Chang-woo, a Korean-Japanese businessman who founded Maruhan Corp., Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors, said Saturday he will donate all his wealth, worth $1.7 billion, to help improve relations between the two countries.
“I’d like to give away all the money I’ve made before I die. I can assure that my personal assets, except for the company to be handed over to my son and some money for my wife, will be used for the inter-development of Korea and Japan,” Han told reporters in Busan.
The 80-year-old Korean immigrant was ranked Japan’s 17th-richest person by Forbes last year with net worth of 132 billion yen ($1.7 billion).
Miele Guide: Korean restaurant finally makes Asia’s Top 20 CNNGo
Seoul took a big step forward as a culinary capital as its chefs won Asia-wide accolades in Singapore last week.
For the first time a Korean restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, was listed among Asia’s Top 20 in The Miele Guide, a compendium of the continent’s finest dining venues, released annually.
Its Jeju pork belly and tilefish dish was highlighted as a great example of what the kitchen talents there can do.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg Opens Up to Flushing Times Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Flushing that he would try to help do away with the fines Korean business owners receive for storing kimchee at room temperature.
Asian American Sports with Rick Quan: The Darwin Barney Interview Hyphen
Our friend and sports expert Rick Quan continues his series of interviews with Asian American athletes with a profile of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The quarter-Japanese, quarter-Korean, and half-Caucasian Barney hails from Beaverton, OR where a love of sports was instilled in him by his father who — at 5’6″ — played point guard as a college basketball player and taught his son to never impose limits on his abilities. Check out the video and learn how the 25-year-old grew to love piano once his parents stopped forcing him to take lessons, how he once thought he was Hawaiian, and catch the classic expression on the face of Dan Uggla from the Atlanta Braves as Barney ended his 33-game hitting streak this past August.
America’s favorite American Idol auditionor has found a new gig – with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
After his Season 3 audition performance in 2004 of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, William Hung became a viral hit and received a cult-like following, which led him to numerous talk show appearances, three studio albums, and his primetime television show debut on Fox’s Arrested Development. Now, it appears Hung has made a career shift.
According to TMZ, Hung is working for the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a Technical Crime Analyst, meaning he is analyzing trends and patterns in crimes. This can help law enforcement deploy resources in a more effective manner, as well as playing a role in apprehending suspects, solving crimes, and formulating crime prevention strategies.
Beckman’s Kim keeps coming Daily Pilot (Irvine, Calif.)
Running back has been a force for the Patriots, who will face Corona del Mar for the Pacific Coast League title on Friday.
After years of performing in Los Angeles, OPM—the hilarious, groundbreaking, multiethnic comedy troupe—plans to pack it in. But is it really the end for this L.A. institution?
by Oliver Saria
It was, by far, the oddest meal at a Denny’s I’ve ever witnessed. The cast of OPM’s forthcoming retrospective sketch comedy show, “Decade of Hits,” assembled for a table read in the corner of the restaurant with a view of traffic creeping along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The multicultural-butmostly-Asian troupe noshed on Buffalo wings and illicitly shared a plate of all-you-can-eat pancakes while they read aloud some of their best (and most outrageous) sketches, such as: “The Sex Olympics” (actress Diana Toshiko felt compelled to swallow the more graphic lines for the family dining within earshot, while artistic director/actor/writer Charles Kim felt no such compulsion) and “Chuy the Environmental Cholo“ (Kim—not Latino, by the way—performed the titular character who spouts eco-dogma with a heavy “cholo” accent. For a second, we feared we might get beaten up.).
In between sketches, the group—which also includes co-producer/actor/writer Ewan Chung; performers Rodney To, Nika Williams, Jae Suh-Park and Brian Slaten; and director Eddie Mui—caught up on personal and professional news, reminisced about old shows, and ribbed one another. You’d never know from their relaxed demeanor that the show was only three weeks away. But since this is old-hat for the professional performers who all have television/film credits, the most stressful task will be whittling down 10 years worth of material.
OPM (Opening People’s Minds) actually started earlier than that in Seattle, Washington, in the mid-1990s by founder Leroy Chin, an aspiring actor who wanted an inclusive comedy troupe that represented voices not normally spotlighted in mainstream media.
At the time, Ewan Chung, a recent college grad from Virginia, knew eventually he’d move to Hollywood to pursue acting, but decided to first wet his feet (literally and figuratively) in Seattle. Meanwhile, Charles Kim, an L.A. native, was practicing law in Washington when the acting bug hit. At separate times, Chung and Kim, answering a casting call, performed with OPM, but their paths didn’t cross until Chin took the group to Los Angeles. Continue reading →