Tag Archives: film

Tuesday's Link Attack: Kimchi Fines, Hollywood Missionary, Hines Ward

Restaurants Sour on Rules Over Kimchi
Wall Street Journal

Lidea Park, owner of Duck Hyang restaurant in Queens, says she makes kimchi with trepidation.

Ever since she received seven violation points during a city health inspection in June, she’s been fearful about how her restaurant prepares and stores kimchi, a traditional fermented dish that is a staple in Korean cuisine. The violation points resulted from five pounds of kimchi being left at room temperature and exceeding the city Department of Health’s 41-degree temperature requirement for cold foods, according to the inspection.

“They don’t understand the kimchi,” said Ms. Park. “Many Korean restaurants with kimchi get points because the inspector, they don’t understand what it is.”

Korean restaurant and business groups say they are all too often unfairly penalized by the health department because their fermented foods are determined to be above 41 degrees, the temperature below which city rules require potentially hazardous prepared cold food be stored.

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Great Falls man pleads guilty in contracting scam
Washington Post

A Great Falls man has admitted he played a key role in what authorities have described as one of the most brazen federal contracting scams in U.S. history, according to court records that became public Monday.

Young N. Cho, who also goes by the first name of Alex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges at a secret hearing in September — just weeks before federal agents arrested four other men in a $20 million scheme that targeted the Army Corps of Engineers.

Cho’s plea deal became public after a federal judge ordered it unsealed.

Cho, 40, was chief technology officer of Nova Datacom, a Chantilly-based information technology company that did work with the Army Corps. His role in the scam began in 2007 when he began passing kickbacks to two program managers at the Army Corps in exchange for lucrative contracts, according to court papers.

Background Extra Recounts His Unlikely Spiritual Mission
Media Bistro

LA native Steve Cha has a B.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and is currently working on an M.A. in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Along the way, he also worked for several years as a professional background extra.

Earlier this year, Cha published a book about his on-set experiences called Hollywood Mission: Possible. With Christmas and Tom Cruise upon us, he is re-promoting a tale of, essentially, the Tim Tebow of background extras:

During his three-year journey, Steve evangelized many famous actors, actresses, directors, and aspirants in Tinsel Town… Steve’s revealing autobiography recounts how the gospel was shared with celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Dan Aykroyd, and many other stars.

Hines Ward in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ trailer
CBS Sports

“Dark Knight Rises,” the latest in the line of Batman movies from Christopher Nolan, is slated to hit theaters in July of 2012. But the full trailer hit the Internets over the weekend and guess who makes a cameo: Hines Ward!

We already knew that a slew of Steelers players were playing roles in the movie as members of the Gotham Rogues, whose home field is set at Heinz Field, but not until my younger brother chatted me on Sunday did I realize that Ward was actually in the preview.

You can check out Ward’s appearance at the 1:15 mark below as he runs from not just defenders, but a slew of explosions set by Bane, the movie’s villain, who’s basically like an evil version of Rob Gronkowski, who is also hell-bent on blowing up Heinz Field (only metaphorically) and quite clearly a efficient killing machine created by scientists.

Chul Hyun Ahn explores the Infinite Void
Baltimore City Paper

You can walk all the way around it for hours, but to fully experience artist Chul Hyun Ahn’s “Void Platform,” you have to take off your shoes (as signs prompt you to do) and walk out onto it.

The “out” inserts itself in that sentence because of the nature of the piece. In the front gallery at C. Grimaldis Gallery on North Charles Street, Ahn has constructed a low 10-foot-by-8-foot plywood-faced platform that appears to cover a yawning pit descending through the floor as far as the eye can see, albeit a pit lined with subtle bands of greenish lighting. You find yourself testing the surface with your sock-encased toes, curious to know if it will hold your weight. It will, but you hesitate a little anyway. You step onto the smooth surface and stand over what seems to be infinite space receding away below your feet. But if the surface of the piece didn’t hold your weight, you’d drop a mere 16 inches onto Grimaldis’ wooden floor.

Why it’s great to be a foreign traveler in Korea
CNNGo

With so many foreign travelers visiting Korea on shopping sprees, it seems Korea has been busy devising ways to say “visit often’ and “thank you” at the same time.

There is so much special treatment for foreign travelers, we wonder why Koreans aren’t more envious.

Here are five benefits of being a foreign traveler in Korea.

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Monday's Link Attack: Korean Zombie, Clara C, Kraze Burger

‘Korean Zombie’ ties UFC mark with 7-second KO of Hominick
USA Today

The Korean Zombie turned off The Machine so quickly it tied an official record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Popular featherweight Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung knocked out Mark “The Machine” Hominick in seven seconds Saturday at UFC 140 in Toronto. That tied UFC’s mark for fastest knockout.

Hominick praised Jung afterward, but also admitted that he started the fight recklessly. The fight began with Hominick moving forward with his hands down as he looked to land his own power punches.

Jung took advantage by connecting with a right hand squarely to the temple, sending the other man tumbling to the ground. The Korean never gave Hominick a chance to recover, immediately rushing to stand over him and throw punches at his face until he went limp for a moment, eliciting an immediate stoppage from referee Herb Dean.

Chick-fil-A worker fired for offending Asian customers
Los Angeles Times

A cashier at the Chick-fil-A restaurant at UC Irvine has been fired after she put offensive names mocking Asian customers on their receipts.

Rather than take the names of two Asian customers, she typed “Ching” and “Chong,” which appeared, respectively, on the two customers’ receipts, according to Kelvin Lee, a UC Irvine student and friend of the customers. He posted photos of the receipts on his Tumblr account.

Since then, the post has spread through the blogosphere, attracting negative attention to the fast-food chain, which has already garnered animus from some corners because of its openly Christian roots and connection to conservative stances.

Company officials say the incident doesn’t reflect corporate views and stands in stark contrast to its ethos.  It was “simply [a] case of immaturity, failed judgment and human error” on the part of one employee, said Don Perry, Chick-fil-A’s vice president for public relations.

Silent UC Berkeley protester detained
The Daily Californian

Alex Kim, a UC Berkeley senior and Occupy Cal protester who took a vow of silence, was detained Sunday by UCPD officers on Sproul Plaza, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.

At around 4:38 p.m., a few officers approached a group of demonstrators sitting on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall and handcuffed Kim before taking him away, said junior Katie Rapp.

“I was so surprised,” Rapp said. “They just grabbed him.”

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Chinese Fisherman Kills South Korean Coast Guardsman
New York Times

A South Korean Coast Guard member was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman on Monday during a crackdown on illegal fishing near South Korea, the Coast Guard said.

Nine Chinese crewmen violently resisted South Korean coast guardsmen trying to impound their 66-ton boat about 120 miles west of Incheon, near the border with North Korea, according to a Coast Guard statement.

Another Chinese ship rammed into the boat, and amid the confusion, the Chinese rebelled, said Chi Geun-tae, a Coast Guard spokesman, citing a preliminary report from the scene.

Former female prosecutor arrested over corruption suspicion
Korea Herald

A former female prosecutor embroiled in a corruption scandal was arrested on Monday to be questioned over allegations that she received a luxury sedan and a designer handbag in return for peddling her influence, prosecutors dealing with the case said.

SHOWBIZ: Fine company with Clara C
New Straits Times (Malaysia)

It is the age of the YouTube artist — the ultra-engaging, crowd-friendly product of an environment where everything including love, sweat and tears is shared.

Clara C is a good example of this.

Despite having arrived on our shores in the wake of concerts by two other YouTube celebrity singers, Jayesslee and Greyson Chance, Clara dazzled the audience at the Bentley Auditorium in Damansara Mutiara recently with her infectious, bubbly brand of singing.

The Korean-American singer was spontaneous, funny and witty — and the 300-plus strong crowd loved every minute she was on stage.

Kuala Lumpur is the second leg of her five-city Asia Pacific tour, having already performed at Singapore’s Esplanade Recital Studio the day before. Clara will perform in three more locations: The Music Museum in Manila, Arrow on Swanston in Melbourne, and the Basement in Sydney.

L.A. film critics association names Yoon Jung-hee best actress of 2011
Korea Herald

South Korean actress Yoon Jung-hee was chosen as the best actress of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) for her lead role in the award-winning South Korean film “Poetry.”

The association announced a list of the 2011 award winners, including Yoon, on Sunday (L.A. standard time).

Yoon won the honor, beating her close competitor from Hollywood, Kirsten Dunst, the winner of the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her performance in “Melancholia,” the association said.

Korea’s Kraze Burger Aims to Cash in on US Craze
Voice of America

Americans are used to hearing about the latest McDonald’s opening in a remote part of the world, but it’s unusual to see a foreign food franchise setting up in the United States, especially one selling the most quintessential of American foods: hamburgers.

However, one plucky chain of Korean restaurants is doing just that, and recently opened its first U.S. branch in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

Video: Student “freaks out” in library over others “breathing loudly”
Yahoo News

This video from the California State University, Northridge campus has ignited controversy across the Internet this morning. In the video, reportedly taken during finals week, a female student loses her temper with her fellow students, accusing them of being disruptive. (Be warned, there are a few choice words whispered during the rant):

[Recap] Saturday Night Live Korea, Episode 1 – Poking Fun at Politics
soompi

“Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea” finally aired its inaugural episode last weekend, and I have to admit I was more than ecstatic to see my favorite U.S. comedy show air in Korea. It did a pretty good job of living up to the “SNL” name with a lot of political/cultural parodies. Kim Joo Hyuk also did a flawless job of running the show live as the first host.

Student Develops Smartphone App About N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

Kim Min-jong, a 26-year-old student in the Department of North Korean Studies at Korea University, made the country’s first Smartphone app providing expert information on North Korea. Over 1,000 people have downloaded it in the week since its launch, and the app is in the region of 20th on Podgate, which ranks the top 300 most popular apps.

Kim planned and produced the app, and spent W5 million (US$1=W1,126) to make the project a reality through an app developer. It can be downloaded for free on Android.

Penguins F Park has broken foot
Miami Herald

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Richard Park is slated to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured foot.

Pens head coach Dan Byslma made the announcement following Monday’s practice. Reports indicate that Park suffered the injury while blocking a shot in the late stages of Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Philadelphia.

The 35-year-old native of South Korea returned to the NHL after a one-year absence, signing on with Pittsburgh. He has totaled two goals and seven points in 21 games this year.

Wedding Announcement: Jung Pak and Jay Habermann
New York Times

Jung Hyun Pak and Jonathan Brewster Habermann were married Saturday afternoon. The Rev. Richard D. Sloan, an Episcopal priest, performed the ceremony at St. Paul’s Chapel on the campus of Columbia University in Manhattan.

The couple met at Colgate University, from which they graduated. They also have graduate degrees from Columbia; the bride received a Ph.D. in United States history and the bridegroom an M.B.A.

The bride, 37, was until December 2008 an adjunct assistant professor of American history at Hunter College. From 2003 to 2004, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where she created an archive on the late Horace G. Underwood, a professor at the university and a Presbyterian missionary. The bride is a trustee of Colgate.

She is a daughter of Kwan Song Pak of Flushing, Queens, and the late Ok Sook Pak. The bride’s father owns and operates a tailor shop in Manhattan that bears his name.

Traffic in Vietnam
via channelAPA

Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

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Frenemies Forever: Kim Ki-duk vs. Jang Hun

Filmmaker Jang Hun discusses the tension between him and his mentor, Korean auteur Kim Ki Duk.

By Eugene Yi

Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk recently emerged from a self-induced exile in the Korean mountains with the film Arirang, which premiered to a standing ovation at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It’s essentially a 100-minute video blog, wrenching and profane, that explains his absence from filmmaking.

He first ascribed it to an actress’s near-death during the shooting of a suicide scene in his 2008 film Dream. But then, Kim went on to explain how his ability to trust had been shattered by The Frontline director Jang Hun.

Jang had long worked with Kim, starting in the production department and eventually becoming one of the assistant directors. But during the pre-production phase for a Kim film, Jang and a producer left to work on Secret Reunion, the young director’s sophomore film.

“They left like cowards,” Kim said in Arirang. He called Jang an opportunist, and the film ends with Kim [spoiler alert] assembling a gun, shouting “I’m coming to kill you!” and “Traitors!” as he drives into the city. [The film then veers abruptly into fiction, with Kim entering a series of buildings, each of which rings out with a single shot. The revenge fantasy ends with his own suicide.]

“It was the worst thing that happened to me. Not Arirang, but whatever happened before that, and the situation with [Kim], everything from that time,” said Jang haltingly, as a bossanova cover of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” played over the speakers at the cafe where we met before a November 2011 screening of The Frontline, Jang’s Korean War epic, in Los Angeles. Continue reading

December Issue: The Making of an Oscar Contender

Photo by John Park

Only two Asian films have won the best foreign language Academy Award in the entire history of the prize. Korean director Jang Hun’s The Front Line is South Korea’s entry for the 2012 award. Does it stand a chance?

by Eugene Yi

It’s been a rite for half a century. As the days shorten, the Korean Film Council will choose a film as its selection for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language category. The Academy will announce its nominations in January. The South Korean film will not be on the list.

So this year, on an early November evening in Los Angeles, the ever-optimistic Korean Film Council (KOFIC) hosted a screening of its latest selection: Jang Hun’s The Front Line. Such screenings are an opportunity for Academy members to view the film on the big screen. Such attendees, if they were there, were not of the celebrity variety, so were difficult to spot.

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Jang, however, was very visible.  Only 37, all three of the director’s films have been hits, and all three were shown at the CGV theater that day in a “retrospective” of his work. A bit generous, perhaps, for a still-young filmmaker, but in that spirit, I asked him whether he thought he’d hit upon a style to call his own, and he described himself thusly:

1) His films are all action films.

2) He focuses on the relationships between male frenemies, to the point that he is sometimes chided by the South Korean press for seeming to dislike actresses.

True to form, The Front Line explores the disillusionment among the rank-and-file during the last days of the Korean War. Ragged units of the North and South fight over a hill called Aero K, which has changed hands so many times that the soldiers have lost count.  (Read the name of the hill backwards to find its allegorical meaning.) Jang had reservations about making a war film, thinking it’d be too physically grueling, but “within two hours of reading the script, I decided to make the film,” he said. Continue reading

Friday's Link Attack: Tiger JK, Sandra Oh, Margaret Cho

Asian Rapper Set to Roar Across L.A.
L.A. Times

Now, there’s no denying his talent. As MC Tiger JK (he declines to confirm his given name or age, though most fan sites refer to him as Seo Jung-Kwon), he’s perhaps the most popular Korean rapper in America, Asia and the world. By reinterpreting the brash appeal of L.A. gangsta rap for Korean audiences, he and his Drunken Tiger crew have alternately scandalized and intrigued their audience for nearly two decades.

Drunken Tiger’s Friday show at the Wiltern, “The Jungle Concert in L.A.” (featuring an extended bill of Korean hip-hop peers including his wife, Korean American R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae, rap acts Lee Ssang, Bizzy and vocalist Jung In), might codify a scene that thrives at a difficult flashpoint between many different cultures. They want to represent Korea and their genre without pandering to stereotypes about Asian pop, and they want to be taken seriously as rappers in America without relying on their outsider status.

Sandra Oh on North Korean Refugee Adoption Act
Channel APA

The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, would allow Americans to adopt refugee orphans who have fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to neighboring countries such as Mongolia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. These children are struggling in harsh circumstances, and run the risk of being sent back to DPRK. According to the World Food Program, DPRK faces regular food shortages, and one in three North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.

David Chang, the Rock Star of Ramen, Goes Global
USA Today

And now, only seven years after opening that first noodle bar in a former chicken wing joint the size of a one-car garage, Chang is going global.

He opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first eatery outside New York, late last month — going all the way to Sydney, Australia to do it. Next year, a Toronto outpost opens — it will be his sixth, not counting the four Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries run by his protege, Christina Tosi. The second edition of his admired food quarterly, Lucky Peach (that’s English for the Japanese “momofuku”), has just come out. He’s still tinkering with the iPad app.

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S. Korea HIV patients battle AIDS, and bias
CBS News

On Monday, UNAIDS appointed Hong Myung-bo, one of South Korea’s most famous soccer players, as an International Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Korea and the rest of Asia.

His appointment is promising news because people living with the disease in Korea are fighting an uphill battle against intangible forces that cannot be conquered with medicine and money alone.

As of December 2010, about 7,200 people in Korea were known to be living with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a country with a population of almost 49 million that means just 0.015% of South Koreans are living with HIV.

However, experts estimate that the actual number of people who live with the virus may be five to ten times greater than the official count.

Widespread misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination surrounding the illness have pushed HIV patients to the fringes of Korean society, say experts and activists. The fear of being exposed and ostracized is strong.

300 Homeless Men in Cleveland Enjoy Korean American Association Hospitality and Goodwill Gesture
Cleveland Plain Dealer

It’s the second year the Korean American Association has served dinner and provided clothing to Northeast Ohio’s homeless men. The idea was a brainstorm of association president Sam Kim.
“We did this last year and provided blankets for these men,” Kim said. “It was a joy for us to see how happy these men were then, and we knew we had to do this again. But we couldn’t do this alone . . . we had 10 Korean churches who helped support this event.”

Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD
OC Weekly

Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she’s provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want. From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package.

From rags to riches, South Korea hosts forum on international aid
Los Angeles Times

For South Korea, the fact that the southern port city of Busan played host Tuesday to the start of a three-day forum on global aid strategies is no less than a “rags to riches” story.

In 1963, still reeling from a war that a decade earlier had ravaged the Korean peninsula, South Korea, with a per capita income of just $89, was a major recipient of global aid, making it one of the world’s least-developed countries.

That was then; this is now.

Today, Busan is the world’s fifth-largest commercial port and the nation’s economy is the world’s 13th largest.

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Friday's Link Attack: Pyongyang University, John Cho, Sung Kim


The Man With the Golden Shoes (Photo)
WSJ

Young Jun wears a vintage leopard jacket over Givenchy’s snarling Rottweiler t-shirt. New Yorkers seem particularly fond of the image’s “step back” message; Rottweiler tees are prowling the streets. Both Young Jun’s baggy pants and his golden wingtip shoes are by Comme des Garçons. The bag slung over his shoulder is made by the Korean design duo, Steve J & Yoni P.

New university is opening doors in North Korea
Houston Chronicle

The meeting was recently held in the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). What I came to learn was that the very existence of this institution represents nothing short of a miracle and a unique opportunity for change.

The brainchild of James Kim, a Korean-American businessman who survived imprisonment and a death sentence in Pyongyang in 1998, the university is a place where hundreds of North Korean students are receiving a first-class education taught in English by a multinational, primarily Western faculty. The students who live and study here are among their nation’s brightest and best, and most importantly, represent the leaders of tomorrow.

In South Korea, Plastic Surgery Comes Out of the Closet
New York Times

Cosmetic surgery has long been widespread in South Korea. But until recently, it was something to keep quiet about. No longer.

And as society has become more open about the practice, surgeries have become increasingly extreme. Double-jaw surgery — which was originally developed to repair facial deformities, and involves cutting and rearranging the upper and lower jaws — has become a favorite procedure for South Korean women who are no longer satisfied with mere nose jobs or with paring down cheekbones to achieve a smoother facial line.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: Film Review
The Hollywood Reporter

Nothing has changed. After being waylaid by the lame Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in 2008, Harold and Kumar, looking well past 30 — the actors always played much younger than they were — return for another nocturnal ramble that will increasingly move into surreal fantasy. But the situation, for all the 3D claptrap, remains essentially the same: Two reasonably authentic characters tumble into a Wonderland of sheer nonsense.


To Anyone: The Rise of Korean Wave
Pitchfork

South Korean pop culture (often referred to as “Hallyu”, which means “Korean Wave”) is a fresh-faced phenomenon. The record companies that currently dominate the country’s music industry date back only to 1995, which means that K-Pop, as a genre and a business, is probably younger than you are. It certainly sounds young– even if you ignore the fact that most K-Pop groups are made up of teenagers, there’s a wild, enthusiastic spirit evident in the way their producers gobble up and spit out sounds like Britney/Gaga Eurotrance, Auto-Tune, rapid-fire rap, swooning Final Fantasy strings, breakbeats, and industrial-strength synths. This music can be flat, derivative, and sometimes really, really annoying. It can also deliver the kind of senses-shattering, hands-in-the-air euphoria that’s a defining marker of great pop.

Blunted in the Walk-In: Eddie and Prodigy Eat Korean at Jung Sik
Complex

Jung Sik wants to be the “first high-end, thoroughly modern Korean restaurant in New York.” If “modern” means a Korean Francophile’s expensive and long-winded tasting menu, then they’re undoubtedly modern in every sense of the word. But if modern means something more like Roy Choi, who serves a modern, personal, Korean-American story through $2 tacos, then NY is still waiting for its first thoroughly modern Korean restaurant or, better yet, a Kogi Truck on dub-deuces. Cause if I had a food truck, it’d be sittin’ on 22-inch Daytons with Uncle Murda yelling “Ohhh, I’m gettin’ paper.”

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The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms
Japan Focus

On September 30, 2011, an outfit named GumshoePictures uploaded on YouTube a video entitled “The True Origins of Pizza,” which, in the format of a brief documentary (3:44), reminiscent of those seen on such stations as the Discovery Channel, investigates an apparent historical puzzle: a series of speakers, from academics to a blogger and a representative of the “Korean Culinary Center,” are interviewed and advance evidence that pizza originated in Korea and had been “stolen” by Marco Polo, much as he had reputedly brought back noodles from China to Italy as spaghetti.

The co-star of Harold & Kumar comes clean about his addiction to Angry Birds and his epiphany after reading The New York Times in print.
AdWeek

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
My favorite app right now is Angry Birds. It’s like a disease. And Netflix, although it’s weird in terms of what’s available lately. I think iBooks is insanely convenient.

What’s your biggest digital indulgence?
An iPad is not particularly necessary, but I got one. But it hasn’t taken over my life.

Look how far South Korea has come
The Globe and Mail

The Kia Optima may be the winning car of this group, but overall at this year’s TestFest, the South Korean currency was the big winner. Every category in which a South Korean product was entered, a South Korean car scored a victory, with one exception: the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec, which was optimistically entered into the Performance Above $50,000 group of track stars, instead of the Luxury car group, where it more naturally fit.

Jung Gon Kim charged with sexually abusing boys
ABC 7

An Ellicott City barber is facing charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy.

Police charged the barber, Jung Gon Kim, 54, with sexual abuse of a minor, second- and third degree sex offense, sodomy and second degree assault.

The victim was a client of the Scissors Sound Hair Salon in Ellicott City.

Sung Kim sworn in as U.S. ambassador to S. Korea
Yonhap News Agency

“The new ambassador, Sung Kim, is expected to go to Seoul around Nov. 10 and he will immediately present credentials (to President Lee Myung-bak) to begin his work,” the source said, requesting anonymity since the State Department has yet to announce a related schedule.

Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, will become the first Korean-born U.S. ambassador to Korea since the two sides forged diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

Kim Jong-il reveals fondness for dolphins and fancy dogs
The Telegraph

North Korea’s ailing leader Kim Jong-il has long been known to have a taste for the finer things in life – from Uzbek Caviar to fine French Cognac – but a new list of luxury imports now also reveals a penchant for Chinese dolphins, French poodles, and African aphrodisiacs.

박재범 Jay Park ‘Girlfriend’ [Official Music Video]
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Three Korean Films To Screen At AFI Film Festival

Stanislav Tyan stars in Hanaan, a modern-day crime tale set amid a backdrop of the USSR’s forced relocation of Koreans.

Los Angeles’ longest running international film festival is back, and this year features a diverse offering from South Korean cinema, including a gritty crime drama about a fourth-generation Korean-Uzbek police detective and an intimate documentary from a famous filmmaker who decides to turn the camera on himself.

Running Nov. 3 through Nov. 10, the AFI Fest will screen 110 films, including 70 features and 40 shorts that were selected from more than 3,000 submissions across 36 countries. Among those selections are three Korean feature films and one short.

“AFI Fest has always had an eye on South Korean cinema, not just because the quality of those films are always much higher than the normal output of other locales, but also because we know we have a strong Korean audience here in Los Angeles that has been attending the festival for years,” said Lane Kneedler, associate director of programming for the festival.

“South Korea obviously has some of the best film schools and film studios in the world,” Kneedler said. “Their level of sophistication has elevated film as an art form ever higher.” Continue reading

Tuesday's Link Attack: Harold and Kumar, Yoon Mirae, SNSD

The Harold & Kumar worldview
Philadelphia Inquirer

[Kal] Penn points to shows like Modern Family and Community as evidence that the viewing culture has shifted. [John] Cho says he’s been getting different questions from journalists this time around.

For the first two movies, he says, the characters’ race “was all we talked about. I learned that’s what people clock first, the color of a person. This time, we’re not necessarily talking about the politics of race in America – I’m not sure actors are the best people to talk about that – and when we are, the questions don’t overwhelm the discussion.”

At 39, Cho is also substantially older than his Harold & Kumar character. But perhaps because of how the franchise’s audience skews, both actors feel like they’ve gained insight into the way younger people see the world, an experience that’s left them with surprisingly optimistic worldviews.

The success of the movies, Cho says, “speaks to a different tone in the country. For the first movie, it was months and months of justifying why there was a Korean guy and an Indian guy in a theatrical motion picture. There’s no need anymore. It’s been done.”

Redistricting offers Asian-Americans a political opportunity to gain fair representation
New York Daily News

Redistricting — the redrawing of political district lines — takes place every 10 years, after new Census data are released.

Elected officials and political insiders pay close attention to this arcane process of map-drawing, because they understand well that new district lines could result in major shifts of political power.

As civil rights advocates, we see redistricting as the once-in-a-decade chance for communities of color to secure political influence that is commensurate with their numbers.

New York City’s changing demographics, fueled by rising immigration, will now provide Asian-Americans a real opportunity to gain fair representation through redistricting.

Get It In by Tasha Reid (aka Yoon Mirae)
channel APA

Coming out of Korea is Tasha Reid’s (aka Yoon Mirae) homage to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill with the music video for her single “Get It In.” Opening up into an unparalleled world of music and virtual mayhem, it features action packed bloody scenes with swordplay as she take on multiple enemies. She’s showing that she’s a true woman warrior.

Tasha, as the protagonist and heroine, controls the confines of her existence with the swing of her sword, kicking ass and fighting off tuxedo suited villains. Once she passes the underlings, Tasha faces the big boss Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger (who is her real life husband). He makes his defiantly late entrance, proceeding into a storm-struck battle of the-hip hop beaux. Complete with wire work and special effects, this is one high value big production.

With Park Gone, Korea Loses Its Trailblazer
Wall Street Journal

The search for three missing South Korean mountain climbers at Annapurna, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, ended Saturday after 12 days without success.

Park Young-seok, one of the country’s most renowned summiteers, and two fellow climbers went missing on October 18. His last message via satellite phone said his team had a hard time climbing down due to heavy avalanche.

Since the last contact, the Korean Alpine Federation and local Sherpas launched a risky search operation, believing that they might have been trapped in a crevasse, to no avail. The search team only found a rope and climbing nail buried under snow, both believed to belong to the missing climbers.

On Sunday, a memorial service was held at the Annapurna base camp at an altitude of 4,200 meters. It was attended by the search team and family members who flew in from Korea.

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Korea’s Diabetes Death Rate is Highest in OECD
Chosun Ilbo

Korea’s rate of diabetes-related deaths is the highest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

Diabetes-related deaths per 100,000 persons were 35.5 in South Korea, more than twice the 13.7 average of OECD nations. Japan’s rate is 5.9 and England’s is 7.5. Korea’s rate is almost twice that of Germany’s 16.6 and significantly higher than the U.S.’ 20.9 even though both of those nations have high numbers of diabetes-related deaths.

Defector uses balloons to send socks to North Korea
Los Angeles Times

The oblong helium balloon rose into an ink-colored sky Saturday, released by a dozen hands just south of one of the world’s most fortified borders, its precious cargo bound for North Korea.

Yet unlike countless balloon launches that shower the north with pamphlets and political screeds criticizing Kim Jong-il’s secretive regime, this one carried a different kind of payload: socks.

In all, hundreds of pairs of foot coverings were lifted heavenward by 10 balloons: little pink baby footies and large black and blue ones for growing children and adults -– all headed for impoverished residents facing another winter.

The socks also carried a message: Hang on for dear life.

How to rock Ajumma style
Korea.net

Are you an ajumma (아줌마)? Ajumma is the familiar term for “married woman”, but also the general moniker in calling an older woman, regardless of marital status. It’s not just a name, though. It’s much more than that; it’s a title, a state of mind, a complete lifestyle. All Korean women seem to be born with the ajumma gene which surfaces naturally after 3 months of becoming one, and whose traits become stronger and stronger as time goes by.

Ajummas have their own distinctive style, something that also seems to be automatically released upon marriage, but if you’re an ajumma who just isn’t fitting in, or in need of some extra oomph, here are a few tips to make your outer (and inner) ajumma shine!

What does the United States think of Girls’ Generation?
CNNGo

With the girls’ U.S. album being released today, we asked a selection of Americans across the country what they make of all the K-Pop fierceness.

Winner of Taiwanese “Emmy”: “I’d like to thank my iPhone”
via Yahoo News

During the recent Golden Bell Television Awards last month in Taipei — Taiwan’s equivalent of the Emmy awards — Huang Ming-chan, who won one of the top prizes in the director categories, gingerly walked up to the stage and snapped a cellphone photo of himself (over the shoulder) while approaching the podium.

The 40-something director then took another cell phone from his other jacket pocket and started reading congratulatory email messages and smiling to himself, totally ignoring the audience before finally addressing the 5,000 people in the auditorium — and on national TV — by reading his acceptance speech from the screen of his iPhone.

Fort Lee man pleads guilty for role in Palisades Park-based fraud ring
Bergen County Record

This is the case that never ends. That’s what happens when 53 people are involved in an identity theft ring.

A Fort Lee man was among four people who pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with an identity theft and bank-fraud ring that was the target of a federal investigation last year, authorities said.

Byung Jang, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.

Asian Americans now country’s fastest growing racial group
Los Angeles Times

Increased immigration from South Asia helped fuel the rapid growth in the number of Asian Americans over the last decade as well as an influx of Asians to states such as Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday.