Our Lives, Our Stories
An effort to release a book chronicling the stories of LGBTQ Korean Americans is revived.
by SUEVON LEE
In a small office space near Lower Manhattan one recent Sunday evening, four young Korean Americans are trading thoughts about growing up LGBTQ in a culture that often shuns non-conformists.
There’s Mark Ro Beyersdorf, a mixed-race activist originally from San Diego, who bluntly points out the contradictions in attitudes around his identity: It’s OK for him not to speak Korean fluently, he said, but apparently it’s not OK for him to be gay since, “‘You can’t be gay because you’re Korean.’”
Across from him sits Eli Rhee, a queer-identified native New Yorker who weighs in on the challenges unique to young Korean Americans reluctant to come out to family.
“You’re not awarded for being outspoken in Asian culture. You just do what you’re told,” she said, as Rej, a grad student, and Elena Chang, an artist and activist, voice their agreement.
Here in this room, there’s a shared understanding of what it means to be Korean, gay and proud, even in the face of these challenges. Continue Reading »
It’s been more than a decade since Hong Seok-cheon came out as gay, and consequently, witnessed the overnight demise of his still-budding acting career. The first South Korean to come out so publicly, it created a firestorm of controversy — controversy that arguably still follows him today.
But, it seems, that with a more liberal minded youth and greater understanding about homosexuality and LGBT communities, Hong’s luck is finally turning around. In a recent profile from online news and culture site, Buzzfeed, Hong’s story and his rekindled public image were explored.
After being fired from the popular children’s show, BboBboBbo (Kiss, Kiss, Kiss), Hong fell into a stupor of binge drinking and depression. Leaving acting, he opened a restaurant, which was frequented by customers and aggravators alike, while he attempted to rebuild a life for himself away from public scrutiny. Continue Reading »
by Gina Kim
When Andrew Ahn decided to make a film about a gay Korean American living in Los Angeles, he had only two audience members in mind: his mom and dad. And just one message for them: “I’m gay.”
The 25-year-old had wanted to tell his parents that for some time, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Instead, he hoped his short film, Dol (First Birthday), would speak for him. Dol, which started out as his thesis work for an MFA in film directing at California Institute of the Arts, would later be accepted into this year’s Sundance Film Festival for the Short Narrative Fiction Competition.
What was intended to be an intimate story is now screening at the largest film festival in the country.
“It’s such a small, personal film that it almost feels kind of strange that it’s big and public now,” Ahn tells KoreAm.
Read more about Ahn’s journey in making his film and coming out to his parents in the upcoming February issue of KoreAm. To check out Dol at Sundance, in progress now in Park City, Utah, click here for festival information and details on screening times.
Happy Birthday, David Chang! A Look Back at His Biggest Culinary Moments and Controversies
Here’s a slideshow of Momofuku chef David Chang.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ to Film Scene With Pittsburgh Steelers
The Hollywood Reporter
Hines Ward and members of the Pittsburgh Steelers will appear in the upcoming ‘Batman’ movie.
Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, is adding some professional athletes to its cast.
Members of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers team will be filming a scene in the Warner Bros. film this weekend playing football players at Heinz Field. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a dozen of his teammates, including Hines Ward, Willie Colon and Maurkice Pouncey, are expected to participate during Saturday’s filming. Thousands of extras will be on hand to play fans.
KBS receives harsh criticisms for airing Korea’s first lesbian drama
A new KBS drama called ‘Daughters of Club Bilitis‘ had viewers up in arms over the fact that it contained content relating to same-sex couples.
Moon Bloodgood on ‘Falling Skies’
Here’s a short Q&A with Moon Bloodgood, one of the stars of TNT’s “Falling Skies,” a sci-fi hourlong drama which concluded its first season yesterday.
Crave Online: What brought you to “Falling Skies”?
Moon Bloodgood: Well certainly when you get handed a script and they tell you it’s Bob Rodat and Steven Spielberg, you’re immediately drawn to it. It’s got your attention. I was a little cautious about wanting to do science fiction again. But it was more of a drama story, more of a family story. I liked that and I wanted to work with Spielberg. I liked the idea of playing a doctor and deviating from something I had done already. And I just love the story, the family. It was simple. It wasn’t trying to hard.
Select Korean-Americans to be allowed to exchange letters with their families in N. Korea
North Korea has agreed to allow 10 Korean-Americans to exchange letters with their families in the communist country whom they have not seen since the Korean War more than a half century ago, a South Korean Red Cross official Saturday.
Margaret Cho ‘Cho Dependent’ Review
The Guardian (U.K.)
From innocence to experience, the cast of last year’s series of the US reality show Dancing with the Stars ran the full gamut. In one corner, sexual abstinence campaigner Bristol Palin. In the other, Margaret Cho, the Korean-American comedian who is to sexual abstinence what Caligula was to good governance. “I want to get f–ked into assisted living,” says Cho, whose Edinburgh show hymns her carnal voracity and her war against the Palinification of the US. Even as her tales of cunnilingus and geriatric sex strain for gaudy effect, it’s a cosy, congratulatory – and enjoyable – affair.
Postwar dreams in a changing Korea
The Miami Herald reviews Samuel Park’s new novel “This Burns My Heart.”
An assistant English professor at Chicago’s Columbia College and author of the one-act play turned novella turned short film Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Samuel Park displays an affinity for stage and screen in his atmospheric and exuberantly filmic new novel.
Inspired by his mother’s memories, This Burns My Heart cuts a chunky swath of postwar South Korea from 1960 through the ’70s funneled through the life arc of sprightly but initially superficial Soo-Ja Choi. Each scene unfolds visually — in darkened stone interiors, busy hotels and coffee houses — with domineering mothers, maniacal fathers, familiar themes of filial piety and cultural obligation, the inevitably unhappy marriage that was never what it appeared. But since the story is centered on Soo-Ja, she is most sharply in focus and not always sympathetically.
Frenchman Who Teaches Korean Language at SNU
Marc Duval jokes that his love of the spicy Korean stew kimchi jjigae made him a professor of Korean language at the prestigious Seoul National University.
World-class athletes to gather in Daegu for int’l event
The Korea Herald
Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbayeva, Asafa Powell and other world-class athletes will gather in Daegu next month to take part in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Championships.
Free Hank Conger!
After moving Joel Pineiro to the bullpen, there’s only one obvious move left for the Angels to make. They must free Hank Conger.
As bad as the Angels’ offense has been, it’s their catching that has been especially atrocious in 2011.
Greg Pak’s Epic Run to Conclude with INCREDIBLE HULKS #635
The Daily Blam!
Comic book writer Greg Pak is ending his five-year run as writer of The Incredible Hulks.
Marvel Comics has released advance preview pages for The Incredible Hulks #635, the final issue of writer Greg Pak’s run. The issue hits stores August 31, 2011.
Oldest foreign school in Seoul kicks off its centennial
Here’s a feature story on the oldest international school in South Korea.
Seoul’s oldest foreign school is turning 100 years old next year, and the school is ready to celebrate the occasion by opening itself up to show how its pioneering academics have shaped 100 years of educating Seoul’s foreign population.
The Arms Race Intrudes on Paradise [OPINION]
New York Times
Gloria Steinem writes an op-ed piece for the Times regarding Jeju Island.
Jeju isn’t called the most beautiful place on earth for nothing. Ancient volcanoes have become snow-covered peaks with pure mountain streams running down to volcanic beaches and reefs of soft coral. In between are green hills covered with wildflowers, mandarin orange groves, nutmeg forests, tea plantations and rare orchids growing wild; all existing at peace with farms, resorts and small cities. Unesco, the United Nation’s educational, scientific and cultural organization, has designated Jeju Island a world natural heritage site.
Now, a naval base is about to destroy a crucial stretch of the coast of Jeju, and will do this to dock and service destroyers with sophisticated ballistic missile defense systems and space war applications. China and South Korea have positive relations at the moment. But this naval base is not only an environmental disaster on an island less than two-thirds the size of Rhode Island, it may be a globally dangerous provocation besides.
U.S. ignores Koreans’ protest in naming sea between Korea, Japan
Despite a growing furor among Koreans, the U.S. government formally confirmed a policy Monday of calling the waters between Korea and Japan the Sea of Japan.