Tag Archives: koreatown

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.23.05 AM

‘Ktown Cowboys’ Releases Teaser

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Musa Productions has dropped the teaser for their coming-of-age dramedy, Ktown Cowboys, which is slated to release in 2015.

Based on a web series of the same name, Ktown Cowboys follows a group of hard-partying friends, who all struggle with the transition into adulthood in their own unique but interconnected ways in Los Angeles’ Koreatown.

Directed by Daniel “DPD” Park and written by Danny Cho and Brian Chung, the indie film features five cast members from the original 2010 web series and has cameo appearances by the film’s executive producer Ken Jeong (Community), Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0), Steven Byrne (Sullivan & Sons) and Simon Rhee (Best of the Best).

In addition to the teaser, the filmmakers also announced that they will launch a transmedia digital short series called Ktown Footnotes next Wednesday. According to the production team’s press release, the digital series will delve deeper into the film’s plot, introduce new characters and will consist of comedic stand-alone episodes that explore the Ktown lifestyle.

“Aside from the obvious production quality improvements, we’re able to go much deeper into the characters and the Ktown experience in the movie,” Park said. “Because Ktown Cowboys started online, we’ve always wanted to create a bridge between the Internet experience and traditional film. Danny and I created Footnotes to function as that bridge.”

To learn more about Ktown Cowboys, visit the film’s website and Facebook page. You can also watch the original web series here.

YoungKimandMichelleSteel

Electoral Wins Signal New Political Center of Gravity

by JIMMY LEE

Pictured above: Young Kim (left) and Michelle Park Steel, who won their respective races. (Photo courtesy of Young Kim for State Assembly)

Early last week, at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Normandie Avenue in the heart of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a few hundred people gathered at the trendy Line Hotel to recognize a handful of individuals who are emerging as the next leaders of the Southern California Korean American community.

Guests dined on a banquet menu consisting of chicken, salmon and roasted carrots from a menu by celebrated chef Roy Choi as they listened to a seemingly unending number of speeches from the guests of honor—a roster of notable politicians.

The more succinct remarks of the evening came from the three U.S. Congress members in attendance—Democrats Judy Chu and Mike Honda, and Republican Ed Royce—each of whom received leadership awards from the Korean American Economic Development Center, which sponsored the event along with the Bright World Foundation and Korea Times.

But the true VIPs at the 4th Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum (KAPOL) were the Korean Americans who won tightly contested races this November midterm election.

At the $40-per-person ticketed dinner, attended by young professionals and older Koreans alike, these victorious pols were touted as “Rising Stars.”

There was just one problem: the politicians did not represent the districts of the majority of those in attendance.

That’s because the list of honorees included Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Cypress School Board member Sandra Lee, Orange County Supervisor Michelle Park Steel and California Assembly member Young Kim.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.33.31 PMPictured above: Michelle Park Steel

In the city of Los Angeles, Korean Americans running for office over the last two decades have failed, for the most part, to win over voters. While there is no lack of passion or desire to represent a place that is often considered the heart of the community’s social, cultural and economic existence, campaign execution has been deficient.

Just look at recent history as evidence: in the 1990s, Andrew Kim, an attorney, failed multiple times to win a seat to represent Koreatown in either the city council or the state Assembly. In 2013, three candidates—John Choi, Bong Hwan Kim and Emile Mack—threw their hats into the race for the same Los Angeles Council district, dividing the Asian American voting bloc.

Although Choi eventually made it to a run-off election, he lost to Mitch O’Farrell.

But if this past midterm election is any indication, in the suburbs of Orange County, a growing number of Korean Americans is gaining traction with voters—most notably, Michelle Park Steel, who has traded one elected post (eight years on the California Board of Equalization) for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and Young Kim, who will represent the district that includes her hometown Fullerton, in the California Assembly.

Steel, a Republican who is married to California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel, will help govern a county of approximately 3 million people and which has an annual budget of more than $5 billion. Kim, a Republican who previously served as Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs in Rep. Royce’s office, is now one of four Asian American freshmen in the lower house of the California legislature.

Both Steel and Kim have been involved in community work and politics for more than 25 years.

“I never liked meeting people; I was a very shy person,” Steel told KoreAm at the dinner. “[But] while you’re running, you build your own strength.”

As for her fellow victor, Steel added: “Some people think, ‘Oh my god, Young just came out of nowhere [to win].’ [But] we’ve been preparing for where we are at. I think of it like the swan — underwater moving really hard, but on the surface so peaceful. Nobody knows how much work we’ve been doing to get here.”

Marisala_stdYoung Kim at her election party in the Coyote Hills Country Club
(Photo courtesy of Marisela Gonzalez/Daily Titan)

Kim’s victory against Democratic incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva, meanwhile, helped prevent California Democrats from obtaining, yet again, a supermajority in the state house. In a brief interview with KoreAm at the dinner, she said she sensed the pressure.

“I’m from a minority community, and I’m also a minority in the sense that I’m one of the very few women legislators,” Kim said. “I do represent the new face of [a more diverse Republican] party, something they’ve been touting for over two decades, but have not been successful with, until now.”

“That is a huge responsibility. … I do feel that I need to do everything I can to meet that expectation,” she added.

The recent twin victories by Kim and Steel may indicate that the new political center of gravity for the Korean American community is moving away from Los Angeles—and into Orange County. That is, unless the two Korean Americans running for Los Angeles City Council in 2015, Grace Yoo and David Ryu, have something to say about that.

The RushOrder team

Online Food Delivery App Taps into L.A.’s Koreatown

by SUEVON LEE

Ordering delivery from a slew of neighborhood restaurants, all from the convenience of your smartphone or mobile device, has never been easier thanks to apps like Seamless, Eat24 and other brands.

The latest product to join the online food delivery space is RushOrder, a Los Angeles-based start-up that aims not only to minimize wait times for things like the check or a latte for the busy person on the go, but also to bring small mom-and-pop-type establishments in Los Angeles’ Koreatown into the online delivery fold.

This pairing of Korean restaurant options with the technological ease of ordering menu items online (let alone discovering such a place exists within several miles of your location) is one thing the team behind RushOrder believes separates it from its competitors.

“We’re familiar with these places and the people who go there, so we’re able to bring these restaurants into our system,” said Eric Kim, RushOrder’s chief operating officer. “We’re providing access to users and customers who haven’t had access to these restaurants before. A customer can now order from restaurants that serve Korean blood sausages.”

RushOrder originally was conceived as a way to eliminate inefficiencies of the dine-in experience, such as waiting for a server to take an order or bring the check. The product has since undergone several “pivots,” as the team members put it, by focusing on partnering with restaurants and capitalizing on the growing popularity of L.A.’s Koreatown.

RushOrder launched in February. Though it aims to serve cities all over the country, it’s concentrated in L.A. for now.

Available on Android Google Play and Apple iOS for the iPhone and iPad, the RushOrder app hopes to fill a large gap in the online food delivery space.

“The thing we want to emphasize is Koreatown and how those restaurants are not really on these online platforms,” Kim said. “We want to introduce this older generation of Koreans who own these businesses to technology.”

“On the tech side,” he added, “a lot of online ordering companies haven’t been able to access this market because the people who run it aren’t familiar with this space and the language barriers.”

Kim, a 30-year-old former Wall Street consultant who grew up in Koreatown, credits popular chefs like the Kogi Truck’s Roy Choi and culinary television personality Anthony Bourdain for helping put Koreatown on the map as a food destination, thus making it a prime source of savory dining options for the online delivery crowd.

RushOrder will soon be offering delivery and takeout from nearly 300 restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area, including lesser-known places like Nak Won House, Wako Donkasu, Myung In Dumplings and Jang Teo Bossam, in addition to pizza joints and delicatessen staples.

“The mobile ordering payment space is pretty competitive,” Kim acknowledged. “There are lots of companies like us running around. The challenge isn’t getting the restaurants on board. The important metric is, how fast are they growing orders and users, and are they bringing in business?”

So among the plethora of online delivery platforms that seem to be expanding by the day, is there really room for another product?

“Yes,” says Kim. “Delivery is becoming a much greater part of peoples’ lives. Everyone is so busy these days. People spend less time going out to eat and more time working and keeping themselves busy.”

“Even in a place like L.A.,” he said, “the need for delivery is growing rapidly.” Plus, Kim adds, “The Koreatown community is becoming much more popular in Los Angeles.”

Photo Courtesy of RushOrder

CS-FM-1010-Group2

Far East Movement Releases K-Town Mini-Doc Ahead of New EP

by JAMES S. KIM

Far East Movement has been touring all over the world and the United States in recent years, but they’re bringing their music back home to Koreatown, Los Angeles for their upcoming EP.

In anticipation for K-Town Riot, which drops next Tuesday, Oct. 28, Far East Movement premiered the first part of a mini-documentary series exploring the 1992 L.A. riots through L.A. Weekly. It features a number of first-hand accounts from individuals who were in Koreatown during the riots, including Paul PK Kim and Roy Choi.

“When we were on tour, we honestly just felt like we were losing touch with where we grew up, with the community that really shined us a light when we didn’t have any opportunities,” Nish said in an interview with the L.A. Weekly. “After two years of touring, we came home and saw how much it had changed. … So we were like, why don’t we try to do something about it?”

With K-Town Riots, Nish said the group brings a “harder sound,” influenced by the gangster rap songs from the era. He mentioned that the group had around 30 songs recorded, but after a good amount of deliberation, they managed to select six songs. “We felt like these six best represented the vibes for K-Town Riot,” he explained.

The documentary had to be stripped down as well, from nearly five hours of footage in order to keep things “tight, concise, to the point.” Part two of the mini-documentary will feature a more light-hearted look at the growth of Koreatown, Nish said, and that should be out in a few weeks.

You can check out Part One of the five-minute mini-doc below. Be sure to read the full interview with Kevin Nish at L.A. Weekly here.

KACLA-AS14-1

KAC-LA’s Sponsored Post: Who Killed Koreatown?

Who Killed Koreatown?

The redistricting lawsuit by five Koreatown residents against the City of Los Angeles picks up and heads to trial.

The fight against the gross injustice committed in the last redistricting process that split the Koreatown district of Los Angeles in half will head to trial this fall. As a community with high poverty levels and limited English proficiency, Koreatown residents desperately need a political representative to voice their concerns. Yet, two years ago, the city completely ignored the public on redistricting and manipulated district lines behind closed doors, splitting Koreatown into two districts and depriving residents of any chance for representation. Today, Koreatown still lacks community centers, parks and other basic necessities. This led five Koreatown residents to file a lawsuit against the city, with the trial taking place this fall.

Over the years, Koreatown has grown from a quiet ethnic enclave into a booming cultural mecca. Koreatown began as a small cluster of Korean immigrants in the 1950s. It is now home to approximately 100,000 people. As a community, Koreatown, composed of different ethnicities living in one of the densest neighborhoods in the United States, has experienced both successes and shortfalls.

In 2012, the city’s redistricting commission voted to split Koreatown across two separate districts, despite thousands of residents advocating to keep Koreatown in one district throughout the hearing process. Instead of drawing district lines based on population changes and communities of interest, the commission manipulated district boundaries to influence future council elections.

This illegal act of gerrymandering deprived the residents of Koreatown of being able to elect their own representatives who would be able to address the special needs of the community.

Important Dates:
• Tuesday, September 9: Motion for Summary Judgment
• Tuesday, October 14: Trial Start Date

The Korean American Coalition is raising funds for expert fees and deposition costs to help the Koreatown plaintiffs win the lawsuit. To learn more, please go to www.whokilledkoreatown.com to learn more about the redistricting lawsuit and how you can help.

KACLA-AS14-1

This post was sponsored by KAC-LA, which is part of KoreAm’s Community Network, a section reserved for local and national nonprofit organizations. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of KoreAm.

***

KAC-LOS ANGELES (KAC-LA)
Korean American
Coalition-Los Angeles

“Educating, Organizing and Empowering”
Founded in 1983, KAC’s mission is to advocate the civic, civil rights, leadership, legislative and political
interests of the Korean American community. KAC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization. Annual membership dues are $50 for regular members and $25 for students and senior citizens. Other sponsorships are also available.

KAC-LOS ANGELES OFFICE
3540 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 911
Los Angeles, CA 90010
t: (213) 365-5999
f: (213) 380-7990
www.kacla.org
info@kacla.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Helen Kim
Chair
Susie Oh

Vice President of Administration
Justin Kim

Vice President of Marketing
Patrick Kim

Vice President of Programs
Jaime Lee
Secretary
Janny Kim
Treasurer
Michael Bai
Ricky Seung

HONORARY BOARD
Yong Hwan Kim
Dr. David Lee

ADVISORY BOARD
Joe Ahn
Judy Chang
Peter Jung
Alexander C. Kim
CJ Kim
Jeanine Kim
Jenee Kim
Andrew Lee
James Lee
Suzan Lee Paek
Jeanne Min
Jong Hwan Park
Lucy Park
Shinnae Sung
Dr. Gilbert Whang
Dr. Michael Whang
Bernard Yoo

KAC STAFF
Grace Yoo
Chris Lee
Andy Yoo
Samantha Lee

Block Party

We’re Giving Away Free Tickets To The K-Town Night Market & OC Block Party

We weren’t the only ones to have a blast at the first K-Town Night Market in April. Lots of people did. So many, in fact, that organizers are doing another one—this time, down in Orange County. On Aug. 22 and 23, Korean/Asian food vendors and trucks (Seoul Sausage!), entertainers (David Choi! Jason Yang! B-Boys!) and thousands of attendees will gather at Angel Stadium for two nights of belly-filling revelry. While we’re a little sad the event isn’t actually in Koreatown this time, the venue is a major upgrade in terms of parking and breathing room.

KoreAm has partnered with the folks at K-Town Night Market & OC Block Party to give away free passes to the first 250 readers who use the promo code “koream” on the event’s ticket page. One ticket per person, per email. Can’t wait to see you there!

More info about the event can be found on its Facebook page.

A video from the last K-Town Night Market:

And some photos from last time to make you hungry:

Ramen-Burger
takoyaki
koreanbbq

Photos via K-Town Night Market & OC Block Park

140708-study-cafe-1455_66860f406ae65a8217ecfc756202c005.nbcnews-ux-640-440

Sisters Open Korean-Style Study Room in Manhattan

by RUTH KIM

Anyone who’s ever needed a place to study for several hours at a time and been frustrated by the noise at coffee shops or libraries with lax security and no food or drinks allowed may find NY Study Room in Manhattan quite the sweet spot.

The website Ozy and NBC News recently featured the business, which also goes by the name NY Dokseosil, started by sisters YoungJin and Obi Lee, who were accustomed to the plethora of study rooms available in their native South Korea.

When YoungJin first came to the U.S. several years ago, she was always searching for a quiet, safe place to study, but couldn’t find anything close to the dedicated study spaces she enjoyed in Korea.

140708-barbecue-party-ny-dokseosil-1456_66860f406ae65a8217ecfc756202c005.nbcnews-ux-640-440

YoungJin and Obi Lee, left to right. (Photo via NBC News)

So, she and Obi decided to bring a convention from their mother country to their adopted homeland. They rented out a space on the fifth floor of a building in Manhattan’s Koreatown and began transforming it. The resulting NY Dokseosil, which opened in October of 2013, boasts plenty of individual desk spaces and meeting rooms with special, comfortable chairs that allow students to pore over their textbooks or laptops for hours without putting strain on their backs, according to Ozy.

The study room has attracted a steady flow of patrons, mostly by word of mouth, and it’s no wonder when you find out about the hourly rate. At $3 an hour, or $10 for six hours, you can study at your own pace. The majority of customers are adults studying for CPA exams or citizenship tests, and according to Ozy, one customer just passed the bar exam. Like a delighted mother, Obi told Ozy, “We’re so proud of him.”

And that’s kind of what these two ladies are to their patrons: mother figures who provide a homey spot to study with free cups of coffee. And it’s not all work; with board games, a dance studio and beds at the ready, there’s also the opportunity for some post-studying playtime—or naptime. In addition, the space offers meet-ups and can quickly transform into a cultural hub where Koreans, who make up a majority of the patrons, as well as non-Koreans can socialize and engage in a type of informal cultural exchange.

140708-study-cafe-meetup-1544_5de02faca82d9191f540a76bc5f937e8.nbcnews-ux-640-440

“They want a sing-a-long and watch drama together. They know a lot about Korea, but they want to know more,” Obi told NBC News, of the non-Korean patrons.

The cafe also tries to play a helpful role to Koreans who are new to the city, as evident on the NY Dokseosil’s website, which provides information, mainly in Korean, about colleges, language centers and other useful links for the newcomers.

The study room is generally open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., with extended hours available in some cases, and according to the NBC News article, can now also be rented out for gallery showings and business events.

Photos via NBC News.

a08-Muscle.jpeg

Korean Fitness Trainers Take Home Top Prizes At Muscle Beach Competition

by HAEIN JUNG

Look at dem washboard abz. 

Over two hundred strapping bodies entered the 15th annual Mr. & Mrs. Muscle Beach competition, and when the smoke cleared, two Korean trainers were among the winners as they took home  the top prizes.

Joon Ko and Jung-Seok Kim, both fitness trainers at Fitness M, a premier gym located in L.A.’s Koreatown, took first Place in Men’s Physique Tall Class category and second place in the Men’s Physique Short Class, 5’7 and under division, respectively.

“I’m so grateful I overcame the hardships that came from preparing for the competition,” Ko told the Korea Daily. “I thank those at Fitness M who helped me overcome them.”

Kim added: “As Korean Americans, being able to compete in a sport that aren’t dominated by Asians is an incredible opportunity for myself and for the Korean community.”

Aside from their glossy silver and gold medals, their resumes are quite impressive as well. Kim has a fifth degree black belt in taekwondo while Koh is a Red Cross lifeguard and certified First Aid instructor.

Mr. & Mrs. Muscle Beach started in 1999 by Joe Wheatley, a long time producer of bodybuilding shows, and has been held every year in Venice Beach.

Image via Korea Times