Tag Archives: Los Angeles


The End of “Ryuribe”

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Ryu Hyun-jin became Hyun-jin Ryu when he joined the Dodgers before the 2013 season, and with him came plenty of expectations and worries. Could Ryu find success as the first Korean baseball player to go directly to the major leagues from the Korean Baseball Organization? Would he be able to handle the workload of a full MLB season?

That’s a definite yes on the former, and a maybe on the latter. Ryu has been fantastic during the first two years of his contract, but we found out last week that he had been pitching the entire time with a bum shoulder. The injury caught up with him before the 2015 season, and he’s out for the year after undergoing surgery.

But no one could have seen “Ryuribe” coming. Ryu’s camaraderie with the (now former) Dodgers third baseman, Juan Uribe, was something out of left field, especially since both men don’t speak English particularly well. Somehow, they made it work, and their antics on and off the field testified to the chemistry of the team.


Unfortunately, the Dodgers traded Uribe to the Atlanta Braves earlier this week. But the brotherly bond is strong, right? Long distance, whatever—they could make it work.

YouTuber Brian Quon uploaded a compilation of the best “Ryuribe” moments. If you’re a Dodgers fan, take a moment to reflect on these good times.

Juan+Uribe+Hyunjin+Ryu+Colorado+Rockies+v+n7g2irwzfZel(Photo via Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America)

The Dodgers will still hold their Juan Uribe bobblehead night on July 11. For now, fans can reminisce on what was perhaps Uribe’s most memorable moment while he was in Los Angeles: crushing the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves in the 2013 playoffs to advance to the National League Championship Series.

See Also


“The Longest, Most In-Depth Story Ever Written About Dodgers Star Pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu”

“Hyun-jin Ryu Pitched with a Shoulder Injury for Two Years”

“Hyun-jin Ryu Shows Off His Rapping Skills in Korean Commercial”


Above image via USA Today

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bigbang made tour

BIGBANG Announces North American Tour

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo


BIGBANG is coming to the States.

Earlier this week, the K-pop boy band announced six arena dates for the North American leg of their 2015 MADE World Tour. This will be the first time band will be performing in the States since their 2012 Alive Tour.

BIGBANG will kick off their tour on Oct. 2 at the Mandalya Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The following night, the group will perform at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Fans residing in Orange County will also have the chance to see BIGBANG on Oct. 4 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

East Coast fans will have to see BIGBANG two nights straight at Newark’s Prudential Center. The band will close the North American leg of their tour at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Tickets for the BIGBANG’s North American arena dates will go on sale on June 12 through Live Nation.

Check out the group’s blockbuster-themed trailer for their MADE Tour below:

To learn more about BIGBANG’s tour, visit its official website here


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Los Angeles Dodgers v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

Hyun-jin Ryu Pitched with a Shoulder Injury for Two Years

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Last Wednesday, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu decided to undergo shoulder surgery to figure out what was wrong with his shoulder and shut himself down for the season. Ryu’s shoulder issues have flared up in his first two seasons with the Dodgers, and the surgery seemed like a good option with a long term goal in mind.

But at a press conference on Friday, Ryu revealed there was precedence for all his shoulder problems: He had been pitching the last two years with a torn labrum. Ryu and the Dodgers had known about the injury before the team signed the pitcher in the winter of 2012. They both knew, Ryu said, following the initial MRI the Dodgers asked him to undergo prior to the contract signing.

Through an interpreter, Ryu added that it was his decision to pitch, even though he was usually in pain. “I can’t really pick a certain date [when I pitched pain-free], but there were certain times without pain,” Ryu said.

Then-Dodgers general manager signed Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract, along with the $26 million posting fee, despite knowing the nature of the southpaw’s shoulder. Still, the first two years have been a clear win on the investment, as Ryu slotted in comfortably and effectively behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and helped lead the Dodgers to consecutive National League West division titles, not to mention galvanized the Korean fanbase.

Zach Helfand at the Los Angeles Times noted the instances when Ryu’s shoulder issues first began coming into play: A “mysterious bullpen conclave” during the 2013 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves before Ryu’s start, then his stint on the disabled list to begin the 2014 season with “shoulder inflammation” before being shut down in September.

Leading up to the 2015 season, the Dodgers shut Ryu down in March during spring training—this time due to “shoulder irritation.” Ryu was planning to return sometime in May or even June, but the team shut him down again when he didn’t show any improvement in arm strength.

Ryu still has a tough hill to climb—shoulder operations are considered much riskier than elbow procedures—but the Dodgers expect the pitcher to be ready for spring training next year. Manager Don Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times that after speaking with head athletic trainer Stan Conte, the damage to Ryu’s shoulder appeared to be “relatively minor.”


Featured image via Yahoo News/Getty Images

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Sponsored Post: Korean Cultural Center-Los Angeles Presents 21st Annual Juried Contemporary Art Exhibition

Painting, Drawing, Ceramics and Installation works by 12 Contemporary Artists


The Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles (KCCLA) proudly presents its 21st Annual Juried Exhibition, which will consist of a variety of contemporary arts by exceptionally talented artists. The artists were selected by jurors Christine Y. Kim, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Max Presneill, Director & Head Curator of Torrance Art Museum; and David Bailey, Faculty of Art Center College of Design.

The Juried Arts Exhibition has steadily become one of the most popular exhibitions at KCCLA since its debut in 1993. It has grown steadily through the generosity of its supporters and the enthusiasm of the artists who submit their work. This year’s exhibition includes the work of artists working across the United States. Regardless of their cultural background, interests and experiences, these artists all share an engagement with the creative process.

This year, we had 123 applicants from across the nation, and it was extremely difficult to narrow the selection down. The KCCLA has selected 12 artists to share their ideas, inspirations and abilities.

The exhibition is open to the public and the announcement of the winner will be announced at the opening reception on May 8.

Selected Artists:

1. Anna Bae (La Mirada, CA)
2. Helen Chung (West Hollywood, CA)
3. Rachelle Dang (Los Angeles, CA)
4. Victoria Jang (Oakland, CA)
5. Nayoung Jeong (Province RI)
6. Suk Ja Kang (Chicago, IL)
7. Kerman, Tracy (N.Y., N.Y)
8. Eunchong Lee (Inglewood, CA)
9. Juliana Robinson Kang (Santa Cruz CA)
10. Laurel Shear (Austin TX)
11. Soyoung Shin (Los Angeles, CA)
12. Mahara Sinclaire (Los Angeles, CA)

Friday, May 8 to Friday, May 29, 2015

Opening Reception:
Friday May 8 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Gallery Hours:
Mon-Fri 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Sun. Closed)

The exhibit will be closed May 24 & 26 to mark Memorial Day.

Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles Art Gallery
5505 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles at (323) 936-3014.

The King Sejong Institute: Korean Language Program


2015 Class Schedule:
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday

Spring Sessions begins May 14 and ends June 30, 2015.


KECLA (Korean Education Center, Los Angeles)
680 Wilshire Place.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(Cross Streets: Wilshire Pl. & Sunset Pl.)

KCCLA (Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles)
5505 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(Cross Streets: Dunsmuir & Wilshire Blvd.)

Classes are designed for those who wish to learn about Korean language and culture. Students must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of each session.

Please read new information about the KLP Program.

Placement Test:
If you are unsure of your level, please see our class syllabi.

◦ On the first day of class, each semester, we offer a placement test for students who may not be sure of their level and would like to be ‘placed’ in a class.

◦ Those who want to take Introductory Korean, Basic A & B don’t need to take the placement test (First-time students with no previous Korean language experience should automatically be placed in our Introductory Korean class.)

◦ If you want to take this test, please do so at KCC from 5:50 pm – 6:50 pm. No tests will be given after that time, as they need to be graded before 7 p.m.

◦ If you are not pre-paid, please come to KCC from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm to submit your payment. We will not issue any textbooks/materials to unpaid students.

◦ First day of class will start promptly at 7:00 pm. There will be NO ORIENTATION like in the past.

◦ $80 non-refundable registration fee for EACH TWELVE-WEEK SEMESTER (textbook NOT included, parking included)

◦ Please have your fee paid by the first day of class. (Mail your check/cashier’s check/money order (Payable to K. L. P.) to our office or simply bring in your check or cash payment to our office. For your protection, please do not send cash.)

◦ Be sure to write “Attn: K.L.P. or KOREAN LANGUAGE PROGRAM” on the envelope.

◦ To pay by mail, please send your check or money order to the KCCLA (DO NOT SEND YOUR FEE TO THE KOREAN EDUCATION CENTER)

◦ Put the registration number on front of each check/cashier’s check/money order. (You will receive your registration number at the time you register online)

◦ We are not accepting any payments by credit/debit cards at this time.

◦ Please be advised that long lines to pay form on the first day of class. Students paying by check may have their payments processed quicker through a faster express line.

◦ Non-payment of fees will cause your registration/enrollment to be canceled.

For more information, please call the Program Manager at 323-936-3025.


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epik high parker

Dumbfoundead to Perform at Epik High’s Los Angeles Concert

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Epik High announced earlier today that Los Angeles-based rapper Dumbfoundead, who now goes by the name Parker, will be joining them on stage for their 2015 North American Tour.

Parker has been invited to perform as a guest rapper for the Los Angeles leg of the tour at the Wiltern Theater on May 29. Last February, Parker returned to the rap battle scene after a long five-year hiatus, defeating rapper Conceited and even earning praise from Drake.

Born in Beunos Aires, Argentina and raised in L.A.’s Koreatown, Parker has been an influential hip-hop artist in the Asian American community since the mid-2000s. He’s been featured in Epik High tracks “Maze” and “Rocksteady,” which were included in the hip-hop trio’s sixth album [e]. The L.A. rapper also performed as the opening act for Epik High’s Map the Soul tour back in 2009.

After adding new cities and encore concerts, Epik High is set to kick off their 2015 North American Tour at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater on May 28. The group will then travel to Los Angeles, Vancouver, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York and Toronto through June.

To learn more about the tour, visit Epik High’s official Facebook page or the official tour website



Hyun-jin Ryu Elects Shoulder Surgery, Most Likely Out for Season

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Los Angeles Dodgers starting southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu has decided to undergo shoulder surgery on his injured pitching shoulder, which has kept him from playing at all this season. The team also officially announced this afternoon that Ryu will have an arthroscopic procedure tomorrow, performed by team surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

The latest MRI on Ryu’s shoulder did not show a torn labrum or apparent structural damage, according to ESPN. The surgery will be exploratory to identify what is causing the inflammation in the shoulder.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed that surgery was being discussed as Ryu undergoes further consultation with team physicians. Friedman said the team was also preparing for the likely possibly of losing Ryu for the rest of the year.

The 28-year-old lefty aborted his first rehab attempt in March when he felt tightness in the shoulder during a bullpen session, in which his pitches were well-below his average velocity. When he’s been healthy the last two years, Ryu has been excellent, with 344 innings pitched of 3.17 ERA, with 7.7 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.

For the boys in blue, Ryu would be the second starting pitcher to be lost for the year to surgery: Brandon McCarthy underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow earlier this year, and he isn’t expected to be back until midway through the 2016 season. The Dodgers will most likely be on the market for a starting pitcher to bolster the rotation. Most fans probably did not expect Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger to be mainstays when the season began, although both are pitching quite decently.

Ryu is currently in the third year of a six-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers after being signed out of South Korea in 2012 for a $25.7 million posting fee. He’s owed $7 million annually from 2016-2018—just drops of water in a huge bucket for the Dodgers.



Escala Fuses Colombian, Korean Flavors

Above photo: A view of Escala, a Colombian Korean restaurant, from the DJ booth. (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

by JAMES S. KIM |@james_s_kim

Right smack in the middle of Escala, the Colombian-Korean gastropub that moved into L.A. Koreatown’s bustling Chapman Plaza a year ago, sits a DJ booth marked with a disco ball hanging overhead. Its presence is a clear nod to the proprietor’s 20-some years working in the hip-hop music industry.

“I thought about the DJ booth before I even thought about the food,” admits OG Chino, or Chino, as Escala’s owner likes to be called. “Escala started with no concept.”

Fortunately, the entrepreneur’s strong connection to his cultural roots—as a Korean native, raised for eight years in Colombia before moving to Los Angeles—helped him figure out the food and the rest of the conceptual details for the hip late-night spot. Since opening last spring, Escala, which took over the space formerly occupied by the well-known Bohemian lounge, has already made a number of “hottest local restaurants” lists, including mentions in the Los Angeles Times, LA Magazine and Eater LA.

“It just organically became Colombian-Korean fusion,” explains Chino over a glass of beer during the lunch hour on a very sunny March day. “[My business partners] gave me total trust and freedom in thinking up whatever crazy ideas I had. And I’m pretty passionate about my Korean and Colombian roots.”

Escala head chef Chris Oh, left, and owner OG Chino. 

In many ways, Escala reflects Chino’s personal identity as a Korean Columbian immigrant who found his passion for music and art in Los Angeles. Beyond the food, the restaurant’s décor is an amalgamation of Colombian architecture and street art, some of which Chino did himself. Customers may even find Chino, who turns 48 this June, rocking his signature fedora while manning the DJ booth from time to time.

Born Kyu-min Lee in South Korea, he was 3 years old when his family immigrated to Bogota, Colombia’s capital, where his father ran a foundation fostering cultural exchanges between the South American country and Korea. The personal exchange wasn’t always easy for Chino, though.

“Being raised in Colombia … I didn’t have any Korean friends at all,” he recalled. “But at home we were raised very Korean. Our food was very Korean; my mom could not cook Colombian food for sh-t. As much as we asked her to, she couldn’t do it.”

When Chino was 11, his family moved once again—this time, to Los Angeles, and settled in what was a very young Koreatown. But with gang culture so prevalent at the time, growing up in L.A. wasn’t easy.

“If you wanted to be cool, you were either in a gang or you were a punk rocker, or something like that,” Chino said. “Because I only spoke Spanish, and I didn’t speak Korean well, I didn’t have any Korean friends. I ended up hanging out with the cholos, the Chicano gangsters. That’s where I got my name from.”

But when the hip-hop wave hit Los Angeles in the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was a life-changing time for the teenage Chino. Rather than rolling with gang members, he immersed himself in hip-hop culture, including buying records, practicing street art and hanging out with the early b-boys.

“Getting out of the gang scene and into the hip-hop music scene in L.A. gave me a whole new passion and gave me guidance: This is what I wanted to do,” he said. “It sounds corny to say, ‘Hip-hop changed my life,’ but this happened at a time when hip-hop didn’t exist in L.A., and we saw it happen.”

Cul-Food-AM15-Escala2 Visitors to Escala can spot the owner, OG Chino, by his signature fedora hat. (Photo by Mark Wales)

In 1988, Chino opened B-boy Records, a record store in South Central Los Angeles. Even though the store failed after two years, Chino’s reputation in L.A.’s hip-hop circles led to a meeting with legendary music mogul Rick Rubin, who had left Def Jam Recordings to found Def American Recordings (now American Recordings) in Los Angeles. After an internship with the record label, he was eventually hired as its marketing director. In 1992, Chino promoted his first record: Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

In addition to marketing, he created album artwork for a number of Def American artists, including Kwest Tha Madd Lad, Chino XL and Art Of Origin. After leaving the label, Chino worked independently as a music promoter and artist, and moved to New York in 1996, because “every hip-hop lover wants to move there at some point,” he says.

Over the years, as part of his work as a music promoter, Chino would organize many late-night parties, and that planted the idea in the back of his mind that one day he might want to open his own bar. So, when his sister, Kay Jin, approached him in 2013 with an open space at Chapman Plaza, the wheels began turning.

1988_B-BoyRecordsonSlauson Ave
B-boy Records. Photo courtesy of OG Chino.

“The space was offered to me to come on board and do something with it—and it already had a bar,” Chino said. So, he left New York and returned to the city that gave him his name.

When it came to who would lead Escala’s kitchen, Chino had an ear to L.A.’s foodie culture, and he knew that people followed chefs like he followed DJs.

“It would have been very easy, and maybe a lot cheaper, getting an older Colombian lady and Korean ajumma in there to cook together, and they would have come up with the perfect fusion,” Chino said. “But instead, I’m investing in Chris [Oh], and so far it’s been great.”

Oh, whom TV viewers may recognize as one-third of the winning team Seoul Sausage, from Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race Season 3, did his own research on Colombian cuisine and took some notes from Chino, but the resulting menu is very much the chef’s take on Colombian food. “It’s still Chris Oh,” Chino said. “That’s what I like about it.”

And he’s apparently not the only satisfied diner. “We get a lot of Colombian people,” Chino said. “L.A. doesn’t have a Colombian community in one neighborhood—they’re all spread out. Escala has become a place for them to come and gather.”

Cul-Food-AM15-Escala3 Escala’s marinated 16 oz. bone-in rib eye steak. (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

CevicheEscala’s ceviche, which includes tilapia and shrimp, roasted corn, asian pear, avocado and aji. (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

logo_cocktail One of Escala’s signature cocktails, the “El Jefe.” (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

For Korean palates, they may find both familiarity and discovery in the kimchi and chorizo fried rice empanada, which comes with a side of kimchi aioli, as well as the K-town Rice Con Pollo, a fusion of kimchi fried rice and Colombian arroz con pollo. For pork belly lovers, the Chicarron & Guac dish offers a change of pace from your regular samgyupsal, as the thick cuts of pork are prepared Colombian-style, along with some freshly prepared house guacamole.

Such creative touches expand beyond Oh’s work in the kitchen to Escala’s every nook and cranny. In figuring out the ambience for the restaurant, Chino went with what he knew and loved.

“I was really inspired by Bogota—its architecture is very beautiful, colonial, but at the same time, rustic, decayed—but decayed in a very organic, beautiful way, with a lot of street art on the walls,” he said.

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The phonograph centerpiece, designed by Steven Garcia and OG Chino. (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

The Escala interior. (Photo by Jennifer “J-dub” Oh)

The terra cotta rooftops along the walls and the water fountain, along with the tall, wide windows that remain open with a full view of 6th Street and Kenmore Avenue lend themselves to that theme.

For the interior artwork on the walls, Chino reached out to local street artists, including an old friend who painted his record store back in 1988. Most of the furniture, from the benches and tables to the bar itself, came from reclaimed redwood from East Los Angeles and were built by hand. Escala was a creative space even before it was officially open, and Chino said he takes pride in that.

“I wanted it to be a very multicultural place, and it’s totally that and then some,” he said.

“My father was [behind] a lot of the inspiration for bringing Korean and Colombian cultures together,” he added. “We just talked about the possibility of starting an Escala in Bogota. If I do well here, I think that would be step No. 2.”


This article was published in the April/May 2015 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the April/May issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

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Sponsored Post: KYCC Rallies Against Illegal Pot Dispensary in K-Town

Above photo: KYCC Prevention Education community organizers protest an unauthorized marijuana retail store in Koreatown.

On Feb. 24, the Koreatown Youth + Community Center (KYCC)’s Prevention Education unit joined with local businesses and residents to protest the construction of an illegal marijuana dispensary in Koreatown.

The dispensary, The Dank Station, is being built near the intersection of 8th Street and Western Avenue, and is in the same building as several small businesses, including KYCC “Card under 35” Community Partner 8th St. Liquor. Despite much protest from the businesses to the building owner, the construction for the dispensary has continued unabated.

Approached by the local businesses for help, KYCC contacted the City Attorney’s office, which confirmed that The Dank Station was not listed as an authorized medical marijuana vendor. Confusing city legislation and zoning laws have enabled multiple unauthorized dispensaries to open; limited resources are available to enforce the law and close the shops.

KYCC joined to protest the dispensary due to its close proximity to Wilshire Park Elementary School, the Pio Pico branch of the Los Angeles Public Library and KYCC’s youth center.

“It is important to send messages that promote a healthy lifestyle to youth during their formative years,” says KYCC Community Organizer Carol J. Lee. She cites evidence that shows youth who walk by alcohol advertisements or marijuana dispensaries on a daily basis have increased chances of experimenting with controlled substances.

Koreatown is oversaturated with advertisements that promote alcohol and alcohol establishments. “KYCC wants to help our neighbors and local businesses create family-friendly spaces throughout Koreatown to promote community health, wellness and safety,” says Lee.

KYCC’s 2015 Summer Day Camp Enrollment Begins


Every year, KYCC’s Summer Day Camp (SDC) becomes home to nearly 100 kindergarten to fifth grade students who come from all over Los Angeles County to join teachers and volunteers for a summer filled with academic workshops, enrichment activities and field trips. KYCC partners with various organizations (like Cedars-Sinai’s Healthy Habits and Book Moms) and enrolls 80 to 100 high school volunteers to provide a high-quality summer program for all of our campers. We employ small group and play-based learning methodologies and strive to expose our campers to a wide variety of experiences. Enrollment for this year’s camp begins in April! For more information, please contact Vicky Chung at vchung@kyccla.org or call (213) 365-7400, ext. 5118.