Tag Archives: music

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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Thursday's Link Attack: Toby Dawson, SNL Korea, Tokimonsta

Skier returns to his roots
Korea Herald

Olympic bronze medalist Toby Dawson has only been the coach for the Korean national men’s freestyle skiing team for a short time but he’s already received a shock.

A month has passed since he settled in Korea, and Toby Dawson, a U.S. Olympic bronze medalist skier, has just found out his real birth date.

“I had a fake birth date from the orphanage, which was Nov. 30 in 1978. But two days ago my dad in Busan told me I was born on May 4 in 1979,” Dawson said Wednesday.

Dawson, a Korea-born adoptee, came to Korea last month after being named freestyle ski coach for the national team. And after his official appointment last week, the 32-year-old sat in a caf in Gangnam, southern Seoul, to speak about his plans here.

“I’m just starting to learn so much now, and I’m very excited,” he said with a big smile on his face.

Seoul Patch vs. Reform Club Pop-Up Battle Royale
SF Weekly

San Francisco-based Korean American chef Eric Ehler will be mashing up his two pop-up kitchens this Sunday.

Some of the menu highlights include seared rock cod with braised kimchi beans, ham hock, and ginger, and salted caramel ice cream with black sesame rice cake and persimmon. To take the evening to the next level, they’ll play K-Pop and a Korean Dramedy on the projector screen. Bang!

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Official Says U.S. Needs Time to Assess Aid to North Korea
New York Times

The United States needs more time to decide on possible aid for North Korea because it is not sure humanitarian assistance would reach the people in need, the top American aid official said on Thursday.

Rajiv Shah, the head of the United States Agency for International Development, made the comment amid growing appeals from American and United Nations relief agencies, which have recently called for urgent aid for the most vulnerable of the North Korean population, especially its children.

REVIEW: Dia Frampton – Red
Entertainment Weekly

With Red, [Frampton] pledges allegiance to no single genre, flitting confidently from Blondie-style disco-pop (”Billy the Kid”) and floaty acoustic folk (”The Broken Ones”) to the kind of big-chorus country proffered by her Voice coach Blake Shelton, who turns up for a duet on ”I Will.” The result feels like a farewell to life on the Warped Tour. B

REVIEW: Dumbfoundead’s ‘DFD’
The Silver Tongue (blog)

Rising out of the very saturated Los Angeles hip hop scene is Korean-American emcee Dumbfoundead, who has been making quite a name for himself through various viral YouTube videos of his exploits as a battle rapper and his latest venture: a media collective/lifestyle brand known as Knocksteady. All of these efforts have lead up to his latest album titled DFD, which hit the #2 spot on iTunes during it’s week of release last month, shocking many as Dumb is an unsigned act that managed to accomplish this feat with the strong fan base he has built over the years.

DFD’s production is very much in the realm of synthy boom-bap with splashes of alternative rock elements that give off a happy-go-lucky vibe throughout the album. Guest vocalists such as American Idol finalist Andrew Garcia and Breezy Lovejoy along with Dumbfoundead himself provide very catchy melodies and flows that have a lot of crossover appeal while maintaining a genuine everyman atmosphere in the track concepts.

Korean Students Struggle at Ivy League Colleges
Chosun Ilbo

The number of Korean students at Ivy League universities is on the rise, but little more than half complete their courses. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, around 110,000 Korean students were studying in the U.S. as of this year, the largest group of foreign nationals for the fourth year running.

Korean-American academic Samuel Kim, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College, reviewed data of 1,400 Korean students at 14 top universities such as Harvard, Yale and Cornell between 1985 and 2007 for his doctoral dissertation and found that only 784 or 56 percent graduated while the rest dropped out.

Hillsborough gas station owner shot in leg during robbery
St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

Deputies were searching for two men who robbed a gas station and shot the owner in the leg Wednesday night.

Two men walked into the BP station at 9702 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and demanded money. As the two attempted to take money from Tae Chun Kang, 42, the owner struggled with them and a gun fired, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Kang was taken to the hospital with a non life-threatening injury, deputies said.

Korea Tourism Organization wages war on ‘Engrish’
CNNGo

Looks like Engrish.com — the snarky website showcasing error-riddled English signs in Asia — won’t be getting as many submissions from Korea.

How awesome is this? Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is offering to reward photographers who submit snaps of muddled signs at tourist spots.

The prize? A gift card of ₩50,000 (approximately US$45) that can be used at any vendor that accepts credit cards — otherwise known as free money.

Live From Seoul! It’s Saturday…Really…
Wall Street Journal

Since 1999, the KBS comedy show called “Gag Concert” on Sunday nights has been required viewing for those wanting to be part of the cultural zeitgeist. It’s often called Korea’s “Saturday Night Live” for its influence, though obviously not its format or time.

Now, cable station tvN, which mainly broadcasts variety shows and entertainment-celebrity news, is starting a weekly comedy program called “Saturday Night Live Korea.”

And it will be both live and on Saturday night. The show starts this Saturday.

It will have a cast of 16, nine men and seven women. A celebrity will host each week and there will also be musical guests, just like the original SNL on NBC in the U.S.

Toyota Gains From U.S.-S. Korea Trade Pact
Bloomberg

The biggest beneficiary of the new trade agreement that will end South Korea’s tariffs on U.S.-made cars may be based in Japan.

Toyota Motor Corp. is looking to profit as it fights a rising yen blamed for an operating loss (7203) in its fiscal first half. Japan’s biggest carmaker began exporting Sienna minivans from Princeton, Indiana, to South Korea this month and may do the same with Camry sedans next year, said spokeswoman Amiko Tomita. The Camry was the third most popular import in South Korea in 2010.

Until this month, the 17 Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Korea were all from Japan. The dollar has declined against the won in the past year while the yen has gained.

“Because of a more favorable dollar-won exchange rate compared with the yen-won rate, Japanese carmakers can shift sourcing to the U.S., allowing them to lower their prices in Korea,” said Christian Yang, an analyst at consultant IHS Automotive. “Japanese imports look to gain market share through more aggressive pricing against domestic competitors.”

K.J. Choi leads Tiger Woods in Chevron World Challenge
Los Angeles Times

Tiger Woods birdied four of the first five holes but a red-hot K.J. Choi did Woods one better with birdies at all five to grab the early lead Thursday in the first round of the Chevron World Challenge.

Choi, a South Korean who won the Players Championship in May, went out with a five-under 31 on the front nine holes of the par-72 Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.

After a bogey at the par-four ninth hole, Woods carded a three-under 33 and trailed by two shots as he headed to the 10th tee.

Preparation of Steelers’ Hines Ward hasn’t changed
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via Boston Herald

The reality is that Ward has had to accept a reduced role since wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery told him three weeks ago that the Steelers wanted to get others more involved in the passing game.

Ward played just nine snaps in Cincinnati, and he caught one pass for 10 yards. Ward started last Sunday night in Kansas City, but he logged just 16 snaps and caught four passes for 21 yards.

“I didn’t ask why or if I was playing bad or the reason behind it. I’ve never once questioned a coach(ing) decision, how they run game plans,” Ward said following practice yesterday. “That’s all that was told me that we want to get other guys the ball. They don’t owe me anything. I just try to go out and bust my tail and continue being the same player. I think you guys wanted it to be about me, but it’s not about me. I’m a team guy.”

TOKiMONSTA: “Swine And Burgers”
Prefix Magazine

Can I just come out and say that Soundcloud is the f-cking tops? I mean, in just the past 24 hours we have been able to hear previously unreleased gems from Brainfeeder’s Flying Lotus and TOKiMONSTA thanks to their accounts on the social networking/music site. The latter just posted a great never-before-heard tune, “Swine and Burgers,” that stems from some recording sessions back in 2009. Why she chose to leave this bumper of a tune off any of her releases is beyond me, but at least we’re hearing it now, right?

Check out our feature story on Tokimonsta from the October 2011 issue of KoreAm.

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Wednesday's Link Attack: North Korea, K-Pop, Dia Frampton

North Korea Reports Progress on New Reactor
New York Times

Earlier this month, the North’s state media reported that “the day is near at hand” when its new reactor will come into operation. The Web site “38 North” later published satellite photos that it said showed significant progress in building the new reactor. But it said it was unlikely to become operational for two to three years.

Six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program collapsed in 2008 when North Korea balked at the American demand for intrusive inspections on its nuclear facilities. It has since raised tensions by beginning to restore the partially dismantled nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, test-launching a long-range rocket, conducting a second nuclear test and launching military provocations against the South.

Football Veteran Lee Young-pyo To Join Major League Soccer
Yonhap News

Lee, 34, retired from international play earlier this year, and ended a two-year stint with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia in June. He said during the summer that he was mulling retirement.

Should he sign with Vancouver, it will be Lee’s sixth professional team. After starting out with Anyang LG Cheetahs, currently FC Seoul, in South Korea’s K-League, the versatile wingback has also played for PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s Bundesliga and Al Hilal.

Korean Pop Music Out to Conquer the World
Reuters

The structure of Korea’s relatively small music market is such that telecom companies control a large proportion of revenues, he said, meaning bands have an economic incentive to look abroad.

And K-pop acts, often created and nurtured by savvy record companies like S.M. Entertainment, are being groomed for specific markets — learning Japanese, for example, and fitting in with Japan’s musical mores.

One recent success story has been the nine-member South Korean girl band Girls’ Generation, whose first full-length Japanese album sold over 500,000 copies in Japan.

McClure also argued that Korean pop acts, though often manufactured, were generally more professional than their Japanese rivals and produced a better sound.

K-Pop Translation on Smartphone App
Korea Times

Pop!gasa is at www.popgasa.com and the app is available to download through Apple’s App Store. It is priced at $0.99 and available for free for a limited time as a promotion.

The app is user-friendly, sorting translated lyrics by artist, title and by show. Lee and Kim want to provide a nest for K-pop fans all over the world and have included a comment function to their app, so fans can share their thoughts and ideas through Pop!gasa.

“We want the app to reach as many users as possible but it has legal issues and we have to pay for copyrights to the Korea Music Copyright Association,” Lee said. “When this app makes a profit, the first thing we will do is develop it for Android.”

Coming Soon to the Sidewalks: A New Look for Scaffolding
New York Times

To replace those painted plywood sheds supported by pipes and protruding bolts that can rip pedestrians’ coat sleeves, a team consisting of Young-Hwan Choi, Andres Cortes and Sarrah Kahn from Agencie Group, a design firm based in New York, gracefully melded recycled steel and translucent plastic panels into a structure that resembles an open umbrella.

“I would say it is a really elegant take on protecting you instead of from rain from debris falling from a construction site,” Mr. LiMandri said.

Some version of sidewalk sheds with scaffolding above them have been placed at construction sites since builders began erecting Gothic cathedrals and probably since the pyramids, said Dan Eschenesy, the buildings department’s chief structural engineer.

Babysitter Arrested After Mom Tells Son About Penn State Scandal
ABC News

The mother of the two boys found out about the alleged abuse after she told her oldest son about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.

“She was trying to describe some of the acts that are basically no-nos,” said Tom Lorenz, spokesman for the Glendale Police Department. “The child began to cry and said, ‘Mommy, the babysitter has been doing this to me.'”

Margaret Cho Says She’s Like Susan Boyle With Dirty Songs on Ferguson
AOL TV

In talking about her latest project, Margaret Cho admitted that it’s a mix of stand-up comedy and original songs on ‘The Late Late Show’ (Weeknights, 12:30AM ET on CBS). Craig Ferguson was surprised to hear that she did songs, as she’s not well known for that.

Watch the video here: LINK

Police Say Two South-Side Deaths Were Murder-Suicide
Anchorage Daily News

Tae Won Ro, 40, was found hanging by a rope in the second-floor living area, and an autopsy showed he had strangled, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said in a written statement. A medical examiner found that Yoo Jin Kim, 33, died from multiple stab wounds, Parker said. She was discovered lying on the home’s third floor, surrounded by blood, said Detective Mark Huelskoetter.

Ro apparently killed Kim, then hanged himself, Huelskoetter said. Crime scene investigators found evidence that Ro had Kim’s blood on his hands when he went to the first-floor garage to get a rope, the detective said.

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2 Koreans shot in Manila
Journal Online (Philippines)

Two Korean nationals were shot in two separate incidents in Manila — one in an ambush while he was driving his car and the other in a foiled robbery.

The first victim was identified as Jeong Mwan Choi, 39, a freelance tourist guide residing in Bustos, Bulacan.

‘The Voice’s Dia Frampton: ‘Don’t Kick the Chair’ Feat. Kid Cudi Lyric Video Premiere
AOL Music

She isn’t just a pretty ‘voice,’ but also one talented songwriter! Dia Frampton, who rose to fame as the runner-up on the inaugural season of NBC’s ‘The Voice,’ has a catchy new, Kid Cudi-assisted single out called ‘Don’t Kick the Chair.’ The Utah native puts the tune’s poignant lyrics in the spotlight for its brand-new video.

‘Don’t Kick the Chair’ also features an interlude by famed rapper Kid Cudi. “It was a pleasure having Kid Cudi on this song,” says Dia. “I’m a fan of his work and also am very happy with the positive lyrics he created. This song has a dark undertone, but overall, I wanted it to be optimistic.”

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Monday's Link Attack: David Chang, Forever 21, K-Pop

The Hangover Part III
GQ

It started as a challenge. A patently absurd challenge. Could one writer keep up with a real-life Wolf Pack—comic star Aziz Ansari, top chef David Chang, and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy—as the hipster trinity partied through Tokyo, arguably the food capital of the world? (It’s definitely the drunk-karaoke capital.) Brett Martin remembers what happened next. Most of it.

David Chang – surly and hot, the chef who’s delivering Manhattan chic to our high rollers
The Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Momofuku Seiobo opened just three weeks ago at the revamped Star in Pyrmont and is already one of the most talked-about restaurants in town, and not for all the right reasons. There’s the online-only booking policy, $175 upfront payment in a dark diner without a view and music too loud for the over-45s.

Chang is a bit surly. The shopping trip to Railway and Rowe Sts in Eastwood to sample the delights of Sydney’s Little Korea doesn’t start well when he is kept waiting 40 minutes after his car fails to turn up. He hops in a cab instead and picks up the organiser of the missing lift – me – on the way.

He doesn’t talk much, preferring to eke out emails on his phone before his New York head office shuts up shop.

Anthony Bourdain called him the hottest chef in the business. At 27 the New York food scene was struck dumb by his French/Japanese/Italian/Korean cuisine, including homemade, fluffy white steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly and topped with hoi sin sauce and dishes including his spins on ramen noodles, kimchi stews and slow-cooked egg.

Amid Shrinking Budgets, Forever 21 Just Keeps Getting Bigger
Advertising Age

(Pictured above: Linda Chang, Forever 21 senior marketing manager and daughter of co-founders Do Won and Jin Sook Chang).

For a privately held fast-fashion retailer that after 27 years in business is still run by its Korean-American founder, Do Won Chang, Forever 21 has been behaving a lot like a big-box giant.

While many stores struggled to stay afloat during a recession that walloped consumer spending, Forever 21 pushed forward aggressively, opening ever-bigger locations and in many cases moving into space vacated by bankrupt businesses. Some Forever 21 shops, at 90,000 square feet or more, now rival a Kohl’s or Target in size.

“Many of [Forever 21] locations look and feel like flagship stores,” observed Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with NPD Group. “Every shopper feels like it’s a great experience for them.”

South Korean pastor jailed for adultery
AFP via Yahoo News

A South Korean Christian pastor was jailed for 18 months for having a decade-long affair with a woman whose wedding he had officiated at, according to a court.

Adultery in South Korea is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison but most offenders usually receive only suspended jail terms and imprisonment is quite rare.

The 51-year-old pastor, whose name has been withheld for privacy, had a secret affair with the woman, 41, for more than 10 years after conducting her marriage ceremony. She and her husband were both followers of his church. The woman was also given a year-long jail sentence.

Korean-American Director Rediscovers Roots
Chosun Ilbo

Tammy Chu was adopted by an American family at the age of nine and raised in rural New York state. She never saw another Korean until she went to college. “I remember what my birth parents looked like, but I forgot how to speak Korean and memories of Korean culture also disappeared from my mind,” she recalls.

Chu became a documentary film director and came back to Korea in 1998 for a project. “When I came to Seoul, it felt strange yet familiar and uncomfortable yet comfortable.”

She now lives in an apartment in Itaewon. She had shuttled back and forth from New York and Seoul for some 10 years and eventually decided to settle down here. Last year Chu, who can now understand a lot of Korean, won the top prize for a documentary at the Busan International Film Festival for her film “Resilience,” which focused on Korean adoptees.

Assault At Anti-FTA Protest
Wall Street Journal

Protests against South Korea’s ratification of a free-trade agreement with the U.S. took another ugly turn over the weekend with the assault of a police chief during a major demonstration in central Seoul.

Park Geon-chan, the head of Jongno Police Station, sustained minor wounds after being attacked by a group of around 100 demonstrators. They were part of a larger gathering of over 2,000 anti-FTA protestors that brought the Gwanghwamun area to a standstill on Saturday evening.

Mr. Park was apparently singled out because of his status and because he was in uniform.

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US jury convicts man of visa fraud for recruiting Thai welders, forcing work in restaurants
AP via Washington Post

A California man was convicted of seeking visa extensions for Thai welders purportedly hired for a construction job when in reality they were forced to work at restaurants and live in deplorable conditions, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Yoo Taik Kim, 55, was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday of visa fraud and lying on his citizenship application.

The case was part of a broader investigation into a labor deal that Thai welders claimed promised them legitimate jobs for an American steel company but subjected them to intolerable conditions at the hands of Kim’s manpower company.

Beckman-Ocean View recap
OC Varsity

Jeff Kim scored four rushing touchdowns and added another receiving as Beckman defeated Ocean View, 62-24, in the second round of the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs Friday night at Ocean View High.

The game was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter as Beckman (10-2) carried a 45-point lead into the final quarter.

Kim finished with 204 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a scoring run of 90 yards midway through the third quarter. He also caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Biedgoly to put Beckman up 28-10 three minutes before halftime.

White Men are Likely to Move Twice as Fast When With a Minority Girlfriend
8Asians

Among young American adults, relationships between white men and minority women move into sexual intimacy and from sex to cohabitation significantly faster than white-white couples or minority-minority pairings, reports a new study by a Cornell demographer. [...] Controlling for such factors as religion and family background, the researchers found that, on average, white male-minority female couples advanced to sex within one month of dating — nearly twice as fast as white-white couples.

Calling Out Names of 83,000 Lost South Koreans
New York Times

A group of elderly South Koreans are campaigning “to generate more interest in the fate of tens of thousands of South Koreans believed to have been forcibly taken to North Korea during the Korean War six decades ago.”

On a sidewalk in central Seoul recently, Lee Mi-il and several other older South Koreans took turns at a microphone, calling out what seemed like an endless list of names. They began in the morning and continued through the night, one faceless name after another — 83,000 in all — ringing out and melting into the cacophony of the capital city’s busiest district.

K-pop craze: The K Factor
The Independent (U.K.)

Yet another mainstream article about the global K-pop phenomenon.

The loudest screaming I’ve ever heard isn’t at a pop concert at the O2, or the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, or the Birmingham NEC – it’s ringing up and down the aisles of a cinema in central London. And the cause of such eardrum-shredding shrillness? Not stadium rock gods or Simon Cowell’s latest pop puppet or a Beyoncé-calibre diva, but a band you’ve probably never even heard of: SHINee, five pretty young men from Korea. This is K-pop, and it may just be conquering the world.

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Captors free last of South Korean businessmen held in restive southern Philippines, army says
AP via Washington Post

Kidnappers abandoned two South Korean businessmen in the restive southern Philippines after troops closed in and the gunmen panicked, an army general said Sunday.

The gunmen had been holding three South Korean businessmen. The first, Choi Inn-so, was released Friday, apparently because he had fallen ill and was slowing down the group.

On Saturday, the other two were found in Lanao del Norte province. Army Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes said Wu Seok-bung and Kim Nam-du were weak and starving when troops found them.

A Filipino guide who was seized with the South Koreans on Oct. 21 was reportedly shot in captivity, and troops will continue to look for him and the approximately 15 kidnappers, army Col. Daniel Lucero said.

Gardena husband shoots and kills estranged wife, then himself
Daily Breeze (Orange County, Calif.)

A man apparently shot his wife to death at the door of their Gardena apartment, stepped away from her and then killed himself, police said Friday.

Detectives said it appeared the husband, Won Chin, 52, committed the acts Wednesday night in the 15800 block of South Normandie Avenue because of a failing marriage.

“She moved out fairly recently,” Gardena police Sgt. Russ Temple said. “She came over to the house that night and it looks like he met her at the door and shot her with one single gunshot wound to the head.”

Korean Footballers a Step Closer to London Olympics
Chosun Ilbo

The nation’s Olympic footballers beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday to top Group A in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2012 London Games.

Led by coach Hong Myung-bo, the team added three precious points to keep its Olympic dreams alive halfway through regional qualifying. It now has seven points from two wins and one draw, while Saudi Arabia is bottom of the table with one point.

Counterfeit “Ugg” Boots Sold
KIMT (Iowa)

One person has been arrested for selling counterfeit “Ugg” boots at Southbridge Mall.

59-Year-Old Joseph Kim of Columbine, Illinois was arrested and charged with 1 count of Counterfeiting Intellectual Property, a Class D Felony on Wednesday. He could face up to 5 years in prison.

Kim is accused of selling counterfeit “Ugg Boots” at Southbridge Mall in Mason City.

“No Apologies” Rekstizzy | Decipher | Dumbfoundead [Official Video]
YouTube

Dia Frampton Releases Video For New Single 'Broken Ones'

by Y. Peter Kang

Dia Frampton, champion of the disenfranchised, is occupying the meadow in a new video for her debut solo album.

The singer and runner-up on reality singing contest “The Voice” will be releasing her album “Red” on Dec. 6. The first single is “The Broken Ones” and the video features Frampton’s sister Meg and other members from the sisters’ band Meg & Dia. In addition, three of Frampton’s little sisters (it’s a family of six girls!) also served as extras in the video, playing “broken” people.

“They needed girls so I told them to let my little sisters do it,” Frampton told iamKoreAm.com in a phone interview.

David McClister, who directed the video, told The Hollywood Reporter that the video is a cross between “‘Where the Wild Things Are,” “Lord of the Flies” and the lost boys from “Peter Pan.”

In the video, Frampton sings and plays piano in a woodland hideaway for a bunch of orphan-looking teenagers. They are invaded by some woodland toughs and after a furious battle (spoiler alert!), emerge victorious.

Frampton said she wanted to show her family some of the behind-the-scenes aspects to her job.

“I’ve been doing this thing for awhile I feel like it’s one of those jobs that you can talk about it but nobody understands what it means,” Frampton said. “They got to see what goes on with a video shoot and see how I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and be ready to shoot at 6 a.m. to get the good light. We were there for 16 hours and they got to see what I do.”

Frampton will be the opening act for her “The Voice” mentor, country star Blake Shelton, whose 26-date tour is set to kick off in January. Shelton, known for his somewhat brash demeanor, tweeted earlier today: “If you haven’t downloaded Dia Frampton’s ‘The Broken Ones’ there’s a real good chance you’re not getting laid this weekend…”

“The Broken Ones” was released on iTunes on Nov. 15.

Dia and her sisters and mother (far right) on the set of “The Broken Ones.”

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Monday's Link Attack: Patty Kim, Seung Hoon Choi, Dumbfoundead

Harrisburg Councilwoman Patty Kim to challenge Rep. Ron Buxton
The Patriot-News (Penn.)

Harrisburg City Council Vice President Patty Kim will challenge state Rep. Ron Buxton for his House seat next year, she said today.

Kim, a six-year veteran on council, said fellow Democrat Buxton has not fought hard enough to stave off a state takeover of the city, which is more than $300 million in debt. “He has not rolled up his sleeves or taken any position that could positively contribute to a solution,” she said, pointing to the Capitol. “His seat is not a chair to hide behind. I’m calling him out on this unacceptable lack of leadership.”

The End of Delusion
Esquire.com

Joon Pahk’s Jeopardy run finally ended when he lost in the semifinals of the game show’s Tournament of Champions.

There is only one elite competition in which I still believed — honestly believed — I could be one of the best: Jeopardy!

I believed that until precisely 8:01 p.m. on Friday night, when I finished watching the third (and final) Tournament of Champions semifinal.

Even before the game, there was a feeling that this could be a bloody, epic, inter-planetary death match. It was the Jeopardy! equivalent of a title-unification fight. Roger Craig, Joon Pahk, and Mark Runsvold were pitted against each other. Never mind what they do in real life or where they’re from. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are the fourth, sixth, and tenth all-time money winners, not including tournaments, in Jeopardy! history. Craig also holds the record for the single greatest game ever, when he went home with $77,000. (Pahk and Runsvold also eclipsed the $50,000 mark during their original runs, a feat accomplished by only five men not named Ken Jennings.) Now the three of them were on the stage at the same time.

Walk-on Husker guards Long, Choi go the distance against Penn State
HuskerExtra.com

Seung Hoon Choi, a walk-on offensive guard from Lincoln Christian, had just played every snap in a crucial Big Ten triumph for 19th-ranked Nebraska.

Pretty satisfying, no doubt.

“Yeah, it’s all right,” Choi said with a grin, in his usual understated manner, after the 17-14 victory against No. 12 Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to learn Choi’s name.

Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown struggled to pronounce Choi’s name. He didn’t struggle finding words of praise for Choi and right guard Spencer Long, who also played every snap against the nation’s eighth-ranked defense.

Justin Chon celebrates the premiere screening of ‘Jin’ at the CGV Cinemas
Examiner.com

It was a cool Sunday evening at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown as the red carpet was rolled out for the premiere screening of Il Cho’s short AFI Thesis Film, ‘Jin’ starring Justin Chon, Josiah D. Lee and Ben Baller.

Recently arriving from China for the filming of the upcoming “21 and Over” from the makers of “The Hangover,” Justin Chon definitely did not have a hangover as he walked the red carpet posing for the photographers and interviewing with various media outlets for the premiere of the short film. Chon mentioned that this film illustrated his more serious side as many people know him in real life as being a crazy, fun loving guy. Many may recognize the young actor from the “Twilight” franchise and also the tv show “Just Jordan.” Chon’s next big feature release will be “From The Rough” starring Taraji P. Henson and Michael Clarke Duncan.

John Cho’s Funny Christmas Story
Fresno Bee

Often actors will do interviews together, especially if they play characters who are closely connected. That meant Kal Penn and John Cho spent weeks together promoting “A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas.” It’s nice to have someone to carry the interview load, but it means the actors hear each other’s stories repeatedly.

Penn’s heard Cho talk about his belief in Christmas in almost every interview, but he hasn’t gotten tired of the story. In fact, he even brings it up if Cho forgets. That’s what happened during our talk.

“I came to America when I was 6 from Korea. We didn’t believe in Santa. When we came to the States, my parents were trying to be good sports and told us about Santa Claus,” Cho says at Penn’s insistence. “It sounded weird. A fat Caucasian old man invading your home, eating your food and either leaving gifts or fossil fuel. Santa is a creepy, obese home-invader.

“It was just a weird thing to believe.”

Despite his misgivings, Cho went along with what his parents told him. That belief didn’t last long because his Christmas present from Santa was wrapped in the box that held the vacuum cleaner his parents had purchased a few days before Christmas.

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Man Held in Beating of an Elderly Woman
New York Times

A homeless man accused of clubbing an elderly woman with a piece of wood on a Midtown street had to be subdued after acting erratically while awaiting arraignment on Sunday night, the authorities said.

The police said they did not yet know what prompted the assault, which occurred in front of 10 East 40th Street about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The woman, whose name, Kim Chong, was confirmed by the police, is 74 and lives in Queens. After the attack, she was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where she was treated for a broken arm and received stitches for a head wound. The police said she had been struck with a two-by-four.

Ashes to beads: South Koreans try new way to mourn
AP via San Francisco Chronicle

The intense grief that Kim II-nam has felt every day since his father died 27 years ago led to a startling decision: He dug up the grave, cremated his father’s bones and paid $870 to have the ashes transformed into gem-like beads.

Kim is not alone in his desire to keep a loved one close — even in death. Changes in traditional South Korean beliefs about cherishing ancestors and a huge increase in cremation have led to a handful of niche businesses that cater to those who see honoring an urn filled with ashes as an imperfect way of mourning.

“Whenever I look at these beads, I consider them to be my father and I remember the good old days with him,” a gray-haired Kim, 69, told The Associated Press in an interview.

Dumbfoundead: A Rap Battle Vet Grows Up
MTV Hive

Some jokesters will forever be at the back of the bus, exhaling spitballs at the driver for cheap laughs, but Dumbfoundead is shedding that image and sitting with the big kids. A Korean-American by way of Argentina and Mexico, the L.A. rapper, born Jonathan Park, began his career at the informally famous open-mic Project Blowed in South Central. “I used to go every week to freestyle, battle and perform,” he tells Hive. “It was like rap school for me.” He made the transition from local celebrity to online monolith as he began making runs through the West Coast division of Grindtime, one of the most popular battle rap circuits, spinning off one hilarious, sharp Youtube victory after another.

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Coralville man who doesn’t want wife to wear dress accused of assault
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

A Coralville man was charged with assault Sunday after police said he punched and kicked his wife.

Eung N. Kang, 37, of 2245 Oakleaf St., Apt. 201D, was charged with domestic abuse assault without intent causing injury at 11 a.m. Sunday at his residence.

Kang and his wife argued because he didn’t want her to wear a dress, Coralville police reported.

He ripped the dress and when his wife pushed him away, Kang punched her in the head and kicked her in the stomach, police said.

Two S.Korean climbers killed in Himalayas
AFP via Google News

Two South Koreans fell to their deaths while climbing a treacherous course in the Himalayas, weeks after three colleagues went missing and were presumed dead, according to mountain authorities.

Kim Hyung-Il, 43, leader of the K2 Extreme team, and Chang Ji-Myeong were killed on Friday when they fell as they were ascending on the notorious Cholatse north face, the Korean Alpine Federation said.

Their bodies were later recovered by two colleagues who left the base camp in search of them after radio contact was lost.

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North Korea ‘opens luxury goods store’
AFP via Google News

North Korea has opened a department store in its capital offering luxury goods for the ruling elite to try to bolster loyalty before a second dynastic succession, officials and reports said Monday.

The store named Potongkang opened in February, selling imported high-end brands such as Chanel and Giorgio Armani as well as medicine, furniture and food, a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.

Monsters Calling Home

Monsters Calling Home – Growing Up from dchae on Vimeo.

November Issue: Smashing Pumpkins' Jeff Schroeder's Infinite Booklist

Photo credit: Jeff Liu

We featured Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder in the November issue of KoreAm. Aside from recording music and touring with the band, Jeff is also finishing his graduate studies in comparative literature at UCLA.

He took time out of his busy schedule to share some of his favorite avant-garde Asian American works of fiction and poetry.

Crossings by Chuang Hua (1968)
Crossings is one of the earliest works of Asian American experimental writing and is the only novel Hua published. Influenced by William Faulkner, Virginia Woolfe and Marcel Proust, it chronicles the protagonist’s numerous travels across borders of both space and time. I’ve read Crossings many times, and with each reading, I discover new themes. I find this book important because it provides a necessary artistic representation of hyphenated identity that is different from the more sociological bent of other forms of scholarly writing.

Dictée (1982) and Exilée/ Temps Morts (2009) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Upon its publication in 1982, Dictée was overlooked by the mainstream literary press and scholars of Asian American literature. The book—which mixes poetry, fiction, historical writing and visual art to explore the themes of war, immigration and transnational identity— experienced a renaissance in the mid-‘90s and today is considered the most well-known work of avant-garde Asian American writing. Exilée/Temps Morts is a more recent collection of the late Cha’s out-of-print writings. Her passages on the acquisition of new language, explorations of the Korean War and interest in the French avant-garde strongly connect with my interests. Continue reading

Thursday's Link Attack: 2NE1, Steven Yeun, Hines Ward

Black, Korean leaders to commemorate 20th anniversary of L.A. riots
Los Angeles Wave

Seeking to create a multicultural Los Angeles that exists in lasting harmony, Korean-American and Black community leaders are spearheading a committee to commemorate next year’s 20th anniversary of the 1992 civil unrest.

South Korean students’ ‘year of hell’ culminates with exams day
CNN

Most South Korean students consider their final year in high school “the year of hell.” It is when all students are put to the ultimate test.

About 700,000 test applicants sat down in classrooms across the country Thursday to take their college entrance exams — also known as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students, all to ensure they made it on time.

Younger students gathered in large groups outside school gates, some having arrived at 4a.m. to mind a good spot, waiting to support their school seniors. Cheers exploded throughout the school grounds as test applicants arrived, most being guided by their anxious parents.

Englewood Cliffs may get new councilman tonight
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Gloria Oh was elected councilwoman for Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Once Oh, the highest vote-getter Tuesday and first Korean-American to win office in the borough, and Aversa are sworn in Jan. 1 the Democrats will hold all but one council seat.

World, Get Ready For 2NE1: MTV Iggy’s Best New Band In The World!
MTV Iggy

The meteoric rise of 2NE1 could be a fable, foretold by the epic video for their recent single, “I Am The Best.” Dark gives way to light, as a mysterious hooded creature appears in the distance. As the camera swoops in, flashbulbs pop, synths and beats explode, and BOOM! the ladies of 2NE1 take the stage, twirling in tight black pantsuits and sensual abandon. “I am the best!” they sing, and you can almost hear their millions of fans around the world screaming in concurrence, reveling in the awesome, almost otherworldly presence of this dazzling and fierce foursome. If they aren’t the best, then they are certainly something approaching perfection.

Clap Your Hands to the Geek
Hyphen

Adam Warrock — the Korean American attorney turned pop culture-obsessed rapper who won 2011’s Kollaboration Atlanta, the city’s annual Asian American talent show — is nothing if not hard to define. Whether rapping about This American Life’s Ira Glass or X-Men, he’s aware of the pitfalls of being boxed into the nerdcore genre, a school of hip-hop that focuses on themes like sci-fi and comics. While he also raps about race and identity, he doesn’t want to be labeled strictly as an Asian American artist either.

Farmer-Legislator Vows To Keep Fighting Korea-U.S. FTA
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Kang, a farmer from Sacheon, South Gyeongsang province, is one of the most recognizable members of the 299-seat parliament. He almost always wears a traditional hanbok, stands on the front line of every protest that his Democratic Labor Party supports and is willing to resort to shoving, fisticuffs and other minor violence to make his point. He has staged weeks-long hunger strikes and chained himself to the door of the main assembly chamber.

Now, the DLP and other opposition parties (including the biggest, Democratic Party) continue to resist any type of compromise with the ruling Grand National Party over the Korea-U.S. FTA. On Thursday, for the second week in a row, the ruling party canceled a plenary session. The next plenary is set for Nov. 24, which gives the parties two more weeks to argue over the FTA.

Q&A – Steven Yeun (Glenn)
AMCTV.com

Q: You stated once that your parents were upset when you told them you were not going to be a doctor or lawyer. Have they come around yet?

A: Oh absolutely. They’re now on full-throttle brag mode. They’re Korean parents, and they just wanted me to have a structured, safe life and when I told them I wanted to do this they were worried that I’d be struggling. This industry is up and down, but right now they don’t have to worry about me.

‘Walking Dead’: Why Glenn is a total stallion [RECAP]
Washington Post

But that didn’t stop Maggie from whipping off her clothes and getting down to some serious Glenn business.

Sure, she later said it was a “one time thing.” But it seems pretty clear that she’s got a bad case of the Glenns and a burning desire for another taste of go-to-town expert. And really, can you blame her?

Glenn, you are an inspiration, a hero, apparently a halfway decent lover, an excellent keeper of pregnancy test secrets and amazingly adept at rope-tying under duress. And for that, we salute you.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis Fined $20K for Hit on Steelers’ Hines Ward
SI.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been fined for his hard hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, the Carroll County Times reports. NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweets Lewis was fined $20,000 for the hit.

During the game, Lewis’ play did not result in a penalty but the league believed the helmet-to-helmet hit was worthy of a fine. The play left Hines Ward “dazed” and the wide receiver did not play for the remainder of the game.

Korean star pitcher Yoon could be in MLB in 2012
Yahoo Sports

Right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, the 2011 MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, could play in the major leagues as soon as next season, his agent said Tuesday.

Scott Boras, whom Yoon and another WBC standout, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, hired recently, said he would speak with Yoon in the near future about entering the posting system, in which major league teams bid to win exclusive negotiating rights with a player. If Yoon, 25, chooses against posting, he would be a free agent next season. Ryu, 24, can post before the 2013 season and would hit free agency in 2014.

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More US states accept Korean drivers
Korea Times

Florida is the latest among a recent string of U.S. states that agreed to simplify what’s usually considered a complicated process for drivers.

Maryland was the first to ink a deal with Seoul a year ago, followed by Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts and Texas.

Under the new agreement, Korean drivers can acquire a U.S. license by presenting a valid Korean license with proper translation to the motor vehicle authority. The deal only applies to non-commercial motorists and some states require drivers to surrender their Korean license in exchange for a U.S. equivalent.

First Into Seoul? No Thanks
The Asian Lawyer via Law.com

As Korea has inched towards liberalization of its legal market over the past several years, there has been much speculation about which international law firms will be first into Seoul. Now, with the U.S. Congress ratifying a free trade agreement with Korea last month, the time for action is close at hand.

So the race is on, right? Not exactly.

Though a number of firms have been vocal about their desire to enter Korea at the earliest opportunity, many leading Korea practice lawyers privately express reservations about relocating to Seoul, citing everything from children’s school commitments to a preference for the warmer weather, lower taxes, and more expat-friendly environment of Hong Kong, where most international firms currently base their Korea practices.

South Korea’s High-Tech Arsenal
Chosun Ilbo

New high-tech weapons and equipment may be needed to counter the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles. But what’s in the arsenal already? Here is a review of 10 high-tech weapons made in South Korea.

What Does The [Korean] National Flag Mean?
Chosun Ilbo

FYI.

South Korea’s wasted youth
BBC News

South Korea’s education system is held up as a model around the world. Some 80% of its high-school students now go on to further education.

But according to South Korea’s president, that academic success is creating its own “social problem” – a youth unemployment rate of 6.7% in October, more than twice the national average, even as parts of the labour market are hungry for workers.

South Korea’s Exam Suicides
Al Jazeera via YouTube