Tag Archives: Roy Choi

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The Line Hotel And Why It’s Cool To Be Korean In Los Angeles

Follow the Line

Out of all the places to open a hip new L.A. hotel, why would one choose Koreatown? Because it’s apparently “cool” now to be Korean.

by JIMMY LEE
Photos by ADRIAN GAUT

What would you do if you were a hotshot real estate developer, with a reputation for producing stylish boutique hotels frequented by today’s class of cool kids, looking to build your first property in Los Angeles proper? Well, if you’re Andrew Zobler, the man behind the Ace Hotels in New York and Palm Springs, you would turn to hotshot chef Roy Choi, the culinary mind behind the Kogi food trucks and a growing empire of restaurants throughout the city.

It’s just that Choi basically told him this: not interested. “It felt like a real job again,” said Choi. “That’s the truth. It had everything to do with the fact that, ever since Kogi happened, Kogi bought me freedom. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do in life, and that’s a very rare thing to have. And once you have it, I felt like this project would be giving that freedom back.”

Zobler, of course, persisted, and now Choi is running not just one restaurant but two, named Pot and Commissary (the latter will begin serving a fruit and vegetable-focused menu later this year), as well as a bakery and a bar in the lobby of the Line Hotel, which recently opened on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Koreatown. It just made Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Hot List of the 33 best new hotels in the world for essentially oozing style and bringing in “some of L.A.’s coolest and most innovative minds, including street food king Chef Roy Choi,” said the write-up.

Choi is not the only talent that Zobler has tapped to make the Line a destination not just for travelers but also for Los Angeles locals. The Houston Brothers, noted nightlife impresarios with bars and lounges mostly in Hollywood, will operate a club/lounge called Speek. And retail outlet Poketo, co-founded by Korean American Angie Myung and her husband Ted Vadakan, opened their second store in the hotel. With these collaborators on board, Zobler has in line (bad pun intended) multiple pieces to attract even more people, including the cool and hip, into Koreatown.

But the Line is not the only hipster game in K-town. In fact, on the very same block is the Normandie Hotel, another recently renovated boutique establishment, which has its own coolness credentials: a soon-to-open bar from Cedd Moses, who’s a central figure in turning Downtown L.A. into a teeming nightlife destination, with spots like the Golden Gopher and Broadway Bar.

So get ready, Koreatown, for an invasion of skinny jeans.

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It’ s a stark contrast to
nadir: the fires and looting of the 1992 L.A. riots. There was little consideration paid to the concerns of Korean Americans at that time. Back then, there was a sense that Koreatown was under siege, with Korean Americans forced to barricade themselves from what felt like relentless attacks not only from looters but also politicians and the media. Those memories have not faded, including for those involved with the Line.

Jonnie and Mark Houston, twins from a German-Irish father and a Thai-Chinese mother, grew up living in Koreatown. In fact, Jonnie’ s best friend at the time was a Korean American whose parents’ liquor store was destroyed in the riots. Poketo’ s Angie Myung, who’ s from the L.A. suburb of Diamond Bar and was in high school in 1992, remembered going to Koreatown after the riots and seeing all the burnt stores. “It felt like an apocalypse that happened,” said Myung. Despite all that they lost, many Korean American business owners chose not to abandon the neighborhood, but to rebuild. And Koreatown today, which has also seen an infusion of investment from South Korea, is not only bigger but still expanding and thriving, most notably for its restaurants and a nightlife that runs well past last call and into the early morning. There’s one other noted difference from the days before the riots: Koreatown is more welcoming to non-Koreans. Some restaurants today still have menus only in Hangeul, but their numbers appear to be in the decline.

“[The riots] brought some positive changes. The Korean immigrants that owned businesses there saw that they couldn’t survive on their own island,” said Myung. “They realized they had to open up. And not only that, but it was actually very profitable and successful for them the more they opened.”

“If you weren’t Korean, they wouldn’t let you in. It was very closed off to non-Koreans,” said Jonnie Houston. “When you walk up to a door and you don’t speak Korean, they’re like get away. A lot of that has changed. It’s a lot more friendly to everybody now.”

The Houstons also noted that Koreans have been innovative when it comes to operating dance clubs. “Korean culture has brought to the table bottle service and the little bells that you press for service,” said Mark Houston, referring to how non-Korean clubs have adopted these practices. 
 These Koreatown factors, and the availability of what was most recently called the Wilshire Radisson Hotel, a mid-century modern design from architecture firm Daniel Johnson Mann & Mendenhall built in 1964, is how the Line came to be. “We loved the vibrancy of the neighborhood and the architecture of the building,” said Zobler in an email interview, as to why he chose Koreatown, and not, say, Venice or Hollywood, areas that might better fit the sensibility of his past developments. (Zobler’ s company, the New York-based Sydell Group, was not involved with the new Ace Hotel that recently opened in Downtown.)

“Koreatown is a very special L.A.- only place,” said Zobler. “We love what is coming out of this community and out of Korea culturally, and the food—we love the food. We also love that the neighborhood is geographically in the center of many of the things we love most about L.A.—Hollywood, Downtown, Beverly Hills, Silver Lake—and that it sits right on a Metro [subway] stop.”

The zeal for Koreatown and Koreans that Zobler has expressed is not isolated. For lack of a better phrase, it’s kind of cool to be Korean right now. Tune into a TV cooking competition these days and a Korean American is bound to be one of the culinary contestants. Anthony Bourdain recently spoke the praises of KA chefs, and his CNN travel show’s premiere episode focused not on Los Angeles but specifically Koreatown.

“I totally feel like I’m much cooler being Korean now than ever,” said Myung, whose first Poketo store in L.A.’s Arts District does more than sell products. It hosts art shows and workshops, including a kimchi-making class taught by her mom—activities that she anticipates will also be offered at the Line’s outlet. “I think it has a lot to do with Korean pop culture, that’s taking over the whole world. It’s definitely come to the U.S. Come on, ‘Gangnam Style?’”

Myung, 39, cites her generation’s members, as well as the next, who have chosen more creative fields. “[We] have made a lot of strides,” said Myung. “Koreans are just more visible now.”

At the center of the team assembled by Zobler is Choi, arguably the most high-profile Korean American chef today. “We wanted, as a paramount matter in our design and choice of collaborators, to celebrate the local community and urban L.A. in general. We brought in Roy Choi and the Houston Brothers who were raised in the neighborhood to be our guides,” said Zobler.

The contribution that the Houston Brothers, who shop at their nearby HK Korean supermarket and have frequented Koreatown bars, are bringing to the Line will reflect the surrounding neighborhood that they know well. Speek will be a club that includes a dance floor, live music and that other local nightlife staple: the noraebang. “We definitely wanted it to be a homage to Koreatown and what they’ve created, and embrace it and put our little twist on it,” said Jonnie. Plus, the cocktail program will feature Korean flavors: think Korean pears and even barbecue.

For Choi, who will be cooking some pretty straight-up Korean food for the first time with the restaurant Pot, there’s a lot to think about. “It’s a huge project, with a lot of employees, a lot of responsibility, a lot of money invested,” said Choi. “I am nervous about serving Korean food in Koreatown. But it’s not a nervous of failure; it’s a nervous of, like, I really want people to enjoy it. I want the Korean and Koreatown residents to really know that we’re honest—all our food, once you’ve taste it, tastes like any other Korean [food].”

But, with Choi involved, there’s bound to be something out of the ordinary, and he pointed out the composition of his staff. “That no one cooking in the kitchen is Korean, except me. And I was never trained in Korean food—that’s pretty unique, wouldn’t you say?”

It’s also a sign of Koreatown evolving with more complex and dynamic interpersonal relationships at play—it’s not just ajummas in the kitchens ordering around the many Latinos often employed in the neighborhood’s restaurants. There’s a diverse staff at Pot, and they just look like ajummas. One of Choi’ s cheeky decisions is for the hostess to wear clothes an ajumma would wear: think baggy pants and mismatched prints.

On a more serious note, Choi credited the team he works with for convincing him to finally say yes to Zobler. “And once they talked me into it, … I realized there’s something special and important that we can do here,” said Choi. “I can be somewhat of a bridge … to the neighborhood, and to all the people who live here, and everything we’ve gone through. It’s almost like I saw it as, if you think about the first Koreans who came here and where we are now. This can be a little marker in that, like a gift back.”

L.A. chef Roy Choi is a partner in the Line venture, with two restaurants in the hotel.

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Monday’s Link Attack: SKorean Credit Card Breach; LPGA Pro Called Jenner’s ‘Mystery Woman’; Pyongyang Marathon Hosts Foreign Tourists

Hurst laughs off being called Jenner ‘mystery woman’
NBC Golf Channel

LPGA pro Vicky Hurst unwittingly became “the mystery woman” hugging Bruce Jenner when paparazzi captured them outside a Chipotle restaurant Friday in Malibu, Calif.

The story ran under this headline in the British Daily Mail’s online edition: “Bruce Jenner wears wedding band on right hand embracing mystery woman in Malibu.”

Jenner, the decathlon gold medalist in the ’76 Olympics, is married to Kris Jenner, previously Kris Kardashian, mother to the Kardashian siblings of reality TV fame. Celebrity news sites have been abuzz over the separation and now reports of a possible reconciliation of the couple.

Citigroup Says Client Data Leaked at Korean Consumer Credit Unit

Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Industrial Bank of Korea (024110) said client information was leaked from their South Korean leasing and consumer credit units, the latest instances of data breaches at financial firms in the country.

Authorities found 17,000 instances of leaks of information including names and phone numbers, Citigroup Korea Inc. said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questionstoday. The company was informed of the breaches by the prosecutors’ office in February, it said. The same number of leaks occurred at Industrial Bank of Korea’s IBK Capital Corp., company official Shin Dong Min said by phone from Seoul, declining to elaborate.

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N. Korea blasts reunification offer as ‘psychopath’s daydream’
Yahoo

North Korea on Saturday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath”.

The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal Park made in a speech last month in Dresden in the former East Germany.

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North Korea Marathon Opens Pyongyang Streets to Foreign Tourists

NBC News

Pyongyang was filled with runners from all over the world on Sunday for the annual marathon, open to foreign amateurs for the first time.

Nancy Q: Wie finds way to make odd putting stroke work
The Tennessean

The putting stroke is the one skill that can take on a totally different look from one player to the next. That has never been more evident then when watching the putting style of LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie.

Two years ago I witnessed Wie putting at the Navistar Classic. I was very surprised at how “bent over” she was in her setup. So was every other golf instructor and golf critic in the country! In an interview that week, I heard her say she was the one who decided on that putting style, not David Leadbetter, her teacher of many years.

Learning in reverse brought Kogi chef Roy Choi to the top
LA Times

All roads lead back to the Kogi truck.
“It’s like my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’m Neil Diamond,” Roy Choi said. “I’ll never be able to outlive Kogi. Kogi is a beast.”
The chef was attempting to articulate what spawning that marvel of Korean barbecued ribs enveloped in tortillas has meant to him in front of a crowd at the 19th-annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. The sprawling two-day event at USC features readings, screenings, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.

The kimchi revolution: How Korean-American chefs are changing food culture
Salon

In a recent interview with food writer Michael Ruhlman, celebrity travel/food writer Anthony Bourdain said that “when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American.” By “all,” he mostly meant “both,” since his list boiled down to two: David Chang and Roy Choi.

Roy Choi is best known as the L.A. Korean taco truck guy, and David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group as well as the cult food publication “Lucky Peach.” Bourdain probably intended to mention Edward Lee in this interview as well, insofar as he’d praised Lee’s cookbook, “Smoke and Pickles,” by calling him one of “America’s most important young chefs.”

World Bank’s Kim urges SA to cut red tape around investment
Business Day

WORLD Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries such as India, South Africa and others in Africa with massive infrastructure programmes should limit red tape to make it easier for investors to bring in the billions of dollars such large projects require.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings on Thursday.

The South African government plans to invest more than R800bn over the next three years on energy, road, rail, school and municipal infrastructure and has called on the private sector to participate. It has identified infrastructure development as one of the areas that can create jobs and provide skills for millions of unemployed people.

Out of the blue
Economist

FORAGING in South Korea’s mountains may soon become more fruitful. Since a wild ginseng digger reported the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on April 3rd, the South’s ministry of defence has been ruminating on rewards for anyone who spots an enemy drone. The report followed the discovery of two other similar aircraft: on March 24th in Paju, a border city; and on March 31st on Baengnyeong island, near the disputed Northern Limit Line which demarcates the two Koreas’ maritime border. North Korean inscriptions on the planes’ batteries; an ongoing military investigation into their engines, fuel tanks and weight; and the sequence of the photographs found stored in one of the plane’s cameras suggest the drones were sent from North Korea. For others, their sky-blue camouflage paintwork, identical to that on larger drones paraded in the capital Pyongyang two years ago, was a giveaway.

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Thursday’s Link Attack: SKorea Detains NKorean Boat; Korea-Japan Relations; BigBang Reaches Milestone

Merkel vows support for Korean reunification bid
AFP via Google News

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Germany’s support Wednesday during a visit by South Korea’s president for efforts to unify the Korean peninsular, saying its own reunification gave it a “duty” to help others.

“We would like very much to support Korea in this important issue,” Merkel told a joint press conference with President Park Geun Hye, who is on a state visit to Germany.

“Germany was divided for 40 years, Korea is in such a situation in the meantime” as the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which means the two sides technically remain at war.

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South Korea captures a North Korean fishing boat
CNN.com

A day after North Korea test-fired two missiles, South Korea captured a fishing boat from the North that had crossed into South Korean waters, officials say.

The boat crossed the sea demarcation line that separates the two Koreas and was captured by the South Korean navy Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said.

The action comes as tensions between the two Koreas are rising once again. On Wednesday, North Korea tested two medium-range ballistic missiles, firing them into the ocean.

N Korea and the myth of starvation
Aljazeera

One of the most commonly cited cliches is that North Korea is a “destitute, starving country”. Once upon a time, such a description was all too sadly correct: In the late 1990s, North Korea suffered a major famine that, according to the most recent research, led to between 500,000 and 600,000 deaths. However, starvation has long since ceased to be a fact of life in North Korea.

Admittedly, until quite recently, many major news outlets worldwide ran stories every autumn that cited international aid agencies saying that the country was on the brink of a massive famine once again. These perennially predicted famines never transpired, but the stories continued to be released at regular intervals, nonetheless.

In the last year or two, though, such predictions have disappeared. This year, North Korea enjoyed an exceptionally good harvest, which for the first time in more than two decades will be sufficient to feed the country’s entire population. Indeed, according to the recent documents of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), North Korea’s harvest totaled 5.03 million tonnes of grain this year, if converted to the cereal equivalent. To put things in perspective, in the famine years of the late 1990s, the average annual harvest was estimated (by the same FAO) to be below the 3 million tonne level.

MANDATORY KIM JONG UN HAIRCUTS A BALDFACED LIE?
Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s distinctive hairstyle is the ‘do of the day on the Internet, thanks to a viral report that every male university student in the capital is now under orders to get a buzz just like it. But it appears the barbers of Pyongyang aren’t exactly sharpening their scissors.

Recent visitors to the country say they’ve seen no evidence of any mass haircutting. North Korea watchers smell another imaginative but uncorroborated rumor.

The thinly sourced reports say an order went out a few weeks ago for university students to buzz cut the sides of their heads just like Kim. Washington, D.C.-based Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources as saying an unwritten directive from somewhere within the ruling Workers’ Party went out early this month, causing consternation among students who didn’t think the new ‘do would suit them.

Video shows N. Korea karaoke salons
Bangkok Post (Thailand)

Rare video footage from North Korea has emerged showing men enjoying a night out in a karaoke salon catering to relatively wealthy North Koreans making money from often illicit cross-border trade.

The content of the hidden-camera footage, which could not be independently verified, was released by a South Korean pastor, Kim Sung-Eun, known for helping North Koreans escape to Seoul.

The grainy video included footage of a group of men and women, speaking with North Korean accents, drinking beer, singing, dancing and kissing in a South Korean-style karaoke “room salon”.

“This is a North Korean equivalent of a room salon, in the form of a restaurant combined with a karaoke where women serve male clients,” Kim told reporters in Seoul.

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Breaking the Ice in East Asia [EDITORIAL]
New York Times

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan met, at last, on Tuesday. The meeting — with President Obama on the sideline at the nuclear security summit meeting at The Hague — was the result of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy in an effort to mend the seriously deteriorated relations between the American allies in East Asia.

Ms. Park and Mr. Abe had not met since each came to power more than a year ago, breaking a tradition of South Korean and Japanese leaders getting together soon after taking office. Ms. Park refused to see Mr. Abe, saying his government showed a “total absence of sincerity” in addressing the suffering Japan inflicted upon colonized Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Mr. Abe made things worse in December by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals. There was little chance of the two leaders beginning to mend relations without the American push.

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Seoul, Tokyo Must Tackle Their Differences Head-On [OPINION]
Chosun Ilbo

The leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan sat down together on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague. The meeting, which took place at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands, came at the urging of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The three leaders vowed to stand together against threats from North Korea. “Over the last five years, close cooperation between the three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea,” Obama said. “Our trilateral cooperation has sent a strong signal to Pyongyang that its provocations and threats will be met with a unified response.”

President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe duly echoed the sentiment.

Korean business leader and shopping center owner Sim dies
Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)

Sys-Con owner and CEO Su Yong Sim, the Korean businessman who helped revitalize East Boulevard, died Thursday morning after a prolonged illness.

Sim’s company built several major facilities, including the $65 million Hyundai Heavy Industries plant in Montgomery and a $48 million plant for Donghee America Inc. in Auburn.

His holding company bought Stratford Square shopping center on East Boulevard and built a $4.5 million bowling center there. It also bought the shuttered Up the Creek restaurant nearby, remodeled it and opened it as Sushi Yama.

Food waste around the world
The Guardian (U.K.)

South Korea
Jeong Ho-jin dons a pair of plastic gloves to show off his most proud achievement as a district official in Seoul, and then uses his keys to unlock a large, rectangular contraption that looks like some kind of futuristic top-loading washing machine. Loaded with bins half-filled with decomposing ginseng, lettuce and other meal remnants, this, it turns out, is South Korea’s high-tech solution to food waste.

Jeong works in one of two districts in Seoul where the high-tech food waste managementprogram is being piloted. The program works by giving each household a card that has a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it containing the user’s name and address. They scan their card on a small card-reader on the front of the high-tech bin to get the lid to open, then dump the food waste into the bin and onto the scale at the bottom, which gives a numerical reading of the waste’s weight and disposal cost.

“Before this everyone paid the same flat rate [for disposal] and they would just throw their food waste away without thinking,” said Jeong.

Korean community centre seeks younger crowd
Vancouver Courier (Canada)

Vancouver’s only Korean community centre has undergone a facelift and will officially reopen its doors April 1.The centre, which is located at 1320 East Hastings St. and has housed the Korean Society of B.C. for Fraternity and Culture since 1991, received a grant from the federal government in April 2013 and began renovations the next month. The grant, from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, provided $226,602 toward the project and the Korean Society and Korean Senior Society matched it with support from the Korean government and member donations. Vancouver boasts the highest Korean population in the country at over 50,000 people.

BigBang’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ tops 100 mln YouTube views
Yonhap News

South Korean boy band BigBang saw the video of its 2012 hit song “Fantastic Baby” surpass 100 million views on YouTube Thursday.

The video, which was first uploaded in March 2012, had slightly more than 100 million views as of about 2 p.m., making it the forth South Korean video to hit the milestone, following Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman.”

BigBang became the first K-pop boy band to do so.

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Korean Journalist Seeks To Find Out If Beanballs Hurt
Deadspin

One Korean journalist for KBS worked on a feature on baseball players being hit by pitches, and did some firsthand reporting to find out if it hurts to be hit by a baseball. It does!

The whole video report—which isn’t embeddable—is worth watching, and you don’t need to understand Korean to figure it out: Pitches to the head, whether intentional or not, are causing injuries in baseball. The best part is definitely the high-speed camera footage of baseballs hitting a wash basin and frying pan, set to music that sounds like the Halloween theme.

POT by Roy Choi, a Soulful Ode to Korean Cuisine
Eater LA

As promised, POT is a powerful ode to Korean cuisine by one of the most notable Korean-American chefs in the country. Roy Choi opened POT inside The Line Hotel to the public for lunch yesterday, introducing dishes that seem whimsical and inventive on paper, yet incredibly grounded, flavorful, and intense to a fault on the plate. Think “Boot Knocker” stew, Choi’s take on a dish that Korean mothers make after school’s. Filled with Lil’ smokies, Spam, ramen noodles, and more than a few dollops of red chili flakes, it’s about as rich as the cuisine can get, without getting too serious.

The gently wrapped Kat Man Doo dumplings come dressed in soy, chilies, and scallions for maximum effect, while chewy squid gets tossed with rice cakes, onions, and gochujang. In almost all steps, Choi is taking the cuisine of his motherland and putting an elegant, chefly touch that elevates and refines flavors.

Probably the Worst Diary of Anne Frank Cover Ever
Kotaku

Usually, covers of The Diary of Anne Frank feature black and white photos of its author, Anne Frank. Or, you might see tasteful illustrations. You don’t usually see photos like this!

As recently pointed out by Korean-born Twitter user Che_SYoung, a version of this book was apparently released in South Korea years ago by an unscrupulous publisher:

It looks like a Harlequin romance novel! For the past few years, the image of this cover has been floating around online (as I mentioned, it is supposedly real!), and it even pops up when you Google Image search The Diary of Anne Frank in Korean:

Bojagi workshop offered at LACMA
Korea Times LA

[Korean-born textile artist Lee Young-min] currently holds bojagi workshops and leads a community bojagi project at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The program will take place on April 12, May 3 and June 7. The reservations of the workshops for April 12 have been already filled.

“Many parents with their children are taking part in the workshops. They are all beginners and not skilled but they return home with satisfaction of their completion of bojagi artworks,” she said.

She has organized numerous workshops, classes and demonstrations on Korean arts and crafts around the Bay Area. Recently she demonstrated her bojagi and “maedeup” or Korean knots in Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as part of the Asia Alive Program. Lee also participated in Oakland Museum’s Lunar New Year celebration with her bojagi and maedeup artworks.

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Chef Roy Choi Brings an Oasis to the ‘Food Desert’ of South Central LA

Kogi chef Roy Choi partners with the South Central Los Angeles community and Dole Food Company in a fruitful venture for all.

by JAMES S. KIM
photo by Narith Ta

A half-hour before the grand opening of 3 Worlds Café in South Central Los Angeles, Roy Choi circles the staff like a hawk, making sure the kitchen is running at full capacity.

“Stay at your stations, all right? Don’t ever leave your station,” he instructs. “This is you, right here. You rely as a team on everyone else to do their job.”

Choi’s voice rings over the excited murmurs of the early customers and members of the community trickling in, as the 3 Worlds crew, as dubbed by Choi, prepares for the café’s July 6 grand opening. Despite the game face, the chef of Kogi truck fame can’t help but show his excitement.

“This is a joyous day,” he declares. “It’s a very, extremely happy, joyous day.”

For the co-founder and culinary mind behind the renowned Korean taco-serving food truck and variousrestaurants all over Los Angeles, 3 Worlds Café appears, at least on the surface, to be Choi’s latest business venture. But, different from his other restaurants, 3 Worlds Café is a collaboration between Choi, Dole Food Company, the local nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Community Development and Jefferson High School. The café presents a menu headlined by smoothies, fruit cups and coffee drinks.

Its location in the inner city is significant, as the inner city is often dubbed a food desert because of the dearth of supermarkets and healthy food options.

The first inklings of the idea to open 3 Worlds came after Dole approached the chef about three years ago, expressing interest in working together.

“At that time, my head was in a place where I was looking for celebrity or sponsorship, but what happened was that I thought, ‘What if we take that money and we do something in the neighborhood, instead of me standing and crossing my arms in a bossy photo?’” Choi said. “‘Why don’t we take whatever money we were gonna spend in those ad dollars and do something great?’”

Choi began working with Jefferson High to build an “Economics 101” program, a specialized course for 10 to 12 juniors and seniors, following a lesson plan that includes running a business, taking inventoryand—most importantly, Choi says—serving fruit in a delicious way.

“As I was going through it, [I] was also thinking about the divide that we have between the monikers of eating healthy and what’s really going down in the neighborhoods,” said Choi. “People need to eat healthy and the youth need to eat healthy, but two things: One, we’re not giving them access to a lot of foods that are out there. And secondly, if I’m a 17-year-old student and an adult tells me to eat healthy, I’m like, ‘F-ck you. None of this sh-t you say to me is interesting. Why should I listen to you?’”

That was a lesson the 3 Worlds team learned early on, when the project began as a fruit cart at Jefferson High three years ago. Dole provided the fruit, Choi provided his culinary guidance, and the high school provided a small, dedicated workforce.

F-CB-0813-2Cafe-KidsRoy Choi with three of the original members of the 3 Worlds crew from Jefferson High School. 

Luis Pahena was a senior two years ago when he was accepted to become a part of the inaugural 3 Worlds crew, and recalled that students at the time weren’t so willing to venture outside of the options they already had available, that is, mostly fast food.

“A lot of people didn’t like [this kind] of food over at Jefferson,” Pahena said. “You don’t really see many places like this in [South] L.A.”

Still, Pahena added that the communities that make up South Central already have a deeply embedded fruit culture, an oft-overlooked fact. “You have a lot of Hispanics, they like mangoes and [other] fruits,” he said.

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It was just a matter of making such healthy food options appealing to this high school crowd. So, after some menu modifications and lowering prices, the 3 Worlds fruit cart began to catch on with students.

“My angle was to stop using the word ‘healthy’ and just make it ‘delicious,’” said Choi, describing his strategy. “Let’s make it fun. Let’s put some flavor and some energy behind it, and let’s let the kids design it. Let them make the concept as if they were talking to each other.”

The behind-the-scenes of the 3 Worlds cart at Jefferson High reflected exactly that. Students were able to pitch and bounce ideas off of Choi, who would then offer his feedback or provide resources. From there, students would go out and spread their ideas and products to their friends and community. The program enjoyed success for two years, and while Choi was contemplating its long-term future, leaders from the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, approached him. They told him they had a vacant café location on Central Avenue. That sparked the idea to take the 3 Worlds brand and move it into that spot as a business.

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Roy Choi shares a toast with several members of the community and business partners. 

And the rest, as they say, is history—or rather, the present and, hopefully, well into the future, say its supporters.

“It’s almost too good to be true, but it’s possible, and it’s possible to replicate this,” L.A. City Councilman Curren Price said, in remarks at the 3 Worlds grand opening. “I’m excited about the fact that this is the first one, but not the only one, right, partners? Right, community? We’re gonna see these all over.”

One only needs to step inside 3 Worlds Café and look around to see that it is driven by and catered to the people who live and congregate around Central Avenue, a longtime business center for South Los Angeles. Customers can enjoy a signature Mango Bomb smoothie or an intriguingly-named Boba Fett fruit cup, while enjoying the student-designed murals.

As with his Kogi franchise, the community aspect of this project brings an added significance for Choi.

“They’re my family,” he said of the neighborhood. “I spent every day of my life in this neighborhood for the last three years. There’s no master plan, no ulterior motive—they’re just good people in my life right now, and I’m a part of their lives. I know where I’m at right now, I know there’s some celebrity and some momentum in my life as a chef, but I never forget that I have to wipe my ass and put my shoes on and go out into the world.”

As with his other restaurants, Choi makes sure the kitchen runs as smoothly as possible, demanding the staff always give their best.

“I’m busting these guys’ asses,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Our only goal right now is to serve the best possible drinks, best possible smoothies. … For me that part is the same, not minimizing or overcompensating any training or sympathy for anybody because of where we’re at or what hasn’t been here. What’s the same is the attitude of just excellence, doing your best, hospitality and belief, and knowing that this place is going to be a success.”

F-CB-0813-2Cafe-Roy2

Chefs, he said, should follow his example and not be discouraged by preconceptions of the inner city and its apparent lack of food culture. That’s an issue that will never be solved, as long as chefs refuse toinvest in the inner city.

“[The] bottom line is, chefs aren’t opening restaurants in South Central L.A., in South L.A.,” he said. “There are a lot of liquor stores. Those are just facts. For me, it’s about why do we have to accept those facts? The people that I hang out with here, they’re not stereotypes or caricatures that you can just put in a form. They’re living, breathing human beings that eat food just like you. So why not open the same things you would open in any other neighborhood, instead of just saying, ‘Oh, these are food deserts, and they’ll never happen.’ Why won’t they happen? How the f-ck do you know it won’t happen? How the f-ck do you know people won’t love them?

“It’s really about taking a chance,” he continued. “Five years ago, people were calling food trucks roach coaches. People were pointing at food trucks and saying, ‘I would never eat off that thing.’ Now, the same person who said, ‘I would not eat off that food truck’ is hiring it for their 9-year-old kid’s birthday party.”

3 Worlds Café is a dream that has “no boundaries,” Choi said. “The big dream is that this will be a success, and that the team will be able to support their lives and families and have a wonderful job and have a great paycheck,” he said. “The community will have a place where they can hang out. It can naturally grow and have an energy. From there, they will find their own way to become entrepreneurs and grow this business. This is not my business. It’s theirs.

“The next step is to grow it organically, find their entrepreneurial spirit, which will in turn influence others, and then maybe other investors come in and see this, and say you know what, ‘This can be replicated in Baltimore, the South side of Chicago, the Bronx, all these areas.’ … This is a start of something really, really awesome.”

This article was published in the August 2013 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the August issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).




Tuesday's Link Attack: Roy Choi, 2NE1, Samsung

Street Food Guru Roy Choi on Sunny Spot, Food Trucks, Kogi & More
The Daily Beast

Food-truck godfather Roy Choi, the man behind the craze that’s swept the country, tells Jace Lacob about his new Caribbean roadside eatery Sunny Spot—and how embracing street food and putting aside our Western concepts of dining can save society.

2NE1 performs for 2,000 fans at New York’s Times Square
allkpop

2NE1 has stolen the hearts of 2,000 American fans with their live performance at Times Square in New York. The girls were recently deemed as the ‘2011 Best New Band in the World‘, and so to celebrate, they held a concert at the MTV studio downtown.

Broadcast and streamed to fans worldwide, 2NE1 was ecstatically welcomed by thousands of New York fans.

LAPD probes racist graffiti at Korean church fire scene
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles police Monday night were investigating racist scrawls left with a marker and baby powder at a Korean church where a small fire broke out earlier in the day.

Officers initially responded to a possible burglary call at the Valley Korean Central Presbyterian Church in North Hills and found a toaster oven on fire in one of the buildings on the property, a law enforcement source told The Times.

Racial epithets were scrawled with a marker pen on the walls and written with baby powder on the floor of the building, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

Party Crasher! Hyundai is headed upmarket
Los Angeles Times

But now Korean automaker Hyundai seems set to crash the luxury party. Hyundai’s first full-size luxury sedan, the Genesis, was released stateside in 2008. The company followed up with the overtly opulent and even larger Equus model two years later. Even Hyundai’s corporate cousin, Kia (Hyundai has part-owned Kia since 1998) is getting in on the act. Kia’s unveiling of its Maserati-esque GT Concept coupe at last month’s L.A. Auto Show is a fairly obvious signal that it, too, harbors upscale ambitions.

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S.Koreans go mass-market, online for luxury goods
Reuters

Sixty years ago, war-torn South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Now it is the world’s 13th largest economy and a magnet for luxury goods, prying open the wallets of its wealthy people as well as tourists.

Pierpont Inn owner files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Ventura County Star

The owner of the Ventura Pierpont Inn has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a year after signs of trouble emerged at the historic property.

Millions of dollars in debt, Grace S. Ahn filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 25. Ahn is the trustee of The Ahn Family Trust, which bought the inn and spa in spring 2009.

Appeals panel hears new science about arsons that could free man
Fire Engineering

On Monday, a federal appeals court wrestled with Lee’s case – specifically, whether he should be given a new hearing to present evidence about the changed understanding of how fires burn, and whether he should be freed outright.

Defense attorney Peter Goldberger argued that Lee had been convicted only because of the testimony of fire investigators in Monroe County, and that their findings would not hold up today.

22-year-old becomes youngest mayor in O.C., probably the state
Los Angeles Times

Jeremy Yamaguchi still lives at home, is active in the Boy Scouts and voted for the very first time just a few years ago.

He’s also -– at the ripe age of 22 -– the youngest mayor in Orange County, and perhaps the state, the Orange County Register is reporting.

Yamaguchi was named mayor of Placentia last week, the youngest person to hold the post in the city’s 85-year history. He was elected to the council when he was 19, serving alongside council members who’d known him since he was in grade school. He was the top vote-getter in that election.

The Cal State Fullerton senior is set to take finals this week, the LA Times reported.

The Korean girlfriend gift guide
CNNGo

Visiting Supernormal, Cheongdam-dong boutique located right off the main “luxury street” is like entering a young, very rich, very stylish celebrity’s walk-in closet.

Fashionably daring Korean celebs such as 2NE1, Choi Ji-woo and Lee Hyori frequent the relatively small store to stock up on the latest in interesting fashion, while Japanese travelers also descend in small groups on the weekends.

Since anything in the shop has already been through extremely fashion-conscious screening, we consulted the Supernormal experts about putting together a fabulous girlfriend gift guide. Here are 10 unique gifts for the impossible-to-please, impeccably stylish ladies out there.

Samsung Was the Talk of Seoul, More than Usual, After Dealing With Hyundai
Wall Street Journal

Samsung has been the talk of the town on Tuesday for two reasons: the decision announced Monday to sell a big stake in an important affiliate to a Hyundai (yes Hyundai!) company and the list released Tuesday of annual promotions throughout the 60-plus Samsung companies.

As South Korea’s largest business group, Samsung is always the subject of a lot of attention, of course. But Tuesday’s chatter was particularly huge.

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Friday's Link Attack: Tablo, Toby Dawson, Dumbfoundead


Tablo: With “Fever’s End” Comes Happiness
Wall Street Journal

Tablo just released his first solo album “Fever’s End” – actually a two-parter with five songs each — after staying out of the public eye for almost two years.

The albums debuted very high on Billboard’s World Album chart. “Fever’s End (Part 2)” was ranked second and “Fever’s End (Part 1)” was ranked fifth.

“I didn’t have concrete expectations, so the warm reception is a surprise to me,” Tablo said in an interview with the Journal earlier this week.


Toby Dawson to Coach National Freestyle Team
The Chosun Ilbo

U.S. skier Toby Dawson, a Korean adoptee who won the bronze medal in mogul skiing at the 2006 Winter Olympics, was officially named as the coach of the Korean national freestyle skiing team on Thursday.

Dumbfoundead: Koreatown rapper inspires a tremendous following with his unlikely story
L.A. Weekly

During two hours in Koreatown’s Chapman Plaza, meanwhile, Park is stopped three times. He’s something of a local celebrity in this part of town, and one group even asks to pose for a photo with him.

“Everything changed when I really discovered YouTube two years ago,” he says, sipping soju and OB beer at Gaam Restaurant, a phosphorescent late-night lounge for the upwardly mobile. “Success on YouTube isn’t only about rapping well. It’s letting viewers share your life experiences and daily routine. A lot of them have followed me on every step of my journey and feel a personal connection.”

KCRW StoryCorps – Roy Choi [AUDIO]
StoryCorps (KCRW Los Angeles)

Roy Choi of Kogi Korean taco fame, shares stories with his friend Jude Angelini about growing up Korean-American in Los Angeles.

Backbeat: ‘The Voice’s’ Dia Frampton Steps Into The Great Wide Open
Billboard.biz

Dia Frampton, runner-up on the first season of NBC’s “The Voice,” performed four songs Thursday for the employees of Reveille Productions, the producer of “The Biggest Loser” and “The Office,” among other shows. The appearance, booked as part of Reveille’s monthly Brown Bag Lunch Series, had a two-fold purpose promote her album “Red,” due Dec. 6 on Universal Republic, and provide footage for an NBC.com series that will air around the beginning of “The Voice’s” second season.

1 Year Later: Who Gunned Down Studio City Man in His Driveway?
Patch (North Hollywood, Calif.)

When Jong Kim’s killers gunned down the businessman outside his home near Universal Studios last Nov. 18, they left a distinctive clue.

The three men had driven to Kim’s house on the 10600 block of Chiquita Street in Studio City near the border with Toluca Lake and North Hollywood, in a car with an unusual two-toned paint job. The Honda Prelude, a 1988-1992 model with a sun roof, after-market rims and modified exhaust, was caught on surveillance tape. The images were shown here and in a few other local media outlets—but, eight months later, detectives have not yet found the car, which could possibly lead them to the killers.

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Redmond man arrested in connection with Bellevue homicide: Formal charges still pending

Redmond Reporter (Washington)

A Redmond man was arrested after investigators said he shot and killed a man, who was allegedly having an affair with his wife, at a downtown Bellevue apartment building Tuesday morning.

At 10:07 a.m. Tuesday morning, Bellevue police responded to the Belle Arts apartment complex, located at 111 108th Ave. NE, where they found Jin Kim, who was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the head.


‘Korea has respect for design’
The Korea Times

“There’s something about Korean designers I like very much. First of all, they like to work with media, electronics and digital technology. They are comfortable with them and use them in a poetic way,” Antonelli said. “So even though some artists are traditional such as painters and sculptors, there is a great search of digital and multimedia art here.”


Samie Kim Falvey: ABC’s comedy queen
Variety

Credit for ABC’s comedy resurgence goes to many, but Samie Kim Falvey is clearly due some praise. The exec, who was named senior VP of comedy development in 2006, oversees a healthy laffer lineup that includes two-time Emmy winner “Modern Family,” “Happy Endings” and “The Middle,” as well as freshmen “Suburgatory” and “Last Man Standing.”


3rd-generation ethnic Korean helps dig up oil
The Korea Times

AKTOBE, Kazakhstan ― Dmitri Lim cannot speak any Korean but thinks of himself as at least half-Korean and even roots for the national football team of his great grandfather’s country.

The 32-year-old engineer is working for Firm Ada Oil, a joint venture established by two Korean companies, which produces oil in Aktobe, western Kazakhstan.

Firm Ada Oil’s majority stakes are shared by Korea National Oil Corp. and LG International.

“One of the reasons I decided to work for Ada Oil is that it is run by Korean companies,’’ said Lim who has worked for the oil developer for the past one and a half years.

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Thursday's Link Attack: Kissing Leaders, Roy Choi, Violinist Jennifer Choi

Benetton’s lip-locked leader ads: bad taste?
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Shocking photos of various world leaders in lip-lock circulated on the Internet today, stirring up a flurry of reaction.

U.S. President Barack Obama puckering up with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas giving each other a friendly peck on the kisser. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak letting bygones be bygones with a stiff smooch.

The provocative images are part of clothing brand Benetton’s new advertising campaign, unveiled on Wednesday.

The campaign – the brand’s first major campaign in a decade of largely forgettable ads – is touted as “Unhate.”

F&W Exclusive Preview: Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot
Food and Wine

What can possibly beat a sweet trip to the Caribbean? Well, this: chef Roy Choi’s version of the Caribbean. The creator of L.A.’s life-changing Kogi Korean BBQ taco trucks (and F&W Best New Chef 2010) is opening Sunny Spot on November 18 in Venice, California. “At Sunny Spot, you’re going to feel like you just washed up on your beach,” says Choi. “If I was on my beach in Jamaica, this is what I’d be making.”

Violinist Jennifer Choi on the Ethel string quartet’s ‘modern classical’
The Pitch (Kansas City, Mo.)

“Postclassical string quartet” Ethel , which focuses on works by modern composers, brings its show to the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19. The performance features Philip Glass’ score to The Hours, as well as pieces by other modern composers. We recently spoke by phone with the group’s violinist, Jennifer Choi, about her experiences with Ethel and the group’s approach to music. In addition to being a successful solo artist, Choi is the newest addition to the quartet, replacing Mary Rowell, who had been with the group since its inception in the mid-’90s.

What’s it like joining a group with such a lengthy history, especially replacing a member who’d been with the group for 15 years?

Since the beginning, yeah. Well, I had known about the group for a long time. When I came to New York in ’98, that’s pretty much when they formed, as well. And I was pretty much doing the same kind of music — new music — and that kind of became my focus after a while. So I guess the transition felt pretty normal for me, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I worked with Neil — Corneilius Duffalo, the other violinist — as well as Ralph Farris, the violist, in other situations, ’cause you tend to bump into each other in New York City. So it just felt pretty good to be able to join a group like that. And it just feels really nice, because they have their repertoire and they’re really solid players, so it’s like playing tennis with a really great tennis player. You just sort of fit right in.

Lottery agency tries to recover $12.5M insider win
CBC News (Canada)

More than seven years after a Toronto-area woman cashed in a stolen $12.5-million Lotto Super 7 ticket, Ontario’s lottery corporation is trying to recoup the money, but the lengthy wait may have cost the Crown agency.

CBC News has learned that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) filed a lawsuit in March against the woman who claimed the ticket, Kathleen Chung, and her family and associated companies for “deliberately deceiving” the corporation.

Police allege that Chung’s father and brother stole the free play ticket in 2003 from its rightful owners who validated the ticket at the Chung-managed Variety Plus store in Burlington, Ont. The duo then allegedly gave the ticket to Kathleen to claim in an attempt to cover their tracks.

The Chungs were charged in September 2010. Kathleen Chung, 30, faces charges of fraud, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime. Her brother, Kenneth Chung, 28, and their father, Jun-Chul Chung, 62, were each charged with several counts of theft, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime.

Bible Study Teacher Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Assault
Patch.com (Northbrook, Ill.)

A Northbrook woman accused of criminal sexual assault in the case of a 15-year-old boy pled not guilty in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie Tuesday.

Na Choi, 24, is also charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

County Man Charged With Fraudulent Business Practices
Fairfax News (Virginia)

A 50-year-old Great Falls man has been charged with obtaining money by defrauding a business investor.

According to police, the 37-year-old victim entered into a business contract in April with Hong Ku Kim of 746 Ellsworth Avenue in which she invested $200,000 into Kim’s company, Greentopia-Timonium.

According to the contract, the victim’s money was to be placed in escrow so she could obtain her E2 Visa. This Visa allows a national of a treaty country — a nation with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with — to be admitted into the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in an American business.

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Korean-American leader blasts opposition party over FTA row
Dong-A Ilbo

The head of a Korean-American association based in Atlanta has criticized leading members of Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party for shifting their position on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

“Under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, supreme council party member Chung Dong-young and chairman Sohn Hak-kyu came to the U.S. and asked leaders of Korean-American groups to support the Korea-U.S. FTA,” said Yoo Jin-cheol, president of the Federation of Korean Associations, USA., in a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Roy Choi, Margaret Cho, Anthony Kim

Roy Choi to open Sunny Spot next week
Los Angeles Times

Roy Choi of Kogi, Chego and A-Frame says he’ll be opening new restaurant Sunny Spot on Nov. 18 in Venice in the former Beechwood space — “think roadside cookshop, where every day’s a holiday.”

Inspired by the cuisine of the West Indies, Sunny Spot’s menu runs the gamut from double-fried jerk chicken and rum-glazed prawns to slow-roasted whole goat and papaya-guava honey pot salad with crushed cashews, red onion, lime and tarragon (pictured).

N.Korean Elite Sniper Defects
Chosun Ilbo

An ex-member of an elite North Korean special warfare unit defected across the West Sea on Oct. 30. He crossed the sea on a raft made of tires, it emerged on Tuesday.

Under questioning by the National Intelligence Service, the military and police, the man, who is in his early 30s, said he had been discharged from the marine sniper brigade five years ago and then worked as a civilian member in a military unit.

Watch Margaret Cho Invade Bonnaroo, Accost Indie Rockers
Spin.com

Last week, we watched Das Racist drag their parents to Bumbershoot. Today, to herald the release of Margaret Cho’s stand-up concert film, Cho Dependent — and say farewell to SPIN’s first-ever “Funny” Issue — we have footage of the comic and friend-of-indie-rockers everywhere bugging the shit out of everyone backstage at the 2010 Bonnaroo festival to the sounds of her “Baby I’m With the Band” (featuring Brendan Benson). Watch carefully to see who embraces the Cho, and who eyes her warily (the list of guest stars includes Conan O’Brien, Reggie Watts, Doug Benson, The Flaming Lips, Weezer, OK Go, the Gossip, The Punch Brothers, and GWAR).

Hines Ward: ‘It’s about the team’
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Hines Ward did not start in Cincinnati, and he played a limited number of snaps in the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Bengals. If the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver has been demoted he is taking it in stride.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Ward said. “We won the game that’s the bottom line.”

Ward said his health wasn’t an issue, and that the coaches didn’t tell him before the Bengals game that his playing time would be diminished.

North Korea’s unusual experiment in tourism [SLIDESHOW]
Washington Post

The normally closed, secretive country is trying to open its doors a crack to foreign tourists, particularly from China, as a way of earning hard currency.

[In the photo above,] Chinese tourists converge on the house where the late Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s “Great Leader,” was said to be born.

Anthony Kim – The future’s bright
Sky Sports

Anthony Kim has endured plenty of lows over the past 12 months, but feels he’s now on course to hit new highs.

The Language of Many: ‘The Language Archive’ at East West Players [REVIEW]
Hyphen

During the LA premiere of The Language Archive at East West Players, the scent of warm bread wafted through the theater. There’s nuance to smells, I’m told, a layering that is discernible to even the most indiscriminate noses. The same could be said of language and of theatrical plays that go beyond just the black and white categorization of “good” and “bad.”

As with my nose, there’s a certain level of layering that I’m oblivious and, like the bread smell, there was something comfortable and familiar with the The Language Archive. I spent the evening trying to figure out where I’ve seen this story before.

Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines wins CIF state girls golf title
ESPN.com

Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines won the CIF state girls golf championship in a two-hole playoff over Cha Cha Wilhoite of Palm Desert at the Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Cho and Wilhoite were the only two golfers to shoot under par in the tournament. Both were 1-under, 71, after 18 holes.

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S. Korean football fans demand coach’s ouster
AFP via Google News

Angry fans called Wednesday for the resignation of coach Cho Kwang-Rae after South Korea suffered a stunning 1-2 defeat to underdogs Lebanon in the third round of regional World Cup qualification.

The official website of the Korea Football Association (KFA) was flooded with critical postings, with one suggesting a petition campaign to press the KFA to dismiss Cho.

Newspapers also lambasted South Korea for playing what Chosun Ilbo daily called a “game of sleepwalkers”.

Asian women struggle to make films
City Times (San Diego)

For many filmmakers, the festival serves as an opportunity to create change in the industry through gaining exposure and connecting with people.

“Support from groups like this has been invaluable in helping further my career,” said Mina T. Son, a Korean American filmmaker who screened her short, “Making Noise in Silence,” at the festival. The the short follows the lives of two Korean-American students at the California School for the Deaf. Son returned to the festival to receive an award for Best Short Documentary for the second year in a row.

Derek Kirk Kim Completes Season 1 of ‘Mythomania’ Live-Action Web Series [Video]
Comics Alliance

The Eisner and Harvey-winning cartoonist behind such works as Same Difference and Other Stories, The Eternal Smile (with Gene Luen Yang) and Good As Lily (with Jesse Hamm), Derek Kirk Kim has completed the first season of his live-action Web series Mythomania. Written and directed by Kim, the show follows aspiring cartoonist Andy Go as he navigates the joys, challenges, sacrifices, screw-overs and other assorted indignities suffered by those who seek their fortunes in the comic book book business. The show is an honest and personal (perhaps too personal, in the case of episode seven) into what life can be like for cartoonists, and how easy it can be to face not only rejection but also opportunity.

Serial Smacker Hits Seoul’s New Mayor
Wall Street Journal

There’s a new addition to the diverse and colorful ranks of South Korean protesters: a woman who is a serial head-smacker.

The 62-year-old woman has only been publicly identified by her last name, Park. She has been going around for the past few months hitting left-wing politicians on the head.

On Tuesday, she walked into an event in a subway station where Seoul’s new mayor, Park Won-soon, was speaking, got right up behind him, then hit him on the head and called him a “communist.”

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