Tag Archives: steven yeun

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Steven Yeun To Adapt And Star In ‘The Aquariums of Pyongyang’

by RUTH KIM

In addition to killing off zombies in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead, actor Steven Yeun will take on a new role as North Korea defector Kang Chol-Hwan in a film adaptation of The Aquariums of Pyongyang.

Teaming up with Radar Pictures, Yeun will also executive produce the film, collaborating with producers Ted Field, Mike Weber, and Michael Napoliello, in partnership with Sean Lee, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Based on true events, The Aquariums of Pyongyang is Kang Chol-Hwan’s memoir. It was originally published in French in 2000, and later translated to English and Korean. Set in North Korea during the Korean War, Aquariums illustrates the stark contrast between the right-wing government of the South and the extreme communist stronghold of the North Korean powers. The story details the lives of Kang and his family members, suspected to be dissidents during their imprisonment at the Yodok concentration camp #2915. Over a period of 10 years, they suffered through starvation, torture, disease and public execution.

Kang’s memoir is one of the first published accounts that reveal the harsh reality of the North Korean prison system. Blending elements of horror, history, narrative, and politics, Aquariums reveals mankind’s resolve to triumph over unimaginable hardships.

Aside from Aquariums, Yeun has other projects in the works, including a role in I Origins and working as the lead voice over in the animated adaptation of Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter

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Steven Yeun to Voice Lead Character in ‘Chew’ Comic Adaptation

By ETHEL NAVALES

Steven Yeun can’t seem to get enough of comic books that make their way onto television. We don’t mind, though. After all, we can’t seem to get enough of Steven Yeun.

The 30-year-old Korean American actor is most known for his role as Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Through the show, Yeun has gained quite a large fanbase (just check out the 10 reasons Glenn would make a great boyfriend) and it looks like he’s ready to grow that base even more with yet another comic book-turned-television series.

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If you thought Yeun was done with shows that focused on eating humans, you’re wrong. The comicbook ”Chew” is written by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory, and stars a character named Tony Chu. Chu is a detective and a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agent. He also happens to be a ”cibopath.” According to the comic, a “cibopath” can take a bite from anything (except beets) and get apsychic sensation of what has happened to that object.

So if Chu takes a bite out of a vegetable, he can see where it came from and everything the vegetable has been through. If he takes a bite out of bacon, he can see the life of the pig it came from. And if he takes a bite out of a corpse, he can figure out any murder mystery thrown at him.

Gross cannibalism aside, there’s definitely a plus to this—the main character is Chinese American! If you didn’t already know, we get quite excited about Asians in comics and rarely do we get to see an Asian lead character.

For the upcoming animated adaptation of Chew, Yeun will voice the main character Tony, and Felicia Day will play Tony’s love interest, Amelia Mintz.

This story was originally published on AudreyMagazine.com.

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Steven Yeun Rocks Tie-Less Suits for GQ

by TAYLOR WEIK

He was just featured alongside costar Lauren Cohan in a romantic photo shoot for Los Angeles magazine last month, and now, Steven Yeun suits up again for a feature on suits in this month’s issue of GQ.

Our favorite zombie-slayer dons a slick comb-over and dressy shirts and blazers for March’s stylefeature titled “Back from the Dead: The Air Tie,” as if we needed another reason to remember the man is one of People‘s Sexiest Men of 2013.

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The photos provide a stark contrast from the dirty, tired, blood-stained Glenn Rhee we see running around every Sunday night on AMC’s The Walking Dead, but we love Steve either way.

This article was originally published by Audrey.

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Steven Yeun Chats With Two ‘Walking Dead’ Staffers

Talking Shop

Over lunch at an L.A. haunt, actor Steven Yeun leads a lively conversation with The Walking Dead writers/producers Angela Kang and Sang Kyu Kim.

Edited by JULIE HA
Photos by ELIZABETH KIM

Who can forget the zinger of a line: “Everything is food for something else”? Or the wrenching scene when protagonist Rick falls to the ground in shock and grief after learning his wife Lori has perished?  Fans of AMC’s hit post-apocalyptic zombie series, The Walking Dead, can thank Angela Kang and Sang Kyu Kim, respectively, for scripting that line and that scene.

Actor Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, may be the most prominent Korean American identified with the show, but viewers who carefully study the opening credits may have caught Kang and Kim’s names flash across their screens as producers and writers for the acclaimed series, which just wrapped its third season.

Kang, who previously worked on the unaired NBC series Day One and the former FX show Terriers, has been with The Walking Dead’s writing staff since 2011. Kim worked on the TNT drama Hawthorne and the Starz network’s Crash before joining The Walking Dead in 2012.  (Kim, incidentally, left the show after the third season, and is working on other TV and feature projects.)

Yeun has called the two writers “brilliant.” Glenn is often described as the most humanizing portrait of an Asian American male on TV today, and KoreAm thought who better to interview Kang and Kim than the actor who brought life to some of their words? The writers met up with Yeun at the Hungry Cat in Los Angeles and chatted over lunch about their craft, the industry, and why the character of Glenn portends a promising future for Asian American portrayals on the tube.

Steven: Angela, how did you get into writing?

Angela: I always was into writing stories since the time I was a little kid. I kept a binder of stories that I’d written from the time I was in first grade. Then I started writing plays in high school … and when I went to college, I had some plays produced through the theater program I was in. Coming out [of college], I started doing some plays, and actually, a decade ago, I was in KoreAm magazine because I had written a play that was in Los Angeles, and it did fairly well. So that was my main writing for a long time. And then, I guess I just always loved TV. I thought, I want to learn how to write for TV. I ended up going to grad school at USC and did an MFA in the film program and learned to do screenwriting and TV writing.

Steven: That’s amazing that it doesn’t seem like there was a hitch in a step ever with your parents saying, “What are you doing?”

Angela: Oh, they definitely were like, “What are you doing?”

[Laughter.]

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Angela: I mean, we’re Korean, so, they were like, “What are you doing?  You should be a lawyer!”

Steven: But how proud were they when you came out in KoreAm?

Angela: Super proud. You know what would make them more proud? If I was in the Korean-language newspaper.

Steven: Yeah!

Angela: That’s legit!

Sang: Yeah, that’s the holy grail.

Steven: I remember when I came out in the Michigan Korean Daily, [my parents] were like, “Yeah!” But I was like, “Appa, you know those guys!”

[Laughter.]

Steven: So, Sang, how did you get into writing?

Sang: Like Angela, I loved writing as a kid, but I grew up loving film. My dad, he would have gone to film school in Korea if they had one. He would sneak into movie theaters in Korea and watch American films. When he came to America, he would just sit me down and make me watch all the classics: The Third ManCitizen Kane, every David Lean film, at the age of 5. I remember we were in Chicago, and he took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I was just so blown away by this movie, and my dad was as well. I loved it so much that I didn’t want the story to end. So I continued it. I had the Nazis coming back and stealing the Ark and everything.

[So] I wrote always as a kid, but I had a hitch. I went to school out in Chicago, and I was pre-med all four years, took the MCATs twice, and I was ready to apply—had a stack of applications.  At that time I was working as an assistant for a law school professor at my university and taking some biology classes. So I’m at a computer all day and had a lot of down time, so I started writing out the stories I always had in my head. And I just started looking up screenplay formatting books, and once I started doing that, I called my parents and said I decided not to apply to med school and I’m going to go for this.  And there was that shocked silence—like, “You just spent four-plus years preparing for med school!” But luckily my parents are very creative.

Steven: What did your folks do?

Sang: My dad was a reporter for a Korean newspaper and a producer. And my mom played cello in an orchestra. … Once they saw that I was serious and I stuck with it, they were like, “We support you.” So, I was writing in Chicago for a few years, then eventually came out to L.A. for film school at [the American Film Institute]. And then after that, the CBS [Writers Mentoring] Program, which Angela is also a part of, and that’s where I met Glen Mazzara (former showrunner for The Walking Dead).

Steven: That’s awesome. I mean, it’s crazy to think that, with the upbringing that we’ve had in terms of a very immigrant-style upbringing, you really have to lead the charge on determining your own destiny. You to have to say: I’m not going to go that conventional route. Was there ever a moment for you guys where it seemed like, there’s no turning back?

Sang: I think, for me, it was when I moved out to L.A., because I love Chicago. I’ve lived all over the country, but Chicago is like my hometown … and I decided to pick up and start all over and go to L.A. So for me, that was like I’m going for this 100 percent. I’m not going back. For me that was a big move, and it wasn’t easy.

Steven (to Angela): Your folks, in their opposition, were they OK [with your writing career] as long as you kept bringing back rewards or a finished product?

Angela: I think they just worried that I would not live a comfortable life.  They were immigrants, and we didn’t have the most easy life, like my dad always worked two or three jobs, you know. My mom died. There was a certain amount of hardship, and it’s always hard for anybody to move to a whole new country and start over. My grandpa in Korea had started the first insurance company in Korea … is super-educated, spoke three languages, [but] he came to the U.S. and worked at a motel. So it’s that immigrant story.  You want the kids or the grandkids to have a more comfortable life. It was always that worry … [that I] be set up in something stable, and entertainment seems scary.

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Sang: That’s the other thing. [Our parents] didn’t have examples that they could be, “Oh, so-and-so did it—he’s Korean or Asian.” I think today, ’cause there are so many more examples of people on screen and behind the camera, it’s maybe a little bit easier for a child to convince [their parents and say,] “Look, Steven’s doing it. Angela’s doing it. So I can do it, too.” But back then we had nobody.

Steven: At this point, do you think it’s just a matter of numbers, or is there another factor as to why we don’t have more Asian Americans on screen? Is it only because Hollywood’s not ready for us, or is it also we have a talent deficit?

Angela: Well, I think, it’s kind of everything. I mean, listen, … you have kids, like Caucasian kids, who are starting artistic training really young, and they kind of are primed with the mindset of “this might be what I do when I grow up.” So you just have larger numbers of people doing the preparatory steps for a creative career, whereas I feel like, a lot of times, Asian Americans start really late. Which is totally fine, but you just have fewer people who are ready to go, ready to hit primetime, in a way.

Sang: And fewer opportunities for them to develop their craft, I think. I mean, when there’s a role that says “open ethnicity,” you know that it’s kind of not. It’s like, we’ll see everybody, but you know in reality it’s not.  … I think it’s numbers, but I [also] think people need to be more vocal.

Steven: Now, have you run into a situation where you did write something and you made it “open ethnicity,” and you just cannot find the talent there? Like, you’ll audition Asian American actors, and you won’t find what you’re looking for? I think that’s a dark reality we have to face.

Angela: I do think that’s a reality sometimes. I think it’s sometimes hard even if you’re looking for a white actor to find the right fit, you know? [You can audition] dozens of people, but it’s hard to find exactly the right person.  And then, just because there’s such a smaller pool that you’re dealing with whenever you’re dealing with minorities, then that sometimes works against you. And you always hope that you’re going to find that break-out person, give them a chance. Sometimes it’s hard to find that person, and sometimes that person may not have that access to get in front of the right people.

Steven: Or he’s a doctor right now. I get asked the question, “What advice can you give me on how to make it in this industry?” And God if I know. I don’t know sh-t. But one thing I was fortunate enough to do—and I’m hoping other Asian actors will do and anyone in the creative field does—is put themselves up against everyone.  Put yourselves in a situation where you’re [up] against every single person just off the basis of your skill.

Sang: I think if you’re a minority, you have to be even that much better.  You have to be so much better to push through that wall and inertia. So if you just show your stuff to your friends or within a community who’s going to be supportive, anyway—again, I’m not knocking it—it’s great to have that kind of support. But once you do that, push beyond that and say, well, let’s put this to Sundance. If it’s good enough for these guys, let it win Sundance, and that’s when you’ll start breaking down barriers.

Steven: Do you think the way America sees Asian Americans begets the way that we’re portrayed on the screen, or is it the way that we’re portrayed on the screen begets the way we’re perceived in the United States?

Angela: It’s sort of a chicken and egg problem. I know that, certainly a lot of Asian males I know, and you guys can tell me if you feel the same way, but there’s a feeling like, “Why are Asian guys always portrayed as kind of like weak and effeminate and cowardly?  Why does that stereotype exist?”

Steven: I remember growing up … like we [Asian Americans] were cool to be friends with, but a girl—especially at that age of high school—to take a huge risk and start dating an Asian guy? [Shakes his head.] It had nothing to do with whether she liked him or not.

Sang: I think, as we portray more Asians on the screen, we have a responsibility, the more and more they’re on there, to be aware of the stereotypes and what the prior image is, and, sometimes, do the opposite. I remember, on one show, we had a Korean American character, and we were going to introduce the wife, and everyone was like, “OK, let’s find some good Asian actresses.” I was like, “Well, let’s not make her Asian.” There are a lot of Asian dudes marrying and dating non-Asian people, but you just don’t see it [on-screen], so they don’t see it. So even small things like that, where it’s like, let’s just switch it up. The wife was [cast] Caucasian, and even the actor was like, “Thank you for doing that.” You know, because it’s like a small thing, but when people see that, it’s like, “Oh, OK, so [Asians] can date people outside of their [race].”

The Walking Dead (Season 2)

Steven: Have you guys faced opposition in the face of coming up because of your race?

Angela: I don’t know if I’d say opposition necessarily. But what I would say, going back to a point Sang made earlier, you feel like you need to be better because there is a perception, a lot of times, if you are any sort of minority, whether it’s ethnic or female or different sexual orientation, there’s the perception, “Oh, you’re the beneficiary of some sort of affirmative action,” whether through a diversity program or staffing or liberal guilt. So I feel like I have to prove I am better than other people who would be at my level.

Steven: That’s something I battled with even on the course of the [The Walking Dead]. When I first got hired on the show, I thought, “God be damned if I looked like the guy hired just because I looked the part!” For me, it was like trying to disprove that the entire time. Thank God for you guys writing Glenn to be such an awesome character: to have the chair moment [in Episode 307], to have good moments of growth … you know, a lot of other Asian Americans tell me, like, “Dude, you’re holding it down for the Asians, like, you’re having sex with a white girl!”

Angela and Sang: [Laughs]

Steven: And for me, actually, [I’m thinking] you guys should be more happy for the fact that I’m having sex, period—and it’s not a joke. And that it’s not exotic, or it’s not some kind of one-time thing. It’s like a true love.  That’s where the pride comes from. It’s just being humanized.

I was actually talking about this with somebody recently. Which is, I wonder if the Asian American identity is best served, within the whole context of The Walking Dead, through Glenn than [with] any other character? I was thinking: would it be cool if Glenn were a Daryl? Would it be cool if Glenn was a Shane? Would it be cool if Glenn was a Rick? I think all of them have their benefits in their own ways, but Glenn gets to tell the everyman story from beginning to finish.

Sang: Yeah, you’re the most relatable character.

Angela: I think Glenn is, absolutely.

Steven: And that’s so cool that we get to do that, and I get to be part of that. The first season that I got on the show, I was checking Twitter, and I would check and search for “Walking Dead chink,” and “Walking Dead Asian.” First season, “Walking Dead Asian”—all over the place. “Walking Dead Chinese”—all over the place.  And then “Walking Dead chink”—a ton. It would be: “Whoa, this chink on The Walking Dead is pretty cool!” Then second season, that number drastically fell, but it was still there. Now they just call me Glenn.

Sang: That’s great.

Angela: I’ve always felt that Glenn’s character, for most of our audience, is the person you think, yeah, I might be that guy in the apocalypse.  He’s just a normal dude, wants to go about his life, be loyal, trying to figure sh-t out, find the cute girl and fall in love. You’re just trying to be a human being. I think Daryl is great, and he’s a fan favorite because he’s the kind of guy you kind of wish you could be, but you’re kind of not. Like, who is Daryl?

Steven: Nobody’s Daryl. That’s Jesus!

Angela: You’re, like, I wish I could be a crossbow-toting badass. But Glenn is the guy…

Sang: He’s the most balanced character. And, he’s the only one gettin’ any. That’s pretty impressive. I mean, in the whole show.

Steven: [Laughs]

Sang: That’s solid. That’s solid work.

Steven: Well, thanks to you, guys.

Angela: It’s the comic, too. Glenn is always gettin’ it in the [The Walking Dead] comic.

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Steven: Thanks to [The Walking Dead comic and TV show creator-Robert] Kirkman.

Do you think that this is going to beget more … do you think Hollywood sees this character as like, “Hey, this is possible, people can relate to an Asian American male”? Do you think this next row of pilots is going to have a semblance of that, or is going to be Two Broke Girls all over again?

Sang: I think [a character like Glenn is] only going to have a positive effect.

Angela: I hope so.

Sang: Because like I said … if I was growing up [now, with] more Asians on TV, I could at least go to my parents and say, “Look.” They couldn’t say no one else is doing it. Now there are so many faces out there, and Glenn’s a great character, and you play it really well. And to show that example that it can be done, and people love this character, it just gives more ammunition and more inspiration for kids to say, “I can do it, too.”

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




Thursday's Link Attack: Yunjin Kim, Richard Chai, Steven Yeun

East Meets West: Actress Kim Yun Jin and Tom Cruise
Soompi

Tom Cruise had a surprise meeting with actress Kim Yun Jin. A representative of the film, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” stated on December 8 that, Kim Yun Jin met with Tom Cruise and Paula Pattonon December 2, for a premiere press conference.

The meeting was made possible due to a common acquaintance in a producer for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, “Bryan Burk.” Bryan Burk is known to be very close to Kim Yun Jin, he was a producer for “Lost.” (Kim Yun Jin played a significant role on that show, it should also be noted that J.J. Abrams, the executive producer/director for “Lost” is also a producer for Ghost Protocol.)

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The Happy Houseplant | Indoor Gardening with Richard Chai
New York Times Magazine

What Richard Chai calls his orchid cemetery is a narrow, north-facing window sill in the kitchen area of his Financial District loft. There, five flowerless orchid plants in uniform terracotta pots are getting indirect sunlight and enough water to keep the soil moist most of the time, and that’s it. “Just ignore them,” says Chai, who is literally –– a word he uses quite frequently –– bringing the gentle plants back to life (maybe rehab is a better word for the facility). “I used to obsess about orchids. But if you ignore them, they’re so much happier.”

Chai, who is the designer for the men’s and women’s line Richard Chai Love, is and has been for years a skilled hobby gardener. In both of the New York City apartments he lived in previously, which had outdoor space, he’d grow flowers from seed. “Morning glories and such,” he says. “I didn’t really do the orchid thing.” But trading those places for his current, garden-less loft –– it has more square footage, lots of light, many windows –– “there had to be a trade-off.” And houseplants were the solution. “When I moved here, that’s when I started rescuing.”

Baja Fresh CEO David Kim was memorable at Jemison Awards
Birmingham Business Journal (Alabama)

Ecstatic. A little nervous. Thrilled.

Those words best describe my wave of emotions as Baja Fresh CEO David Kim spoke today at Birmingham Venture Club Birmingham Venture Club Latest from The Business Journals Top 40: Julian DailyWant a ‘monster’ idea? Take a long showerMonster.com founder to speak at Birmingham Venture Club Follow this company ’s 26th Annual Meeting and Jemison Award Ceremony at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Latest from The Business Journals Photos from our 2011 Best Places to Work AwardsBBJ ranks Birmingham’s Best Places to WorkTop of the List: Hotel Meeting Spaces Follow this company .

As a fan of CBS’ hit series Undercover Boss, I was first introduced to Kim a few months back as he wore a fake beard to disguise himself so he could get an inside look at what was going on at his company.

Check out our feature story on David Kim from the June 2011 issue of KoreAm.

North Korea swing toward China not good news [OPINION]
Los Angeles Times

The legacy of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung’s decision in the early 1990s to pursue a strategic partnership with the United States has run its course. In its place, the focus of Pyongyang’s policies has decisively shifted to Beijing. However wary the North Koreans may be of their neighbor, the fact is that from Pyongyang’s viewpoint, the Chinese have delivered and the United States did not.

‘Urban Umbrella’ Graces New York With New Scaffolding (PHOTOS)
Huffington Post

Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the first model of “Urban Umbrella,” a beautiful new design for the city’s scaffolding structures, in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday.

The design was the winner of the urbanSHED competition which sought to revamp the city’s current scaffolding designed more than 60 years ago. Project Engineer Sarrah Khan, Architect Andres Cortes, and Designer Young Hwan Choi who all helped bring the structure to life were also present for Wednesday’s unveiling.

U.S. ambassador hails growing partnership with S. Korea in development
Yonhap News

U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim has praised the growing cooperation between America and South Korea on development issues, saying he believes their joint efforts will expand the scope of their alliance.

“U.S.-ROK cooperation on development is just beginning,” he wrote in his online blog Tuesday, referring to South Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Republic of Korea.

“It was only a few months ago that Secretary Clinton signed a memorandum of understanding with Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on international aid cooperation, and I know that the implementation process has already begun. This is a great example of how we are expanding our partnership beyond the Korean Peninsula,” said Kim, who is the first Korean-American U.S. ambassador to Seoul.

The Walking Dead: Glenn & Maggie Fall for Each Other
8Asians

In the past few episodes, we’ve seen Maggie really starting to fall for Glenn. In Episode 6 (Season 2), after Glenn saves Maggie from a “walker” (zombie) after another trip to the pharmacy where they first “did it,” Maggie expresses her concerns and feelings for him. Maggie explains that Glenn is the under-appreciated risk taker and unrecognized contributor of their group of survivalists. This statement could be mirrored I think how a lot of Asian American men and women feel in the workplace.

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10 creative date spots in Seoul
CNNGo

Seoul is a city for couples. Everyone you turn, there seem to be young pairs with hands locked, oblivious to the bustle around them. And, we’ve all seen the matching couples’ shirts.

Needless to say, it can be hard to stand out. When you finally manage to get that number, make the date count and go somewhere unique. If you’re already dating, it could never hurt to try somewhere new.

1. Catch a baseball game at Jamsil Stadium

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Can’t find a cab at Gangnam Station? Don’t worry, the city will catch one for you
CNNGo

There’s something about the Gangnam Station area at night that turns Seoul cab drivers into obnoxious, discriminating money-mongerers. While hundreds of bar-hoppers stand shivering in the streets, the normally easy-to-get taxis roll down their windows, then breeze right by as if the driver can’t hear the desperate yelling.

Luckily for Seoulites and bewildered travelers, Seoul has decided to take action this month: starting yesterday, nine city workers have been set the sole task of flagging down cabs at Gangnam Station, reported MBN. The idea is that the “Taxi-hailing Patrol” will call for nearby cabs, while the government will subsidize the cab fares.

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Anthony Kim looking for a turnaround
Naples News (Florida)

Anthony Kim doesn’t need to look too far to see where he wants to be next year. The 26-year-old Kim struggled on tour this year but is playing with Webb Simpson, who finished second on the money list, in this week’s Franklin Templeton Shootout.

“I’m ready to start a new season, ready to play some better golf,” Kim said. “It’s happened before. I’ve had bad years and come back with good years.”

 

The King of Pigs: Film Review
Hollywood Reporter

A shocking tale of teen violence that’s as allegorical in its animalistic imagery as Lord of the Flies and Shohei Imamura’s works, The King of Pigs announces the arrival of a raw, dark, adult-oriented genre of independent animation in Korea that has hitherto only made as shorts. So far, Japanese manga and film arguably cornered the market on school bullying, but Yeun Sang-ho’s screenplay-direction stands out by situating it within the particulars of Korean society. Ugly, pitiless, and mightily provocative in its representation of human debasement, his satire on class inequality burns like acid.

Korean Footballers Playing on European Pitches
Chosun Ilbo

More promising Korean footballers are heading for Europe to sharpen their skills, test themselves against the world’s best players and make their names at the pinnacle of world soccer. Park Ji-sung of Manchester United was the first to successfully settle in and seal his reputation among England’s t…

 

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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

Monday's Link Attack: Steven Yeun, Miss Korea, Erotic Garden

Steven Yeun: ‘The Walking Dead’ aims for my groin
Zap2it

“It seems like ‘The Walking Dead’ just kind of aims for my groin,” Steven Yeun, who spent the latest episode dangling inches above a water-bloated zombie in a well, tells Zap2it.com.

‘Walking Dead’ Creator Talks Steamy Sex Scene
MTV.com

This week’s episode finally turned up the heat and gave us a whole lot of flesh — but not the kind “Walking Dead” heads are typically used to.

We’re talking, of course, about the steamy sex scene between go-to odd-jobs man Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Maggie (Lauren Cohan), daughter of farmer Hershel Greene. After Glenn successfully roped in an incredibly gruesome zombie at the bottom of a well (seriously, did you see that thing? That’s Greg Nicotero at his finest!), the former pizza delivery boy clearly demonstrated enough cojones to win Maggie’s heart — or at least her body. But following the spontaneous sexual encounter, Maggie called it quits, leaving Glenn more than a little bit confused about what just happened.

Google Plans K-Pop Channel, and More?
Wall Street Journal

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul to meet with executives at several major IT companies over the next couple of days. One of the first stops was the Blue House, where he talked with President Lee Myung-bak about cooperation between Korean IT firms and Google, and Mr. Schmidt said Google intends to set up a YouTube channel for Korean pop music, or K-pop.

Judging by the response to a recent series of K-pop concerts around the world, that’ll get plenty of interest online.

Interview: Miss Korea 2011 talks fashion, her new job and plastic surgery
CNNGo

For Miss Korea 2011 Yi Seong Hye, photoshoots, interviews, community service and learning how to do her hair and makeup herself are all part of her weekly official duties as the public relations ambassador for the country.

After spending 13 years in the United States — she attended high school in Boston and is currently on leave from studying at Parsons in New York — Yi had to learn a great deal about Korean culture upon returning to to the country of her birth.

“The pageant was actually not why I returning to Korea,” says Yi, who turns 23 this week.

“I came back to be back with my family and to learn about Korean culture, and then the lucky opportunity of entering the pageant came along.”

Boat With 21 North Koreans Found Off South Korea’s Coast
New York Times

Twenty-one North Koreans, including women and children, were found adrift in a boat off the west coast of South Korea last Sunday and asked for asylum, the South Korean military said Saturday.

The five-ton boat was spotted by a South Korean Navy patrol 23 miles south of the maritime border disputed by North Korea. The people on board were transferred to a maritime police boat and taken to Incheon, a major port outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.

“When they were found, they immediately expressed their intention to defect,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “A joint inquiry team from the related government agencies are investigating what motivated them to defect.”

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N.Korean soldiers shoot refugee in China: activist
AFP via Google News

A refugee was shot dead by North Korean border guards last month after reaching Chinese soil in a strengthened crackdown on escapees, according to a South Korean activist.

“During my trip to a border area on October 22, I witnessed a man shot to death after arriving in China,” Kim Yong-Hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told AFP.

The man in his 40s was apparently shot by the North’s guards from near the northern border city of Hyesan and died in front of Chinese soldiers, he said.

“After a sound of shooting across the river, I saw him groaning and crawling on the ground. Several Chinese soldiers were there but did not care,” Kim said.

8Asians.com Readers Asked, John Cho Responds!
8Asians

Do you think it’s harder for the Asian American community to catch their big break in the biz? Why do you think it is or isn’t? – Anunez587

JC: Obviously, it is. You just look around and it’s a numbers game. There are fewer parts for Asians. The concept of “the big break” is something that works against Asians in that the majority of parts available to Asians aren’t meant to break anyone’s career open — they’re modest roles. So even if a person has a long career, there may have never been a “break.” I don’t know if my career has ever really “broken,” or if I’m just descending step by step. The concept of a break implies these floodgates will open and I don’t even think that has happened for me or Kal.

Korean-Japanese billionaire to give away fortune
Korea Herald

Han Chang-woo, a Korean-Japanese businessman who founded Maruhan Corp., Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors, said Saturday he will donate all his wealth, worth $1.7 billion, to help improve relations between the two countries.

“I’d like to give away all the money I’ve made before I die. I can assure that my personal assets, except for the company to be handed over to my son and some money for my wife, will be used for the inter-development of Korea and Japan,” Han told reporters in Busan.

The 80-year-old Korean immigrant was ranked Japan’s 17th-richest person by Forbes last year with net worth of 132 billion yen ($1.7 billion).

Miele Guide: Korean restaurant finally makes Asia’s Top 20
CNNGo

Seoul took a big step forward as a culinary capital as its chefs won Asia-wide accolades in Singapore last week.

For the first time a Korean restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, was listed among Asia’s Top 20 in The Miele Guide, a compendium of the continent’s finest dining venues, released annually.

Its Jeju pork belly and tilefish dish was highlighted as a great example of what the kitchen talents there can do.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg Opens Up to Flushing
Times Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Flushing that he would try to help do away with the fines Korean business owners receive for storing kimchee at room temperature.

Asian American Sports with Rick Quan: The Darwin Barney Interview
Hyphen

Our friend and sports expert Rick Quan continues his series of interviews with Asian American athletes with a profile of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The quarter-Japanese, quarter-Korean, and half-Caucasian Barney hails from Beaverton, OR where a love of sports was instilled in him by his father who — at 5’6″ — played point guard as a college basketball player and taught his son to never impose limits on his abilities. Check out the video and learn how the 25-year-old grew to love piano once his parents stopped forcing him to take lessons, how he once thought he was Hawaiian, and catch the classic expression on the face of Dan Uggla from the Atlanta Braves as Barney ended his 33-game hitting streak this past August.

NSFW: South Korea Has A Very Naughty Erotic Sculpture Garden
Business Insider

We never really thought of South Korea as a sexually provocative place, so we were pretty surprised when we read about Jeju Love Land, an erotic theme park on Jeju Island.

The park, which opened in 2004, has 140 sculptures of humans and their genitalia, and also shows sex education films.

William Hung Scores Job With L.A. County Sheriff
Billboard.com

America’s favorite American Idol auditionor has found a new gig – with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

After his Season 3 audition performance in 2004 of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, William Hung became a viral hit and received a cult-like following, which led him to numerous talk show appearances, three studio albums, and his primetime television show debut on Fox’s Arrested Development. Now, it appears Hung has made a career shift.

According to TMZ, Hung is working for the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a Technical Crime Analyst, meaning he is analyzing trends and patterns in crimes. This can help law enforcement deploy resources in a more effective manner, as well as playing a role in apprehending suspects, solving crimes, and formulating crime prevention strategies.

Beckman’s Kim keeps coming
Daily Pilot (Irvine, Calif.)

Running back has been a force for the Patriots, who will face Corona del Mar for the Pacific Coast League title on Friday.

Priscilla Ahn – Vibe So Hot
YouTube

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Monday's Link Attack: Doo-Ri Chung, Steven Yeun, John Cho

Designer Doo.Ri on Spring 2012, Illustrators, and Motherhood
StyleCaster

Earlier this week, we told you that Korean-American designer Doo.Ri Chung had just dressed Michelle Obama and is slated to design a capsule collection with Macy’s. At the press preview for her eponymous runway collection and contemporary Under.Ligne line, we had the chance to chat with the articulate, talented designer about her design inspirations, designing for two different markets, and how motherhood has changed her work. Read the interview transcript below, and click through to see our favorite looks from her Spring 2012 runway collection!

The Walking Dead Interview
SFX (U.K.)

Ever had moments when you have been so squeamish you haven’t wanted to do something?
Steven Yeun: I think it’s really cool in our cast that there’s just an understanding that you can’t be a wuss on a show like this. Even if you are squeamish, you can’t show up to work and be squeamish because then you’ll just get razzed from that point on. You just fit the standard that’s been set. That’s what so amazing about this cast.

S. Korean pitcher Park Chan-ho released by Japanese club Orix
Yonhap

South Korean baseball pitcher Park Chan-ho has been released by his Japanese cub Orix Buffaloes.

The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club announced Monday that Park, 38, will not be retained for next season. The right-hander joined the Buffaloes before the 2011 season on a one-year deal.

The former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star pitched only seven games for the Japanese club, and none after June, going 1-5 with an earned run average (ERA) of 4.29. He dealt with assorted injuries all season.

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Nuclear Talks With North Korea Begin in Geneva
New York Times

GENEVA — The United States and North Korea began two days of talks here on Monday that American officials have said will test the ground for a possible resumption of wider discussions on North Korea’s nuclear program.

A convoy of vehicles brought Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, to the United States mission in Geneva exactly on schedule at 10 a.m. for the first round of talks with a team of American negotiators led by President Obama’s special envoy for North Korea policy, Stephen W. Bosworth. Clifford Hart, the American special envoy for the talks, said the American and North Korean delegations met for about two hours and made initial presentations that he described as “useful.”

Head of U.N. Humanitarian Aid Paints Dire Scene in North Korea
New York Times

North Koreans, especially children, urgently need outside aid to fight “terrible levels of malnutrition,” the United Nations’ humanitarian chief said Monday, in an appeal that came amid criticism that both Washington and Seoul were withholding aid for political reasons.

“Six million North Koreans urgently need food aid, but the outside world is not giving enough,” the official, Valerie Amos, said in a press conference after a fact-finding trip to North Korea last week. “We need to remember the most vulnerable people in North Korea are victims of a situation over which they have no control. They are suffering from no fault of their own.”

For New Yorkers, cooking classes demystify Korean cuisine
Yonhap

On a recent Saturday evening, Youngsun Lee, culinary instructor and executive chef of the popular Kimchi Taco Truck, welcomed 12 curious students to “The Korean Plate” cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Manhattan.

Lee started the class by introducing a few basic Korean ingredients, including gochujang (red pepper paste), doenjang (fermented bean paste) and dried anchovies. Along the way, he shared anecdotes about the various ingredients and dishes from his childhood in Korea.

For the next three hours, the students made their first attempt at various Korean recipes, from the most famous dishes such as kimchi and bulgogi to the popular summer dessert of patbingsu, Korean shaved ice with sweet red beans and chewy mini rice cakes.

“These classes help people demystify Korean ingredients and dishes so that they can enjoy Korean food better at home and outside,” said Lee.

The Korean invasion: New Yorkers are screaming for the new wave of pop stars
New York Daily News

Check out this lengthy feature article written by KoreAm contributor David Yi about K-pop’s rabid fans, who descended on New York City for a sold-out concert over the weekend.

On a recent Monday afternoon, hordes of fans outnumbered tourists in Times Square, holding colorful cardboard signs outside of MTV’s TRL studios. The cheers weren’t for Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, but for a group of South Korean acts including B2ST and 4 Minute. One fan issued a familiar cry.

“Oh my God, this is a dream come true!” exclaimed Nicole Asmat, 19, who was part of the lucky audience inside TRL studios. A flood of tears drenched her face after one of her favorite stars held her hand from the stage.

“I haven’t seen this in years,” Peter Griffin, executive vice president at MTV said while peering at the crowd outside. “It reminds me of when ‘N Sync was here and the fans lined up around the studio.”

The OC guy who fought in Libya? Meet him
OCRegister

Chris Jeon did hesitate. But it was just once, he says, and it didn’t involve much soul searching. It worked like this: This summer, Jeon, a UCLA student from Mission Viejo, flew to Egypt. When he landed he headed east, traveling by train, bus and thumb to the front lines of the Libyan civil war.

And he did it all with his usual mix of confidence and more confidence. Then, at the edge of the rebel-held city of Ras Linuf, Jeon was stopped at a checkpoint. He was stuck there overnight, he says, during which he spent maybe 20 minutes wondering what he was doing on the edge of war, alone, thousands of miles from home. But when morning came and he was allowed to pass, whatever questions he’d brushed against were vaporized.

“After that,” Jeon says, “no doubts.”

Violinist Hahn-Bin set to shake up Washington Center
The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.)

Imagine Andy Warhol with Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, Davie Bowie’s makeup, Travis Barker’s hair and Hilary Hahn’s violin technique, and you’ll get an idea of Hahn-Bin.

The young violin star might be 24, Korean-American, transgender and an impressive classical musician, but in the show he’s bringing to Olympia’s Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday he’s trying to get you to think way beyond all that. Beyond Mozart, Gershwin and Piazzolla, in fact – beyond things that divide humanity and into something that connects us.

Whoa, BJ Kang Was A Total Jerk When He Arrested Raj, According To Raj [Rajaratnam]
Business Insider

Apparently when FBI agent BJ Kang arrested Raj, he was a total jerk.

You won’t believe what he said to Raj before he and five agents pulled him away from his family. According to a new interview with Raj in the Daily Beast, when Kang showed up at Raj’s front door in Manhattan at Sutton Place, he told the former hedge fund manager of the Galleon Group –

“Take a good look at your son. You’re not going to see him for a long time. Your wife doesn’t seem so upset. Because she’s going to spend all your money.”

Here’s an interesting profile on the Korean American FBI agent published by Reuters in late 2009.

Sexual Abuse Play – YouTube
TheYoungTurks

Korean-American Gina Kim shares the story of being molested by her uncle and how her mother dismissed the sexual abuse. She made a play out of her tragedy in a autobiographical play called Miss Kim.

Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng Nets 4th Goal of Season for Celtic
Chosun Ilbo

Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng scored his fourth goal of the season in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday to help Celtic beat Aberdeen 2-1.

In front of a raucous home crowd, the 22-year-old netted a well-worked opener for the home side 17 minutes into the game before defender Ryan Jack leveled for Aberdeen on the hour mark.

Korean dance, fashion show leave audience spellbound
Times of Oman

A troupe of Korean dancers with their colourful costumes and beautiful choreography thrilled an audience of women at the Grand Hyatt on Wednesday.

The dancers are part of the Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan, which is on a mission to improve ties between the East-Asian nation and seven Arab countries, including Oman, by showcasing Korean culture.

“When you have a very special friend and you want to feel closer to your friend, you have to show as much as possible about yourself to them, so after this event I hope you’ll feel much closer to my country,” said Choe Jonghyun, Korea’s ambassador to Oman, as he welcomed the audience.

The complete guide to Seoul taxis
CNNGo

Not only are Seoul taxis abundant and convenient (you can pay with credit cards or T-money public transit cards) but most come equipped with GPS navigation systems and Big Brother-esque black boxes to ensure proper conduct of both the driver and the customer.

Whether you’re a first-timer to the city and confused about the colors, or a local who doesn’t know about the change in rates at night, here’s our guide to Seoul’s many taxis.

John Cho: We get very excited about George Takei
7Live (ABC San Francisco)

Harold and Kumar have gone from White Castle to shooting Santa Claus out of the sky in “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.” One-half of the incredibly funny duo, John Cho, stopped by 7Live to chat for a while

John Cho talks about making the Harold and Kumar movies, meeting President Obama, eating dinner with the president of South Korea, showing Star Trek to troops in Iraq, being inspired by George Takei, and how “Flash Forward” came to an end.

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