Tag Archives: TV

Kimchi copy

VIDEO: The Kimchi Slap Is The Best Revenge

by JAMES S. KIM

Dexter Morgan has seen his share of blood splatter. But would he be able to handle kimchi splatter?

MBC’s Everybody Kimchi! explores the phenomenon of assault with a fermented weapon to the juiciest extent. The South Korean TV show is set in the kimchi industry, and like the dish itself, we can only imagine the drama is just as spicy.

In a recent episode, Won Ki-jun’s character plays a big-shot jerk lawyer who betrays the woman’s daughter. In perhaps one of the best redemption/revenge scenes ever, he gets what’s coming to him. The mother takes an entire cabbage head of kimchi and gives the guy a thorough whack. Move over, Oldboy.

The slap occurs at about the 1:30 mark.

Anyone else feel worse for his white shirt than for him getting kimchi juice all up in his ear and office? And by the way, what’s up with the printer in the back shooting out a sheet of paper just as the slap occurs?

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We understand that face: cleaning up spilled kimchi is like dealing with a radiation leak. Also, the shirt. The poor shirt.

For those who can’t get enough, here’s the kimchi slap over and over for one minute.

Image via Kotaku

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May Cover Story: Sandra Oh Opens Up About Her Decision to Leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Oh, the Places She’ll Go
Sandra Oh makes the bold decision to depart Grey’s Anatomy. The actress opens up about her two decades long career,
 half of which was spent on the highly popular ABC medical drama, and the other bold chances she’s ready to take.

by JIMMY LEE
Photographs by LEVER RUKHIN

Do you know, by the time you’re reading this, that Sandra Oh’s run on the hit ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy has come to an end? That with the season 10 finale, which aired on May 15, you will no longer be able to watch fresh episodes that feature an ambitious, hard-driving surgeon named Cristina Yang glowing from the small screen? That there will be one less stereotype-defying character that a magazine like this one can cite as the type of representation we wish American television presented on a more regular basis?

Last summer, Sandra made the announcement that this would be her final year on what has proven to be a groundbreaking series, with its diverse casting and storylines. And as season 10 wound toward its conclusion, the producers of Grey’s Anatomy amped up the suspense as to just how Dr. Cristina Yang would no longer be running around Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. One episode that aired in late March put her future front and center, as it tinkered with the space-time continuum and posited different potential flash-for- wards for Dr. Yang’s life.

It also allowed Sandra to give at least one more bravura performance, as her character was tested with one of life’s quandaries: what comes first, career or love? What do you choose to be your life’s priorities? The title of that episode: “Do You Know?”

Do you know, if you were in a similar situation, what you would choose? Would you stay in a job that provided stability, accolades and tremendous perks (like hanging out with one of your favorite bands—in this case, Wilco—because the lead singer’s wife is a big fan of the show), or would you leave because you wanted to continue to challenge yourself and grow as an artist and person? Would you be willing to give up the $350,000 per episode that Sandra reportedly was earning (along with two other original co-stars, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey)? With over 20 episodes a season, that’s turning away at least $7 million a year.

Our lives are defined by the choices we make. The problem is, of course, that we don’t know, that only hindsight is 20/20, and we have no idea how our decisions today will play out over the course of our lives.

“It’s taken me 20 years to realize that I was so lucky to get a huge demand of work at the very beginning of my career, and how that set the template for everything,” says a reflective Sandra, 42, armed with hindsight clarity of a now two-decades long acting career.

Sandra’s journey here—to this place where her departure from a show makes headlines and causes TV bloggers to speculate endlessly about how her beloved character will be written out of the show—is the product of a series of pivotal choices she made, long predating this latest high-profile judgment call.

A proud Canadian, by way of Ottawa, Sandra knew early on that she wanted to be an actor, the first spark being ballet lessons and a love of performing before an audience. Then, at age 8, she saw a touring show of Annie, and the torch was lit.

“I really remember it quite viscerally, being in like the nosebleed seats, and I’m seeing those kids perform on stage, saying, ‘Oh my god, what the f-ck is that?’” Sandra recalls, as we share a pizza at a Los Angeles cafe in late February. At a few points during our conversation, which spans a discussion about everything from favorite bands (Wilco is apparently the soundtrack of her early life in L.A.) to the importance of meditation, she squeals delightedly about the fact that there’s potato on her pizza.

“And then I started acting when I was about 10,” she continues. “And during that kind of transition-y time, I really wanted to be a dancer, but I wasn’t good enough to be a dancer.

“And you know, that time is when you audition for the professional schools, and, no, I wasn’t good [enough]. And so I started acting.”

From that point on, she would perform in school plays and join an improv team at her high school. Then, instead of matriculating into one of two colleges where she gained admission, the University of Toronto and Carleton University, she opted instead to attend the National Theatre School of Canada. Her first big project after graduating was the title role in The Diary of Evelyn Lau, a TV docudrama based on the writings of a 14-year-old runaway who gets involved with drugs and prostitution. Her performance would earn Sandra a slew of awards and acclaim in not only Canada but also France. It would also set off an impressive string of roles for the young actress, including the lead protagonist in Double Happiness, directed by Mina Shum—her performance as a non-filial Chinese Canadian would garner Sandra a Genie, the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar.

“Canada is much different than the United States,” notes Sandra, “because I never felt doors closed to me in Canada, as [in] who is the teller of the story. And I have felt it [in the U.S.]”

Sandra moved to Los Angeles in 1996, and despite some of those closed doors, managed in about six months time to land a role in Arli$$, an HBO series starring Robert Wuhl—not to mention a work permit (remember, she’s Canadian).

She played Rita Wu, the quirky assistant to sports agent Arliss Michaels, played by Wuhl, for seven seasons. There was also Sideways, the unexpected hit film that impacted America’s wine- drinking habits, co-written and directed by Sandra’s ex-husband, Alexander Payne. And, then, of course, came along a new medical drama called Grey’s Anatomy.

Grey’s Anatomy, it changed all of our lives,” says Sandra, referring to herself and the ensemble cast. “And it was an extremely stressful time. And
in those times, it’s very difficult to see what’s happening in the present moment. It’s only 10 years later when I get to say, ‘Oh, I remember the first year was so magical in a way.’ … And then it was like a rush for the next three or four years, until, quite honestly, the writers’ strike, and then we had a break. And then there was another section for the next few years, and now I feel like the past two years have been a section of time where it was like the end of work and the decision to leave.

“It’s like leaving a relationship in a really healthy way,” she says. “It’s like, ‘OK, I’m not growing in this relationship anymore. I love you, I know you love me, and I have to move on.’ … That’s the closest thing I can relate it to, you know, because it’s all about relationships.”

If Sandra sounds like a person who has been doing some deep self- reflection over the years, she has. She talks passionately about meditation, and how just sitting on a mat with other like-minded people who invite peace and gratitude into their lives have been so beneficial to her, as an artist and a spiritual person.

“I think that with time and introspection, when you’re taking time out to sit on a mat, you’re able to kind of forge a strong relationship with gratitude and purpose. But let me tell you, when I was in my 20s, I couldn’t see any- thing. I think it has to do with youth, as well, and I was just extremely driven. And it’s not driven by anything other than the need to act, you know? But I think that’s what time and particularly the experience of Grey’s Anatomy—basically having the safety of having a job, and being in a job for 10 years— [have changed].”

And that time and introspection led her to a place where she could comfortably say she was ready to leave the stability of this job that had won her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild statuettes, not to mention a legion of fans who embraced Cristina Yang’s fierce independence, sass and dry wit. A female character who didn’t feel the need to identify herself by the traditional tropes of wife and mother.

“All I can say when I made the decision, the feeling was,” Sandra says, then pauses a beat. “I’ve done my job. I have explored this character in every single direction, and now I need to grow. The reason I was able to come to that [decision] was because they wrote me such great stuff. And I feel like TV is where it’s at. Because, as an actor, you have the experience and the opportunity to fully flesh out a character.”

That kind of character development can’ t be accomplished in a two-hour movie, or even in a TV series that lasts a few seasons, she says. “My god, I got to have an experience that most actors never have.”

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Growth as an artist and actor is obviously of monumental import to Sandra. Even with numerous movie credits and awards on her resume, she still takes acting classes. “One, I love it,” Sandra explains. “And two, I love it. I always want to grow.

“I feel like it’s not about producing, it’s not about getting better, it’s not about getting anything right. I’m at that place in my life where I’m not interested in that anymore. I’m interested more in the bigger mystery of it all, and how we can translate that to our work.”

She adds, “I’m a very process- oriented gal.”

Clearly, she is passionate about her craft, and that fuels a work ethic that her castmates admire.

“She’s very vigilant,” says Kevin McKidd, who has played her love interest Dr. Owen Hunt for the last few seasons. “Her scripts are completely covered in Post-It notes. It’s really inspiring to see a very established, confident actor very much engaged in the process.”

There are others, however, who choose to take advantage of Sandra’s fastidiousness.

“I make fun of how she keeps her scripts—so many Post-It notes! And I enjoy removing them!” says Chandra Wilson, another original cast member who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey, as well as prankster on the set.

“[Sandra] can’t stand it,” says Wilson, with a hearty laugh. “She always knows where to go, who did it.”

Wilson adds, “It’s all in good fun.” But she did refrain from teasing Sandra when shooting the “Do You Know?” episode; Wilson was its director.

“I was so incredibly honored to be entrusted with that responsibility,” Wilson says. So there was little time for her hijinks. “I didn’t make her break character. I was very good. I knew that it was really important to her, so I didn’t want to take that away. So we were good.”

When asked what she’ll miss about Sandra, Wilson replies, “We share our commitment not only to the product that we put out, but to the morale of production, to the morale of crew. We enjoy keeping that atmosphere up and lively and fun, and I think it’s because of our shared theater background.”

And she has no concerns regarding Sandra’s future. “Sandra, bless her heart, is an actress who has been fortunate enough to be on series television for almost 20 years, you know, because Arli$$ was on for seven seasons before Grey’s started. There’s all kinds of movie opportunities I know that are in her future. And television is always there,” says Wilson. “That’s kind of what you want at the end of the day, to be able to make choices as opposed to just having to take whatever you can just to work. That’s not the life she’s going to have to live, and that’s a nice position to be in.”

Sandra does have a few commitments post-Grey’s. She has a role in the upcoming summer film Tammy, to be released in early July. It’s a vehicle for Melissa McCarthy of Bridesmaids fame and The Heat, and in it Sandra is married to Kathy Bates. “We are in what I think is becoming a classic coupling—the gay couple are the normal, stable people in the world,” describes Sandra.

And after a short break from finishing Grey’s, Sandra will return to the theater, at Chicago’s Victory Gardens, and star in a production of Death and the Maiden that opens June 13. Written by Ariel Dorfman, it’s a play about torture and betrayal.

“[Sandra] read the play and fell in love with it,” says Chay Yew, Victory Gardens’ artistic director, as well as the director for Death and the Maiden. “She was a little, I would say, challenged by it, because it’s a very dark play. She said, ‘I need to do this.’ ”

Beyond that, there are no specific plans that Sandra offers up. But she does describe some types of characters that she wants to play. And, her choices, they just might raise a few eyebrows.

“I don’t mind playing the Korean prostitute, not at all,” says Sandra. Immigrant Korean shop owners and dry cleaners are also on that list.

“The next step for me is not about portraying how we’ re the same; it’ s about portraying our differences, exactly who we are,” she says.

This notion of our racial differences was one subject matter in which she thinks Grey’s Anatomy could have delved into more. “I will say, Grey’s Anatomy has never dealt with race. And that was up to [creator Shonda Rhimes].”

One of the reasons that the show is so admired is that it depicts a multicultural environment where the color of your skin or ethnicity is not a factor—it is the idealized post-racial society. But in a reality where race is still an issue and that it does indeed cause friction and animus, there is territory that Sandra thinks can be explored for dramatic and comedic purposes.

“It bummed me out because I feel like, this could be a great story idea, or even like a joke. But [Grey’s Anatomy’s producers] would not go for it, because it was a show choice.”

Photo courtesy of ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Photo courtesy of ABC/Danny Feld

So Sandra is choosing to venture into some uncharted territory on her own. She describes an audition— “one of my worst auditions ever, but not because I was bad”—where she based her performance on a Korean grocery owner she came across in New York City. “She was mean, super New York-y. And I thought, I want to play that woman one day,” says Sandra. “And I had an opportunity to fold that [store owner] into another character I was auditioning for. So I did it all, like hair and makeup—because she was kind of over the top—and I did it all in accent. And I think [the casting people] were horrified.”

The idea of the immigrant being distinct intrigues her. “When I felt like I was trying to introduce that as a possibility for a character, a possibility as a comedic character, I think it freaked people out. Because, first, I think, it came across as racist. I’m like, no, we’re just not ready for it yet. We’re not ready to actually play our own, with our familial accents, you know?

“It is so hard having characters with accents. We don’t pay attention to the fact that we’re around people who have accents all the time. And somehow it is rarely translated onto screen.”

For decades, it seems Asian American actors have fought for the opportunity to play people who, like themselves, are ethnically Asian but speak perfect English. This is the part of the story where I note the irony of someone who just finished playing for a decade the ideal of what an Asian American actor can portray might be suggesting we take a step back.

“It’s not regressive at all,” says Sandra, “because, I think creatively that [New York store owner’s] story has never been told, not properly. That’s the shift we need to make; that the story is about ourselves. … I feel like now I’m interested in telling the story about, you know, an aunt and uncle who opened up a dry cleaners store. We still need to move stuff ahead.”

And if anyone is to be at the forefront of doing that, playing the immigrant store owner in an authentic, non-stereo- typical way, it’s probably Sandra.

Despite being a self-identifying Canadian Korean, what she has accomplished over the last 20 years has elevated her, in many ways, to be a role model for many Korean Americans, and Asian Americans, in her field.

The playwright Chay Yew, who is Chinese American, puts it this way: “[Sandra] has done years of trailblazing work, and that’ s wonderful. We need more [Asian Americans] to do it as well.

“What we [need to] do as diverse Americans is to cultivate the next generation leaders of color, as well as women, who will be able to open more doors. And Sandra has been nothing but a great symbol of what is possible.”

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This article was published in the May 2014 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe 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).

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March Issue: Actor Christopher Larkin Co-Stars in New CW Series ‘The 100′

One in a Hundred

TV and stage actor Christopher Larkin joins the cast of a new CW sci-fi series.

by RUTH KIM

Korean American actor Christopher Larkin makes no secret of his distaste for roles that perpetuate Asian American stereotypes. But he’s also the first to admit that, when you’re hungry for work, it isn’t always so easy to avoid those jobs.

“It’s a catch-22 of sorts. Sometimes those are the only roles available,” says the 26-year-old. “It takes strength. You know, I was waiting tables and working as a doorman in Times Square, and you would do anything to get out of those jobs. It takes a lot of willpower and not forgetting the power to say no, which is the only power you have, especially with your representatives trying to look out for you and progress your career. And at the same time, while you’re trying to progress your personal career, you’re progressing the image of Asian Americans. So, it’s a battle between that.”

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Well, Larkin appears to be managing that battle quite well these days, sticking to his principles while also landing an exciting new—and non-stereotypical—role as a series regular on the new post-apocalyptic CW series The 100, premiering March 19. 

When KoreAm spoke with the actor last month, he had just received confirmation of his character’s last name. Larkin plays Monty Green (“same spelling as the color”), one of 100 juvenile delinquents who are sent back down to the nuclear-war-destroyed Earth to see if the planet is habitable again. Surviving members of mankind have been living in a space station called the Ark, but when resources and oxygen start running low, leaders decide to unleash the 100.

“He’s a delinquent because of certain substances that he grew and harvested on the Ark, and that’s the crime that makes him expendable,” Larkin says of his character. The network has also described Monty as “a sweet, funny and likable kid who is the furthest thing from a delinquent.”

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Before the series came along, Larkin admits he was already a fan of sci-fi. “I was drawn to it from the get-go, but this is my first series, [so] to be honest, I would have been excited at any show!” he says.

The actor gushes about the impressive visual effects featured on the show, which is shot in Vancouver, Canada. “Visually, it’s absolutely stunning,” Larkin says. “I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a world envisioned post-holocaust, so I think everyone has their own idea of what that is. It features the environment, certain creatures that are affected because they were left behind.”

Raised in Hebron, Conn., for most of his childhood, Larkin seems to have gravitated toward a career in acting early on. He played Hamlet in his middle school’s production of the Shakespeare play and attended a performing arts high school, which would further nurture his passion for the craft. Growing up in such a small town, Larkin was often one of the only, if not the sole, Asian at his schools. His upbringing is also painted by the fact that he was born in Daegu, South Korea, and adopted at age 4 months by an Irish father and French Canadian mother.

“I think it can impact people in different ways,” Larkin says of his background. “You know, there are always stories about people who are negatively impacted by growing up in like an all-white society.”

But, fortunately, he describes his own upbringing as positive. “It gave me a great background, and so, I didn’t have any issues with it.”

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YOMYOMF fans may recognize Larkin from his role as “Bobby” from the YouTube comedy Squad 85, and the actor also had a role in the return of the series 90210. With a background in stage, having studied theater at Fordham University, Larkin also never strays too far from that platform. In addition to working on The 100, he is preparing for the production of Fast Company at New York City’s Ensemble Studio Theater, premiering on March 17, just two days before The 100’s debut. It’s a modern-day whodunit where members of one family are all going after the con of the decade.

Larkin says he’s enjoying doing both TV and stage work, each of which offers different challenges and rewards.

“With TV, the great thing is that it constantly stays fresh—you do a scene one day, and then it’s gone, you’re onto the next one, and you let go of all of the lines. And then you get to watch it at anytime! It’s preserved,” says Larkin.  “With The 100, sometimes we have some really long days, longer than when you’re rehearsing a play, but it’s just the muscle needed to do a full piece of theater. It’s exhausting, I took a nap before this [interview]! I couldn’t help it. I got home and just crashed. It’s just a bit more intensive going through a play and running scenes over and over for months. But I think the ideal world would to be able to do both.”

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This article was published in the March 2014 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

 

Friday's Link Attack: Tiger JK, Sandra Oh, Margaret Cho

Asian Rapper Set to Roar Across L.A.
L.A. Times

Now, there’s no denying his talent. As MC Tiger JK (he declines to confirm his given name or age, though most fan sites refer to him as Seo Jung-Kwon), he’s perhaps the most popular Korean rapper in America, Asia and the world. By reinterpreting the brash appeal of L.A. gangsta rap for Korean audiences, he and his Drunken Tiger crew have alternately scandalized and intrigued their audience for nearly two decades.

Drunken Tiger’s Friday show at the Wiltern, “The Jungle Concert in L.A.” (featuring an extended bill of Korean hip-hop peers including his wife, Korean American R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae, rap acts Lee Ssang, Bizzy and vocalist Jung In), might codify a scene that thrives at a difficult flashpoint between many different cultures. They want to represent Korea and their genre without pandering to stereotypes about Asian pop, and they want to be taken seriously as rappers in America without relying on their outsider status.

Sandra Oh on North Korean Refugee Adoption Act
Channel APA

The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, would allow Americans to adopt refugee orphans who have fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to neighboring countries such as Mongolia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. These children are struggling in harsh circumstances, and run the risk of being sent back to DPRK. According to the World Food Program, DPRK faces regular food shortages, and one in three North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.

David Chang, the Rock Star of Ramen, Goes Global
USA Today

And now, only seven years after opening that first noodle bar in a former chicken wing joint the size of a one-car garage, Chang is going global.

He opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first eatery outside New York, late last month — going all the way to Sydney, Australia to do it. Next year, a Toronto outpost opens — it will be his sixth, not counting the four Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries run by his protege, Christina Tosi. The second edition of his admired food quarterly, Lucky Peach (that’s English for the Japanese “momofuku”), has just come out. He’s still tinkering with the iPad app.

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S. Korea HIV patients battle AIDS, and bias
CBS News

On Monday, UNAIDS appointed Hong Myung-bo, one of South Korea’s most famous soccer players, as an International Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Korea and the rest of Asia.

His appointment is promising news because people living with the disease in Korea are fighting an uphill battle against intangible forces that cannot be conquered with medicine and money alone.

As of December 2010, about 7,200 people in Korea were known to be living with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a country with a population of almost 49 million that means just 0.015% of South Koreans are living with HIV.

However, experts estimate that the actual number of people who live with the virus may be five to ten times greater than the official count.

Widespread misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination surrounding the illness have pushed HIV patients to the fringes of Korean society, say experts and activists. The fear of being exposed and ostracized is strong.

300 Homeless Men in Cleveland Enjoy Korean American Association Hospitality and Goodwill Gesture
Cleveland Plain Dealer

It’s the second year the Korean American Association has served dinner and provided clothing to Northeast Ohio’s homeless men. The idea was a brainstorm of association president Sam Kim.
“We did this last year and provided blankets for these men,” Kim said. “It was a joy for us to see how happy these men were then, and we knew we had to do this again. But we couldn’t do this alone . . . we had 10 Korean churches who helped support this event.”

Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD
OC Weekly

Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she’s provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want. From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package.

From rags to riches, South Korea hosts forum on international aid
Los Angeles Times

For South Korea, the fact that the southern port city of Busan played host Tuesday to the start of a three-day forum on global aid strategies is no less than a “rags to riches” story.

In 1963, still reeling from a war that a decade earlier had ravaged the Korean peninsula, South Korea, with a per capita income of just $89, was a major recipient of global aid, making it one of the world’s least-developed countries.

That was then; this is now.

Today, Busan is the world’s fifth-largest commercial port and the nation’s economy is the world’s 13th largest.

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Top Chef Texas Recap – Week 3

by Monica Y. Hong

This week our two Korean American chefs, Beverly Kim and Edward Lee, give us a taste of their cooking styles and personalities as we finally get to see them duke it out on Top Chef Texas.

As Beverly is getting ready at the Top Chef house for the first day of real competition, she unfolds a piece of paper and places it up on her mirror.

“I printed out a sheet that says, ‘Congratulations, Beverly Kim Clark!!!! You have won Top Chef Season 9 and $125,000!!!!!’ I look at it everyday. If I can believe it, I’m going to achieve it. I keep telling myself that.” Another week, another trusty piece of paper. Last week’s “I CAN I MUST I WILL” worked out for her so all I can say is to each his own.

The 16 “cheftestants” enter the kitchen for their first quickfire challenge only to be met with a terrarium filled with snakes. Each chef has a small covered box in front of them that contains a succulent serpentine surprise. They have to cook up some rattlesnake in one hour, with the best viper winning them immunity and $5,000. Sssuper! Continue reading

Top Chef Recap: Beverly Kim Cleans Up

by Monica Y. Hong

This week on Top Chef Texas we finally got to meet our other Korean American hopeful, Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in Chicago. With Chef Edward Lee “on the bubble” following last week’s season premiere, Chef Kim’s performance is vital to our getting at least one KA into the top 16. No pressure.

Ten ingredients are presented to 10 chefs in the third and final group to decide who goes to the round of 16. Choosing from a variety of ingredients such as oxtail, brussel sprouts and rice, our girl Beverly goes with octopus.

The chefs are separated into three groups based on the amount of cooking time they are allotted for their chosen ingredient. Chef Kim is part of the third group and will have a full hour to prepare her eight-tentacled friend.

“Tom and Hugh are walking around the kitchen so I’m just feeling a little nervous and scared,” Kim says. But she doesn’t look scared when she starts tearing apart the octopus with her bare hands. Despite being a petite chef, she shows no signs of fear or weakness. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clap Your Hands to the Geek
Hyphen

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

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

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

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

Q&A – Steven Yeun (Glenn)
AMCTV.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More US states accept Korean drivers
Korea Times

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

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

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

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

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

So the race is on, right? Not exactly.

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

South Korea’s High-Tech Arsenal
Chosun Ilbo

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

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

FYI.

South Korea’s wasted youth
BBC News

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

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

South Korea’s Exam Suicides
Al Jazeera via YouTube

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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