Niki Yang speaks life into two characters on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.
by CHELSEA HAWKINS
When Niki Yang answers the phone, I’m startled at how much she sounds like the quirky, adorable characters she portrays on TV. Her soft-spoken, easy-on-the-ears sound box provides the voices for Lady Rainicorn and Beemo on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, the odd-ball comedy about a boy, Finn, and his dog, Jake, living in the Land of Ooo, a post-apocalyptic candyland of sorts. It’s a show that finds its flavor in just how random and outlandish every misadventure becomes.
You might say that Yang’s foray into voice acting was a case of being at the right place at the right time. Originally from South Korea, she came to the United States to study animation at CalArts in Valencia, Calif. After she graduated, she found herself working as a storyboard artist for Family Guy, before being tapped by Frederator Studios to work on several animated shorts. While at Frederator, Yang happened to share an office wall with Pendleton Ward, who was developing Adventure Time. The two got to know each other, and Ward asked her one day if she was interested in doing voice acting. Next thing she knew, they cast her as Rainicorn, a giant rainbow-unicorn hybrid creature, and Beemo, the strange yet lovable video game console who thinks he’s a real boy.
Rainicorn speaks solely in Korean throughout the show—and always without subtitles. To humorous effect, characters, save for Jake, do not often understand what Rainicorn is saying, but she happily continues chatting. Meanwhile, Beemo speaks English with a Korean accent in what sounds like a digitally enhanced version of Yang’s calm and pleasant speaking voice. In addition to Adventure Time, Yang also makes frequent voice appearances on Disney Channel’s original series, Gravity Falls, where she plays recurring character Candy Chiu.
Last month, KoreAm spoke with Yang about her adventures on the popular Cartoon Network show and what exactly is behind these so-called “drinking and draw” sessions at work. Continue Reading »
Actress Lee Si-young achieved a dream years in the making when she became a member of the South Korean national boxing team after winning her division at a national tryout, Yonhap News reports.
Lee, most recognizable for her role as Oh Min-ji in popular teen drama Boys Over Flowers, has been in and out of the ring for the last two years. In March 2011 she won her third amateur championship and in July of 2012 Lee came out on top at the Amateur Boxing Federation tournament in her division.
Lee, 31, typically boxes in the 48 kg (105.6 lbs) division. Her win over the younger and bigger Kim Da-som came as a surprise; Lee had recently undergone knee surgery and has had little time to train. Kim dominated the fight for the first two rounds, but “Lee bounced back with a series of straight left punches and right hooks.” Continue Reading »
Kish and Tell
KoreAm taps your favorite sausage-making food truck winners to interview Kristen Kish, the newly crowned winner of Top Chef: Seattle.
interview by CHRIS OH, TED KIM and YONG KIM
Kristen Kish is a happy woman these days. Sleep-deprived, certainly, but over-the-moon happy.
The 29-year-old chef became only the second female to win Top Chef, the popular reality show contest on Bravo that just wrapped its 10th season Feb. 27. Less than a month after the televised win, an excited Kish announced on Twitter that, starting in June, she will be the new chef de cuisine at Menton, the Boston restaurant that boasts Relais & Châteaux status, in addition to a AAA Five-Diamond rating. Menton is part of a restaurant group owned by Barbara Lynch Gruppo, which also runs Stir, where Kish currently works as a chef de cuisine.
Kish, adopted from Korea at age 4 months by a family in Kenton, Mich., took the reality show competition by storm, showing early on her mad skills in the kitchen and quickly emerging as the one to beat. However, she was shockingly booted off in Episode 11, a Restaurant Wars-type episode with Kish leading the female team; she essentially accepted responsibility for the mistakes of a teammate (that Josie!). But Kish, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, battled her way back on the related Last Chance Kitchen web series, where eliminated chefs get a second chance, and became the first Top Chef contestant to win in this comeback fashion. In a tearful moment on the show, she said that she planned to use part of the $125,000 prize money to travel to Korea, so she could explore her heritage.
Kish is the first Korean American to win Top Chef, though there have been Korean Americans who have previously won a food reality show competition. So we at KoreAm thought, who better to interview Kish than those who can relate to her sense of elation, exhaustion and newfound celebrity? Chris Oh and brothers Ted and Yong Kim of the L.A.-based Seoul Sausage Company, who won Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, spoke with Kish by phone last month. Funny enough, both parties took care of business — the interview, that is — from their respective restaurant bathrooms.
Ted Kim: How you doing? Continue Reading »
Filming has begun on a new reality TV show made by the same people who brought you the infamous “K-Town” reality show. But instead of following around the young, soju-swilling, drink-in-the-face throwing denizens of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, we will be privy to a sexier, cleavage-ier subculture: the import car scene of Southern California.
Described as a show that “explores the Asian American youth culture of Southern California and encompasses the underground worlds of import car modeling and go-go dancing,” viewers can expect to see the new show, dubbed “Roll Models” (get it?) sometime this summer via the LOUD channel on YouTube.
It looks like at least six buxom young ladies have been cast so far; the show’s producers said on their Facebook page that some “K-Town” cast members will be featured on the new show. Indeed, cast member Jowe Lee recently tweeted photos of himself with several models at Avec nightclub in Huntington Beach, Calif.
So is this finally a show the horny Asian American gearhead community can rally around? We shall see. Until then, check out the “Roll Models” cast members after the jump: Continue Reading »
North Korea Moves Missile to Coast, but Limited Threat Seen
New York Times
South Korea’s defense chief said on Thursday that North Korea had moved to its east coast a missile with a “considerable” range, but that it was not capable of reaching the United States. The disclosure came as the Communist North’s military warned that it was ready to strike American military forces with “cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.”
North Korea has been issuing a blistering series of similar threats in recent weeks, citing as targets the American military installations in the Pacific islands of Hawaii and Guam, as well as the United States mainland. In its latest threat on Thursday, it did not name targets but said it was authorized to “take powerful, practical military counteractions” against the threats from B-2 bombers from the United States, B-52 bombers from Guam and F-22 Stealth jet fighters from United States bases in Japan that have recently run missions over the Korean Peninsula during joint military exercises with South Korea.
As N. Korean threats intensify, first signs of jitters in the South
This bustling South Korean capital has been defined for decades as a place of traffic jams and luxury shopping malls, long days of work and longer nights of sipping rice liquor. Residents rarely behaved as though their routines could be upended in minutes by the Kim regime to the north and its 10,000 artillery pieces.
But after years of largely ignoring threats from North Korea, some residents say they are becoming a bit jittery, with the ascension of an unpredictable young leader in Pyongyang and levels of fury not seen since the early 1990s.
Calls in South Korea for Envoy to North
Wall Street Journal
As North Korea’s barrage of war-like threats shows no sign of easing, some South Korean policy makers are cautiously suggesting that their government move more actively to bring the tension to a peaceful end, with some calling for Seoul to send a representative to the North.
“As part of pre-emptive diplomacy, we should consider sending a special envoy to North Korea,” Chung Woo-taik, one of six members of the Supreme Council of the ruling New Frontier Party, said Thursday in an interview. “We need to deal with them sternly should there be any provocation, but at the same time, we need to open various channels including an envoy to find out what their true intentions are.”
Family a Priority for Immigration Reform Advocates
Immigration reform advocates are pushing Congress to be inclusive of immigrants’ families when drafting immigration reform.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) kicked off a month-long photography contest Tuesday to highlight the role of family in immigrant communities. The contest “We Are America, America Is Home” seeks to create a visual narrative of all types of families who call the United States home.
Participants are encouraged to submit photos online by April 30, 2013. Photos will be shared with members of Congress and used to promote NAKASEC’s family campaign, according to NAKASEC staff.
‘The Walking Dead’ actor, K-College grad Steven Yeun talks strippers, basketball and Michigan on Conan O’Brien
Yeun now lives in Atlanta, Ga., where the NCAA college basketball Final Four will be held this weekend. The University of Michigan is one of four teams left in the tournament, which is broadcast by CBS and its sister stations, including TBS, home of Conan O’Brien’s show.
Yeun seems to have a natural chemistry with the talk show host. He appeared last year and poked fun at himself for his lack of facial hair. During his latest spot on the show, he donned something similar to a mustache.
Among the highlights of his stint on Conan O’Brien, Yeun cited the Clermont Lounge, a strip club, as one of his favorite places in Atlanta. He also talked about basketball. O’Brien asked if he was excited about the Wolverines. Yeun said yes but added, “Personally, I root for Michigan State with basketball.”
Psy’s “Gentleman” [music video] to star Yoo Jae Suk, Noh Hong Chul, HaHa, and Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga In?
Remember Psy‘s epic performance during ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve‘ with Yoo Jae Suk, Noh Hong Chul, and HaHa? Well if you enjoyed the trio performing alongside Psy, you’ll be glad to hear that they’ll be featured in Psy’s “Gentleman” MV!
Yoo Jae Suk and Noh Hong Chul already made cameos in the video for “Gangnam Style“, but now HaHa will join them to add to the fun in the highly anticipated music video!
The trio have been confirmed by YG Entertainment themselves through a press release, so we can expect them for sure. In addition, it’s rumored that the female singer who will join Psy this time around is none other than Brown Eyed Girls‘ Ga In, who also has a solo comeback of her own coming up.
Tokimonsta Leaves the Nest
But [Jennifer] Lee’s career is proceeding apace. Half Shadows is her second full-length LP and first on dance-music label Ultra, whose roster includes David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris. These are, perhaps, strange bedfellows for an elite member of L.A.’s electronic underground; indeed, she initially rebuffed offers from the EDM mega-label. She eventually relented, however, when Ultra “convinced me that they cared.”
“Nothing is overbearing,” she says of the deal. “They’re not trying to put scantily clad girls all over my album.”
This major-label release brings Tokimonsta to audiences far beyond the Low End scene. At least, she hopes it does. “Everyone wants to go beyond the beat scene,” Lee says. “If they don’t say it publicly, they’re thinking it.”
Reds to keep Choo as permanent center fielder
As the Reds adjust to an outfield without injured left fielder Ryan Ludwick, there was no thought from manager Dusty Baker in moving Shin-Soo Choo over from center field.
Choo, who was acquired in an offseason trade from the Indians, was primarily a corner outfielder throughout his career. Ludwick’s replacement in left field, Chris Heisey, has extensive experience in center field.
Orange Fanatics: Chris Kang is the biggest SU fan living in South Korea
I may be a typical 30-year-old Korean man who works at a Korean corporate company in Seoul, but I promise I am the biggest Syracuse University supporter in Korea, maybe in whole Asia.
My father is a public administration professor here, and I first got to see SU basketball when I was in second grade of elementary school when my father took my family to Syracuse University as an exchange professor. We lived in Syracuse from late 1989 to 1992 and I attended the public elementary school in that area.
My father took me to the Carrier Dome for the first time in 1990, and I was just fascinated by what I witnessed. I was an 8-year-old who didn’t know much about basketball at that time, but after I saw Dave Johnson make a reverse dunk I was deeply tied with Orange basketball forever. I just fell in love with the style of the team and the atmosphere of the Dome at such a young age.
The Masters: John Huh talks about his first time
John Huh recently talked to me about his first trip to the Masters. Huh qualified by finishing in the top 30 of the 2012 PGA Tour money list (28th).
Kyle Porter: What are you most excited about in playing your first Masters?
John Huh: The thing I’m most excited about is … playing the Masters, you know? Playing one of the most historical golf tournaments and courses.
Porter: Have you played the course before?
Huh: No. I had a chance to go out there the week of the Arnold Palmer, but I didn’t.
Porter: Why did you choose not to go?
Huh: I was kind of burned out playing golf, so I was trying to take it slow.
Here’s the Cover of L.A. Son, Roy Choi’s Upcoming Book
Hot off the Eaterwire, here’s the cover for Los Angeles chef Roy Choi’s upcoming book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food. The book, which was co-written by Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan with photos by Bobby Fisher, will be the second publication from Anthony Bourdain’s line of books for Ecco. (The first is Daniel Vaughn’s Prophets of Smoked Meat, out in May.)