Epik High Set to Take Over North America

Atlanta. Dallas. Chicago. Seattle. San Francisco. Los Angeles. New York City. Toronto. Vancouver.

Fans and sponsors in each of these cities are gearing up for the biggest concert tour by a Korean artist in five years. Beginning next week, venues across North America will host hip-hop trio Epik High on their first tour on this side of the Pacific in six years. Demand for tickets in some cities have created the need for additional performances, and ecstatic fans living in areas that rarely see Korean artists are proving that the hallyu wave continues to sweep the nation.

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KTOWN Market Night in Los Angeles – April 18-19

KTOWN NIGHT MARKET PRESENTED BY CITY OF LOS ANGELES
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LOS ANGELES – KTOWN Night Market & Seoul Sausage Company is proud to announce their food truck line-up’s

headliners for the two-day community festival that is to be held at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools on April 18th and 19th. The headliners will consist of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” champions from all three seasons: Grill ‘Em All (Season 1), The Lime Truck (Season 2), and Seoul Sausage Company (Season 3). While all three of the winning trucks hail from Los Angeles, KTOWN Night Market will mark the first time that they will be together in what is expected to be one of the greatest food truck line-ups ever to be assembled in Koreatown. The roster also includes favorites, such as Jogasaki Sushi Burrito, Fluff Ice, CoolHaus, Bowled & Beautiful, East LA Tacos, White Rabbit, India Jones, and Belly Bombz.

Due to its strong ties to Koreatown as well as its signature Korean BBQ flavors, Seoul Sausage Company was selected to be the official curator of KTOWN Night Market’s food truck line-up. Upon receiving an overwhelming response from other food trucks wanting to be a part of the event, KTOWN Night Market and Seoul Sausage are opening up “The Last Truck” contest, where the public will be able to vote in their favorite truck from eight finalists. Voting begins March 24thon the KTOWN Night Market’s Facebook page. Food trucks interested in becoming a finalist can find more information on the contest and the application process at

http://www.KTOWNnightmarket.com/thelasttruck.

For more information on KTOWN Night Market, please visit http://www.KTOWNnightmarket.com or connect with us Facebook.com/KTOWNnightmarket .

2PM, Girls’ Day, CNBlue and more coming to Los Angeles this spring – for free!

On February 13th, the Korean-American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA) partnered up with broadcasting company KBS America to announce the KBS ‘Open Music (열린음악회)’ K-Pop Festival being held at LA Memorial Colosseum on April 12. The event was created to commemorate the 111th anniversary of Koreans immigrating to North America. It will include various activities and a three-hour K-Pop concert. The concert will be recorded and aired on KBS America two weeks later on April 27th at 5 PM. Fourteen acts will perform in total, and so far, major K-Pop acts 2PM, Shinee, Sistar, CNBlue, Dynamic Duo, Girls’ Day, Kim Taewoo, Sul Woondo, and Song Soohee have all been confirmed. The festival will open its doors at 5 PM, and the concert is scheduled to begin at 5:30 PM. Details on ticket distribution are still in development – though it’s safe to say that with such a hot roster, the 100,000-seat venue will more than likely fill up quickly. Stay tuned for further announcements! Source: Korea Daily

[KKONNECT FIELD TRIP] U-KISS: The First US Tour @ Club Nokia, Los Angeles (01/14/14)

Over the span of five years, K-Pop group U-KISS has become one of the top acts to come out of the Hallyu scene. Despite various changes in line-up, the boys have enjoyed success both within and outside of Korea, with sub-units, solo efforts, and songs recorded in Korean, Japanese, and English. Members have appeared in various Korean movies and dramas, and more recently, even sported silly suits in their cameo for popular balladeer Lim Chang-jung’s comedic “Open The Door” music video. Needless to say, when K-Konnect found out U-Kiss was coming to Los Angeles on the final night of their first US tour, we weren’t exactly “Standing Still”. (Sorry, that was hard to resist.)

The evening began with a solid stream of popular U-KISS songs – ranging from the R&B-inspired “Stop Girl” to latest single “She’s Mine”. The high energy of attending ‘KissMe’ fans was clearly reflected in the group’s opening performance, the six members quickly moving through some of their most popular choreography as the audience clapped and – not-so-surprisingly – screamed along. Just by looking around the venue, it was evident there were quite a number of diehard fans in attendance, having seemingly waited for the group’s US arrival for some time. Several of which brought along large posters written out in Hangul in support of their favorite U-KISS member. Some fans sitting on the second level even hung streamers over the balcony far before the show started, adding to the welcoming spirit of the crowd.

After a brief introduction by all, Eli and AJ took the stage as sub-unit uBEAT, accompanied by group vocalist Kevin. Their single “Should Have Treated You Better” was the title track on a sub-unit mini album released last year and showcased the lyrical strength of the two rappers. Following uBeat was an impressive duet by two of the group’s main vocalists, Soohyun and Hoon. The live singing was both powerful and controlled as they moved through the song “More Painful Than Pain”, making the news revealed later in the show of an eventual ballad sub-unit worth the anticipation. Wrapping up the segment was “Obsession”, an electro-dance track performed by AJ and Kiseop. Bringing the audience back up to their feet after the previous song, the two even made their way through the crowd to dance along with audience members standing closer to the stage.

Prior to the event, those who purchased select seats to the concert were given the opportunity to submit a question for U-KISS to read and answer on stage during the show. These questions, written out on Post-It notes, were rolled out on a large chalkboard to allow members a chance to review them all before deciding which one they would choose. Some Post-Its – namely “Eli, can you twerk for us?” and “Please give us your abs.” – were quickly disregarded, while others were happily responded to. Within the segment, fans were given a preview of AJ’s latest rap (tentatively titled “She’s Mine”), a brief dance performance of “DoraDora” from Kiseop, and Eli’s exaggerated impression of Kiseop’s choreography made popular during their Japanese tour. Lucky fans were even serenaded by their favorite members, with Soohyun and Kevin singing a capella versions of their solo songs “Snowman” and “My Reason”, respectively.

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Following the Q&A session, U-KISS then went into a performance of their Japanese singles, “Tick Tack” and “Forbidden Love”, before announcing another fan contest planned prior to the show. Fans were invited to submit essays to the group’s label about why they should be chosen as a ‘KissMe’ Super Fan. The winner, one for each stop of the tour, would be able to meet U-KISS on stage and be serenaded by them directly. Excerpts from the Los Angeles winner’s entry were read allowed before she was brought on stage. A self-declared ‘KissMe Mom’, Chauntelle was a 40-year-old writer and motivational speaker who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008. While in convalescence several years later, during what was described as the lowest point of her life, she discovered U-KISS. Instantly becoming a fan of their music and varied personalities, she was given the motivation to continue toward recovery. Only needing slight assistance from her walker, Chauntelle spoke a few words to the group before they serenaded her with the love song “Mysterious Lady” from their most recent release ‘Moments’.

Later in the show, U-KISS took a moment to thank their American fans for supporting them. As two members were raised in the States (Eli in Washington D.C. and Kevin in Danville, Calif.) and another currently enrolled at Columbia University, having the opportunity to hold a successful tour in the United States was an incredible opportunity for them. As each member individually expressed their gratitude, a giant pull-apart cake purchased by local fans was rolled out for Kiseop as an early birthday present. The surprise was well-received, and while U-KISS led the audience in singing Happy Birthday, Kiseop took a big bite of cake for his fans.

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The group returned for a charismatic encore of singles “Without You” and “Man Man Ha Ni”, somehow maintaining that same high energy they began with two hours prior. As the crowd danced as wildly, it was evident that both U-KISS and their ‘KissMe’ fans got exactly what they wanted out of the group’s first solo stop to the United States.

“We can’t wait to come back and do this all over again,” Kevin shouted to the screaming crowd as the group took their final bow. “We’ll make you the proudest fan club in the world.” And as fans raved about the show as the crowd filed out, picking pieces of encore confetti off their clothes, it was apparent U-KISS was well on their way to keeping that promise.

Kollaboration Star 2013 Aims to Beat Bone Marrow Donor Recruitment Record, Amps Up PreShow Festivities, and Announces Powerhouse Guest Judges

kollab2LOS ANGELES, CA –

Kollaboration Star 2013 marks the non-profit organization’s return to the renowned Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where Kollaboration first reached a record number of donor registrations for its community partner Asians N Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M). As Asian Americans have had historically low registration rates, Kollaboration has traditionally held annual donor recruitment drives at its talent shows in hopes of finding a match and saving a life.

In 2006, Kollaboration set an all-time record by registering 140 bone marrow donors for A3M’s Be the Match registry, and now in 2013, it aims to beat this record during Kollaboration Star on November 16th.

This recruitment drive in particular will work towards finding a match for Pasadena local Sofia Flores, a 23-month-old toddler with an aggressive form of leukemia.

A3M will be registering potential donors for Flores at Kollaboration Star, and attendees may sign up at the A3M booth in the Kollaboration Terrace.

Guests are also encouraged to arrive early to enjoy the other pre-show festivities taking place on the Kollaboration Terrace.

From innovative balloon art by Super Inflated to “Despicable!Me” minion-inspired caricatures by Minion Me, the Kollaboration Terrace will feature tons of special activities, starting at 4 PM and leading up to the show.

Full bars will be available alongside Los Angeles’ hottest food trucks: The Bun Truck, Seoul Sausage Company, and Bool BBQ.

Not to mention, sponsors Verizon Wireless, Nielsen, and McCafe will be providing free giveaways, games, and a photo booth, while fans will be able to catch their favorite celebrities walking the Red Carpet in support of Asian American entertainment.

Kollaboration Star is also proud to announce its panel of guest judges, which includes some of the most influential Asian American names in entertainment and!media: Jane Cha, Executive Vice President and Head of Production at Full Picture Entertainment; Bing Chen, Youtube Global Creator Development & Management Lead at Google; Arden Cho, popular singer, model, and actress currently filming MTV’s hit show Teen Wolf; Philip Fung, one of the early engineers at Facebook and co8-founder of the A3Foundation; Eric Kim, Vice President of Current Programs at CBS Television; Sang Kyu Kim, writer/producer of hit TV series including “The!Walking!Dead”; and Phil Yu, founder and editor of popular Asian American news and culture blog Angry Asian Man.

The seven judges’ combined experience in the industry will determine which of the six finalists will become the next Kollaboration Star and take home the $20,000 Grand Prize!!

To learn more about Kollaboration Star 2013, please visit www.kollaboration.org or connect on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KollaborationStar. Tickets are now available for purchase through Ticketmaster.

Maknae Millie’s Interview with Dance Winners of “K-Con Got Talent”

K-Con 2013 hosted their very own dance competition, “K-Con Got Talent” where fans could sing or dance as a solo, pair or group to their favorite K-pop songs and show off their idol moves. This year’s competition was heated – not just because of the suffocating weather- but with amazing talent and unique performances. San Diego represented with two groups placing in the Top 3 of the dance section. SDKFM (San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob) sent out a representative group of seven dancers who performed a dance cover to rookie boy group BTS. The “Bangtan Boys”, 21-year-old Karl Baclea-an [Ji Min], 17-year-old Maisia Fang [Jung Kook], 20-year-old Natalie Cisneros [Rap Monster], 18-year-old Jenna Bloomquist [Suga] and 21-year-old Sam Vongsay [J-Hope] were excited to share their experience.

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Millie: Why did you (the group) decide to pick “We Are Bulletproof” by BTS as your dance cover?

 Sam: Personally, I chose to participate in the cover of “We Are Bulletproof pt. 2” because their choreography is very powerful. I think we all had a desire to participate in a cover of the dance the first time we saw it.

Maisia: We decided to pick “W.A.B” because it was a powerful song with choreography of the same intensity. We also saw it as a challenge that we wanted to overcome. We thought “if we could learn this, we could learn anything!”

Karl: We chose “We are Bulletproof” as our cover because it’s a powerful dance with super-fast and visually appealing dance moves. We figured that we would be the only group who would perform it at K-Con because of its level of difficulty.

Jenna: We all really enjoyed the song and were entranced by the complex choreography. We all really wanted a challenge, and that’s what this song was.

Natalie: Their style of choreography is the kind I’ve always enjoyed learning in hip hop classes so I was very attracted to this new group. I’m always up for doing dance covers, so when I saw all my friends crowding around watching the dance practice video and choosing a member to learn from, I immediately went over to be included in the cover. It kind of just happened spontaneously one day after a rehearsal with SDKFM.

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Millie: How long did you practice for this competition? And did you guys do anything else that was special to prepare?

Sam: We decided to do this a month before K-Con 2013, but got to physically practicing about 3 weeks prior. Since we didn’t plan this cover to take place in the K-Con 2013 competition, we had to match the dance to the time limit between 2 to 3 minutes long. Sadly, we could not incorporate the whole dance, but I hope everyone enjoyed it regardless.

Maisia: We practiced really hard for about a month and a half. We held several rehearsals every week. Something special we did was practicing our facials! Our teacher/instructor/manager (as we call him) made us go through the song over and over again until we were able to correctly display the right facials that were needed to complete the choreography.

Karl: It took us a good month before K-Con for us to practice. We would learn the dance on our own at first then we had one of our friends, who knew the dance, teach us the moves and at the same time show us formations. Something special we did to perform was mostly performing it in front of our friends to help us perform in front of an audience and the occasional trip to Tapioca Express for a “good job” boba. When the workers asked for our names, we would use our BTS names and wait for them to call them out loud.

Jenna: We practiced for about 3 weeks to a month, usually two days a week for 4-5 hours each. (But it varied!) We spent a long time trying to get expressions down, since they’re vital to the performance. But that comes with every dance! Faces are part of the performance.

Natalie: For about 3 weeks we had multiple practices whenever all seven of us were available. We not only concentrated on getting the choreography down, but with the help our friend who is an experienced dancer, he taught us the importance of having good facials while performing. Especially in this powerful dance I think it’s essential to have a lot of energy. After each practice I felt like we were becoming more and more like the BTS members!

 

Millie: How was the dynamic of the group?

Sam: We are all weird, borderline crazy. I’m surprised we actually got things done.

Maisia: Our group worked well together. We helped each other whenever there was a problem with learning a specific part of the choreography. Everyone was always very enthusiastic!

Karl: We had really good group dynamics with each other since we have performed with each other before. We all performed as the San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob but this was the first time that certain people had to perform together as a group that we were not as familiar with.

Jenna: All of us get along really well. For the most part, we were having so much fun during practice that it almost didn’t seem like a practice.

Natalie: Since we’re all a part of SDKFM, we’re used to the process of learning and practicing dances in a group so we had that advantage. Although this dance is literally the hardest I have ever learned with its precise and quick movements, we all enjoyed practices and had a lot of fun together.

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Millie: What were the advantages and disadvantages of entering in as a group instead of a solo act?

Sam: Advantages is that we have our moral support right there on stage. Disadvantage was that fitting seven people on a stage felt somewhat cramped.

Maisia: One advantage of entering as a group was that we filled up the stage, making it look fuller and better. However, more people means less room on the stage to dance, and that stage was pretty small!

Karl: I feel that some advantages performing as a group would be the visual aspect of an entire group performing in unity would just wow the crowd. Another advantage would be feeling the good vibes from your dance members and having that nervousness disappear because you know they are up on that stage with you. At the same time, that could be a disadvantage if you prefer to dance solo. You can practice by yourself so hard until you reach perfection, but when you have to perform with others who are not as par with knowing the moves or having the conviction in the moves, it could be frustrating.

Jenna: Entering as a 7 member group act meant that we had to work 7 times as hard as the next solo act. Messing up on your own can be played off easily but when synchronization is a key to the performance, there is no room for error. But entering as a group made it seem even more impressive! Our amount of effort clearly shows when we’re on stage performing for the judges. They really take into consideration that we had to practice together.

Natalie: All our members have completely different levels of dance experience so making sure we are all in sync is a challenge. There is always room for improvement, but I think despite that we had a lot of energy and stage presence going up as a group. People really enjoy seeing group covers with all the members so because of that we stood out.

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Millie: How did you feel right before it was your turn to go up on stage? And how did you feel after when SDKFM placed in the Top 3?

Sam: Tired. I had to drive all the way from San Diego to L.A when I had little sleep from all the excitement that was going to happen the next day was mentally and physically draining. When we were chosen as the top three, I was in a shock of disbelief. It took me awhile to realize, but snapped out of it as soon as I saw members of the SDKFM walk up to the stage again.

Maisia: Right before it was our turn to go up on stage, my heart was racing. I felt like my life flashed to the future and I saw myself dancing up on stage. I ran through all of the moves in my head and took a deep breath. I told myself that we would do great, and we did~

Karl: Right before we went on stage, I was very nervous. I’ve performed on stage before in front of numerous people, but regardless of how many times I’ve done that, I still get very nervous and jittery. Although once I went up on stage with my friends, I calmed down and was ready to perform my all. When they were announcing the winners, I got nervous because of the way they announced them. When the first name was called I was thinking “Don’t worry, we still have a chance”. Then when Ryan Hsu was called I jokingly said “AH Ryan!” Of course, we can’t beat him.” Finally when SDKFM was called, I was completely ecstatic. I felt so proud that my friends and I had our hard pay off in the end. What I thought in the end was “Is the shirt the only thing we get?”

Jenna: I thought I was calm and collected, but when I stood on that stage, I could feel my heart racing and my thoughts leaving my mind. I felt as if I was going to forget the entire dance…haha. But being called back up there for top 3 blew my mind. There were so many amazing performers that day that anyone could have been in those top 3.

Natalie: No matter how many times in my life I have performed, I will never get over that indescribable feeling when you’re about to go up on stage. My body turned to jello, but when I got up there and felt the crowd’s enthusiasm I felt motivated to do my best! Since many people weren’t able to enter this contest, I felt appreciative to just perform in front of everyone and was especially grateful to make the Top 3.

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Millie: Were you surprised by the crowd’s reaction? Did you gain any fans?

Sam: I was completely caught off guard by the cheering from the crowd. I want to express my gratitude to the crowd and all of those who supported us. I think there might be some fans, but we aren’t as good as the original BTS.

Maisia: I actually was surprised! It was surprising to know that crowd knew about BTS. I really didn’t expect it since BTS is a new group. But it was nice hearing the crowd screaming and singing along to “We Are Bulletproof”. We did gain fans as well. After we got off stage, many fans came up to us and asked for pictures. To be honest, I was actually quite overwhelmed! I didn’t expect anyone to come up to us to ask for pictures~ I really felt like a K-pop idol! It was a great experience!

Karl: I was very surprised with the crowd’s reaction. When the very beginning of the song started to play, the crowd was already cheering, which pumped me up the most. At the same time I half expected the crowd to have a positive reaction since we all put so much time and effort to make the dance look amazing. I was thinking “They better cheer!” We did gain some fans right after we performed. We took so many pictures and had an interview with MNet America’s “Danny from LA” . I think the person who had the most fans would have to be J-Hope (Sam) since he was the most recognizable. We made jokes saying it was only because of the bandana. If he hadn’t been wearing that bandana, he would be just like us.

Jenna: The cheers were super loud! So many people in the crowd were singing along. It was really invigorating. We also gained a bunch of fans. I don’t think any of us expected to be asked for pictures throughout the day! After all, we were just normal people who did a dance.

Natalie: We practiced for only a couple weeks before KCON and easily put together BTS style outfits so I was really surprised at the amount of fans we gained. They were all really supportive and asked for many pictures with us. My favorite moment was when the whole crowd yelled Rap Monster’s “RAH!” and sang along during our performance. I was just glad to see so many fellow fans, but it was also nice to get SDKFM’s name out!

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Millie: Are the seven of you planning on making more dance covers in the future? If so, which song(s) would you personally pick?

Sam: We are for sure, planning on doing more dance covers. Whether they are individually or as a group, we will continue to do so since we are a part of the San Diego Korean Flash Mob and dancing to K-pop is our passion. Personally, I plan to do Teen Top’s “(Rocking) 장난아냐” and BTS’ intro song Big Hit Entertainment released in concept trailer for their comeback.

Maisia: If the seven of us were to make more dance covers in the future, we would definitely choose to do BTS’s new song “N.O”. The choreography is amazing! Even though it looks a lot harder than “We Are Bulletproof” I believe that we can pull through. We’re bulletproof, right?!

Karl: We’re not too sure if we were to do more covers together in the future but that doesn’t mean we’re not. Going with the BTS theme going, I would want to perform they’re new song “N.O”

Jenna: Of course! We haven’t discussed much, but BTS just released a new song called “N.O” with some really nice choreography. Personally, I’d like to do it! Haha…

Natalie: As of right now we still have to film an official cover of “Bulletproof”, but I’d love to do another cover because they’re always a lot of fun, although time consuming. BTS just released another song so I’ll definitely be learning that. I’ve never done a girl group cover though so I would be interested in doing a popular song like Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar”. Look forward to our future covers!

SDKFM (6)

Our other San Diego winner was 18-year-old Ryan Hsu who had a solo performance of Exo’s “Mama” and “History”

Millie: Which dance covers did you perform at KCON13 and at the KCON Got Talent competition? And why did you choose those songs/groups to perform too?

Ryan: At KCON 2013 I performed several dance covers including, One Shot (B.A.P), Warrior (B.A.P.), MAMA (EXO), History (EXO), Wolf (EXO), Growl (EXO), Bulletproof pt. 2 (BTS), No More Dream (BTS), Lucifer (SHINee), Before the Dawn (Infinite), and many more. I chose to perform on the KCON’s Got Talent stage with MAMA and History by EXO because I love the emotions that those songs bring forth while I dance. EXO is one of my favorite groups of all time and it is an honor to be able to perform their dances on stage.

Millie: How long did you practice for this event?

Ryan: I have been practicing for my dance performance at KCON since the moment that KCON 2012 was over. I wish that I could have participated in a group, but many of my friends were busy working on other covers at the time. I tried my best and my efforts pulled through in the end. I worked tirelessly; day and night.

Millie: Why did you choose to perform as a solo act for this competition? What are the advantages and disadvantages of performing as a solo act vs. being in a group?

Ryan: I felt like there was a lot more pressure on me since I didn’t have other members to draw attention away from me. The only advantage is that I didn’t have to worry about being in sync with anyone or cleaning up choreography.

Millie: How did it feel like performing for the second time at K-Con? Was there more pressure or did you feel more comfortable?

Ryan: My first dance experience at KCON was an amazing experience for me. After seeing my performance, I made a promised myself that I would become a better dancer/performer. By the time that I had performed on stage at KCON 2013, I had become more comfortable with dancing in for larger crowds. Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous.

Millie: How did you feel right before you went up on stage? And how did you feel after you found out you placed in the Top 3?

Ryan: Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous. I felt very discouraged after seeing how talented the competition was. I was surprised at myself when I made it into the top 3. I was definitely not expecting it. I was also very surprised at the amount of support that I had from the exotics at KCON.

Millie: How were the fans this year?

Ryan: I love meeting fans and talking to them. K-Pop fans are always such amazing people and I wish I could be best friends with every single one of them. Personally, I don’t see them as fans. I see them as more than the average fan or admirer.

Millie: What dance covers do you plan on doing in the future?

Ryan: I have been working as hard as I can on dance so that I won’t disappoint my viewers. I love all of EXO’s choreography. I am going to try and learn all of their dances. I am also working on dance covers for BTS, B.A.P., SHINee, and Teen Top.

 ***Picture Credit goes to SDKFM member Catherine Joyce Spence***

Is F(x) Los Angeles’ Favorite Girl Kpop Group? Let’s ask the cheering fans.

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F(x) Happily Wows Los Angeles fans

 

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KCON 2013 was the Happy Place for F(x) fans eager to see the popular all-girl Kpop group back in the States. The much-loved tomboy of the group, Amber Liu, is a Los Angeles native, and expressed happiness and delight at being back in her hometown.

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Amber’s popularity is patent in the screams from the crowd whenever her image is shown on-screen or her rap vocals are showcased in a song. She was also featured alongside fellow SM Entertainment artist Henry, of Super Junior M, in his newly released song “1-4-3”.

While Amber was an obvious favorite, fans appeared to be equally enthusiastic in screaming out their approval whenever one of the other band members were introduced: Sulli, Victoria, Krystal and Luna were all much loved and well received as fans cheered them on, chanting their names and screaming their approval.

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F(x) opened their segment of the M Countdown “What’s Up, LA?” concert with “Electric Shock”, a popular electro-pop song that had audience members screaming lyrics along with the pulsing beat. They followed with their new hit, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” a fun, rhythmically tight piece, and closed with the ever-popular 2011 hit, “Hot Summer”.

fx2F(x) has a well-deserved following in the United States. Not only is their music engaging, but their choreography is fun and flawlessly executed. The young women, who did appear somewhat tired at the press conference prior to the concert, did not fail to put forth for a perfectly timed and energetic performance for their fans.

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KCON Concert Review: A Lone Voice of Dissent – Is G Dragon Coasting on his Fame and Notoriety?

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To say I was underwhelmed is – well – an understatement.

I truly had great expectations from the top-billed artist at KCON 2103, the young man everyone was buzzing about. There were omens during KCON that might have foreshadowed a somewhat less-than-stellar performance: An artist engagement that was supposed to include an autograph session for VIP fans holding special tickets and hand-shakes or ‘high-fives’ with a few more VIP fans with tickets, that was reduced to a 20 minute canned Q & A session with such probing questions as “What is your favorite American food?” (In-N-Out burgers) and “What is your favorite Korean food?” (Mom’s cooking.) He also ditched the press conference held before the concert, (with no explanation) much to the surprise and discomfiture of the hostess managing the conference, who nearly misidentified the blond Henry of Super Junior as he stood behind the curtain.

But then, a big star like GD doesn’t really need to deal with a pesky old press conference anyway, right?

The press was mildly, but not overly surprised at his absence, especially given the debacle at the artist engagement. Most were looking forward to the promised epic performance with Missy Elliot, the much-tweeted-about, highly sensationalized collaboration that was sure to be a show stopper.

The concert opened with well-received opening acts followed by a parade of Korean celebrities, as every act in the star-studded line-up crossed the stage to wave to cheering fans. Except G Dragon and Missy Elliot. At which point I began to wonder if perhaps everything was a marketing ploy, tactics meant to build drama and increase the hype. In some respects, the maneuverings were having an effect, because I was definitely becoming anxious to see G Dragon and hear the music so highly anticipated by all.

IMG_0205So when the man himself was finally lowered, in all his glory, onto the stage amidst a dazzling light show, anticipation in the crowd had reached a fevered pitch. I waited hopefully as the first bars of the highly narcissistic “One of a Kind”1 resounded throughout the stadium. Although the song itself is fine, the choreography and showmanship was a definite step down from the previous acts. Dressed like a little-boy gangster, G Dragon strutted back and forth along the same few feet of stage using the same moves, occasionally jumping in to bust a move with his background dancers for a step or two, and then back to the strutting or standing. I guess if I was a hormonal teenager, madly in love with G Dragon, this might have been more interesting and exciting.

The song with Missy Elliot was equally disappointing, in my humble opinion. Lacking in originality and variety, it employed an uninspired rap rhythm and beat with no variation. If G Dragon and Missy Elliot had not performed it, I seriously doubt this song would be recorded, nor would it receive airtime.

But maybe I’m wrong? Perhaps someone can explain to me what I missed? But I challenge listeners to hear with with a critical ear and judge for yourself.

 

 

1 “One of a Kind”. I double-checked numerous translations to assure myself that I understood the Korean correctly. Egoism is taken to completely new levels in this piece of writing. A very appropriate song for G Dragon’s persona.

One Day Down, One to Go #KCON2013

San Diego KPop Flash Mob members receive top honors in Dance contest!

 

what winners look like
What winners look like

 

 

San Diego’s very own KPop Flash mob members took top honors at the dance contest held on the outdoor stage at KCON today.

 

 

 

The day was hot, but tempers were not. The local constabulary assured me that KPOP events were by far their favorites. Fans may be a little crazy, but they are definitely polite.

hello
Hello from KCON 2013!

While there was a constant buzz of activity and noise, there was also a lad back feel to the atmosphere. Fans moseyed from booth, from event to event, occasionally stopping for a bite to eat, or to lounge in a shady spot for a while.

 

learn to growl
Learning to GROWL!

The Dance-all-day stage was a popular gathering spot: Free dance classes were held throughout the day by professional choreographers. Music played in between classes that had KCON-ers showing off their moves.

 

Yu Seung Woo
Yu Seung Woo

Plenty of celebrities were on hand, performing on the outdoor stage and speaking in the various forums.

Adorable youngster, Yu Seung Woo addressed a panel discussion (he told the crowd they put him on a diet!), performed with his guitar and then sat down at the MNet booth to sign autographs for happy fans.

Top acts began their “Artist Engagement” sessions: lucky fans were given an autograph opportunity (official merchandise only – no body parts, please), a “hi-touch” (high-five your favorite star) opportunity or a close encounter as one of a small select crowd there to witness the event. Tickets were in high demand and much bartering was occurring throughout the day as fans attempted to procure an opportunity to see their favorites up close. On today’s menu: 2AM was available at 2:30pm, G-Dragon at 4:30pm and Dynamic Duo at 6:00pm. On the docket for tomorrow: f(x) at 11:00am, Teen Top at 12:30pm, EXO at 2:00pm and surprise addition Crayon Pop at 3:30pm.

slim chances
Chances of seeing 2AM from this vantage point = 0.

 

Unfortunately, even access for press was limited.

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, everyone is a bit worn out, but ready to return tomorrow!

good looking
Sometimes you just gotta grab the cute guy and snap a photo with him. 😉