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.


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.


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.

Updated: An Exclusive Interview with Kim Soo-hyun: Secretly, Greatly (with Podcast)

photosessionI felt bad for the theatre staff. AMC Fashion Valley employees were not aware of the enormous popularity of Kim Soo-hyun.

<중앙일보 샌디에이고 특별기자 셰릴 달리의 김수현 인터뷰>

They had no idea that to Korean movie and drama buffs, having Kim Soo-hyun show up was like having Leonardo Dicaprio or Robert Pattinson walk into the theatre for an English speaker. Yes. He’s that popular.

Tickets to the two premier showings sold out fast, leaving many crying into their computers, wishing they’d known sooner. Many of those left out stood outside the doors hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite Hallyu star as he entered and exited the building. Fortunately, they were not disappointed.

With a poise and humility that belied his young 25 years, Kim Soo-hyun agreed to a brief interview during his fleeting trip through San Diego. Surrounded by a small, competent staff, we sat and spoke. Although he answered in Korean, he understood my English and often began his answers before the translator had to assist.

Cheryl Dawley: So San Diego is very excited to see you! My first question is, which do you like doing better, movies or dramas?

Kim Soo-hyun: I’m still learning about it. I’ve only done 2-3 dramas and 2-3 movies, so I can’t say right now, but I’m in the process of learning.

Cheryl Dawley: But you’re enjoying both?

Kim Soo-hyun: I like the development and the process with my colleagues. I am enjoying the people in this area.

Cheryl Dawley: And are you planning on doing more with your music career as well? I noticed you just released a song.

Kim Soo-hyun: I’m very interested in music, but my priority is acting.

Cheryl Dawley: I know when you worked on Dream High you spent a couple of month with JYP. How was that?

Kim Soo-hyun: During the shooting, I tried to learn dancing and music. At JYP, it was very hard training over there. It was very tough.

Cheryl Dawley: So what’s the hardest part of your job?

Kim Soo-hyun: Self development. It’s a process of growing up. Sometimes I get lonely and people can be very harsh to me.

Cheryl Dawley: What do you love best about being an actor?

Kim Soo-hyun: I respect Christoph Waltz. But I like acting. It’s like singing. It’s what I like best.

Cheryl Dawley: Can you say “Hello KKonnect” for the KKonnect fans?

Kim Soo-hyun: “Hello KKonnect!”

Time ran out and we had to wrap up.

But there were more to come waiting as he made his way into the theatre to greet his cheering fans. Although the meet-and-greet was conducted in Korean, even the English speaking fans were entranced.

crowd surgeThe bridesmaids outside were not disappointed either. They waited patiently for Kim Soo-hyun to emerge, and were greeted with his wide smile as he made his way through the crowd.


Note: Audio content coming soon! Check back!

Also check out the KKonnect Facebook page for more photos!


Asiana Airplane Accident: Unfortunate yet could have been worse

APTOPIX San Francisco Airliner CrashThe flight accident of Asiana Airline’s Boeing-777 aircraft in San Francisco Airport made headline news in most of Korean newspapers on July 7th 2013. The crash resulted in two casualties, as well as a wide range of injuries to at least half of the passengers on the plane. It took 10 minutes after the initial crash for the aircraft to explode, and much more casualties would have been inevitable if it wasn’t for the flight attendants and a few brave souls who swiftly evacuated the passengers out of the site.

The two deaths that resulted from the accidents were two Chinese students who had planned to attend an overseas English program in the UC system and Stanford. It is speculated that the two students have not fastened their seat-belts during the turmoil. President Xi Jinping of China has expressed his attention to this incident by softly demanding the truth of the matter.

Usually, aircraft accidents of this magnitude results in high number of casualties, but in this particular case, out of 307 people on board, there were only two deaths; a significantly low number compared to past accidents of similar nature. Though a tragic incident in itself, it is a relief that not too many were sacrificed. “I heard about the accident while I was working,” said Ryan Jang, a UCSD pre-med student. “At first, I was told that there were no casualties, but after I found out that there were two. I’m kind of relieved that there were not too many casualties”.

Asiana 2

 The US officials who reviewed the content of the blackbox installed inside the aircraft blames the head pilot for the accident, whereas the Korean government is insisting that there is insufficient evidence for the case. The Korean government is currently placing weight on aircraft malfunctioning and conducting an extensive investigation on all of the accessible Boeing-777.

Many Koreans in the San Diego Community were shocked by the tragic news and were also very worried on how Americans would perceive Korea due to this accident. “My main concern is that the US public will see the Korean community with a negative perspective. The images of Koreans are in large part constructed by the successful companies such as Samsung and Asiana, and I hope this incident doing not change their perspectives” states Jang.

Mike Kwak, a relator in the San Diego area added “At first we thought it may have been an engine or weather problem at first, but as we followed the reports, we found out that it may have been a pilot error. I just want the public to know that from my experience, Asiana is very well trained, and this incident proves my point. Though the pilot made a mistake, the attendants quickly took the situation and saved many lives in a relatively short amount of time. Accidents happen from time to time, and this accident will not stop me from taking this route because I trust in the quality of the service. I will continue to take the Incheon=>San Fran Boeing-777 route, and I hope the public feels the same way. 20 years ago, Delta Airlines experienced a similar accident in Dallas, but I didn’t lose faith in Delta Airlines, because I knew it was a reliable airline — again, accidents happen. I wish for the best for the victims of the accident and hope Asiana never repeats its mistakes.”

Ashley, a pharmacist in San Diego, sends her encouraging message to the passengers in the accident. “My deepest condolences to the victims of the accident. I hope the victims pick themselves up from the trauma, and lead fulfilling constructive lives from here on”.

Right now there is an average of 250,000 people are in the air. Though mankind has been taking advantage by cutting transportation time across oceans and between continents by the use of the airplane, this fairly new invention still poses threat to our society’s public safety in numerous angles. Every time I come across news like this, I wonder if technological advancement for efficiency and comfort is all in all beneficial for mankind.

Written by Brian Kim

Edited by Millie



Drums and Dragons and Sales – Oh My! Zion Market’s Grand Opening!


Saturday, June 29, 2013 was officially declared Zion Market Day in the City of San Diego.


IMG_7433The party was on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard this morning as dignitaries gathered and shoppers crowded to witness the Grand Opening Celebration of Zion Market’s new location at 7655 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. The festive atmosphere was set in motion to the beat of drums by the San Diego Korean Pungmul School. Known throughout the Korean community (and beyond) for their beautiful, rhythmic, lively, traditional performance, the Korean Pungmul students kept the crowd entertained in the early morning heat.

IMG_7524The drums were followed by Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society Dragon Dancers in their colorful costumes. With the hope that the dragons would bring Zion Market good luck in their new location, they performed gymnastic feats and entertained the crowd with their large draconic maws. Feeding the dragon, by the way, will bring good luck to the bystanders as well! 😉

The ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled 94,500-square-foot building included local officials including three candidates running for City Council in District 6, City officials, officials from local Asian American associations, the Police Department, as well as the owner of Zion market.

IMG_7696The San Diego KPOP Flashmob brought Psy in for an appearance and danced to “Gentleman.”


IMG_7858Inside the market, shoppers were busy shopping and cashiers were hard at work, trying to keep up with the long lines of patrons waiting to ring up the special opening day bargains. I scored some really nice organic apples. The majority of the shops on the non-supermarket side were open for business as well, including the new Boba Tea shop, Paris Baguette, Optical, jewelry and travel stores, IMG_7851and Erom, where I tasted (and purchased) some wonderfully healthy raw food packs that are made into smoothies. Yep, the green stuff to the right was what I gratefully enjoyed for breakfast after the opening extravaganza outdoors.

My favorite cosmetic counter (and my favorite cosmetics consultant) were also on hand. A little later make-up artists from Los Angeles were available to make people beautiful.


I’m not sure when those poor folks at Zion ever got breaks today, but after being entertained, energized, fortified and beautified, I personally made my way back to my air conditioned home.

Welcome to your new home, Zion Market! See you again very soon!


Korean-American Carol Kim Making a Bid for San Diego City Council Seat

CarolKim_ProfilePhoto_201305Service Oriented, Long-Time Invested Member in the Community to run in District 6 Race


What does it take to make your average Korean-American mother decide to run for office? OK, well maybe not quite average. Carol Kim is decidedly a cut above.

Carol Kim grew up with a strong sense of needing to give back to her community. Citing her Korean-born father as her ‘moral compass’, Ms. Kim was raised to appreciate the benefits of being raised in America. Her first job was for the Los Angeles Unified School District where she chose to work in an area beleaguered by poverty and attended by kids at risk due to socio-economic hardships. She describes the four years as rewarding.

She met and married her husband, following him to upstate New York where there was a hiring freeze on teachers. Not to be deterred, Ms. Kim branched out into another arena of public service, a non-profit organization dedicated to HIV prevention and service to those infected and affected by the disease. There she assisted a diverse and high risk population. Four years later, in 2006, they returned to the West Coast and moved to San Diego.

Here she is employed by WestEd, a not-for-profit that allowed her to wed her educational and health-oriented experience to develop programs giving youth socio-emotional support in such diverse issues as bullying prevention and career and technical education.

When the last Presidential elections rolled around, Ms. Kim realized that her passion for issues should not be confined to the home or her circle of friends and decided to volunteer. Her energy and enthusiasm quickly moved her into a leadership position for OFA, Organizing For America, a grassroots campign to re-elect President Obama. She organized volunteers during the campaign and was called upon to organize again for the National Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, spearheading a project that sent personalized cards and letters to troops overseas.

OFA, now Organizing For Action, currently deals with advocay issues such as gun violence prevention, comprehensive immigration reform, and environmental issues. Ms. Kim is currently the the Chapter Lead for OFA San Diego.

cd6mapSo why run for City Council? Carol Kim cited a number of reasons. She feels it is important to take an active role in civic work rather than sitting back and complaining. There are also few women representing the constituencies although they make up half of the demographic. Through her volunteer work, she also realized that there are almost no Asian Americans participating in the political arena.

Ms. Kim feels that as a long-time member of the community she wants to represent, she understands the needs of the constituents. Her motto, or tag-line, is “Connecting Communities”. Representing areas of Mira Mesa, Kearney Mesa, Miramar, Sorrento Valley and Clairemont Mesa she sees a very diverse set of people with a diverse set of needs. Being a part of the community she is ready to listen to everyone and connect the areas and their needs in an intelligent, thoughtful fashion that makes sense for everyone. Although a member of the Democratic party, she firmly believes that most of the community concerns are non-partisan and should be treated as such.

Carol Kim will be at the Grand Opening celebration of the new Zion Market on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard Saturday, June 29.

Carol Kim and Jini Shim of Korea Daily