Despite releasing only one title song “MAMA” along with an EP consisting of 6 songs, EXO has gained one of the largest growing fandoms not only in Korea, but internationally as well. However, the approach with which EXO’s record label SM Entertainment has been promoting them is questionable. SM Entertainment attracted a lot of interest surrounding EXO during their ‘teaser era’ when they released 23 teasers, featuring 16 various songs, all within the span of 100 days. To the fans’ disappointment, though, they only released a fraction of the songs promoted for their debut in April 2012.
Over the next year, EXO promoted a single title track song with no sign of any other content besides two audio leaks of songs demo’d back in March. Now approaching mid-May, their record label announces an official comeback along with insight into a theme that displays a ‘schoolboy’ concept. They also followed up their announcement with tweets stating dates of when teaser photos and videos would be uploaded onto their website.
Fans grew excited and impatient for the long awaited comeback. On May 24, 5:00PM KST, they constantly refreshed the label’s official youtube channel until a private video was displayed. Impatient fans attempted to hack the private video’s html code and were able to get blurred thumbnails while others researched how to alter settings to make a private video public. Looking at the teaser, it seems that EXO’s title song “Wolf” would stick with a dark concept as done in “MAMA”.
SM Entertainment then uploaded a ‘Highlight Medley’ previewing a few seconds of each song featured on the album. Meanwhile, the dance/choreography video for EXO’s title song was leaked, and, soon after, the ENTIRE album became leaked and had been spread internationally. There were mixed reactions from fans about the leak, with most angered by the carelessness of the company for not protecting their content. Even the producers such as Ryan Jhun grew angry and asked for fans to be supportive by waiting for the official release and preventing the leak’s spread.
So will EXO’s comeback be successful? Will their loyal fans avoid the leak, or the fruits of the hackers’ labor continue to spread? We will find out in due time.
Filled with fun, penetratingly honest girlfriend-time conversations, “I Need Romance 2012” hits the spot for those looking for a drama with romance, humor, and yes, I’ll say it, a bit of steamy sexiness.
The scenarios strike pretty to close to home with the abrupt, honest portrayal of human romantic relationships. No perfect, sweet, innocent love relationships here. Twisted, real, gritty, and sometimes a bit too close to the mark to avoid personal comparisons. Ack.
Yet, the basic story concept is fun, if not entirely new: women in their early thirties looking for love – sometimes in the wrong places. Of course. How else would we find comedy in pathos? And is it not every woman’s secret fantasy to have two fabulously sexy men vying for your lasting affections? I‘ll admit it even if you don’t! Oooh la la!
OK. There’s no deep, transcendent plot–line here. But hey – it’s a romantic comedy! I thoroughly enjoyed “A Gentleman’s Dignity” for many of the same reasons.
Here’s a fun trailer tvN put out. It has little to do with the actual drama, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless, as it accurately portrays the spunk and fire of our lovely ladies in a tongue-in-cheek play on American comedic drama.
Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 7/10
Yoon Seok Hyun and Joo Yeol Mae are childhood sweethearts – and I do mean childhood. Their parent parents were friends and built a duplex with a shared kitchen and dining space when the two were 5 years old. When Yeol Mae’s parents passed away in her late teens and Seon Hyuk’s parents and his younger sister moved to the country, the two continued living together in the pretty little house with two golden retrievers playing in the yard. Their romance began in high school. Despite their stormy, on-again, off-again relationship over the years, they remain housemates and friends.
Fortunately for Yeol Mae, she has two best friends since middle school in whom she can trust, rely on, confide in and commiserate with. The three, now in their early 30’s, all have love-life challenges that keep the story intriguing. Interestingly, Seok Hyun is included in the group as the go-to guy friend who can be relied upon to give good advice from the man’s point of view.
When our story begins, Yeol Mae and Seok Hyun are in “off-again” mode. Sun Jae Gyung and Woo Ji Hee, the besties are both in less-than-ideal relationships as well, although on the surface they look great. Their love lives all become complicated, especially Yeol Mae’s, who suddenly finds herself being pursued by a man (Shin Ji Hoon) who promises to fulfill the desired affection she’s been craving, but Seok Hyun refuses to satisfy.
Script/Acting: My rating 7/10
Lee Jin Wook plays Yoon Seok Hyun, a somewhat more realistic man, in my opinion, than the sweet, empathetic, romantic heroes portrayed in most romantic comedies. Not one for over-the-top romantic gestures, Seok Hyun does not even want to get married. He has difficulty expressing emotions – especially love – but that does not stop him from being loving in his own, manly way.
It was nice to see Kim Ji Suk play something other than a conniving, sleazy character. (At least, that’s all I have ever seen him cast as…) In his role as Shin Ji Hoon we were able to see him as a strong, sweet romantic (JiHoo*-like) guy worth swooning over. Somehow, this persona seemed to fit him quite well. (Hey – it’s a K-Drama – there had to be one guy that fit the standard ultra-romantic profile.)
Jung Yu Mi, while very active in the movie industry, has only done a few dramas, so her character of Joo Yeol Mae was my introduction to this fine actress. Her incredibly versatile facial expressions paired with her ability to credibly create passionate love scenes were ideally suited to this role. As a self-described ‘woman with a bad personality’, she wore it as a badge of honor and carried herself with the humorous self-dignity that can only come with age and self-realization.
Kim Ji Woo as Sun Jae Gyung and Kang Ye Sol as Woo Ji Hee were also quite engaging as the best friends. Their ability to convincingly portray emotional issues associated with single women in their thirties was appealing and entertaining.
An interesting addition to the script was Kang Na Hyun (Kim Ye Won). As the young woman who works with Seok Hyun as a co-author and crushes madly on him, she eventually displays maturity beyond her years as she successfully manages her one-sided love and even counsels the emotionally stunted Seok Hyun. Although an irritant in the beginning, her character developed into one of the more intriguing and genuinely original characters of the series.
Cinematography: My rating 6/10
Unlike most dramas I’ve viewed, this one made great use of stills throughout, especially during narratives. The house used for filming (at least the exterior) was adorable. Given the trendy music and interesting characters, I feel there was much more that could have been done to make the cinematography more exciting, but it was definitely adequate.
Music: My rating 7/10
A little trendier than most OSTs. Nice ballads and one really cool song: “I Could Give You Love”.
This is a drama that will definitely appeal more to older (30 years +) viewers than younger viewers. And the older the better. The more I watched, the more I realized that there’s a poignancy that only many years of screwed up relationships will really make you appreciate and identify with.
The characters were significantly more realistic than in many dramas. There was also a very pervasive lack of inhibition when it came to discussing the subject of sex. I think if this drama had been aired on SBS or MBC it would have been a very different drama, but because it was tvN, a cable channel, more liberties were taken with the script than would have been allowed in main-stream programming. Refreshing and exciting, really. 😉
Happy Drama Watching!
*Yoon JiHoo – Uber-romantic, uber-gorgeous, what-every-girl-wants character in “Boys Over Flowers” played by Kim Hyun Joong
They came in droves with excitement and dreams shining on their faces and twinkling in their eyes.
Hundreds of young people cued up at Culture Shock Dance Studio located adjacent to all those great eateries in Old Town San Diego. A few had been cued up since 7 (pm, I assume!) in order to assure themselves a coveted spot on the state-of-the-art dance floor.
Brandon Labak and Vinh Chau were two of the early arrivals and their anticipation was written on their faces, in their voices and in their body language. I asked them why they were here and huge grins spread across their faces: “It’s such an amazing opportunity!” “He’s so great!”
Korean music fans will recognize the work of Lyle Beniga in the unique, dynamic choreography in “Mama” by EXO, “Where U At” and “Wedding Dress” with Taeyang and Kim Hyun Joong’s “Breakdown”, “Lucky Guy” and “Please”. To be sure, Lyle has a huge following here in the US as well and is currently busy with Justin Timberlake’s tour.
Here’s “Mama” by EXO-K
And “Mama” EXO-M
I consider myself privileged to not only witness his high-energy, authoritative teaching style, but to also have a chance to talk to the congenial man as well. So I asked him a few questions about working with Korean musicians.
Cheryl: What’s the biggest difference in working with Korean artists and dancers verses American artists?
Lyle: The Korean artists – the number one thing that stood out to me – they’re trained from a very young age to be performers of the art, so they have a very good discipline about them as far as learning things and picking up things.
Cheryl: So they pick things up really fast?
Lyle: Yeah. I mean, it’s still a challenge because a lot of times they’re not dancers, but it’s not impossible. They really want to learn, they really pay attention. They’re very attentive to all the little details.
Cheryl: So people like Taeyang, EXO, Kim Hyun Joong, they’ve been doing it for awhile.
Lyle: Exactly. And they know dance – they appreciate dance – they know what it is.
Cheryl: So they must pick it up pretty fast then.
Lyle: I want to say pretty fast – some better than others, you know – but I’d say they pick it up pretty fast compared to a lot of the U.S. artists that I’ve worked with.
Cheryl: One of the things I was wondering is that in Korea the drinking and partying is really a huge thing. But these guys are basically athletes.
Lyle: (laughing) Ya – I mean they take care of their bodies. They have personal trainers.
Cheryl: So are they partying, too?
Lyle: Yeah! They work non-stop, from early in the morning until late at night. So they’ll train in the morning, work out two hours, have dance class, learn choreography, voice lessons, and record late at night. They’re like machines.
Cheryl: There’s no time to party!
Lyle: They might have a party here and there, but they party hard because they work hard.
Cheryl: So do you have any plans to work with Korean acts again, like were you involved at all with EXO’s recent comeback?
Lyle: No, I wasn’t involved in the new release. I’ve been postponing a lot of things because Justin Timberlake’s tour is coming up, so I’ve been focusing on that. But I’m sure sometime soon after this tour is up…
Cheryl: So you like working with Korean acts?
Lyle: I LOVE working with Korean acts. They’re all the homeys, too.
Cheryl: So what’s Taeyang like?
Lyle: Taeyang? He’s very humble. Very, very humble. And he is the hardest working artist that I know. When I talk about working from morning until night, that’s the person I’m thinking about.
Cheryl: So what about Kim Hyun Joong?
Lyle: Kim Hyun Joong – he’s sooo funny! He’s hilarious, he’s very charismatic and very intelligent at the same time. He knows what he wants out of his music and out of his dance – he has a hand in everything. I give him a lot of credit for putting out what he wants to do as opposed to what a record label wants him to do.
Cheryl: So my “extra” daughter would kill me if I didn’t ask about EXO. She was freaking out today over the new teaser they released.
Lyle: (laughing) Oh – EXO, yeah I worked on their debut.
Cheryl: I Love “Mama” by the way…
Lyle: Oh yeah? Oh thank you! Yeah, when working with them it was difficult because there’s two teams (M & K) so I had to think of formations for each one of them because they all have different strengths, so it’s not like I could do the same thing with both. So I feel like I was multiplying my work.
Cheryl: So did they work well together?
Lyle: Yeah. They worked well together. When I was working with them before their release they were just super excited. Excited because they’ve been working years and years. And I was surprised. Collectively as a team, they were the fastest to pick up choreography.
Cheryl: Which was better, K or M?
Lyle: Um. Oh man, you can’t ask that! That’s too hard because they both have strengths. I like both of them. Like one of them’s super clean and one of them has that energy and that vibe.
Cheryl: Which one’s which?
Cheryl: I’m pinning you down here!
Lyle: Yah – you are pinning me down! I tell you, EXO-M, they have the clean look. Collectively, they make the visual work. I can see it, they make the transitions clean, and it’s like, if I’m watching it, I’m enjoying it. K – even though it may not be as clean, they have a certain fire to them as far as performance. So it’s always a balancing act, give and take, finding a middle ground for both of them.
Cheryl: So out of any of those artists, do you listen to any of them personally?
Lyle: I listen to Taeyang…
Cheryl: The rest of Big Bang?
Lyle: Yeah, exactly – I love GD, his music is awesome.
Cheryl: Well thanks for talking to me, it was fun.
Lyle: Yeah – thanks!
So I asked our young men, Brandon and Vinh, now hot and soaked through with sweat from a long workout with Lyle, what they thought. Their responses? “Ridiculous.” “Oh my gosh! Mind—blowing! I’m not going to go to sleep tonight.” OK, so they warned me they might not be very coherent after the session. They looked happy though. Tired, but really, really happy.
Here’s some information on Culture Sock Dance Studio for those interested in adding some moves to their repertoire:
Culture Shock Dance Center programs offer one of the most extensive contemporary dance programs in Southern California. The San Diego Union Tribune refers to Culture Shock as the “epicenter of hip hop dance in San Diego”. Classes include all levels of Hip Hop, Breakdance and Cardio Hip Hop. Other classes include jazz, from beginner level to advanced, Salsa, Belly-dance, Striptease, open floor Break-dance, Popping, Burlesque and House. Many of these classes are taught by working professionals, dancing, choreographing and directing in the entertainment industry. Our youth program offers 8 week sessions in Hip Hop and break-dance.
It was with much anticipation that the KKonnect crowd (with an adjunct member) descended upon the All New Zion Market for it’s Grand Re-opening in it’s new location at 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. The building, a former K Mart, and then a Sears, is now home to a huge new Korean market, leading one KKonnect member to exclaim “It’s the Korean Costco!”
Still under construction, Zion opened it’s doors Thursday, May 23rd to waiting customers and things were already bustling when Cheryl, Jini, Rachel and Samantha entered shortly after noon. The number of people was deceptive, though, as the spacious interior masked the numbers already pushing bright orange carts around the fresh, clean white floors.
The product line looked to be pretty much the same as the old Zion, but with an expanded array and the benefit of less crowding in the aisles. The beautiful produce display was visually appealing. The vast counters and displays set aside for meats and seafood were still somewhat under construction but promise to provide a wide array to delicacies.
Checkout should be smooth going as the checkout stands stretch the width of the store, dividing the grocery section from the ‘department store’ like area that will soon house “Paris Baguette”, “Eye World”, a Kawaii shop, a jewelry store, a housewares shop, and “Eiom”.
Kkonnecters left with snacks in hand out into the beautifully vast parking lot.
It’s a Fantasy. It’s a Melodrama. It’s Science Fiction. It’s Romance.
Director Kim Byung Soo and Screenwriters Song Jae Jung and Kim Yoon Joo, the time-travel dream team that created “Queen Inhyun’s Man” teamed up again to create another stunning drama. It’s like “The Monkey’s Paw” in drama form – a tale in which what the granting of a special power – in this case, going back in time to fix things that went awry in the past – comes with horrible consequences when hitherto unknown side effects occur as a result. Everyone knows that mucking around with timelines is a bad idea, right?
And yet, I found myself desperately wondering, from episode to episode, how and if everything was going to be set to rights.
Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 7/10
Park Sun Woo is a TV anchorman who has been hiding his love for fellow reporter Joo Min Young for five years. His father died years ago in a tragic fire. His mother lost her sanity. His brother wandered aimlessly for years until Sun Woo learned of his death in Tibet. Left behind in his belongings are incense sticks that when lit have a more than curious effect: they transport the individual who lights the incense back 20 years in time. After realizing what it does, Sun Woo decides to travel back and change things around a bit – save his father, bring the culprit responsible for his father’s death to justice and try to make his brother happy by allowing him to marry the girl he chose, but of whom dad disapproved.
The change is managed, but it also set in motion a future far different from the one Sun Woo had hoped for. With 8 more incense sticks, can he set things back on the right track and still keep everyone happy?
Here’s the trailer (Sorry – I couldn’t find one with English subbing!)
Script/Acting: My rating 8/10
Lee Jin Wook, who starred as Park Jung Woo, the main character of our story, is one of my new favorite actors. He recently starred in “I Need Romance” (2012), “Myung Wol the Spy” (2011), and “City of Glass” (2008). His acting style is a little understated but powerful, nonetheless. His ability to convey, with a glance, emotions that are hard to script is incontestable.
Park Hyung Shik who played Park Sun Woo in his younger iteration was also quite compelling. Before I looked up the cast list I kept looking at this young man knowing I had seen him somewhere before finally realizing I had innumerable pictures of him on my hard drive from the Korea Times Music Festival at the Hollywood where he was moonlighting in his ‘second’ job as a member of Ze:A.
Joo Min Young was portrayed by actress Jo Yoon Hee. While the character was likeable and engaging the ‘couple-hood’ of the two main leads was not as appealing. Both characters were very charismatic in their own right and I found myself cheering them on despite the fact that I just did not “ship” those two.
Jun Noh Min played the part of Park Jung Woo, Sun Woo’s brother. The character was a challenging one as he changed personalities frequently depending on the timeline involved. His was a character that, while weak and somewhat wretched, commanded empathy from the viewers. Seo Woo Jin played the young Jung Woo. The emotional struggles of the young man were perceptively portrayed.
And let’s not forget Lee Seung Joon who played Sun Woo’s best friend Dr. Han Young Hoon, a type A personality if ever there was one. Nervous, excitable, constantly worrying but always supportive and ready to give good advice, the quirky doctor added a certain amount of comic relief with his high energy angst. His younger self, played by Lee Yi Kyung might be a familiar face to those who watched School 2013. Although he did not get a lot of screen time, his character was was the perfect foil to the young, serious Sun Woo.
Cinematography: My rating 9/10
Due to the fantasy nature of the drama – time travel, alternate timelines, timelines changing abruptly – special effects were definitely needed and most expertly accomplished. No cheesy, low budget sci fi effects here. Everything was tastefully and artistically filmed. The use of the incense smoke as a method of change – the ‘up in smoke’ changeovers, as it were, were creatively done and effectively used.
In episode 11 there’s a musical number with fabulous cinematography featuring creative close-ups, wonderful blurs and great lighting as Sun Woo chases around town in the rain, searching for Min Young.
The filming in the Himalayas was beyond spectacular. In fact, I very much enjoyed so many aspects of the cinematography in this drama.
Music: My rating 7/10
If you like ballads, this OST is one you’ll definitely enjoy! The music commissioned for this drama was poignant and beautiful.
Compelling characters, great cinematography, nice music and an intriguing storyline. The only thing that could have mucked it up would be a bad ending, but happily the ending was perfect. Enigmatic, somewhat thought-provoking. No loose ends, but no hasty, conveniently tied up knots, either. My kind of ending. Happy sigh.
For a drama that didn’t get great ratings or much attention, I was more than pleasantly surprised. This drama will go on the favorites list.
This workshop focuses on issues such as the concerns for mental health, helps hone writing skills and brings self awareness to social matters.
AAJA San Diego invites you to a journalism workshop to explore…
Mass Violence in America–Mental Health Matters
As recent events focus attention on the intersection between mental illness and gun violence, there’s a greater need for robust and accurate reporting on mental health. This workshop provides the latest skills and knowledge to produce accurate, thoughtful, and compelling news stories on mental health, recovery, and wellness in the community.
Using the new “mental illness” entry in the AP Stylebook as a starting point, the panel will:
• Analyze recent news coverage
• Offer tips and ideas for reporting on mental health
• Interact with audience members through news writing exercises
• Provide an overview of mental health in communities across the state
Join AAJA as we learn from a panel of professionals including:
Dr. Michael Mantell, Behavioral Science Expert
Melissa McCoy, Media Consultant for TeamUp and former L.A. Times Deputy Managing Editor
Alfredo Aguirre, County Behavior Health Director
Saturday, June 8, 2013 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
10News Studios- 4600 Air Way, San Diego, CA 92102
$5 for students, $10 for professionals, Free for AAJA Members (or those who sign up for membership at event)
Got a new innovative business idea but don’t have the funds to put it into action? Or do you already have something planned that needs to be shown off? Join the Business Venture Competition to have a chance at winning $10,000 and showcasing your ideas to the world! It’s a win-win situation all around.
A calm and temperate Saturday Morning, light wind, the water at Mission Bay glistening a steel blue, and hundreds of warriors armed with paddles preparing for aquatic battle in one of the world’s oldest sports tradition, the Dragon Boat Race. After a moment of peace, the sound of the primordial yells of the racers resonated in the air, each cry synchronized with the thundering drums leading them followed by a powerful whooshing noise as the racers propelled the boat while vying for position, such an exhilarating experience. And I was only a spectator
On May 4th, the atmosphere was electric as teams representing various local schools, companies and cultural organizations convened on Playa Pacifica at Mission Bay for the 9th Annual Dragon Boat Festival.
I was so astounded by the display of team spirit, grit, camaraderie, and athletic acumen showed by the competitors, that I felt obligated to interview one of the racers to get an understanding about what it takes to be a part of a Dragon Boat Team. This Is my interview with Mr. Tenshing Honda, Captain of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Musing Dragons.
1. Team Name (Nick Name)?
2. What Group Is Your Team Representing?
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
3. What Inspired Your Team Name?
Not quite sure. I’m a graduate student at UCSD who was asked to coach the team.
4. Why Did You and Your Group Decide to Join the Dragon Boat Race?
I’ve paddled for 6 years (high school and undergraduate at UCLA) so I’m extremely passionate about the sport. A classmate at UCSD in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies told me about the Musing Dragons and jumped at the offer to paddle. The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is an important donor to our China Focus club and so to show our thanks we try to fill up boats for the Musing Dragons.
5. How Does a Team Prepare for a Dragon Boat Race (i.e. breakfast, group exercises, superstitions, pep-rally)?
Since our team had never practiced or raced on the water before, I had our team do simulation drills. I broke down the race to starts, powers, and finishes. I taught basic strokes and form to each individual paddler. As for “team spirit”, we definitely had fun with it. I had our team re-use an old high school chant I had: “who are we? _____. What do we do? Stroke it. How do we stroke it? Longer, harder, faster, all night long”. Also, coming off the boats, I had our team form tunnels to congratulate everyone on their effort. Everyone seemed to enjoy our team spirit.
6. What Attributes Must a Team Possess to Win a Race?
Timing, focus, energy, and cohesion. When all four come together your boat glides and there’s nothing like that feeling in the world.
7. What Makes Your Team Unique?
With the exception of two paddlers, no one on our team had ever paddled. We practiced for the first time paddling out to the start line. Even with this challenge we managed to win one race and our times got better by every race (1:25 to 1:14 to 1:12).
8. Lessons Learned from the Competition?
Have fun. I’m a very competitive person but it’s important to enjoy the sport. I hadn’t paddled for 4 years and I forgot how much I missed the sport
9. What Is the Most Rewarding Experience of Participating in the San Diego Dragon Boat Festival?
Seeing my team grow right before my eyes. As I mentioned before, my team had never paddled before. And yet we were very competitive. The time of our last race would have beaten half of the teams at the Festival…very proud moment. Finally, it was incredible to see the selflessness of many of our members. We had about 22 paddlers but people were quick to offer up their seat so their friends could paddle. Very unselfish team.
10. Advice for Future Competitors?
You are only as strong as the weakest person on your boat. Timing is everything and so do all you can to be in sync with everyone on your team, on and off the board to build team chemistry.
Having the best, most technical choreography is the key part to a successful Kpop music video and one of the most renowned in the dance world is Lyle Beniga. Just some of his choreography includes Taeyang’s “Wedding Dress”, EXO’s “Mama”, Kim Hyun Joong’s “Lucky Guy” and several others from around the world. Don’t miss this great opportunity to take his Advanced Hip-hop class, for one night only, this Thursday ay 23rd at the Culture Shock Dance Center!
Our outreach to members of the Korean community brought us an unusual guest last month. His presentation was mainly about his experience in Forensics.
He was Dr. Steven Sohn, retired Navy Captain, an unusual man with a very unusual history. He was born in a part of Korea, which is now in the hands of the North Koreans. But he served in the South Korean Navy as a doctor as well as in the U. S. Navy in the same capacity. Compared to us in The Chosin Few, he is a youngster, born in 1936. Throughout his entire life he has been mostly involved in medicine, particularly pathology and forensic medicine as practitioner and teacher. He lives in La Jolla. While his presentation was very entertaining, we may have him back to tell about his amazing life, which I think is probably a lot more exciting and interesting to us.
We have to thank Jini Shim, our Korean journalist for her help in having interesting guests at our monthly get-togethers. She and Shane Pak, our video expert, are on a continuing trek to memorialize the Chosin Few with photos and videos of our events.