Korean Variety Show Games: Lose And Face The Punishment.

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I think one of the reasons so many people enjoy watching Korean Variety Shows is that hosts and guests play the games to win. There’s no just going through the motions, they are in it to win and their competitive spirit is obvious.

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However, an underlying reason may be that in most games the losers are punished. Punishments can range from causing mild embarrassment to painful physical penalties.

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Three of the most well know variety shows for penalties and punishments are perhaps, 2 Days, 1 Night,  Running Man, and Weekly Idol although these by no means are the only ones.

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Weekly Idol takes place in a sub basement against blank walls, and with no audience except the production crew. In this way everything is focused on the idol guests and their interaction with the hosts and each other. It is up to the idols to show themselves to advantage. Challenges are accepted and games are played with gusto, while failure is met with harsh punishments, sometimes metered out by the losing idols very own group mates.

The most intense self punishment by an idol group was Teen Top. In fact on their next appearance they found out that weren’t allowed to play random play dance like that anymore and a new punishment for failure was chosen.

One of the most popular punishments in general life as well as on variety shows is the takkbam or forehead flick. Most idol groups have played it amongst themselves and kinda know where they stand within their group. Often it is the member you least expect who will be a powerful ‘flicker’. Here we see Kihyun from MonstaX earn the respect of host  Jeong Hyeong Don.

Onew, from SHINee is said to be one of the most powerful players and there’s a long list of celebrities who can attest to the strength of his hit.

 

Another punishment is the wrist slap, which I’m pretty sure some of us have done to our friends on school playgrounds around the world. Here BTS gets punished for failure in the random play dance. Notice that it is often their own group who mete out the penalties.

 

Along with the kicking we saw earlier from Teen Top, slapping of butts is also quite popular.

The most iconic punishment on weekly idol however, may be the squeaky toy hammer. Often used by the hosts on guests as well as guests on each other it illicites some strange reactions. IU, and then later GD just couldn’t stop laughing. I think they actually may have been in shock.

Even the biggest names in Kpop are not exempt from the toy hammer, Big Bang, Twice, Hyuna, APink, Beast, SHINee, Sechs Kies, Winner, Black Pink and many others have succumbed to the crash of the hammer on their heads.

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A favorite show of many fans, Weekly Idol is a master at handing out punishments for losing, particularly the almost un-winnable Random Play Dance.

I’ll cover other penalties and punishments in Part 2.

Have a great day everyone.

You may also enjoy Korean Variety Show Games,   Happy Anniversary Weekly Idol,  and Best Of Weekly Idol Random Play Dances.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

Photo and video credits to original owners.

 

Pets In Korea: And Some Of The Idols Who Own One.

 

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There’s a lot to be said about the pleasure one gets from seeing handsome and attractive young Korean idols and actors interact with their beloved pets. The internet is filled with such photos and many celebrity pets even have their own instagram accounts.

5 Korean Male Celebrities Competing In Cuteness With Adorable Pets

But owning a ‘pet’ was virtually unknown of in Korea until relatively recently. For a long time in Korea all animals had a utilitarian purpose, they were kept because they could do a job, or they were food. This philosophy can still be seen in some Korean people’s reactions to dogs in particular. Many Koreans are intrinsically distrustful of dogs, and some still fear them, particularly those people who were brought up by parents and elders who stressed that dogs are, ‘dirty, carry diseases, and bite.”

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The traditional Korean viewpoint on dogs began to see changes in the 1990’s when people began to have more disposable income and a wider view of the world outside of Korea. At first the idea of ‘pet’ leaned more towards a dog being a fashionable living accessory, with the wealthy and bored dying their dogs all sorts of colors and dressing them up in clothes and jewelry. Although many Asians do still do this to their dogs there now seems to be more of the idea of your pet being your companion rather than an accessory or a toy.

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Key is well known for loving his 3 dogs and dressing them up all the time. And there are many other celebrities who do so too. This happens in the US too, although not to the extent of in some Asian countries.

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Having not grown up around animals as pets many of these idols are learning as they go, which does lead to some cringe worthy actions when seen by those more familiar with cats and dogs. At other times all we can see is the love between owner and dog and vica versa.

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But Korean celebrities are doing the best they can and by showcasing their affections for their pets they are helping to erase the stigma of pet ownership, and perhaps change some long held beliefs within the older community.

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At first entertainment companies weren’t too keen on idols having pets, because of the upkeep and what to do with them when the idol was overseas or busy, but nowadays most idols are allowed pets. Pets have proved to be ’emotionally stabilizing’ and provide unconditional love in times of stress, and the entertainment companies now leave it up to the idols as to what to do with them when they can’t take care of them. This leads to questions from fans when popular puppies grow up and disappear from the scene. In most cases friends or family take in the grown dog but sometimes I’m left to wonder.

In the past few years the number of Koreans owning pets has risen dramatically, from 17.4% of Korean households owning at least one pet, to 22% in 2015. This does, however, still include people who chain their animals up outside, which for many of us reduces the dog to more of an ‘object’ to be owned, rather than a pet even if its living conditions don’t look too bad.

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Some theorize the surge in the number of pets is due to the rise of single family households and the fact that pets are seen as a substitute for children by some people. With the rise in the number of pets there’s also been a large rise in the number of thrown away and abandoned pets, more than 80,000 last year. Cases of pet abuse have also risen.

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The Korean Government has enacted new laws governing the regulation of pet ownership and is trying to enact and enforce pet safety rules. Unfortunately there are estimated to be about 1,000 puppy mills in Korea with 80% of them being illegal. Most puppies in Korea do come from these puppy mills.

 

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Cats were once seen as vermin and bad luck, and were even used as an ingredient in traditional medicine. Nowadays all that is slowly changing and many more Koreans are keeping cats as pets. Perhaps better suited to apartment dwellers, cats are becoming increasingly popular with both idols and the general population.

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There’s a long list of Korean celebrities who own dogs and it would include Kim Sohyun, Roy Kim, Mark & Youngjae, Amber, Suhyun, Jin, Jimin, Zelo, Siwon, , Park Shinhye, Kai, Kang Sora, Seunghoon, GD, Taeyang, Key, Yang Yoseob plus many others. In fact in some cases almost every member of an idol group own dogs, UKiss and Shinwa are just two examples.

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There’s also a long list of celebrities with cats to include Hyorin, Amber, Kim Soeun, Ahn Jaehyun, Kang Minhyuk, Kim Heechul, Myungsoo, Chansung, GD, and of course Jaejoong,

A few idols have more exotic pets such as turtles, snakes, a chameleon and hedgehogs, with Yang Hyunsuk head of YG Entertainment owning, among other pets, a chicken. (Actually belongs to his daughter, but he took it on a TV show once as people didn’t believe the stories he told about it.)

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Who is your favorite idol/pet combination?  Let me know in the comments below. Mine is maybe Key as he fusses over his dogs like an old lady, and he obviously loves them.

Edit 05/26/2017 It looks like there might be a push towards more responsible pet ownership gaining ground.

Have a great day everyone.

You may also enjoy Six Degrees Of Yoo Jae Suk,  Cats And Dogs: Animal Cafes In Seoul, and  Easy On The Eyes: Korean Models Turned Actors.

Please do not copy and use without permission and accreditation.

All photo credits to original owners.

WILD KARD 2017: The 1st Tour in America.

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This has been a banner year for Kpop concerts in Texas and that means lots of miles added to our odometers. Here in Texas we tend to measure distances in hours, and fortunately Houston is only about a 3 hour drive from where I live, that is with no stops and good traffic conditions. Dallas is about 5 1/2 to 6 hours. For those out in west Texas the drive can be over 12 hours of driving to get to the usual venues. I mention this to show to partially show the dedication of Texas Kpop fans.

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KARD chose Houston and a venue, Stereo Live, that I hadn’t been to before. I got there early to get in line to ensure a good spot once the doors opened. They had paid parking at the venue and staff had put out clear signs showing where fans should start lining up, for which I say thank you. (I hate the general chaos that happens at some concert venues.) I heard that the first people in line got there around daybreak and had settled in early for the long wait. My friends and I were relatively close to the front, and if you check the top photo you can just see me front row left when the show began. The hot Texas sun drove fans into puddles of shade as the temperatures rose. The staff/venue brought out a water cooler which was nice of them. Others sought out the local corner gas station for drinks, snacks and restroom breaks. The staff at the gas station were really kind letting so many people use their restroom.

 

It wasn’t too long before the line circled the building. P1 was to the left and P2 to the right and they met up at the back of the building. While waiting in line some fans were chosen to be recorded for an official film at the end of the tour. Can’t wait to see if my friends make it to the final edit.

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Stereo Live is not  a very large venue, which was nice as it had a good intimate vibe going on. It also had a pretty fantastic balcony level allowing a great view for many fans. Once inside the crowd was almost humming with excitement, and sang along to the music, cheered and ‘wo-wooed’. There was a small flurry of excitement as people realized JRE, an internet celebrity of sorts, was seen front and center of the audience, but most people were watching the time waiting for the real reason they were there, to see KARD.

Made up of B.M, Somin, J.Seph, and Jiwoo, KARD is unusual in Kpop for being a co-ed group, which perhaps has made them somewhat more popular with foreign fans than with those in S. Korea. Without ‘officially’ debuting yet, KARD has only released 3 songs, therefore the concert was billed more as a fan meet/ party/concert, so the more intimate setting was perfect. It was also sold out which is pretty fantastic.

They arrived on stage to raucous screams of excitement and immediately began performing Rumor, after which they paused for introductions. I could hardly hear at this point as the audience never seemed to pause in their show of affection towards the members. You can watch some really good fancams from my friend if you want to watch all the action.

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I might be a bad reviewer because rather than list the songs they sang etc, I’d prefer to recount some of the highlights and things that stood out, or particularly caught my attention. I obviously had listened to KARD and watched their MVs but I went to the concert with a fairly open mind, and came away a fan. I had a opportunity to talk to their local driver, and he told me all about how they were very nice, even signing a poster for him and chatting with him. He said they were surprised and thrilled to see so many fans already lined up  when they stopped by the venue for rehearsal.

On stage they all seemed to genuinely care for each other and to help each other out. They also seemed to get comfortably mad at each other in the way only friends can get away with. And after the concert you can see J.Steph sticking close to Jiwoo, guarding her back. They came across as genuine people which is always nice to see.

Their singing was good, their choreography on point and after some initial woodenness when they first appeared on stage they relaxed and seemed to enjoy themselves. I love watching performers who are enjoying themselves. Performing shouldn’t be just a job, it should be something you love to do, and KARD looked like they were having a good time.

With no particular bias walking into the concert I walked out a J.Seph fan. He somehow reminded me of some kind of small woodland animal, all cute and innocent at times and then at other times all fierce and wild. He was obviously a little at a loss during the parts when English was being spoken, but you could see the spark in his eyes when he understood. It was fascinating to watch him, plus he had a cute smile.

 

One of my favorite parts of the whole evening was the game section. They chose a great game, one which provided fan interaction without the risk of anyone getting, or feeling, embarrassed. It was maybe more like a lottery for prizes than a game for the 4 randomly selected fans. We all wished we were the ones chosen, but I think we were all genuinely happy to watch brother and sister fans have some of the best moments of their lives. Each ‘contestant’ had to roll a giant dice and depending on the number they rolled they received a ‘gift’. The first winner had BM sing to her for a wake up call message on her phone. Another received a signed poster with a hug, a third got a signed album, and the last one was an instant polaroid photo with all the members.

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The fan meet/party/concert was a load of fun and well executed, especially for a pre debut group who have so very few songs under their belts. But evening didn’t end there. Many fans had hi tough or photo ops with KARD and we all had to line up for our benefit. The line for the photo op was fairly well organized, but as usual the photo op was rushed and some of the staff quite curt. Once outside lots of people formed small groups, not wanting the evening to end. Some stayed to watch KARD leave while others spread throughout the city seeking Korean restaurants, the favored place to hang out with like minded KARD fans and go over all the highlights of the evening.

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Criticisms include the backdrop display. It was odd watching the real live KARD walking around in front of the giant pictures of themselves on the screen. A more neutral background would have been preferable, especially for those taking photos. Also to those P4 fans who pushed and wiggled their way to the front. No the rest of us who paid for P1 or P2 don’t think you’re clever or smart, we think you’re cheats, taking what you didn’t pay for. And finally kudos to the mom who brought a group of younger girls to the concert. It looked like they had the best night of their lives.

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Overall a great night was had by all, and we hope that KARD had an equally fun night. Y’all come back y’hear.

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Have a great day everyone.

You may also like Party Baby! BAP 2017 World Tour in Dallas,   SHINee World Tour In Dallas,  SXSW Kpop Night  Out,  and Hyuna Charms Her Dallas Fans.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

All photo credits to original owners. Thank you to my friend ‘sangheili19’ and Simon Chan for letting me use some of their photos. Remember to check out some of the fancams.

 

Happy Anniversary KpopJacketLady.com.

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I woke up this morning to see a notice from WordPress wishing KpopJacketLady.com a Happy Anniversary. Wow, has it really been one year since I started this website? What a year it has been. For me personally this past year saw me travel to Korea for a second visit, to see multiple Kpop concerts here in the States, and watch a lot of great Kdramas. I retired the original Kpop jacket, began work on the new one, and continued discovering new things about Korea.

The website has seen over 6,000 visitors from 111 countries who have viewed it over 10,500 times, which I think is pretty cool. I especially like that people from so many different parts of the world have read my posts.

Kpop truly is a worldwide phenomenon. The most popular posts on the site are the ones about games. 

And the least popular ones about the recipes I’ve made.

I’ve written posts about some of the places I’ve visited.

And some of the wonderful Korean food I’ve eaten both here and while in Korea.

The past year has been full of Kpop experiences from concerts, to exhibitions, and of course tourist attractions.

There’s also been new friends and old.

The deconstruction and retiring of the original Kpop Jacket and the continuing work on the new one, this time on a Korean made, natural fiber jacket bought on my last trip. Not only does the new jacket have more space, it also is much cooler to wear in the Texas heat.

There are posts on Korean history, culture and sports. As well as posts on Korean innovations, such as the Turtle Ship, and the first heated greenhouse.

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Posts on Korean models turned actors, as well as Kdrama reviews can also be found when looking through the 136 posts that I wrote last year. Yeah, I wrote a lot last year and obviously will need to go back through them and update some of them and find a better way of organizing them so that people can easily find what they’re looking for.

There are obviously posts on Kpop and concert reviews,

but there are also posts on green spaces, parks, and the natural beauty of Korea.

Also posts on some of the different street foods I tasted, which really shouldn’t be missed on a visit to Korea.

But with all the things, I’ve seen, done, and written about in the past year, most of my favorite experiences revolve around people, and food. I’ve met some really cool, and interesting people and shared some fantastic food with quite a few others. Food and friends, they both make life so much better.

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I don’t have a cake to celebrate the 1 year anniversary, but knowing that there are people who are reading and enjoying my blog is enough to make this a good day.

Hope y’all have a great day too.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

All photo credits to original owners.

 

Party Baby! B.A.P. 2017 World Tour In Dallas.

 

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B.A.P. the Best Absolute Perfect Kpop group is in the middle of their 2017 World Tour and after a successful US part of the tour they’ll soon be heading to Europe. I managed to catch the Dallas show at the Majestic Theatre Downtown Dallas. This is the third time B.A.P. has performed in Dallas and the fans were excited to see them return.

Just among the small number of people in front and behind me in line there were two young ladies who had driven over 10 hours to the venue, and quite a few who had driven more than 5.

Debuting in 2012 B.A.P. burst onto the Kpop scene with a tough bad boy image, and powerful, dynamic music, lyrics, and choreography. Over the years they have expanded their repertoire to include fun upbeat songs as well as those with greater depth, maturity, and meaningful lyrics. They have had some issues over the years with their management company, TS Entertainment, which put a damper on their career progression for a while, as well as having one member battling an anxiety disorder. But they are back now, and hopefully it will all be smooth sailing from now on.

For once the lining up and entry into the venue went relatively smoothly. (At some venues this part is total chaos as the production companies don’t seem to communicate with the venues to have a plan in place, especially since Kpop fans are known to arrive early to events, and many venues are unprepared.)

Fans started lining up during the early afternoon onwards, and spent time getting to know their line neighbors, relating stories from previous events, comparing biases, and generally having a fun time being with other fans. Die hard fans came down the line handing out free postcards, glowsticks, party hats etc.  A member of the venue staff periodically patrolled the line reminding fans not to block the sidewalk or business entrances, but he was a cool old military man and was pleasant to chat to. The merchandise and wristband process started while people were still in line and that helped speed things up.

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The Majestic Theatre is a lovely theater from the 1920’s beautifully restored and maintained in Downtown Dallas. With all the performances she’s seen over the years I wondered what she would make of her first Kpop concert!

The fans were happy and excited and couldn’t wait to get into the actual auditorium. After finding their seats many made more friends and gradually as the auditorium filled you could feel the excitement growing. The roar that went up when  DJ B.Shoo came out was intense. Although everyone danced to the music, it was a little like having multiple layers of wrapping paper on a present, we just wanted to get to the gift inside, because we were already in a hyped up party mood. We knew just who we were there to see.

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The countdown clock was the signal for even more screaming, cheers, and whistle blowing.

We were all so excited when them came on stage, but with the smoke and the backlights I spent the first few minutes working out who was who by their silhouettes. The music singing and dancing was baller, but I didn’t like that I couldn’t see their faces.

(Production companies please note that when you use smaller, older theaters you need to take that into account and plan special effects accordingly. Kpop groups are relying on you to help make their concert tours successful and you let them, and the fans, down when you don’t do a good job.) The overuse of  backlighting and the smoky atmosphere kept me from taking many photos for the first part of the show, so I just concentrated on enjoying the show.

B.A.P. are beautiful to watch perform in many ways, physically, musically, and artistically. Their fans are among the most enthusiastic and loyal and knowing that B.A.P. realizes this and performs all out for their fans, makes every one of their concerts worth attending.

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After the opening songs the boys introduced themselves and chatted for a short while before choosing a member of the audience to come on stage with them. This young lady was chosen, not just because of her outfit, but because they recognised her from previous stops. While everyone wished they were her, I think we were all pleased that such a devoted fan got chosen.

Giving the members a short breather after the exciting and dynamic opening, this segment also allowed us a chance to see them somewhat stationary and listen to them speak.

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They looked well, with only Yongguk looking a little less so. I do so wish he would gain a little weight, and maybe the Dallas stop helped with that, as during the show they commented on how large the food portions here were, and how hot Dallas is.

Solo performances followed and changed the tempo and flow of the concert. Zelo sang in English for his solo which was a nice touch for his American fans.

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After an outfit change they came back out and continued as all six. By this point Yongguk looked more relaxed and we began to see his wonderful smile every now and then. The concert and crowd were really at fever pitch as B.A.P. slowly headed towards the end of the show, each song an inexorable step towards that end. Even knowing this, there was no letup in the volume and intensity of the crowd. Whether it was because we were in a relatively small theater I don’t know, but we were the loudest crowd I’ve ever been in. Even the members commented on the enthusiasm and energy of the Dallas fans.

When they finally left the stage for the last time a pall sort of fell over the crowd. We were all so happy to have seen them, but downcast because it was over. The fans who had the high touch or photo op were still somewhat ebullient as they had that to look forward to,  but the others trailed out of the auditorium replaying all the excitement in their heads and wondering when they would next be able to see their ‘boys’.

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The staff did a pretty good job of minimizing the chaos that can occur organizing excited fans for the benefits, but yet once again the fans were rushed through the high touch and photo op. I guess the production companies don’t care as they already have their money, but they don’t seem to realize that rushing the fans just gives them a bad name. Even if you slowed the process down by a few seconds it wouldn’t be so bad, and how about 2 group photos. Even a second or two apart means the fans could choose the one they look better in.

Overall it was a fantastic show, in a super venue, with some of the best fans in the Kpop world. Thank you Majestic Theatre. Thank you Babyz.

And Thank You B.A.P.  Y’all Come Back Y’hear.

Have a great day everyone.

As a side note the first hand embroidered patches I ever made for the Kpopjacket were for B.A.P.’s World Tour in 2014.

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But that jacket was too small so the patches have been moved to a larger jacket.

 

Only Big Bang has more patches than B.A.P.

You may also enjoy SHINee World Tour in Dallas 2017,   Kpop Night Out @ SXSW parts 1,  2,   and   3,  plus  HyunA Charms Her Dallas Fans.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

All photo credits to original owners. All except first photo credit to me.

 

Korean Variety Show Games, Part 5.

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I’ve talked about lots of games in past posts, but with the large number of Korean shows that feature games I’m guessing I’ll be writing quite a few more.

Dangyunhaji. 

I thought I’d start off today with an older game that sees an increase in popularity from time to time. I  read somewhere that this was once a traditional game and was played in the Joseon era by the Yangban class as a way to judge someone’s personality.  By seeing how they reacted to the questions posed to them you could gain insight into their temperament. It was meant to test their honor, integrity, and unflappability. And that a clever player could sometimes trick an unwary opponent into disclosing a revealing answer. Who knows if that is true, but the game of Dangyunhaji, known in English as “of course”, can definitely test a player’s character.

Although a relatively easy game, one player asks a question, the other must reply ‘of course’ or forfeit the game, it is more involved than that, in that one must choose each question carefully to try and test your opponent’s mettle. It is often the most fun to watch when players know each other and can ask probing questions. Dangyunhaji was very popular on the KVariety show X-Man and there are lots of clips showing them play the game on Youtube. Kpop groups such as BTS  KNK, and Lovlyz, plus individuals like Jackson from Got7 can also be found playing this game with varying degrees of success.

 

Chopsticks Games.

Another game seen in the older variety shows involves the snapping of chopsticks in half with your butt.

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Beginners should start off playing this game with only a couple of chopsticks, not the bundle shown in Junho, of 2pm’s, butt. Wooden chopsticks are tied together and then a strong piece of  cloth is threaded between the legs and attached to a branch, dowel, or broomstick handle. The branch is then pushed either forward or upward until the chopsticks break. This, as can be imagined, is an uncomfortable game to play and yet it is still played on variety shows from time to time.

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Another chopstick breaking game that is seen from time to time uses 2 chopsticks threaded through your fingers and then slammed onto a hard surface such as a table or knee. I actually don’t really recommend anyone try this one at home as it looks quite painful.

 

A chopstick game that is more my speed is using them to move a specific number of small objects like dried beans from one bowl to another in the shortest amount of time. This actually can prove to be quite an entertaining  party game.

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Or you can play a version where there is a pile of beans, or something similar, and multiple people compete to see who can pick up the most and place them in their container. I’ve seen this version played in the US using mini marshmallows. I play with different items that score different amounts of points.

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Or you can use chopsticks to stack small items like wooden blocks, to see who can stack the most.

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Giant chopsticks appear from time to time and it is always funny seeing the players trying to use them.

And more recently to eat with.

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I’m quite sure there’s other games that can be played with chopsticks. Which is your favorite? You can let me know in the comments below.

Have a great day everyone.

You might also be interested in Korean Games, And Where To Find Out More About Them.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

All photo credits to original owners.

 

SHINee World V Tour In Dallas. 2017.

 

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Once again SHINee, one of the most iconic groups of Kpop, chose Dallas, Texas on Friday 24th of March 2017 to be one of their few stops in North America. Their first time in Dallas was a Fan Meet back in July 2016, whereas this time they were here for a full concert. One of only 2 cities in the US chosen to hold a concert, the other being Los Angeles, meant that fans came from near and far to attend. The furthest I heard of was a group from Peru, but fans may have come from even further afield.

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Shawols, the name of SHINee’s fandom group, are among the most loyal and enthusiastic around, as could be seen by the fans arriving early and buying a huge amount of fan merchandise. Fans showed up hours before the show, and the press to get in once the doors opened was intense. It took a little while longer before we were allowed into the seating area. Although not a complete sell out, the theater was absolutely packed with fans.

The show started with a 6 minute video up on the big screen giving us a backstory of sorts. Full of colorful imagery and CGI, it encompassed nods, to folk tales, Escher, and nightmares of imprisonment, an endless maze, and never ending corridors, before the 5 shinning princes traveled through space, imaginary worlds, and gardens collecting the colors they needed to defeat the witch who had stolen all the color from the world. Armed with all the color they had collected they rescued the world and brought the “Color of SHINee” back to us.

With ever greater screams and cheers the fans waited expectantly for the curtain to rise. When it did the roars increased until it was almost deafening. SHINee was finally there before them, and for many, a dream had come true. SHINee opened with Hitchiking, from 2013. Backed by 4 dancers, SHINee filled the stage with their dancing and music.The choreography was spot on, with sharp, crisp moves, and the stylish flare that is synonymous with their name.

Throughout the concert every member of the group performed flawlessly, however, I have to say that time and time again my eyes were drawn to Key. He positively owned the stage. I could feel his confidence and enjoyment even from where I was seated, which was quite far back from the stage. It wasn’t until later in the show that Onew came into his own and I became conflicted as to who to watch. Now that isn’t to say that I didn’t watch all of them, I did, just that at times not all of them could be watched at the same time. Obviously Jonghyun was the focus when he sang his parts, as was Onew, and Taemin drew all eyes with his dancing, as did Minho with his rapping, charisma, and cheeky grins.But if anyone was the MVP of the night I would have to say it was Key.

The show was divided into sets, with video clips in between. The videos were full of all the best aspects of their personas with obvious thought given to fan enjoyment. Each member smiled, pouted, and winked down from the big screen, while lounging or standing in model-like poses. The videos showed us all one of the many reasons why so many of us were, and still are, long time fans. There’s no question that they are an attractive group of young men.

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There were also a few breaks where they spoke to the audience, to thank us for being their fans, their surprise at our ‘passion’ and to explain that since they didn’t perform live for us before, they would include mainly their most popular and famous songs. This they did, with song after song being greeted by screams and cheers. Lucifer, Juliet, Why So Serious, Sherlock, Everybody, Dream Girls and more rocked the theater. I think they performed about 23 songs in all. But the biggest cheer of the night was probably for Ring Ding Dong with the whole crowd singing along. Although SM has a general no cameras and no photography rule, many, if not most of the audience, were taking photos and videos, many of which can be found on Youtube. If you watch any of them, please realize that being at the concert was at least a hundred times better. The music was loud and all encompassing which along with the palpable excitement of the fans surrounding you, and SHINee performing before you made everyone’s hearts beat faster. When people says concerts like this are more of an experience than a show I think they’re probably correct.And it was a fantastic experience.

As the most confident English speaker Key was the one who mostly chatted with the audience, although all the others had opportunities to say thing with the aid of a translator. Jonghyun spoke to the crowd a fair bit in Korean and Minho spoke a few short phrases in English, although it seemed as if he wanted to say more, while Onew and Taemin were shy and cute and hesitant to say much at all. Key told us a funny story or two, one recounting why he was wearing a different outfit for this show. Apparently during a costume change his clothes had been thrown carelessly over “a lightning device” (I think he meant a light) and soon they could smell burning and they looked to see his clothes were on fire. (It was his Gucci and he mentioned it more than once, so I think he really was quite upset by the loss, even though he was trying to joke about it.) This happened at the Vancouver concert.

Having debuted in 2008 this is SHINee’s 9th year of being together and in that time they have managed to maintain their reputation as being among the best live vocalists in Kpop, which they proved yet again at this concert. With two amazing main vocalists, each of whom complements, contrasts , and melds with the other perfectly, they can sing everything from ballads to fast up tempo songs that include elements of funk, rock and EDM. Minho has improved over time, and Key and Taemin are no slouches at singing either. Also known for their intricate and complex choreography created for them by some of the top choreographers in the world, SHINee is a visual delight too, both for their stellar dancing and their quirky fashion style. Sometimes bordering on the bizarre SHINee has started more than one fashion trend in Korea and among their worldwide fans.

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Even after the concert ended, there was still a feeling of joy and contentment among many of the fans. A dream had been fulfilled and they had experienced an evening they would never forget. Thank you SHINee. Y’all come back y’hear.

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Have a great day everyone.

 

You may also enjoy KPOP Night Out @ SXSW, Part 1,  Part 2,   Part 3,  HyunA Charms Her Dallas Fans,    +Hello Bi+ches Tour 2016 + Dallas,    SHINee Shines Bright in Texas, (2016 Fanmeet.) and Got7: Fly in the USA concert review.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. Photos credits are to original owners.

KPOP Night Out @SXSW. Part 3.

 

The View From The Back.

After seeing MFBTY I asked the fans around me if they would let me switch out with my friend who was about 8 rows back, as he is a huge fan of Hyolyn and of Red Velvet. They kindly acquiesced and we swapped places. I had thought the crush was bad at the front of the stage, but it got worse the further back I went. In order to experience the concert from multiple places, I eventually worked my way all the way to the back. The view from the first 10 rows or so was pretty good, and photos from there came out better than right at the front. Whether it was the venue, or the artist’s preference, many of the lights on stage were focused out toward the audience, and were blinding at times and making it hard for anyone trying to take pictures.

Hyolyn’s set was delayed a little as the staff had to wipe up the water from MFBTY,  Yoonmirae had sprayed a little water towards the fans. This shouldn’t have crept into Hyolyn’s time since there were already decent length gaps between each performance of the night, but I guess the stage technicians weren’t quite on the ball.

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According to my friend at the front Hyolyn’s performance was sensual and sexy and she got down and low, and kept all eyes focused on her as she controlled both the stage and the crowd. She made eye contact with the fans and beamed that mega-watt smile multiple times. If you want to see the fancams he made you can see them on youtube and see just how close he is to her stellar performance. Her backup dancers were excellent too.

I stopped at another decent viewpoint, about half way back where there was a step up. A different group of friends had a spot here and had a good view, although it was a place they had to stand firm on, as people behind them kept trying to push them off the step. After escaping all the way to the back after Hyolyn’s set I managed to grab a drink and breathe a little. It was nice to take a break from the crowd after about 6 hours. A group had also found that the upstairs balcony had a good view, if at an awkward angle for some, others had given up on watching and had found seats where they could at least listen to the show in comfort.

I made an attempt to find a spot to watch Red Velvet when they came on stage, but the mass of people was packed too tight. I did though watch larger men who arrived right before Red Velvet came on force their way through, with no regard to the fact that other people had waited for hours to see them. I personally had a large man push me aside…..and then stand right in front of me, before he then managed to push another woman aside and move further forward. Yes know that’s how concert audiences work, I’ve been going to concerts since the late 70’s, but it was the rudeness and sheer disregard towards other people which I didn’t expect from Kpop fans.

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To make sure I could at least see some of Red Velvet’s performance I found a tall guy at the back who was filming with his phone and ended up watching them on the small screen, with occasional glimpses of the stage when the crowd shifted and moved. Red Velvet was somewhat nervous and initial technical difficulties made them a little unsure and awkward. They may also have been a little intimidated by the very close, and very loud crowd, especially being in a foreign country. They seemed sweet and adorable, and did eventually relax a little. At one point Irene had to go backstage for a few minutes and I’m not sure what that was about. The fans were hyped up, and very vocal, thrilled to be able to be this close to their favorite idols.

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Even after the show was over fans streaming out of the venue seemed reluctant to have the evening end, and they stood outside in small groups going over their favorite moments. Eventually everyone dispersed as exhaustion began to set in. I was in line at 10am and the show ended at 2am. It had been one long day, but it does show the commitment of Kpop fans to their artists and music.

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This was my second KPOP Night Out at SXSW, the first being in 2015, and this one was definitely a better lineup of artists and a slightly better venue. The Belmont worked well on some levels, but the stage is small, the standing room for the audience is narrow and enclosed by high walls which, alongside it being at outside venue, made it quite hot and oppressive in the tightly packed crowd. The view of the stage is not good for about a third, or more, of the audience.

Still most fans will put up with a lot to see their favorite artists, although producers and organizers shouldn’t rely on that. A few people I spoke with said that it might be an event they go to every couple of years or so, rather than every year because it was just so exhausting. Also I think maybe mixing up the genres of Korean music a little more might be popular. A Trot singer might be a lot of fun, especially if they sang some of the really popular songs that we all hear in Kdramas, and on variety shows. Or B Boy dancers, since Korea has some of the best around. The draw will always be the idols, but for this show anyway, the fans did their best to make it a fantastic experience for all the groups, not just their biases.

Thank you to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, KOCCA, and MU:CON, plus anyone else who helped bring KPOP Night Out to SXSW  and Austin, Texas. Y’all come back y’hear.

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Have a great day everyone.

You may also enjoy Part 1, and Part 2.

Photo credits to ‘Sangheili19’ (check out his youtube channel for some amazing fancams of the show.) except for last photo, credit to MFBTY ? or original owner.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.

KPOP Night Out At SXSW. Part 2.

 

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A View from the Front.  

In part one I mentioned that I was at the K-POP Industry Party held before the show, which meant I was inside the venue before the doors opened, and therefore was able to get a center spot 2nd line back from the front for the actual showcase. I stayed here for the first 4 acts before switching with a friend so he got to see his girl groups up close. Part 2 is about the first four groups, Big Phony, No Brain, Galaxy Express, and MFBTY, along with some of their label mates and friends, as seen from the front of the venue. Part 3 will be about trying to watch Hyolyn, and Red Velvet, from towards the back of the venue. Definitely different experiences!

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The weather was warm and a little muggy, with only a few drafts of the wind that had plagued us while waiting in line earlier in the day managing to get past the tall brick walls surrounding the stage area. Packed tightly together it was a little uncomfortable, but at least I was close to the stage and had a great view. This changed later as dozens of photographers lined up against the stage, constantly blocking the sight-lines of the people who had paid to watch the show. I had doubts the qualifications of some of them as they were using their phone cameras more than their ‘real’ cameras. One man kept leaning so far back into us that the young lady in front of me actually had him pressing up against her and totally blocking her view, as well as making her feel uncomfortable.

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The opening act was Big Phony (aka Bobby Choy) a super cool guy, who is totally talented on multiple levels, even if he himself is somewhat self deprecating and modest. He’s a singer, songwriter, composer, producer, actor and movie screenwriter, in all one of those people that you could dislike if he wasn’t such a nice person. Having lived in New York, Seoul, and LA, he brought a more culturally diverse musical background to KPOP Night Out.

It was still daylight when he began his session, joined by members of No Brain and Brad Moore from Busker Busker as his backup musicians. The crowd was happy to see him and may have surprised him somewhat with their enthusiasm, but he’s been to Texas before and must know that things are bigger and better here. Big Phony’s sound can be described as ‘folk’ or ‘indie’ but it was more than that, it was lyrical with a soulful underlay of sadness, yet there was a wistfulness and hope there too. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance and hope more people start listening to his music. You can, of course, find his MV’s on Youtube, including Hanging on a Thread, and The Hours, as well as others.

 

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After a short break and a rearrangement of the stage the next act was No Brain, a veteran punk/rock group who have been together for over 20 years. Their experience and talent was immediately obvious, but what was more compelling was their joy in performing. Bulldaegal bounced and stalked the stage with a barely controlled explosive energy, pumping up the crowd to an almost riotous level. Not a huge fan of this style of music I was caught up in the frenzy and was dancing and shouting along with everyone else. Surprisingly I really enjoyed their performance and was impressed with each member of the group as they were masters of their craft. After Bulldaegal with his infectious smile, Hyoonga was perhaps my favorite with his soju song. I missed out on the chance to drink soju with him, maybe another time.

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No Brain, long known as the ‘godfathers’ of Korean punk have performed in Korea, Japan, the US, Canada, and even Russia. If you ever get the chance to go see them I highly recommend you do so. You’d be in for a helluva show.

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Galaxy Express described as a “high octane, runaway bullet train” performed next. Formed in 2006  they are a 3 member group known for their dynamic stage presence. With many fans around the world they’ve appeared on stage in multiple countries including the US, Canada, France, England, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. They won Musician of the Year in 2011 at the Korean Music Awards. They were definitely loud, powerful, and talented, but unfortunately they couldn’t keep the crowd momentum going and looking around the audience I could unfortunately see quite a few disengaged people.

 

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The group I was looking forward to the most was initially advertised as a set by Drunken Tiger and one by his wife Yoonmirae, then we heard that Bizzy would be there too and so it would be MFBTY performing as well. It actually turned out that they brought more people from Feel GHood Music with them to include Ann One and Junoflo, along with 2 DJs so it really turned into a party on stage. Drunken Tiger, aka Tiger JK, started everything off pumping up the crowd, getting us to shout out Korean words and phrases with risque meanings. He introduced everyone, told us he was drunk and hoped we weren’t disappointed they weren’t ‘kpop’.  By the shouts, screams, and cheers from the crowd it was obvious everyone was really glad to be there watching them perform. As Junflo tweeted later “SXSW THAT WAS THE CRAZIEST SHOW EVER.”

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At this time I have to say that I was enjoying the show so much I didn’t really take much time to take photos. Sometimes nowadays we concentrate so much on recording something we don’t truly experience it, and I was there for the experience.

Most of the time everyone from Feel GHood Music was on the stage at the same time although the performance was divided up roughly into Drunken Tiger being the focus, then Yoonmirae, and then finally MFBTY, although Junoflo, Ann One, and one of the DJs were all given time to show us what they could do. Ann One was unknown to me before the show, but she is definitely someone who I’ll watch out for, both as a songwriter as well as a singer. Junoflo is also someone to watch for, particularly as Druken Tiger said he expected him to be the future of Feel GHood Music, and  DJ  Zomanno was really good, adding unexpected humorous elements into his set.

    

These 3 photos are from http://www.asianjunkie.com/2017/03/19/sxsw-2017-mfbty-and-friends-steal-the-show-at-k-pop-night-out/ who has written probably the most comprehensive review of this part of KPOP Night Out @ SXSW. Worth reading.

Popular as Drunken Tiger was, Yoonmirae was the darling of the night with her amazing performance. I think at times she was surprised at how popular she was. The crowd was totally focused on her and sang and cheered and applauded her in a frenzy of appreciation. Our Texas girl made us proud. But it was probably when the MFBTY songs were sung that the crowd completely lost their minds.

Sweet Dreams is one of my favorite songs so I was thrilled to finally hear it performed live, along with Get it In, and Bang Diggy Bang Bang, although there wasn’t a single song that wasn’t great. The performance was loud, wild, and crazy, and at the same time heartfelt, and touching. I think they were happy to be here in Texas and I know we were thrilled for them to perform here.

Y’all come back, y’hear.

Have a great day everyone.

You might also enjoy KPOP Night Out @ SXSW Part 1,  Part 3,   Hyuna Charms Her Dallas Fans,  +Hello Bi+ches Tour 2016 + Dallas, and Got 7: Fly In The USA Concert Review.

Photo credits to original owners.  1. Kpop Night Out @SXSW.  3. Big Phony. 4. No Brain.      6. Galaxy Express. 9,10,11, Asian Junkie.  (only 2,5,7,8,12, 13 to me.)

 

Kpop Night Out @ SXWS. Part 1.

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South by Southwest, SXWS, or South-by when speaking, is a music, film, and interactive media festival that also has conferences, panels, and gaming with lots of parties thrown in for good measure. Being held in Austin, Texas there’s also lots of great food, and of course all the drinking you could want on the infamous 6th street.

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Starting in 1987 it has grown by leaps and bounds, each year including more and more diverse aspects of popular culture as new technologies emerge. This year it ran for ten days and closed down parts of the center of Austin, the capital city of Texas. SXSW is the largest music festival with this format in the world and showcases over 2,000 artists from all around the globe performing almost every type of music you can imagine. The list of artists who have performed at SXSW includes some of the best musicians in the world. The interactive part which is focused on emerging tech is probably the biggest event of its kind in the world.

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Since the artists have to pay their own way many must hold fundraisers and find innovative ways to get to SXSW to actually perform. For fans of Korean music under the broad cover of Kpop (the Korean popular music meaning, not only the idol meaning) it is fortunate that various people have stepped in to help. The  Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, & Tourism, plus KOCCA, and Mu:CON all helped sponsor the event along with the help of local volunteers. KPOP Night Out is now in its 5th year at SXSW and has grown every year. I attended in 2015 when it was at Elysium, it has now however moved to a slightly larger venue at The Belmont, which although an improvement is still unfortunately not a great venue for fans.

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SXSW works on a badge and wristband system with prices for these being quite high. People with these get different levels of priority entry to each event. Sometimes if there’s left over space regular people get a chance to gain entry by a pay at the door system. For Kpop fans this means that if you want the best chance to get in you need to be near the front of the line for non pass holders. The Belmont was estimating that maybe 75 non pass holders would be able to get in. I arrived at 10am  with a couple of friends, in a light drizzle we claimed a spot in line. The first people in line were apparently there at 8am. We were about a dozen people back,  but as the day progressed that slipped to about 20 back as friends of the early people began to appear. (As a side note, I think most people were ok with this if it was only one or two people who joined the line, but there was some bad feelings and requests from others in line to not let people cut in which was understandable, especially as the chances for getting in were slim.)

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As usual with the Texas Kpop community there was a lot of catching up with friends, bonding with people from the same fandoms, and general friendliness. We found out which concerts we had in common, and which future concerts we were planning to see. Unlike in some places, many Texas fans are ‘multi-fans’ and attend multiple Kpop concerts each year. Obviously each has a favorite group or two, but we try to go to as many concerts here in Texas as we can to help support all the Kpop artists who come here.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Kpop Industry Party which was held before the concert. It was on the outdoor rooftop patio of The Belmont where we could look down and watch the stage being set up and even Big Phony’s warm up. The party was to “meet the artists, record labels, producers, and creators”. Although the ‘big name’ artists weren’t there, the company representatives were and the poor lady with Red Velvet was very popular. I was able to chat with a few people from the companies/artists and had a great chat with Bradley Moore of Busker Busker fame. He and the representative from Feel Ghood Music were extremely generous with their time and very enjoyable to chat with. Brad even took a few selfies for me with my camera.

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As with most parties there were free drinks (2) and food, which for this event was provided by  Chi’lantro a local Austin chain of Korean  Mexican fusion food. There was also a live performance by Hoody the first female artist under the AOMG record label. I was able to stand quite close and enjoyed her performance. She did remarkably well singing with all the party noises and goings on in front of her. I will note that some of the local volunteers and photographers were quite rude and chatted and talked in small groups right in front of the performance. In future please go to the back so as not to be rude to the artist and other guests. You were representing America and you didn’t do so well. I hope to see Hoody at a future performance as I very much enjoyed what I heard.

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I had thought to go back to my friends outside, but got caught up chatting once more and then realized I could watch Big Phony’s warm up from the balcony.

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This is a great photo to show some of the amazing collaborations between artists that happened during the night. In front you can see Big Phony, on the drums is Brad Moore from Busker Busker, then the other musicians are from No Brain, one of the other groups scheduled to appear later in the showcase. After this I met Big Phony and his brother, who were very pleasant and fun to talk to. A couple of photos were taken, but unfortunately not with my camera. Hopefully I’ll find them online and be able to add one at a later time.

I spoke with lots of people, both in the industry and those who were pass holders, volunteers, or staff. Everyone was hyped up to have a great night out, and for the most part KPOP Night Out delivered.  Part 2 will follow soon.

Have a great day everyone.

Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. All photo credits belong to original owners. ( Including myself, (7, 10-14) Jimmy Nguyen (9) and Simon Chan (8))