KCON 2013 – All Things Hallyu

This weekend has been crazy exciting. I can’t believe KCON is over! I had such an amazing time, so let’s start with the recap!

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On day one, the lines to get in were loooooooong. Even if you had a ticket, you had to wait for security to check your bag. Like, wait for hours – plural. Luckily the staff was more efficient the next day, but I felt bad for everyone who was baking in the sun even before the convention started.

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My first panel was “The World of K-Drama”. Stephanie Parker, the Community Manager at Viki, did a great job of staying upbeat and positive as the moderator. Sean Richard Dulake talked a little bit about the filming process for kdramas. What stood out to me was him mentioning how Korea doesn’t really have unions, so they can work you 24 hours. Like, you’d maybe get an hour to sleep in your car and then you’d be back on set. No wonder there are so many accidents during production.

Girlfriday (on left) shared that she enjoys supernatural kdramas, so My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is one of her favorites. Dramabeans (right) said her favorites change depending on the time, but her current love is Shut Up Flower Boy Band. It was such an honor to be standing next to the goddesses of the kdrama blogosphere.

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I also attended the “Asian American YouTube Stars” panel. The special guests were Jeff Bernat, Jun Sung Ahn, and Jung Sung Ahn’s manager.  Christine B. Balance, a professor at UC Irvine, was the moderator. Several of her students must have been in the audience because she got lots of applause. Yay teachers that care! Afterwards, the line to talk to (hug) Jun Sung Ahn was so lengthy that security had to make a cutoff point.
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I asked Jung Sung Ahn’s manager how many views a YouTube personality needed in order to get professional representation, and he said that he’s signed people with only 1000 views. According to him, it’s the talent that matters, not so much the hits. Hmm, food for thought.

The “Successful Asian Americans in Entertainment” panel was right before the “Behind the Scenes of a K-Movie” panel. Since Henry was one of the special guests, there was already a line for him before I sat down. Wish I could’ve stayed for Henry, but I’m not really familiar with his work so I didn’t want to take a seat away from an actual fan.

The successful Asian Ams gave us some helpful pointers on how to succeed in the industry – don’t party till 4 a.m., shower every other day, eat bread because it’s amazing, … Yeah, it was pretty wacky and irreverent, mainly because of Will Yun Lee and his friend (can’t remember his name and since he was a last minute addition to the guest list he didn’t have a name tag). They spent a good portion of the panel joking around and leading everyone into tangential topics. Super hilarious. TOKiMONSTA explained how she doesn’t read YouTube comments because they can be depressing and it’s not worth it. She said it’s been hard for her as a female Asian American to make it in the electronic scene. Some people assume that it’s her boyfriend who creates her beats or that she’s just the face of her albums. Sucks that in the year 2013 women still can’t get proper credit for their work.

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In addition to the panels, there was lots to do. Fun games to win prizes like a Psy fan, Bibigo headband, Nongshim ramen, and even a free trip to Korea on Asiana Airlines. I won all of these prizes … except for the plane ticket.

I’ve been a fan of Sulli since I saw her in To the Beautiful You, so I was super excited for f(x)’s Artist Engagement. Wasn’t able to get very close, but here’s a pic. Props to Amber for being their spokesperson.

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Overall, I had a fantastic KCON experience, but there were a few issues that will hopefully be resolved by next year.

– Communication between the venue staff and KCON staff. Didn’t seem like many of the security guards or parking attendants had any idea what was going on at LASA (Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena).

– Getting people into KCON as soon as the doors open. People shouldn’t have to wait hours to enter, especially if they already have tickets and just need to get their bags inspected. There’s got to be a more efficient way to manage the entrance.

– There were only Porta Potties available during the convention portion. That’s okay, but not so great if the toilet paper runs out or the portable sinks have no water.

– Lack of shade. The L.A. sun can get intense during the summer. Really hope there’s an indoor venue next year.

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The heat kept my appetite at bay, but I didn’t pass up the chance for some food truck grub.  To purchase food, you had to first buy a meal ticket and then trade the paper ticket for your lunch.  I especially enjoyed the delicious  goodies from Tornado Potato and Tous Les Jours. Finding a place to eat was tricky since most of the tables didn’t have shade, but sitting on the grass was fine.

Love how KCON brought together fans from all over the world to share their mutual love of Hallyu. I started random conversations with people from as far as Washington, D.C., Mexico, and Japan.

The highlight of KCON of course was the MNET concert. I was already thrilled to be able to see 2am and f(x), but I am now also a fan of Crayon Pop, Teen Top, and with grudging respect … G-Dragon. He really knows how to work the crowd.
My seats were decent, albeit not close enough to get any sharp pictures. Will post some video later after I check to see if I was able to capture any footage that’s worth sharing.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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5 thoughts on “KCON 2013 – All Things Hallyu

  1. I.LOVED.KCON13!! Completely blown away by 2 aspects:

    1) Ethnic/Social/Gender/Generational Diversity. KPOP fan demographics are just as varied as American-Rock’s but on a smaller scale. FOR NOW.
    2) Super noob-friendly festival. The organizers clearly wanted everyone to have a fab time, hyperventilating preteen or no. I came through the turnstile knowing practically nothing about Korean popular music (and very little about KPOP culture in general) and left a die-hard Exo and f(x) fan. Slightly crushing on Amber. She’s legal, right?

    • Yeah! I wasn’t too impressed by Exo’s music videos, but watching them live has made me an instant fan. Amber has so much charisma. And yes, she’s legal, as are the Crayon Pop girls even though they all look 12. Looking forward to KCON 14!

  2. I was there too! I even got my husband to tag along! Your write-up is pretty much how I felt about the entire convention. Starting with the crazy long wait to get in, and the super hot sun! Overall, I’d say it was an enjoyable experience; one that I still remember vividly. I wasn’t a fan of G-Dragon until KCON. His stage presence, and the way he worked the crowd was amazing! (I was finally sold on Crayon Pop, too!) 🙂 I’m just bummed that I had to miss out on KCON 2014…though, I’m hoping to be there for 2015!

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