KCON 2015 – LA

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What an amazing weekend! Thank you KCON LA for upping your game and listening to your fans.

First off, they finally booked an INDOOR venue with actual bathrooms that had toilet paper and running water. The LA Convention Center has plenty of individual rooms for panels in addition to large arenas for merch booths.  And, if you know where to park downtown you can get away with free street parking for the day.

Saturday I had to work during the day so I couldn’t make the convention portion, but luckily I made it to the concert. The first night was definitely the better night with Super Junior headlining a fantastic lineup which included my personal favorite, SISTAR.
kcon-concert-lineupThe Staples Center has a stage that’s surrounded by the audience on all sides. It looks amazing, although when a band’s choreo limits them to facing one side, you’re relegated to a back peformance. Luckily, most of the bands made use of the space and gave love to each audience section.
20150801_204656Sunday, I made it to the convention around noon and went to the DramaFever panel. They talked about the process of licensing kdramas and how that usually involves soju because Korean clients expect a wine&dine business deal. Their top rec for a must-see kdrama right now is Oh My Ghostess.

Along with DF, another company I would love to work for is MNet. Someday ….
20150802_153429-1After panels, I met up with Veejay HanNa and Producer Kristine from KPOP-TV. Here we are with GOT7.
20150803_013226Also snagged a pic with YouTube sensation Professor Oh!
canvasHere we are trying to get close to more Hallyu stars.

20150802_171222Depending on the type of tickets you purchased, you also get fan engagement opportunities. I went to Red Velvet and Shinhwa’s event. Unless you wait in line 2-3 hours ahead of time, you won’t get very close to them, but everything’s projected onto big screens. I hope next year they have stadium seating for the fan engagements so you’re not just staring at a sea of heads and phones.
20150802_142920In terms of food, there were a couple booths that gave out samples. We ended up eating at Smashburger at L.A. Live since the lines for overpriced food truck meals were too long. You can’t help but get hungry after staring at yummy displays like this:
20150802_172553There were lots of cool merch booths. I was mainly interested in the beauty products and was thrilled to get free make-up samples along with the rest of my swag!
20150803_003129Second concert night was headlined by OG kpop stars Shinhwa. I really enjoyed Red Velvet’s performance too.
My concert buddy Alice rocked out with me. I think I got a little teary towards the end because I was so happy to be surrounded by hundreds of like-minded kpop fans.

The night was still young after the concert so I got food at BCD Tofu with some friends. And as luck would have it, one of Super Junior’s members walked out just as we were about to get seated. We were too shy to ask for a photo, but I’m pretty sure we sat in the booth he was just in. =)
20150802_232242Next year is going to be amaaaazzing!!!!
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NHEB-05 soap

Finally got the chance to use this bar of soap that I bought at KCON.

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I was browsing towards the end of the event, and saw that they had marked it down from $7 to $4. After talking to the guy, he agreed to bring it down to $3. Then when I took out my wallet, he knocked it down to $2. Maybe I should stop using my high school velcro wallet, it makes me look rather pitiful.

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I was surprised at how well this soap lathers. It also has nubs on one side for exfoliation. There’s a light oatmeal scent. It’s made from coconut butter and is hypo allergenic, gentle enough for a baby.

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You can find the soap in k-town at  Kim’s Home Center aka the Korean version of Target.

Angel’s Magic NHEB 05 Natural Soap

Grade: A-

Pros: Lots of lather, no sulfates or weird chunks of herbs that clog up your bath, natural ingredients, light and soothing scent.

Cons: Very small, it’s about a quarter of the size of a Dove bar. And online it retails at $7. So unless you can get a deal like I did through haggling, this’ll be a special occasion indulgence.

KCON concert: M COUNTDOWN What’s up LA

I still can’t believe I got to see 2am, f(x), Crayon Pop, EXO, and G-Dragon live. If you weren’t able to make it out to KCON, you can catch the concert tonight on Mnet America. It’ll be on air and online at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT on Thursday, August 29.

Just imagine that you waited in line for an hour to get inside. And you were so excited that even the helicam was delightful.

Make sure you sing along!

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!