MACK foundation on Al Jazeera English tomorrow

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From the MACK (Movement for the Advancement of the Cultural-diversity of Koreans) foundation:

Please tune in live on air The Stream on Al Jazeera English tomorrow 330pm EST/430 AM (Wed) KST, former MACK VP Cindy Lou Howe will be discussing EVEN THE RIVERS Film that highlights MACK Foundation’s work with Greg Chan-wook Diggs-Yang. The topic is “Multiculturalism in South Korea” and we hope you will tune in to share your perspectives! Join the conversation on Twitter #ajstream @ajstream @eventherivers You can watch at the link below!

Link to The Stream here.

LA Kalbi is as Korean as Ktown

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown S01E02 Koreatown Los Angeles – YouTube.

I don’t know how long they’ll keep this available, but here’s the L.A. Koreatown episode of Anthony Bourdain’s new show, Parts Unknown. Bourdain’s guides to Ktown are two “bad Koreans”: Roy Choi, chef/owner of the Kogi Taco Trucks, and David Choe, the artist. I’ve already heard some people criticizing the episode for being inauthentic, ignorant, and even culinarily offensive (‘Jollybee in an episode about Koreatown?!’ said one friend of a friend), but I thought it was pretty interesting for how it was so adamantly Korean American, regardless of whatever essentializing of Korean culture and history the two native informants accomplish. Their Ktown is, for this current boom in K-cuisine (yes, I think the aggressive marketing, experimentation, and exoticized domestication of Korean cuisine warrants it becoming a K-product), such a defining site for the history of Koreans in America. But they do identify in different moments as Korean (un-hyphenated), like when Choe’s father connects the conversation about the impact of the L.A. riots and the rise of Ktown to Korea’s current global cultural presence: “now Korean culture, K-pop, Psy, it’s all over the world, [the] influence.” The somewhat random assemblage of cultural practices and food as what defines Ktown and Koreanness is what’s interesting about the story, because it says more about how cultures are personally codified (through food, location, interactions with different communities, parents, punishment…) and created emotionally and physically through consumption (mostly food, in this case).

In the end, it’s a TV show with the basic premise of eating the exotic, but this time they’re trying to exoticize the local as well (next episode: Colombia, and the one after: Canada. Trés chic). And it did include my new favorite explanation of han* from David Choe’s awesomely coiffed and accessorized mom as David read aloud the definition from Wikipedia ): “It’s heartburn.”

*disclaimer: I don’t have the best jŏng for han

“Mr. Pizza is original pizza”

This Mr. Pizza ad has been making the rounds (and has been discussed at length elsewhere), but it is worth a couple views. I was advised not to give up watching in despair after the first fifteen seconds by the second person to recommend it to me, which is good, because I very nearly gave up in exasperation. You’ll know what I mean.

The first person to recommend it to me admitted to not making it past the introduction, which speaks volumes about our expectations of Korean media as well as the zeal with which conspiracy theories are pursued.

As usual, the comment section is a hotbed of nationalist arguments, but the response is mostly positive. The duplicate link with Korean subtitles, though, had many critical comments (in Korean) that were concerned with what foreigners would think about Korea if they saw it. Is this underestimating “foreigners,” or a valid concern based on perpetuated stereotypes of the *ahem* earnestness of Koreans? Probably a little of column A, a little of column B.

In any case, haha. The bit with the actual chairman of Mr. Pizza is great. Maybe almost enough to make me try it again.

There are also a bunch of companion videos here.

Drama Special under fire for lesbian content » Dramabeans »

 

I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but there’s been some controversy (and excitement!) over a Drama Special on KBS that aired this past weekend called Daughters of Bilitis Club (클럽 빌리티스의 딸들) that depicts three lesbian narratives. Dramabeans has a good write-up of it:

Drama Special under fire for lesbian content » Dramabeans » Deconstructing korean drama and kpop culture.

Here’s the official KBS2 page for the show and the trailer below (sorry, Korean only — haven’t found an subbed version yet):

 

Check it out — I’m going to!