None of the names have been changed this time, because I cease to give a —-.
Well, it’s been over a month since I posted an Adventures in Koreatown post, mostly because for the past month I actually didn’t live in Koreatown. Here’s the gist of why:
First, I got to the point where I could no longer stand the girl in charge of the apartment I lived in. She didn’t live there (was subletting) but she wanted to be treated as the mother of the household and wanted all the roommates to be her little children. I wasn’t about to put up with this. Then, I caught the 2 Russian female roommates stealing things, as they wanted to hurry up and get money to start school and change their tourist visas to student visas. My iPhone is still M.I.A., along with some pictures and phone numbers I will never get back. So, the combination of the 2 things actually sent me packing early last month. I waved farewell to Ktown and went to stay with a friend who lived in a high-rise downtown:
I spent the next 2 weeks or so just wasting time living downtown, in a fancy building in a very expensive loft apartment. I did nothing really Korean or Asian-related and kinda vegged out, looking for a new apartment. I would sit outside (on the 14th floor) and watch the ahjummas at the retirement community across the street. They always came out around sunset, on the rooftop, with their floppy hats, tea, and snacks under the large umbrellas. Their laughter would carry across to the patio.
After staying downtown, I made the bad decision to go live with my distant cousin in South Central L.A. Yes, THAT South Central. I tried not to stay at the house very long because it had no A/C and was just not my scene at all. The bus rides to and from downtown were sometimes frightening, with fights breaking out occasionally on the ride. One time, all the passengers had to get off the bus while 911 was called because someone had been attacked on the bus for saying some very racist things. Other than this, a few highlights DID happen during my stay there, including participating in the Pasadena Gangnam Style flashmob, getting to see Rain’s new movie, and attending 2NE1’s fabulous concert: 24-7KPOP is growing very fast, to the point that we now get invites to events and screenings without asking for it.One
such invite was to Bi Rain’s new movie, R2B: Return to Base. I showed up as the representative for our company and soon found out I was the only non-Korean at CGV…that is, until 2 white guys showed up. I’m guessing they were from the L.A. Times. The movie started off with a very Top Gun vibe that quickly became full of comedy and Rain being a cocky, cute troublemaker (somewhat similar to his quirkiness in Full House). The movie was a rollercoaster of emotions: One moment, I was laughing my ass off, the next I was crying and looking around to see who else was crying. All in all, it was a very good movie and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that now I can see some of my most admired Korean idols and actors on the big screen, with subtitles and all the fare that goes with a theater movie. I was all buttered up, and not on my popcorn (I hate popcorn).
A few days later, I met up with my buddy Brandon (another 24-7KPOP Team member) and we went on an adventure in Koreatown. I met up with him at the 7th Street Metro station downtown and we rode the subway to Wilshire/Western, where we got off and walked a few blocks down to the Koreatown Galleria. There, we went in every single shop in the 3-story mall. We browsed through the latest KPOP albums and photobooks in the music store, tried to find a “Learn Korean for Kindergarteners” book with no luck for Brandon, and then ended up in a store full of randomness where he bought some metal chopsticks he doesn’t know how to use. Near the parking garage, since my phone was dying (I swear it has the battery life of an hour), I decided to charge it at an outlet in the mall. This is when Brandon and I learned something peculiar: You’re not allowed to charge your phones in public. A security guard actually rushed over to use to inform us of this stupid rule. I looked over my phone: It still doesn’t look like a bomb to me. As we walked further along, I received a very good email: We had tickets for 2NE1!!! Brandon jumped up and down with me, as he already had a ticket and I had been jealous of him all day. We made our way over to the Nokia Center to find the place overrun by KPOP fans galore. I talked a little with the YG Ladies crew, ran into a few followers who knew me, and watched the silent 2NE1 flashmob sponsored by Viki. Soon, Christan showed up (poor thing, she was recovering from an illness and had no voice) and we went to pick up our tickets. After joking for hours with Brandon that I would probably have awesome tickets (and he then threatened to kill me if I did), I opened the envelope to see Orchestra tickets. I could feel his eyes burning through me as Christan and I walked ahead of him and Sophia (another lovely follower and friend of mine). Once in the venue, Christan and I made our way to our seats after passing through about 10 ticket checkpoints. We spotted David So, Dumbfounded, Jeremy Scott, and a few others in our section, a few rows in front of us. The concert flew by, with lightsticks galore (I was surprised how many people had the $30+ Blackjacks official glowsticks), very bright colors, and some bare-chested Kwon twins (DISCLAIMER: I can’t give a very good review of the concert because I spent far too long staring at the twins on stage. At one point they were shirtless and doing sweaty body rolls, and Christan at one point had to literally lift my jaw up and close my mouth.) The girls, did, however put on a very good show: Minzy humped the stage like it owed her money, that’s why she’s my favorite. CL was the definite leader as she lead the others through about 20 songs and dances. At one point, she actually DJ-ed in a booth far above the stage while shouting her love of Madonna. Sandara brought the sexy as she almost gave a guy, hand-picked from the audience, a lap dance on stage. Park Bom stayed true to herself, wandering off stage and getting easily distracted by the large bouncy blow-up prop she decided to play with while the others performed. To cap off the night, Will.I.Am jumped on the stage to join the girls for a different rendition of I Am the Best. Confetti rained down as everyone danced for the last time. As Christan and I made our way to exit (really, I was looking for David So), we ran into Chad Future and choreographer Aimee (both whom we knew) and exchanged hugs. We walked by the entrance to the backstage area, wondering if we should try to go in. As we made the decision to step outside and look for the rest of our crew, we turned around to see our doors close, Aimee and Chad walking casually backstage to meet 2NE1. We realized once outside we couldn’t go back and and thought of our bad luck. If we had just stayed inside, we could have walked backstage with them. This haunted me the rest of the night.
Another week of hell in South Central came and went and I had had enough. I moved back to Ktown, where I truly belonged. My new abode is directly across from the Korean market and The Face Shop. I wake up every morning to hear loud Korean sex from one of the neighbors (not sure if it’s my building or the one behind it, but since we leave the patio door open, and they are SUPER loud while getting it on, I can’t help but hear them….every morning). On the second day in the apartment, I got the heads up about the CJES Auditions (which we had received a press release for but the actual event had slipped my mind). As I was in the middle of doing much-needed laundry and cleaning, I decided I wasn’t going to walk the 6-7 blocks to have a look….until I found out Junsu was going to be there. I threw on some clothes, a hat, and rushed out of the apt with no makeup on whatsoever. I’ve never walked so fast in my life, not wanting to miss a moment of my favorite JYJ member on stage. When I got there, the auditions had just started, and to my dismay, was HOURS away from finishing. I relaxed on the second floor balcony overlooking the stage and watched the auditions for a few hours, then eventually gave in to a smoke break. Outside, I ran into the funny man himself, Danny Cho, who was the MC for the event. We chatted while enjoying our cig break and agreed to stay in touch. Afterwards, 3 more hours passed as more and more audition hopefuls took to the stage. Some were good, a few were great, some were just…um….hopeful. One guy actually jumped on stage to cover Gangnam Style and I got the impression he was there just to have fun and didn’t care that he couldn’t sing or dance:
Soon, a few acts came to the stage, of which I don’t remember their names. Then, Paul Kim, aka Sex on a Stick, walked out to seduce the crowd with a song. I think I fell in love with him right then and there. Afterwards, Blush performed 2 very dance-y songs and promoted their new music. Then, Clara C and her guitar came out of nowhere to give us undeserving peasants 2 very beautiful songs. Her humor and her happiness in being there quieted the eager beavers screaming for Junsu. Then, the main event: Junsu quietly walked out onto the stage, gave a beautiful speech (in Korean) about how proud he was of JYJ,
CJES, and the audition hopefuls. He then sat in a chair and sang a very beautiful ballad (the large crowd was deathly quiet at this point) and then stepped off the stage with a wave. I made my way downstairs (yes, I had spotted David So again) and this time I called his name. He turned around, said hi to me, and he laughed when I told him who I was (for those of you that don’t know, I always post his videos on our Facebook page and call him MY David So and profusely profess my love for him…….and well, he actually sees it). He said he loved the love, gave me a bear hug, and we took a beautiful (him, not me) pic together and then discussed the craziness of the auditions that he had missed.
The next day, I woke up read to head over to Junsu’s concert. I took 2 hours to get ready, making sure I had my hair done and makeup on today! My friend Geri and her friend picked me up and we talked about Junsu all the way to Hollywood. As we passed the venue, we saw the HUGE line wrapped around the building and then we parked nearby. As we walked by the line, a few people called out to me and I gave out a few hugs. We made our way to the back of the line and waited next to a group of very excited ahjummas who were looking pretty sexy. Several people passed by us giving
away Junsu fans, bookmarks, glowing things, fanchants, you name it. We were near the side doors and could hear Junsu practicing and rehearsing and we started to get really amped up. I soon left the 2 to go stand by myself in the Will Call line to wait on Christan and Brittanie to show up. Many random celebs eventually passed by me, most of which I didn’t know. The girls from Junsu’s Uncommitted MV were there and then (now that I know better) After School’s Kahi passed by as well. Once my girls showed up, we checked in, got our media access, and made our way inside. We were let inside the media pit, in front of the barricade right by the stage. There, we hung out with the MNET girls, took pics for the fans on the other side of the barricade, and even got some Junsu buttons from them! The lights dimmed, the crowd went wild, and then a woman’s accented voice started to tell us to never forget the show as images of Junsu in water (similar to MBLAQ’s Cry) played on the screens on either side of the stage. His eyes opened, the lights changed, and the music started. Over the loud roar of the crowd, you could hear Junsu’s voice say ‘Hello’ and he appeared in all his glory, at the very top of the stage, and worked his way down. I nearly had a heart attack. He was a foot away from me as I crouched near the stage and recorded with my phone (might want to mute):
And yes, he did end the song staring into my phone.
Media was eventually kicked out of the pit after 3 songs and we went to the elevated sidelines to continue to enjoy the show. Junsu spoke to the audience mostly in Korean, with a few short English phrases thrown in. In between performances (which we’ll have posted in HD glory later), Junsu told us that he would grant 3 wishes. The first wish was for aegyo (which he did while being extremely embarrassed), the second wish was saying Happy Birthday to a lucky fan in the crowd, and the third was dancing to Gangnam Style (I swear, this song and dance comes up in everything I take a part in). All of us girls on the sideline screamed out what OUR wishes were (non which are appropriate to state here) but our voices were drowned out by the hundreds of others in the venue. Junsu kicked ass dancing to his songs, even ripping his pants at one point. After he noticed, he said cutely, in Korean, that he noticed “some of you guys staring down.” LOL. He wrapped up his concert with 2 ballads, professing that he cried while recording. He waved goodbye and left the stage, only to make an encore ballad performance which set the whole crowd to tears: He sang and cried at the same time, choking up and stopping every now and then. The whole crowd wept with him and although we were sad right along with him that it was over, we were still happy he was in front of us. All his dancers joined him on stage to bow and walk off the stage. I waited for Geri on my side of the stage and then had my other David (Chad Future) walk in my direction. We did our little “Happy, I love you” dance and hugged. He was also in awe of Junsu’s performance and we chatted about it for a while. Then, Geri found me, along with a few other followers that had spotted me/knew my number. We left, in search of food, ending up at Denny’s where it seemed a large chunk of Junsu fans had also migrated. As we sat down in our booth, a group of girls passed. Geri looked at me and smiled, “I think they know you. They were looking at you.” I turned around just in time to see two of the girls whisper “Is that Kim?” and walk out the door. I smiled and turned around to enjoy my burger. It had been a good night……
So, yay! I’m back in Koreatown, let the awesomeness commence! I’ve joined a gym that is mostly Korean (and I can watch my Kdramas AND check the site from most of the machines), I have my newfound best KPOP buddy ever (Geri), I’m networking (David So and Paul Kim will be my new besties soon…..just watch), and I’m gearing up for KCON’12 (my B.A.P. babies are going to be there) and Big Bang, so stay tuned!!!!!