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Make an ‘Unforgettable’ Commercial for KoreAm’s ‘Soju Wanna Make a Video?’ Contest

Posted on 09 November 2011 by Deborah J. Yoon

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Each year, KoreAm, the longest-running journal serving Korean America, holds the ”Unforgettable” Galaa star-studded event where Korean/Korean American talents are recognized for their influence in mainstream media. This year, the gala will be hosted by Randall Park on December 3rd at the Wilshire Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, CA, and will honor football star Hines Ward, director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda), actor Sung Kang, and chef Roy Choi (of Kogi BBQ truck fame) with KoreAm’s Achievement Award.

To get everyone in the spirit of the event, KoreAm and Hite Beer & Jinro Soju (who has been sponsoring the event for six years straight!) are hosting the “Soju Wanna Make a Video” contest. The mission of the contest is to create a 60-second commercial featuring either Hite Beer or Jinro Soju. The judging will not be based on how professionally the video is made, but rather how creative and clever the commercial is.

The Grand Prize winner gets:

$1000 cash prize
2 tickets to the ‘Unforgettable’ Gala ($500 a piece)
Showing of winning commercial at the Gala Event.

The deadline for the submission of the video is November 26, so get your cameras out and get those creative juices flowing!

For more details and contest instructions, click here.

[Photo: KoreAm]

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Top 5 Most Korean-American Cities: Los Angeles

Posted on 10 September 2011 by Korean Beacon

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In a weekly series of posts, we will present the Top 5 Most Korean-American cities, selected not only for their numbers, but also for their visibility in mainstream America. Our research was guided by the following criteria: population, famous and/or influential locals, programs, and hotspots.

#1 Los Angeles, CA




We’ve finally reached the end of our countdown, and Los Angeles is our #1 Most Korean-American city! After immigrating and settling in the city with dreams of a new life, many Koreans found themselves suddenly displaced after the 1992 L.A. Riots (Sa-i-Gu) took its toll on businesses and homes in L.A.’s Koreatown. But since then, K-town has progressively grown into a vibrant neighborhood that combines cultural traditions with new and modern attitudes. While this may be one of those Captain Obvious moments, let us prove it to you by sharing the countless reasons why the City of Angels tops our list.

Numbers

  • 324,586 – Los Angeles metro area (population data compiled using the 2010 Census)

Visibility


Dr. Sammy Lee (left) and Lt. Susan Ahn Cuddy (right)

  • Los Angeles is home to three Korean American pioneers: Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, Susan Ahn Cuddy and K.W. Lee.
    • A doctor and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the past, Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, the first Asian American to represent the US and win an Olympic gold medal in diving, is an inspiration to anyone with an ambitious dream. Last summer, a square in Koreatown was named after the diving hero.
    • Not only is Lt. Susan Ahn Cuddy the daughter of the first Korean married couple to immigrate to the U.S. in 1902, but she is also the first female gunnery officer appointed to the U.S. Navy; making her an important figure in Korean American history.
    • K.W. Lee, known as the “godfather of Asian American journalism,” is the founder of The Korea Times English Edition and still continues to serve on the editorial board of Color Lines Magazine. The award-winning journalist-activist also has a center inspired by his lifetime of service called the K.W. Lee Center for Leadershipa non-profit organization teaching youth how to become future leaders.


    Phil Yu (left) and Paul “PK” Kim (right)

  • Phil Yu, the blogger behind Angry Asian Man, recently celebrated his 10th anniversary of being one of the most influential voices in our community. Through his posts, Phil has centralized Asian America by facilitating ongoing discussions about racism, activism and mainstream media’s (mis)representations of Asian Americans. This weekend, Phil will be judging Kollaboration SF 2 along with singer-songwriter Clara C.
  • Paul “PK” Kim is a multi-talented leader who not only created Kollaboration, the largest Asian American talent show in the world, but co-founded LiNK, a non-profit organization raising awareness to the pressing issues of North Korean refugees. PK is now the co-host and producer of MNET’s BPM: Beats Per Mnet, a daily series covering the latest and greatest in Asian pop culture. You can watch clips from the series here.
  • Ever since “coming out” as an undocumented immigrant, 21-year-old UCLA student David Cho is one of the handful of Asian American students putting a “human face” on the DREAM Act issue. Having recently won the Freedom From Fear Award, David founded ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Immigration Rights through Education) to unify undocumented Asian American students on and off campus. He’s also the 1st Korean American drum major of the UCLA marching band!

Programs


Kimchi Chronicles’ Marja Vongerichten visited KYCC this past July.

  • Established in 1975, the Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC) offers programs and services specifically aimed towards immigrated and economically disadvantaged children, youths, and their families. Some of KYCC’s programs include clinical services, tree planting, and business education.
  • Through education, leadership development, and community organizing, the Korean American Coalition Los Angeles (KACLA) seeks to promote the civic and civil rights interests of the Korean American community in L.A. Last month, we covered KACLA’s 3rd annual KBBQ Cook-Off, which brought out all of the top KBBQ restaurants in K-town for all of the foodies’ delight.

  • Founded in the wake of California’s Proposition 8, Koreans United for Equality (KUE) unites straight and LGBTIQ Koreans in order facilitate a larger acceptance within the Korean community.
  • The Southern California Korean College Student Association (scKcSA) is the oldest and largest non-partisan, non-profit Korean American student organization in the US, connecting college students from eleven campuses in Southern California. scKcSA promotes a sense of Korean American heritage among students by serving the community and building a strong social network.
  • The KHEIR Center was initially founded in 1985 to provide quality healthcare for low-income, non-English speaking Korean immigrants. KHEIR now operates the only full-time community clinic in the country with Korean, Spanish, and English language capabilities and services 30,000 patient visits per year.

Hotspots




  • Roy Choi’s Kogi Truck was the food truck that started it all, and while many try to compete with it, nothing beats the original. Initially parking alongside curbs all over L.A., Kogi Truck now has expanded, making trips to cities in the Valley and in Orange County.
  • Cafe Mak is a great café to study for exams, finish up some work from the office, or catch up with your friends. The venue is spacious yet intimate with a peaceful ambience and offers free parking (gasp!) after 8pm.
  • Always the spot for running into people you know, Chapman Plaza boasts several sooljibs (Korean bars) and restaurants, a hookah lounge, and NRB. In the plaza, Gaam is one of the more popular sooljibs in K-town with its contemporary décor and vaulted ceilings.

  • Belasco is the new “it” club among today’s young Korean Americans in L.A. on Saturday nights. Hosted by Korean promo companies, Belasco’s events are notorious for keeping the party alive and well into the night. Make sure to get there early because lines have gone around the corner before. Other notable club spots are Le Circle and VR.
  • As a 21+ NRB, Bobos Karaoke is always a fun place to sing and drink the night away. Bobos offers rooms of many different sizes to accommodate groups of any size. With flat screens in the front and back of each room, you’ll feel a rock star performing for your friends while they sing along as your groupies.
  • With all of the KBBQ choices in L.A., we couldn’t narrow it down! Check out our list of L.A.’s Top 5 All-You-Can-Eat KBBQ spots to get your meat fix.

Locals



  • L.A. is home to Hollywood so we have to acknowledge the many Korean American actors and actresses who are eliminating stereotypes within the entertainment industry. Comedian Amy Anderson’s daughter Aubrey Anderson-Emmons will soon play the adopted Lily on ABC’s Modern Family while Jenna Ushkowitz sings her heart out on GleeJohn Cho is coming out with the new Harold and Kumar movie this winter, and Sung Kang will star in Sylvester Stallone’s new action flick Bullet to the Head. Also be on the lookout for the Ktown Cowboys who are set to start filming their movie version of the wildly popular webisode series.
  • On the flip side, KAs are also making a name for themselves behind the camera. UCLA grad Grace Lee wrote and directed The Grace Lee Project, a documentary that tries to breaks down the “Grace Lee” stereotype (i.e. “reserved, dutiful, piano-playing overachiever”). Her new film on Detroit activist Grace Lee BoggsAmerican Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, is currently in post-production. Previously based in L.A., Michael Kang has directed the Korean American feature West 32nd, which starred John Cho, Grace Park and Jeong Jun Ho. His new film, Knots, is scheduled to release sometime this year. Other filmmakers include Chil Kong and Dennis Lee.

Dumbfoundead and Priscilla Ahn

This concludes our countdown of the Top 5 Most Korean-American Cities!

Melissah Yang and Eunice Roh contributed to this post.

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Thomas Jane shoots back after being replaced by Sung Kang

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Mindy Gee

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Actor Sung Kang‘s new role in the upcoming Sylvester Stallone film Bullet to the Head has generated some controversy as reports suggested that he was replacing Hung‘s Thomas Jane, who was originally cast for the role.

After hearing news of the replacement, Jane shot back in an interview with Collider:

Well, Joel Silver came onboard the project and said that he has a quote-unquote ‘formula’ for these quote-unquote ‘buddy movies’ and it has to be a white guy and a quote-unquote ‘ethnic guy.’ And they relieved me of duty and basically paid me off, which I was really upset about, you know? I didn’t get a call from Stallone. I was a little upset about that. Maybe they didn’t want anybody on the movie with a bigger dick than him.

As we reported earlier this month, Kang was recruited for the part when producer Joel Silver joined the team, backed by Dark Castle Entertainment’s hopes for a more racially diverse cast.

[Photo: Access Hollywood]

 

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Sung Kang joins Sylvester Stallone in ‘Bullet to the Head’

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Mindy Gee

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Actor Sung Kang has joined Sylvester Stallone in the cast of Bullet to the Head, the bloody action thriller that was called by its working title, ‘Headshot,’ until recently. Directed by Walter Hill, the film is based on a graphic novel of the same name, and the film will feature the collaboration of a professional killer (Stallone) and a city cop fighting against a common enemy.

Along with Stallone, Thomas Jane was originally cast this past April to co-star in the film, but various sources like Film Stage suggest that Kang—selected to play a “key supporting role”—may be replacing Jane. Most known for his roles in The Fast and the Furious franchise, indieWIRE reports that Kang was recruited for the part with the support of Dark Castle Entertainment, especially when producer Joel Silver began his search for a more racially diverse cast.

Filming will begin later this month in Louisiana.

[Photo of Sung Kang: Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Studios]

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Watch: Fast Five star Sung Kang ‘interviews’ co-star Tyrese Gibson

Posted on 07 May 2011 by Korean Beacon

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Sung Kang from Fast Five, which topped the box office last weekend, released a new episode of his talk show, “Car Talk with Sung Kang a.k.a Han from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift,” on You Offend Me You Offend My Family (YOMYOMF) recently.

For the second episode of “Car Talk,” Sung sat down with his Fast Five co-star and “now #7 Best Friend” Tyrese Gibson to talk about K-Town, breaking stereotypes, and, well, everything besides cars.

Watch:

On YOMYOMF, where Sung frequently blogs, he explained how “it all went down” and jokingly mistakes Tyrese for model Tyson Beckford:

It all went down a little like this…We were in Rio, or was it was Milan, maybe it was Rome. Actually I think it was Georgia. Tyson and I were hanging out one night debating the ethics and politics of Socrates and Plotinus. We shared ideas and for kicks solved hard math problems like Fermat’s Last Theorem. Before I knew it the night flew by, as I was about to start my 18 mile jog home Tyson stopped me and poured his heart out about his passion project ‘Ktown’. The whole time I was thinking to myself…”what do you know about KTown!? And I wonder what kind of moisturizer he uses on his head?” After hearing him out for 11 long but joyful hours…all can say is he’s definitely one of the good guys! The next day when Justin and I finished our training session with the Navy Seals Special Forces Unit Code Black Cobra Battalion, he suggested I do a Car Talk episode with my new #7 Best Friend Tyson. I was like, Huh? What do we talk about? Well what do you think??? CARS OF COURSE!!!!

Head over to YOMYOMF.com to read the rest.

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Car Talk with Sung Kang

Posted on 07 April 2010 by Korean Beacon

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You’ve seen Sung Kang in the “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Here’s his funny talk show on cars. Would you want to be interviewed by Sung Kang? Funny stuff.

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Why Are There More Male Actors?

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Korean Beacon

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Have you noticed the significant increase in Korean-American actors and actresses on TV and movies lately?  Have you noticed there are more men than women in Hollywood?  You would think that there would be more women in front of the camera because let’s be honest, Korean women are great to look at which makes sense in such a visual medium.  Not that the Korean men aren’t studs but who doesn’t like looking at a Korean women?  They are undeniably beautiful women.  Then again, I guess it does take more than just looking good in front of a camera to make it in Hollywood.

This is a an anecdotal story I’m going to share and it does not provide any empirical evidence as to why there are more Korean guys than gals on the screen.  However, it does suggest something.  In my earlier days living in NYC, I roomed with actors and guys who worked at a movie studio.  I was the odd man out because I had a regular job unrelated to the entertainment industry.  I once asked one of my buddies if he ever saw Asian guys out on the audition circuit.  He quickly responded, “Are you kidding me?!  Those guys get more work than most actors out there.”  Huh?! What?  He continued to tell me that though there are only a few roles seeking Asian male faces, there were even less auditioning for them and he suggested that I just give acting a try – even though I had very little acting talent.  Well, to best illustrate this perception, let’s do a quick roll call here.

Ladies on a TV show or in a film in 2009
Smith Cho, Moon Bloodgood, Grace Park, Jamie Chung, Kelly Choi, Margaret Cho, Jenna Ushkowitz, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Price & Yunjin Kim

SmithChomoon bloodgood 4grace_park_13jamie_chung_7kelly_choi_8margaret_cho_3jenna_ushkowitzsandra_oh_emmysLindsay-Price-8yunjin_kim_2

Guys on a TV show or in a film in 2009
Daniel Henney, Tim Kang, Ken Jeong, Aaron Yoo, John Cho, Rex Lee, C.S. Lee, Justin Chon, Rick Yune, Sung Kang, Rain, Lee Byung Hun, Daniel Dae Kim & James Kyson Lee

daniel_henney_1Tim-Kang_lken_jeong_headshotaaron_yoo_2john_cho_1rex_lee_2cs_lee_2justin-chonRick Yunesung_kang_3rainlee-byung-hun1daniel_dae_kimjames_kyson_lee

We may have missed a few folks but these are the Korean-Americans who were in a prominent role in their film or show.  Now 14 to 10 in favor of the men doesn’t seem like a big difference, but if we were to count up the hours of coverage or viewer impressions, then we would see the greater disparity. We don’t have time to count up every second and sum it all up but here are a couple proxies.

Weekly TV program comparison: Tim Kang, Ken Jeong, Rex Lee, John Cho, C.S. lee, Daniel Dae Kim and James Kyson Lee are in key roles on current weekly network television shows.

Movies: Only Moon Bloodgood and Jamie Chung were in big screen films this year versus John Cho, Aaron Yoo, Ken Jeong, Justin Chon, Rick Yune and Sung Kang.  And don’t forget that Hollywood is really gambling with Ninja Assassins and the predominantly Korean cast with Rain as the lead role.

So what are we trying to say?  Simple observations suggest that America is becoming more accepting of the Asian male and there are more opportunities for them.  But what about the ladies?  My conclusion is that there’s that much more competition on the female side of the fence where they’re competing against more open non-ethnic/racial specific roles.  Though they may be going on casting calls for Asian-American woman between 25-30, they’re also going on casting calls for (all) women between 25-30.  I thoroughly root for all the Korean women on the big and small screen, but I wish there were more of them up there.   Don’t you?

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Ninja Assassin Promotions Are Out

Posted on 16 October 2009 by Korean Beacon

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If you’ve been watching the baseball playoffs, you’ll notice that they keep playing the Ninja Assassin trailer during commercials.  And guess who’s the lead actor in this all-Asian affair?  It’s Korean pop sensation RAIN.  The man known as the nemesis to Stephen Colbert.  It’s coming out this Thanksgiving to kick-off the holiday season, and it looks like the studio is being aggressive by buying expensive commercial time during the playoffs.

Rain isn’t the only Korean guy in this big studio movie. Also co-starring with the Kpop sensation is Randall Duk Kim, Rick Yune and Sung Kang. Pretty cool that there all these Korean dudes in a big studio film. Check it out this Thanksgiving.

Synopsis from IMDB:  Ninja Assassin follows Raizo (Rain), one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge.

In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow (Ben Miles), Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi (Rick Yune), to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.

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Ninja Assassin Action Clip

Posted on 17 September 2009 by Korean Beacon

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ninja_assassin_posterHold your seats because it’s going to get crazy when Ninja Assassin comes out this Thanksgiving.  This will be the first Hollywood or big studio film to have a Korean in the lead role with Asian superstar Rain.  John Cho of course shared his lead with Kumar (Kal Penn) of the Harold and Kumar franchise, but Rain will be the man in Ninja Assassin.  He’s joined by other Korean actors in this movie: Rick Yune, Randall Duk Kim, and Sung Kang.  Ninja Assassins is directed by James McTeigue who had previously been assistant director to the Matrix franchise and Star Wars.  The movie is being produced and distributed by Hollywood heavyweights Joel Silver, the Wachowski Brothers and Warner Brothers.  It’s gonna be off the hook!

IMDB Synopsis:  Ninja Assassin follows Raizo (Rain), one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge.

In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow (Ben Miles), Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi (Rick Yune), to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.

See the latest action clip from Ninja Assassin.

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Lot of Buzz for Ninja Assassin

Posted on 05 July 2009 by Korean Beacon

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ninjaassassinThere’s a lot of buzz in the Internet for Warner Bros’ big budget movie Ninja Assassin which has a large Korean cast in it with Rain, Rick Yune, Sung Kang, and Randall Duk Kim.  It’s set to open during Thanksgiving weekend to kick start the holiday movie season.  We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it: 2009 seems like the year where more and more Korean artists, actors and singers may finally make it American mainstream.

Ninja Assassin follows Raizo (Rain), one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge.

In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow (Ben Miles), Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi (Rick Yune), to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.

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