Monthly Archives: June 2015

So happy to see this get attention


Show Me the Money 4 is up with English subtitles. I hadn’t watched the show before, but I knew that it had brought a lot of attention to a lot of hip-hop talent that had previously been relatively unknown. And in keeping with that noble mission, in the first episode the show turned a spotlight onto something many people may not know about, but that I have experienced myself: Zico’s death glare!

(ETA: The original of this got yanked–if you want, try the second link at the eight-minute mark. But someone edited together this brilliant video, so I’m including it–the poetry-reading is from here.)

Kudos to whoever came up with the BZZZZZTsound effect, because that’s pretty much what it’s like. His death glare came up a little in the last (still untranslated) episode of 5 Minutes Before Chaos, when an anonymous staffer told Zico to stop looking at him like this:

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I actually experienced a variation of Zico’s death glare: Zico’s death side-eye.

This was after the New York concert. As I’ve mentioned, I was first in line for the second group to do the photo op, and I was grabbed and held on to (and it’s not like I wasn’t cooperating!) while the first group had their picture taken. Then our group went, and it went pretty much like:

FANS: Can we have a hug?

BLOCK B MEMBERS: Sure! We’re also going to play with your hat for a bit, because we think it’s super-cool! Gosh, did you bring a pirate flag? You’re so awesome!


I wasn’t asking for hugs and such, but it’s not like what was going on appeared to be causing anyone in Block B any stress or dismay (rather the contrary), and it certainly did not warrant the reaction it was getting. So, being who I am, I started cracking jokes about it–you know, “No touching!” and the like.

I was also standing next to Zico, who didn’t seem to respond to the jokes (he was more concerned because I wasn’t sure if those of us at the ends were going to stand up or crouch down. We stood).

Then we left and went back in line for the signing.

And that was interesting, because then, Zico didn’t even look at me. Instead he gave me the side-eye of death.


It’s an unnerving experience–I really feel for those poor folks who were auditioning in its terrifying glare. It makes you feel like you’ve upset him absolutely horribly in some obscure fashion. I found myself frantically trying to think of what I could have possibly done that had so disgusted him, and my brain served up. . . the “No touching!” jokes!

Oh, shit!

Then later I read other fans’ accounts, and apparently he gave everyone the side-eye of death. So, presumably it was jet lag + the poor organization that upset him, not, you know, me personally.


Of course, the death glare came as a real shock to delusionists who thought that Zico was going to fall instantly in love with them and carry them off on his flying unicorn to his magic castle in the clouds where they would get married and live happily ever after.

But seriously–imagine being married to Zico. You’d have to deal with those death rays coming out of his eyes every single day. You’d probably be encouraging him to go on as many long tours to faraway lands as possible. “No, honey, it’s OK–book those three tours back to back. Just don’t look at–BZZZZZT! Aigh!

On the other hand, your kids would probably be really well-behaved. One BZZZZZTand they would confess all. Hell, they’d probably confess things they hadn’t even done just to make it stop.

It does make it kind of funny when people see this:

And go, “Wow, Zico clearly hates Rap Monster! This must be a secret sign of some arcane-but-longstanding feud between Block B and BTS!”

It’s just how he looks. It doesn’t mean anything. Zico was probably thinking, 1. Man, this coat is hot, 2. How’s the sound system working? and 3. That’s my cue!

(And although I’m sure he’s clean and sober, the only time I’ve seen people react like Verbal Jint did to the auditions was when I worked in a facility that occasionally rented itself out to raves, and I had to explain the facility rules to all the people who were, um, you know, mid-rave.)


This ‘n’ that


I’ve mailed out the prizes to the giveaway winners: If you live in the States, I sent them first class with tracking, so you should have them by Monday or thereabouts–if there’s a problem, let me know, and we’ll look up the tracking number. If you live elsewhere, the packages should arrive in your country in about 10 days. How long it takes from there to get to your actual home, the United States Postal Service dares not say–to them, the world outside our borders is an unknown and terrifying land where parcels (not to mention parcel carriers!) are routinely eaten by dragons.

I leave you with this.

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I just found it amusing.

He’s still got it!


As I have mentioned before, my younger niece fell in love with Taeil at the tender age of four, pretty much after her first listen to “Mental Breaker.”

These days, however, she is a worldly and sophisticated seven-year-old who has told me, without prompting, that were Block B to come perform here, she “wouldn’t even be excited” to see them. (The whole bit where she actually gets to go see them is entirely taken for granted, of course. Let’s not pretend the decision is mine or her parents’.)

At the moment, she is quite ill from a bad stomach bug. I came over tonight and suggested that we all watch the episode of Immortal Song 2 that Taeil was on, just because I think it’s a really great episode.

So we did, but of course since she is so sick, it took the niece about 20 seconds to pass out on the ottoman.

But guess who she woke up for?

And the winners are….


The winners of the fabulous Block B Japanese stuff giveaway are:



Crystal Wang




Alak Hyuga

I have sent the winners an e-mail, so check your spam boxes and get me your mailing address! If I don’t hear back from you by…let’s say Friday, I shall run the random number generator again and select a new winner!

(And if you’ve won before–you’ll need to send it to me again, sorry. I don’t hold on to this stuff.)

A quick note on U.S. media law


I saw this over on Asian Junkie: A Korean reporter decided to stick a picture and a couple of paragraphs about a female K-Pop singer in a story about the disease MERS.

Just for the record: In the United States, THAT IS ENOUGH TO GET YOU SUED. You DO NOT have to say, “This lady caused MERS!” or “This lady may have MERS!” or “This lady is the face of MERS!” You can just put those two things together, EXACTLY like that reporter did, and that will do. (“Joe is from Chicago. The Mafia is in Chicago. Draw your own conclusions!”<–LEGALLY ACTIONABLE)

I don’t know if this kind of post does any good, but honestly, I feel like a retired physician watching a hospital where the surgeons eat lunch over patients’ open wounds, nobody washes their hands, and everybody smokes all the time. If you are THE LEAST bit interested in doing ANY sort of journalism (including just a blog!), K-Pop journalism is NOT the font you should drink from.

ETA: Oh, wow, here’s another example. G-Dragon would be suing the holy hell out The Fact right now if they were all in the United States. Look how his name comes up first in the related articles of the Soompi story.

Some thoughts on giving to celebrities


With KCON happening soon, some people are discussing the expensive things they would like to buy for this K-Pop celebrity or that K-Pop celebrity.

And obviously, if people are going to do that, then that’s what they’re going to do. It’s their money.


I do feel compelled to point out a few things about buying celebrities gifts–be they K-Pop celebrities or other kinds of celebrities.

Thing #1: They get a shit-ton of gifts.

Anyone who has ever volunteered or worked at a celebrity event will tell you this–the quantity of gifts is just ridiculous. At Block B’s DC concert alone, there were two HUGE cardboard boxes by the entrance for gifts–we’re talking, much larger than an ordinary dishwasher or refrigerator box. They were both overflowing.

The vast majority of these gifts wind up discarded or donated–they have to be. Every now and again there’s a celebrity who actually keeps all the gifts from fans. These are the people you read about who keep having enormous storage lockers, jam-packed full of crap, turn up decades after their death.

Thing #2: Your gift will not stand out from the crowd.

People find out about Thing #1, and they say, “Ah-hah! I shall buy something absurdly expensive!”

But it’s an arms race, and trust me, in K-Pop people are waaaaay ahead of you. If you ever see a picture of a K-Pop artist leaving, say, an airport looking like they just left a luxury mall–arms filled with bags emblazoned with the logos of expensive stores–guess what? Those are gifts from fans. And every single one of those fans thought that their gift would stand out because it was “nice.”

Thing #3: If your gift stands out because it’s really, really super-expensive, that can lead to bad press.

Thing #4: If your gift stands out for any reason, you might not like the way it gets used.

Poor U-Kwon has fallen afoul of this at least once, and possibly twice. The first time was when a fan made him a bracelet, and he thought it was so awesome that he gave it to his girlfriend! Except that nobody knew he had a girlfriend at the time! But then they figured it out!

The second time is something from Pann, so, you know, 50/50 chance it’s a complete lie: Someone made U-Kwon a doll, and it is now his girlfriend’s dog’s doll.

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True story: Someone gave me a doll, and it is now my cat’s MORTAL ENEMY!!!

ETA: And a Seventeen fan just got a similar dose of reality.

My advice?

Give gifts that give to you! Are you already making lots of paintings and drawings of a celebrity you like? Do you make jewelry and clothing (hopefully not like this)?

Keep right on doing it! Go ahead and give it as a gift if you like! The point is, you’re honing skills that can serve you well in the future. Hell, if you’re determined and talented enough, gifts of art can prove helpful to your career.


Give gifts that give to someone or something else! Otherwise known as charitable donations. Most celebrities have a pet cause or two (often their agency will tell you what it is).

But my most important bit of advice is: Let go of any expectation that you are going to be reimbursed in some fashion.

Everybody always says, “I’m not trying to buy affection!” but just about nobody actually means it. You need to be ruthlessly honest with yourself about why you’re giving and what you hope to get in return. Because chances are very good that you will get nothing.

There’s nothing wrong with giving under such circumstances, but you need to be realistic about it.

As an addendum: This is all every bit as true for people such as myself who are basically volunteer workers–you can’t expect anything special in return for your time and energy. Some people have to learn that the hard way.