The young starlets of the Korean girl band, GIRLS GENERATION, or SNSD, or more precisely, 소녀시대, have been my recent motivation to lose weight, look cute, and …lose weight.
My mantra is hanging in bold print next to my bed – “Dianne, You will achieve the SNSD Body!” Has it been working? No, but that’s another story for another time.
While on my old stationary bike one day, I was typing away on my laptop (who said anything about actually cycling on a bike?) -and I learned that these girls would get to strut their stuff –in LA!
I had to go!
On Saturday, September 5th at the Staples Center, the SMTOWN LIVE ’10 World Tour Concert was a major success with k-pop lovers, Korean American and moreover Asian American teens and families! The SMTOWN LIVE ‘10 Concert is presented by one of South Korea’s most prominent artist’s management agencies, SM Entertainment. The LA concert is a part of SM Entertainment’s world tour project which will begin in Seoul, then continue to LA, Tokyo, Shanghai, and other major Asian cities.
SM has been attempting to bring Asia’s best performers to the global stage, and moreover the United States for many years now. The concert has already been imprinted as Asia’s leading concert brand thanks to their successful tour in 2008. Singers like multilingual star, BoA, have grown to become a legendary icon all over Southeast and East Asia due to her popularity at SMLIVE. Her single, “I Did it For Love” even aired on American radio, but unfortunately died after a couple of months. In fact, many artists represented by SM are multilingual, if not bilingual. The company has been and is working towards creating “global” artists who can represent Asia as a whole. SM Entertainment has been highly successful in creating popular girl and boy bands during the last twenty years and continues to hold great power over the Korean and Asian music industries.
The four hour-long concert was a fun event for the whole family to enjoy. I attended the event with my sister and cousin and had the time of my life. The line-up included all of SM’s greatest including my favorites: SHINee (a young teeny-bopper boy band), SuperJunior (the sexy boy band), Lee Yeon Hee (actress turned singer), my new favorite- TRAX (a Korean rock-and-roll hottie), f(X) (SM’s newest debuting girl artist- shout out to my girl Luna!), the romantic KangTa (lovely rhythm and blues/ ballad singer), Zhang Li Yin (another lovely KangTa-look-alike-ballad singer), of course SNSD (the barbies of Korea) and many other SM artists.
The concert definitely drew out diehard K-pop fans in America and proved to be worth the ticket price. The lighting was spectacular and the performances were full of energy and what looked like countless hours of practice. The show also was a treat for fans as the artists attempted to speak to them! The celebrities had all practiced a few English phrases, I’m assuming by the same la ghetto coach, because they repeated, “WHATSSS UPPPP LAAAAA!” only about….100 times. And sprinkled some “Yo’s” and a few “Yep’s” here and there.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of non-Korean fans. Many of these fans were Vietnamese and Chinese Americans. The crowd ranged from all different ethnicities, and in a way, it was refreshing to see that the white girl next to me wanted to be desperately Korean.
Many of the performances were led by the two most popular pop groups, SuperJunior and SNSD. The diverse crowds waved light sticks, signs, and screamed whenever they pranced on stage. But perhaps the most anticipated performer of the night was BoA. BoA, who told the audience that this year marks her already 10 year anniversary with SM Entertainment, showcased a very mature yet outrageously Lady Gaga-esque performance.
SMLIVE was personally, such a great journey down memory lane for me as I got to see all of the musicians I loved and listened to during my 14 months of studying abroad in Korea in person. Every song reminded me of a memory I created and shared in Seoul and it was marvelous to see others rock out to those tunes as well. Overall, the event was a relaxing and upbeat show for the whole family but unfortunately not enough to showcase Asia’s greatest in hopes to be picked up by mainstream American music producers and the glitz of Hollywood. But luckily, they will always have the support of Asian Americans, Asian expats, and k-pop lovers around the world as well as boundless opportunities to sink their teeths into American pop culture as we enter in this globalized era. And while we wait for those golden opportunities, I will be practicing those SNSD dance moves.
And this time, it won’t even be entirely to lose weight.
Far East Movement’s (FM) Kevin Nishimura, also known as Kev Nish, said it best last Sunday, September 6, at the JCPenney presents International Secret Agents Concert in Cerritos, Calif.: “This [concert] is about following your dreams and following your dreams to represent a community, our community.”
Already in its third year, the International Secret Agents (ISA) concert has become a gateway to building and making dreams come true for many hopeful Asian American artists. The show was a successful collaboration created by two visionary artist groups — Wong Fu Productions and Far East Movement — that truly illustrated the potential of many rising Asian American musicians, singers, filmmakers, comedians and dancers. This year’s ISA hosted not one, but two concerts — in New York and L.A.
This was my first time attending one of the ISA concerts and let me tell you, the night was full of such great energy! It was truly a night dedicated to putting Asian American faces and personalities on stage.
Luckily, although I was running a bit late (as usual … horrible!), I got a chance to catch up with both the creators of ISA.
“ISA will bring the fans what they want, and allow these artists to extend their reach beyond their regular fan bases. This year is going to be historic,” said FM member James “Prohgress” Roh.
Wesley Chan, Ted Fu and Philip Wang of filmmaking group Wong Fu Productions also shared the same sentiment. Started in 2003 by Chan, Fu and Wang at UC San Diego, Wong Fu Productions has become an Internet sensation with 30 million viewers on their YouTube channel.
“The internet is how we were able to reach our fans on a global scale,” said Wang. “With ISA concerts, our fans get to meet us and the artists that we work with on a more personal local level. And to have ISA in both L.A. and New York is going to be amazing. The last three sold-out shows were all in California and fans were asking us to bring ISA to the East Coast. That’s why we decided to bring it to New York City — because the fans demanded it.”
This year’s glamorous event was nothing but a success, with famous YouTube stars Ryan Higa and Kevin Wu hosting the event along with dance starlet Lydia Paek of Quest Dance Crew … all sporting fall fashions from JCPenney!
Kevin Wu, more popularly known as KevJumba on YouTube, said the cast had just gotten back from New York. He explained that although they were tired, they were ready to start ISA LA with lots of energy and high-spirits. Wu had said that ISA LA had given the artists a chance to reunite again and see their friends one more time. “It’s like a reunion and it’s been nothing but great,” said Wu.
To his viewers’ delight, Wu has even more exciting news as he and his father have been announced as the new contestants on CBS’s The Amazing Race. He said he is nervous but excited for the show.
The line-up included the darling AJ Raphael (singer/songwriter with 200,000 YouTube subscribers), bohemian princess Alyssa Bernal (Interscope recording artist with 300,000 YouTube subscribers), and America’s Best Dance Crew Season 5 champs Poreotics. Surprise guests included my fellow anteater and YouTube queen Jennifer Chung who was spotted in the audience, the ever-funny man Danny Cho, dreamy YouTube singer David Choi, Andrew Garcia, America’s Best Dance Crew Season 3 champions Quest Crew, and even Nick Cannon! (Since when did he become Asian?)
But perhaps the two most anticipated performers of the night was none other than FM and South Korea’s former 2PM music band member Jay Park (Park Jay Beom).
This was Park’s first live performance since leaving the Korean stage. He will be debuting his new album on September 24. His performance was different from his pop 2PM days as his single, “Demon,” is a powerful song full of poised beat and rhythm. FM’s “Girls on the Dance Floor” just debuted as the #12 most purchased on iTunes Chart. As they hip-hopped their way to the stage wearing their signature sunglasses of funk, “Fly Like a G6” bumped up in the speakers, and all the young girls had rushed to the stage in an instant.
Perhaps, one of the luckiest girls of the night was Ted Fu’s girlfriend … or should we say fiancé. At the ISA New York concert, Fu had announced his engagement to girlfriend Katie of two and a half years and Wong Fu definitely played up Ted’s proposal throughout the L.A. concert, even showing off a hilarious last-minute new short vying to be Ted’s best man.
Overall, I was amazed by the power and passion of these artists and moreover, their message. It was inspiring to see such a show dedicated to the appreciation and cultivation of our Asian heritage and cultural roots. FM’s Kev Nish said that it was “important to stay in touch with your community and it was important to have fun while doing it.” They were proud to have worked with Wong Fu Productions and are extremely humbled by the growth of ISA over the last three years. Hopefully with the growth of ISA, Americans can continue to support the evolution of Asian Americans in media and film. As Nish said, “No longer are Asian American artists going to be labeled as Asian American artists, but as simply artists who produce good quality music.”
And the event proved just that, straight from the hearts of artists pursuing their dreams.
Photos thanks to Jenny Lee.
Editor’s note: Assistant Editor Janice Jann also attended the ISA concert and wrote her own thoughts on the concert here.
To continue the celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), Verizon Wireless presents a five-city concert tour featuring Chinese and Taiwanese musical artists Van Ness Wu, JJ Lin, Evonne Hsu and Mike Relm (most of whom also happen to be Asian American!), starting this Thursday, May 20, in Seattle.
And it’s not just a concert. The stars will also be making an appearance at local Verizon Wireless stores nationwide where they will be greeting fans and signing autographs, just for you!
From Seattle, the tour moves on to New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and finally Los Angeles on May 29. Check out the teaser video here (and keep reading to see the videos from each of the performers).
Through the APAHM Concert Celebration Tour, (its third annual event), Verizon Wireless continues its effort to support and celebrate the contributions of the Asian American community. (More than 8 percent of its employee base is Asian or Asian American descent, according to Verizon.)
The APAHM Concert Celebration Tour includes the following events throughout May:
Friday, May 28: Autograph signing with JJ Lin and Evonne Hsu, in the San Francisco Market Street Verizon Wireless Store
When you go to the autograph signing session, don’t forget to bring your no-longer-used wireless phones for recycling through the company’s HopeLine® program and for a chance to win an autographed concert T-shirt from the featured artists. HopeLine is Verizon Wireless’ phone recycling and re-use program that supports domestic violence prevention agencies, including more than 20 organizations in the Bay Area.
For more information on the APAHM Concert Celebration Tour, visit www.verizoninsider.com/apahm. To see more of the videos from the stars, scroll down.
Japanese pop idol Jin Akanishi, the lead singer for the hot Japanese pop group KAT-TUN, is coming to Los Angeles for his American debut solo concert!
That’s right! Akanishi will be giving three performances only on June 19 (6 pm) and 20 (1 pm and 6 pm) at Club Nokia in Los Angeles!
If you don’t know Jin Akanishi, now’s the time to hone up on this Japanese phenom. Akanishi is the lead singer of J-pop superband KAT-TUN, which has had a total of 14 consecutive chart-toppers and has sold 5.2 million CDs. Last year, tickets went on sale for KAT-TUN’s eight consecutive shows at Japan’s largest venue, the Tokyo Dome, along with follow up shows in Osaka and again in Tokyo. All 440,000 seats sold out in one day.
Akanishi then went on to perform 32 shows of his solo tour, You and Jin, this past February in Japan. The event was such a success, Akanishi is now bringing his Vegas-style extravaganza to L.A.
“I’m thrilled to bring this show to my fans in the U.S. I believe we will broaden our fan base and reach by performing Japanese and English songs that appeal to a wider audience. We have worked hard to produce a high-quality, high-energy, visually stimulating show and I am certain our American fans will enjoy every minute of it,” said Akanishi.
For more concert information, check out Jin Akanishi’s website.
If you’ve never seen The Black Eyed Peas in concert, you are missing out. There I said it. Taboo, apl.de.ap, will.i.am and Fergie know how to get a crowd of thousands jumpin’, turning an entire stadium into a massive, beat-thumping club for just one night. On Tuesday, March 30, the six-time Grammy Award-winning group takes to the stage once more before a sold-out crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Don’t have a ticket? No worries. Continue Reading »