I have had quite eventful two weeks.  After TEDxHONGIK after party on Friday, I really had to stay in this weekend to recoup my energy & here is why.

Seoul Digital Forum 2010

On thursday from two weeks ago, I was invited to go to Seoul Digital Forum at Sheraton Hotel.  With title, ‘New Renaissance’ they had many many interesting panel talk about 3D, gestural interface, bio-plastic and creativity with 50 influential professionals inviteed from all over the world.  This event was aired on SBS with its highlights (& I was on TV this year again as an audience 😉  ) It was a full day of inspiration.  I was glad that I made it there.

Rock, Paper & Scissors, Public Art under the bridge

jamie on the swing skirt by Soomi Park
graffiti artwork

A week before that, I met some global artists when I visited Namjun Peik’s Art Center to see a performance one Sunday.  They are friends with local Korean artists who mostly studied abroad and returned as contemporary artists.  I was a newbie to them as I introduced myself but, they were friendly with warm welcoming gesture.  Then, I was invited to a very interesting art event by them.  It was called ‘rock scissors paper + B.Y.O.G.B. Vol 5/ 가위 바위 보‘ organized by Kalmont Family.  I stopped by the flea market at the play ground near Hongik University area to say ‘hi’ to them after visiting lab.  After meeting them again, I definitely wanted to go to this event.  It was held under Seogang Bridge which is one of many bridges in Han River.

graffiti artwork

I left my house around 10:30 pm and took a subway to this Seogang Bridge stop knowing it’s the one way subway ride as the seoul metro closes after midnight. (I would never even had thought about going there late at night alone before.) There were drawings of rock, scissors and paper indicating the path lead to the place kindly.  Under the bridge, there were international (mostly foreign) crowd of about 50 people (later 100?.)  They were drinking beer, makguli, wine – talking in small groups here and there – typical party scene in the us.  There I met some more interesting people.  Most of all, the art, the true public art – street art were great!  I admire their efforts of putting their arts during night to have this open, under the bridge exhibition.  We did get a lovely visits by local police officers but, they weren’t doing anything to stop us – as we were peacefully having fun in public space & most of all, the majority were foreigners so they only spoke with a Korean represent.  Later on, in the tunnel, they had beautiful performance.  This artistic event has come out perfect in great spirit, spontaneously. I walked out around 2 am & got home for the next day’s salon event as I was asked to make cocktails for a salon at gallery/cafe, ‘B2Project.’  I bet the rest of them stayed until late and had more fun after they got out of the place.

Salon Day at b2project & Cocktails

at B2Project with a friend who I just met

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of my Mojito nor my signature cocktail made with fresh watermelon.  I was really busy making pitchers of cocktails – we ran out of lime quickly.  I was surprised that lime is something you cannot get easily here in Korea.  It’s quite expensive as well!   In any case, I can assure you that my cocktails came out delicious!

As I had a busy night under the Seogang bridge a night ago, I slept until 11am and slowly got ready to go to B2Project.  The weather was beautiful and sunny so I’ve decided to bike there.  It was a long bike ride.  I had no idea as it was my first time.  It almost took one hour to get there and I was sweating by the time I arrived. (oops!)

J (a friend and one of the owners of the place) was having a salon for her friend, painter from Germany and her paintings were beautiful.  Very eastern painting feel to them, in black and white oil paints – mostly landscape.  I liked them…  hew, what a weekend!

And Teacher’s Day

Following week, it was teacher’s day.  I was visited by several ex-students of mine.  They are doing great and it was sooooo sweet of them to visit me and think of me.  I had some good chance to catch up with them and I’ve ended up drinking with one of them.  Sorry that I’m too tired now so that I will have to skip about this story.  One thing is that having insightful conversation with a former student made me think that teachers like me can learn from her/his own students sometimes.  It was very pleasant week beside the fact that I was coughing non-stop with lack of sleep.  I’m feeling better now… 🙂

I’m waiting for June now.  I know June will unfold with even more interesting events and meetings.


at lora's

After not-so-great week since my accident, I’m finding my old self pretty rapidly. My wounds have been my biology project to observe intensively… (it’s always amazing how our bodies can heal.) For one week, no going out, no museums, no drinking, no dancing, no bikram yoga, no snowboarding…, I’ve managed to get enough sleep. ah~ much needed sleep. I went to my follow up appointment with my burning unit doctor and they seemed to think I’m healing pretty well. I just have to make sure not to get any sunlight for… hmmm not sure how long. I guess few months? They gave me 3 pairs of tight leg warmer thingy (it’s stretchable cotton bandage thing that keeps pressure on my legs) & told me that I probably will have to wear them for about a month. I was thinking ‘since leg warmers are in, why not buy another pair and wear them over?’ I asked my doctor if I can drink wine or beer now and his answer was, “Yes, of course! But not too much so that you will hurt your legs again!


Anyway, I started to feel great and it didn’t hurt walking anymore this Friday. After working a long afternoon & evening to fix some designs, codes with Michelle at Park Slope, I was wondering when I was having drinks as A called me the night before. I only got one text message at 8:30 pm as “where are you?” I sent few text message explaining where I was and when to meet. No replies or no answering my calls. Oh, she usually doesn’t answer any calls… Anyway, I tried to reach her until morning to figure out what happened but, wasn’t successful. Oh, well…, She is such a good friend who even was at ER with me but, it’s not good that I begin to be skeptical about any plans with her now. In New York, we all have many different excuses & last minute misunderstandings. I just have to remember the pattern. I’ve encountered several friends who just flaked on me without any messages in numerous occasions & I’m starting to wonder if this inconsistency was here before in NYC and I just began to notice that since I’ve been away from the city for a while… Now I appreciate reliability I get from some friends since I begin to understand being reliable is one of good qualities in friendship.

in front of 17 bleeker Coffee shop

I arrived back in E. village after a long work day. It was hitting almost 11 pm but it was Friday night. I called up Sonia and she asked me to come out since she is in LES with her friends. It was pretty close enough so, I decided to drop my backpack and join them. The bar is called “The Dark Room” Entrance is very grundgy. I had a hard time finding it. I may have passed that bar many occasion since I lived near there but, never noticed this bar. When I walked in, there were some crazy drunk guys and I had to find her quickly before any of those drunken crazy man talks to me. Then I found them dancing on the floor. I was quickly introduced to her work friends. Very nice people. They were all dancing so I decided to join with a glass of Stella beer. The music was a way to mainstream but, we were also singing so it was fun. I couldn’t believe myself but, I’ve danced few hours I think. It was definitely fun.

Even when I got a strange remark, such as, “You are very stylish for a Korean.” I immediately replied, “What is that supposed to mean?” That statement has a full of strange remarks. Is he saying Korean girls are not stylish enough and/or is he saying I’m stylish despite of my handicap of being Korean? Was it compliment or insult? That was pretty dangerous remark to say to someone like me but, I thought he meant well (somehow) and was delightfully drunk so I decided to let him pass this time. 🙂

We walked out for a social cigarette break then, we saw two boys yelling ‘sexist!!!’ on the way out as they were bounced off from that bar. Then Sonia’s friend talked to them and realized that the bouncer guy wasn’t allowing any guy without a girl accompanying them. (Since when did we girls have to take boys to the bar?) So we decided to help them out. Sonia and I claimed to the bouncer that they were coming to join us and we’ve known them the whole life (well, she said that 😛 ) The bouncer guy seems like half believing but, he let them in. They thanked us & got in. 🙂   After two glasses of Stella and two hours of dancing, I think I had enough for a night after my fast recovery. But, I couldn’t find my hand knitted Melino wool scarf. I found my hat and coat but, my scarf was no where to be found. Oh, no… Sonia and I were going through a pile of coats and those two guys who just got in felt obiligated to help us so looked for it as well. At the end, I STILL LOST IT!!! Well, Ce la vie. Good bye, my scarf. I’ve only worn it a little more than a month but, it was good to feel you on my neck. Still it was a good Friday night… On the way home walking, someone behind me pulled over my hood as he passed me, “HEY!” I screamed like a New Yorker.

It’s like a jungle Friday night at 2 am.

***Note: these photos are nothing much to do with my post except they are taken in E. Village, New York about the same time.

thai ceremonyshot by bryan
(left: Tina & Jason, Thai Ceremony, right: with my brother – photo by bryanesque)

It’s a belated blog about my close friend, Tina’s wedding with a nice guy, Jason. For my group of friends who have been going to annual ski trips together and hung out drinking for numerous happy and sad occassions, it was special to watch them getting married. We have watched them from their first date to almost four years later. I was really happy to be there. My brother who is pretty much familiar with my NYC close friends, who also got invitation to the wedding flew from LA to attend their wedding (& see his beloved sister, moi!) along with Gillian, AJ & Julie who also flew from CA. Juliette created her signature cocktail named, “Ja-tini” that are made with fresh berries and Vodka and her secret ingredient.

(This is a bit embarassing but, I cried a bit while they read their vows & I heard several other friends did, too 🙂 )

The wedding was casual, warm, multi-religious and we actually wanted to stay longer and dance more. By the time, we got kicked out of Foundry after 11 pm, we E. Villagers & Lower East Siders met up again at our neighborhood bar, Magician in LES to continue drinking. until… mmm… Jay and I left around 2:30 am and the rest still stayed…so 3 am or so. Well, of course, we were talking about random stuff about some dreams etc but, it was fun.

Tina is a coolest Thai gal I know – by now, she is more American than me perhaps. Because of her, I have become a part of friends circle of hers who I call often, “Thai Connection.” They are couple of her close friends from Thailand who we go to dinner and movies together or have BBQ in the park. Because of her, I have craving for spicy green curry once in a while as much as she has a craving for Kimchi. Tina and Jason played GoStop with my mom when she visited me in NYC, too. (My mom won their cab money 😛 )

(me hugging Tina’s mom to congratulate – photo by bryanesque)

Anyway, Tina and Jason’s wedding definitely gave me a bit more positive look on the wedding ceremonies. It’s kinda nice to share and announce your committed relationship to friends and family you care. I guess that is what wedding is all about – which very often gets buried under too much ceremonial fancy presentations.

Retro Girls @ Halloween Party 2006
(left)Originally uploaded by youngster
. (right – wait a minute, is that Napoleon Dynamite?!) Originally uploaded by bryanesque & more photos there!

Halloween for 2006 came to me a bit earlier since the actual Halloween is today, Tuesday. The most of happenings were during Oct 28th weekend. (Here is elaborately described blog about adi’s 2006 party by Mainasukhumvit) I’ve been dressing up for Halloween since ’97 in New York City. I think it’s fun to watch how my own and my friends’ costumes evolved over many years as I celebrate Halloween with the same group of friends annually in NYC. I’ve realized that I’ve been going to the same party organized by my generous friend, adi for years now. I love Halloween party where grown up people dress up elaborately and drink, dance, talk, laugh about their silly costumes. I think especially for adults who are so weary with responsibilities in everyday lives, it’s good to dress up for their fantasy once a year.
Here is my timeline of Halloween costume to sum up.

yh_halloween costumes

After my brother, Jay sent this heartful message about Battlestar Galactica show to another fan, Sonia, she created this invitation to celebrate Battlestar Galactica Season 3 this Friday. His message below. (Jay, I had to share it.)

“Its true. I am hooked on fracking Battlestar Galactica… I just watched season finale episode and have tons of questions and guesses. I am starting to think that I am a cylon. I truely wish I had the lingerie model-turned-actress inside my head wearing scantly clothes talking to me and giving me answers. Why can’t I have that? I want my brain fused with Helen Christianson whom I suspect she is a cylon because she is way too hot. Also, I think there is another me walking around somewhere with a long hair.”

We Battlestar Galactica fans gathered at her lovely apartment in E. Village. Sonia prepared amazing Martini Cocktail with Grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and vodka etc. Jay was visiting NYC for a week. They are friends since college so, it was perfect to gather for the event since we all got “hooked” to the show. Jay made a rule to drink whenever we hear “Frack” during special 2 hr show.

Now, that’s a lot of Fracks.

I could get away since I was still coughing from my bad cold but, Jay got really drunk from lots of fracks. Tina showed up with her BG sweatshirt and tee which were coolest and Jason joined later. We watched our beloved show with great drinks and company. It was great although I was sick with a cold. still coughing… fracking cold.

Soulwax at the Studio B

Originally uploaded by hongchangyu.

My 26 years old cousin visited New York for a week from Portland, Oregon. He has moved to the States from Seoul, Korea 9 months ago. He was staying with me in my apt in Lower East Side of New York, so I asked him, “What do you want to experience in New York?”

First of all, he said he came to see people in the street since there is nobody in the street in Oregon (like any other suburbian cities in the US) – I told him that it’s irritating now that there are too many tourists and students in Union Square – unlike of old days. Being a New Yorker who lived in downtown for 17 years, people like me often lose patience to outsiders in the street. (I will get into the New York Street Etiquettes later) However, I did agree with him on the fact being crowded is one of well known New York characterisitics.

Anyway, he also said he want to go to a dance club where a famous DJ is performing. Oh, okay… I’m in mid 30s, to me, going to dance clubs is a long forgotten history. I started to search in – not satisfactory results. It was clear that Paladium dance club era is long gone. Dance scene has died out in Manhattan. If you go to dance clubs where they used to be famous, there are only tourists or BNTs (Bridge and Tunnels, meaning out of the city people.) I knew he was looking for something equivalent as “Club Day” in S Korea (Please read bottom about it) So, I started to ask my friends… ummm, it seemed like most of my friends are in the same phase of life like me. We like to go bar-hopping and if there is a DJ at late night, then that’s good enough to dance.

Then, I remembered my friend Octavio…! I pinged him and got DJ group name, “Soulwax” & Studio B. That sounded promising as it was from a trusted source. Especially, they are in NYC this weekend for thier tour. So we settled on Soulwax at Studio B in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After a long day of work, I took a little pretending power nap then I took him to Williamsburg around 11 pm and we walked toward Greenpoint where you can see nobody in the street but, warehouses only. He seemed a bit skeptic about it. Then we found a red banner, “Studio B”- our steps got faster. It was already jam packed by *true* New Yorkers, Europeans and Japanese visitors who actually know who the “DJ Soulwax” is.

When we were getting drinks, they had an opening band then, it moved to DJ spin. The music was just right, the crowd was enegetic and chic and we danced. After a while, Radio Soulwax started their live performance. Guitar, drum, keyboard, electronic mixer, little electronic drums and microphone with special effect… Who knew that live instrumental DJ could be better than DJ mixes…? Their performance was outstanding! They drove the crowd into madness from a minute they start to play and I was mesmorized by their electronic, live beaty music. What a great performance! We danced until 2 am and headed back to Manhattan. I was exhausted by then. I guess I am no longer 20 something obviously. But, I was happy I was there and my cousin had a satisfactory experience in New York City like a true New Yorker.

Club Day: It’s last Fridays of every month when all the DJs and Clubs got together & partying all night in Hongik University area in Seoul. If you pay about $15 in USD, you can go to any clubs that night – until morning. I heard they have good DJs from Europe and you can have all night party if you like to dance.