Big Bang at the VMAs (MTVJ).

Alas, I cannot quit being a fangirl. I think I was born a fangirl and will most definitely die one. Anyway, tonight was the MTV Japan Video Music Awards...starring Big BANG! (Vanness Wu was also nominated.) Details out of the way - Big Bang was nominated for 2 awards (Best Pop Video - Koe Ki Kasete and Best Newcomer - Gara Gara Go!) and won both. G-Dragon also won for his collaboration with W-inds. Did anyone doubt that these boys wouldn't sweep?

Now, the sprinkles on top of the cherry on top of the icing. An interview, in Japanese, taken from what appears to be the Coca-Cola room. [snark]
  • G-Dragon acting a total goof with the Tell Me Goodbye CD.
  • Youngbae saying '4 years, 5 years' and sounding like a perfect little American-born Korean.
  • T.O.P. looking confused, constipated, or pissed because he's in a obnoxiously sponsored interview room.
  • Youngbae, again, giving the sponsors exactly what they want - a Coke-filled moment of ecstasy.
My love for Big Bang knows no bounds.

Sunye and Christina Ricci look alike, kind of.

A few months ago, I commented on Christina Ricci's resemblance to Mrs. Toby Stephens, or, more commonly, Anna Louise-Plowman. Well, with the Wonder Girls making a very brief return to Korea to plug their latest hit 2 Different Tears, we've been seeing them all over the teevee. And once again, I'm getting visions of Ms. Ricci, this time in the form of Wonder Girl Sunye. The pictures don't quite capture the look, but if you watch her hosting this week's Music Core with fellow Wonder Yubin, you'll see Christina Ricci's long lost Korean cousin.

Rain looking hip for 'Hip Song'.

Damn, Rain. He's rocking out to his latest, Hip Song, in some classic threads, 'normal clothes' as one commenter exclaimed. Shirt's a little tight there, but I ain't complaining.


'Rhapsody in Blue' + 'Fantasia'.

Going to a Gershwin concert tomorrow. Surprise, I do have slightly more sophisticated musical tastes. A video to get prepped. This is one of my favorite pieces of cinema from the last decade.

Rhapsody in Blue from Fantasia 2000

K-Pop does World Cup.

Just caught an interesting post over at iBigbang, a fansite that I admittedly check multiple times a day. They're asking readers what they think of the many World Cup songs being unleashed by K-Pop idol groups in preparation for the upcoming tournament. The results of an online survey are posted and you can check out the stats (Big Bang comes in at #2 for male groups).

Meanwhile, after seeing release notices for non-Big Bang World Cup songs for weeks, and ignoring them for weeks, I finally gave all the groups a listen. Here's what I think......

T-Ara/We Are the One - It's an appropriate blend of 'I heart Korea' shirts, pom poms, and actual soccer balls. Plus they throw in a lot of international flags in order to please K-Pop fans near and far, or because the World Cup is a massive global sporting event. In any case, this is a cheerful song with plenty of 'ole's to get you into a celebratory mood. Probably as close as a girl group can get to the spirit of these raucous games without compromising their cutesy image. Thumbs up!

Kara/We're With You - What is going on here? Do they even know that the World Cup is a massive soccer tournament? These ladies look like they popped out of a bubble gum factory. The song is typical K-Pop fare with plenty of fluorescent pastels and amply short skirts, but watching the video, you'd have no idea it was Kara's World Cup entry. I can't comment on the lyrics because I'm lazy and haven't looked up the English translation, but zero points for a festive World Cup-y atmosphere. And for the record, Goo Hara looks like an android.

After School/Dreams Again! - The video itself is a bit dull, unless you are an After School fan, in which case it's awesome! It's basically a no budget, behind-the-scenes MV with the added bonus of demonstrating to the world that these ladies look fucking gorgeous even in floppy red t-shirts. As for the song, it almost has an ethereal quality, though I'm not sure if that's the music or them. You're probably not going to jump out of your seat and run down the street draped in a Korean flag when you hear this song, but it will leave you feeling proud of your team, if your team is Korea.

4Minute+Brown Eyed Girls/Once More, Korea! - So this song is what you get when you combine the Village People, Pet Shop Boys, and two hot Korean girl groups. 4Minute and Brown Eyed Girls give Go West a Korean makeover, and it works surprisingly well. Then again, anything by the Village People qualifies as a stadium hit. It has double the energy and is repetitive enough to get fans clapping and bouncing their heads; the rapping also gives the song a bit of a funk factor. It helps if you understand Korean though otherwise you'll be thinking about soccer while going west.


Super Junior/Victory - Face painting, bullhorns, flags, banners, cheerleaders, flying toilet paper - what more do you want in a World Cup video? The boys even manage to sneak in some Sorry, Sorry. It's all a bit cheeky, but they look and sound like they're having a bloody good time, and their persistent shouts of 'Victory, victory, Korea' are pretty infectious. Even makes me want to cheer for Korea!

2PM/What's Your Celebration - Cheerful punk is how I'm going to try to describe this one. It's different from the usual 2PM fare, which will either thrill or disappoint, and you'll probably want to bounce up and down more than pop and lock. The boys also throw in some anthem moments that do a good job of generating that energetic soccer match atmosphere.

2AM/No. 1 - The question everyone's asking - why are they autotuned? Alas, some things in life are meant to remain a mystery. The song and video have definitely grown on me, thanks especially to goofball Jo Kwon. It's really soothing and in that way is similar to the group's other songs. But I'm not sure soothing is what you want when it comes to the World Cup. It feels more like a consolation song, something to calm the fans when their team gets knocked out (not saying Korea needs this though America sure does). I also think this is the South Korean entry on the official World Cup album

Big Bang+Queen Yuna+Trans Fixion/Shouts of Reds - Well.....do I need to say anything? Everything these guys touch turns to gold, especially true because they've enlisted Olympic gold medalist Kim Yuna, who, for the record, sings better than everyone in EEG. I'll explain it this way. My university has one of the most storied college football programs in America, and the Friday before every home football game, we all barreled into the arena for a huge pep rally. It was this euphoric chaos - students painted and adorned with our colors and mascot, alumni cheering like our football program was actually good again, and general fans going nuts because everyone around them was going nuts. Never mind that our program sucked; that kernel of hope inside every sports fan kept inflating as the night went on. For me, that's what I want in a World Cup song, something with equal parts of spontaneity, exuberance, and madness so that I can cheer with pride. This song captures all of that and is just what I need to get ready for World Cup fever!


Big Bang + Park Bom = 'Forever with You'.

Love me some Park Bom. Give this lady a full album!


SNSD and 2PM's Caribbean Bay song and MV finally released.

So gratuitous.

Asian Entertainment News of the Day for 5.23.10

  • Chinese knock off alert: Mr. and Mrs. Smith + The Incredibles = Mr. and Mrs. Incredible. The new film directed by Vincent Kok and produced by Peter Chan was unveiled at Cannes and immediately bought by international distributors.
  • Chinese knock off alert 2: Chinese artists cop Lady Gaga's style.
  • Debating TVB's position in the new world - 1) does it have the right stuff, 2) will competition improve its output?


'Once Upon a Time' MV for '71-Into the Fire'.

The new Korean War movie 71-Into the Fire will be released soon. It tells the story of 71 student soldiers from South Korea who defended a school against hundreds of North Koreans. I believe there's an anti-war vibe (though not completely sure on this), which is highly appropriate considering the current situation between the two Koreas over the sinking of the Cheonan in late March. That news deserves a separate, more serious post, forthcoming, but the MV for the soundtrack allows for some appropriate reflection on the whole matter. Although promotions have been pasted across Big Bang boards for months, I haven't gotten overly excited about the film. After all, T.O.P., who stars in this movie, isn't my favorite - though I still love the man. But this MV has singularly improved my already good impression of him. Without saying a word, he packs so much emotion into 4 minutes. While he usually shoots sex bombs from those famous eyes, here he manages to bring the innocence, fear, courage, and devastation of a young solider at war. If you're not moved, kindly oil your tin heart.

The song is Once Upon a Time by December.


'Mysteries of Love' invading TVB's 9:30p slot next week.

A couple weeks ago, Sisters of Pearl premiered and slightly boosted the sagging 8:30p TVB power hour. Okay, not really, though I think the show is still more interesting than In the Eye of the Beholder and Suspects in Love, combined. I've been half keeping up but lost interest these last few episodes. Everyone has a malicious plan stretching decades back, generally striking a wooden stake through the heart of believability. Don't be surprised if the pet dog is holding a grudge. Meanwhile in the 9:30p slot, Ada Choi and company are rocking steady with Fly with Me, which I haven't seen. The show is ending this week though which means TVB gets to try again for that elusive 2010 super hit. The latest contender is The Mysteries of Love (談情說案) starring Raymond Lam Fung, a man I don't mind spending every weeknight with. The story's a little suspect, starting with the fact that Lam Fung is supposed to be a genius physics professor at City U. Um, clearly the writers and casting department have never attended a college physics class. Unbelievable character development aside, there will be love, forensics, explosions, and Kenneth Ma Gok Ming. Also not the biggest Kenneth Ma fan, but he won't quit our TV screens these days so I think it's just best to accept his presence (and focus on his costars).


Comedian Joe Wong performs at the annual RTCA dinner.

I don't know why I haven't posted this before, but a few months back, comedian Joe Wong was a guest at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, D.C. He turned in a pretty sharp performance and while he didn't go Colbert - slightly more difficult considering the administration, he still delivered some uncomfortable moments, albeit for the right side of the aisle.

Amongst the newer crop of comedians, he's one of my favorites because he generally refrains from the frat boy humor currently in vogue. He also capitalizes on his Chinese and immigrant experience in ways that no one else can. Considering the difficulties in transitioning from Chinese humor (which largely avoids the sarcasm and bite of American comedy) and in grasping enough of the language and culture to actually be funny, this guy's a true talent.

(Jesse Jackson and Bill O'Reilly tablemates? Interesting dinner conversation.)

Go go 'Gallants'!

Get ready for......Gallants! This new movie has an old school feel with some old school actors, but since I'm not well versed on the Hong Kong glory days of yore, I really don't know what the hell this film's about. Perhaps the real locals will have a better idea. In the meantime, here's a trailer, and yes, MC Jin continues his assault on Hong Kong. He's invaded the interviewer's couch with Big Boys Club, the Jade Solid Gold mike, every ridiculous TVB game and variety show, and of course, you can't drink a box of lemon tea without humming his hit track ABC. Go Gallants! Go Jin!


Dong to the Youngbae interview series starts now.

Heaven will either be filled with angels and fluffy marshmallow clouds - or copious amounts of pop music and entertainment. I'm kind of aching for the latter now, though there is the whole issue of getting to heaven. In any case, there have been a series of interviews with the men of Big Bang - and yes, their latest video clearly requires them to be characterized as such. Retrospectives on G-Dragon, Daesung, and most recently Seungri have been read and re-read, and re-read again. But at long last, it's dear Youngbae's turn! I can't wait for this 10 part series to come out. Check out any of the BB fan sites to get the latest. I recommend Always Taeyang this time around - because if you're going to spazz about the TY, you might as well spazz with someone even crazier than you.

News of the Day for 5.17.10

A special news section......YouTube celebrates its 5th birthday! Big Bang fans celebrated by storming the site to watch their latest MV Tell Me Goodbye. Supposedly, the average visitor only spends 15 minutes a day on this site; clearly I am not the average visitor. And that is why this news merits added attention. Without YouTube...well, I clearly would be a lot more productive. Anyway, check out their birthday channel with guest appearances by YouTube stars over the years. I also just watched Conan O'Brien's contribution which included 5 of his favorite videos. Funny haha.

      Wonder Girls presents '2 Different Tears'.

      The Wonder Girls' Nobody is being flogged, tarred, and feathered to death here in Hong Kong, perhaps because of the Chinese release of their CD a couple months ago which includes a Mandarin version of the song. I've been riding the anti-wave a bit while waiting for them to produce another Nobody-sized hit so I kind of missed this release a couple days ago. Their new song 2 Different Tears isn't as infectious but it has a subtle disco vibe that has me bobbing my head as I write. The video's a colorful mix of 70s and 80s nostalgia, plus Bobby Lee saturated in varying shades of glitter. The whole retro look fits the Wonder Girls well, and I like it so much better than the underage schoolgirl look of other girl groups (ahem, SNSD). Hopefully they can find ways to keep it fresh thus extended their American shelf life.

      There are 2 versions. Posted is the Korean, click for the English.

      Big Bang releases 'Tell Me Goodbye' MV. [Do not watch if you have heart condition.]

      [Fangirl squeal.] This MV dropped very unexpectedly today, and the ladies are beside themselves. No teaser, no hints, just *boom* - hotness. YG knows how to make a statement. Kids of K-Pop, step aside.

      No disrespect to all the other boy groups reigning in K-Popdom, but really, I can't see any other group pulling off this video. Maybe they can get the individual elements - the period, the suits, the color, the story, but the sum sexiness cannot be equaled.

      G-Dragon waxing lyrical in the rain + Taeyang channeling 1930s smooth + Daesung rocking the fedora + T.O.P. playing old school gangsta + maknae Seungri palming a revolver = unearthly hotness

      There are groups that have better choreography or more collective muscle mass, but none have the musical and stylistic diversity of these boys men. They can do hip hop (V.I.P.), punk (Oh My Friend), R&B (A Fool's Only Tears), alt-rock (This Love), ballads (Let Me Hear Your Voice), and pure pop (Lollipop 2); they sing in Korean, Japanese, and English; they look fi-ine whether they're sporting funky skinny jeans and high tops, street wear, suits, or...nothing. Criticize them for autotuning the hell out of their music, but that's a plague on all the houses of K-Pop. As this video shows, they don't need no stinkin' autotune. Just give them a solid track and they will lay waste to the competition without busting a single synchronized move or showing any skin. I mean, ovaries are popping out of control (allkpop, Soompi, Big Bang Updates) despite the fact that these guys are just standing around for most of the video bundled up in suits and gloves. Now that's hot.


      Greyson Chance: pop genius.

      If you keep up with internet memes, you will probably have heard about Greyson Chance, a kid from Oklahoma who cannonballed all other Paparazzi covers with a performance at some school assembly. He appeared on Ellen Degeneres' show after Perez Hilton got ahold of the YouTube video and took a call from the Divine Miss Gaga. Turns out the kid composes his own shit, and it is fan-fucking-tastic. What was I doing at 13? Not being this awesome, that's for sure.

      Here is an original entitled Broken Hearts. You might be wondering what the hell this kid knows about broken hearts, but he's getting inspiration somewhere.


      Fare thee well, Labour.

      Alas, a gritty Gordon Brown didn't do the trick. (Actually an April Fool's Day poster. And they forgot the comma. How common.) Good thing there was a wellspring of euphoria from the 2008 election that has basically buoyed liberals in every political confrontation from America to the UK since then. All I'm going to say about that right now, since it's 6:30a and I haven't slept, is that Nick Clegg ought to be satisfied with himself.

      2PM's 'Without U' wins again.

      I'm fiercely loyal to the YG Family and Big Bang will always be number 1 in my fangirl heart, but what can I say......2PM does the job while BB's on hiatus. They don't have the personality of my favorite Korean boys, but they do sport enough 6 packs to send me into a stupor.

      Catch their latest performance on M! Countdown before it's pulled from the internet. Poor Junsu's got a bum knee so he can only stand there looking like a hard ass, which he does proper well. Meanwhile, poor Nichkuhn is still sporting that awful bronzy mop. It looks like a high school science teacher's leftover toupee.

      Hong Kong hosts pen spinning competition.

      This is a couple months old but no less newsworthy. I tell you, these Asians want to excel at everything. It's not enough to be math and science and piano prodigies. Now these little runts are turning to pen spinning. Is there any field Asians won't try to conquer? This story is so McDull - Hong Kong's favorite underachieving piglet. We can't all be doctors and lawyers and engineers, but dammit, we can at least try to be the best damn pen spinner this side of the harbor.

      Aim high, kids.

      News of the Day for 5.13.10

      • Robert Mugabe wants to send an ark of animals to Dear Leader. Definitely can't make up this kind of crazy.
      • (Women) marrying men 7-9 years younger could find their life expectancy decline. Of course this doesn't take into account that if my husband is Taeyang, that is so damn worth it.
      • Friendships could ease depression among elderly.
      • A reporter for The Guardian suggests that what South Africa really needs is an IKEA. Um...yes, nothing like cheap, mass produced furniture in neon colors to get your country on the right track.
      • Nepali butler inherits some pricey Manhattan property.
      • The Terracotta Army expands.
      • Rural China is not reaping the benefits of the country's economic boom.
      • Hawai'i's Health Department workers get relief from new law limiting requests for President Obama's birth certificate.
      • The Navy's new policy allowing women aboard submarines troubles current and former servicemen, who clearly don't see the irony when speaking about the camaraderie that includes 'man hugs and bottom pats'.

      William Chan's 6 pack smells fresh.

      Who would've thought li'l William Chan, EEG's latest boy wonder and occasional co-host of Big Boys Club, was hiding a 6 pack (look closely)? At least he's trying. The bigger question is why are he and Sherman Chung spraying their chest and nether regions? Answer - they smell. That's right, this is the way Hong Kong pushes deodorant, and Rexona have enlisted the two to blast their bodies with freshness. Mmmm, smells like teen spirit!

      Is Rain Hollywood's biggest badass?

      Right, to all 1.5 people who sometimes read my blog, I have a mission --> VOTE FOR RAIN! The adorable Bi - that is, adorably ripped - is nominated for an MTV movie award this year. He's up against Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Chris Pine, and Sam Worthington for Biggest Badass. And while I do have a soft spot for Captain Kirk (M. Pine), really, Rain was in a movie called Ninja Assassin. That kind of makes Star Trek sound like a dull evening with Grandpa. As for the other nominees, sure, they can all create massive amounts of hurt, but how many are badass enough to be caught posing in this getup?

      Right. None. So join the K-pop army and get this adorable ninja killing angel a golden bucket of popcorn!

      And in case you forgot how much ass Rain can kick.......


      News of the Day for 5.12.10


      News of the Day for 5.10.10


      Baby fox gets unstuck from watering can.

      It's hard to believe but there are some things that make me squeal more than Taeyang, like cute furry baby animals. And I'm not alone. Pictures of a baby fox getting its head crammed into a watering can made it to the top of BBC's shared news section. Collective 'awwwwww'.

      The 'Xidan Angel' signs a recording contract.

      Here's a touching story from Beijing. A young street singer dubbed the 'Xidan Angel' after the district where she performed finds an even bigger audience on the internet and attracts the attention of a record company. Let's hope they preserve her identity and not turn her into a cardboard super girl.


      2ne1 + 'Take a Bow'.

      It's official. I love 2NE1. (Do we sense a theme today?) My brother and I have been throwing comments back and forth about our favorite Korean groups and, while both of us agreed early on that Park Bom's got pipes, I never really took interest in the girl groups - because I'm shallow like that. But with the little brother going on and on about T-ara and SNSD and all the other Sanrio-encrusted girls he's into, I took time to revisit the resident female talents at YG. They're still relatively new and haven't lined up even a mini-hit parade, but their debut songs (Fire and I Don't Care) turned out to be a bit catchy after a few listens. Hopefully the powers that be over at YG work their magic and give these ladies some awesome music. Hmm, or better yet, G-Dragon, T.O.P., and the members of 2NE1 could write their own material.

      In any case, these girls are fierce. You won't find these chicas dressed up as cheerleaders or in matching pastel shorts, though Dara could go for the cute-off if it came down to that. Otherwise, CL's rapping + Park Bom's singing + li'l Minji's dancing will knock you down. If I'm choosing a dodgeball team, I'd take these 4 ladies over all 9 Girls Generation. SNSD can Oh! and Gee on the sidelines, or step into the court if they want to risk that plastic. (Yeah, I went there.)

      You know I'm posting a video. Covering Rihanna's Take a Bow.

      JLS + 'One Shot'.

      It cannot be helped; I like JLS. I didn't understand the screaming teenage throngs when they first emerged on the X Factor scene, but a couple years later they're still going strong and putting out pleasing pop hits. And that's really all we want in a boy band, right? Oh, and solid abs. They deliver on both counts. Maybe too I'm charmed by pint-sized frontman Aston Merrygold, who has an affable kid next door appeal, like the guy my mom would want to mow our lawn. JB and Oritse, on the other hand, remind me too much of goofy Turk from Scrubs while Marvin, by default, kind of claims the 'bad boy' label (those eyes!). Anyway, their single One Shot from earlier this year.

      Hankyung sings for the Shanghai World Expo.

      Presumably, a song celebrating the Shanghai World Expo should be vibrant and uplifting, trumpeting China's accomplishments and hearkening visitors the world over to visit the great nation. So why does Hankyung's contribution to this effort sound so somber? It's like he's singing his own elegy. Nothing to do with his lawsuit against SM Entertainment or Super Junior's newly announced and much reduced lineup? Ohhh, so much trauma in the K-Pop world these past few months.......

      News of the Day for 5.7.10


      News of the Day for 5.4.10


      Will TVB finally win our 8:30pm hearts and minds with 'Sister of Pearl'?

      I've been neglecting my Hong Kong entertainment for awhile, just like TVB has been neglecting to put a show worth watching in the 8:30p slot for some months now. The latest offering gives some hope though. 掌上明珠 (Sister of Pearl) seems to have the right blend of star power, family drama, and jewelry (it's Hong Kong after all) to induce the masses every night. The show is fronted by actual actors with proven records, which is always a bonus when it comes to TVB. Jessica Hsuan and Kiki Sheung go head to head as sisters who let love and their father's pearl business get in the way, while Bowie Lam and Michael Tao provide all the other dastardly, scheming plot lines that make for your daily hour of family fun. The 1950-60s costumes and set are added polish. Time will tell if this show sucks, but I really hope it doesn't.

      Taeyang's live performance of 'Where U At'.

      The man is a beast.

      So I was watching videos of Rain, who I like because who doesn't like Rain? The man is fit as hell, he sings, he dances, he acts, and he even eye smiles. But he's never made me want to do anything immoral. So what is it about li'l Taeyang that makes me feel like a bad Catholic girl? This......


      Alexander of U-Kiss raps a few bars.

      Alexander of U-Kiss ain't no MC Jin, but cute rap effort - if there is such a thing - by our resident HK rep in the K-Pop world. He's basically saying that he has no clue what to say.


      News of the Day for 5.3.10

      News of the Day for 5.2.10

      Baywatch, Korean pop style.

      UPDATE: That's just hot.

      Fuuuuuck. I'm not particularly a fan of either 2PM or SNSD, but dayum! Yeah, Nichkhun, flaunt that shit. I don't think I need to elaborate here. Credits to allkpop.com for disseminating hotness.


      News of the Day for 5.1.10

      Happy May Day!