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KOREA • Issue 134 • March 2018



aborti n Dealing with abortion in a country where it’s illegal




One Epic Trip to the Olympics

KO KO MO Returns

Ready to Rock Seoul







In a country where abortion is still illegal, options are slim for unwanted pregnancies

KOREA • Issue 134 • March 2018



aborti n Dealing with abortion in a country where it’s illegal



One Epic Trip to the Olympics

KO KO MO Returns

Chinese FOOTBALL Ready to Rock Seoul


ABOUT THE COVER In a country where abortion is illegal, thousands of women seek out the procedure in South Korea every year. While there is hope that times are changing, there is a lot that still needs to be done to not only change the law, but to change the perception of abortion and the women who seek them.


Cover illustration Priscilla Dayadante






THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME One writer’s experience at PyeongChang 2018


42 6

ALL THAT SOUND JUST TWO GUYS French band makes grand return to Seoul




FROM HOBBY TO CAREER Mexican band takes on Asia with new EP






THE IMAGINARY INVALID Seoul Players takes contemporary spin on a Moliere classic

OPEN LETTERS New Starlight Productions burlesque-play takes a closer look at love

BEING YOUNG ISN’T ABOUT AGE Punk band Chinese Football ready to rock out on Korean tour




General Inquiries








SPECIAL THANKS TO Sara Connors, Robert Michael Evans, Priscilla Dayadante, Kim Schroeder, Nick Holmes, Deer Mx, Ko Ko Mo and Chinese Football



To contribute to Groove Korea, email or the appropriate editors. To have Groove Korea delivered to your home or business, email To promote and event or share your opinions, please email or the appropriate editor. The articles are the sole property of GROOVE KOREA. No reproduction is permitted without the express written consent of GROOVE KOREA. The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. © All rights reserved Groove Korea 2006






Jeju Fire Festival March 1-4 Saebyeol Oreum, Bongsungri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si The Jeju Fire Festival originated from ‘banggae’, the old pastoral culture that used to set fire to the mountainous grasslands to control pests and to facilitate the growth of new grass in order to graze animals; this spirit was inherited and developed into the contemporary festival that enthralls visitors every year.

Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival March 17-25 55, Jimak 1-gil, Gwangyang-si, Jeollanam-do The festival takes place in Seomjin Village, home of the largest number of plum blossom trees in Korea. During the festival period, visitors can enjoy a walk beneath the plum blossoms, and also sample and purchase local organic plum products.


Muchangpo MystiC Sea Road Jukkumi and Dodari Festival March 17 – April 8 46, Yeollinbada 2-gil, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Yeongchwisan Azalea Festival

Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival

March 30 – April 1 547, Wollae-dong, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do

March 22 – 25 Gangguhang Port area, Donghae-daero, Yeongdeok-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Yeongchwisan Mountain in Yeosu has long been thought of as a holy mountain and was once the site of rituals in which the people pleaded for rain. In the spring, the mountainsides transform into a sea of pink as the azaleas come into full bloom. The annual Yeongchwisan Azalea Flower Festival in April celebrates the beauty of the mountain flowers through a variety of outdoor performances and programs such as the Miss Azalea Flower Pageant.

An annual event that celebrates local snow crabs, which were once served to the kings. Among festival highlights, the Snow Crab Public Auction as well as the snow crab market are the most popular.





The Arrival of New Women Until April 1 MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea), Deoksugung Gallery The exhibition pays attention to the ‘new women’ regarded as ‘ambiguous and dangerous who are neither entertainers nor students and explores women who permeated images and narratives of colonial modernity through pop culture and modernist art.

Olympic Memorial Exhibition: Harmony and Progress SeMA Collection Until March 18 Chungmu Art Center Gallery The exhibition introduces official Olympic poster artwork from more than 20 artists from all around the world for the Olympics in Korea


Alberto Giacometti

Wim Delvoye

Until April 15 Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul Arts Center

Until April 8 Gallery Hyundai, Samcheong-dong, Seoul

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker. This exhibition showcases 120+ of his artistic achievements from his early period in Switzerland to his golden age in Paris (1960/65).

Delvoye is a neo-conceptual artist whose work navigates the boundary between shocking and fascinating by combining fine art forms such as drawing, sculpture, and photography with experimental techniques, philosophical ideas, intriguing materials and craftsmanship. This exhibition will bring together works spanning nearly 20 years including laser-cut gothic steel sculptures, hand-carved tyres, embossed functional objects, photographs of marble floors made with salami and mortadella which all define aesthetic elements of traditional motifs and patterns from different cultures applied onto banal everyday objects and twisting of forms and conceptual context, which are two most crucial ideas in Delvoye’s art world.





John Legend March 15 Olympic Park

Open Letters presented by Starlight Productions March 9, 10, 16 & 17 England Pocha in Garosugil, Seoul

The Imaginary Invalid presented by Seoul Players March 24 Yeolim Hall in Jongno, Seoul


3,000+ foreign patients 20+ years of experiences Designated ophthalmologist by Republic of Korea Air Force


Dr. Kwak Yong-kwan

10AM-7PM 10AM-5PM


WHAT WE OFFER REFRACTIVE SURGERY LASIK / LASEK / ICL / Presbyopia CATRACT SURGERY COMPREHENSIVE EYE EXAM CONTACT LENS Dream Lens / RGP / Soft Lens FOR RESERVATION 1588-9881 14th Floor, Mijin Plaza, 825, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea

Dr. Hu Yung-jae

Dr. Jung Choong-ki 15




Tomb Raider (2018)

I, Tonya

March 8 Action, Adventure

March 8 Biography, Drama, Comedy

Alicia Vikander Hannah John-Kamen Walton Goggins

Margot Robbie Sebastian Stan Allison Janney

Phantom Thread March 8 Drama, Romance Vicky Krieps Daniel Day-Lewis Lesley Manville


Logan Lucky

Pacific Rim Uprising

March 15 Comedy, Crime, Drama

March 22 Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Farrah Mackenzie Daniel Craig Channing Tatum Katie Holmes

Scott Eastwood Adria Arjona Tian Jing

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri March 15 Crime, Drama Frances McDormand Sam Rockwell Woody Harrelson

Call me by your name March 22 Drama, Romance Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet Michael Stuhlbarg







ABORTION Dealing with abortion in a country where it’s illegal 19


It was the overpowering smell of soil in her boyfriend’s apartment that made HER think she might be pregnant.


pregnancy was something that Amanda, a young foreign woman living in South Korea, was neither financially nor mentally able to cope with. She considered abortion immediately. The problem was, she was pregnant in a country where abortion is illegal. “I was so, so scared,” she says. “Not only was I pregnant, and I couldn’t speak the language, but there was also a chance I could get in major legal trouble if I had had the procedure. It was incredibly stressful.” And yet, a day later, Amanda was able to quickly and discreetly access what she calls a “completely professional” abortion. “I could have gotten it the same day if I wanted to,” she recalls. In recent years South Korea’s abortion laws have become subject to intense public scrutiny due to the hypocrisy that surrounds them. While abortion remains a criminal offense in South Korea, women seeking abortions, and the doctors performing them, are rarely prosecuted, much less jailed. In fact, the Joongang Daily discovered only 17 documented abortion-related indictments between 2005 and 2009. In light of the Korean government’s relative tolerance of abortion, feminist groups, doctors and Koreans alike have increasingly called on the Korean government to decriminalize the procedure. However, the law remains intact. A history of inconsistency Abortion has been illegal in South Korea since 1953, except in cases of rape, incest, danger to a woman’s life, if one or both of the parents have a communicable disease, or if the fetus is likely to have a communicable disease or severe birth defects. Women found guilty of having an abortion


for reasons other than these exceptions can be fined 2 million won (roughly US$1,800). Doctors who commit what the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare defines as “inappropriate medical practices” can potentially have their business licenses suspended for up to 12 months and face two years in prison. Despite these harsh penalties, hundreds of thousands of abortions are performed in Korea every year. Exact numbers are hard to pinpoint, but multiple Korean news outlets report anywhere from 170,000 to 350,000 abortions performed in Korea each year. Amanda says after she told the doctor she “didn’t want the baby,” he simply asked if she had been drinking or smoking during the pregnancy, which she felt was a “prompt” to allow her to get an abortion. “I said ‘yes,’ and that was it,” she says. After paying 600,000 won (US$550) in cash, Amanda returned to the clinic the next day and received what she calls a “routine and hygienic” abortion in under 20 minutes. “They let me rest for a while, gave me some meds for the cramping, and I was good to go,” she says. “The staff was very supportive, they held my hand and didn’t make me feel judged, and you could tell they had done this before. I would definitely say it was positive.” Countless women like Amanda have described their experience as professional, sanitary, and efficient. Abortions aren’t exactly hard to access, either. Though some clinics and hospitals don’t offer the service due to its illegality, many are more than willing to profit from the lucrative procedure. The typical cost of an abortion in Korea can run anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million won (US$460 to US$1,840), depending on the clinic and the length of the pregnancy.


The abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol are also relatively easy to access. Though doctors cannot legally prescribe the pill, it can be purchased online from retailers or reproductive rights groups and shipped to your door, no questions asked. A spokesperson for Safe2choose, a feminist reproductive justice enterprise that supplies the abortion pill, says over 2,000 women in Korea have entered their site looking to access the pill. A looming future But in light of Korea’s commendable although illegal - abortion services, the country’s past has greatly influenced policy makers’ reluctance to decriminalize the procedure. As of 2017, Korea’s population growth has fallen to an alarming rate. Korea’s highly competitive job market, long working hours and high cost of raising children - around 300 million won, or US$263,000 per child, means women are either holding off on having children well into their late 30s, having fewer children, or not having any children at all. Korea now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with only 1.19 children per woman. In a report released by Statistics Korea, Korea’s population of 51 million could potentially decline to 45 million by 2031. If the birth rate doesn’t increase soon, the report estimates 24.5 percent of the population will be over 65 by 2030, and 41 percent by 2060. For a country that only had 406,300 live births in 2016, the abortion rate is considerably high. In recent years, the government has spent billions on boosting the birth rate. Expecting parents can claim pregnancy bonuses, subsidies for infertility treatments and paid maternity leave. In 2017, the Ministry of Health and Welfare spent US$78 million on new benefits, such as prioritizing public childcare for families with three children, and increased paternity leave allowance. The Center for Family and Human Rights reports the Korean government has also “expressed official support” of pro-life doctor groups who threaten to report doctors profiting from performing abortions. Only a few years ago public service


170,000350,000 abortions reported each year

41% of the population will be over 65 by 2060

Raising cost

$263,000 per child

406,300 357,700 live births in 2016

live births in 2017

Abortion as Criminal Offense


32% says to maintain

51.9% says to ABOLISH THE LAW



announcements blared “With abortion, you’re aborting the future.” These tactics have caused their fair share of public backlash. “The government only cares about abortion when they see fit,” says Yumi Jang, an activist working for the Human Rights Policy Department of feminist and anti-violence organisation Korea Women’s Hotline, which supports the decriminalization of abortion “Throughout [modern] history, the Korean government has controlled women’s minds and their bodies. And now it’s controlling when and how they should have children, too.” Unwed mothers But while policymakers are busy encouraging married couples to have children, they’ve done little to discourage unmarried mothers from seeking abortions - the largest demographic to have the procedure in Korea. “For a long time, Korean society has treated unwed mothers like they’re a problem, a disgrace” says Megy Kim, President of Korean Association Unwed Mothers Families’ Association (KUMFA), which advocates for the legal and social rights of unwed mothers and their children. Unwed mothers face severe social stigma in Korea, and it’s typical, if not the norm, for unwed mothers to be ostracized by family and friends. Referencing a governmental report, KUMA’s website states that for every 100 pregnancies of unwed women in Korea, 96 will have an abortion and only four will give birth. Of those four, three will eventually “be forced to give up their child due to economic difficulties and social discrimination.” Even if an unmarried woman wants to continue the pregnancy, abortion is often an easier choice than raising the child. Long wait lists makes public childcare notoriously difficult to access, and combined with Korea’s intense work culture, unwed mothers are often if not routinely rejected by potential employers on the assumption they lack workplace “loyalty.” Unwed mothers who become pregnant while employed are systematically “pushed” out of the workplace. A survey for the Korean Women’s Development Institute found only a quarter of Koreans are willing to have a close relationship with an unwed mother as a co-worker or neighbour. A report by Welfare Asia found single mothers in Korea are more likely to live in poverty than single fathers or married couples,


and single parent families pay higher taxes than married couples with children and a similar income. Single parent families also receive only 120,000 won (US$110) per child per month in governmental support until the child is 13, only after proving they fall under the poverty line, a policy Kim calls “discriminatory.” Ultimately, Kim says a change in public perception is key to reducing Korea’s high abortion rate. “[The] government needs to change how people think about unwed mothers,” she says. “I think it could begin doing this through campaigns, TV programs...the government really needs to apologize [in some form to these women.]” A glimmer of hope Although past and present governmental measures have done little to boost population numbers, the Korean government has remained staunch on its position to uphold the criminalization of abortion. In late 2016 the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a revision that could increase the penalty for doctors performing abortions from the current one-month suspension of business to a maximum of 12 months. This announcement caused public outcry, and hundreds of concerned citizens and women’s rights groups flocked to Gwanghwamun Square dressed in black to protest, prompting media outlets to call it the “black protest.”

Throughout [modern] history, the Korean government has controlled women’s minds and their bodies. And now it’s controlling when and how they should have children, too.”


Want to interview interesting people? Design? See your work in the pages of Groove? Then you’re in luck. Groove Korea is currently seeking new contributors – writers, editors, photographers, illustrators and more. Writers will be paid 20,000 won per article, along with other compensation. All those interested can contact Groove Korea at

I’m feeling lucky



“[The] government needs to change how people think about unwed mothers,” she says. “I think it could begin doing this through campaigns, TV programs...the government really needs to apologize [in some form to these women].”

Korea’s Women’s Hotline, along with other feminist organizations, recently started an online decriminalization petition called “Abortion Law Abolition Movement for All of Us” in a bid to increase awareness of Korea’s problematic abortion laws. According to a recent survey, only 36 percent of people in Korea want to keep abortion as a criminal offence, down from 53 percent in 2010. With a new self proclaimed “feminist” president in office, many are hopeful Moon Jae-in will decriminalize the procedure. Moon previously pledged to equalize women’s pay gap, open more public childcare centers and to increase the Ministry of Gender Equality’s role in government. In October 2017 a petition aimed to abolish abortion and legalize the importation of the abortion pill Mifegayne received over 200,000 signatures, though no official steps have been taken yet. As for Amanda, she says she’s hopeful Moon will decriminalize the procedure. “My experience would have been a lot less stressful if it had been a legalized process. It’s scary enough getting an abortion, and it shouldn’t have to be a secretive, illegal process,” she said. “Women want accessible abortions in Korea. [Moon] says he wants change, and I’m hopeful he’ll stick to his word.”




Story and Photos EMMA KALKA


THE EXPERIENCE My time at the Olympic Games




o say I’ve always been an Olympics fan is a slight understatement. I grew up watching the Games every two years like clockwork. We’d sit down and watch the opening and closing ceremonies as a family. Then Mom and I would spend every night on the sofa watching our favorite events. So many memories and so many historical moments. I remember cheering when Tara Lipinski won gold and then gasping in shock the following Games when Michelle Kwon did not. I cried when the Magnificent Seven stood on the podium and was proud that Shannon Miller was a fellow Oklahoman. I remember watching Shaun White win his first gold at Torino. After I moved to Korea, my best friend and I would live tweet back and forth during the Opening Ceremony – completely judging Team USA’s outfits – even though we were in different time zones. I was moved to tears watching Kim Yuna’s gold medal performance at Vancouver. Mom and I would always talk about how cool it would be to go to the Olympics. It was a dream and I made it a goal that someday I would go, hopefully with my mom. It became a top priority bucket list item. I remember working at a broadcasting company in 2011 in Seoul when they announced Pyeongchang as the 2018 Winter Games host. It was around midnight and I was in the newsroom watching the feed live with all the reporters and ADs. A cheer went up and I immediately messaged Mom, telling her that if I was still in Korea in 2018, we were going to do it. Shortly after, I got a message from my college best friend asking if I planned to stay in Korea that long and if so, we were going. Fast forward several years, and I’m sitting in Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang next to my best friend, quickly turning into an icicle, but so full of joy and excitement that it didn’t matter.

As the first act started, I was immediately overwhelmed and tears started to fill my eyes (though I quickly wiped them away, terrified they’d freeze to my cheeks). My mom couldn’t be there, but I spared a few glances up to the sky, imagining her sitting in Heaven with a bucket of popcorn watching right along with me.



As the first act started, I was immediately overwhelmed and tears started to fill my eyes (though I quickly wiped them away, terrified they’d freeze to my cheeks). My mom couldn’t be there, but I spared a few glances up to the sky, imagining her sitting in Heaven with a bucket of popcorn watching right along with me. It’s been an exciting Games to watch in person. I got to see Red Gerard win his first gold medal at the age of 17, in a come-from-behind win at slopestyle that makes watching the Olympics so breathtaking. He

was in the bottom after two runs and pulled out an amazing last run to shoot to the top of the podium. Watching his reaction after he landed and then again a few minutes later after it was official the Olympic gold was priceless. A couple days later, I saw the phenomenal Chloe Kim win her first gold, also at 17, in the women’s halfpipe. She scored high enough in her first run that just before she went on her third and final run, it was announced that she had won gold. With nerves of steel, she took the pipe, determined that even though she already had the medal, she was

going for history now. She landed back-to-back 1080s – a first for a woman in Olympics history. Fellow American Arielle Gold joined her on the podium, winning the bronze. She had a true comeback story. As the youngest member of the snowboard team for the Sochi Olympics, she suffered an injury just before the Games and was unable to compete. So, she waited four years for her second chance and pulled through with amazing results. The following day, I stood decked out in my Team USA gear, cheering on Shaun White

I enjoyed making friends with folks from all over the world. I enjoyed celebrating with the athletes’ families whenever we ended up near them – which seemed to be nearly every event.



as he made his attempt for his third gold medal at what could be his final Winter Games. I had been watching him on TV for over 10 years, it seemed, and I nearly couldn’t believe that I was standing there about to watch him compete in person. Despite the snow that quickly turned my toes into ice cubes or the crush of the crowd. Or even getting to the venue at 8:30 a.m. – two hours before competition started – so we could get a decent spot to watch (at 5’5 and 5’0, we pretty much had to be in the front at all events if we wanted to see anything), I was on cloud nine. Thankfully, we made friends with a group of fellow Americans and cheered as a group for all four Team USA members in the finals – Ben Ferguson, Chase Josey, Jake Pates and Shaun White. The reaction of the crowd when he won was nearly indescribable. People from all over the world were cheering him on – as evident by the many Shaun White signs. He burst into tears as he hugged his mother and we were all pretty much screaming our heads off.

He was also gracious enough to come over and speak to a few of us – thanking us for watching, cheering and waiting around three hours in the cold to chat with him – before he was ushered off to a press conference. A couple days after that, I got to experience true Olympics spirit when my friend and I found ourselves sandwiched in between groups of Team France, Team Italia and Team Czech Republic during women’s snowboard cross. As we walked to our seats, a group of men in French hens hats started chanting “USA! USA!” and waving at us. A woman from Team Italia chatted with us throughout the entire competition. Both groups cheer with us for our ladies and we ended up cheering with them for theirs. Despite the fact that Lindsey Jacobellis didn’t make the podium at the end, we weren’t upset. Choosing instead to congratulate the family of silver medalist Julia Pereira de Sousa Mabileau in front of us and then the Italians behind us for gold medalist Michaela Moioli and then waving towards the

Czech Republic group for bronzemedalist Eva Samkova. Being at the Olympics, for me, was the experience of a lifetime. Despite the frigid temperatures that I was positive would kill me the first three days, and the somewhat unpredictable shuttle schedule that would sometimes have us waiting an hour, but then other times had us arriving an hour early, I enjoyed nearly every second. I enjoyed watching the athletes compete. I enjoyed making friends with folks from all over the world. I enjoyed celebrating with the athletes’ families whenever we ended up near them – which seemed to be nearly every event. I got to meet people who were on their third, fourth and once even eighth Olympics. I looked over at my best friend and we both grinned, deciding that someday, that would be us. So for me, even though my PyeongChang experience is over, I’m happy with the memories I’ve made. More than that, I’m already looking forward to Tokyo 2020. Summer Games, here I come!



The Imaginary

INVALID A Modern-French play by Seoul Players




S There is a love triangle, deceitful encounters, medical mishaps; all the ingredients for a marvelous spectacle Cassandra Hendricks, Director

eoul Players, Seoul’s long-standing community theater company, proudly presents Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid. The play, directed by Cassandra Hendricks, boasts a wonderfully talented cast, both new and familiar. For years, Seoul Players has been mesmerizing audiences with their seasonal array of creative opportunities for the local arts community, ranging from original one act plays to a yearly shadow cast performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Their annual Ten Minute Play Festival never disappoints and is a definite highlight in the arts community calendar. This year they bring audiences a boisterous classic in The Imaginary Invalid, the 2018 season’s mainstage production. “We’ve put a contemporary spin on a classic, French play. I think audiences of all ages will find something hysterical and charming in this play. There is a love triangle, deceitful encounters, medical mishaps; all the ingredients for a marvelous spectacle,” said Hendricks. The story follows Argan, a retired hypochondriac who has pledged his daughter’s hand in marriage to the nephew of his trusted physician. Unfortunately, Argan’s daughter Angelique has her heart set on marrying Cleante. “We journey with Argan as he attempts to find a cure for his ailments sans,” Hendricks said. “Argan’s failing heart won’t fail to entertain.” The Imaginary Invalid was Moliere’s final work before his death and was originally performed in 1673. The new translation by Dan Smith, which was adapted from  Constance Congdon’s adaption, is being used for this production. The Imaginary Invalid premieres on March 24th at Yeolim Hall in Jongno.








tarlight Productions’ newest original burlesque-play, “Open Letters,” revolves around various forms of love and relationships. Written by Daniel Kennedy and taking place in a variety of different time periods and social settings, from an arranged Americana marriage in the mid 1800’s to a far off future where humans can casually change out their physical bodies and sexual desires, “Open Letters” seeks to challenge standards of race, gender and sexuality. Starlight Productions, who seeks “to invert— both literally and metaphorically— body and burlesque expectations,” pulls from an eclectic mix of Seoul’s artistic community to put on their passion projects. In addition to writers, directors, activists, choreographers, actors, dancers, singers, musicians, aerialists and multimedia personnel, Starlight will collaborate this spring with Seoul’s newest artistic endeavor: The Collective. They are a production and performance art company that aims to bring POC stories to the mainstream. Alameen Saidu, both the director of “Open Letters” and one of the founding members of The Collective, says that he loves the way that this show, “sets up conventional structures and then breaks them down.” When asked about where the

A burlesque-play by Starlight Productions Story NICK HOLMES Photos ROBERT MICHAEL EVANS

idea for this specific production came from, Flowerbomb -- founder, producer and artistic director of Starlight Productions -- said that she “wanted to stage a piece that explored what love is and could be across time and space; across different time periods and from the perspective of varying demographics.” Comprised of six distinct scenes, each “Open Letters” vignette takes

of video snippet interviews answering those questions -- some responses are comedic while others take on a more serious tone. The subject is set and then the setting of the scene unfolds upon the entrance of the characters; actors enter in period appropriate clothing and, in true burlesque fashion, those clothes are stripped off during the dance numbers that end each scene.

...We seek to invert both literally and metaphorically body and burlesque expectations... Flowerbomb place in a different time period with different characters that operate under different rules to their unique world. Each scene begins by asking the audience a single question that acts as the overarching theme of that given scene: 1. What is love? 2. What’s the most important part of a healthy relationship? 3. What’s the fastest way to ruin a relationship? 4. What’s the healthiest kind of love? 5. Do you believe in love at first sight? 6. What is the point of love? At the beginning of each vignette, the audience watches a collection

Starlight Productions is known to approach local musicians to provide live music for their shows. Flowerbomb approached Grey of Grey Watson with The Visions, to provide the music for this production. “Grey coincidently was working on an album about love. The timing was too perfect to not tap him for this production,” said Flowerbomb. “It felt fortuitous and I eagerly wanted to do whatever I could to make it happen,” Grey added. Although all the songs selected



[Open Letters] sets up conventional structures and then breaks them down. Alameen Saidu for this production are about love, Grey calls most of these love songs “anti-love songs” because they are more about the ugly side of things -- not the romantic and fantasized parts of love. A chord that feels all too real is struck and rings what love truly plays out to be for so many of us: to give, to receive, to steal, to lose, and to leave love. “Open Letters” is set to run on March 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th at England Pocha (영국포차) in Garosugil at 10:00 PM. Doors open at 9:00 PM. For ticketing information, go to the website or


the Facebook event page for “Open Letters” at www.facebook. com/events/339402543214075/ For those that come out to audition, Starlight Productions welcomes anyone who wants to explore performance art as a means of self-expression. From the beginning, Starlight has wanted to take the concept that “anyone can do burlesque” and push that further. Stay up-to-date with show opportunities via thewebsite, Every Starlight ensemble features a cast and crew of both experienced individuals and beginners.

Poster Illustration Kell y Belter





Oscar glitz & glam comes to Seoul KIXFF hosts Oscar party





or those of us who couldn’t make the trip to LA for this year’s Oscars, the organizers of the Korea Indie and Expat Film Festival brought the red carpet to Seoul – literally. The day before Oscar’s big night, the group held a pre-Oscars party at Emu Artspace in Gwangwhamun, complete with red carpet, photos by photographer Robert Michael Evans and entertainment. Guests were encouraged to dress in their finest, with awards given to the best gold ensemble – to show solidarity for women in the film industry – and best freestyle ensemble. Attendees mixed and mingled before sitting to watch presentations of the trailers for all nine Best Picture nominees, and then were entertained with a dance performance by a hip-hop dance group, and music performances by Kim Schroeder, Sang Park, Tracy Scott and Monika. There were ample opportunities for the crowd to get involved, with beatboxer Sang doing a “Guess that Tune” game using famous Oscarnominated songs from films. Towards the end of the night, several dazzled with entertaining – and sometimes over the top – fake acceptance speeches. Sponsored by CLIO – which provided the night’s swag bags – along with several other local businesses including Sprout Seoul and FujiFilm, the night was the perfect way to jumpstart the fun for Oscar fans in Seoul.



FROM HOBBY TO CAREER Couple takes exercise in making music to next level Story EMMA KALKA Photos courtesy of DEER MX




or married couple Miguel Bastida and Adriana Martinez, their journey into music started about four years ago as just a way to pass the time after they had moved to Hong Kong. Adriana was doing her PhD while Miguel had previously been doing classical competition in their home of Mexico City. “When we moved here, we didn’t know anything about the city. Any people. We didn’t have friends. We were basically like an island here, so we started to do this – trying to compose (a) different style of music to see what’s going on,” Adriana said. From there, Deer Mx was born. Adriana continued that they found they enjoyed making music and doing things together. So, they started taking it more seriously. After they had some songs put together, they started performing and she found she enjoyed performing music more than just researching it. Later on, the couple saw Sigur Ros and later Blur in concert in Hong Kong, and that was the inspiration to push forward with the band. “We were like so happy to see these bands and see that you can make amazing music or you can start trying working on that. You feel pretty inspired. And we keep on

pushing and that’s why we are here four years,” she said. The two just released an EP “Portraits” – their first formal release in Korea. Symphonic released it through Ticket Box on March 2, while Leeway Music & Media distributed it through Melon and all other Korean platforms on March 6. The EP is a collection of stories based off their experiences as a foreign couple living in Hong Kong. “They’re touching on different topics about what it is to be here and the people here. It’s basically why we called the name ‘Portraits,’ because we wanted people to see all these portraits and different lives – different stories through the music,” Adriana said. While they are currently based in Hong Kong, they admit they are working actively to expand outside the city. They’ve played venues there and even had a spot in Clockenflap – the biggest music festival in Hong Kong – in 2016. But they’ve set their sights on something bigger. Miguel explained that Hong Kong is small and divided – it’s not often you see the expats and locals working together in the music industry. It’s because of the size that artists can’t really tour in Hong Kong like they would in the U.S. or Mexico.

We try to make it aggressive. The vocals are very powerful. The beats we try to make are very punchy. And distorted beats Miguel Bastida, composer

“So, we don’t perform a lot in Hong Kong. We are only working in Hong Kong. But we’re trying to play outside of Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is super small,” he said. “So, you play all the venues in one year and you are doing the same thing all your life.” He added that as a band, they don’t want to go every week to the same place, playing the same songs and possibly losing support just because it’s the same crowd. Adriana added that the process for them as foreign artists is different than local artists, who can often apply for government support or can connect more easily with local audiences because they speak the same language.



When we moved here, we didn’t know anything about the city. Any people. We didn’t have friends. We were basically like an island here, so we started to do this – trying to compose (a) different style of music to see what’s going on Adriana Martinez, vocalist “So, we’re trying to – we don’t know if we’re going to stay for long or less time in Hong Kong. But we’re sure that we’re trying to take advantage of this opportunity that Hong Kong is very small and they can give you the chances and possibilities to make shows in Asia,” she said. Deer Mx has certainly taken advantage of that, playing in Taiwan, China and Vietnam as well as featuring in Zandari Festa here in Seoul last year. They’ve also played in Malaysia, Russia and did a show in Estonia in December. Miguel said that last year they focused on playing as many festivals as possible rather than go on their own tour, which can incur a lot of expenses if you don’t have your own promoter. However, now they have set their sights on Europe and the West and are considering striking it


out on their own. “This year is going to be maybe the first time that we move to the Western side. We want to go to maybe Europe, maybe a festival there is interested to book us. Or maybe do some shows. So maybe we need to take that risk. We did it in Asia, maybe we can start to do it Europe,” he said. Adriana adds that they hope to finally make it over to Mexico as a band as well. Another challenge the bands says they have in Asia is the fact that

their style of music doesn’t really fit the status quo. Miguel said that many people here enjoy pop music, which can make Deer Mx’s music a bit difficult for them to digest. “The music – even though Adriana is the singer – it’s very aggressive,” he said. “We try to make it aggressive. The vocals are very powerful. The beats we try to make are very punchy. And distorted beats.” He continued that if folks are into pop, they may not enjoy their music, but if they are into eclectic


EP cover album “Portraits”

music – such as Bjork or Nine Inch Nails – they would like what they play. They’ve been described as industrial and played with bands that have a harder edge, sounding similar to A Perfect Circle. But Adriana says that while playing in Asia, they keep an open mind since they are never sure what they’ll get with the audience. Miguel said when they played in Malaysia, they met some guys who were into Tool and The Deftones who loved their music.

“I realized that in Korea, we expect whatever. We’re just open to see any reaction. I would say the first time we played in Korea, it was by ourselves – it was not in a festival – and it was nice,” she said. “I can expect anything. It’s what I learned about Asia. Never have the answer of anything. It’s just want you do. And we’re happy then.” Even though their style is a bit different, the couple recently pushed out of their comfort zone by accepting the challenge of

doing a cover of a Kpop song from BoomBoomSeoul’s Joe Kim. The two redid g.o.d’s “Road.” It was a challenge, for sure, but one that Miguel and Adriana are happy they undertook. “It was difficult to sing something that you have no idea what you are singing. Very difficult, but we loved the experience,” Adriana said. “We were struggling a bit with it, because the song is a bit, it’s not a happy song. But you know pop is very difficult, so we were like, how can we do this kind of thing?” Miguel continued. He added that they finished the song in a “very Deer way.” “We were very happy because it’s the first time to do a cover,” he said. “It was a challenge, but we enjoyed it.” Up next for Deer Mx is hopefully returning to play in Korea this summer. Beyond that, they have a couple of music videos for tracks off the EP to release and are hoping to release a full-length album by next spring. To follow Deer Mx, check out their Facebook page at https://www.




JUST TWO GUYS Ko Ko Mo makes triumphant return to Korea Story EMMA KALKA Photos courtesy of KO KO MO




pon first watching French band KO KO MO on stage, it’s hard to believe all that sound comes from just two guys on a guitar and drums. But the two – Warren Mutton on guitar and Kevin “K20” Grosmolard on drums – manage to sound like a five-piece band with their high-energy music. Sometimes sounding Led Zepplin, White Stripes and sometimes the more modern Black Keys, the band was first introduced to local audiences at Zandari Festa in 2016. Muttons high-powered vocals have been described as “sometimes androgynous close to Robert Plant” with a guitar game “classified between Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.” K20 is reminiscent of “John Bonham or Keith Moon of The Who for the sense of show and fury.” They returned to Seoul in February this year for a show at Club Sharp with local bands The Monotones and DTSQ, which was in Mutton’s words, crazy. “It was sold out and we really enjoyed the place… We do love those kind of rock’n’roll clubs,” he said. Since the last time they were here, the band has toured great venues in Europe and released their first fulllength album Technicolor Life. But Mutton jokes they were most looking forward to the smoking rooms on their return to Korea. He added they were excited about the show after having a great time at Zandari. He hopes they can return soon, possibly in October. He said he noticed small differences between playing here this time and elsewhere… “For example, the sound engineers for the Olympics were placing the wedges directly on the snow… And it sounds totally normal to play outside with drums and guitars when it’s minus 15 degrees Celsius,” he quipped. KO KO MO is an interesting band, to say the least. Outside of their two-man setup, Mutton prefers a 70s aesthetic to his look, saying he just enjoys that period of time when they were able to say a lot of things that can’t be said anymore nowadays. He often dons bell bottoms with his hair long and curly. But ultimately for both, it’s about

It was sold out and we really enjoyed the place We do love those kind of rock’n’roll Warren Mutton, clubs vocalist & guitar living from their passion, something Mutton says is their biggest accomplishment so far. The two met five years ago at another band’s rehearsal. Mutton said that he and K20 thought they should create a side project to have more freedom on stage. After a year of playing bar gigs they met their tour manager LMP Musique and did a huge festival in France – Les Transmusicales – in 2015, which they say was a “good start” for them. They’ve played in festivals including Solidays, Les Escales, Le Sakifo, Les

Jeunes Charrues, Blues sur Seine, Blues Around Zinc and many venues around France. Outside of that, they’ve played in China, Indonesia, India, Switzerland and Spain, as well as South Korea. They now also continue to work with LMP Musique, and teamed up with Al Groves, an artistic director and sound engineer at Studio Motor Museum in Liverpool, where Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, the Coral and the La’s went to record, for their album Technicolor Life. Mutton continues that the name KO KO MO refers to a bluesman named James “Kokomo” Arnold, who wrote the song “Sweet Home Kokomo.” “Delta blues stuff. It also means a lot of things in many languages. And it’s easy to remember, isn’t it?” he jokes. He said that from the beginning, they have felt free and love each other as brothers, so he doesn’t think they’ve faced many obstacles as a band. “We are just too lucky, I think.” KO KO MO plans to tour until September while also working on their second album, which they hope to release next January. And still have fun together at the same time. To learn more about KO KO MO, visit their Facebook page at https://www.



Being young isn’t about age Chinese Football to take on Seoul for first time Story EMMA KALKA Photos courtesy of CHINESE FOOTBALL



We are not even sure if we have any Korean fans or not! But just come and enjoy the show with us and hang out for a drink and a chat after the show Xu Bo, guitarist


hile listening to the upbeat, yet chill, music of Chinese Football, it may be hard to believe that its four members previously all came from various genres. Singer/guitarist Xu Bo had played in punk/emo bands, while guitarist Wang Bo had been in a post rock band, bassist Li Lixin had been in a post punk band, and the drummer at that time (2011) – Xia Chao – was from a pop rock band. They currently have Zhen Zili on the drums. All based in Wuhan, China, Xu Bo said their previous bands had ended so they got together. Drawing from their mutual love of the band Toe from Japan, they started a new project based on this love and “to mix all our favorite stuff.”. He continued that the name – Chinese Football – started out as a joke. “I am a fan of the band American Football all the time, so when we think about the name for the band, I just changed the word ‘American’ to ‘Chinese’

for fun, and it sounded nice,” he said. “The other members didn’t know American Football, so they thought I just made fun of China Football team, which means ‘sucks’ in Chinese.” The band calls themselves an indie rock/emo/post punk band that tries to keep the original tension of punk music and operates with a DYI attitude. Influenced by the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Get Up Kids and American Football, they specialize in a “potent guitarbased-driven wistful indie rock sound.” “Chinese Football is devoted to expressing the fantasy of youth and its frustration,” even though the members are now in their 30s. Even Xu Bo said the three words that best describe the band are “youth, frustration and blood.” And they are coming to South Korea for their first-ever show here as part of their East Asian tour, invited by Doindie. The group will play in Seoul on March 16 at CJ Azit and Busan on



March 17 at Someday. In Seoul, they will play with Parasol and Cogason, while in Busan, they will joined by Goodbye Wendy and Bosudong Cooler. “Don’t expect too much,” Xu Bo jokes. “We are just a four-piece rock band trying to rock as hard as teenagers, but we will try to speak a little Korean during the show and, of course, we will put on a good performance for everyone.” He adds that when it comes to tours, the most important thing is eating, followed by sweating and putting on a killer show. “Please introduce some local food to us!” He said the band has known a lot about Korean pop culture since they were in middle school – they listened to artists like H.O.T., Baby V.O.X. and CLON. “I hear that CLON still plays in some night clubs occasionally. Maybe I will have a chance to see them in Korea!” he said. “Well, just kidding, but it would be nice. I want to see what the underground scene in Korea (is like) and want to taste the real gamjatang!” While Xu Bo admits that they don’t know much about the punk or rock scene in Korea, he said it feels comfortable to make friends with punk guys as they are simple and sincere. He adds that he wants to know more while they are here and encourages folks to come out and enjoy the show, then stick around to chat and have a few drinks. Being in an indie band isn’t always easy, though he says their biggest accomplishment so far has been discovering that people all over the world are listening to their music. For them now, it’s the struggle of playing music while still having full-time jobs.


“I think it is the same old problem for everyone who plays in band not as a full-time job. We have to work hard to make money so few times is left for playing music,” he said. “To find a job that allowed you to have more free time is very important, but also very difficult.” He said for them, inspiration comes from many places – the music they listen to, the movies they watch, the people they meet. As a band, sometimes songs come to them from scratch while jamming together. Other times one of the guitarists will finish the structure of a song and others add their own part to make it richer. When the music is finished, they then decide on a title as a band and he will write the lyrics based on the title. They do perform in Mandarin, but that doesn’t seem to stop worldwide fans from enjoying the music. Their self-titled debut released in September 2015 garnered attention from all over the world on the website Bandcamp, something that surprised them at the time. They definitely have a sort of nostalgic vibe for those who enjoy emo from the 90s and aughts, but still there is something fresh to it that will get you bobbing your head. It’s sure to entertain fans while here in Korea. “We are not even sure if we have any Korean fans or not! But just come and enjoy the show with us and hang out for a drink and a chat after the show,” Xu Bo urges. Both shows in Seoul and Busan on March 16 and 17 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale. For more information, visit the band’s Facebook page ( chinesefootballband/) or DoIndie’s Facebook page (https://www.


We are just a four-piece rock band trying to rock as hard as teenagers, but we will try to speak a little Korean during the show and, of course, we will put on a good performance for everyone. Xu Bo, guitarist


LISTINGS EMBASSIES American Embassy (02) 397-4114 • 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul Canadian Embassy (02) 3783-6000 • (613) 996-8885 (Emergency Operations Center) Jeongdong-gil (Jeong-dong) 21, Jung-gu, Seoul British Embassy (02) 3210-5500 • Sejong-daero 19-gil 24, Jung-gu, Seoul Australian Embassy (02) 2003-0100 • 19th fl, Kyobo bldg., 1 Jongno 1-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul Philippine Embassy (02) 796-7387~9 • 5-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Spanish Embassy (02) 794-3581 • 726-52 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul French Embassy (02) 3149-4300 • 30 Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

HOTELS & RESORTS Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (02) 2250-8080 • San 5-5, Jangchung-dong 2-ga Jung gu,Seoul


Novotel Ambassador Gangnam (02) 567-1101 • 603 Yeoksam 1-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Grand Hilton Seoul (02) 3216-5656 • 353 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Somerset Palace Seoul (02) 6730-8888 • 85 Susongdong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Park Hyatt Seoul (02) 2016-1244 • 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Lotte Hotel Busan (051) 810-1000 • 772 Gayadaero, Busanjin-gu, Busan Park Hyatt Busan (051) 990-1244 • 51, Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612824, Korea


Seoul National University Hospital 1339 • 28-2 Yeongeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Seoul Samsung Hospital 1599-3114 • 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Asan Medical Center 1688-7575 • 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpagu, Seoul Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) • 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

AIRLINES Korean Air 1588-2001

FAMILY AND KIDS Yongsan Intl. School (02) 797-5104 • San 10-213 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Seoul Intl. School (031) 750-1200 • 388-14 Bokjeongdong, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Branksome Hall Asia (02) 6456-8405 • Daejung-eup, Seogipo-si, Jeju Island Daegu Intl. School (053) 980-2100 • 1555 Bongmudong, Dong-gu, Daegu

Dulwich College Seoul

Asiana Airlines 1588-8000 Lufthansa (02) 2019-0180 Garuda Indonesia (02) 773-2092 •

University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

Jeju Air 1599-1500

Gangnam St-Mary’s Hospital 1588-1511 • 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul

British Airways (02) 774-5511

Yonsei Severance Hospital (Sinchon) (02) 2227-7777 • 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Delta Airlines (02) 754-1921

T’way Air 1688-8686 Jin Air 1600-6200 Cathay Pacific Airways (02) 311-2700v Emirates Airlines (02) 2022-8400

Dulwich College Seoul offers an exemplary British-style international education (including IGCSE and IBDP) for over 600 expatriate students aged 2 to 18 from over 40 different countries. 6 Sinbanpo-ro 15-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea 02-3015-8500


LISTINGS FAMILY AND KIDS Eton House Prep (02) 749-8011 • 68-3 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul A unique British-style Prep School for children of all nationalities from 2-13 years of age. A broad, challenging and innovative curriculum preparing pupils for senior school and life beyond. AMUSEMENT PARKS Everland Resort (031) 320-5000 • 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogokeup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do Lotte World (02) 411-2000 0 • 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul Pororo Park (D-Cube city) 1661-6340 • 360-51 Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul Children’s Grand Park (zoo) (02) 450-9311 • 216 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul Seoul Zoo (02) 500-7338 • 159-1 Makgyedong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do BOOKSTORES What the Book? (02) 797-2342 • 176-2, Itaewon 1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • Located in Itaewon, this English bookstore has new books, used books and children’s books. Kim & Johnson 1566-0549 • B2 fl-1317-20 Seochodong, Seocho-gu, Seoul

HEALTH ORIENTAL MEDICINE Lee Moon Won Korean Medicine Clinic 02) 511-1079 • 3rd fl., Lee&You bldg. 69-5 Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Specializes in hair loss and scalp problems and offers comprehensive treatments and services including aesthetic and hair care products. COSMETIC SURGERY MIZAIN plastic surgery Seoul National University College of Medicine graduate doctors offer the best quality medical services • (02) 515 6199 • Dosan-daero 423 (Cheongdam-dong 91-11), Gangnam-gu, Seoul MVP plastic surgery Welcoming environment for foreigners and friendly staff guarantees a pleasant visit for cosmetic surgery related consultations. (02) 3442 6669 •Nonhyeon-ro 819, Gangnam-gu, Seoul JK plastic surgery center Experience the best medical system in Korea. Its superb system allows the minimum efforts for your medical experiences. (02) 777 0337 • 584-2 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul FITNESS Exxl Fitness Gangnam Finance Center, 737 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


UROLOGY & OB Sewum Urology (02) 3482-8575 • 10th fl., Dongil bldg., 429 Gangnam-daero, Seochogu, Seoul Tower Urology (02) 2277-6699 • 5th fl. 119 Jongno 3-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul DENTAL CLINIC Boston Dental Clinic General dentistry / Periodontics / Orthodontics (02) 3482-0028 • 92-12 5F, Banpo 4-dong (Seorae French Village), Seocho-gu, Seoul OPHTHALMOLOGY Dream Eye Center The best eye clinic for LASIK and LASEK. 3,000+ foreign patients over 20+ years of experience with 0 complaints. If you’re considering getting this, make sure to choose the best. • 1588 9881 • 14 fl., Mijin Plaza, 825 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul ANIMAL HOSPITALS Chunghwa Animal Hospital / Korea Animal Transport (02) 792-7602 • 21-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul /

MUSEUM AND GALLERIES National Museum of Korea (02) 2077-9000 • 168-6 Yongsandong 6-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul The NMK offers educational programs on Korean history and culture in English and Korean. National Palace Museum of Korea (02) 3701-7500 • 12 Hyoja-ro, Jongnogu, Seou This museum has a program called Experiencing Royal Culture designed for English teachers to help learn about Joseon royal culture. Seodaemun Museum of Natural History (02) 330-8899 • 141-52 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Don’t know where to take your kids on weekends? This museum exhibits a snapshot of the world and animals. National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (02) 2188-6000 • 313 Gwangmyeongro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (02) 2014-6901• 747-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • 10:30 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Gallery Hyundai (02) 734-6111~3 • 22 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul The first specialized art gallery in Korea and accommodates contemporary art. • 10 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Plateau (02) 1577-7595 • 50 Taepyung-ro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul • 10 am-6 p. m. Closed on Mondays. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA SEOUL) (02) 3701-9500 • 30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Daegu Art Museum (053) 790-3000 • 374 Samdeok-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu Art space for local culture presenting Daegu’s contemporary fine arts and internationally renowned artists.



Groove Korea_2018 March  
Groove Korea_2018 March  

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