Check out my weekly Top5 Internet Finds on NetSideBar.com

October 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Check out my weekly Top5 Internet Finds on NetSideBar.com

Every Monday I post my favorite things I came across during the previous week.  This is the current Top5.

Check out all my past ones here: http://netsidebar.com/author/dwiberg/

Categories: Uncategorized

Cheonan World Dance Festival 2013

October 11, 2013 1 comment

I had the pleasure…nay, the HONOR of attending the Cheonan World Dance Festival this year.

Cheonan World Dance ...

The Cheonan World Dance Festival “celebrates the traditional dances, songs and costumes of Korea” as well as many other countries around the world.  This was BY FAR the best world dance festival I have even been to in Korea this year!!!

I was very fortunate because I now live in Cheonan. The city of Cheonan has been called “the core city of the nation” as it is the gateway to all the main transportation hubs of Korea. Most expats that live in Korea prefer to live in a bigger/more vibrant city (like Seoul or Busan) but for me, I chose job over location.  Which is why I live here.

My first experience with this year’s festival was with the STREET PARADE.

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I can’t even count how many different floats and groups were represented in the parade.  I didn’t try to keep count, so that might be the reason.  The street parade went on for 2.2km.  It wasn’t just a parade.  It was a competition!  That means that they compete.  To win.  The winning parade team would earn six million won (about $6,000).

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I was amazed!  I mean, look at ‘em.  The photo above is where the groups would stop and do a 30 second performance.  This was how they were judged for the contest.  I really enjoyed seeing all of the different countries that came and represented their cultures and displayed their perceived stereotype for the Korean citizens of Cheonan!  It was a great show!

ImageThe picture above was my favorite country (other than Korea of course) of the parade.  It’s Malaysia.  I really like the sounds of the instruments they use.  But what I liked most was that they SMILED.  Like, SMILED A LOT!  And these were definitely not fake smiles.  Just seemed natural to them.  Like their resting faces resembled a smile.  Very infectious.

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This was a cool float.  It almost looked like a moving history documentary.  Or a moving postcard.  A time machine on wheels.  Inside looks like Korea did just a few years ago.  Today, they have transportation with wheels that can move these floats.

Cheonan World Dance Festival (천안 흥타령춤축제)

I have to say that I loved the parade the most.  Probably because I was able to walk around and get close and interact with the performers/dancers.  Everyone seemed to have a really great time!

There was a great fireworks show at the end of the night.  Unfortunately I am a terrible photographer and none of the firework pictures turned out well.  But they were HUGE and could be seen and heard from all around the city of Cheonan.

I can’t wait til the 2014 Cheonan World Dance Festival!  I wonder what year it will come here!

*I was paid to write about this festival.  Not sure by who or what the reason was but I was paid.*

Categories: Uncategorized

Comedians Who Die Way Too Early

September 30, 2013 2 comments

Patrice O’ Neal died at the age of 40.  He was a great comic who didn’t need a set of material to go on stage and kill it.  Loved his sense of humor and his unPCness.  Greg Giraldo another great comic who did some Comedy Roasts with O’Neal died just two months ago at the age of 44.  Got me thinking about how many comics go way too young.  Here’s the SHORT list (thanks to Patrick Bromley):

- Bill Hicks
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Perhaps no better, more influential comedic voice was more tragically cut short Bill Hicks. The comic — who should have been a household name, and would have been had he not passed prematurely — was a brilliant satirist and darkly honest comic who could eviscerate any given topic with the ferocity of a chain-smoking attack dog.  Hicks died of pancreatic cancer in 1994. He was only 32 years old. Though he died too young, his legacy lives on in the comics he inspired.

- Lenny Bruce

Comedian Lenny Bruce Photo courtesy Fulton Archive

One of the godfathers of modern stand-up comdy, Lenny Bruce fought for free speech and pushed the limits of what a comedian could say and do on stage — and came up with some classic stand-up routines in the process.  Bruce, who had been a drug addict for some years, was found dead of an overdose in 1966. He was 40 years old. Comedy would not be the same without his contributions, short-lived as they may have been.

- Greg Giraldo

Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Like a number of comedians on this list, Greg Giraldo seemed to just be hitting his stride when he died suddenly of an accidental overdose of prescription medication in September of 2010.  He was becoming quite a comedy star thanks to his killer appearances on the annual Comedy Central roasts. His comedy was smart and dark and bitingly ascerbic; he was, to put it simply, one of the best comedians of his generation.

- Mitch Hedberg

Mitch HedbergPhoto by Scott Gries/Getty Images

Mitch Hedberg is that rare comedian whose popularity and success came largely after he died or a drug overdose in 2005. He was the master of the aburd one-liner. It wasn’t until after he was gone that the mainstream public became aware of his genius, finally discovering his 2003 album Mitch All Together.  Hedberg was on his way to becoming one of the biggest, most influential comics of his generation, and his death at age 37 was a tragic waste.

- John Belushi

John BelushiPhoto by Getty Images
John Belushi was a comedy icon when he died in 1982, thanks to his breakout status on Saturday Night Live (he was one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players) and his iconic role in the 1978 filmAnimal House. He was one of the first wild men of comedy, whose addictions and hard-partying lifestyle defined him almost as much as his need to be funny. Belushi was only 33 when he died of a drug overdose, robbing the world of one of its most gifted comic performers.

- Chris Farley

Chris FarleyPhoto by Stewart Cook/Getty Images

Chris Farley idolized John Belushi, so it’s no surprise that the simllarites between them are uncanny: like Belushi, Chris Farley started out doing sketch comedy at Chicago’s Second City. Like Belushi, he went on to become a breakout star on Saturday Night Livebefore transitioning into popular comedy films (like Tommy Boy). And, like Belushi, Chris Farley lived too hard and was addicted to drugs and alcohol. When he died in 1997 of a drug overdose, he was 33 years old — the same age as Belushi when he died.

- Robert Schimmel

Comedian Robert SchimmelPhoto by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

Robert Schimmel survived tremendous hardship only to be tragically killed by a random occurance. He beat cancer, survived a heart attack and lived through major marital difficulties (divorcing his wife multiple times, then marrying the best friend of his oldest daughter before separating from her, too), mining all of that pain in his brutally honest, dark stand-up routines. It’s all the more tragic, then, that Schimmel’s difficult life was cut short when he died of injuries sustained in a car accident in September of 2010.

- Andy Kaufman

Andy KaufmanPhoto by Fotos International/Getty Images

Andy Kaufman was one of comedy’s greatest oddballs. From his iconic performances on Saturday Night Live (lip-synching the theme toMighty Mouse) to his supporting role as Latka Gravas on Taxi to his alternate personality as nightclub singer Tony Clifton to his late-career run as an amateur wrestler (who only wrestled women), seemingly all of Kaufman’s comedy ventures were offbeat, anti-comedy stunts. Though he lived his entire life as a health freak, Kaufman was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer at age 34 and died just one year later. Who knows what the next phase of his comedy might have been.

You can now add Patrice O’Neal to this list, as well as others like Bernie Mac and Sam Kinnison.

To be continued…

Categories: Comedy, Culture, FAIL, TV, USA

Stupid People Are Breeding, Funny People Are Dying (Patrice O’ Neal)

September 25, 2013 1 comment

Patrice O'Neal

From the AP:

“Many of us have lost a close and loved friend; all of us have lost a true comic genius,” Brandstein said.

In a tweet, Sheen said: “The entertainment world as well as the world at large lost a brilliant man.

“Patrice had that rare ‘light’ around him and inside of him. I only knew him for the few days leading up to the Roast. Yet I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent. My tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family,” he added.

Other entertainers also mourned O’Neal on Twitter.

“RIP Patrice O’Neal. You made us laugh til we cried,” comedian Sarah Silverman said.

Actor Jay Mohr said, “Just heard. Goodnight brother. Damn. Just ridiculous. Terrible. Beyond sad.”

O’Neal had specials on US networks Showtime and HBO and was the host of Web Junk 20 on VH1. He appeared in numerous television shows including Arrested Development, Chappelle’s Show and The Office.

Random Dan –  Another comedian passes way before their time.  Almost two months ago to the day, Greg Giraldo died of an overdose.  Whatever the reason for these comedians, it’s usually the life they lived that caused the outcomes.  But you have to think that being a comedian for a ‘career’ has to be tough on the body.  Traveling, late night shows, early morning radio.  I’m sure at every one of their shows there is  someone in attendance that would like to buy them a drink, smoke them out, or give them a bj for their troubles.  

I’ve done stand up a few times and I have always loved the idea of being a full time comic.  It just sounds like the perfect life.  Traveling, making people laugh, partying, etc.  I can see how these guys get caught up in the whole situation.  

Hopefully Patrice is the last of these guys to go young but we know that’s not gonna’ happen.  I just hope this never happens to any of my comedian friends.  

I know if I ever got into comedy this would sure as hell happen to me.

Saturday Night Live: Korea Style!

September 1, 2013 Leave a comment

By Noh Hyun-gi

Legendary American sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL) has entertained the world with its pointed political satire and priceless skits for the past 37 years.

Channel tvN is taking on the formidable task of producing a Korean version. Famed director and writer Jang Jin, who will be directing the program, called it a dream come true at a press conference in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday.

But how the show full of acid political satire and sexual jokes will hit it off with the Korean audience remains to be seen.

The original

“Live from New York, Its’ Saturday Night!” Watching SNL, though not so well-known in Korea, is part of the American tradition. Every episode usually features a guest host, usually a celebrity, with a permanent SNL cast to perform live acts. In the opening sketch, various figures have made cameo appearances including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Korean version will follow the same format of a host and 16 cast members and will present 10 skits each Saturday.

Let’s talk politics

Last week, an opposition lawmaker shot a tear-gas canister into the main hall at the National Assembly as the governing party railroaded through a free trade agreement with the United States, prompting outbursts of criticism.

Jang believes today’s politics serves up a full dish for political satire.

“Before, any political satire could be directed at the ruling party. But nowadays there are a lot things to pick on in the opposition party as well,” he said.

Yet ridiculing politics is walking on thin ice and has been a realm for journalism. A podcast radio show “I’m a Weasel” has gained popularity by criticizing the current government. Recently Rep. Kang Yong-seok, who almost lost his Assembly seat over inappropriate remarks to female collegians aspiring to become announcers, filed a libel suit Thursday against comedian Choi Hyo-jong, for offending lawmakers during a show.

Jang said that he plans to be fearless and work on leveling the satire as the show goes on.

The hosts

The low recognition of SNL in Korea and the daunting role of the main guest host led many to decline the offer. Actor Kim Joo-hyuk, who has a calm and serious mask, will host the first episode. At the press conference Jang thanked Kim for taking on the challenge to make SNL Korea shine.

The producers of the show are well aware of these issues in importing the all-American show, which is why the show only has eight episodes planned. Jang said he hopes to make this a long-running show. He hopes the first season will attract more celebrities as hosts so it can continue. If Ahn Yeong-mi, the only female comedian for SNL Korea, can pull off either Rep. Na Kyung-won or Rep. Park Geun-hye like Tina Fey impersonates Sarah Palin it would be priceless.

SNL Korea will air starting Dec. 3 on tvN at 11 p.m.

 

Random Dan – I have watched a few different Korean comedy/sketch shows and they seem to be pretty funny.  The language barrier makes it tough to get the majority of the jokes but the best thing about stage comedy is that language isn’t exactly necessary.  If this show is anything like USA’s SNL it will involve current events, politics, and anything else to make an audience laugh.  I’m interested to see the reaction to this type of show in Korea.  Koreans take politics very seriously.  I’ve watched SNL for as long as I can remember.  I think Koreans need more laughter and hopefully this show can bring a new vision of entertainment.

Categories: Check-It-Out, Korea, Politics, TV, USA

Korea Student Kills Mother – Keeps Hidden for Eight Months

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

By Kim Rahn – Korea Times

A high school student is suspected of having killed his mother and keeping the body hidden for eight months at their home after being pressured by her to get higher exam scores.

Gwangjin Police in eastern Seoul said Thursday they have requested an arrest warrant for the 18-year-old high school senior, identified as Ji, on suspicions of murdering his mother, 51-year-old Park.

Ji is suspected of having stabbed his mother to death at their home in eastern Seoul at around 11 a.m. on March 13. The body was kept in her room for eight months.

According to police, Park kept telling her son that he must enter a top-class university and should rank first in nationwide exams. When he obtained lower scores than her expectations, she didn’t give him food or forced him to stay awake at night to study.

Being afraid of her scolding, Ji had fabricated grade reports since middle school. His fear grew as his test scores fell after entering high school.

“The student said his mother was supposed to visit his teacher, and he was afraid she might find out that he fabricated his nationwide test grade to 62nd from 4,000th and inflict severe corporal punishment on him,” a police officer said, adding 4,000th was still within the top 1 percent of all students.

On the day before the crime, the mother, not satisfied with the grade of 62nd, told him he should do better, made him do push-ups, and beat him with a baseball bat and a golf club for about 10 hours, Ji said.

Ji lived with his mother after his father left home five years ago. But his friends said that he hadn’t shown any discontent or anger to his mother, adding he was cheerful. He invited some friends to his home to eat ramen together even after the crime.

When relatives or neighbors asked about his mother’s whereabouts after the murder, Ji told them that she had left home, too. The student sealed the door of the room, where the body was kept, with glue and tape so the odor of the decaying body would not leak outside.

The crime was detected when his father dropped in at the home. Becoming suspicious when the son tried to prevent him from entering, and noticing the door was sealed, the father called the police and the murder was revealed.

“During interrogation, he cried and confessed to the killing, saying the mother kept appearing in his dreams after the crime,” the officer said.

Random Dan- Another story here in Korea that shows just how high the stress level is when it comes to testing and college.  These kids are overworked and over stressed.  

Rant for Ramen (12 days of Christmas) Comedy Event: December 15

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Facebook event:

Rant for Ramen (12 days of Christmas) Event

As part of RMT’s 12 days of Christmas, Stand up Seoul will be hosting another long awaited RANT NIGHT.

rant: Verb: -to utter in a bombastic declamatory fashion

It’s simple. You choose your topic(s), and you get 5 minutes to essentially rant and rave and wow the audience with your karaizzy elocution skills. Basically, it’s bitching in a funny, interesting way.

5,000 won to get on the mic. (first come first serve, no more than 12) Anyone can participate!!! You don’t have to be a Stand up Seoul comedian. Winner gets the pot and a pile of delicious Ramen. 5 minutes each. Audience applause chooses the winner.

It’s awesome.
It’s hilarious.
It’s therapeutic.

See you there. Invite your friends on FB.

**This event is NOT in lue of Stand up Seoul’s montlhly open mic show. Stand up Seoul’s monthly will be on Dec 1st. But you should definitely go to both. http://www.facebook.com/events/275898545789305/

 

Random Dan: It will be the first 12 to sign up to get on stage.  I’m really hoping to do this.  Got plenty of stuff to rant about!  Should be a great night!  Everyone feels better after a good ranting!

Categories: Check-It-Out, Internet, Korea, Rant
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