It’s time. Can you believe it’s been a whole year? Can you believe KCON actually invited me back to speak on panels in both NYadjacent and LA? Nope, neither can I. And yet here I am, two weeks out, beginning the introvert’s panic cry “Why did I do this again?”
But let’s get back to business. It’s two weeks out from KCON NYadjacent and a month and 2 weeks out from KCON LA. There is a lot of information to cover. Tips, tricks, lineups, and possible meetups. Ready?
Not going to lie, I’m not really that excited about the NYadjacent lineup with the exception of my uber-love for BTS. (Woohoooo BTS! Start fangirl squeeeeing now.) But in case you didn’t know, here’s how the two nights are shaking out:
Night One: Ailee, BtoB, Dynamic Duo with Crush, and Seventeen
Night Two: BTS, DAY6, Eric Nam and MAMAMOO (gah, my LA friends are so jelly)
Again, of the two nights, I like BTS. I also like Eric Nam, more as a host than for his actual music. (See the KCON wrap up podcast featuring an amusing anicdote about how I totally embarassed myself and may have inadvertantly manhandled Mr Nam. Uhh….#sorrynotsorry Eric Nam. No, I’m more sorry for the little dignity I have which was mortified over my antics.
Special guests: Im Siwon and Park Bo Young. I’m actually excited about Im Siwon as I loved him in Misaeng. I hear he’s in some music group? Is it Z:ea?
Panels! I will be on 2, one on each day. If you are reading this and you are coming to NYadjacent, you had best come and say hello. If you don’t, I will know and I will be very cranky. Don’t think I’ll know? Why don’t you just try it then…
FRIDAY – June 24
THE RETURN OF THE SECRET LIFE OF K-POP FANS OVER 30
Location: Panel #2
Panelists: June Saladino, Lisa Espinosa, Leah Westbrook, Stephanie Kurze, Young Ajummah
This panel we did at KCON LA last year and not only was it a crap-ton of fun (honestly, the most fun I’ve had on a panel) but the place was packed! So packed they were turning people away. (They even tried to turn me away, I believe the conversation went something like this:
“You can’t go in there.”
“But I’m a panelist.”
“There is no room for you in there.”
“Actually, there is a seat up there right at the top, literally with my name on it.”
So excited that they decided to do this again and can’t wait to catch up with the ladies.
HOW TO START YOUR OWN PODCAST
Location: Panel #2
Panelists: Deanna Caiati, Jeff Benjamin, Salima Koroma, Stephanie Kurze, Young Ajummah
Moderator: David Le
You ever wonder just how Cherry and I do the podcast? Well, now you can find out for yourself! Yep. So basically I’m training my competition, but that’s okay. I eat competition for breakfast. And then feel bad the rest of the day… Also, just realized that Young Ajummah and I are on both panels together and Jeff Benjamin who writes all the kpop articles for Billboard will be there. Cool. I haven’t been this starstruck over a co-panelist since Hee Young.
Night One Block B, CNBLUE, Dean, GFRIEND, I.O.I, Shinee
Night Two Astro, BTS, Girls Generation- TTS, Monsta X (a new edition), Twice
No word on the LA panels, but I’ll update you as I have more information.
Tips and tricks!
So. You’re going to KCON. First just let me say WOOHOOO! Congratulations! You, if you plan appropriately are going to have an AMAZING time. Not planning appropriately, you will only have a really good time, so I recommend you do your prep work.
- Comfy shoes. Trust me.
- Ibuprofen for when those comfy shoes cut out on you. Remember: The concert is at the very end of a long day. Don’t be distracted by aching feet.
- Sunscreen. This should be a given, but it’s not.
- Lots of water. Last year both locations allowed you to bring in things so you should come prepared.
- Food? There is food there but not a lot (Or at least not last year) and there are a lot of people around you. In NYadjacent it’s not like you can wander off and find your own.
- If you have a phone that does not have the ability to be inserted with extra memory? DUMP everything! How many of those CD’s are you really going to listen to on the plane? Do you really need all of those pictures of your cat on there? No. There is nothing worse than to get to one of your concerts after a day of snapping away only to realize you are out of space. Then you either spend your time trying to see what you can delete or you miss taking pictures of BTS. Neither of those are fun options! (Gah, I miss you so hard S4! The S6 and it’s fixed memory sucks monkey balls.)
- Dress? However you like! Some people dress to the nines, some cosplay, some are uber casual. It’s all about you having a good time.
- Get in line early for the concert. For venues where it’s just their duty to shovel people in to the event, it takes an awful long time to happen. Cherry and Mystical Being of Unicorns didn’t even make it into the concert until after it had just started last year.
- You can not take video recorders into the events. You may want to check the camera policy, previous years they allowed cameras so long as they were not professional (a removable lens)
- If your phone automatically uploads your photos to a server, make sure you have it set for it to only be done when you’re on WIFI. Sounds silly? I didn’t know this and at my first KCON I managed to use my entire month of unlimited data in one day. Sweet.
- Extra battery for your phone! In LA, since it’s a convention center, you will find the random outlet to hover around, but this is NOT the case for NYadjacent.
- If in LA, make sure to keep an eye on the main floor. They will have special guests, and even some performances. Last year I caught Roy Kim singing and Try Guys performing — completely by accident!
- High touches and audiences. Didn’t get what you wanted? Or looking to swap? There are people around willing to sell or trade what they got. Someone in our group bought a Roy Kim for the cost of a sushi burrito and we scored some BlockB audiences for free!
- Talk to people. I promise, they WILL be nice to you. You are all there for the same thing — and most likely you all come from the same situation where this is your one time to hang out with people who don’t think what you like is weird. Who don’t think that guy looks like a girl. Who totally understands guyliner. Who doesn’t think that guy on your phone’s wallpaper looks like he’s 5. Who knows who the hell Shinee is. This is your chance to meet new people and make new friends. Take advantage of it.
Hotels are cool, but try Airbnb, especially if you are going in a group. If it’s not cheaper than a hotel, it is at least the same but you usually get way more room than your typical hotel room. Just do the math, more than 2 girls? Tiny hotel room? How many straightening irons? Suitcases? No place to sit except your bed? In each others faces at all times? It’s not a bad idea to do some research.
If you are not lucky to have a friend out there with a car? Uber isn’t a bad way to go. You can put the app right on your phone, so there is no cash involved, it’s usually cheaper and cleaner than a cab (as it works on a point system, they get a low rating they get downgraded by Uber) and you can easily split the fare right on the app. Plus it has the added bonus of sending a car to directly where you are, so you’re not wandering around, hoping to find a cab.
This is just for NYadjacent.
Public transportation is pretty easy. If you are staying in the city, just hop on the PATH train and take it right to Newark. From there you can walk right to the Prudential center. If you’re not from the city, this is the perfect time to use the GPS or google maps on your phone. Type in where you want to go and it will tell you just how to get there, the buses, trains, ect.— right down to telling you how many stops you need! You can use NYC metrocard on the PATH.
Be safe. The area around Newark Penn station (where the trains and the PATH dump you off) and the Prudential Center is pretty safe, but a lot of Newark is not. So don’t wander by yourself too far. Be Alert. Be safe. And if you need any help, let me know, I’ll be there both days.
Things to see in NY:
Dude. If you haven’t been here. KTown. Trust me. You want to see the bookstore with all the Kpop swag. You want to see the makeup shops (there are now like 5 of them now? The big ones being Tony Moly, Face Shop, and Nature’s Republic.) you are especially going to want to have your pictures taken with the cutouts of EXO and the giant pictures of Kim Soo Hyun. Don’t be embarrassed! Lots of people do it. It’s normal.
Places to eat in Ktown:
Hands down my favorite restaurant is Kunjip. So yummy with lots and lots of great banchan! (If it has a line out the door, don’t worry, it moves fast. Don’t be surprised if they hand you a menu and make you order right there so it will be ready by the time you sit down.) There is also a fun Korean Food Court called Food Gallery 32. It has a little bit of everything — including the fish bread you see in dramas! A couple of fried chicken places. Kang Ho Dong’s BBQ place is the next street over, I haven’t been but its really popular. Just in for desert, check out Tours Le Jours or Paris Baguette.
There are a bunch of them in the city, but my favorite is the 5 Bar. Mirrored walls, private rooms where you can bust it out to the newest Kpop with your friends. Sidenote: You have to ask for the light up tambourine. Do it.
Going to be in town any extra length of time?
Chinatown is so much fun! Also, take a trek out to Flushing, where Ktown is one street, Flushing is giant and filled to the brim with Korean-y goodness.
Things to see in LA:
Well. It’s LA. LA stuff. Sorry guys, not as familiar but I can tell you their Koreatown is big and has the best Korean BBQ. Cherry, Amber, Molly and I love Hae Jang Chon. They also have a Korean galleria there with a fun food court. Ooh! And a real Mr Pizza! You know, the Korean pizza place with all the crazy crusts and toppings? I’ve always wanted to get there but it just hasn’t worked out for us.
There have been a few people who have asked if we’re doing a meetup to which Cherry and I say…sure? (Well, NY it would just be me.) I just wonder, when is everyone due to hit town? We could meet Thursday night? Or Sunday? I could shuffle you around Ktown? Or we could all just meet at KCON. Just let me know what you would be more interested in! I live here, so I’m open.
As for LA, last year we did a mini-meetup Friday night since there was no concert that evening. That would probably be best to do again as we all gotz to eat right? Might as well do it together? If you join us you’ll get to meet me, Cherry Cordial, Jacqueline from Fangirl Musings, Molly in Dramaland, and even the elusive Mystical Being of Unicorns!