Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
KCON 2012!
 

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2012!  This news report covers our trip to KCON 2012 for a huge weekend of Korean Popular Culture enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, California over the weekend of October 13th, KCON 2012 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of live performances, dance and singing events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow K-Pop fans. Our exciting trip to KCON 2012 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Performing Guests included B.A.P, VIXX, 4Minute, NU'EST, G.NA, and EXO-M. Additional guests included Danny of 1TYM, DumbFounDead, DJ Peter Rocks, Eat Your Kimchi, Aimee Lee Lucas, Rino Nakasone, Kyle Hanagami, Ellen Kim, PK Kim, Chad Future, Drew Ryan Scott, JD Relic, David Yi, Sena Yang, David So, Just Kidding Films, From Head to Toe and more. Panels and workshops included Kollaboration Contest, Cosplay Masquerade, Bibimbap Backpackers, K-Pop Style Guide, K-Pop Dance On, Fanclub Success Stories, Making a Hit: Songwriters, Rise of Foreign Influence in K-Pop, J-Pop vs. K-Pop, K-Pop Fashion, Secrets of Auditioning, Fanclub 101, Inside Look at K-Dramas, YouTube Idols, COBU 3D, MAMA and M!Countdown, Step by Step with K-Pop Choreographers, Making a Hit: Producers, Love Connection, Special Screenings, and game tournaments. The main event was the huge concert featuring all of the Guests with special opening vocal and breakdancing performances. 
Cosplay: This year's trip to KCON saw lots of costumes inspired from numerous K-Pop artists! Chart-topping displays for this year included Big Bang, Girls' Generation, 2NE1, and more! 
Please check out more events and cosplay photo coverage from our KCON stock convention archives!
Report: First of all, big disclaimer here: I am a huge fan of 4Minute, EXO, and NU'EST, so seeing them live in concert was all I could ask for. Everything else was icing on the very delicious cake. I've had the wonderful pleasure of attending the big SMTown concert at the Honda Center earlier in May and then the 2NE1 concert at the Los Angeles Nokia Theater in August, so going to KCON was another step in cementing my fandom for all things K-Pop. KCON was a very welcome endeavor to showcase the best of K-Pop to the American public. The one-day 10am-10pm festival debuted to over 9000 attendees with a dream combination of modern Korean popular culture, arts, and entertainment followed by an awesome concert featuring some of the biggest K-Pop stars for 2012. If you are a K-Pop fan, this was most definitely the place to be at.

There was no shortage of things to see and do at KCON. Fan tables offered collectibles like photo books, wristbands, posters, pins, and t-shirts. Workshops kept people's dancing legs going with Gangham Style and Girls' Generation tunes. DJ booths hosted open dancing. Karaoke was a huge hit at the stage area. Panels were filled with big name producers from M-Net, dance choreographers who worked with many of the big K-Pop bands, and many more Koreans entertainment executives who shined lights on the future of K-Pop in America. Autograph sessions were the obvious choice to be at if you wanted to catch a glimpse of the stars up close. Lots of exhibitor booths ran contests to win coveted K-Pop merchandise, tech gadgets, trips to Korea, beauty products, and even a brand new 2012 Nissan Cube. M-Netís Kollaboration booth kept fans busy signing their names onto the massive graffiti wall. KCON and Anime Expo collaborated to host a K-Pop costume contest. Food trucks and lemonade vendors were always available. The concert was an sensational musical experience with streamers, glo-sticks, and blasts of festive confetti. And the weather was just perfect. Personally, I couldn't have have asked for a better way to spend my Saturday.

Like all conventions under post-mortem review, there's plenty of room for improvement so let's deal with those tricky subjects. If there's one thing KCON needs right now, it's a fan consultant (as my friend Jennifer pointed out), because fans are CRAZY. And they will do crazy things to get their way. A fan consultant could've helped plan for autograph session contingencies such as overcrowding, confusion on how and where to get autograph tickets, and most of all, personal safety of the KCON staffers and volunteers. So letís turn those bad-crazy fans around and make them do good-crazy things to actually help the convention. I believe autograph tickets should be awarded to fans who get involved with convention activities, so Iíve compiled some suggestions for autograph ticket distribution I think would be pretty cool and cost almost nothing: online Facebook raffles eligible to those who paid their admission fees by a certain due date, awarding autograph tickets as door prizes for those who dare to dress up in K-Pop costumes, winning a professional dance choreographer's approval at K-Pop stage dance-offs, or showing off their K-Pop knowledge at trivia shows. Keeping track of who won autograph tickets would be a simple hole-punch into their admission ticket or badge. You have to confront crazy fans with crazy ideas. And they're actually not crazy ideas because many other conventions do this all the time.

The Irvine Verizon Wireless Amphitheater had a policy of no in-and-out privileges to the parking lot during the event, but when you're hosting a convention, fans often need to put items back in their car or go out to eat at their own choosing, or whatever personal issues they need to take care of. Some kind of communication and compromise needs to take place between the KCON staff and the hosting site to make this work. Though it would've bumped up the convention price by maybe $5 or so, attendee badges with holographic stickers certainly would've helped event security identify who may go in and out and they also make nice mementos.

KCON was a really great value for a base price of $40 and then upwards to $120 or so if you wanted a really good seat at the concert. Compare that super-low all-day-long ticket price to the high-priced tickets for SMTown, K-Pop Masters or SBS concerts that only last for a couple of hours. It really makes the entire Saturday feel much more worthwhile when you're also hanging out with thousands of energetic fans all day. I made a lot of new friends, too, thanks to KCON. Add in all of the colorful KCON balloons, KCON concert glo-sticks, and V.I.P freebies; KCON was really a life-changing experience for me. Did I mention the concert was awesome? Because it was! So let's hope KCON comes back in 2013!

SPECIAL BONUS! 
Since I'm a big fan of K-Pop myself, I wanted to share my personal playlist of K-Pop that I listen to everyday and what I think about each artist. It is by no means a complete list of all the K-Pop artists out there; just the ones that got me into K-Pop and eventually going to many concerts and then KCON. Enjoy!


2NE1 
Who they are: Four angry Nikki Minajs hell bent on a mission to rule the world with Gurl Power, spiked baseball bats, and fluorescent spray paint.
What makes them stand out: They are the antithesis of happy-giddy girl group Sistar. When the world is at war, you want these girls on your side.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "I Am The Best", "Can't Nobody", "I Love You", "Ugly", "Be Mine", "Fire", "I Don't Care"

4Minute 
Who they are: Five chicas who have a real talent for hip rocking and hanging out with the tough Korean brothers on the block. Leader of the group Hyun-a was the featured dancer with PSY in "Gangham Style".
What makes them stand out: Most of their early videos involve fluorescent colors and cutey punk style rhythm and dancing like in "Hot Issue". Now it's kicking dirt in punks' faces in "Huh" and turning into vampires to suck their blood in "Volume Up". Awesome. 
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Hot Issue", "Huh", "Volume Up", "Love Tension", "First", "Heart to Heart"

After School 
Who they are: Eight of the most badass ladies you'll ever encounter in your high school. Seriously, they will beat you in every single school activity including tap dancing, cheerleading, singing, hip-hop, drumming, percussion, and well, just about everything including looking naturally pretty in slow motion montages. They'll most likely steal your boyfriend, too. And if you think that's all they've got, then I should mention they also formed a super-cute dolly-doll sub-group called Orange Caramel that pretty much covers the lolita tea gatherings. Booyah!
What makes them stand out: Their tap dancing video "Let's Step Up".  TAP DANCING.  Who does that!  That just blows everyone out of the water.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Bang!", "Diva", "Ah", "Let's Step Up", "Flashback", "Rambling Girls", "Because of You"

Brown Eyed Girls (B.E.G)
Who they are: Four very angry ladies hell-bent on ridding this oppressive world of all men.
What makes them stand out: The "saucy" hip rocking-twirling dance sequence in "Abracadabra" parodied by many guy groups like 2PM and 2AM.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Abracadabra", "How Come", "Sixth Sense", "Sign", "Hold the Line", "I Got Fooled By You", "Candy Man"

EXO
Who they are: Cultivated by the Gods of Two Suns and Two Earths, EXO is six Mandarin-speaking (EXO-M) and six Korean-speaking (EXO-K) hot guys combined together to form an epic twelve member Dream Team who can sing, dance, rap, and shake their pockets really fast as shown in "History".
What makes them stand out: They are all really hot. Girls go absolutely nuts for them.  Nuts!
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Mama", "History", "What is Love", "Two Moons", "My Lady", "Baby Don't Cry"

f(x)
Who they are: Five member girl group known for wearing trendy hip and fashionable clothing in their videos. And "Hot Summer" has a big pink tank. I mean, c'mon, you can't beat the big pink tank.
What makes them stand out: Amber, the Taiwanese-American tomboy rapper of the bunch, always wears pants in this relationship and has a huge fan following because she is just so damn cool.  If you want a girl on your basketball team, she's the one you want to pick.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Hot Summer", "La Cha Ta", "NU ABO", "Electric Shock", "Danger", "Beautiful Stranger", "Chu~"

Girls' Generation (SNSD)
Who they are: Nine Korean Goddesses. Goddesses. Yes.
What makes them stand out: Their extremely long and lovely legs. They have mastered the ways of synchronous hip rocking, zero-gravity hair-twirling, intricate hand puppet movements, and 3x3x3 blocking that no other group can replicate.  What makes them stand out even more is that each one of them is unique in her own way, both visually and in personality.  For example, Sunny is cute doll, Jessica and Tiffany were born in California and can speak fluent English, Sooyoung is the tallest and does modeling and acting, and so on.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Hoot", "Genie", "Mr. Taxi", "Gee", "Oh!", "The Boys", "Paparazzi", "Bad Girl", "All My Love is for You"

KARA
Who they are: Five member girl group who sing for both Korea and Japan.  And for me, too.  I forgot to mention that in my disclaimer.  haha
What makes them stand out: They have mastered the butt-twirling technique as shown in "Mister". Every young elementary schoolgirl knows this dance routine. Get with it.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Step", "Mister", "Lupin", "Jumping", "Pandora", "2Me", "We're with You", "Speed Up"

Miss A
Who they are: Three girls and a Snooki.
What makes them stand out: They have mastered the way of patting their butts while waggling them around as shown in "Bad Girl, Good Girl".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Bad Girl, Good Girl", "Breathe", "Touch", "I Don't Need a Man"

RaNia
Who they are: Six (currently five) member girl group with wild 80's-inspired hair-hoppin' dos and hyper-glamour make-up effects.
What makes them stand out: RaNia immediately conjures up images of 80's pop deviants like Pat Benetar, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Roxette in "Pop Pop Pop".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Pop Pop Pop", "Style", "Dr. Feel Good", "Killer"

ShiNee
Who they are: Five member boy band who are really good at jumping around and pointing at their heads all hard-core style while still looking cute and shiny-happy for the girls.  Seriously girls, if you want a great shiny happy music video to wake up to in the morning then "Dazzling Girl" would be it.
What makes them stand out: Minho has the world's largest fangirl base, bar none. Guaranteed to make any calm and well-natured girl (or guy) swoon and bawl waterfalls of tears over the combined powers of his cute and sexy looks.  He always gets picked on in a lot of Korean game shows because he's just so adorable. 
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Lucifer", "Ring Ding Dong", "Dazzling Girl", "Juliette", "Sherlock", "Replay", "Hello"

Super Junior
Who they are: Jesus, I can't even count how many members there are, but it looks like ten at the moment. Or eleven. Or twelve.
What makes them stand out: The guy who looks like North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un apparently can dance really well. Maybe he's a North Korean spy!
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Mr. Simple", "Super Girl", "Bonamana", "M", "Sorry Sorry", "Sexy, Free and Single", "Oppa, Oppa"

T-Ara
Who they are: Six to seven member girl group best known for infectiously wacky but clever dance videos like "Bo Peep Bo Peep" and "Ya ya ya" but managed to come back down to Earth by pairing up with boy band Supernova in "Time to Love".
What makes them stand out: Boram, the significantly shortest and cutest member of the group, is also the oldest. You just can't take your eyes off of her because she's just so adorable in a sea of sexy glamorous ladies. She has a huge fan following and also performs with her dad on some conservative Korean musical shows.  She's so cute.  I want to poke her pudgy cheeks someday.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Lovey Dovey", "Ya ya ya", "Roly Poly", "Bo Peep Bo Peep", "Time to Love", "Time to Love - Listen2", "Cry Cry", "Lies", "Tic Tic Toc", "Why Are You Being Like This"

TVXQ
Who they are: Supertall superduo who used to be part of the now-disbanded boy band DBSK best known for "Mirotic" video.
What makes them stand out: They're Super Korean versions of Elvis Presley and Rick Astley. With superman capes. You just can't beat that.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Keep Your Head Down", "Catch Me", "Before U Go"

NU'EST
Who they are: Four and a half dudes. The remaining half is a girl, I think.
What makes them stand out: Ren, the cutest and blondest member of the band, you just don't know what he is other than you want to actually believe he is a she and smother him with kisses. He increases the group's "awesome" quota by effortlessly sporting pink shoes and confronting school bullies in "Face".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Face", "Action", "Not Over You"

CHI CHI
Who they are: Five magical girls come to life. The world is now safe from the Negaverse.
What makes them stand out: If you listen to "Love is Energy" enough times, you almost think they're singing "Love Senshi", a reference to Sailor Moon. This is reinforced when you actually watch the video and the leader is wearing a pair of golden angel wings. Let the Sailor Moon anime music videos commence.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Love is Energy", "Longer", "Leon", "Don't Play Around"

Big Bang
Who they are: Five ball-busting table-flipping dudes who could probably beat the living crap outta the neighborhood punks and look good doing it.  When you're having a really bad day, you have to play Big Bang.
What makes them stand out: T.O.P.'s signature eyebrow salute in "Fantastic Baby". 
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Fantastic Baby", "Monster", "Love Song", "Tonight", "Bad Boy", "Blue"

B.A.P
Who they are: Combine all the traits of the Beastie Boys, Eminem, New Kids on the Block, and Dr. Dre. Give them all blonde hair, spray paint, and baseball bats, and you've got six Korean bad boys you should be scared of if your daughter wants to date one of them. Or all of them.
What makes them stand out: One dude has a talent for contorting his angry face in ways I never thought possible. Nancy Lee of Enews World wrote "It appears B.A.P has set out to differentiate itself among the pretty-boy male idol groups currently dominating the K-Pop world with a tough, bad boy image, smashing car windows, kicking up dirt and, you know, doing as boys do." I couldn't have said it better myself. I want them on my side when the world is at war.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "No Mercy", "Power", "Warrior", "Crash", "Unbreakable", "I Remember"

2AM
Who they are: Four crooning beefcakes that girls fawn over.
What makes them stand out: When not belting out soulful and terribly depressing ballads about heartbreak and rejection they perform enormously popular parodies of many girl group dances by 4Minute, KARA, Girls' Generation, Brown Eyed Girls, and Wonder Girls.  2AM and 2PM teamed up to form "Dirty Eyed Girls" and did a hilarious parody of Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" that must be seen to be believed and then your mind will be scarred forever.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Never Let You Go", "Like Crazy", "I Wonder If You Hurt Like Me", "I Was Wrong"

PSY
Who he is: One charismatic goofy guy who single-handedly captured the hearts and minds of the entire radio and music video world with his infectiously fun and wacky "Gangham Style" horse dance and spawned countless fan and celebrity parodies on YouTube. Most anime fans think it should just be "Gundam Style" in reference to the Gundam anime.
What makes him stand out: Almost all of his videos involve massive crowds of people dancing and singing along with him.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Gangham Style", "Entertainer", "Shake It", "Korea", "Right Now"

BoA
Who she is: Crazy dragon lady hell-bent on literally kicking down all the oppressive doors of established society in "Eat You Up".  She is the Korean version of a badass Jennifer Lopez and she will kick your pa-tootie on the dance floor seven different ways.  You go, girl.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Eat You Up", "Hurricane Venus", "Energetic", "Copy & Paste"

ChoColat
Who they are: Five (now four) girls of mixed chocolate flavors (ethnicities).  The youngest, Melanie, really stands out as the most non-Asian mix.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Syndrome", "One More Day", "I Like It"

Sistar
Who they are: Four super-cute ditzy girls in really short dresses who have a real talent for hand-butt-waving in "So Cool". If you can call it that.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "So Cool", "How Dare You", "Shady Girl", "Alone"

MBLAQ
Who they are: Five member boy band created by Rain singing mostly soulful pop and R&B. The frenetic strobe lighting from their videos may cause epileptic seizures.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Cry", "Stay", "Y"

VIXX
Who they are: Six member bright and shiny boy band that makes you wanna play 3D Tetris at Flynn's Tron arcade. They have a kind of fun-boy swagger that makes them incredibly awesome to watch as they jump around and roll their hands around in "Rock Ur Body".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Rock Ur Body", "Super Hero"

Wonder Girls
Who they are: Five member super-fun girl group who also make a lot of English music videos here in the America.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Be My Baby", "Like Money (featuring Akon)", "Like This", "Nobody", "The DJ is Mine", "2 Different Tears"

2PM
Who they are: Six hot beefcake dudes who occasionally team up with 2AM and perform hilarious dance parodies of popular female group dances.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Again and Again", "I'll Be Back"

G.NA
Who she is: Super-cute fashion doll for all generations who sings a mix of cutey-pop, soul, and R&B.  Check out the huge beefcake muscular firefighter dude in her "2HOT" video.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Top Girl", "Black & White", "2HOT", "I Miss You Already"

Shinhwa
Who they are: Six manly men who ladies just wanna touch all over the place as evidenced in "Venus".  Bet you guys want some of that action.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Venus", "Let It Go", "Red Carpet"

U-KISS
Who they are: Seven hot dudes blocking your subway tunnels in "Believe" and playing pianos in a misty forest in "0330" while crooning about broken hearts. Girls, you have to be goddam insane to reject these incredibly hot guys.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Believe", "Neverland", "0330", "Doradora", "Stop Girl", "Bingeul Bingeul"

9MUSES
Who they are: Nine female beanstalks who could probably knock Girls' Generation down a couple of notches.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Single Figaro", "News", "Ticket"

BEAST (B2ST)
Who they are: Six streetstyle hipsters out to party hard, dance hard, and then cry hard when the party and dancing is over.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Fiction", "Beautiful Night", "Beautiful"

INFINITE
Who they are: Seven member boy band that pull heartstrings in "Paradise".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Paradise", "Be Mine", "Chaser", "Before The Dawn", "Nothing's Over"

MYNAME
Who they are: Five member boy band who can breakdance while wearing spiked jackets and clearly have a "Message" for you: they're really good at stomping the ground in their video. Did you get that message?
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Message", "Hello & Goodbye"

She'z
Who they are: Four supercute and supertall girls who break sound barriers with their high-pitched songs aimed at the fun and youthful girls.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "My Way", "U U", "Night and Day"

A-Pink
Who they are: With these seven girls, every day is Valentine's Day full of bubble-blowing paradise, dancing in basketball jerseys, and sharing dreamy date stories.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Hush", "My My", "It Girl"

B1A4
Who they are: Five Korean Garth Brooks picking up chicks and line-dancing in a western bar in "Baby Goodnight".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Baby Goodnight", "Baby, I'm Sorry", "Beautiful Target", "O.K."

BTOB
Who they are: Seven flashy and debonair Korean vampires luring a single lady for her love and losing when she literally evaporates them into piles of dust.  Ouch.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Insane", "Wow", "Irresistible Lips"

Co-Ed School
Who they are: Six schooldudes and four schoolgirls auto-tuned like crazy. It's so funny to watch "Too Late" and try not to laugh at the girls waving their butts around and trying to survive the confetti blast while dancing in front of a merry-go-round. What were they thinking when they made that video?
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Too Late", "Bbiribbom Bberibbom"

Dal Shabet
Who they are: Six fully-armed cute girls robbing all the banks and killing all the boys with their Moe smiles.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Fire It Up", "Hit U (featuring Bigtone)", "Mr. BangBang", "Chu Ma Boy"

Junsu Xia
Who he is:
Former member of DBSK making a big Michael Jackson-like comeback in his incredibly powerful "Tarantallegra". I keep thinking "Tarantula" when I see "Tarantallegra".
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Tarantallegra", "Uncommitted", "Intoxication"

Rainbow
Who they are: Seven stylish ladies singing about cheating men. If they don't kill you with their fashionable looks, they'll chop your head off with their long hair.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "To Me", "A"

TEEN TOP
Who they are: Bumblebee is crashing through the roof of a building in this six teenage hipster boy band's video "Crazy". Crazy.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "To You", "Crazy", "Be Ma Girl"

5Dolls
Who they are: Four girls from Co-Ed School plus one. Their "I Mean You" video will most definitely make you cry tears of sadness. A must-watch for all K-Drama peeps.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "I Mean You", "Lip Stains"

Orange Caramel
Who they are: Three girls from After School super-dolled up with frills, lace, and cupcakes dreaming about the perfect cute boy. I swear the cupcakes and lemonade are laced with drugs.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Magic Girl", "Bangkok City", "Aing", "Funny Hunny"

Son Dam Bi
Who she is: If BoA has a hot twin, Son Dam Bi is her. Girls, lock the dance club doors, Son Dam Bi is going to steal your boyfriend and do the Lambada with him. I mean that in the friendliest way possible.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Crazy", "Saturday Night", "Bad Boy", "Queen", "Cry Eye"

WE
Who they are: Korean version of Black Eyed Peas who like to "Party" in bright and trendy clothing on the subway. Rock out, y'all.
Recommended songs and videos to listen to and watch: "Party"


Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our KCON stock convention archives!

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