Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: Name That Tune, Faces, and Of Cats and Men!

Hello Gwangju!

I don’t need to tell you that it’s hot out there! We got some things you can do to beat the heat. Let’s see what’s happening this weekend.

Thursday, July 20th

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

I can name that tune in three notes! Tonight, Speakeasy will debut a new quiz style game based on the popular game show, Name That Tune! Participants will hear 20-30 seconds of a song, and all you have to do is guess what it is. If you get five in a row, you win a free drink. It also costs you nothing to enter as well. Name That Tune will start around 10, but you can get there early and enjoy the great drinks that Speakeasy is known for. For more info about tonight, please go to the Facebook event page here.

Friday, July 21st

Friday night means it’s time for Open Mic night at Loft 28! Their Open Mic night takes place weekly, and it’s another great chance to see your favorite locals play in Gwangju. If you want to perform, all you have to do is come and sign up. The only thing you need to bring is your own instrument-Loft provides the rest. Need another reason to perform? How about participants receive one free drink! Make sure you also try some of the delicious, home cooked food that’s served at Loft 28. For more info about Loft’s Open Mic Night, please go to their Facebook page.

Courtesy of Tequilaz

Courtesy of Tequilaz

You already know that it’s hot outside, so Tequilaz has a way for you to cool down tonight. They’ll be having a bottomless draft beer special for 12,000 won from 9 p.m. to midnight. For more details, check their Facebook page. Don’t forget to order some tasty Mexican food to wash down those bottomless drafts with.

After you enjoy some beers at Tequilaz, head on over to Speakeasy for another edition of Gwangju Live. Tonight, John Howard will be performing. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing John play, and he always puts on a good show. Music will begin around 10:30 p.m., and if you need more info about the show, please go to Speakeasy’s Facebook page.

Saturday, July 22nd

Courtesy of the GAC, and Lisa Casaus

Courtesy of the GAC, and Lisa Casaus

This Saturday at the GIC Art Class you can learn how to illustrate faces. This will be a class that focuses on the basics of illustrating faces. Shapes and proportions will be just some of the tips you learn. The class will begin at 12:30 p.m., and will go until 3:00 p.m. The fee for the class is only 5,000 won, and all materials will be provided for you. For directions to the GIC, please click on the link for their website. For more details about the class, please check out the Facebook event page. This weekend’s class will be lead by guest instructor Lisa Casaus. Enjoy her artwork above this entry!

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

Tonight at Loft 28 they will have a performance by a band called Of Cats and Men. The name alone is very intriguing! This show will be held to celebrate the birthday (and sadly a going away) of a local Gwangju resident. The show begins at 11 p.m., but get there early to enjoy some of the great cocktails that Loft has to offer. For more info about the show, please go to their Facebook page.

Sunday, July 23rd

On Sundays a dedicated group of volunteers go to a local shelter and help walk dogs. If you would like to take part, please click on the link to the Facebook event page.

Essentials with JD #293 **COOL FOR THE SUMMER PART 2**

With summer vacation around the corner – many are planning to escape the heat to international territories but for those staying in Korea if you don’t feel like travelling far Gwangju and Jeollanamdo has some places for you to cool off.

 

Firstly, if you are a fan of baseball and you have younger kids Kia Champions field has a temporary solution for you whilst watching the game

Kia

Gwangju-KIA Champions Field to welcome citizens with children’s pool

The Gwangju-KIA Champions Field will welcome citizens with a children’s pool.

The event called ‘2017 Kumho Tire Hot Summer Festival’ first started in 2014, and will begin on the 25th, running until the 13th on game days.

The children’s pool will be prepared on the left side of Sandpark and run from an hour before the game begins through until the end of the game.

Children in kindergarten to elementary school can use the pool.

For safety reasons, only 20 kids can use it at a time for 20 minutes a piece.

( You can access more local information on www.gfn.or.kr )

(Picture courtesy of Kia PR site http://pr.kia.com/ko/now/museum/library/2015-0721-1.do)

 

And then moving further afield in the province Hampyeong, Bosung, Yongam and Naju also have a few options for you as provided by Gwangju City hall

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So head head over to Gwangju City Hall Facebook page here :

https://www.facebook.com/dodreamGJ/

 

(They are also available on instagram : gwangju_official

 

And GFN home site on www.gfn.or.kr

 

JD

 

Dreamers 2nd Anniversary Concert – Building A Better Tomorrow

This past Saturday, Open Space Dreamers hosted their second anniversary party in a neighboring basement concert hall of the Daein Market. The floor was a bit damp from the rain and the July humidity had invited itself in from outside, but the room was filled with happiness and gratitude. Friends and families packed in to get a seat for a night full of performances from local musicians as video footage from previous performances were projected onto a wall near the stage. Although this creative space has only been around for two years, the depth of its service to the community is profound.

Normally, Dreamers hosts an open-mic style event every Saturday night for anyone who finds themselves veering through the bustling night market. There are some regular musicians and attendees, but the space is open and available as a sanctuary for all forms of artistic expression. Sometimes there are dances, poetry readings, album release parties, and even fundraisers that have helped out a variety of groups such as the Gwangju Performance Project and other individual causes. In as much as there is a celebration of individualism, there is also a strong sense of unity for peace and understanding. But a gem such as this didn’t just fall from the sky, it was created from the mind, heart, and soul of Gwangju’s own Tae Sang Park.

The legendary, Tae Sang Park in action.

The legendary, Tae Sang Park, in action.

Many may know him by his faded red cap and jovial spirit. With a seemingly never ending supply of energy, Tae Sang keeps a steady trail of projects in motion at all times. While he readily gives his time and efforts generously, he remains humble and praises others freely for their involvement in the community. As someone who has accomplished so much and brought so many people together, the story behind Dreamers is in the spirit of Tae Sang.

He is theoretically from Gwangju, but he claims his roots in a deep connection with Mongolia. Four years ago, he was going through a period of deliberation. He had already been working at the local migrant workers center for six years, but felt a calling to travel toward Mongolia and Siberia with some colleagues from the migrant center for a cycling and camping trip. Several of his friends promptly told him not to go. They insisted it would be dangerous and that he might even die, but as Tae Sang traveled through and spent time with the people around Mongolia he found that the people there were hardly any different from most Koreans he knew back home. Many of the locals accepted him with an open heart and would help him during difficult times of the trip. They knew he was from Korea and did what they could to make him feel at ease. On the flip side, there were also those that judged him for his skin color and the fact that he was a foreigner, which also paralleled the cultural rationale of many of his fellow Koreans back home. It were these moments and epiphanies that lead to his goal of having a public place in Gwangju where Koreans and foreigners could interact and find their common ground. With the help of a few friends, Tae Sang opened Dreamers in 2015, gracing it with a name taken from the John Lennon song, Imagine.

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you join us

And the world will live as one

As a functioning non-profit, Dreamers has gone on to organize music performances for festivals, parties, temples, and gatherings of all kinds throughout Korea. After a successful tour to Jeju this past April, Tae Sang has his sights set on returning to Mongolia this October for a set of concerts with a small tribe of some of Gwangju’s most talented musicians. Tae Sang still works for the migrant workers center and remains heavily involved in bringing people of various cultural backgrounds together. On top of that, his keen photography work has been on display at several events to exhibit the vivid scenes of his journeys and the people he encounters. His exhibition display at the anniversary party captured so many of the joyful moments where people from all walks off life found themselves breaking down the walls of misconception, prejudice, and fear.  Tae Sang’s photography helps to document his very active life, and also brings serious attention to his talent as an artist, as featured below.

 

Meet the man for yourself this Saturday, and other fellow dreamers from around the world for a night of music and stories.

And then came the rain.

And then came the rain.

 

It was early afternoon outside Chosun National University. The sky was heavy but quiet with expectation. Those outside scurried on their way to where they needed to be. School having more or less ended for the term, his usually busy area was now passive, quiet. As such, the stillness within matched the mood provided by nature herself. Something had to give, but not just yet.

There have been few dry days the past week or two. Several good drenchings seem to have satiated this land’s thirst, at least for now. Such times may seem difficult for the photographer who wishes not to have their gear drenched. Yet, if so, being largely housebound during this time helps us to utilize those brief moments when the rain stops. While the sky recomposes itself, the camera can often find images which depart from the norm provided by clearer skies. Such was my experience the other day. I emerged from my hovel that a.m. to find streets surprisingly dry, yet still bearing their watery scars from the night before. Trash had been washed into organically shaped piles around drains. Puddles in potholes moved to their own rhythm to the cars passing nearby. Water still dripped in irregular cadence from the odd gingko leaf above. It was perfect, not just because of the relative scarcity of such sights, but also because it would not last.

Acting and producing images within a set amount of time is nothing new to wedding, sports, and session photographers. Yet, such limitations came as a welcome surprise for me this day. For, youthful summers spent in Florida had accustomed my bones to the knowledge that there is always more water on the way. With that embodied sense, I entered the city with full knowledge that ten minutes might well be what I had to work with. It turned out I had five. The rain started slow, yet like any tremor worth its muscle, quickly picked up steam. Before I new it, the morning was back to normal, and I conceded my efforts, yet not before finding the image above.

Stay dry, friends.

 

[Photo taken with a Nikon FE2 shooting Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed 1 stop.]

 

(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)

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What to Do This Weekend: Zumba, Playwriting, and Free Shots!

Hello Gwangju!

Your week has been either rainy or hot, but don’t let that stop you from having a great weekend. Let’s see what you can do in town!

Thursday, July 13th

Courtesy of GIC Zumba with Thando

Courtesy of GIC Zumba with Thando

The best way to start your weekend is on a  healthy note. The best way to do that is by joing Thursday night Zumba at the GIC.  Zumba is a cardio class that is open to everyone, from beginners to advanced participants. Make sure you wear some comfy workout clothes, bring a towel, and a bottle of water to cool off. The class begins at 7 p.m., and is led by veteran instructor, and Gwangju resident, Thando Mlambo. For directions to the GIC, please go their website. You can also get more details about the class by visiting their Facebook event page here. If you’re looking for a great way to stay in shape, then you need to head to the GIC on Thursday night!

Friday, July 14th

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

Thursday night is for Zumba, but Friday night is for Open Mic! Loft 28’s Open Mic night takes place every Friday, and it’s another great chance to see local talent in Gwangju. If you want to perform, all you have to do is come and sign up. The only thing you need to bring is your own instrument-Loft provides the rest. Need more incentive to perform? How about participants receive one free drink! Make sure you also try some of the delicious, home cooked food that’s served at Loft 28. For more info about Loft’s Open Mic Night, please go to their Facebook page.

You already know that it’s hot outside, so Tequilaz has a way for you to cool down tonight. They’ll be having a bottomless draft beer special for 12,000 won from 9 p.m. to midnight. For more details, check their Facebook event page. Don’t forget to order some tasty Mexican food to wash down the bottomless drafts with.

Saturday, July 15th

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

As usual, there is a lot going on this Saturday at the GIC. First, it’s time for another male figure drawing class. Today, the class will start at 12:00 p.m., and go until 3:00 p.m. The model will arrive sometime after 12:30, and when he does the doors will be locked for privacy. The cost for the class is only 10,000 won, and all materials will be provided for you. For more details about the art class, please go to their Facebook page. At 3:30 p.m. the Gwangju Performance Project will be holding a Playwriting workshop. The goal of the workshop is to show you the fundamentals of writing an effective play. You’ll have the chance to write your own short play, so please bring your laptop, or an old fashioned notebook. The workshop is open to all, and a small donation of 2,000-3,000 won is requested. For more information about the workshop, please click on the link for the Facebook event page. This Saturday’s GIC talk will be about binomial ordering in English and Korean. The lecture will be presented by Robert Daland, a UCLA professor who is a guest lecturer at Chonnam University this summer. The talk will begin at 4:00 p.m., and go for about an hour. For all of these events and more, you can go to the GIC’s website. You can also get more details about the talk series by going to their Facebook page.

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

You’re never at a loss for places to go to on Saturday night in Gwangju! This Saturday night Speakeasy is giving away free shots for everyone on entry! I should also mention that they are giving away Long Island Jello shots! There will also be a performance by the band Retro 82. Their name tells you what kind of music they play: your favorite 80’s pop and rock hits. Free shots, great music to dance to, and of course the terrific drinks that Speakeasy is known for . . . I know, I already had your attention at free shots. For more about what’s going on at Speakeasy, please go to their Facebook page.