Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: Trivia, Children’s Day, and Cinco De Mayo!

Hello Gwangju!


It’s a three day weekend here in Gwangju, and there’s plenty to do. Let’s see what’s happening in our city!

Thursday, May 4th

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Trivia is back this Thursday night, and the great thing for those of us that work early on Friday? There is no work on Friday! So come on down to Speakeasy and put to good use all that trivial knowledge that you have. It only costs 5,000 won to play, and you can form a team of up to 5 friends to play. Don’t have a team? Don’t worry, you can always find a group to play with. The second place team gets their money back, and the first place team gets the rest. There’s also free shots for a perfect round. You’ve got no work tomorrow, so join quiz master Sarah, and the rest of the Speakeasy staff for what is always a fun night! For more info, please go to Speakeasy’s Facebook page.

 Courtesy of the ACC

Courtesy of the ACC

Friday, May 5th

For those of you with children there are some great things to do to celebrate Children’s Day. My recommendation would be to check out the children’s area at the Asia Culture Center (ACC). There’s plenty of things for the kids to do, so don’t worry about them getting bored. For more details about what you can do, please go to the ACC website for more info. There are also a lot of great local parks in town which would be a great location for a family picnic. You might also want to explore a little bit more of the Jeollanamdo region. The city of Damyang is hosting the annual Bamboo festival through May 7th. There’s crafts, games, even food inspired by bamboo. Plus it just wouldn’t be a Korean festival without the musical performances, and multiple food tents. They also have a lot of events for kids as well. For more details please check out this website.

Courtesy of Tequilaz

Courtesy of Tequilaz

What about those of us who don’t have kids? What can we do today? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Not only is today Children’s Day . . . but it’s also Cinco de Mayo! No, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day, but it is a great reason to enjoy Mexican food at Tequilaz! They’ll be having a special dish just for the night that already has my interest-taco pizza! Plus, it just wouldn’t be a Cinco de Mayo party without great drink specials such as 4 shots of tequila for 10,000 won, and many more! So please head over to Tequilaz and let their very friendly staff take care of you. The Cinco de Mayo festivities start at 6 p.m., and go until midnight. For more details, please check out the Facebook event page.

Courtesy of the GPP

Courtesy of the GPP

We’ve had plays, musicals, and cabarets all performed here in Gwangju. How about a solo performance? The Gwangju Performance Project (GPP) is sponsoring Better Out Than In/ Sorry About the Mess, a performance by Cindi  L’Abbe. This is a production in two parts that is based on memories, and personal artifacts about the performer. After the show, Cindi will be around for a short talk back. Help GPP support live theater by attending Better Out Than In/Sorry About the Mess this Saturday night at the GIC. Start time is at 7 p.m. For directions to the GIC, please go to their website. For more details about the performance, please check out the Facebook event page.


Special Election Day Activity!

I know, Election Day is not on the weekend, but it’s a holiday-close enough! The Gwangju Bombers, our local international baseball team, is playing a game at Mudeung Stadium, the old home of the KIA Tigers. Here’s your chance to see the Bombers play at a real stadium! It will also be a fundraiser as well for local charities. It all begins at 12 p.m., so for all of us that can’t vote our Election Day is sorted! For more info about the game, please go to the Facebook event page here.

Essentials with JD # 277 ** SPRING WALK ALONG GWANGJU CHEON PART 2 **


If you are not going anywhere this golden week and having a little staycation in Gwangju why not go for a walk along Gwangju Cheon and do a bit of spring veggie buying.


Last edition took you from Namgwangju Station to Rainbow bridge at the entrance of Sajik park. This week we continue from Sajik Park to Yangdong market.

The route is very scenic and along the way you will pass the lantern festival in the river – it runs till May 8th so make sure to catch it before it’s gone.

IMG_3674 IMG_3678 IMG_3682

Continue walking along past numerous bridges and then you will make it to Yangdong market where you can find anything you are looking for from furniture, fresh goods and even meat and delicious spring veggies and side dishes. The subway is also attached to the market and numerous bus line stop along here so it is quite central.


Finally, if you have a little garden you can also pick up some seedlings from some of the numerous vendors there and across the street. Prices as always are negotiable but when I asked it was about 1000won for three seedlings of your choice. You might be able to get it down lower if you buy more.
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Get out and enjoy!

This is…

For You.


This week denotes a small milestone in the long life of the photography blog. Today marks my one hundredth post since taking over on Mondays two years ago. Since the spring of 2015, so many Sundays have been spent in part reflecting on noteworthy aspects on a visual-cultural experience of Gwangju, and Jeolla-do on the whole. While I have had several blogs in the past, this two year stretch marks the first time when I have done the deed ritually on a weekly basis.

I have always been an avid note-taker and journaler, writing down impressions and other thoughts as they came, or using writing as a nightly exercise to synthesize the days’ experiences. However, the ninety-nine posts prior to this one have rekindled that unique sensation that comes from organizing your thoughts for an audience. To be frank, that feeling can best currently be described as both emotionally taxing, yet also through mere repetition, comforting. I have been reminded of the wisdom of no escape. That there is indeed something to be gained from showing up, ready or not, to write once a week because well, I said I would. As such, this weekly photo blog has helped me to make sense of what life in Gwangju feeds to me on a day-to-day basis. Using photography as both a documentary and figurative medium seems an appropriate tool with which to respond to what this city often thrusts upon us. For while we are reminded of what sensations initially permeated the scene the moment we captured an image, we also look at these same emotions in the light of how we feel, at the time of looking again on our computers. I feel that the gap between these two is where our deeper impressions of life here can grow.

I took the photo above when walking down a small side-street just south of the train station. The sun was cascading down the alley, alighting rows of old, shuttered stores. I love these neighborhoods. They allow for such relative predictable silence. As these streets are usually devoid of foot-traffic, they allow a degree of physical space to accompany their sonic solitude. If these moments would occur more often, the would no-doubt loose their magic. Yet, on this day, there was no shortage. For as I rounded the corner, and looked to the right, the simple sign above affirmed what I my bones already knew, that I could trust in seeing beauty when it needed to be seen. That my feet would take me where I didn’t yet know I needed to go. And, perhaps most importantly, that there were others out there feeling the same.

While I am unsure how many of you might be reading this post today, please know that the thought that you might be has been integral for the maturation of my appreciation of this town. It has humbled me to the role that photography can play in affirming a life, transplanted, from one continent to the next. If you happen to have camera-in-hand, I hope you feel the same.


[Photo taken with my Sigma DP3 Merrill with its fixed 50mm full-frame lens, equivalent to 75mm on this particular camera.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)


What to Do This Weekend: Gwangju Live, A Lantern Festival, and an Annual Performance!

Hello Gwangju!

It’s the final weekend in April, and for some it’s a long one! Let’s see what’s happening in Gwangju!

Friday, April 28th

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Gwangju Live is back at Speakeasy this Friday night! Is it Jazz? Is it rock? No, it’s Irish music played by Koreans! Some of the best Irish music I’ve heard here in this country has been performed by Koreans. The name of the group playing tonight is Garuseebong, and I’ve been told that they’re great craic! (good fun in Gaelic) The show begins at 10:30, and you’ll still have enough time to take advantage of happy hour, which runs until 11. For more details about this show, and other Gwangju Live gigs, please check out Speakeasy’s Facebook page.

Saturday, April 29th

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

Have you been missing the Saturday art class at the GIC? Well don’t worry budding artists because it’s back this weekend! Today’s class will focus on female figure drawing. The class is open to all levels, so don’t worry about your artistic talent. The class will begin at 12:45 p.m., and the model will arrive at 1 p.m. Once the model arrives, the doors will be locked for her privacy (the model will be nude). The fee for the class is only 10,000 won, and materials will be provided (you can bring your own if you want to). The class will run unto 3:00 p.m. For more details about the class, please go to their Facebook event page. For directions to the GIC, please go to their homepage. The class will be led by local artist Jen Lee.

Courtesy of the Bitgoeul Lantern Festival

Courtesy of the Bitgoeul Lantern Festival

The Bitgoeul Lantern Festival will be taking place all day today in front of the Asia Culture Center (ACC). There will be traditional cultural experiences, food, musical performances, and a lantern parade. The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m., and go until the evening. For more information about what is going on, you can check out the Facebook event page here (info is in Korean, but there are details translated in English on the Facebook Gwangju page).

Courtesy of V-Day Gwangju

Courtesy of V-Day Gwangju

For the past six years now the V-Day Gwangju group has been working to help stop violence against women. Every year they put on a production of Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, and this year’s performances are happening this weekend. A wonderful cast of international actresses will be performing in what has become an annual showcase here in Gwangju. This year’s performance is also a first for V-Day Gwangju-they’re raising money for a single women’s shelter here in town. Please support a great cause by watching any of the three performances happening this weekend: Saturday at 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. The play will take place at 궁동예술 극장, which is located on art street. For more details about the play, please go to their Facebook event page.

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

This Saturday is ladies night at Loft 28, but it’s a special one happening tonight. In conjunction with V-Day Gwangju, Loft will be raising money for the single women’s shelter mentioned above. Saturday night is always great at Loft, and now it’s for a terrific cause as well. Do ladies still get a free bottle when they make a reservation of three or more? Of course they do! So after seeing The Vagina Monologues downtown, head out to Loft 28! Ladies night begins at 11 p.m., and if you need more info then you can go to their Facebook page here.

Enjoy your weekend Gwangju!


Essentials with JD # 281 ** LANTERN FESTIVAL/ 부처님 오신날 봉축기념 – 빛고을 관등회**


[The 2017 Bitgoeul Lantern Festival ]


For those wondering about the official ceremony of Buddha’s birthday, The 2017 Bitgoeul Lantern Festival will be taking place on April 29th in front of Asia Culture Center.


This event is organized by Buddhist Association of Gwangju:

Cultural Activities for general public


– Korean traditional cultural experience and Asian food booth / 10 am – 5 pm


  1. Gathering

Performances by temples and collaborating organizations / 5 pm


  1. Buddhist Ceremony / 6:30PM


  1. Lantern Parade (of ten thousand traditional paper lanterns) / 7 pm

ACC – Gwangju River – Gumnam Park – ACC


  1. Concert and Ganggangsullae – Korean traditional Circle Dance / 8 pm


*Paper Lantern exhibition will go on until May 8th at the Gwangju river(광주천)




불기 2561년 부처님 오신날 맞이 광주아시아문화전당 앞에서 “빛고을 관등회”를 진행 합니다. 불자 및 일반인 모두 참여하시여 함께 하셨으면 합니다.


– 행사 순서 –

오전 오후 나뉘어 진행 됩니다.


– 식전 행사

전통문화한마당(전통문화체험 및 아시아음식문화체험)

오전 10시~ 오수 5시


– 본행사

1.어울림마당(사찰 및 단체 연희단공연)

오후 5시



오후 6시 30분


3.제등행진(1만개의 전통등 행진)

오후 7시

문화전당->광주천변-> 금남공원->문화의전당앞


4.대동한마당(가수 박상철,강강수월래)

오후 8시~


(For more info about Gwangju you can listen to The Afternoon Show with JD everyday at 2-4pm on )