Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: More Auditions, The ACC, and Two End of Summer Parties!

Hello Gwangju!

It’s the last weekend of August already? Let’s see what you can do to make it a great one!

Courtesy of the GPP

Courtesy of the GPP

Did you miss your chance to audition for the GPP’s latest production Little Shop of Horrors last weekend? Well, don’t worry because there will be one last day of auditions this Saturday, the 27th. The auditions are being held at the Gwangju International Center (GIC). It’s an open call for actors, singers, and dancers so come on down to the GIC for a chance to become part of another great GPP production. The auditions will begin at 5 p.m., and go until 7. For more details, you can go to their Facebook event page. For directions to the GIC, please go to their website. Keep checking the column for more information about the GPP’s next show, Little Shop of Horrors!

One of the best ways to beat the heat this weekend is to check out what’s happening at the Asian Culture Center (ACC). Whether it’s just yourself, couples, or families, there is something for everyone. There are interesting exhibitions, as well as a children’s center that the kids will love. You can check out what’s going on right now by heading to their website (link also available to Korean site). They also have a Facebook page where you can get more information on a symposium that is happening next week. If you haven’t already been to the ACC then head down there this weekend. You’ll definitely find something to enjoy!

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

For many of us (myself included) summer vacation will be over soon and it will be time to get back to work. Loft 28 will help you get over the end of vacation blues by holding a Back 2 School party this Saturday. Great music, wonderful drink specials, friendly staff, need I say more? OK, how about a chance to win a free bottle? I hope those old, school uniforms still fit! For more details about the party, please check out Loft’s Facebook page. I hope by now you’ve all had a chance to check out the roof top patio for a little day drinking as well!



There’s always lots of chances to see live music in Gwangju, and in the coming weeks there will be a chance to see some great bands at everybody’s favorite local hangout, Speakeasy. In September three bands-Rough Cuts, Nametag, and 57 will be performing. It will be a great opportunity to support local music in Korea. Keep checking the column for more info about the bands and the date they will be playing. Speaking of Speakeasy . . .

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

It will be the place to be this Saturday night for their end of the summer party! It will also be your last chance to say goodbye to two wonderful members of the Gwangju community. DJ Jamie will be spinning his last set here in Gwangju on Saturday. We’ve all enjoyed his work at Speakeasy (and of GFN) so it’s going to be hard to lose him. Another great person who will be sadly leaving Korea soon is Kelsey Minnig (another GFN personality). Kelsey has done a lot for the Gwangju community, and we’d all like it if she stayed a little longer, but we understand. Expect some tears, but good times as we say goodbye to two of Gwangju’s finest. I’m sure Derek and his awesome staff will make things better! The fun begins at 9 p.m. and goes until Derek kicks us out! For more info, please go to the Facebook event page here.

In the future!

The GIC art classes, and volunteering for Sungbin orphanage return in September! Check next week’s column for more details.



People You Should Know in Gwangju…Laura Prantner

This week’s person to know in Gwangju doesn’t actually live in Gwangju but is active in the community and around on a pretty regular basis! With perhaps the best super power idea ever, the most nerve wracking job ever (at least to me), and excellent taste in TV (hopefully soon in the future I’ll get to binge watch some shows with her)! She will probably be familiar to many as she has been involved with several GPP associated productions and workshops. Without further ado here in her own words is a person that you should know in Gwangju!


Name: Laura Prantner

Occupation: English Instructor at Sunchon National University

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan; USA

Length of time in Korea: Almost 9 years-Yikes!

My hometown is famous for…The Michigan Wolverines! University of Michigan!

I have never been able to…stop at only one hamburger. Gotta have two! I rarely eat burgers, but when I do; I indulge!

If I could have any superpower it would be…to learn any language in 1 day. It would be great to be able to communicate freely when traveling. I try to learn various phrases and such whenever I travel; but to be able to communicate freely without having to check my little guidebook would be super!

Bali Trip

Bali Trip

My nickname is…“Wowa”. My younger brother couldn’t say Laura when he was little, so he called me “Wowa” and it stuck!

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…any kind of mystery/cop drama series. I’ve always been into murder mysteries–fun stuff!

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…The GPP, without a doubt!

How did you end up in Gwangju? 

I don’t actually live in Gwangju. I live in Suncheon which is about an hour and a half away. I wanted to become involved in more things, so I joined the Gwangju Facebook group a little over two years ago. I saw there were open auditions for “Rumors”, so I gave it a go and the rest is history! I am in Gwangju at least 2 weekends a month in general, and pretty much every weekend when a show is in the works. It’s been wonderful because everyone has been so welcoming, even though I’m not an actual “Gwangjuite?” (We’ll allow you part time Gwangjuite status ;-))

Enjoying some music at Voyagers Travel Cafe. Photo credited to Edward Kim

Enjoying some music at Voyagers Travel Cafe. Picture by Edward Kim

What is your best tip for living in Korea?

Become involved in outside of work activities! Living in a foreign country can be quite isolating and, depending on the kind of people you work with, very lonely if you don’t become involved in things. Also–learn at least basic Korean! It isn’t that difficult and can only enhance your experience here! You’ll feel better about yourself, and the locals really appreciate the effort. 🙂

What is the oddest job you have ever had?

I drove a huge tour trolley and gave tours in downtown Chicago one summer. I had to get my CDL (commercial driver’s license) in order to drive the trolley. It was brutal-no a/c, faulty breaks at times, and people constantly yelling questions in 5-7 different languages. Also anyone who knows Chicago can imagine what it’s like cutting across 4 lanes on Lakeshore Drive in an 8 ton trolley! Crazy summer! I did get HUGE tips, though…

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you…My Master’s Degree is in Crisis Intervention, and the job I had before moving to Korea was a Crisis Intervention Clinician in Philadelphia, PA. We would receive crisis calls, usually involving situations where someone was suicidal, homicidal, or experiencing some kind of mental health crisis. My partner and I; along with the police in many cases would go to the site, and my job was to talk the person down and hopefully convince them to go to the nearest psych ER. It was intense to say the least, and I received a couple commendations as a result of a couple cases. I left due to outside circumstances, but do plan on pursuing crisis work again by next year.

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju?

Oh Yes!! The GPP (Gwangju Performance Project). I became involved about two years ago, when I auditioned for, and received a part in “Rumors”. I’ve become an official member (a “player”) since then, and have also been in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I am currently part of the production team for the GPP’s upcoming fall show “Little Shop of Horrors”.



How do you and your organization fit into the community?

The GPP is fantastic because it is open to everyone; Korean/non Korean, whether you have performance experience or not. They offer creative monthly workshops in which anyone can participate, and the auditions for shows are always “open”. The goal is to get as many people from the community as involved as possible, and hopefully develop positive future relationships!

In fact we are holding auditions for “Little Shop of Horrors” this Saturday, August 27th from 5-7, and we are also looking for musicians and production team members for “behind the scenes”. Go to for more information.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Pane Lento

If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s sandwiches. Hot or cold, meaty or vegetarian, simple or overly complex, it’s all good. It’s definitely one of those things I really miss about the states. It’s also something I get way too excited about whenever I hear about it in Gwangju. While the places I like to frequent for my handheld fix are still fairly limited, I’m always happy to test the waters with new places in hopes of finding something both delicious and familiar.


I went to Pane Lento after receiving a recommendation from a couple of sandwich enthusiasts. I had heard such good things, so I knew I had to check it out. After all, who doesn’t love a good sandwich? I dragged a good friend along with me to Bongseong-dong in search of this place. Despite me not being completely familiar with the area, it place itself was thankfully easy enough to find.

Upon arrival, I noticed that this place was both a cafe and bakery that just happened to serve brunch. Before I could even see what sandwiches were being offered, I was quickly distracted by the wonderful selection of baked goods. With offerings like Olive Ciabatta, Butter Pretzels, and Herb Cheese Bread, I could see why this place was worth a visit for the bread selection alone. Since I came for lunch, I had to fight my urge to splurge on things like desserts and drinks that the cafe was offering. Instead, I chose to focus on the brunch specials, which included options like the Mozzarella Cheese Sandwich, the Turkey Ham Cheese Sandwich, and the Beef Pastrami Sandwich. All of the sandwiches had the option of being turned into a set, which would add a salad and a slice of whatever was the cake of the day. Other food options included a couple of salads and even a Spinach Flat Bread, which looked quite tempting. We ended up ordering the Turkey Ham Cheese Sandwich and the Beef Pastrami Sandwich, making sure to upgrade both orders to be sets.


After we placed our orders, we took a seat and enjoyed the cool air conditioner combined with that acoustic music you only seem to hear in Korean coffee shops. It took a little longer than expected for our food to arrive, as was evident with all the water we drank while waiting. Just as we began to grow impatient from hunger, our food was finally done.

Turkey Ham Cheese SandwichBeef Pastrami Sandwich

As we received our food, I was happy to see that the Turkey Ham Cheese Sandwich looked fairly normal. Outside of the addition of thin apple slices, everything seemed right with the world. Considering how rare it is to see deli sliced turkey breast in this country, it was nice to bite into something that tasted like home. It wasn’t particularly fancy, but the freshness and simplicity of the sandwich was very much appreciated. The Beef Pastrami Sandwich, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. Served on black ciabatta bun, what I got was a hot sandwich filled with melted cheese, an assortment of vegetables, and some pastrami. While the sandwich tasted fine, the hot cheese on such soft bread made for a messy meal. I was left wishing that I could taste more of the pastrami itself. Instead, the flavor of the cheese and peppers were left overpowering most of the sandwich. That being said, I still ate all of it.

The salads that came with the sandwiches were fairly standard and covered in a sweet balsamic dressing, and the cake of the day turned out to be a slice of a very light cheesecake. Due to the size of the sandwiches, the entire meal turned out to be quite filling. We walked away with no room for dessert or even coffee.

Overall, Pane Lento turned out to be a pretty decent place for lunch. Though the sandwiches weren’t anything special, I could see myself going back when craving a sandwich that reminds me of simpler times. I would definitely go back for some of those delicious looking baked goods as well. As it is more of a cafe, I imagine this place would be better suited for small, casual groups. Due to the limited staff, food can take a little longer compared to a restaurant.

Address: 광주광역시 남구 봉선동 550-7 (near Mr. Pizza)
Phone: 062-368-5555
Hours: 7:30AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 9,000 to 10,000 per sandwich

Essentials with JD # 246 **GWANGJU INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR **

Screen Shot 2016-08-024

Now that vacation time is over for many it is time to get back to grind. But don’t worry just about a month left before the Chuseok vacation which means another 5 days off for all. I hope you are prepared and have already booked your tickets as travelling will be really expensive and time consuming.


It is also time for Art, Art, Art as not only the Gwangju Biennale but also the Gwangju Art fair will be happening soon.


The Biennale opens on September 1st, but this week the Gwangju Art fair kicks off at the ACC (WED-SUN).


For more information new has all the info for you.


“As the opening day of the Gwangju International Art Fair approaches, the event’s list of participating galleries has been finalized.

According to the Fair’s Organizing Committee, 74 galleries will exhibit at the event, including 30 international organizations from 13 countries, along with nearly 50 domestic art groups.

The Fair will also feature special exhibitions related to the Gwangju Biennale, young artists, and Chinese and traditional Korean art styles. In particular, booths hosted by UNESCO and Pechakucha Gwangju 2016 are also highly anticipated by the public.

The 7th Gwangju International Art Fair will take place from August 24th to 28th at the Asia Culture Center, with an opening ceremony set to be held at 6:00pm this Wednesday”.


Tickets cost 10, 000 won for adults & 7,000 for students and it is open from 11am – 8pm.


So go check it out






This week’s photo has it all. Gently diffused light seems to fall on the actors within this seems that seems altogether a bit too ‘real’ for comfort. The frame is full of potential subjects for the eye to rest upon. While the background is full of seated figures, their outlines barely distinguishable from the shadows beyond, the foreground reveals several sets of bodies within the rabble. Mostly coupled off, their facial expressions and bodily postures seem almost staged, frozen in place as if waiting for an impending call to “action.” Only a tripping food-delivery woman, side-dishes caught mid-flight, suspended in time as she yields to gravity’s pull could complete this visual temple to the nearly surreal.

Of all the couples central to the scene above, two figures in white garner the lions share of our attention. They stand in mid-beat, the space between them somehow full of the energy which permeates their surroundings. Their moment is private, yet seems to be shared by all. Through them, an equality pervades. Overall, what lacks in the description above is a reference to the context of their contentment. Last Saturday’s International Music Festival at the ACC (Asia Cultural Center) provided the space for such an unprovoked display of being. While no sounds can be heard, the figures reveal the inherently inter-medial nature of music. For what else is music to our ears, than the sights of those around us, sharing the moment, being precisely who they are.


[Digital photo taken with a Nikon d600 using a Nikon 35mm f2.0 D lens.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)