Review of Love Love in KoreAm Journal, My First Piece for KoreAm, and a Major Bummer

The lovely folks at KoreAm Journal have reviewed Love Love, and it’s an incisive piece.  Thank you, KoreAm.

Below is the first essay I ever wrote for KoreAm Journal, dating all the way back to March 2008.  On the cover were Harold and Kumar, John Cho and Kal Penn, from their second movie.

I’m not mentioning this just for nostalgia’s sake — it’s because I just heard from the editor-in-chief that the magazine and the website has changed owners and is now facing an uncertain future.  As of now, August/September 2015 is the final issue.  I sure hope this is not the case — that they will find a way to keep going, but we all know how tough it is to run a magazine nowadays.  I wish the editors and writers the best of luck.  I’d like to especially thank Suevon Lee and Julie Ha, who polished my prose and shepherded my columns every step of the way.

KoreAm Column: Love Love and Porn

credit: Jennifer Heuer

My August/September column for KoreAm Journal is now available online.  This one has to do with my second novel, Love Love, and how/why I ended up writing about pornography.

From time to time, at a slightly greater frequency than a visit by Halley’s Comet, people ask me what my second novel, Love Love, is about. I usually tell them it stars Korean American siblings in pre-midlife crisis mode. I also mention tennis, since the brother is an ex-professional tennis player. Then I say, hey, it’s about art, too, because the sister is a struggling painter.

At this point the person nods and waits because I’m not done.

“I also wrote about pornography,” I say. Although I mean to mention this without any added inflection or emotion, I usually find that my voice betrays me, so I end up with, “I also wrote about pornography?” Almost as if I’m asking for permission.

[more]

The graphic you see above was one of the alternate covers that the brilliant artist, Jennifer Heuer, came up with.  Kinda goes well with the post…

KoreAm Column: In the Palm of My Hand

Pot-SungWoo-AM15

My April/May column for KoreAm Journal is now available online, and what a privilege it is that I got to write about my love of art, and of one artist’s works in particular: Dina Brodsky‘s latest miniature marvels. Now I can type lots of pretty adjectives to describe her paintings, but words can only do so much.  Do yourself a favor and see her circular portals in person.  Her solo show, Cycling Guide to Lilliput, Prologue, will be opening on Wednesday, May 20, 7-9pm at Island Weiss Gallery (islandweiss.com/exhibitions, 201 East 69th Street, Penthouse M, New York, NY 10021; (212) 861-4608; island@islandweiss.com).

KoreAm Column: Welcome to the Club

erasure

My bi-monthy column for KoreAm Journal for March/April features the music of my youth, Erasure in particular.  Enjoy!

First-World Problems: Welcome to the Club

This past New Year’s Eve, I was on the second floor of Terminal 5, a concert hall in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. Leaning over the railing, I screamed, “I love to hate you!” with the rest of the frenzied crowd below me, above me, all around me. As the song reached its end, the singer segued into a countdown, and then he yelled, “Happy New Year!” Gold balloons and white confetti rained down from above, and then we all sang the next song, “I try to discover, a little something to make me sweeter …”

If you are of a certain age and Asian American, there’s a high likelihood that you know these two songs are “Love to Hate You” and “A Little Respect.” This was my first time seeing Erasure. I probably should’ve done this a quarter of a century ago, but back then, I didn’t even know who they were, and more to the point, I didn’t know who I was.

[more]