Archive for the ‘ TV Music Film ’ Category

An Interview with Birds and Arrows!

I also write for my store’s blog, and I wanted to share with y’all my first band interview.   We talked about fashion, crafting and music!  I am hoping to do this as a regular thing from now on.   Let me know what you think!

An Interview with Birds and Arrows!.


Secret Garden: Beautiful Action

So my new favorite Korean Drama is Secret Garden. Its funny and quirky, and has great action scenes. The leading lady, Gil Ra Im played by Ha Ji Won, is a stunt woman who is not only beautiful but tough.    She is, of course, very poor and from the wrong side of the tracks.The leading guy, Kim Joo Won, played by Hyun Bin, is a rich, egocentric department store executive with his own set of problems. They meet and are inexplicably drawn to each other.

The filmography in Secret Garden is just gorgeous. When Kim Woo Jon is thinking of Gil Ra Im, he imagines her beside him, walking in time with him. It’s a really cool way to portray that ‘always on my mind feeling’ without doing too many memories or strange thought bubbles. Their method is romantic and poignant at the same time.  And the action scenes are awesome.  Because Gil Ra Im is a stunt woman, there are a lot of action scenes, both with her and the guys from her action school.   My favorite sequence is in the first episode, when she jumps from a building, falls through a skylight and starts shooting as she lands.  And then she pulls out a sword.  Too cool.

So the plot: they meet, are drawn to each other and then…switch bodies.  Yep!  I won’t give details cause that will spoil it.   While I have seen this before in American movies, the body switch is so well done in this drama.  Imagine what you would do if you were all the sudden in the body of the opposite sex.  As a woman, all the sudden a man, peeing might be a bit strange.  Plus you probably don’t want the guy to see your body naked.  Especially in conservative Korea.  So showering is an issue.  How they deal with all of this is pretty funny.

So I will stop waxing on about how great this show is and just point you to a site to watch it on.  Drama Fever is pretty fast about posting the episodes.  They are being aired now, so its only about a week delay.  There are other sites showing them faster.  I’m watching on Dramacrazy.  But I will warn you that the site has pop ups.   If you don’t want to deal with them, wait the extra day or two and go with Dramafever.  🙂

sound track love

So I’ve been watching this Korean Drama: Smile, You (aka Smile Honey) and there’s this song that they always play for the heartbreaking moments.  And yes, it’s probably cheesy, but I really love this song.  So I found it to share with both the English subtitles and the Romanized Korean lyrics.  One of these days I hope I will be able to sing-a-long to this song, but I have to say that it is really hard to sing well in a language you don’t speak.  🙂

Smile, You is pretty funny.  If you’re interested in watching it, it’s available on Drama Fever.   I will warn you that it is insanely long for a Korean Drama: a total of 45 episodes!  But there are a lot of characters.   I think the parent drama is a little over the top, but the leads are awesome.  The need for approval of your parents to officially date someone when you’re in your late 20’s is a cultural difference that is a bit difficult for this western girl to imagine.  But I understand and love the importance that the Korean culture puts on family.  Though my romantic heart thinks that if two people love each other, family should always support it.  Western culture again.

I love Korean Dramas

WED/THURS - MBC - PLAYFUL KISS  장난스런 키스 (2010)

Image by via Flickr

I am going to admit to one of my recent obsessions: Korean Dramas.  Yes, I know…what?  Korean Dramas?   I am not Korean, do not speak the language and have never even been there.  The closest I have come to Korea is almost moving there when I was 12 and growing up with my Dad’s love for homemade kimchi.   Funny and heartfelt, great acting and scripts, and wonderfully filmed; Korean dramas are my new love.

I tend to watch a lot of online TV shows at night while I am sewing and crocheting, and I stumbled upon a cool Korean show: Boys Over Flowers on Hulu.  It had so many stars that I decided to give it a go …and so it began.  I loved the show, the actors, storyline, and the clothes of course.  The Korean language is beautiful and I am fascinated by the formal/informal speech.  I admit that it was a bit difficult to watch a subtitled show and crochet at the same time but I got the hang of it and started watching other Korean shows.  I think my husband fears that I will wake up speaking Korean one of these days.

So I thought I’d share with you my favorite Korean Dramas.  Hands down, my top pick is Playful Kiss.  A cute story of love from high school to college, it is really funny and the characters are endearing.  Plus I love the actors they picked for it.  Coming in a close second is Personal Taste, a story of an architect and furniture designer who become roommates.  I don’t want to give synopses of each one because I am really afraid that I will spill something, but they both had me laughing and crying.  Need I say more?

The real tear-jerkers are Boys Over Flowers(also known as Boys Before Flowers) and Goong. That is not to say you won’t laugh, but they are a bit more dramatic.  And if you love fashion both of these have wonderful costume and set design.   Boys Over Flowers is all about a poor yet brave girl going to a rich school and going up against an elite set of 4 young men: F4.  The cast is really great, and because they are all incredibly rich, the clothes are fantastic.    Goong is a modern fairy tale of a prince and princess.  The traditional Korean culture and modern life are gorgeously presented and  I think the tug of war between them is classic.

It does seem to be a common trend of  plain girl versus gorgeous and/or rich guy in most of these dramas.  I think all of the actresses are pretty but they are often portrayed as clumsy, poor or having a better personality than looks.  They are usually very hard-working and stubborn.  I find this predictable but it’s also really nice compared to American heroines needing to be perfect specimens.  I have been informed that Koreans are really into plastic surgery, and that it is not a big deal to have it done.  The casual references to this are surprising at first.   This is interesting in comparison, its like their dramas are rebelling against the surgery trend.  They seem to point out that there is more beauty in who you are than just how you look.   But I suspect that a lot of the actors have had cosmetic work done.

What I also like about these shows is that they are each only one season long.  The seasons are between 16 and 45 episodes, and the story arches through these, instead of being dragged out over a number of seasons and ending with a blah.  I find this a nice change from American shows.   They seem to often be based on Japanese Mangas, which is interesting, as the storyline is complete before they start doing the script or filming.  The Korean culture is also interestingly different from Western; a kiss is a big deal and means something, so is sex.  They really draw out the first kiss, with lots of slow shots.  I like that it’s not about who is sleeping with who, that there is more character development and less bedroom scenes.  It may be old-fashioned but it’s also refreshing to have a focus more on emotional relationships of the characters and less on physical.

It is also very cool to see Seoul and other parts of Korea.  I had never really thought about it before.  Most of us know what certain parts of Asia look like, but I had no idea what Korea looked like.  Seoul isn’t as obvious and flashy as Tokyo or Hong Kong.  Its huge, and has an unusual mix of American, European and Asian culture.  I assume that this is due in part to the American military presence and that many Koreans study abroad in the EU or US.

If you’re interested, you can watch Korean Dramas on these sites: (fastest subtitling and has lots of shows from other countries as well.  The subtitles are done by volunteers so it’s not always perfect, but the slang and variations is better represented and explained on occasion.)
Drama Fever (Korean drama channel)
and ( American online channel)
Some of the shows are on all of the sites and some are only available on one of the first two.  Viikii  has a commercial free full length video option for most of their shows that is pretty cool.  Drama Fever has fewer commercials than Hulu, but Hulu can sometimes have the best video quality.

My other recommended shows are:
PastaCinderella Man(all about the fashion industry) and  Shining Inheritance(Brilliant Legacy)
Plus You’re Beautiful, lame music but awesome humor.

The Case of Indiana, Maisie and the Mysterious Twenties

The 1920s that is.  The time between the great wars.  So, you know how I love mysteries?  Well, perhaps you don’t, but I do.  I didn’t realize how much until I overheard my husband tell his Mom that I just read mysteries now.  Its kind of true.  Which is not to say that I only read the mystery genre but most of the literature and fiction I read also has a mysterious bent.  And I do love a good British Detective Novel.  My recent passion is reading British mysteries that take place between the world wars.

Spending my teenage years in Germany, I was constantly surrounded by physical and media reminders of World War II.   I wasn’t taught or exposed to much about World War I or the Great War, as they called it before the 2nd world war came along to join it on the mantle.  Then I stumbled upon the Indian Jones TV series: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  Silly, I know, but awesome none the less.  It was aimed at young adults and focused on events before, during and just after WWI.  The DVDs also included short documentaries on the people, events and places that were referenced in the shows.  Those were very cool.  Any history buff would be entranced.  Especially those who also like action, adventure and the Indiana Jones theme song.

Watching this TV series and  the included documentaries, I became aware of the brutalities of the Great War’s trench warfare.  Most of the soldiers had no idea why they were fighting each other and governments saw their armies as numbers not individual people.  The soldiers and even the civilians who came out of the war, were damaged by it.  Life was no longer a sure thing, you could die at any moment and so could the person next to you.  And if it was the person next to you.  You would survive to risk another day.  Shell shock and post traumatic stress syndrome were common for soldiers.   Their loved ones struggled to understand the changes the war had wrought.

I think it’s no great surprise that a rise in murder followed WWI.  Human life was no longer considered precious, and people had become a mystery to each other.  It was not incomprehensible that a dinner guest could be a murderer.  People were proven capable of doing horrible things to each other.  In a sense the Great War was the murder of the civilian world’s innocence.  The detective fiction genre became more popular.  Readers were drawn to the clean lines of blame and discovery.  They weren’t guaranteed answers in everyday life, but a book was a world they escaped into where every mystery could be solved.  They needed the explanation for why.  Why did Jimmy kill the butler?  I believe that in our ever-changing world of violence, we still crave that security; the protection of a good detective and of a mystery solved.

If you take my love of British mysteries and swirl it up with my love of history, vintage, and my fascination with the between world wars years; it isn’t surprising that Jacqueline Winspear‘s Maisie Dobbs books are on my favorites shelf.  They take place after WWI with WWII looming in the horizon.  Maisie Dobbs is a nurse during the first war, and returns shell-shocked and damaged in spirit.   She then finishes her education with her mentor and takes over his detective agency.

Yes, she drives a cool car, comes from a poor background and has rich friends and benefactors.  She’s also got a keen mind, uncommon courage and curiosity for the whys of her world.  All the things that a 20’s girl needs to become an independent woman of that time.  And the mysteries all deal with the psychological effects of the war on its survivors.  Its brilliant.  A thoughtful approach to the whys as much as the hows of a murder mystery.  The motive matters to Maisie, it is the answer to the question.  With each case solved, she also learns something about herself, and heals a bit more.

If you’re interested in the years between the war and like mysteries, you should check out the Maisie Dobbs series.    I also recommend the Young Indian Jones Chronicles and its accompanying documentaries.

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