KCON 2013 DAY ONE: A Very YG Day

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KCON!  What to expect?  If you know me, I'm a true blue YG stan.  So what am I doing at a weekend-long convention where there is only one YG representative?

I HAD A FCKING BLAST!  I'm so glad I went and I would go again next year if it's accessible to me like this year's.  I had so much fun walking around, seeing so many things, meeting people, and seeing celebrities in person!

I had a whole outfit planned out weeks ahead of time.  But I scrapped that the night before.  The only thing I kept in my plan is my nail art.  Messy as heck but what do you expect from an 11:30PM rush job?  ;-)  Inspired by Dara's Do You Love Me nails.  Salamat po, ate Sandy!

Up to the time I had to leave, I had no idea what to expect.  I actually didn't know much about KCON until I finally got there.  I didn't know how to get to the venue, that one.  The perks don't mean anything to me.  And I didn't know how the convention worked.  Was it like Comic-Con?  What's the food situation?  Schedules?  Ahhh... going in blind here.

When they said that VIP1 and VIP2 registration starts at 8AM, I should've obeyed.  You see, I got there at around 9-9:30AM.  The line stretched the whole length of the stadium.

I was in line for 2 hours.  The general ticket line went by faster than any of the VIPs.  Actually, the VIP1 line was the slowest.  IDGI.

Anyway, I got in eventually.  And I have to thank my 미샤 비비크림 and her SPF42.  I may have a scoop neck-shaped sunburn on my chest but my face is untouched.  I totally forgot sunscreen but at least it's not so bad.  I'm not peeling lol.  It doesn't hurt lol.  It doesn't bother me lol.  Two days under the sun and I only have that burn to show for it.  XD

The VIP2 package included a swag bag - KCON light stick, pin buttons, post cards, etc. - and scratch cards (peel-off cards, actually) where you can score any of the following: red carpet viewing (I got a "sorry"), autograph signing (also a "sorry"), and viewing session.  I scored a viewing session with f(x).  Don't get me wrong, I was excited.  I like f(x).  But I was also a wee bit disappointed.  I woke up that morning so confident that I the K-pop gods will be in my favor and gift me with seeing GD the day before the concert (where I will see him anyway).  I guess not.  But GD isn't the only reason why I went to KCON.  Really!  Hehehe...

I was honestly looking forward to the food trucks, especially Seoul Sausage.  I may love K-pop but there are days when Food Network is the only thing I watch.  As you know, Seoul Sausage won the 3rd season of The Great Food Truck Race, the season I was most passionate about.  I couldn't wait to see them and taste their food.  And of course, I love food truckin'.

The only thing on the menu that day was the spicy pork sausage and while I'm not fond of spicy foods, I enjoyed it a lot.  I think I'm building a tolerance to spice thanks to that Cheetos Cheesy Salsa Mixups that I love so much lol.  I ate half and saved half for my mom who is also a Food Network fan.  Hahaha...

This is a fangirling photo that doubles as an outfit of the day. 
After eating, my friends and I decided to see what was there to see.  And there was a lot!  Workshops, games, outdoor stages, booths, more food... it was crazy.  The energy was high and it was fun just being in all of that.

Some people were by the entrance with signs saying that they're willing to trade so-and-so pass for another one.  Some were even buying/selling for upwards of $200.  I was happy with my f(x) one but when it seemed like the YGods were still smiling over me.  A girl was trading her G-Dragon pass for an f(x) audience pass, the one that I have.  I snatched that puppy up faster than anyone can say "Hot Summer".  I hands were shaking and my heart was beating so fast!

I mean, I was literally jumping.  So happy! From there, I knew my KCON experience was going to be fantastic.  (Yes, I am easy to please lol.)

Saturday was a hot day and I decided to drop by some panels until it was time for GD.  The Vintage K-pop panel caught my eye not only because I was genuinely interested in it but... Danny 오빠 was one of the panelists.  Joining him were 차유미 of Baby VOX and DJ Koo.  The lady from Soompi was the moderator.

I didn't get to finish the whole panel but the bulk of what I saw was so YG, it was like watching a YG panel instead of the actual topic.  The moment Danny Im sat down, he just won me over.  I could not help but get a bit trigger-happy.  I also shot some videos but the camera I used picked up a lot of noise so I'd rather not share. 
"What is this? Look, they recycle name tags."

Can we talk about this hotness for a second?  I mean... remember the article I wrote for The One Shots?  Maybe there is some truth at the thought that darker skinned East Asians are viewed as sexier than their paler counterparts.  Uh-muh-nuh.  I just... okay, calming down now.  ㅋㅋㅋ...

It was a rather interesting panel.  These three guests are already considered K-pop industry veterans and what they've experienced were different than the K-pop we know today.  They compared the "training" then and now, how they entered the business, and offered advice and insights to those planning to follow their footsteps.

When asked for "advice for those who want to pursue K-pop", both Yumi and Danny said to "learn Korean".  Being Korean-Americans, they spoke more English.  As Yumi shared, "I speak more Korean now than back then when I was a trainee. Even simple interviews where hard."  For Danny, "I was lucky I had Teddy with me."  And quite the opposite, DJ Koo said through the interpreter, "These two wanted to learn Korean. I wish I improved on my English," with everyone bursting into laughter.  (I actually understood what he said even without the translation. Pretty proud of myself for that lol.)

Now, if Danny wasn't enough YG for you, the next question was a kicker.  They were asked which they think is the best K-pop artist of today... or something to that effect lol.  Here is what Danny said semi-verbatim (I took a video but I ain't sharin' it):
There's so many talented people from all the groups and I think... one thing I always thought was we really have a lot of talented people.  For me... I think it's gonna sound biased but - LAUGHS - for real, especially with Big Bang. [Not because they're YG] The reason I do like them is because [...] they have a lot of variety that stands out, you know.  Even right now, they're doing so many solo projects and stuff like that and even ventures besides music. So instead of being just a whole group together, they kinda just, you know, sometimes [the personality comes out through their own styles].
Oh you can tell 오빠 is more than just biased.  He's proud of his 후배들.  DJ Koo seemed to agree, mentioning G-Dragon and giving him massive props.  And if that wasn't enough, Yumi went on to say that she likes 2NE1 and thinks they're unique.

I had to leave shortly after that - I swear, it wasn't on purpose - to go lineup for GD's session thing.  But before I did, one other question was, "What is the thing that you miss the most about being an idol?"

Yumi shared something about getting fanmail where the sender would tell them about her day, how their music touched her.  Yumi said it was nice to be a part of someone's like like that, no matter how small.  Danny said he missed being on stage.  And oh, "We never shut the door [to 1TYM]".  How fcking cool would that be?!

On my way to the GD session, I saw Lydia Paek.  The YGods were giving it their all to me that day.  Fresh from a YGfied panel with Danny Im to bumping into a YG songwriter on my way to a G-Dragon audience session.  The only thing that can top that is.... well, a TOP appearance!  XD

I ended up near the back of the line but that's okay.  I still got to see him.  I admit, I paid more attention to taking pics than what he was actually saying so thank goodness for fancams.

It was definitely G-Dragon up there and not the adorable 권지용.  Diva.  Dude, he didn't even look at the audience properly and didn't speak much English at all.  He sat there, half facing the interpreter, with his sunglasses on and a grim expression on his mouth.  He did crack a smile when we sang him "Happy birthday".  But whatevs, dude.  That's G-Dragon for you.

One thing that I regretted at the ALIVE tour is that I don't have a decent photo of GD.  He's so active, my phone's camera is not fast enough for him.  But now that he was on his ass, I had some nice ones even with the distance.  (Yes, I watermarked this one. I know how bitchy you K-pop crazies can get. Heh. But I'm not saying you can freely take the others.)

I still had some hours to kill before Day One ended so like a moth to a flame, I found myself at the Food Truckin' Through LA panel.  I eyed this panel ever since the schedule was released and it's definitely my favorite out of all the ones I attended.

But before that, I sat down a bit to Instagram a GD pic.  When I looked up, bam... straight into Danny오빠.  And oh, Mina Kwon was with him.  OMG.  미안해요, 오빠, 언니.  It didn't hurt.  I was too shy to stop and ask for a photo though.  DX  Anyway.........

Food trucking is HUGE in the Southern California area, especially Los Angeles.  I love food trucking and have sampled a good number of them these past years, either from seeing them parked somewhere or going to actual food truck gatherings.  I even had my whole family into it.  And you already know of my Food Network obsession, yeah?  Got it?  Good.

The panel was moderated by Seoul Sausage's Yong Kim.  With him were his brother Ted Kim, Bellybombz's Youngho Yoo and Albert Shim, and Marcos Martinez of East LA Tacos.  I didn't catch the beginning of the panel but I caught a good bit of it.  I admit, I was so excited to see the Kim brothers.  I wanted Seoul Sausage to win their season from the first episode.  And they seemed like really fun guys.  Needless to say, I acted like a complete fangirl.

East LA Tacos serves up a fusion of Mexican and Korean tastes.  They have a sauce called "KoMex" and they claim that it's "definitely hot".  If you survive it, your meal is free.  Marcos Martinez shared a story where a female customer braved the KoMex sauce and totally lost it.  She puked all over the place but she did like it and, "has come back since."  Hahaha!  I'm a chicken so it's either mild spice for me or none at all.  XD

Bellybombz have sliders and Korean-inspired chicken wings on the menu.  I planned to try it out during KCON Day Two but I didn't get around to doing so.  I'm currently looking around for them.  I have seen them before but my "fear" of spicy foods has kept me from trying more Korean food.

The Seoul Sausage guys shared some stories of when they were on The Great Food Truck Race.  Ted said that in the first episode in the LA area, they wanted to attract customers so he pretended to be a K-pop star.  LOL!  Then he followed it up that it's a "KCON joke".  Hahaha, idk if that's true or not but hey, anything to get the customers in, right?  [EDIT: I rewatched the first episode of season 3 and... YES, THIS ANECDOTE IS TRUE.]

During that panel, the Food Network fangirl and foodie in me came out.  They asked if any of us go to food trucks on a regular basis.  A few hands were raised but even more said that KCON was their first food truck experience.  When they asked which trucks we've tried at the event so far, I yelled out "Seoul Sausage".  Hahaha... no shame at being a fangirl, yeah?  After all, we were all fangirls (and fanboys) at KCON.  Youngho Yoo asked what other food trucks we've tried.  Some mentioned the other trucks at outside - Tornado Potato, Dogzilla, etc.  I said the Nom Nom Truck.  "I haven't seen them around lately," Youngho 씨 said.  Nom Nom has been closed for some months now.  Temporarily.  He also asked me how I found out about them and I said, "The show (Great Food Truck Race)."

"That's one way to get your name out there.  Join a show."  LOL.  I felt embarrassed for a second but hey, if being a fangirl gets you noticed... why not?  :)

"Go check us out. G-Dragon loves Seoul Sausage!"  Hahaha!  I'm sure Joe Hahn of Linkin Park does but GD?  I wonder if he's tried any of the "local wares" other than In'n'Out.  You're so touristy, GD.

East LA Tacos said that if we visited their truck and mentioned that we were at the panel, we get a free taco.  I wanted to but I had to go somewhere.  Never say no to free food!  XD

The panels were all done but the dance party was just starting.  I made my way back to the outdoor stage and got something to eat.  The food buying situation is tricky.  You have to have to buy food stubs and they have to be exact because vendors cannot give out change.  Aish.  I had so much left since all I ate was that spicy pork sausage from earlier.  So I decided to get something sweet.

I know of Tous Les Jours from my vacation in the Philippines.  But instead of getting a pastry, I tried their mango shaved ice.  It needed more milk in my opinion but it was good.  Shin B was partying up on the stage and after that, the DJ played some good ole K-pop for everyone to dance to.  Some people knew the choreography, especially this one fanboy who danced to SM songs better than anyone else.  An awesome surprise was when the DJ played TOP's Turn it Up.  I also caught Dynamic Duo's meet and greet from a ledge overlooking the event area.  Some fellow VIPs were hanging out there also and we had a good friendly conversation.  I never caught their names but they said they're from Sacramento and like me, they got their tickets after the GD announcement.  See, I'm not the only crazy one!  XD

As Day One came to a close, I admit I did have a TON of fun.  At first, I had my doubts.  I knew next to nothing about these other acts... will I be able to have fun and get my money's worth... will I be able to stand these hardcore K-pop fanatics?  A huge YES.  네. 대박!  I was telling my mom on the ride home that I was so glad I went.  It's an awesome experience to not only get all the K-pop I can handle but also feed the foodie in me.  Not to mention the KPTB (K-pop Powers that Be) made it extra YGfied for me... 고맙슴니다. 정말 고맙슴니다.