Super M’s Beyond Live “concert” was everything S.M. thinks fans need

I paid to watch the online showcase so you didn’t have to.

The concept behind the K-pop group Super M might not make sense to people unfamiliar with how music labels work in Korean pop, so calling them “the Avengers of K-pop” really is the best way to describe it. Each of the seven members––Baekhyun, Taemin, Kai, Taeyong, Ten, Lucas, and Mark––come from different groups under the entertainment powerhouse known as S.M. Entertainment. Their founder, Lee Soo-Man, chose each of them individually to put in one super group…Super M.

Initially when the group was announced, I was against it. SM, to put it generously, is not a great company for a myriad of reasons and how it treats its artists is one of the biggest red flags. So a whole new group consisting of already overworked super stars sounded like a terrible idea. But at the end of the day, S.M. is really good at what they do and I absolutely love Super M. There is very little I won’t do for them at this point, which includes paying for an online concert and staying up until 2 A.M. to watch it.

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Using Kobo as your go to e-reader

I’ve worked in an indie bookstore for the past year and nothing has radicalized me against Amazon more. It’s a lot of things: Jeff Bezos is the standard villainous CEO, their business model is undercutting prices for small businesses, and their shipping practices have pushed any other shipments aside (the holidays were FUN.) So my biggest thing against Amazon is of course, bare minimum, don’t buy your books there. There’s indies, Barnes and Noble, used bookstores… that’s really it. Just start there.

But what about e-books?

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OMG can you believe “Anna K”? Because I’m not sure I can

Perfect for fans of “Crazy Rich Asians” and not just because both books feature attractive young Asian people with too much money.

I know it’s unpopular to pitch new things––books, movies, TV shows, etc––relative to how it’s alike to other already popular things. It’s not fair to say that every new magical book series for kids is the “next Harry Potter” when really the only thing in common is some magic wands. I get that. However. Jenny Lee’s YA debut book, “Anna K” really is the next “Crazy Rich Asians” (but teenagers). Continue reading

He Is: Remembering Jonghyun in 10 Songs

A few weeks ago I signed up for an online essay class where we learned and wrote in different styles. Our first one was list, and one of the prompts was to write about someone we knew really well. I decided to write about Jonghyun, and to think about that dynamic celebrity creates: we feel like we know these people, but really we don’t.

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Thinking of queer attraction as a giant mixing board

I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about coming out, especially as a cis-gendered straight person. Even though I’ve known and identified as asexual for a few years, in my mind I still saw it as “I’m still attracted to men, thus socially acceptable, so what’s the point?” But  I’ve talked to a lot of my queer friends who’ve encouraged me that being ace is still an important part of the queer community, and you know I’m a sucker for a good “representation matters” story. Continue reading

Finding representation in Vanessa Hua’s books

About a year ago, journalist and author Vanessa Hua reached out and asked me to write a review of her two books, the short story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities and then-newly published novel A River of Stars. Now nearly twelve months later, her novel just came out in paperback, my review got turned down by a number of outlets, and here I am. But I enjoyed her books, and after hearing her at a reading in Boston I wanted to make sure some form of a review made it into the world somewhere. Continue reading

I’m 23 years old and I still want to be a YouTuber

The glamor and low barriers to entry have effed my perception of success.

You know those memes, tweets, screenshots, or whatever you see on the internet that are a straight knife-to-the-heart attack? It describes the exact situation you’re in and the feelings you’re feeling, and you either “feel seen,” get “exposed,” or simply “it me.” That was me @ this tweet:

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Kimono aren’t cosplay

Don’t do it y’all, just don’t do it.

In about two weeks it’s Anime Boston, one of my favorite things ever in the city. Anime fans from all over are spotted across the city in different styles of cosplay, earning weird (almost scared) looks from normal people everywhere. I love cosplay, both wearing it and photographing it. But there’s one trend, specifically in the anime community, that needs to stop: wearing a kimono as a costume. AKA: cultural appropriation. Continue reading