Get Yo Retro On: Shindig & Gopchang Jeongol

I’d like to take a moment and highlight what I believe to be two of the greatest hidden treasures of the glorious Hongdae. For those who aren’t in the know, Hongdae is a very lively part of Seoul with a really great art university, and some of the cutest coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques around. It’s also where a lot of dignity goes to die every Friday and Saturday night at places like Zen 1 & 3, “The Park” and Papa or Mama Gorilla…. if you’re really feeling like making some mistakes.

Of course I love a good solid night of awful 1,500won tequila shooting and dancing to the same songs over and over again, weekend in and weekend out, but I do enjoy a change of pace every now and then.  Well, I recently discovered the bar Myoungwolgwan (MWG) which holds a Shindig night once a month, where all they play are tunes from the 50s and 60s. And let me tell you, that tiny little wood paneled bar gets all kinds of dirty dancing up in thurrrr! I don’t think I’ve had more fun during a night out in Hongdae than I have the past two times I’ve gone to Shindig! Hatches new visions of Richard Simmons’ sweatin to the oldies.

The first time I literally stumbled on it because my friend Dustin, who recently came back into town for the summer, had a friend DJ’ing. We went, we sang jovially, and we got way down with our bad selves.

shindig1 shindig2

This last one in June was a Tiki/Beach theme (perfect opportunity to rock my dress adorned with palm trees), and was their first foray into live music with a girl group called The Barberettes, and a little Korean man who tried desperately to imitate Johnny Cash. They played some jams to kick off the night, and then the tunes started bumping and the dancing got underway!

-1

For those who are looking for a way to boogie down and can’t get enough oldies in their life, MWG’s Shindig is located just behind Hongdae Park. When you walk out past the bathrooms, keep going straight and pass Exit and it’s just past it with a lotus sign. It’s 8,000~10,000won cover, and that gets you a free beverage as well as lots of burned calories once you start shakin your groove thang.

My other favorite hidden gem of Hongdae is a poppin retro bar called Gopchang Jeongol.  Andria, Jee and I started our birthday celebration here earlier this year, since we are ajummas and all.  It was only suiting we spent an evening celebrating our long lives to the tune of Korean rock n roll from decades past.

This place has the coolest vibe and is decked out with hundreds of records, photos of old groups, vintage radios and clocks covering the walls.  Granted I can’t sing the songs that play because they’re all in Korean, but they still have that awesome oldies retro vibe that I totally crave in my life. But then there’s that glimmering moment when I recognize an American song redone in Korean and belt it out in my own English bubble. Assa!

This last time I went before Shindig with Josh, Andria and a few of Andria’s friends, for an evening of retro. There was this one table of 2 Korean couples who were so out-of-this-world jammin’ along to every song that came on.  They were having the best time (and as we found out later, smashed out of their minds!) At some point in the night, they got up and came over to our table, where Josh and I put on our ever-present dancing shoes, and started jumping and awkward dancing and singing right along with them.

Here we are all happy-faced out with our new friends of 15 minutes, before the girl in black irked Josh out and fell off her chair. Oopsie daisies!

retrobar

We have tried to find this place a few other times, and Josh and I always got lost.  But, should you chose to navigate Hongdae and treat yourself to a feel-good evening (which you totally should), here’s how to orient your internal compass. Go out exit 4 of Hongik Station and walk towards the main street.  Turn left down the street and make your first left. Keep going to the end of the road and take a left and walk until you come to a roundabout. Take the first right, and keep walking down that street until you almost come to the end of the road. It’ll be on your left down a little staircase. You have to order some food too, along with your drinks, but that’s pretty standard for most Korean bars/hofs.

I seriously hope you go, boogie down and enjoy both as much as I do!

65 Is The New 31 If You’re A Baller.

Absolutely nothing about the following song reminds me of the Baller, except for one significant opening line…..”You remind me of my Gucci shoes.”

During our first year out of college, Bret and I used to talk on the phone every morning on our horrendously long traffic filled commutes to work. Along with hearing about his morning coffee consumption and other morning *movements*….I got to hear his sweet “sweet” rendition of Monica’s A Dozen Roses. Only for the longest time, I had absolutely NO idea what song he was singing because his annoying, nasally, almost Urkel-esq version was so far off from the sultry jam, that I was floored when I finally heard the actual song he was mimicking. He still doesn’t understand where my auditory disconnect went awry.

His awful singing voice aside, per his Facebook page, Bretty is turning a ripe 65 years young today, and his bone structure wouldn’t let you believe he’s a day over 31. He is the reason I love White Russians, why I’ll always find being called a whore endearing (but only by him of course), why I’ll always refer to that *classy* blue liquor that only grill-wearing ballers drink as “The Hypo”, why I’ll always remember my Women in Film class because of his incessant knee shakes, why men’s ties and the word “Façonnable” will always roll off my tongue, and why a New Years Eve will always be somewhat empty if he’s not there to grace me with his *sensational* hip-swiveling and claptastic dance moves. He’s the best roomie I’ve ever had, and the best platonic manfriend a girl could ever ask for. He’s the baller to my whore, and thank you UCSB and that lovely apartment complex on one Segovia Rd. for introducing us.

Oh, and Happy 31st Birthday old man. I hope your racquetball ankle sprain heels in a jiffy.

Now for a little time travel complete with a dance video, or two, because this post would be incomplete without.  Apologies in advance for the embarrassment.

I think this is the first photo we took as the best foursome of neighbors on the block. By this time I knew his name and wasn’t calling him “the Matthew McConaughey guy” anymore.

ad30

Winter came, Natty Lite and White Russians got us super acquainted, I called him Doug Funnie nose, and I actually remember this hug quite vividly. We totes became BFFs then and there.

c3e1-1

I turned 21. White Russian, sweaty face and awful tank top. He also cracked open his very special bottle of “Hypo” on my very special day.

abe8-1

He especially loved 2am wake-up calls from his awesome sisters and their friends down the way when he had water polo practice in 4 hours.

3fda

He loved repaying the favor by jumping on his sister while he was intoxicated and she was trying to sleep. This is actually still one of my all time fave Baller/Jones photos. High 5!

28b0

We also had Three’s Company naptime on the famous couches after a long day of watching Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives, two of Bretty’s favorite TV shows.

bretpassedout

Then the Baller and Whore 1 & 2 graduated ❤ Santa Barbara would have never ever been the same without these two.

23_515851133067_3767_n

After graduating, Bret moved back up north to Coup Town and me to LA, and I was SO sad, but it honestly never really felt like it, aside from not seeing him everyday.  Since then we’ve spent I think nearly every New Years Eve together and a couple trips either him down to LA or me up to San Francisco within the years.

Botched trips up north for Oktoberfest, only to be greeted with the alternate gay Love Fest, have never been sweeter.

354_617190962237_54_n

And mind-altering afternoons in LA laughing our asses off while watching Borat have never been funnier.

When I came home after a year and a half in Korea, the Baller (and Rami!!) came to LA for my birthday weekend, and it was the best gift ever!!

150027_10102230923657937_2143409581_n

We of course danced, and he spent a lot of time practicing his dance moves and gettin’ low…..his “specialty”.

540749_761116725834_1770078465_n

A tribute to the Baller wouldn’t be complete without documentation of some of those masterpieces he likes to whip up. Please. Indulge your eyeballs.

Here he is dancing to his own natural rhythm. His own essence. Really feelin’ that music. Pardon the side angle.

And rounding it all out with my personal fave. Everytime I watch this video I can’t not laugh. It gets me every, EVERYtime.

Love you to the moon Baller, and I hope you get over your fear of Asian cuisine and come visit me in the Orient. I’ve got a live octopus with your name on it waiting.

HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, DOUG FUNNIE!!!  YOU’VE NEVER LOOKED BETTER!

226965_10100222678063207_7702232_n

<3,

Your favorite Whore