Running on almost no sleep, Sunday was a bit rough but with enough coffee and wild fangirl emotions coursing through me, I managed to not only get through the day without falling over but even have enough energy left to squeal myself silly during the evening’s concert.
Getting to the convention center, my friends and I all set off on different paths. My BTS loving friends with passes for the evening’s Red Carpet set off to figure out where lines for the event were starting while Lola and I headed for ASTRO’s artist engagement. Getting to the artist engagement area, I went to see just how long the line for ASTRO really was and promptly decided that getting coffee was far more important than standing in the blazing sun for an hour. Of course the line for coffee was also about an hour-long but at least I could wait inside, away from the awful LA heat! (In case you haven’t noticed, me and summer are not friends.)
With coffee in hand, Lola and I made our way to ASTRO’s artist engagement and again, we were waaaaaayyyy in the back, which was fine because it gave us a chance to chat and sip our coffee while watching ASTRO be ridiculously adorable. Oh my gosh! I can’t tell you how happy my heart was, seeing these boys be every bit as adorable in person as they are on all of their videos. Seriously! These boys are just the cutest little munchkins in the world and I love, love, loved being able to watch them interact with their fans in person. They were just so happy and smiley and easily excited and so, so sweet to their fans! Ugh! Watching them chat with their fans while giving out hugs and high fives, they somehow managed to steal my heart all over again. Those adorable little punks! I didn’t really need any more reasons to love them but whatever. I’m more than happy to let these little buggers charm their way up my bias list.
After the artist engagement, my friends and I all kind of went our separate ways. Everyone had about a million things they wanted to see and do on this, the last day of KCON, so we all said our goodbyes and took off. I ran off to meet up with Angie, to see if we’d been able to work out a time to meet up with Teesa Houston, to do our last interview of the weekend. Unfortunately, her schedule and ours never managed to line up so I had to content myself with an interview conducted over email. It was sad, not being able to meet up with her in person but such is life. I just wish I’d been able to adopt this more Zen-like attitude on this particular Sunday. I’m ashamed to admit that I spent an inordinate amount of time stressing over this interview as times for meeting were constantly being shifted around. It was insanely frustrating at the time but looking back, I think maybe that had more to do with the fact that I was beyond exhausted and running almost solely on caffeine really isn’t the best idea for an already emotionally charged zombie.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed by the stress of an interview that just wasn’t happening, I decided to head up to the panelist green room to try to unwind for a bit. Lucky for me, I found quite a few friends hanging around and joining them, I soon forgot all about the stress of the day. I can’t really say how long I stayed up there, in the green room because I really didn’t bother to check the time. I do know that eventually some friends and I decided to go check out the KCON Food Street, in part because we wanted to sample some of the goodies offered there and in part because I needed to take some photos for work. Thanks to our wanderings, I now know two things: 1.) That mochi cheese fries are amazingly delicious and 2.) I need to bring a small fortune to KCON with me next year so that I can sample all the delicious food KCON’s vendors have to offer.
From the Food Street, we wandered our way back to the expo hall where we tried to visit all of the stalls we’d somehow overlooked over the past couple of days. It was very slow going as we kept running into people we knew but it didn’t really matter since none of us had anywhere we really needed to be. It was during this time I discovered that MyMusicTaste had a booth and Oh! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that I hadn’t found them earlier! (And no, not just because I missed out on Block B dropping by their booth on Saturday.) I was more disappointed that I’d had an entire weekend to catch up with a friend and I’d missed my chance all because I’d been too busy to check out the entire expo. Augh! The frustration I felt was real! Still, we had a chance to catch up with each other before we parted ways and no matter how brief the moment it, it’s always nice to see a friend.
By the time we made it through most of the expo, it was time for me to run off to my very last panel of the weekend. Making the 12 million mile trek over to the panel area took a little longer than I would have liked (somehow I always managed to underestimate how much time it would take me to make that trip) but I still made it to my panel on time. (Barely.) Sitting down with friends and colleagues, I was only too happy to dive straight into the wonderful world of K-Pop Idols & SNS Dramas. (I know, it’s hard to image me enjoying a discussion about both idols and dramas… *snorts*) As is always the case, I was extremely honored to be a part of such a fun panel and I can only hope that those in the audience enjoyed themselves as much as we, as panelist, did. It truly was a blast. (Oh! And in case you’re wondering, I really am as spazzy about my idols and dramas in person as I am when I write. Just ask anyone at this panel…)
Immediately following my panel, I had to run off to the press workroom, to check in for the evening’s Red Carpet event. Just as it was the night before, I had a chance to catch up with friends and fellow press members before we made the painful Press Power-Walk. Moving at Flash speed, we made it to the Red Carpet area in time to watch the end of Monsta X’s artist engagement (through the glass doors, mind you). With their engagement over, we were led into the Red Carpet press area where, again, we immediately started adjusting camera settings and snapping test photos. When everything was set and the audience was all snugly crowded in behind us, the evening’s Red Carpet event began.
Eric Nam was the first to walk the Red Carpet that night and I have to say, he was looking pretty dapper in his bright red suit. As always, he was charming and funny and so much fun to watch as he interacted with his many adoring fans. You know, no matter how many times I see Eric Nam, I’m always amazed by how well he can charm a crowd. He really is a first-rate entertainer and his time on the Red Carpet only made me look forward to his appearance in the concert later that evening.
As charmed as I was by Eric Nam, I have to admit, I kind of forgot all about him once the next group made their appearance. Yes, it would seem I’m completely hopeless when it comes to ASTRO. (As if you didn’t already know that.) From the moment I first caught a glimpse of them, walking down the red carpet, my heart started doing that stupid little tap dance it does when I’m excited and it took all my concentration to keep focused on the task at hand (aka taking photos). I have to admit, I was occasionally distracted by random moments of overwhelming ASTRO cuteness, but all in all, I think I did a pretty good job of taking photos. (At least I didn’t get any complaints from my editor!)
Having just fulfilled one of my top K-Pop dreams (seeing ASTRO in person) I kind of had my head in the clouds when TWICE made their Red Carpet appearance. Floating on such a fluffy cloud of happiness, TWICE’s time on-stage kind of passed by in a blur. I know I was able to get some pretty good shots of these cute girls (because I have the proof stored on my hard drive) but I honestly can’t remember much of what they said during their little mini-interview. I remember admiring their outfits and internally squealing over how cute they all were, but that’s about it.
DAVICHI was next to walk the Red Carpet and by that time, I had enough of my wits about me to remember some of what they said. I remember Danny asking them what the concept for their outfits were and they, rather shyly, replying that it was a see-through concept (to which a large number of people in the audience cheered)… I remember standing in awe, wondering how I got to be so lucky as to be able to be in the presence of such incredible artists… But honestly, that’s about all I remember.
You would have thought that by the time DAVICHI walked off the Red Carpet, my inner fangirl would have calmed herself down and in all honesty, she probably would have, if BTS hadn’t made their appearance next. But they did. And I did. Oh! How I died! The second J-Hope made his brilliantly smiley, breath-catching, appearance on-stage, every fiber of my being wanted to cheer and squeal and swoon along with the rest of the fans. Ugh! The struggle at that moment, between my inner fangirl and my outer professional was so real! Lucky for me, my professional side was the stronger of the two and instead of squealing along with the crowd, I contented myself to taking as many photos as I could. My experience with BTS at the KCON Red Carpet in New York had taught me that there was no time to waste when it came to taking photos, as the boys never spent much time on-stage. (It also taught me that Suga is a punk; but that’s a whole other story!) Knowing that, I shot as many photos as I could during their brief appearance and walked away satisfied that I’d done my best. Of course, just as had been the case with SHINee the day before, I had no idea what sort of photos I’d captured until days later. And just as it had been with SHINee, I found myself very satisfied with the results. *happy sigh*
TTS was the last group to walk the Red Carpet that evening and their time on-stage was quite fun. With Girls’ Generation celebrating their 9 year anniversary and Tiffany celebrating her birthday, the trio had much to talk about. Of course with so much to celebrate, the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic, which only made the girls’ time on the Red Carpet that much more fun. Smiling and waving and shooting hearts to their fans’ the three members of TTS waved good-bye to their fans and with the end of their time on-stage, the evening’s event came to an end.
Being shooed out of the press area, my friends and I were barely able to snap our traditional “end of Red Carpet” photo together but we managed. Being herded out like cattle we barely had time to catch up with each other but we did our best. Knowing that our chances of meeting up with each other again were pretty slim, we said our last goodbyes before going our separate ways. I’m not gonna lie. As much fun as KCON is, it’s always painful when you have to say goodbye to your friends. Being spread all over the country, we really only get to see each other at events such as KCON and well, it just really sucks when a weekend as amazing as this one comes to an end. Still, I couldn’t be too upset as I had more friends to meet up with and one amazing concert to look forward to. Knowing that, I set off for the Staples Center, ready to let my inner fangirl run wild as I reveled in my last few hours at KCON 2016 LA.