BTS launches ‘Connect,’ a global art project

By Nadine Kam I

BTS is not only a music phenomenon, but a cultural phenomenon, and one reason for the group’s popularity has been its use of its influence to foster optimism and forward thinking around the globe. This time, they’ll be doing it through art, with a new global project called “Connect, BTS,” a series of large-scale art projects involving 22 artists and five cities on four continents.

Experience the sights and sounds of a first via Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s “Catharsis,’ at https://catharsis.live

The intent is to connect people across continents, via art. The first work, an immersive audio-visual forest experience titled “Catharsis,” by Jakob Kudsk Steensen, opened yesterday at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Other works will be unveiled Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York through spring.

Kim Taehyung is the group’s resident art lover and painting enthusiast, and during tour downtimes is known for seeking out museums and galleries. He has surprised gallerists around the world by walking into their galleries and openings unannounced, and leaving with purchases.

You can read more about the project at the links below:

Art News: https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/bts-art-project-1202675373/
BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51106206

BTS’s V (Kim Taehyung) is known for his love of the arts and has been known to introduce himself abroad as Vincent Van Gogh.

While BTS is once again building bridges around the world and spreading their brand of positivity, inclusiveness, culture, artistry and intelligence, it made me think of their detractors, for whom BTS seems to be a trigger for their xenophobic and homophobic sentiments.

BTS’s army of fans has a history of going after such detractors, and in doing so, amplify their rants. Two of the biggest trash talkers have mocked Army for doing just that, and in so doing only spread the negativity and increased the audience of those pot-bellied buffoons with dinosaur-age thinking.

RM at a museum in Vienna.

They think of Army as no more than “a bunch of teen-age girls,” but already those “teen-age girls” are a force to be reckoned with and will be the ones wielding political might in the future. Yes, they pool their resources to do some pretty fangirl things, like buying billboards in Times Square, newspaper ads and subway ads to celebrate their favorite K-pop stars’ birthdays, but following BTS’s lead, they’ve also used their numbers and resources to build wells in Africa and fund humanitarian projects around the globe. Connected through a love of BTS, they’re able to mobilize for good causes.

Jin (Kim Seok Jin) in a key scene from the “Blood, Sweat & Tears” music video.

So, going forward, I am not naming those major detractors in favor of suggesting a new tack. That is, just ignore the naysayers. The impulse of Army has always been to protect and defend BTS, but for the most part, the antis are nobodies who want attention. So, don’t give it to them. Don’t give them a voice so they can just go back and crawl back under the rock from which they emerged.

Kim Taehyung in a key scene from the the “Blood, Sweat & Tears” music video, with a painting attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder. “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” in the backdrop. Just analyzing the artwork in this video could be the subject of a college course!

The ones most vocal in the west most only reveal themselves to be intellectually inferior, racist homophobes. History will have no place for them, but BTS is already in the pantheon of greats as musicians. As a force for change, fostering peace and diversity, they are doing much more than politicians. Imagine if they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize sometime in the future. Then the whole world would have to pay attention.

And based on some early numbers, there are more who want to hear their messages. Today their management company Big Hit Entertainment announced that “Map of the Soul: 7” has sold a record 3.42 million preorders in its first week of availability, making it likely that the album to be released Feb. 21, will top sales of last year’s chart-topping “Map of the Soul: Persona,” which sold 2.685 million preorders in its first five days.

BTS makes history on SNL stage

By Nadine Kam I

BTS made history April 13 as the first Korean group to perform on “Saturday Night Live” in its 44 years. It was a big night for both parties, and my feeling is that SNL needed them more.

After telling all my friends to watch the show for BTS, I actually fell asleep for about 15 minutes while waiting for them to appear. Part of it was the result of being in a food coma from having dinner at GEN Korean BBQ’s official grand opening Pearlridge Center. The other part was that the rest of the show hosted by Emma Stone was soooooo boring. It just reaffirmed why I stopped watching the show a year ago after discovering K-pop.

Here’s a quote from Bustle.com that echoes my sentiment:

“While an SNL performance is usually a big deal for musical artists, this episode marked the rare occasion that getting a particular musical guest seemed to actually be a big deal for SNL. It’s not every week that SNL ends up being the top trending topic in America, and the group’s presence seems to have brought a whole new audience to the show that may not usually stay up to watch live.”

😋: How I ate that sent me to sleep

I was able to catch the performance of “Mic Drop” but it’s an old one for them. I guess they chose to perform that song because it’s one they haven’t performed on any of their American award show appearances, and their last album, “Love Yourself: Answer’s” most powerful group song was “Idol,” which they’d performed a lot in this country. Much of the album was filled with solo songs from each member that help to give the group a rest from strenuous choreography during their live shows. While one is on stage, the others can take a breather.

I was able to catch their performance of “Boy With Luv” online after the show, and over two days probably watched it about 30 times. I loved seeing how happy and relaxed they were on stage. I loved seeing Taehyung’s (blue hair) smiles and expressions, and of course Jimin (orange hair) was as sexy as expected. They were all in such a good mood.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was really looking forward to hearing Halsey on the new BTS song. I have to admit I was a little disappointed by how small her vocal part was in the music video, but she does get a verse in the recording. I believe they downplayed her vocal because they don’t want audiences to get accustomed to hearing her voice and miss it when she’s not there during their concerts.

With 74.6 million views in one day, the MV for “Boy With Luv” broke the record for the biggest 24-hour debut, that was set by compatriots Black Pink just one week ago for “Kill This Love.” That video had 56.7 million views in 24 hours.

Although fans loved the colorful MV, they seemed to enjoy the SNL performance even more for the same reasons I did. It was trending at No. 2 on YouTube for two days, topped only by the new “Star Wars Episode 9” trailer.

👁 🎧 “Boy With Luv” video and explainer by DKDKTV

V’s ‘Scenery’ of life

By Nadine Kam I

Like Jimin before him, BTS’s V (Kim Tae-hyung) has released a self-composed song, “Scenery,” this time just ahead of the Lunar New Year, on Jan. 30.

An avid photographer, V expressed the bittersweet feeling of those beautiful, precious moments in life that pass all too soon, in a slow-tempo, song with his signature melancholy low, breathy vocals, expressing the desire to capture those moments in memory and on film. 

The song has available as a free download on Soundcloud. You can find it here https://soundcloud.com/bangtan/kimv01

As usual, the song is so beautiful, I felt compelled to make a video for the first part of it. The song itself is nearly 5 minutes long and I recommend turning up the volume to listen to it.

Happy V-day Kim Tae-hyung!

By Nadine Kam

Our birthday boy V, Kim Tae-hyung from BTS, turns 23 (24 in Korean culture) Dec. 30, so I made a video in appreciation of the person I consider to be one of two ultimate cute boys (BTS’s Jimin is the other).

It was hard to finish the video because there are so many photos and videos of him I would have loved to incorporate.

It’s easy to make fangirl videos of Tae because he works so hard at making people happy, and tends to be the one running around on stage doing aegyo and lots of crazy things to the point a lot of people call him weird or refer to him as “the dumb blond of BTS.”

Initially, I thought the same way, but I have since learned he acts that way to bring cheer to his fellow members and to fans because he considers it to be his job to be “on” whenever cameras are rolling. He has been through a lot with the loss of grandparents, including the grandmother who raised him, and untimely death of friends in the past couple of years, but K culture in general is one of steeliness, and K-pop stars are required to put up a smiley front even in light of tragedy in their personal lives.

He does have eccentricities that I now believe come from being very intelligent and artistic, who understands the nature of human desire and importance of symbolism.

BT21 Tata by V.

He developed the BT21 character Tata as an alien with a heart-shaped head, that he predicted would be successful, when other BTS members didn’t fully understand his concept. Their own characters were mostly rooted in familiar animals used frequently in the character/animation world.

He also coined the phrase “I purple you,” which caught on with millions of people after he defined it this way: “Purple is the last color of the rainbow colors so it means I will trust and love you for a long time.”

Over the past two years, Taehyung has topped several international lists
of the world’s most handsome men.

There is so much more to Tae than a pretty face, which makes him all the more fascinating to watch. To be honest, I didn’t take much interest in him when I first got into BTS. He was one of those people who are too good-looking. Subconsciously, and perhaps wrongly, I associate great beauty with such negative traits as shallowness and vanity, so I ignored him. I have since changed my mind, and consider him to be a person beautiful inside and out.

In the Western calendar, he is a hard-working, ambitious Capricorn. In the Chinese calendar, he was born in the Year of the Pig or Boar, like me, Both signs indicate a certain degree of stubbornness and waywardness, as people who just want to do what they want to do.

In the K-pop world, Tae is unusual because of his deep lyric baritone voice. K-pop favors tenors.

I see that in him. Recently, I had a reading that said I should not do stupid or wrong things this year because it is a year of self-punishment and self-sabotage. That is, if we do something as simple as eating lots of hamburgers, when we know it’s not good for our health, it will hurt us.

I hope Tae finds out and is good to himself this year. Because he is headstrong, I can see how he could get into trouble.

So Tae, you are such a wonderful person. Your health and happiness means everything to me and BTS ARMY. There will always be haters, but they don’t mean a thing when the rest of us purple 💜 you!