Puma in Seoul: The Weekend & Star King, Take 2!

One of those perfect moments: Exploring a city in light rainfall...
Sunday was a free day, for which I was very thankful as I'd had a pretty late night. I was glad to sleep in. That afternoon I was fortunate enough to make lunch plans with Allen Choi, Map The Soul CEO and candidate for "Nicest Guy on Earth." I was hoping for the chance to meet him in person during my stay in Seoul, so I felt really honored that he took some time outta his busy schedule. Those of you familiar with Epik High already love them. Done.Actually, I've never met a dude(tte) who didn't like Epik High...but IF you're out there somewhere, I hope you enjoy sucking balls, Professor Dumbass. I've always admired those guys and much moreso now. I commend them for severing their major label ties and expressing themselves on their own terms. It's some brave shit to do...luckily, Epik High isn't some vapid hologram of talent, like many of those fished from the corporate cesspool (ugh, don't get me started). They're 100% authentic and any true hip-hop head would promptly recognize such. Uh, and if you don't know, NOW YOU KNOW, nigga, uh!
Ooh ooh, and they're coming to the US next month! I'll prolly check out the San Francisco show (of course), but they ARE gonna be in NY on my birthday...so I dunno. That's definitely tempting. Then again, the economy is on life-support, so I think I'll choose the option that involves a $1.50 BART ticket as opposed to a $500 plane ticket. Yay for the Bay!

We had lunch at T.G.I.Friday's...I wanted to see if it would be the same as those in the States. And well, yes...yes it is, haha. But I did notice that US chains in Seoul have strange juice options, all exotic and unsuitable for greasy American cuisine. Like aloe & coconut juice or pomegranite & butter cocktail... For example, I ate at Outback Steakhouse one day and a large mango puree came with my meal for free. I woulda paid them to take it back. "Thanks, miss! Can't wait to wash down these thick ass mashed potatoes with some thick ass mango puree!"
"MapTheSoul.com so CRAZY! I wan' my TEE-SHIRT, young man!"
Anyway, I enjoyed chatting with Allen. I learned quite a lot from him. Turns out he's an ex-San Franciscan...he even said that he's familiar with my BF Seanbaby's work, which was really wild to me. I thought to myself, "Wow, he really has an eye for true talent!" *wink* +5 points to me for Ultimate Girlfriending!

So, once more, I'd like to send out a huge THANK YA MUCH to Allen. He even mentioned me on his blog...very radtastic, and the comments were all quite positive. I especially like those suggesting a Map the Soul/Pumashock collaboration - I really hope they let that idea sink in and marinate...oh yes indeed... XD

Now...back to the drama.
Right before lunch, I got a call from Mike. He told me there were some "schedule updates" from Star King. Aw, dammit. I already knew something was up. Apparently, the tip-top person at the show decided that, since the show had already been postponed one week, I should only appear on the one episode I'd already taped. They felt it would be odd to have me on the show 3 weeks later. Instead, they'd only have me tape the dance performance I'd been preparing and edit that into the first episode. Okay. Fine. I understand the logic behind the decision, but I was still very disappointed. Earlier that week, they told me that they wanted to really support me and focus on putting together a great performance that would really show my skill - I think they understood how overwhelming that first night was for me with the script and all the changes and such, so they wanted me polished, comfy and confident this time. They wanted me to shine because they believed in me (Awww! I love them, btw...such great people). I really appreciated this and relished the opportunity...so I worked my butt off at the dance rehearsals and singing classes they arranged. I was SO excited about the next show taping.
I know what you're thinking... No, I'm not a professional photographer.
So to have that all (well, 75% of it) suddenly taken away did upset me a little...but such is showbiz, eh? Like I said, I understand the reasoning...it's just unfortunate and disappointing, is all. The thing that sucked most is that they kept the dancing performance over the singing performance. I really wanted to sing more than anything since the MUSIC is what I do and I wasn't satisfied with my first singing performance...I even had a new remix that I was going to debut on the show... so I was sad that it had to be scrapped. I felt pretty discouraged all day...but I realized that I shouldn't stress it. At least I was still able to do something (I wouldn't be surprised if the producers fought for that much), so I was determined to give a good dance performance. Things change. You gotta make the best of the situation you're given, right?
On the bright side, this cracked the remainder of my schedule wide open. There was no point staying in all day pouting about it anymore, so I decided to go out and do some sightseeing, now that my evening rehearsal had been cancelled. Mike came by and we went to see the royal palace...too bad we got there 10 minutes too late to go in, haha! I guess things close early on Sunday all over the world, eh? I took photos anyway and spied some ways to sneak in...I decided this was a bad idea. Could you imagine - "Pumashock savagely gunned down by Royal Palace guards!" That's not exactly the impression I wanted to leave behind...

These guys screamed "GEE GEE GEE" at me as I walked by... I had to go back for a photo. Cuteness.
Cheonggyecheon - loosely translated "River of Spanish Fly"
We walked through Isadong which was way too crowded for comfort... and the amount of tourists was totally killing the cultural vibe for me, haha. I didn't come all the way to Korea to see a bunch of white folks! Besides, what was I seriously gonna buy there? A 10-lbs tea set to lug back home...? Other nebulously Asian knick-knacks? I'll pass, thank you very much. However, I DID buy a little stuffed puppy toy from an old lady on the sidewalk (he's featured in my "big chop song" video, btw...riveting performance). We walked along Cheonggyecheon and snapped a few pictures. There must be something in the air around there, 'cuz we witnessed some hardcore making-out...and not the hot, sensual kind of making-out - more like the "ouch, are you serious? that looks really uncomfortable! have you even ever kissed before? WAIT, dammit, did you just swallow my uvula?!" kind of making-out. It was both awkward and hilarious. After dinner, I returned to the hotel and hopped into bed. I'd made my peace with the new situation and wanted to do well the next day!

Dr. Puppy & Seanbaby play Nintendo DS in bed. Not sure why (or how) Dr. Puppy is wearing my jacket, though... Sean claims he thought it was really me all along.
The next morning, I woke up sick to my stomach. I seriously wanted to give up the ghost. It was really bizarre...it's like my entire midsection just twisted into a big knot... I could barely stand...and when I did, I hunched over like Sophia Petrillo. Ms. Kim came to pick me up at about 9 am, and I tried to keep it together.
Again, for you fetuses out there... Sophia Petrillo.
We went to have my makeup done and it was all I could do to keep from crying my mascara out. It sucked too, because the ladies at the salon were wonderful and I think the artist did a great job. I actually still looked African-American when she finished! Woo hoo! But seriously, I was happy with the makeup and I wasn't about to ruin that nice woman's work. Once we left the salon, I couldn't stand it anymore and Ms. Kim took me to a pharmacy. I got some medicine for my stomach pain, but I couldn't take it until I ate...which would be quite an accomplishment as my stomach was busy imploding. When we got to the tv station, I found a quiet corner in the building and just zoned out. I was in pain, but I didn't want to sulk around whining in front of everybody. That's not kool. I had to suck it up until the performance was over.

What a doll. I'm really happy I didn't yack all over her...
At this point, I considered it a blessing that I only had to dance! I forced myself to eat something so that I could medicate immediately. It took a while, but I started to feel a teensy bit better. The only remaining obstacle was the wardrobe. I was pretty nervous - I had no idea what they were gonna come up with for my "sexy" dance number. After my "flat-liner librarian" look the previous week, I was expecting to be dressed in a Christian school gym uniform. OR a silver fishnet catsuit with the nipples out. It really could have gone either way. Suddenly, floating towards me on a wire hanger, there it was - an asymmetrical black dress covered in huge gold sequins...very "off-Broadway" Dreamgirls. It weighed a ton and I clanged like a walking junkyard. It was cute though and I DID feel pretty fancy. I knew right away that I had to change the whole vibe of that "Rainism" dance...there was no way I was gonna be pumping around like MC Hammer in a dress like that. I had to get way girlie with it. They decided the dress was too long and set the wardrobe staff to pinning the dress up a few inches.
Are you ready to get your ass reamed, Dignity?!
There was an uncomfortable number of pins in that thing! One wrong body roll and I'd be skewered alive! After being properly slutted up, I had to mention "You know...I have this part in the dance where I have to get on the ground and writhe around a la Prince...maybe I shouldn't do that now. I wouldn't want to expose my birth canal to all of Korea!" They handed me a pair of bike shorts. Well, okie dokie then. Writhe I shall! I drew the line at the shoes, though. Of course, they wanted stipper high heels, but there was no way I was gonna do that dance on a 4-inch incline. I had to return home with my dignity, not a broken leg. So I danced barefoot...which seemed like a good idea, until I got to the stage and my feet were immediately covered in dust. Great. Now I'll have dirty feet on national tv. GEE GEE GEE!
Anyway, I did my best. Once again, I was given all these last minute instructions, which I couldn't possibly retain 5 seconds before going on stage. So I resolved to just do it as I'd practiced and try to have a good time...and a good time I had, my friends! It was fun dancing around on stage and going over to Boom and grinding on him (from a safe distance), haha. He's so funny and such a good sport. If I could go back in time, I woulda totally picked him as Top Boy on the first show.

After I finished with the dance, my tummy started rejecting itself again, so I removed my dressy suit of armor and got the hell out of there. Mike and I had dinner together and parted ways for the final time. I was truly sad! He's a great guy and I was happy to spend the week with him - from rent-a-friends to friends forever. Beautiful, ain't it?

I took a nice long rest and did some last minute shopping for 'Thank You' gifts for Ms. Kim and Mike. My time in Seoul was drawing to a close! It was the speediest coupla weeks of my life.

Easily the best thing on Korean TV. It came on every night and never ceased to amuse me... Who knew such moon technology existed! Check 1:45 for the proof!

...stay tuned for "The Final Day aka I left a piece of my soul in..." nope nope, nevermind. That's stupid.


Contact Pixel at pixel@pixelgamemusic.com

All rights reserved. (c) 2008