Against my better judgment, I descended into the heart of Hongdae last Saturday evening. I mean, I like the Hongik University area a lot, but Saturday night the center of that neighborhood can get a bit out of control.
But Saturday, the Sangsang Madang arts space was holding a screening of the short films by Namkoong Sun, a talented young filmmaker, so I decided to check it out. You might know her music videos for Byul.org (“Pacific” and “Secret Stories Told by a Girl in an Opium Den”), as well as Neon Bunny and others. The screening was good fun, and several actors from her shorts showed up.
The after party was evidently going to go a lot later than I had the energy for, so I excused myself around 11 and took a walk through Hongdae, just to check out the neighborhood and see what it is like these days. No surprise, things were pretty crazy. Can you believe that, way back in the late 1990s, you could hit most of the Hongdae bars in an evening (well, at least the good ones)? But somehow the neighborhood keeps growing.
The park was, as usual, full of people and music. Perhaps this sign is as good a metaphor for Hongdae as anything:
It reads, “So not to inconvenience local residents, please no more live music in the park after sunset.” This photo was taken about 11:30pm, as yet another band started a set.
Anyhow, what I was there, a group called Monster People were playing. They are quite good — kind of an Interpol-like modern rock sound — so if you have the chance to catch them, I quite recommend it. Here’s some of their music over on Soundcloud:
The vibes were all pretty good that evening, at least while I was there. People were pretty blitzed, but I guess drunks don’t get belligerent and start fights until after midnight.
Looking at all the changes to Hongdae, the explosion of restaurants and cool things, I think I might start blogging about the neighborhood with some regularity. Every time I walk down an alley, I’m amazed by what I’m finding (in a good way, mostly). It’s fun to be back.