kim photo of jeanhee kim

April 26, 2004

the importance of things

several weeks ago, i wrote about my “auntie han” who passed away, and how much i loved and will miss her. i also mentioned the only photograph of her and uncle han i had, which was ironically a terrible photograph—the camera malfunctioned and more than half of the image was washed in red.

a while ago my mom had read my blog and sent it to one of auntie han’s closest friends, sungja moon. well, this past week, sungja sent a letter to me, care of my mom. it reads, “i am mi-aie’s student from 14 years of age. she adored you. loved your personality, charm and your abilities.” enclosed was a beautiful photo of auntie mi-aie han. in it, auntie han is smiling, as though caught a little by surprise, and her hair is full and nearly all-white. her skin is radiant. i love it and have framed it and placed it on the piano.

incidentally, one of my favorite childhood memories of auntie and uncle han and our exciting trips into the city involved sungja. we were eating a chinatown banquet after taking in a show at a gallery or museum, i can’t remember which. it was a private room, a fact that will become important later. course after course we were fed incredible oddities to my child’s mind, the most interesting being snails still in their shell which I had to poke out with toothpicks, after picking off the little round cap that served as their front door, i suppose. as strange as the texture was, i loved it. now i might say it was really because of the black bean sauce. but at the time, who could say? i just ate and ate and found it all delicious.

then the entree arrived. it was peking duck. the duck was glazed and sitting on a platter with its neck in an odd curved position. and it was the whole duck, the head was still on the plate, propped up by the chefs to look like it was still attached, even though all of its body had been hacked into pieces! by that point, all the grown-ups had had plenty to drink and there was quite a bit of laughter and jokes in korean that i didn’t follow. so when sungja saw my distress at seeing the duck’s head on the plate, she said something like, “if you don’t like this, i’ll take care of it!”

with that, she grabbed the duck head with her napkin, wrapped it all up, and then with an exaggerated style like it was a baseball, she tossed it across the room!

the head gone. i happily ate the hacked-up duck.

jeanhee @ 4:01 pm

April 25, 2004

march on washington

luke and i woke up at 4:50 a.m. this morning to catch a bus down to washington d.c. for the women’s march. i cannot count the number of times i have done this trip since george w. bush has been in office. this was the largest march i’ve ever participated in, though. there were many times when we were stopped in our tracks simply because our numbers could not maneuver around street corners, or exit through the park without causing delays. it was just incredible. and to see so many new yorkers, too, made me proud.

luke took pictures.

and i have to give credit where it is due. the wonderful, efficient and organized folks at assemblyman richard gottlieb’s office were our bus captains. they—eliyanna, wendi and dan—and our bus driver matthew at one if by land charter bus company (our bus number was 1812) made the entire trip as comfortable and efficient as possible. the best bus trip we’ve had yet for a washington march.

anyway, since i’ve now been awake for more than 20 hours, i must go to sleep. let’s hope that our numbers made a difference and will motivate people to vote this november. i haven’t felt the power of voting so keenly before. this is not a time to think that a single vote doesn’t make a difference. it can!

jeanhee @ 11:44 pm

April 21, 2004

A broken record

Whenever the seasons change, it seems, my phone starts ringing with people calling about interesting job propositions. Often, I am intrigued, and am hopeful that THIS phone call will finally be the answer I have been seeking: a job that captures my imagination and will keep me shod and clothed with a roof over my head. Inevitably, however, I am disappointed and want to hide in my bed. I can’t count how many times I have lived this scenario in the last two years. Hopes up, hopes dashed, often in a single day!

Yesterday I received a phone call, followed up by an email with an appealing job description: executive editor, with some contribution to a sister web site, and some media exposure through public speaking and occasional television interviews or segments.

Although I would not necessarily want to have a full-time job in front of a camera, I really do enjoy occasional media appearances and public speaking. I always get an adrenaline rush and feel that it adds spice and variety to a job that would otherwise entail sitting in front of a computer. So any job that lists media experience is a plus! Especially when there are also serious editorial responsibilities.

Against my better judgment, I allowed myself to think this could actually be for real. I mentioned it excitedly to Luke. He liked the description enough, and even better when I mentioned the salary. I slept like a happy little clam.

Until this morning when the phone rang. The headhunter was calling to say that she hadn’t realized the company would move so fast but the position had already been filled. Would I be interested in another one that had opened up? I grudgingly said yes.

I shouldn’t have. One glance at the words, “Reports to Executive Editor” and “Requirements include five years experience in product packaging, retail, marketing, web or publishing” and I knew this one wouldn’t do.

So, yesterday I could be an executive editor and today I could do no better than report to one? How quickly we fall!

jeanhee @ 2:08 pm

April 19, 2004

Grand Harmonious Vaudeville

This weekend, Friday night, in fact, The Civilians held their third annual, and to date most successful benefit, Grand Harmonious Vaudeville. I am still on a bit of a high from it all. We raised more money than our conservative goals, but that’s very lucky for us since the company has unexpectedly gotten invited to perform for one month in London at The Gate Theatre. We can give our performers compensation to make the run more of a joy, rather than a burden.

I have fallen in love, okay, in deep like (my heart is Luke’s), with three individuals who made the whole event fantastic. Vincent Yuk, a manager at the Grand Harmony restaurant, Bayne Gibby, who performed her own distinctive comic songs, and Karen Ziemba, who performed an original piece by the Civilians’ musical director Michael Friedman.

Vincent is the man you want at your next event, whether it be just dinner, or a benefit attended by over 300 hungry, heavy-drinking, happy-seeking people. He had an answer for everything, I don’t think there was a single situation that stumped him. Ice Sculpture provided by Grey Goose, one of our major drink sponsors? Sure, we can provide a table to display it. Models bearing mini-martinis need trays to serve the drinks? Sure, we can provide trays. Need a knife and cutting board for slicing lemons and limes? Sure, we’ll make sure the bar is well-equipped with what you need. Do we want the red backdrop with golden dragon and phoenix? No, we want a plain backdrop during the show and to unveil the dragon and phoenix for the DJ afterparty with dancing, smoke machines, and open bar. Oh, and as soon as the show ends we need to clear all the tables from the dance floor. Sure, Sure and No problem.

He was the world’s easiest man to work with and made all of us feel confident and sure that we were in the hands of an experienced, unflappable professional.

At the event itself, we had two guest hosts, Bayne Gibby and Karen Ziemba. I was a little tongue-tied around Karen. I saw her in Contact at Lincoln Center several years ago and was thrilled she won the Tony for her exuberant, soul-stirring performance of a repressed housewife whose imagination soars into joyful, expressive dancing whenever her angry buffoon of a husband leaves the table to load his plate up at the buffet. Apparently unable to hold a conversation with her, all I managed to do was offer to get her a Grey Goose (sponsor product plug!) martini after she sang. I hope she noticed that the proffered martini was laden with all my expressions of deep awe and admiration for her talent!

I also got a bottle of Original Sin (sponsor product plug!) hard cider for Bayne Gibby after her performance, when she sang about her jealous thoughts while she stood in line for the showers at her gym, staring at the woman with a peaches-and-cream ass who was in line ahead of her. “Tiny Heinie Girl” nearly made me fall off my chair, I was laughing so hard. I hear the men in the audience could relate more to “Dating a Divorced Dude,” Bayne’s song about dating a rich, indulgent man twice her age (she doesn’t have a daddy complex, but look, he bought her a pony!).

Once the show ended and we cleared the dance floor, turned on the smoke machines, and started dancing to DJ Kozmik, I finally relaxed. The benefit was a success! Everyone enjoyed the show, we raised the money we needed, and we had impressed many by pulling off a professional event with minimal mishaps. So many people thanked me for my contribution, but I really had to hand all the credit to Vincent. With him in charge, there was so little for me to do. But I did take credit, finally, for finding him and the Grand Harmony. A more perfect venue for our third and best benefit could not have existed.

I was telling all of this to Luke’s grandmother, who generously sent a donation to The Civilians, although she couldn’t attend. She told me that maybe I should consider a future in benefit planning and I told her that I have often thought of leading tours and advising people who are visiting New York City on how to best enjoy their stay. People call me all the time to ask about restaurant and bar suggestions. Hmmm. There might be something to this that I should think further about. I really do enjoy planning and providing entertainment for people. Hosting, guiding, that sort of thing. Is there a career there for me?

jeanhee @ 12:08 am