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North American Tour

Wednesday, 25 June, 2014

I am paying rapt attention to a pop-culture phenomenon, which I am not prone to doing. When they are safely home, I will add proper nouns to this. Some of you who know me in life, or whatever, know who I am talking about anyway.

Our story so far. In January the organization behind a major American artist approached a relatively obscure Korean girl group to become that performer’s opening act for North American dates this Summer. They could only commit to a month of touring, but even so these 13 dates are the largest tour ever for a Korean performer of any kind in North America.

The company behind this group has been formed around their relative success. It is tiny, consisting of four acts two of which have launched within the last two months. Since the announcement in March of this tour I’ve been waiting for some kind of media push in the US. Anything. I’m still waiting. They didn’t hire a US-based publicist, or if they did I hope this person never works again, or assumed their mere association with the American performer would do something that doesn’t actually happen here. This is malpractice. With just a meager push the idea that this group you never heard of who dress up kind of like superheros from a country adult Americans don’t know have a whole pop-culture universe to themselves is going on an unprecedented tour should get some kind of traction.

The selection was made on the basis of a single video clip. They will be doing a 30-minute show. This “girl group” has a NA fanbase, of which I am obviously a part. I’ve spent part of the last couple of months trying to estimate the number of fans they have over here. So many factors go into this, I shall not bore you with the details. On the assumption that 1% of any fandom is passionate enough to play a notable role in their internet support community, and the communities for this group are so intimate their existence alone serves as a invitation to the less passionate, a generous estimation would be 2500-5000 fans in the US. No more than 100K have so much as heard of them beyond the group’s name. You can’t tour on that. They played at a kpop event in Los Angeles in May. In front of that friendly audience response was tepid. Clearly even that audience didn’t know who they were and was not compelled by their unconventional antics.

Their “company” is letting their tiny, personally funded US fanbase attempt to do the heavy lifting. That’s not how it works, at least over here.

As this goes to post they arrive in Milwaukee, their first foray into the US beyond Los Angeles, to begin the tour. They will be on stage within six hours following a 22-hour transit including clearing customs and otherwise sitting around for five hours in Chicago. During shows and avails in Korea over the last two weeks the group looks like they’ve been through hell. God knows what The Company has been putting them through due to their perverse notions of whatever might happen in the US. A major American talk show has featured one of their songs on a segment which might provide some leeway to at least getting on TV. Bupkis.

Meanwhile the publicity has been handled so poorly. The sponsoring performer’s organization is all but publicly regretting the whole thing. Somehow The Company acquired an e-mail list and sent out an especially vague message written by someone whose first language isn’t English (they have US-educated people on the payroll, so there was no excuse for this) to night clubs in the US soon after the announcement of the group joining the tour. Presumably with the interest of getting additional dates. The name of the group was not mentioned. There was no response. The group which follows them on the next leg of the same tour has already announced additional dates.

I have more angrystan-like posts pending. When I attempt to write seriously these days it just all come out as so much redundant goop. Among these posts is the last-ever Hamburger Diary, with the principle behind ending the series. I have views on geopolitics and so forth I just want to get out into the world.

For the next four weeks how these five women are getting hurt, personally and professionally, by their naive management will be a fixation, and you will be seeing it here.


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