Hot Travel Trend: K-Pop Style Wedding Photography in South Korea

korean wedding photo shoot
one-11, Flickr

We’ve all heard of destination weddings, but would you travel to another country just to have your wedding photos taken? That’s the latest travel trend in Asia as increasing numbers of well-to-do Chinese couples head to South Korea to have their marriage immortalized on film.

Some Chinese feel that South Korea is more sophisticated when it comes to things like fashion, makeup and urban style, and believe that getting their photos taken there will result in a more glamorous finished product — not to mention give them bragging rights among friends and family back home. The idea of South Korea as a chic destination has been growing in China thanks to Korean pop videos, such as Psy’s “Gangnam Style” as well as South Korean TV shows.Newlywed couples take part in glamorous photo shoots in the city’s upscale neighborhoods, hoping to mimic the lifestyles of their favorite South Korean celebrities. However, it’s not just real locales that provide the backdrop for the wedding snaps — interestingly, many Chinese also get their bridal portraits taken in front of facades that resemble the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and other European destinations. Apparently, the Western sets look better when you’re ditching the traditional Chinese wedding attire for a white ball gown.

The whole concept has been a big boon for South Korean photographers, some of whom see 50 to 60 Chinese couples a month. But South Korean glamour photography doesn’t come cheap — wedding travel packages that include transportation, assistants and hotels can set a couple back $2000-$4000.

Pan Am: The first episode recap

pan amFrom Mad Men to The Playboy Club and everywhere in-between, the 60s are hot, hot hot on the small screen this season. Last week, we caught a sneak preview of ABC’s latest, Pan Am, at the DC-area Renaissance Capital View before it takes off on TV this Sunday at 10 PM (EST).

We’ll admit to being skeptical – any show featuring overly perky flight attendants just seems suspect – and reviews had ranged from downright terrible to middling-ly mediocre.

A word to the lovers of Mad Men: this isn’t it. Pan Am is a light and funny romp that touches on historic subjects with as much accuracy as possible but doesn’t aim for more than a fun hour in front of the television. It’s a glamorization of the “jet age” and (semi) embraces the new feminist ideals, sort of.

As with any pilot, it took some time to figure out who was who and what, exactly, was going on with all those flight attendants. But as we settled into the story, we were pleasantly surprised. The dialogue was for the most part well-written, with the occasional zinger of a line, and the story arc left plenty of room for further developments throughout the season.

What do you need to know? (Spoiler alerts ahead!)
Newly-minted captain Dean is sleeping with Bridgette, a sexy stewardess who also happens to be a CIA agent, although he doesn’t know it. He proposes, but she disappears shortly thereafter, much to Dean’s dismay.

Maggie, played by Christina Ricci, is a wild bohemian who fills her wish to travel by buttoning up and playing the rule-abiding flight attendant who may or may not have a thing for pilot Dean. While we didn’t get much of her personality in the first episode, there’s no doubt in our minds that she’ll amp up her screen time soon.

Sisters Kate and Lauren Cameron are highlighted in several scenes of the pilot. Kate, the eldest, has defied her parents wishes and become a Pan Am stewardess – and a CIA agent, although we’re not quite sure how she is smart enough to do so. We learn midway through that Lauren ran out on her own wedding to join her sister in her travels and that their love for each other may be tempered by a bit of competition and by Lauren’s naievete. Lauren, despite getting ample screen time in the first episode due to her Life cover feature, seems like she’s doubtful of her own abilities – will she stay in the flight crew?

Colette, the sexy French stewardess, takes the “coffee, tea or me” route as we learn she had an affair with a passenger, who shows up on the next flight … with his wife and child.

Historical accuracy, for the most part, exists, but the former stewardesses we spoke with during the party said that the uniforms were far too blue and that the stewardesses spent too much time interacting and not nearly enough time working.

Was it groundbreaking television? No. Was it amusing? Yes. Will we be watching, at least for the next few episodes? Of course.

Christina Ricci Talks to Kelly Ripa and Dana Carvey About Her New Show 'Pan Am' 09/23/11 - TV Replay

LEGO Love Boat gets surprise ship inspection

LEGO Love BoatProfessional LEGO builder Ryan McNaught knew that a lot of people would attend the Brickworld LEGO convention in Chicago where his model of TV’s Love Boat would be on display. But little did he know that among those visiting Brickworld would be actor Gavin MacLeod, captain of the original Love Boat.

MacLeod, a Princess Cruises ambassador, paid a visit to the convention to surprise McNaught. One of the few master LEGO builders in the world, McNaught had no idea he would come face to face with the real “Love Boat” captain.

Presented with his own captain’s hat, McNaught called the experience “mind blowing, especially after seeing him on TV for all those years.”

MacLeod was astounded by the ship constructed from more than 250,000 LEGO bricks. His surprise “inspection” revealed that the ship even features the TV show cast, with LEGO models of his own Captain Stubing, as well as purser Gopher, cruise director Julie, and even some of the show’s most famous guests.

The model features the exterior of the ship on one side, while the other side is an open cutaway showing everything from chefs in the kitchen to passengers working out in the health club. Flashing LED lights for the disco and tiny motors powering the propellers and elevators complete the replica.

The son of a Melbourne, Australia travel agent, the 36-year-old McNaught was inspired by the many cruises he has enjoyed over the years.

“I wanted to do something with character so I chose the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, and studied photos and deck plans to capture her features and her beauty,” McNaught told Gadling last January.

Oprah says good-bye to Chicago

Did you hear the new rumor about Oprah Winfrey? No, not that one! This one says that come 2011, her daytime talk show will leave Chicago and be based out of Los Angeles.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the big O planned on calling it quits way back in 2002, then again in 2006. At that point she renewed her syndication contracts through 2011. But now, it looks like she’ll be moving the show from national syndication to her very own OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) station.

While there’s no denying that Oprah’s success is a positive force for Chicago tourism (even those who can’t get the coveted tickets for her show will make the pilgrimage out to Harpo Studios to take a tour or shop at the Oprah Store), the daytime diva hasn’t really been all that connected with Chicago for many years. Sure, she tapes the show here, she flies in for special events, and she lobbied (unsuccessfully) for Chicago’s Olympic bid, but other than that, she doesn’t spend a whole lot of time here, preferring instead her gigantic estate in Montecito, California.

For tourists and die-hard Oprah fans, I’m sure she will be missed. For residents (especially those who had their commutes disrupted when she closed down the streets for her massive season launch party), it’s sad to lose an icon, but hey, we’ve still got the Sears Tower…..oh, wait, nevermind.

According to “entertainment insiders”, Oprah’s company will make the announcement outlining her plans to move, sometime in the next six months.

The TV Show The Office is Boosting Scranton Tourism

In case you don’t know this, Dunder Mifflin, the paper company of the show The Office isn’t in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It doesn’t even exist. That’s one thing about Scranton that’s fictitious. There are more. According to Jan Chaney’s Washington Post article Hooters isn’t in Scranton. Benihana isn’t either. Just because those places aren’t in Scranton, doesn’t mean every detail is made up. Local places do get mentioned to add a flavor of authenticity.

Because of The Office’s success, Scranton is getting a tourist following and the city is recognizing there is tourist dollar potential in maximizing the relationship between reality and fiction. At the end of October, 26-28, there is The Office Convention where fans of the show can converge on Scranton to meet some of the cast and participate in a variety of Office related activities. Screenings of episodes at movie theaters are part of it. So is a cast member look-a-like contest. All cast members aren’t coming, but who cares? The ones who are are a hoot. Check this link for the list and updates. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fisher and John Krasinski are currently not on the list.

You can purchase tickets on-line. Prices range from $25 to $250. Tickets that include visits with cast members are $50 and up.