Monday, June 23, 2008

Is Rokon Off?

Just heard about an odd announcement on Facebook -- looks like the magazine Rokon is having a farewell party on June 27 at Sortino's in Itaewon. Does that mean Rokon is no more?

Seoul has several free English-language magazines -- ROKON, GROOVE, and ELOQUENCE (not to mention one not-so-free magazine, SEOUL). While Rokon was definitely the prettiest of the freebies, it was not exactly a fountain of music news or cultural insight. Probably for the best that the few people writing useful articles move over to the remaining mags and try to make something more substantial.

The history of English-language 'zines and publications in Korea is a sad but long one. The best way to learn about it is to pick up a copy of J. Scott Burgeson's book KOREA BUG, which has a great 70-page essay about English-language publications in Korea, from Ernest T. Bethell's KOREAN DAILY NEWS to Skunk Hell's BROKE IN SEOUL.

For an overview of more recent indie publications, like K-SCENE and ROKON, Scott has another essay here.


ZenKimchi said...

Don't know if it's officially dying or not, but I had a feeling ROKON wasn't long for this world, what with the politics that went on there.

I myself was involved with K-SCENE during its last gasps and currently write for SEOUL. Really liking the SEOUL gig, comparatively.

Scott said...

Hey Mark, thanks for the plug! Your new book is out soon, right? Good luck!

I think that just as "video killed the radio star," blogs in Korea killed off most of the zine/magazine stars.

But I will be putting out 6 or 7 zines myself come Sept., and of course you're invited to the launch party.

Will contact you soon with more details, and in the meantime, hope to see you at the barricades!

PS: Saw a couple of folks from Vice magazine the other night during the protests, so at least someone cool is still covering important local events for the hipster print segment. Funny, but I haven't seen anyone from Seoul magazine there so far!

aaron said...

WTF - some enterprising individual should franchise TIMEOUT like 50 other cities around the world... and put all these shitty free weeklys out to pasture.

hardyandtiny said...

is Groove out of business?