Downstairs feels like the bar in your friend’s basement–but not in a sad, moldy way. Let’s imagine that your friend has great taste and is also a skilled carpenter who handsomely remodeled the entire space with dark woods and installed the closest thing to a fireplace you’re going to find in Korea. Let’s also imagine that your friend has more than Hite and stale bar snacks to offer you. This friend is sounding more like a friend I want to have.
On any given night Downstairs could be packed with foreign teachers and Keimyoung University students, or a respite from the work week for a couple of regulars posted at the bar, chatting with the bartender, and inviting you to have a seat. The mood is relaxed and the place feels homier than any other bar I’ve been to in Daegu. NFL flags hang from the ceiling, but Downstairs is only a sports bar if there is a crowd large enough who want it to be. It’s the place that will play the song you want to hear. It’s the bar that mixes you that one cocktail that you like and cannot for the life of you get any other bartender in Daegu to make because it’s not on the menu.
This weekend, take a break from downtown and head to Keimyung on Deagu’s west side. Follow the blue light down the stairs from the street and a stack of [b]racket magazines will greet you at the door. Pick one up, order a drink, and feel good about supporting an awesome business that supports the [b]racket mag you love.
Downstairs is open Tuesday thru Sunday from whenever you get off work until whenever things get quiet. That tends to usually be 7PM-3AM.
If you are walking from Keimyung University’s East Gate, cross the street and head west (away from campus). Walk half a block and take a right at the NH bank on the corner. Take your first left, and Downstairs will be the second stairway on your left.
– Lisa Highfill
Seoul radio station TBS gave [b]racket some air time last week. Our multiple hat-wearing support team member Julian voiced the motivations, intentions and hopes for our magazine to the public. Take a listen to the radio spots below to hear the whole story of the origins of [b]racket, and why we treat treat the magazine as a “portable gallery” for all of our readers to enjoy. You can also learn a bit more about a few of Daegu’s smaller art gems such as The Pollack bookstore and Gallery [t.]
As Julian mentions in the following clips, we’ve “published 14 issues, held art shows for artists at Keimyung University, found support from Daegu Gyeoungbuk Design Center (DGDC), and started a gallery space” all in just a little over a year. Not bad for a little Daegu art mag, huh?
All of this cannot be mentioned without a huge, echoing THANK YOU to everyone who has picked up an issue of [b]racket, attended our shows at Keimyung University’s Black Gallery or Gallery [t.], contributed their art or writing or time, or advertised with us. There are no self-made men (or magazines), and we know that without all of you art lovers we wouldn’t have come nearly this far.
– Lisa Highfill
With the exception of the terribly misogynistic pop hit, I love blurred lines. When two or more definitively different groups start to merge and subsequently confuse people, it makes me feel all warm on the inside. It’s exciting to see ideas that were previously mutually exclusive come together to create something new, especially in the world of art.
In the past, comics and animation have been seen as entertainment for children rather than “legitimate” forms of high art to be appreciated and explored. But why can’t animation and comics as mediums or subject matter be considered fine art if there is a meaning and message behind it all? Animation and comics, often childlike in their honesty and enthusiasm, have proven to be very useful tools of social critique.
The Animamix Biennale at Daegu Art Museum is currently exhibiting artwork that allows viewers to enjoy the youthfulness and unpredictability of comic and animation art. Many of the pieces in the biennale mix what some would consider the polar opposites of “high” and “low” art. For example, Jeong Soyoun’s realistic oil paintings of fluffy clouds and sunsets serve as backdrops for cultural cartoon icons. Jeong’s paintings surprised me at first; I couldn’t seem to quickly classify them as one type of art or another. The lines were blurred. I was a little confused. And it all made me supremely happy.
Other works featured at the Animamix Biennale include a comically disheveled and oversized Pooh Bear, a meditative Mickey Mouse, and a “bilateral theater” made out of plastic storage crates on which you can lounge and enjoy an animated film that might teach you more about the meaning of life than you thought pencil drawings set to music ever could.
The Animamix Biennale runs until February 2nd. Let your childlike attraction to cartoons draw you in and your critical grown up side think it all over.
How to get there:
Subway: Daegu Grand Park Station on subway line #2 at Exit No.5
A shuttle bus that runs every 30 minutes can take you from the subway station to the museum for free. Or you can say, “Eff this, it is way too cold to wait for a shuttle,” and take a cab from the station.
The 604 and 403 busses also stop at the museum.
– Lisa Highfill
As you might have picked up by now, us [b]racket folk love to promote artists living in Korea. We recently stumbled upon a store in downtown Daegu that is doing just that. Social Market opened its doors less than two months ago and is full of handmade crafts and unique pieces from artists throughout Korea. As I was browsing today I was kicking myself for not making it to this place before Christmas! I spotted loads of small pieces that would have made perfect gifts. The work for sale includes small art prints, handmade jewelry and bags, pottery, cards, and countless other handcrafted items. I recommend ordering a coffee at the counter and moseying upstairs to the loft to flip through their selection of art books and magazines.
I picked up two small prints from artist Gwon Soojeong for (get ready for it) 3,000 won (WHAT?? I thought it was a mistake. It was not.) I had to stop myself from buying a SICK handmade bag because I have too many bags–but if we’re being totally honest I’ll go back and get it this weekend because can you really have too many awesome bags?
In addition to selling unique items Social Market is also holding crafting events throughout the month of January. Check out the schedule of classes and directions below.
Making A Grain Hand Warmer by Titisae
Jan. 11th (Sat) @ 2PM
12,000won (including material fee)
Making A Dream Catcher by Yudali
Jan. 18th (Sat) @ 6PM
30,000won (including material fee with free drinks)
Making ‘Wish’ Bracelets by Hohogangi
Jan. 25th (Sat) @ 3PM
20,000won (including material fee for a pair of bracelets with free drinks)
How to get there:
From Exit 3 of Jungangro Station on Line 1, go one block straight (on bus street) and you’ll see Dong-a pharmacy (동아약국). Social Market is right next to the pharmacy.
– Lisa Highfill
What to do, what to do. Already went to the new gallery [t.]. Saw the Animamix exhibition at Daegu Art Museum. Went to the Art Factory. What’s left to do on my cultural checklist? Don’t worry, there is another spot you may not have ventured to yet. The wonderfully weird ARC should be next on your list of Daegu art destinations.
The structure, which looks a lot like that spaceship from Flight of the Navigator, is on the westside of Daegu, past Keimyung University at Daesil station. The space is on an expansive concrete pavilion situated on the river, and hosts rotating art exhibitions throughout the year. There is a super cool seamless 360° projection screen on the second floor as well. And don’t worry, there is the requisite cafe on the top floor. You can find some handy instructions on getting there here, but we recommend borrowing one of the free bikes from the Daesil subway station and riding over there.
Oh, and one more thing. Not to toot our own horn, but we got some more media attention from The Korea Herald last week. You can see the article here. Yay!
– Jess Hinshaw
Do all expats in Korea eventually turn in to grumpy kimchi-hating perpetual eye-rollers? It can sometimes feel that way. [b]racket artist Kevin Kilgore (featured in the September issue) recently had something to say about the cure for his own bad attitude in the Korea Herald this week.
“It’s so easy to start complaining about life in Korea, especially when you’ve been here for a while,” he told the Herald. “So, I figured I’m here for a reason, and I must like it here, so why not draw about that?”
And so he did. Things I Love About Korea is one of Kilgore’s ongoing projects. The name says it all; he is compiling a list of things he loves about living in the ROK and draws comics to illustrate his points. I found myself agreeing with a lot of “loves” on his list, such as Korea’s delicious and inexpensive food or all the “freebies” that come heavily taped to products you buy at the grocery store. While scrolling though some of Kilgore’s comics I even began to feel a bit sappy and sentimental about those interactions and occurrences that we can only experience here in Korea. Then I remembered how much people spit in the street and got a hold of myself.
But remember to focus on the positives, folks, and keep up with all the Korean things Kevin loves (you probably love ’em too) at his blog.
Check out the article at the Korea Herald which features Kilgore and a number of other artists who have experienced and create comics based on expat life in the country we love, and admittedly, sometimes love to hate.
– Lisa Highfill
You know what Daegu needs? It could really use a bimonthly rotating art gallery in a convenient area of downtown where people can grab a coffee, check out fantastic art, and even buy a piece or two if they really dig it.
Oh look! We happen to have one right here!
I am beyond excited to announce the opening of Gallery [t.]–the result of combined efforts between [b]racket and our longtime supporter T. Morning.
In celebration of this collaboration’s maiden voyage we’ll be keepin’ it in the family with works by our very own Christopher Cote, Jess Hinshaw, and Sybille Cavasin. This first round of art will be displayed from now until February 2nd. After that we’ll be changing it up to feature the artists you know and love from past [b]racket issues.
Be sure to make it out for the opening reception on December 21st from 7-10 P.M.
Gallery [t.] and T. Morning (they are one and the same) are located just outside of Daegu Station. Check out the map below for easy navigating.
– Lisa Highfill