Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seoul Open Night

Imagine Paris experiencing at the same time its Nuit Blanche, Paris Plage, and the Fête de la Musique. That would be Seoul this Saturday, August 22nd :

- "Seoul Plage" (1st edition) is a private and rather feeble attempt to copy the Parisian event (itself a copy of a concept created by the city of Saint Quentin) on one segment of Hangang riverside. So let's forget about it.

- The "Fête de la Musique" would be the Seoul Fringe Festival (12th edition, until August 29th). I'll get back to that later.

- And the equivalent to "Nuit Blanche" is "Seoul Open Night". The said "night" doesn't stretch as far as it does in Paris but it starts at 2 pm and, for the second edition, its limits have been pushed from 10 pm to midnight, which makes the label much more relevant... The concept is basically the same : the city opens its museums and galleries during one special night when many cultural events take place, casting a new light on an art capital.

To go from one Seoul Open Night spot to another, I won't be riding a Seoul Velib', but my own Korean bike.

Seoul Open Night will last from 2 pm to 12 pm on Saturday the 22nd, 2009 across 6 locations, but the program may change due to yesterday's tragic news : following
Kim Dae-jung's death, the general mood is not set on partying mode...

Here are a few of the many events initially planned * :

- Seoul Plaza : free "opening" ceremony between 7 and 8 pm featuring Major OH Se-hoon and singer LEE Seung-hwan. I guess that would be the place to pay a formal tribute to DJ (I'm not talking about the Disk Jockey).

- Hongdae : Seoul Open Night will spice up the Seoul Fringe Festival, a free market will be held at the usual spot (Hongdae Playground) between 7 and 12 pm, street performances, indie concerts... A KRW 10,000 Unlimited Cultural Pass includes entrance to 12 live clubs and theaters.

- Daehangno : the usual hotspots, and a free concert at Marronnier Park (8 to 9 pm).

- Jeong-dong : various events around the Deoksugung (concert) and along Deoksugung-gil (including meetings with Nanta performers). All key museums and parks will be opened until midnight.

- Bukchon : most galleries open until midnight free of charge (there's a 10,000 Cultural Pass including admission to 12 paid museums and galleries in the area). At Jaedong Elementary School crossroad, a Bukchon Traditional Street Performance and Food Feast will be held between 7 and 11 pm.

- Insa-dong : most galleries open until midnight free of charge, many performances are held, and Ssamziegil visitors can enjoy a free traditional craftwork training.

Not all events are free, and some even require bookings (ie architectural tours highlighting key city landmarks). So check the program of
Seoul Open Night on Seoul city website or directly on the SON website (cafe.naver.com/seoulopennight).

Seoul Village 2009

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