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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

army 4 lyfe

with the bean's beloved BTS on hiatus, it seems that their management has been doing everything they can to make sure that their absence doesn't result in losing their immense fan base.  army is pretty rabid about their boys though, with every avenue of social media continuing to be peppered daily (if not hourly) with posts that reminisce of days past, what the individual members are currently doing, speculation about what lies ahead.  but their management company is pretty savvy about all of this, as evidenced by the pop-up exhibits and merchandise shops that they've set up on a fairly regular basis.

when they announced ticket sales for a new exhibit called "proof," named after their last album, lilcee and i were all over it.  and so, as it turned out, was the hub.  while i'd struck out during the presale, he'd somehow managed to get himself into the queue and snagged tickets for the santa monica event on father's day. and so we headed out into the june gloom on that sunday afternoon and made our way to third street promenade.

we'd arrived a little early, so we strolled through a few of the shops and then walked into the merch store (because of course, there's always a gift shop!).

the bean picked up a set of photo cards and an official hoodie, while i snagged a t-shirt of my own.

the hub, while always supportive and encouraging, was less than interested in his surroundings.  he sped through the exhibit and was done in no time, while the bean and i moved slowly through to look at all of the props and sets.

oddly, the number one rule of the exhibit was "no photos unless in a designated spot."  and they weren't kidding - there were plenty of staffers around who watched with an eagle eye and didn't hesitate to put the kibosh on anyone who tried to pull out their phone and snap a photo.  this meant that the line for the one photo op in the whole building was long and moved very slowly, which even we lost patience for.  and the only other spot that cameras were allowed was here, where there were faceless mannequins modeling outfits worn by the spectacular seven.

at $60/ticket, i was left feeling rather soured on future exhibits.  it just felt like the biggest money grab that took advantage of army's huge love and support for all things BTS-related.

of course, this didn't stop us from heading out to the west side again a couple of weeks later to check out the "space of BTS" pop-up, although this one was free to enter and was pretty transparent about the fact that it was solely a merchandise shop.

the walls were adorned with lots of posters and other band-related graphics, and their music videos on loop on a large screen in the back.

we recognized some of the merchandise from previous releases, and it occurred to me that this was basically like a nordstrom rack of BTS merch - all the leftovers in one spot for army to pick through, only at non-reduced prices.  like these slides and flip-flops from their mcdonald's collab:

we picked up a few items, of course, and then stopped for a couple of photos before skedaddling on outta there.

thank goodness for lilcee, who is also very firmly part of army and is always willing to head out for some BTS shenanigans.  woohoo!

Friday, July 7, 2023

a little bit o'suga

so while the bean's beloved BTS is on hiatus while each member takes a turn fulfilling their south korean military duties, the ones who haven't yet started are doing their best to keep their fans (the "army," if you didn't know) interested.  they've been putting out music, staying active on social media, and performing live whenever possible.

when suga released dates for a limited world tour, the bean was super thrilled to find that he was coming to l.a. for several shows.  of course, with the way ticketmaster handles their sales nowadays, we were shit outta luck because presale codes were given out using a lottery system.  my presale code luck has not been in effect for awhile now, and this was no exception.

but i knew the hub would come through for us - especially since the bean was working their ass off to keep their grades up at school and stressing out over projects and studying for finals and all that jazz.  he snagged us a couple of tickets and a parking pass for the thursday night show, which was the best option with all four show dates being on school nights.  it also happened to be the old lady's birthday that day, but since she'd had to work and had to be in bed early to be ready for another opening shift the next day we had her come over for cake and presents and promised to do birthday dinner when she was available.

the venue for the concert was the fabulous forum, which isn't exactly close to home but is smaller and easier to navigate than sofi stadium just next door.

because they were so excited for the show, it wasn't too hard to get the bean to stop for the photo op.

we found a concession stand with a pretty short line - and as soon as we got up to the front we realized it was because their offerings were very limited.  that's okay though, because the bean picked out a t-shirt and they had it in the right size.  and so once the merch had been secured, we made our way inside to find our seats.

turned out that the hub had gotten us seats in the handicapped section (don't yell at us, there were a few empty seats so we weren't taking them away from anyone).  we had a great view and i found it really interesting looking around at our fellow concertgoers - there were folks there of all ages, and everyone was happy and excited to be there.

i was a little surprised to see that the general admission section didn't seem too terrible, with lots of space and some people even sitting on the floor.  of course, this was before the concert started and it may have gotten more crowded and crazy but i never really paid attention once the show was under way.

just like the BTS concerts, there was no opening act and suga hit the stage promptly at 8.

he brought out max, an artist he'd collaborated with on a song a few years ago, and the audience lost their shit.

and all too soon, it was over.

thanks for a great night, suga!  hope we get to see you again soon!

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...