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Every now and then a song sweeps the world, catapulting its singer into the stratosphere of super-fame. “Gangnam Style” is that kind of phenomenon, performed by South Korea’s Park Jae-sang, better known to nearly 1.6 billion YouTube viewers (the most ever) as Psy.On Thursday the Korea Institute at Harvard University sponsored “A Conversation with Psy” for a packed audience of Harvard students, staff, and faculty and the international press at Memorial Church, in a session that was also live-streamed online.The event was introduced by Carter J. Eckert, the Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History. Slipping on a pair of sunglasses, à la Psy’s trademark style, Eckert suggested that Harvard hasn’t been so close to cool since Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1838 speech on transcendentalism.Alexander Zahlten, assistant professor of East Asian languages and civilizations, put “Gangnam Style” into the context of the investments Asian countries are making in exporting their cultures, and their growing influence in the West.Psy then entered and shook hands, and the audience cheered as he walked to the pulpit.“Isn’t life beautiful?” he asked.Psy, of course, wasn’t always a superstar. He was born in 1977 in the well-to-do Gangnam district of Seoul. As the only son, he was expected to take over the family business, building a “semiconductor equipment thing.” To avoid that, he spent four years in the late ’90s in college in Boston. First, he studied business at Boston University, then dropped out and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music.He left Berklee without a degree (“My nickname was W-W-F: Withdrawal, Withdrawal, Fail,” he said to a chorus of sympathetic “Awws!”), went back to South Korea, started making K-pop, and danced on television. He released his first album in 2001. For the next 10 years, Psy sang, danced, and made music.In July of 2012, he released “Gangnam Style.”“When I wrote [‘Gangnam Style’] last summer, the economy was so bad,” he said.“Everyone was so poor. My only goal was to make them laugh, with the song and choreography, so I tried to be as ridiculous as possible.” He explained that he intentionally developed the now-famous “horsey dance” so that anyone could do it.Then, lightning struck. By August, “Gangnam Style” was No. 1 on iTunes, and by November it was the most viewed video ever on YouTube. In December, it became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views.“Isn’t that amazing?” Psy said. “I am so glad, because the crowd doesn’t know [the meaning of the words], but they look so happy” when listening to the song and doing the dance.“I think there is something beyond the language,” he said, trying to explain the song’s popularity. “We can assume it’s the music. But that’s the boring answer. I think it’s the word ‘fun.’”Psy has won accolades and dozens of music and video awards, but he said the moment he really knew he’d made it was when Madonna asked him to perform with her at Madison Square Garden. He said when he arrived, Madonna was lying on the stage, and she told him, “Honey, you can touch anywhere on my body on the stage.”He said his first thought was, “I’m her honey?”His actual response was, “Really?”“I’ve got to be humble,” he continued. “This doesn’t happen to everyone, especially Asian artists. I dreamed someday, some Korean artist would be recognized in the American market, but I didn’t dream that it would be me. I have a very special body shape, so I never thought it would be me.“It’s weird,” he continued. “I am facing you guys like this. But life is weird. I’m happy and so proud. It’s so unrealistic to make a speech at Harvard.”During a question-and-answer session, he advised, “Please be positive. That’s the biggest power on the planet.”And, almost echoing his cool predecessor Emerson’s words at the Divinity school so many years ago (“Thank God for these good men”), Psy said, “I thank God all the time, because what I want to do is what I can do.”He then graciously thanked the audience for their time, and treated everyone to a Korean dinner.“A Conversation with Psy” was co-sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard “Learning from Performers” series and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. read more
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (March 29) – Due to already wet track conditions, impending steady heavy rains today and colder temperatures not allowing for any track drying, Marshalltown Speedway officials have announced postponement of this weekend’s IMCA World Nationals special.“We feel it is best to postpone the World Nationals as conditions will not allow us to prep the track to the standards for which we are known,” explained Promoter Toby Kruse. “With that said, the World Nationals will be held Oct. 12-14.”“It’s a downer because there was so much interest in this event,” he added. “These are always tough decisions but they are made with the best interest of the racers, crews and fans in mind.”Plans are for the format to remain the same on the postponed date: IMCA Modifieds race for $10,000 to win and a minimum of $500 to start their 2018 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier. Two $1,000 to win features are slated for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods with a pair of $500 to win features for IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks on the card as well. read more
Chelsea are this morning assessing the fitness of Didier Drogba and David Luiz, who are both doubtful for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Benfica.Defender Luiz had to come off during the first half of Saturday’s 4-2 victory at Aston Villa after picking up an injury.Drogba was forced to miss the game at Villa Park because of a foot problem.AdChoices广告Interim boss Roberto Di Matteo said: “We have a few niggling injuries and also I have to look at the freshness of the team as we’re playing every three days.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook read more