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MOI'M Hosts 300 Red-Carpet Ready Rising Stars at Its 2nd Annual Gala, `Showtime’ With Jung In & Gary From LeeSsang

By Tony Sokol | September 21, 2014 09:24 PM EDT


MOI'M hosted their second annual networking and entertainment event, "MOI'M Gala 2014: Showtime" at New York City's Gotham Hall on Saturday night, Sept. 20.  KBS America and DirecTV presented the event and paid for the drinks. The night's highlight was a performance by Korean singer Jung In, who was joined mid-performance by the rapper Gary from the duo LeeSsang.

Other highlights included keynote speaker Kyung B. Yoon, who was the  first Korean-American broadcast reporter in New York when she worked at WNYW Fox Channel-5 News.

KpopStarz arrived early to catch a glimpse of the MOI'M team in action making last minute preparations. MOI'M is a non-profit networking group run entirely by volunteers. They were busy lining up the name tags at the DirecTV and KBS booths and registering the VIPs. The staff chattered excitedly among themselves. Walky-talkies and earpieces abounded. The early arrivals took selfies.

The Gotham Hall staff put out the velvet roles and rolled out the red carpet. The guests arrived ready for it. MOI'M had been promoting individual style on their Facebook page in the months leading up to the event.

I didn't see anyone in a tuxedo and sneakers, but one man accessorized his formal wear with a straw hat, worn at a jaunty angle. I was reminded of Nucky Thompson on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." All month MOI'M's Facebook page had been peppered with quotes from the roaring twenties book "Great Gatsby," and it looked like someone was paying attention.

This reporter was wearing black-on-black with a black tie which, sadly, was also the catering and bar staff's uniform. After the initial confusion, I took a seat at an unused reception bar to stay out of the way and watched the happy parade sign in. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to ask passersby who they were wearing.

The cocktail hour was accompanied by the smooth jazz sounds of New School's Jazz and Contemporary Music program graduates. The lineup included Hye Jeung Kang on vocals, Jinwoo Lee on sax, Hyung Jin Choi on piano and guitarist Myung Won Kim, bassist Joonsam Lee and drummer Joochan Im on drums. The performed standards like "Girl From Iponema," the twelve-tone staple from Brazil.

The first person I met at the pre-dinner cocktail hour had a microphone in one hand and a drink in the other. I asked whether the mic came with the drink and she joked for a while. She told me her name, Loria Song, and mentioned that she worked in fashion.  I finally found someone who could answer the "who you're wearing" question.

"Sherri Hill," Loria said and even helped me with the spelling before she took to the stage. Loria Song, who was 2013 Miss Korea Washington DC, was the cocktail reception host and introduced the entertainment.

The first entertainer was the mentalist Kirsh, who taught the crowd about the psychic phenomenon telekinesis by bending forks. Kirsh and a young woman volunteer from the audience displayed the power of their minds by bending and finally breaking a regular dinner fork from the Gotham Hall dinette set.

Kirsh was a good showman and an amusing entertainer, but that was one talented fork. I nabbed it after the performance and Loria Song posed with it, exclusively, for KpopStarz.  After the cocktail hour, as people were filing into the dining area, Kirsh did a personal show for John Lee of KBS and myself: Card tricks and disappearing coins.

Nationally ranked beatboxer Sung Lee got the crowd going as he put together jams by layering vocal runs and rhythms that he made up on the fly.

MOI'M's motto is "networking through entertainment, Inspiration through networking" and the featured performer Jung In was both. Jung In was in excellent voice. The audience was thrilled. Everyone rushed to the front.

There were a couple people dancing stage left, including the man in the straw hat, who turned to me and gushed "she overcame a hearing impediment. She is very beloved by Koreans because she sings for herself, for the fans and for the song itself." He turned out to be Steven Nam, the chief strategy officer of MOI'M.

The rapper Gary from the duo LeeSsang joined Jung In after four songs and they closed out the show together. They performed five more songs, each one a crowd-pleaser that got people singing along.

The evening ended when MOI'M let the audience compete against each other in a game show style contest that pitted guests' tables against one another. The press table did admirably, but did not win.

To learn more about MOI'M, you can visit their website.

Tagged :  world news, MOIM, moi'm gala


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