-by Steve, aka Logginurkeyz- the approval gif guy from SBox...
Part 1: The Pink Hair
It is Thursday, October 20th, 2011. I am in my bathroom in Texas with a devoted mission and a bleach kit...
My final goal is to have a pink pony-tail and 2 pink streaks from the front which I will pull out for the concert...
I cautiously read the package instructions with my bleach kit and begin the arduous process of transforming my virgin brunette head into a pale white bundle of preparedness. I spend a good 45 minutes on the first stage, and then a further 30 minutes on second stage of bleaching.
Fast forward to Friday, lunch time. I go back to the Sally's by my job and ask the chick if my hair is light enough to turn bright bright bright pink, like glow in the dark pink. Turns out, the 30 volume developer wasn't quite strong enough to lighten my hair, so she gave me a thing of 40 volume and L'oreal Blue to finish the job- and another jar of pink, because she said 1 jar would definitely not be enough after seeing how much of my hair I had bleached.
Friday night. I show up at my mother's house around 9pm and she immediately is speechless at my very nearly blond hair. My flight is at 5am, so we have precious few hours to finish the job. We start on the final bleach phase using the Blue and about 3 square feet of tin foil. It is now 11pm, and my hair is very near to white- a perfect tinge to accept the pink gracefully.
Pink Stage 1. My mother applies the pink to my lightened hair as per package instructions, and I put on the old-school hair dryer cap to add heat ((it increases the intensity of the pink!)) We sit there chatting about my plans, and how exciting it will be to actually see Soshi in person, in New York- our home state. I may live in Texas now, but New York will always be my home. About an hour later, I take off the heat cap, and my mother gasps...
"What? Is it bad?"
'Steven... That is PINK! Look in the mirror...'
"Oh... wow... It MUST be brighter! Stage 2, gogo!"
Pink Stage 2 ensues... Further heat is applied for another 40 minutes or so. Hilarity ensues... My head is now bright pink, like glow in the dark pink- it is glorious! Soshi smiled upon me, and I received it humbly.
Part 2: Saturday
My Saturday started off very differently from any I had ever experienced. I have pink hair! Plane ride goes smoothly enough, and we are getting ready to leave the plane at Laguardia. Zone 4 of the plane is apparently ALL people attending SMT NYC- because as soon as I stood up, the chick 2 rows back from me says, 'oh my god! SM Town! you must be here for Soshi!' I'd estimate that about 1/5 of the people on that flight were coming for SMT for one group or another. It was awesome!
So I do the NYC public transit thing and arrive at Penn Station where I met up with my buddies SImon and Kyle. They start tellin me about the hotel ((Affinia)) and invite me to stay with them, and we head over to K-Town.
Enter Food Gallery 32
We go upstairs to the third floor where the project team is handing out the packages, and I snap a picture of them doing their distribution thing.
Jeremy informs me about how good the food was, so we go downstairs to one of the 식당 and I proceed to have a full conversation with one of the women completely in Korean. I ordered the 고기 미소 라면, and she compliments me on my Korean pronunciation- my day is already amazing, and that just made it that much better! I got complimented on my Korean, by a Korean woman, and I am probably the biggest Yankee in the joint... The food was amazing, 맛이 좋아요!
This is the point where we bump into the Korean Field Trip group upstairs- and we make a lot of new friends immediately. Billy was super chill, and we ended up bumping into him again several times throughout the weekend.
Fast forward a few hours, we are outside MSG and we notice this group of people filming Billy. They were from the Korean program, tvN (KB Net). Simon, Kyle, and I hang around and observe them for a while- completely engrossed in the fact that an actual Korean news program came to interview people about the influence of K-Pop in America. So, some background here- I have pink hair, Simon has an 소녀시대 tattoo on his right arm and his Nike ID's that say SNSD on them. Billy tells one of the dudes about us, and they are like, 'oh! can we interview you?' At this point, we are reservedly ballistic! They want to put US on Korean TV?!!?!? Hell Yeah! They start asking us questions, like 'why did you come to NY? what group are you here to see? do you have a favorite member? did you buy the album?' I did much of the interview in Korean after confirming that it was in fact for a Korean audience.
We ended up making the cut for the broadcast. On international TV. With Simon's tattoo, and Kyle's 'special shout out to Tiffany,' and my pink hair while I'm holding a sign to 창민 of TVXQ. The 창민 sign was actually, hilarious- because it was handed to me by one of the other girls they were talking to. The sign said, '심창민 -you so precious.' I was laughing the entire time for the segment they aired, cuz Billy kept telling me to add on, 'no homo!' after reading it, and I couldn't stop laughing!
Part 3: Sunday
Ah yes, Sunday... The fated day. The glorious day of the SM Town Live NYC 2011 concert.
Simon, Kyle, and I arrive at MSG and are wandering around seeing what's up, and talking to random people. I'm wearing my pink SSF shirt, and people immediately start recognizing me because of my pink hair. "You must be Loggin..." Yep, that was me! Pink pony-tail.
The merch lines were all the way out to 31st and 32nd along 7th avenue- it was absolutely nuts. So many people kept asking what the lines were for, and what was going on.
Okay, so we are all just wandering around at this point, and I notice the distribution crew again- so I meander over that way and start chattin with Cyrus and Andrew. People are still pouring in to pick up their bundles, and Cyrus is getting ready to start handing out the fan meet fliers. He turns towards me and says, 'Hey Steve, as long as you're here- do you wanna volunteer?' "I get to volunteer? Sure, dude! That'd be awesome!"
My first mission as an SSF Volunteer begins! Handing out fan meet fliers.
As I am handing out the fliers, I meet several more SSF people like Will and Eumi, Dave, Sarah, James, and countless others... We were parked near a group of ELFs who were making signs, and they were quite civil.
So hold up a sec, there is another group walkin around with SM badges, and they come up to our little group with a huge camera. It was an SM Producer! She asks me if she can interview me about SNSD and how I am doing- which I eagerly agree to. I had originally thought they were going to interview us as a group, so I asked her if she wanted all of us or whatnot- and she said she wanted to talk to me first. I was like, hell yeah! I'm getting interviewed by SM!
The producer is talkin to me in Korean, and the translator is telling me the gist of what she is saying- I am partially understanding what the producer is saying in Korean, as I have been studying for a while and my conversational Korean is horribly decent. The translator informs me that the format will be that the producer chick will ask me a question in Korean, the translator will speak in English, and then I should pause before answering. I was VERY bad at following this simple instruction- because I kept listening to the question in Korean, and answering in Korean if I understood the question. I'm pretty sure the translator was getting annoyed by this, because I would start answering in Korean before she could begin translating =0X They asked me some pretty hard questions, too! I was so distraught, off-guard, and totally unprepared when she asked me why I loved Girls' Generation. All I could say was, 'ahh, umm, ahh, It's just everything. The girls, the fans, the community, the music... There aren't words in any language to describe how I feel about 소녀시대! 소녀시대 사랑해요!'
Then she hits me with the biggest surprise ever that I never thought I would ever get the opportunity for... The producer says to me, in Korean, 'okay, now the girls will see this... Is there anything you would like to say to them in person?' I just gave her the most ridiculous look in the world, because I thought I had misheard her- then the translator confirms what I had heard... At this point, I am about to start crying... I shouted out, 'REALLLLLLLLLY?????? OH MY GOD...' and just completely lost it... I started saying random stuff in konglish, and ended with, '지금은 소녀시대, 사랑음 소녀시대!' I'm pretty sure I blacked out in the middle of that, because I don't rightly remember what exactly I said in response to that...
Yeah, after that, I could have been struck by lightning and I would not have cared... The Girls were going to see me speaking Korean to them, and my pink hair, and how much I spazzed about it...
I turn back to Cyrus and ask him if he was gonna talk to her, and he says something about how they targeted me because of my pink hair and being so obviously from NY. At this point, people just keep coming up to me left and right, asking if I would answer some questions for them- and I was so frazzled after the SM interview, that I told them sure I would answer some questions- but I'm kinda in another world right now!
So yeah, passin out fliers. I bump into Midfish and his pink mohawk! We chat a bit, and I am again away on my mission to enlighten the S♥nes about the fan meet. I bump into this chick, Audrey, whom I had met earlier with Simon and Kyle. She tells me about how she sang Genie for the SM crew and they gave her an autographed album of The Boys! I was like, 'ARE YOU SERIOUS? LUUUUUUCKY! Hide that! I'd be careful who I tell about that one! I don't know if I'd be able to sing acapella- I think I'd need the music at least...' I know Oh! start to finish, every word, so I give it a try right there, and she starts singing along with me to boost my confidence. It was excellent, she says, 'see! you can do it just fine!'
Oh yeah! I met this chick, not sure who she was really... I think she may have founded some fan community you guys have heard of? She was pretty chill, so I took a picture with her! =0p
Part 4: The Concert
This part will be brief, comparatively. I enter the venue and immediately get spotted by a bunch of SSF'ers and take random pictures. We each run off to our seats, I was in Section 117, row 14, seat 14. Basically, directly out from center stage at the same height as the middle of the big screen! Excellent cam angle. I was seated next to this really nice Chinese woman who said her daughters were down in GA3 with the ELF group. 3 empty seats right near me, and I took full advantage of this because the chick seated one row in front of me was wearing a really tall hat, and kept waving her SMT light-up sign in front of my camera... I even tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to wave it in front of her rather than repeatedly waving it directly in front of my camera every time I tried to take a picture- which gave me absurd motion blur =0\ I managed to get a lot of really nice pictures from where I was seated. A Sunny-biased cam of Kissing You, and all the group intro segments. My camera finally died in the middle of Gee, I was so upset! And my extra battery was back in the hotel... When SuJu came on and tossed their scarves into the audience, I witnessed the most ridiculous thing in the world... Sungmin threw his scarf towards my section- I saw the guy in row 1 of section 116 violently lean over the rail and snatch it out of the air! He ripped it out of the hands of some girl, and violently tossed it down to the chick sitting next to him... If I were down next to him, I'd have had words with him. Unbelievable...
I also got turned away from the merch booth when I tried to buy an SMT shirt, because the security guard was being aggressive... Very upset about not getting to buy a shirt...
After the concert, we head back to the hotel and bump into the Soompi guy again, who was very near to dead. I also bumped into the tvN crew again, and they recognized me and we had another nice little convo in konglish. We also bumped into an ELF chick who got a signed SuJu album for singing No Other.
Part 5: Monday - GMA, Fan Meet, and After!
6 AM rolls around- we haven't slept cuz we were up all night hangin out. I'm like, 'ummm guys... we have to be at GMA at like 7:30, we should probably go back to the room and get ready for that...'
It is now quarter to 8- we get to GMA and spot the Mr. Taxi sign, ~!~, and Soy. I run up to Soy and ask her how things are goin, and she tells me that people are lining up at Best Buy and she doesn't know if anyone is over there. So I'm like, "let's go to Best Buy!" and we do... There are only like 10 or 12 people there, which have all been there since the concert ended... We are all dog tired, and outside the theatre.
One of the security guards sees my Soshified shirt and asks me why people are lining up outside the theatre already.
"It's for the SNSD fan meet, bro- it's a first come first serve seating arrangement kinda thing, so they really wanna be in front..."
He informs me that the security director chick is on her way over, and that these people can't be lined up in front of the fire exit or into the middle area. So I says to him, "alright, well, then we need to fix this NOW! Right now, there are only a few people here, we should do this quickly and quietly so it doesn't start a storm... If we wait until there are like 30 people here, it will be really bad..."
He tells me where they should be lining up from, and I keep asking him where the next sections of the line will be- so basically the first people there got a lot of space on the first wall, because they were tired. I persuaded the guard to give them a lot of breathing room so they could sit down and maybe catch a nap- to which he kindly obliged. We started setting up the barricades, and started the second part of the line along 7th Avenue around the corner.
Enter the security director chick.
She comes up to me and asks, 'alright, who is in charge here?'
"well, I suppose I am for the moment... at least until Andrew or Jeremy get here I guess..."
'how long have these people been here? have they slept? when does this thing start?'
"since about midnight, i doubt it, 430pm..."
'wow, you kids are crazy... well, I am sending Mike down to help you out.'
Enter Mike! The baller tall guy with the dark shades.
He was actually getting upset with me, because I kept calling him 'bro' all day long- and he kept telling me, 'Steve, we've been through this several times, my name is Mike, so you can stop calling me bro now...'
At this point, I have absolutely no concept of time- I haven't slept or had anything but a single cup of coffee since 7am, and I am tryin to get people to stay behind the 2nd brick on the sidewalk along 7th Avenue. Jeremy comes up to me with a bag, and says to me, 'Steve! Did you eat? You look like you need sleep...' "nah bro, I'm fine- runnin off coffee and adrenaline right now! I'll be fine" He gives me this apple pastry thing, which was amazingly delicious... This is about when Wes shows up in line with his G.G. hat, right outside of the AE entrance.
Someone drops a Snapple bottle, and it shatters on the sidewalk... I tell everyone to just stand away from it, and I'll try to get a broom. So I run into the AE store and ask the manager if they have a dustpan or something I can use to clean up a broken Snapple bottle- and she sprints into the back room and gives me this old wicker broom and one of those cafeteria style bucket things. I get all the glass swept up, crisis averted, nobody got hurt- aside from maybe the person who dropped the bottle and was out a peach tea... =0\
I still have no idea what time it is, but Will comes over with posters and Eumi and Ghost suggest we do trivia to get people to win posters. Excellent! Let's do it!
We had a very limited number of posters- and everybody seemed to want the Intel ones that I had ((Visual Dreams promo poster)). I think I asked about 5 questions, and then I got mobbed by the people at the beginning of the second line... They just started pulling the posters out of my hand when I went to hand one to the girl who answered my question. ((What are the first words to, 'Oh!')) which was apparently a really difficult question to answer... Some people were close, but only one person actually pronounced it correctly =0p
But yeah, I got all my pictures ripped out of my hands- so I go over to Will and say, "yo Will, what should I do, man- they just ripped all my posters out of my hands and I didn't wanna tear them trying to hold onto them..." He responds, 'well, you need to get them back...' So I did- and we shan't go any further into that, as I felt extremely embarrassed that I let that happen in the first place... =0<
All the rest of my stack of posters went to the girls who danced to RDR, as Ghost gave them their choice of poster and they all wanted mine... =0)
Next came the hectic part... Sam and James and Vicky are off stamping hands and counting people. Tim and I are charged with handing out the mini-poster card things. I don't rightly know what else to call them- so henceforth, I shall refer to them as poster-cards! Andrew informed us, 'hand them out randomly, don't let them choose- but tell them they can trade amongst themselves...' This was EXTREMELY difficult to accomplish, because people would see the one on the top of the stack and withdraw their hand if they wanted a different one instead. Eventually I just started turning them over to the blank side, and handing them out that way; which was super effective! Tim started from the front of the line, I started from the read of the line.
Now came the AWESOME part! This is the part where James mentioned on his fan account on Cesca's radio that, 'one of the volunteers got scolded for their reaction...' Yep, that was ME!
The Girls arrived at the back entrance to the theatre... I see Hyoyeon. I say in a normal volume voice, while standing next to Sam, Billy, and James, "Jesus Christ, that's Hyo..." and immediately go to pull out my camera. Billy punches my arm and shushes me, and Sam is like, 'Steve! Stay quiet, we don't want them to get swarmed!' I silently agree, and snap a picture of Yoona and Yuri entering the building!
Part 5: The Fan Meeting Begins!
So about 3:30pm, the staff and volunteers go into the theatre, we get our work passes, and we chill down in the VIP room and discuss how things are gonna go down.
Billy and I get put in charge of organizing the entry and passing out balloons to the early arrival people. We were also crowd control, which was hectic at first- because fans kept standing really close to the edge of the stairs- and I was tasked with keeping them a safe distance in case they got pushed from behind. Eventually, they reached an equilibrium and I was able to migrate over to the media area with Soy and the photographers. I eventually made my way over to the side of the stage and traded places with the Event Security guy. I had an excellent spot for the fan meeting!
Cara was an excellent MC for the evening, and the translator did an excellent job as well!
Cara starts asking the audience to make Yoona laugh, right? One of my room mates, Simon, has a 소녀시대 tattoo on his right arm. Cara calls out, 'oh, he's got a tattoo! look at this!' Sunny grabs the mic, points to him, and says in English, 'IS THAT A REAL TATTOO?' It was a glorious moment...
http://youtu.be/DRs1TtwX1wY?t=3m35s cr: striderxo on YT ((no idea of SSF name, sorry =0\ ))
The only part that didn't go smoothly was the t-shirt tossing bit, where Cara continuously had to tell people not to fight over the shirts. Even Tiffany got in on the action asking the fans not to fight over the shirts. =0\
The only shirt that didn't get fought over was Jessica's shirt- which was caught by one of my other room mates, Kyle, and some other huge dude- and Kyle was like, 'you can just have it, buddy- I'd rather not get scolded by the girls over a t-shirt...' Most noble of him, imo...
Then came the cupcakes and ITNW! It was amazing, everybody joined in, including the Girls! Some of them were so touched that they started crying. I just wanted to go up and give them a hug, but I'm sure I would have been escorted out for that...
Also, I'm pretty sure anyone around me when a balloon popped noticed me react violently every time... One of the security guards even laughed at me outside by the Girls' vans when someone popped a balloon back in the middle area of that cross thing under the theatre...
Part 6: The Aftermath of the Fan Meeting
The volunteers and staff are roaming around, doing this and that. We make our way to the stage, and I immediately go to sit down in Sunny's chair. We each take our places, and I toss Cyrus my camera and he snaps a pair of photos of us in the Girls' chairs doing the '지금은 소녀시대!' hand gesture. I thought we were gonna do multiple pictures, and Cami and I were gonna switch seats so she could be in Sunny's chair- as most of you know, she is a super max hardcore Sunshiner, so I felt really bad afterward when I realized we were only gonna get the one photo =0\
A few minutes later, the SSF staff is trying to sort out the signed album distribution business- the rest of us are chillin on the stage area waiting to see what happens next. Well, what happened next was like a dream sequence that you could not fabricate with even the best imagination! The Girls started exiting the venue towards the freight elevator!
I believe it was Billy, James, Geoff (I believe it was Geoff, someone please correct me if I'm wrong), and I stuffed into the little hallway between the stage and the freight elevator when the Girls started leaving.
When Sunny came through, I said, 'Damn, Sunny is so gorgeous! 너무 예뻐요!' and she turned and smiled at me and waved! I died...
Then came Taeng- and Geoff scrambled to pull out his Dookong and hand it to her, and she thanked him in English!
After that, came Tiffany... This part, I will never forget for the rest of my life... When she was passing by us, Soy asked her if she wanted an SSF t-shirt. Fany plants right in front of me, I'm stuffed into this corner with my hands down by my side. She turns to call back to Soy, 'yeah! toss me one!' and she LEANED AGAINST ME! At this point, I'm just freaking out! Thinking to myself, 'AHHHHHHHH! What do I do with my hands!?!??!' so I just raised them up to shoulder level like I was being held at gun point! Fany turns around and looks right at me and smiles, and I says to her, "Thanks for coming to New York! Safe trip home, and hope to see you Girls again soon!"
SM Town Live NYC 2011... A memory I shall forever cherish
It was beyond amazing... I really don't even know the words to express how awesome the whole weekend was...
A gigantic THANK YOU! to everyone who made the event possible. The SSF Staff, the other volunteers, the fans, the security guards, SM, and the countless people who have had their lives touched by the Girls...
~Forever a S♥NE, Forever a Sunshiner,