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California Love
California Love Season 2
( Mendy Kong
LAist Studios)
California Love
Introducing K-Pop Dreaming, a story about the rise and history of K-pop in the United States, as told from the point-of-view of the Korean diaspora in Los Angeles by host Vivian Yoon.

About the Show

California Love is a blend of memoir, pop culture analysis and oral history. The newest season, K-Pop Dreaming, is about the rise and history of K-pop in the United States, as told from the point-of-view of the Korean diaspora in Los Angeles. Host Vivian Yoon takes listeners on a journey from K-pop’s origins in Korean trot music and American presence in post-war South Korea to the 1992 LA Uprising and the booming global popularity of K-pop in the present day, all juxtaposed against Yoon’s own coming-of-age as a second generation immigrant in Los Angeles, struggling to fit in and come to terms with her own identity.

In the first season Walter Thompson-Hernández was inspired by Tupac and Dr. Dre's "California Love"- a love letter and anthem for a generation. Walter invites listeners to join him in his family home, on horseback through the streets of Compton, and up into the sky to examine belonging.

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  • 43:35
    Episode 12
    Shoes Off: Atsuko Okatsuka Wants Everyone To Feel Sexy
    This week, the K-Pop Dreaming team is bringing you a special episode from our friends at, “Shoes Off: A Sexy Asian Podcast” from the public radio station, WBEZ. It's a podcast that celebrates badass Asians who are making a mark on pop culture and entertainment. In this episode stand-up comic, Atsuko Okatsuka, is taking the world by storm with her first HBO special, The Intruder, and her viral Drop Challenge on TikTok. She talks about how she learned English by watching Scooby-Doo, what it means to be named Margaret Cho’s comedy heir, and how she took her mom and grandma everywhere — including to her honeymoon.
  • 42:43
    Episode 11
    K-Pop Dreaming - Bonus #3: Origins of K-Pop
    In a special live event in partnership between LAist Studios and GYOPO, Vivian delves into the origins of K-Pop with Michello Cho, a professor at University of Toronto, and Jheanelle Brown, a California Institute of the Arts faculty member. The conversation goes deep on the influence of hip hop on K-Pop's sound and dance, the impact of American imperialism on the music, and more. (originally published April 27, 2023) This episode features clips from these videos: Korean Kittens - What'd I Say: The Korean Kittens What'd I Say Girls’ Generation - Genie: Girls' Generation 소녀시대 '소원을 말해봐 (Genie)' MV (Start at 00:35) BTS - Intro Performance Trailer: BTS (방탄소년단) 가요대제전 Intro performance Trailer Seo Taiji & Boys - Anyhow Song: 서태지와 아이들(Seotaiji and Boys) - 하여가(Anyhow Song) M/V Yoon Mirae - Black Happiness: [MV] Yoonmirae(윤미래) _ Black Happiness(검은 행복) - Support K-pop Dreaming and other LAist Studios podcasts by donating now at This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Save 10% off your first month at This episode is brought to you by your local Kia dealers. Visit to discover movement that inspires. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
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  • 4:44
    Episode Trailer
    Introducing California Love: K-Pop Dreaming, from LAist Studios
    K-pop disrupted pop culture in South Korea in the early 1990s and quickly the new and electrifying sound found fans across the world. One of those fans was a kid growing up thousands of miles away in Koreatown, Los Angeles. In K-Pop Dreaming, the second season of the acclaimed California Love podcast, host and writer Vivian Yoon takes listeners on a journey to learn about the history behind the music that had defined her childhood. From an occupied Korea in the 1930s and a small hip-hop club in 1980s Seoul to the 1992 LA Uprising and the music’s booming popularity today, the surprising story of K-pop is juxtaposed against Vivian’s own coming of age as a second-generation immigrant, struggling to fit in and come to terms with her own identity. The series premieres on February 23, 2023.
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