Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31



Out 'K-Pop Confidential' author discusses latest 'Revolution'-ary work
by Melissa Wasserman

This article shared 1055 times since Tue Apr 5, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Stephan Lee, author of K-Pop Confidential, rocks on with his newest book, K-Pop Revolution, which came out April 5.

Originally from Atlanta and a current Los Angeles resident, Lee lived in New York City for years after graduating college. Following a stretch covering books and movies at Entertainment Weekly (EW), Lee has been working at Bustle, where he currently serves as associate director of branded entertainment and innovation, while also working on his author career.

"A lot of writers are often seen very differently than how they see themselves," said Lee, who said he always wanted to be a writer. "That's why writing can be a more honest, direct conduit to their actual souls."

Growing up, Lee lived far away from the Korean-American community to live close to the private school he attended. Just trying to fit in, he said he was quiet even though his inner life was very passionate. However, when around close friends, he turned on his humor.

"I was actually just a huge fan of pop music in general," said Lee. "I just really worshiped female singers like Britney and Christina—very typical gay boy stuff—Destiny's Child, Spice Girls, TLC. I worshipped them. I just really just loved obviously the glamour, the fierceness and strength but also I think what draws a lot of gay kids, queer kids to female stars is the kind of vulnerability behind all that fierceness and glamor. That's really what I gravitated towards. I could never express my fandom completely."

When working at EW, he traveled to Seoul for three weeks to write a feature about Korean entertainment, interviewing major K-pop idols including filmmakers, actors and writers.

"I came away [from with this trip] with a lot more respect and reverence for entertainment and understanding of why it's treated so importantly and treated as very precious," said Lee.

Lee earned an MFA in creative writing at The New School during which he was working on a long book he describes as his life's work and still ongoing. This work caught the attention of Scholastic who approached Lee to write something different — a K-pop book. Lee developed the idea, pitch and storyline within three months' time.

"I just knew a lot of facts about what it takes to be a K-pop star and how it was very different than the system here in America and it really appealed to me even when I was covering books for Entertainment Weekly, just seeing what was being published…" said Lee, adding the K-pop trainee system is something people do not really know about. Entertainers, he said are not allowed to speak of the training experience. "…it's actually perfect for young adults because it's probably the closest thing in real life to the Hunger Games that exists in the world. It's just young people being recruited and then trained extremely, extremely hard in and then put in a Thunderdome of pressure and all the rules are set by adults who maybe don't really understand the youth market that they're actually working with, yet they still kind of control everything."

"K-pop-Revolution's" main character, Candace Park, is a rookie idol and her life is suddenly filled with fans, cameras and glamour. She and her boyfriend are a K-Pop power couple; she's an icon at Brandt Foreign School; and her new girl group is sure to break records across the industry. While her label promises to help make strides toward changing the industry to become a more humane and compassionate space for artists, a rival girl group emerges to steal the spotlight, carrying the message of change better than Candace ever could—and making the road to a record-breaking debut rocky. Candace is faced with having to decide what it will cost her and her bandmates to stand up for their beliefs. Pushed by online bullies scrutinizing her every word, Candace is going to have to figure out why the world is out to get her. The question posed is "how far does one girl need to be pushed to start a K-Pop Revolution?"

Lee described this sequel as a wild ride with ups and downs filled with serious elements, along with fun, silliness, humor and excitement.

"I think people who like lots of drama and lots of mess will enjoy it because these books are very dramatic," said Lee, adding that it is not just for young K-pop fans. "I think it's also just for anyone who has ever had struggles like proving themselves and validating themselves while everyone is evaluating them, which I think is literally everybody."

The themes, he revealed, include authenticity, courageousness to speak out and putting words into action. Also included is an LGBTQ subplot, focus on mental health, dangers of social media and issues around Asian hate, among other topics.

Lee, who is Korean-American, wanted to insert his own unique experiences into his both of his K-pop books. Representation, he expressed, humanizes the Asian-American community.

"It really just kind of struck me that people find that misfortune that happens to Asian people almost funny and not as serious," Lee said, having personally been a target of violence and received apathy as a result. "I do think that Asian people are often targeted because there's this perception that they won't really do anything about it and other people won't do anything about it either just because we're seen as a little bit more quiet or not wanting to make waves."

"I also wanted to explore that and how public images are not what they seem and people are just as often smeared in the name of people pretending that they care about certain issues, but they're really just kind of mean spirited," said Lee aiming to write relatable situations. "So she's [Candace] a victim of that, but also uses social media for good. So it's exploring that double edged sword."

For more information on Stephan Lee and K-Pop Revolution, visit .

and .

This article shared 1055 times since Tue Apr 5, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Book censorship focus of public comments at Lincolnwood Public Library Board of Trustees meeting
During the closed door portion of the regularly scheduled Lincolnwood Public Library Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 28 at Lincolnwood Village Hall, Library Defense members hosted a Freadom Book Swap outside of the building. Library Defense ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess
The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...

Gay News

Hong Kong lesbian romance premieres at local film festival
Hong Kong Lesbian Romance Premieres At Film Festival by Vernon Hester �As part of the semi-annual Asian Pop-Up Cinema Film Festival, which ran from September 10 through November 6, The First Girl I Loved had its ...

Gay News

Opinion: What are the most banned books? Take a guess.
The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Porchlight's Rent is a winner
By Jonathan Abarbanel - Title: Rent. Playwright: Jonathan Larson (book, music, lyrics) At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center. Tickets: 773-777-9884;; $25 and up. Runs through: Dec. 11 From its 1996 premiere ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: COVID book, 'Wicked' cocktails, 'A Taste of Hope' and more
—COVID-19, the LGBTQIA+ Community and Public Policy: As studies emerge to help us understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on every facet of modern life, it is critical that the effect of the pandemic on ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH bell hooks: A voice of love, activism and intersectionality
When bell hooks died on Dec. 15, 2021, it was a gut punch. There was no time when bell hooks' extraordinary writing and feminist and lesbian theorizing was not part of the queer community. There was ...

Gay News

Former Chicago Ald. Helen Shiller hosts book launch and reception
Publishing house Haymarket Books presented a book-signing and interview session with longtime LGBTQ+ ally and former Chicago Ald. Helen Shiller on Oct. 17. Shiller was interviewed by noted Chicago Tribune ...

Gay News

BOOKS Lesbian co-author discusses 'No More Police: A Case for Abolition'
"We don't need all the answers to start down the road toward where we want to go: a world where everyone has safety, food, clean water, shelter, education, health, art, beauty, and rest."—No More Police: A ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives holds 'Unboxing Queer History LIVE' fall benefit
Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Gerber/Hart) held its fall benefit, "Unboxing Queer History LIVE!," on Oct. 15 at Gerber/Hart to raise funds in support of the library's mission to preserve LGBTQ+ history in Chicago and the Midwest. ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Last Call Chicago' release party held at Sidetrack
On Oct. 12, co-authors Rick Karlin and St. Sukie de la Croix held a book-release party for their book, Last Call Chicago: A History of 1,001 LGBTQ-Friendly Taverns, Haunts & Hangouts. Last Call Chicago is a ...

Gay News

OutHistory reveals discovery in LGBTQ+ history: identity of pioneering LGBTQ+ author Jennie June
-- From a press release - New York, NY—Oct. 10, 2022—In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, the website OutHistory announced a groundbreaking discovery: the probable identity of Jennie June, the pioneering LGBTQ+ author who bravely defended ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH San Francisco Public Library digitizes LGBTQ+ archives, including Harvey Milk holdings
LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH - Shot with black-and-white film, two small children stand outside in a San Francisco public plaza draped in protest signs. One reads, "We're Proud, Not Stigmatized." The other declares, "We Love Our Gay Parents." In the right ...

Gay News

BOOKS David Sedaris returns to the Raue Center on Nov. 4
Best-selling author David Sedaris will return to the Crystal Lake venue the Raue Center on Friday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m. The openly gay humor writer is known for books such as Calypso, Theft By Finding, ...

Gay News

BOOKS Events related to 'Last Call Chicago' on Oct. 10 and 12
Last Call Chicago: A History of 1,001 LGBTQ-Friendly Taverns, Haunts & Hangouts is a historical account of LGBTQ+ venues in the Windy City. The book's authors, Rick Karlin and St. Sukie de la Croix, are journalists ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.