“Dreams of Atom”: Held as a part of the “International Cartoon & Art Festival 2011/12,” the exhibition showcases about 500 original drawings, paintings and publications of Japan’s legendary cartoonist Tezuka Osamu’s work including “Astro Boy,” “Jungle Emperor Leo” and “Sapphire Prince.” Other sections of the festival display works by several Korean and Japanese artists who pay homage to Osamu. The exhibition runs through April 1 at Goyang Aram Nuri’s Aram Art Museum and Gallery Nuri in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 11,000 won. For details on the exhibition, call (031) 960-0180 or visit www.artgy.or.kr.
“Photography of Limb Eung Sik”: The exhibition reveals 200 photographs taken by the late photographer Limb Eung-sik, who brought significant change to the art of photography in Korea. Some articles Limb left behind, including his cameras, letters and books, are also on display. The exhibits not only show Limb’s life and career, but also the process of development of Korean photography and even reflect the nation’s history. It runs through Feb. 21 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung, in central Seoul. Tickets range from 2,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“David LaChapelle in Seoul”: Celebrated photographer David LaChapelle’s most comprehensive solo exhibition in Asia is under way at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. It features over 200 of his signature celebrity and fashion photos as well as his latest works that weigh more on purely artistic and critical values, but retain their wit and daring. The exhibition runs through Feb. 26. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 566-0835 or visit www.dicseoul.com.
“Very Big Woman“ by Japanese artist Ono Junichi (artepia )
“Tell Me Tell Me: Australian and Korean Art 1976-2011”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, is holding a cultural exchange exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Taking the year 1976, when important Korean artists visited Australia with their works for the Biennale of Sydney, as the starting point, the exhibition introduces 130 works by key contemporary Korean and Australian artists. The exhibition runs through Feb. 19, 2012. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”: The exhibition shows the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body by displaying more than 200 pieces of plastinated human bodies. Divided into four sections, the show presents the human life cycle and aging -- from prenatal development to old age -- by displaying a remarkable collection ranging from plastinated embryos to findings on geographic clusters around the world where the oldest living people live. The exhibition is held as open run at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.bodyworlds.kr.
“The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty”: In celebration of its seventh anniversary, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, brought together 110 paintings by “hwawon,” or court painters of the Joseon Dynasty. It showcases works by master painters like Kim Hong-do, Jang Seung-eop, Shin Yun-bok and Kim Deuk-sin, who are well-known among the Korean public due to their immense influence. It runs through Jan. 29. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“Endless Voyage”: “Endless Voyage” offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the graceful moves of four celebrated dancers on the same stage. Korea National Ballet’s star ballerina Kim Joo-won, Universal Ballet Company’s principle dancers Ohm Jae-yong and Hwang Hye-min and the choreographer and members of the National Dance Company of Korea will each put on different shows. It will run Jan. 4-5 at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sac.or.kr.
Dancers practice a scene from ”Endless Voyage“ (SAC)
“The Nutcracker”: Universal Ballet Company presents the Christmas season favorite “The Nutcracker.” Premiered in 1986 by UBC, the show is based on 19th century German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann’s version of the story and French ballet choreographer Marius Petipa’s dance. It runs through Dec. 31 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000-100,000 won. For tickets, call 1544-1555 or visit www.uac.co.kr.
“Mid-time Fantasy Dance Performance”: The National Theater of Korea holds a Korean traditional dance performance every Tuesday at 11 a.m. There are eight different repertoires including a fan dance and a dance with “jango,” a type of Korean drum. The performance is being staged as an open run at the National Theater of Korea in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” this musical offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the performance, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.
“Opera Gala Big Night”: Operas performed in 2011 will receive a curtain call at the Opera Theater on Dec. 29 through 31. Conducted by maestro Jung Chi-yong, the National Opera of Korea will be presenting masterpieces such as Puccini’s ”La Boheme,” “Faust,” “Simon Boccanegra,” “L’elisir d’amore” and ”Turandot.” Soprano Moon Soo-jin, Tenor Na Seung-seo and Baritone Ko Sung-hyun will be joining the concert, which will stage not only opera, but ballet and ensemble of top artists. Tickets to the concert at the Seoul Arts Center will range from 30,000-100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
Poster for Opera Gala Big Night
“New Year’s Eve concert ‘Propose 2012’”: The concert held annually at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, will offer a wide range of genres from classical music to opera, jazz and musicals performed by renowned musicians such as soprano Shin Young-ok, popera singer Kai with the Grand Opera Choir and the Mostly Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets for the concert on Dec. 31 will range from 30,000 to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 399-1147.
“Korea House performance”: The Korea House folk performance team will present eight traditional Korean performance styles that include gainjeonmokdan, the royal court dance; bongsan talchum, or traditional mask dance with singing; ogomu, or five-drum dance, pansori, or narrative singing, buchae chum, or the traditional fan dance, samulnori, or the percussion quartet, and more. The Korea House was established by the Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural Properties, which helps preserve and promote traditional Korean arts. Tickets to the performances, running through Dec. 31, are on sale at 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2266-9101 or visit www.kangkoku.or.kr.
“Vienna Strauss Festival Orchestra New Year’s Concert”: Vienna Strauss Festival Orchestra, founded in 1978 by artistic producer Peter Guth, will perform with soprano Im Sun-hae and hold its fourth performance in Korea on Jan. 18. The orchestra performed here as recently as January this year. The orchestra has been touring throughout Europe, Asia and America with a wide range of repertoire. In the upcoming concert, the orchestra will be performing pieces by composers Johann Strauss, Joseph Lanner, Johann Strauss Vater, Vittorio Monti, Franz Lehar, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. Tickets for the concert, held at the Seoul Arts Center, will range from 40,000 to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.
“Beirut”: The six-member U.S. indie-rock band, which started out as a solo project of Santa Fe songwriter Zach Condon, will hold its first concert in Seoul on Jan. 25. The band, which combines indie, rock and folk elements into flowing ballads and harmonious instrumental interludes, will be performing some of its best-known tracks including “East Harlem,” “Elephant Gun,” “Nantes,” “A Sunday Smile” and “The Penalty” in its upcoming concert. Tickets to the standing concert at Ax-Korea in central Seoul cost 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6339-1232.
U.S. indie-rock band Beirut
“Park Jung-hyun & Sung Si-kyung ‘Love Concerto’”: Balladeers Sung Si-kyung and Park Jung-hyun will embark on a joint concert tour through Dec. 31, with their first performance held in Busan earlier this month. The last concert of the male and female singers adored for their dreamy voice, will be held at Seoul’s Jamsil Gymnasium. Tickets cost 88,000 to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 540-4550.
“Damien Rice”: Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice will hold his first concert in Korea on Jan. 11, ready to please music lovers in Korea who have been waiting for ages to hear his husky, throaty voice live. Best-known here for “The Blower’s Daughter,” off his debut album “O (2002)” and featured in the 2004 film “Closer,” Rice will be performing some of his favorites including “Cannonball,” “9 Crimes,” “Elephant” and “Rootless Tree.” Rice is the fifth to perform in the Hyundai Card Culture Project for international artists, which also included MIKA and John Legend. Tickets to the concert, which will be held at the Olympic Park, Olympic Hall, will range from 132,000 to 165,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488.
“Pat Metheny”: U.S. jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny will perform with double-bassist Larry Grenadier on Jan. 13 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Metheny, the winner of 18 Grammy Awards, is considered one of the most critically acclaimed jazz musicians of the 1970s and ‘80s. The musician recently released the solo album “What’s It All About,” which consists of cover songs. The concert will offer some of his representative songs as well as new pieces. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 563-0595.
“Rude Miss Young-Ae”: Based on a cable TV docudrama series of the same title, “Rude Miss Young-ae” tells a story of a plain, chubby woman who has been working at a PR agency for about five years. A hilarious yet realistic portrait of Korea’s work life, the show, which claims to be an “office musical,” touches on dealing with bad-tempered bosses, incompetent fellow workers and shallow junior colleagues. The production house offers a 30 percent discount every Tuesday for working couples. The show runs until Jan. 15 at Culture Space NU in Daehangno, Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1577-3363 or visit www.musicalyoungae.co.kr.
A scene from musical “Rude Miss Young-Ae” (CJ E&M)
“God of Carnage”: The Korean adaptation of celebrated French playwright Yasmina Reza’s black comedy “God of Carnage” is being staged in Seoul for the second time. The play begins as two pairs of middle-class parents meet to discuss why one couple’s child broke the front teeth of the other couple’s child. Though both parties try to remain “civilized” and “well-mannered” in the beginning of the meeting, they end up becoming childish and end up physically attacking each other while drunk. The film adaptation of the play, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, opened in theaters in the U.S. two weeks ago. The show runs until Feb. 12 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.
“Guess How Much I Love You”: The Korean adaptation of “Guess How Much I Love You,” a musical based on the children’s book of the same title by British writer Sam McBratney, is being staged once again in Seoul. The show premiered in Korea in January at Wonderspace Triangle Theater in Daehangno, Seoul, and was staged in more than eight venues nationwide, including KBS Ulsan Hall and MBC Art Hall in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. A story of two hares telling how much they love each other, the simple tale offers both life lessons and touching insights for both grownups and children. The show runs from Jan. 6 until Feb. 26 at Dongyang Art Hall in southern Seoul, near Sinsa subway station line no. 3. Tickets cost 30,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6711-1400.
“200 Pound Beauty”: Former girl group S.E.S. member Bada stars as an obese singer who turns into a beauty by receiving a series of plastic surgeries, in the musical adaptation of the famous 2006 romantic comedy film of the same title. The show, which was first premiered in local theaters in 2008, also started its Japanese tour in October. Telling the story of Han-byul, the former overweight lip-sync vocalist who becomes a popular singer after getting a plastic surgery-makeover, the show delves into the theme of self worth and universal desire for affection. KARA member Park Gyu-ri shares the role with Bada.
The show runs from Dec. 6 to Feb. 5 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.
“EVITA”: The Korean adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical chronicling the life of Eva Peron ― the second wife of Argentinean president Juan Peron ― is returning for its second edition. Musical actresses Jeong Seon-a and Lisa will share the role of Eva Peron, an ambitious woman who became one of the most influential figures in Argentina’s history. Born as an illegitimate child to a wealthy man and his mistress, Peron grew up in poverty as her father chose not to support her. She eventually turned herself into a famous actress and became the first lady of the nation after marrying a man who was 25 years her senior. Her husband and Argentinean president Juan Peron will be played by veteran actor Park Sang-won. The show runs from Dec. 9 to Jan. 29 of next year at LG Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363, or visit www.musicalevita.co.kr.
“Musical Winter Sonata”: Based on KBS’ 2002 mega hit drama series of the same name, “Musical Winter Sonata” is a heart-wrenching love story. Using the beautiful winter scenery of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province as a sentimental background, the show tells the story of two people unable to let go of their first loves. The TV version received an enthusiastic reception both home and abroad, especially in Japan. The musical is directed by Yoon Suk-ho, who directed the TV series, while Oh Eun-hee composed the music. The show runs until March 18 of next year, at Myungbo Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555, or (070) 7019-6707.
“Seoul Electronic Music Festival ― SEMF 2012”: The second SEMF concert will be featuring Above & Beyond, Crystal Castles, IDIOTAPE and more on Jan. 14 at KINTEX, Ilsan. Above & Beyond is the leader of trans music who officially debuted in 2006 and currently ranked no. 5 in the world DJ chart. Crystal Castles is an electro-funk duo ranked among Top 50 Greatest Albums of the Decade and is known for their dreamy, noisy and fashionable performance. Idiotape is the most talked about and adored artist among Korea’s electronic music fans now, featured in last and this year’s Global Gathering Korea and Justice. Tickets to the event will cost 121,000 won. For more information, call (02) 323-2838 or visit www.semf.co.kr.
Seoul Electronic Music Festival
“Quake Festival: 2012 Countdown with Massive Collaboration Vol.1”: Featuring the DJs from around the world and up-and-coming DJs in Korea, the festival offers a countdown to remember. Held for 540 minutes from the night of Dec. 31 through New Year’s Day, the massive collaboration party will be joined by Eddie Halliwell, a Lancashire-born international Trance DJ, as well as Korean DJs Roem, Sugar Pop and Limzi. The festival, open to those aged 19 and above, will be held at the Ramada Seoul Hotel in southern Seoul. Tickets to the event, open to 10,000 people, cost 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3144-4002.
“Countdown Fantasy 2011-2012”: The Countdown Fantasy festival will be held on Dec. 30 and 31 at the Ax-Korea in Seoul, joined by 22 teams including 10CM, Clazziquai, The Peter Pan Complex and Daybreak. The first such festival was held last year, joined by hundreds of indie-music fans. During the festival, artists will not only perform, but hold autograph events and award ceremonies to “come down from stage” and join the audience. For more information, visit www.mintpaper.com.
“High Light Festival 2012 Countdown”: The High light festival 2012 Countdown, an indoor hip hop and electronic music festival, will be held at Sheraton Grande Walkerhill’s Vista Hall and Walkerhill Theater on Dec. 31 from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. next morning. Hip-hop group Far East Movement will be the headliner and other artists ― Sebastian, DJ Virman from Far East Movement, DJ Feadz, Justin Michael, Idiotape, Beat Burger and DJ Yup ― will also join the party. Reserved tickets are 132,000 won and 143,000 won at door. For details, call (02) 323-2838.