Make Benefit Glorious Nation of North Korea
April 12, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Feeling nostalgic for those old school Soviet shindigs? Westerners are welcome to North Korea's Arirang Mass Games. Tickets are on sale now. Will tourist dollars/euros be the undoing of North Korea?
posted by oneirodynia (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a pretty good travelogue of one American's trip to NK where he takes in the Arirang Festival amongst other things. Sounds fascinating, but no way would I go.
posted by the dief at 10:18 AM on April 12, 2007

Flag wave at 3:36 or so is awesome! NK is the last remaining stronghold of the Soviet Realist Style, let's enjoy it while it lasts.
posted by Scoo at 10:23 AM on April 12, 2007

Six years later you get a phone call consisting of a whispered code word, and you kill the president.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

I was amazed to read that, until fairly recently, you (meaning "non-North Korean with valued foreign currency") could also visit a North Korean casino, although the current status of these seems to be unclear. Apparently, Chinese gov't officials became mighty displeased after some local pols gambled away their province's municipal funds, and some hash penalties were instituted to prevent others from doing same. But the mind boggles at the thought of a gambling junket to North Korea...
posted by mosk at 10:45 AM on April 12, 2007

A State of Mind, mentioned in the second link, is a very interesting documentary about a couple of young girls training for the Mass Games. I recommend it.
posted by thinman at 10:53 AM on April 12, 2007

I admit to the lure of grand scale Communist spectacle. It makes it a little easier to understand why so many people in Russia feel as if there is no guiding principle in their lives anymore. It's pretty exciting to get to wear a uniform and wave a big flag and feel you are part of something vast and important and unfathomable. Parades are the opiate of the masses. [NOT COMMUNIST]
posted by oneirodynia at 10:58 AM on April 12, 2007

They take requests. Shout "Do donkey kong!".
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on April 12, 2007

Pyongyang is a great graphic novel offering a view of the cloistered nation.
posted by drezdn at 11:12 AM on April 12, 2007

Of course, most encounters were necessarily short, but dress and looks speak volumes and sometimes a few casual words are enough to change a North Korean's world view dramatically. It is easy to imagine a South Korean woman in her 50s, whose husband is a skilled worker, complaining that her family has been unable to change a car for more than six years - and even easier to imagine the impact such a matter-of-fact remark would have on a North Korean to whom private cars are a symbol of ultimate luxury, something akin to the role of private jets in Americans.

Very interesting.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:10 PM on April 12, 2007

I'm so there.
posted by saysthis at 12:38 PM on April 12, 2007

From Koryo tours:
"North Korea has declared that the Arirang Mass Games will run this year between April 15th to May 15th and August 15th to October 15th."

They don't announce the dates, they declare them. PERFECT!

US Tour 2
Sat (plane) – Tues (plane)
Price: 1590 Euros + Mass Games ticket

Does that price include your government minder?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:38 PM on April 12, 2007

That is frightening. Looks computer generated almost.
posted by 2shay at 1:21 PM on April 12, 2007

I would feel guilty as hell if I went. I don't see how people could keep silent about what is going on in that country.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 1:43 PM on April 12, 2007

Seconding "A State of Mind." Some of the video in the third link comes from that doc.
posted by Brittanie at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2007

The DPRK was going to have a "Rock For Peace" festival this year (the western news media were calling it "Koreapalooza")... But it looks like it got cancelled.

From the original article: Though not a place historically associated with free love and hippy wig-outs, all that is about to change, with organisers embracing "capitalist popular music" for the first time. And, in keeping with the laissez-faire spirit of rock festivals, there are few restrictions: "Lyrics should not contain admirations on war, sex, violence, murder, drug, rape, non-governmental society, imperialism, colonialism, racism, anti-DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and anti-socialism."

Sounds like it would have been FUN! /snark
posted by amyms at 5:03 PM on April 12, 2007

I want mass gymnastics and freedom. Can somebody hook me up?
posted by kosem at 5:07 PM on April 12, 2007

Creepy and disturbing. Still, I wouldn't mind a ticket.
posted by frogan at 5:52 PM on April 12, 2007

posted by rob511 at 6:34 PM on April 12, 2007

And they call us the hive mind?!
posted by rob511 at 6:36 PM on April 12, 2007

What's the frame rate? I could see myself playing tetris on that.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:43 PM on April 12, 2007

I also recommend A State of Mind to anyone interested in the Arirang Mass Games. The western filmmakers were given unprecedented access to film in North Korea, and it's really eye-opening. I found out about the tours there shortly after I saw (and then subsequently bought) the movie, and everybody I told thought I was nuts for wanting to go and see the games and the country.
posted by etoile at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2007

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