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South Korean superstar in ‘Squid Game’ once said Hollywood actors would avoid eye contact with him

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South Korean superstar in 'Squid Game' once said Hollywood actors would avoid eye contact with him

Warning: Contains spoilers

Prior to the release of Netflix’s global hit “Squid Game,” Lee Byung-hun, who plays the Front Man, was already one of South Korea’s top actors. And while the show has dominated Netflix’s streaming charts in over 90 countries, including the U.S., reaching international stardom wasn’t an easy journey for Lee, who revealed only five years ago that some Hollywood actors wouldn’t even look him in the eyes because of his race. 

By 2016, Lee was well-established as an actor in South Korea and around the world, having headlined many of the country’s most popular films, such as “Masquerade,” “Inside Men,” “Joint Security Area” and “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.” His role as Storm Shadow in the 2009 film “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” launched his career in Hollywood where he went on to star in “Red 2” with Bruce Willis and in “Terminator Genisys” as the T-1000 cyborg. 

His performance in these films was lauded by audiences back at home and across Asia, and in the U.S. he was honored as one of the first Korean actors alongside Ahn Sung-ki to leave their handprints outside the iconic TCL Theater in 2012. Nonetheless, he still felt like an outsider in Hollywood as he revealed to South Korean publication ​​Dailian in a 2016 interview that he faced discrimination from his own colleagues.  

Without specifying who, Lee said that some of the people he worked with wouldn’t make eye contact with him and ignored his attempts at introducing himself. “It wasn’t until we finished filming that we’d shake hands,” he said, suggesting they’d hardly acknowledged him up until that point. These experiences while filming took an emotional toll on the actor, who said “I wasn’t just sad, rather I felt the urge to cry, I was so angry.” 

The reporter conducting the interview was shocked to hear Lee’s story given how popular the actor was elsewhere in the world. 

Lee recalled an incident that made him realize the problem with how Asians were viewed in the entertainment industry in the U.S. The actor thought he was finally being recognized when several young workers at a coffee shop he visited asked if he was a movie star. But Lee promptly understood they’d mistaken him for Ken Jeong once they told him how much they enjoyed “The Hangover.” Jeong is better known for playing comedic characters, some of which have been criticized for perpetuating negative Asian stereotypes, compared to Lee’s generally more rugged, action movie roles. 

By then, he’d gotten used to the discrimination faced in the industry. “[Within Hollywood] I was just another foreign actor who couldn’t speak English,” he said, adding that it was difficult for him to fight those limitations given the language and cultural barriers he had to overcome. Still, Lee was determined to see how much he’d be able to break down those barriers. 

Today, the  51-year-old actor is still highly respected in South Korea. At the 15th Asian Film Awards on Friday, he took home the Asian Film Excellence award, winning the Best Actor category in last year’s awards show. 

During his speech, Lee noted the success of “Squid Game,” saying “Everywhere I go, people talk about ‘Squid Game.’ Recently I went to the U.S. and people there talk about it too. Before, it was “Parasite” that showed the power of South Korean films, and now it’s ‘Squid Game’… My heart is full knowing Asian storytellers can feel proud.” 

Lee’s “Squid Game” appearance was short — somewhat of a cameo as the character’s face was hidden behind a mask throughout most of the series. But as the show continues to gain international attention, it seems most of the world will be eager to do as Hollywood once failed and look into the eyes of the prominent actor behind the mask.

Featured Image via “Squid Game” on Netflix

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Leadville, Northglenn brewer files for bankruptcy after business goes flat

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Leadville, Northglenn brewer files for bankruptcy after business goes flat

A little more than a year after Periodic Brewing shuttered its doors in Leadville and Northglenn, the brewery has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The company said in its Nov. 23 bankruptcy filing that it owes $1.4 million to a little more than 50 creditors and has assets worth $58,324.

Periodic opened in Leadville in 2015, and added a taproom and production facility in Northglenn in 2017. It closed them both in September 2020, announcing the news on social media but offering little insight into the reason why.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically a liquidation process, in which a trustee is appointed to oversee a selloff of the debtor’s assets. The bankruptcy filing indicates that the brewery’s equipment has already been auctioned off by Lake and Adams counties, where Leadville and Northglenn are located.

Chris Labbe was the founder of Periodic Brewing, which launched in 2015.

“We owed a lot of money,” founder Chris Labbe told BusinessDen Tuesday. “There’s really no way around it. There’s only one path at this point to protect all the owners and make sure all the results of auctions are distributed correctly to those debtors.”

Throughout its five years of operation, Periodic served more than 300,000 pints of beer and produced more than 100,000 cans and bottles, according to Labbe. In its filing, the brewery said it had revenue of $784,998 in 2019 and $364,213 in 2020 prior to its closure.

Prior to the pandemic, Labbe said 80 percent of Periodic’s revenue came from its taprooms and 20 percent came from distribution.

“I pushed the business hard in our distribution growth, and we were successful. But going into the pandemic, we were not in a strong financial position,” Labbe said.

While distribution was a lifesaver for some breweries when the pandemic hit, and taprooms had to largely close, Labbe said Periodic stopped distribution during the pandemic in an effort to conserve cash.

“We had expanded into nearly 100 distribution locations in the Denver area and were producing at record levels,” Labbe said. “All signs pointed to continued success in the first part of 2020, but then the lights went out. We scrambled as best we could to gather resources and materials to survive what was coming, but by early June and going into July, revenue in Leadville was close to zero during a period where we usually make a lot of money.”

“It cost a lot of money to prepare and stay on top of the distribution,” he added. “And when the taprooms were shut down, we lost almost $350,00 in revenue over that first summer. It was too much to try to recover from and continue to fight the fight as a family.”

In addition to declining revenue, Labbe said he struggled to find and afford employees to staff the taprooms. Despite having another full time job in the oil and gas industry, he was working at the brewery eight to 10 hours a day.

Periodic Brewing

Periodic Brewing produced more than 100,000 cans and bottles of beer during its five years in operation.

“We physically couldn’t handle it anymore,” he said. “By July, we were at rock bottom, and that led to our decision to close in September. We knew we’d have a hard time recovering from that without an extensive personal investment.”

Creditors include Labbe himself, owed $268,044 for loans to the company; Greenwood Village-based GVC Capital, owed $609,000 for expansion funding; and OnDeck Capital, a loan agency that’s filed a lawsuit against Periodic to collect the $31,622 it’s owed.

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Hawaii’s mountains brace for a blizzard while Colorado continues in a snow drought

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Hawaii’s mountains brace for a blizzard while Colorado continues in a snow drought

Hawaii sits 20 degrees of latitude south of where Colorado sits, has mostly a tropical climate and is surrounded by ocean, yet, portions of the island chain are bracing for blizzard conditions. While Colorado is no stranger to blizzard conditions, this season all types of frozen precipitation have been quite rare.

It is fairly common for the highest elevations (above 11,000 feet) in Hawaii to receive snow, which means the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are often the most likely places to see it occur. A Kona low is what is drawing in a lot of moisture from the south while a cold front sweeps through bringing the chill needed atop the biggest mountains. Of course, not all of Hawaii is going to see snow. The lower elevations are bracing for several inches of rain and mudslides in the coming days.

The weather in Hawaii right now is pretty active. There are flood watches, high surf warnings, high wind warnings and blizzard warnings in effect across the archipelago chain.  This weekend in paradise is likely to be a bit of a washout for the folks who live or are vacationing there. Up to 8 inches of rain may fall on the Big Island this weekend, while up to a foot of snow impacts the highest peaks. Winds will gust up to 100 mph at times on the mountaintops while lower elevations brace for 40-60 mph winds. On top of this, the coastal areas of the Big Island are expecting 20- to 30-foot waves this weekend as a result of this Kona low.

This is the weather, minus the big surf, that we so desperately need here in Colorado. Rain or snow is severely lacking and temperatures are drying things out even faster thanks to how anomalously warm they have been. Some places across Colorado just hit their hottest temperature ever recorded in December.

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Grading the Week: Time for Jim McElwain to come home again to Colorado State?

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Grading the Week: Time for Jim McElwain to come home again to Colorado State?

Maybe it’s just the two years of Steve Addazio talking here, but Jim McElwain is starting to look pretty good right now.

If the past seven seasons of CSU Rams football have taught us anything, it’s that athletic director Joe Parker could do worse with his next football coaching hire. A lot worse.

Steve Addazio — F

It’s hard to truly put into words how much of a disaster the Addazio Era was for Colorado State.

On a scale of “Nick Saban at Alabama” to “Mike Price at Alabama,” the Grading the Week staff would rate the Daz’s tenure a solid “Les Miles at Kansas.”

There were losses. There were off-the-field allegations. And, yes, we could see the train wreck coming from the moment it left the station. But at least the Daz actually coached a few games at CSU — something Price never got to do after being hired and fired within a few months by the Tide in 2003.

Now, here we are back at the same spot we were two years ago, when Urban Meyer sightings in FoCo were seen as a reason for hope, rather than the impending doom they actually foretold.

The first thing we’d do if we were Parker: Take Meyer’s business card out of the rolodex and light it on fire.

The second: Flip to our old friend Jim and see if maybe, just maybe, he’s interested in getting the band back together at Fort Fun.

Crazy as that sounds, consider this: As poorly as things ended at the conclusion of McElwain’s three years with the Rams, at least the university received $7 million to watch him shuffle off to Florida.

That’s a heck of a lot better than paying Mike Bobo ($1.825 million) and the Daz ($3 million) to go away.

It’s not like we didn’t have a lot of fun while McElwain was stalking the sidelines in green and gold. The Rams went 22-16 in his three years at CSU, culminating with a 10-2 regular season in 2014 that stands as the most successful in the 14 seasons since legendary coach Sonny Lubick was unceremoniously relieved of his duties.

After getting let go by Florida midway through the 2017 season, McElwain’s also comported himself quite well at Central Michigan, going 19-13 with a pair of eight-win campaigns.

There’s even recent precedent to point to in the Mountain West.

Brady Hoke bolted San Diego State for Michigan, got fired from multiple jobs, then returned to the Aztecs and led them an 11-1 season and a spot in this weekend’s conference title game.

Jeff Tedford left Fresno State, where he was an assistant for six years, for greener Pac-12 pastures, only to come back in 2017 as head coach and lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back double-digit-win seasons.

There’s no reason McElwain can’t do the same thing at CSU.

(OK, so maybe there are a few.)

Karl Dorrell — D-

Those calling for Darrin Chiaverini’s head finally got their wish earlier this week.

It’s hard to argue with the CU Buffs head coach’s decision to part ways with the embattled offensive coordinator after the team’s more-dreadful-than-it-sounds 4-8 season.

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