ROMP: The 2014 Spring Playlist, Vol. 2

The above title says it all.

It's time for some carefree frolicking. And why not have a soundtrack to go with it? Here are some additional curated tunes to celebrate the season that asks "Is that a melted chocolate Easter bunny in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Volume 2, submitted for your listening pleasure:

1. "G.U.Y" by Lady Gaga
2. "Giving Me Away" by Betty Who
3. "Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson
4. "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith
5. "Addicted To You" by Avicii:


6. "Jealous (I Ain't With It)" by Chromeo:


7. "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
8. "La La La" by Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith
9. "You & Me (Flume Remix)" by Disclosure
10. "Down The Road" by C2C
11. "Best Friend" by Foster The People
12. "Boom Clap" by Charli XCX
13. "Anywhere For You (Stuart Price Version)" by John Martin:


14. "Don't You Want Me" by Neon Trees
15. "4x4" by Miley Cyrus feat. Nelly
16. "Red Lights" by Tiesto
17. "Not a Bad Thing" by Justin Timberlake
18. "The Big Bang" by Katy Tiz
19. "I Need You" by M83:


20. "Simplethings" by Miguel
21. "Ain't It Fun (Smashmode Radio Edit)" by Paramore
22. "No More" by Gorgon City feat. Liv

@TheFirstEcho


Top 10 Beards TV Actors Grow During Hiatus Season


When a TV production season comes to an end (usually between late March and early April in the world of broadcast networks), actors on shows tend to let loose. They can finally let it all hang out and not worry (too much) about keeping up appearances, especially when it comes to their hair, facial or otherwise.

That's why some of you may not recognize television actors when they're caught "on hiatus." They're temporarily no longer required to maintain the well-coifed style of the characters they play. Who wants to worry about shaving and manscaping when you're on vacay? Here's a list of ten actors who've been known for their handsome yet hirsute looks during their down time...

10. David Giuntoli (Grimm, NBC) - I interviewed the star of the Friday night cult hit last year on the set of Bello's photo shoot and was almost caught off guard when I met him in person. The guy can grow one out (a beard, that is), and it only makes his piercing blue eyes pop out even more.


9. Lucas Neff (Raising Hope, Fox) - The adorable family sitcom just wrapped up four funny seasons on the air, and its equally adorable star has recently been showing off his newfound scruffiness via his Instagram account. Um, is that a Duckie hat?


8. Peter Facinelli  (Nurse Jackie, Showtime) - The clean-shaven doc isn't so clean when he's off duty.


7. Chris Messina (The Mindy Project, Fox) - In some Hollywood circles, they call this "homeless chic."


6. Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, CBS) - Or, How I Met Your Bearded Hipster Father.


5. Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory, CBS) - Nerd no more?


4. John Slattery (Mad Men, AMC) - I call this look Beverly Hills Santa Claus:



3. Jason Sudekis (formerly of Saturday Night Live, NBC) - Much better (on the right, that is).


2. Josh Bowman (Revenge, ABC) - Could use a trim, but he's British. So there:


1. Jon Hamm (Mad Men, AMC) - Four words: like a fine wine.


@TheFirstEcho


So I Finally Saw 'Divergent'...and Here Are My Thoughts


I'm not one to ignore a major pop culture phenomenon. After the third Harry Potter film, I became a full-fledged fan (thanks to Alfonso Cuaron's panache) and read the subsequent novels before each film was released. I avoided Twilight in theaters but rented it after curiosity got the best of me...and that was all I needed to see. Then came The Hunger Games, a dystopian saga I enjoyed and proudly got behind (I have yet to read its third and final installment, Mockingjay).

Therefore I willingly dragged my ass to a Monday night screening of Divergent, the Shailene Woodley-fronted adaptation of yet another YA moneymaking franchise that will, thanks to current box office receipts, stretch out into four films. I admittedly went into this movie having read some reviews, listened to a podcast discussing its flaws and merits, and heard my friends have orgasms over the sight of British actor Theo James, a rising star I interviewed over a year ago.

I'm not going to treat this as an official movie review. Instead, these are the thoughts that ran through my head as I sat, watched, and rolled my eyes during some moments in the two-plus-hour film -- a story that's basically about a society that refuses to allow a female to have her own thoughts (not a far cry, I assume, from the celebutantes contracted with the E! Network).

1. The highlight for me was seeing Kate Winslet get the beatdown from a younger actress who sounds 12.

2. By the third act I was getting some Stepford Wives vibes.

3. Send Ashley Judd running with a gun, and suddenly you have an unintended homage to Ashley Judd thrillers of the past.

4. Let me get this straight: there's no water in sight, yet those dystopian farmers can grow crops?

5. Tony Goldwyn needs to pick better things to do during his summer vacations away from Scandal set.

6. It's a shame Hollywood wasn't this obsessed with YA fiction back in the 90s when I consumed every horror-fantasy series that existed on the shelves of every Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, and Borders.

7. Why does Chicago need protection? Is there a new top-secret deep-dish pizza recipe? What is the wall for???

8. Shailene Woodley gives good watery eye.

9. Was a sales associate from Hot Topic brought on board to design those Dauntless uniforms?

10. When is this over?

@TheFirstEcho


F**k Coachella. I'm Going to the Festival of Books!


While some of you are sunburning, swigging Bud Lights, and waiting for Zedd to spin you into a tizzy out in the desert this weekend, I will be attending discussion panels, fondling paperbacks, and brushing shoulders with authors at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Please refrain from any jealousy-fueled comments.

Don't get me wrong. I did Coachella many moons ago (in the ancient, pre-Twitter era of 2006). Sure, if someone were to offer me a ticket to the music fest (for free, natch), I'd grab some sunscreen, gas up the Scion, and make my way to Indio with plenty of cash saved up for those overpriced bottles of water and energy drinks.

But alas, I will be trekking out to USC with a few friends instead and proudly let my geek flag fly amidst my fellow bibliophiles while I try to find some inspiration to finish my own book writing endeavors (top-secret stuff...Shhhh).

Let's hear it for Book Pride!


Theme Song of the Month: April 2014


Where was I when this originally came out nearly two years ago? Bad pop culture junkie, bad!

Whatever. I'm obsessed. And after watching Sam Smith's show-stealing performance on SNL last week, I'm guessing you are too.


@TheFirstEcho


Guess Who's in Betty Who's Music Video for 'Heartbreak Dream'?


Normally I'm not a fan of music videos that take clips from a musician's concerts and throws them together with random behind-the-scenes footage, but I will make an exception for Betty Who. A huge exception (you can see why in the above screencap).

Back in January, my friend Kaila and I headed out to The Echo here in L.A. to catch the Australian pop singer-songwriter live for the first time (we recently saw her perform at The Troubadour in West Hollywood this past week). Little did we know Betty's crew -- also known as the Who Crew -- was filming the concert while we were bouncing up and down trying to capture the experience on our iPhones.

Watch and enjoy (we pop up at the 2:47 mark):


And while you're at it, you can catch my interview with Betty's producer, the supertalented Peter Thomas, in the Art Issue of Bello Mag here.

@TheFirstEcho