October 22, 2007

Tennessee Invades L.A.

My first interview for Hot in Hollywood TV is now up and running for all to see.

Enjoy: http://www.hotinhollywood.tv/original/2007/10/tennessee-invad.html

And if you'd like to read the rest of my latest entries, the good folks over at HIH have given me my own page: http://www.hotinhollywood.tv/original/hiko_mitsuzuka/index.html


October 18, 2007

L.A.: Likable Apocalypse

I couldn't have said it better myself...


"I got back from Los Angeles last night and my head is still spinning. I'd move there again in a heartbeat.

There are three great cities in the United States: there's Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York – in that order. I love Boston; I even love Denver; I like Miami; I think Washington DC is habitable; but Los Angeles is Los Angeles. You can't compare it to Paris, or to London, or to Rome, or to Shanghai. You can interestingly contrast it to those cities, sure, and Los Angeles even comes out lacking; but Los Angeles is still Los Angeles.

No matter what you do in L.A., your behavior is appropriate for the city. Los Angeles has no assumed correct mode of use. You can have fake breasts and drive a Ford Mustang – or you can grow a beard, weigh 300 pounds, and read Christian science fiction novels. Either way, you're fine: that's just how it works. You can watch Cops all day or you can be a porn star or you can be a Caltech physicist. You can listen to Carcass – or you can listen to Pat Robertson. Or both.

That's how we dooz it.

L.A. is the Apocalypse: it's you and a bunch of parking lots. No one's going to save you; no one's looking out for you. It's the only city I know where that's the explicit premise of living there – that's the deal you make when you move to L.A. The city, ironically, is emotionally authentic. It says: no one loves you; you're the least important person in the room; get over it.

What matters is what you do there.

And maybe that means renting Hot Fuzz and eating too many pretzels; or maybe that means driving a Prius out to Malibu and surfing with Daryl Hannah as a means of protesting something; or maybe that means buying everything Fredric Jameson has ever written and even underlining significant passages as you visit the Westin Bonaventura. Maybe that just means getting into skateboarding, or into E!, or into Zen, Kabbalah, and Christian mysticism; or maybe you'll plunge yourself into gin-fueled all-night Frank Sinatra marathons – or you'll lift weights and check email every two minutes on your Blackberry and watch old Bruce Willis films.

Who cares?

Literally no one cares, is the answer. No one cares. You're alone in the world.
L.A. is explicit about that.

If you can't handle a huge landscape made entirely from concrete, interspersed with 24-hour drugstores stocked with medications you don't need, then don't move there.

It's you and a bunch of parking lots.

You'll see Al Pacino in a traffic jam, wearing a stocking cap; you'll see Cameron Diaz in the check-out line at Whole Foods, giggling through a mask of reptilian skin; you'll see Harry Shearer buying bulk shrimp.

The whole thing is ridiculous. It's the most ridiculous city in the world – but everyone who lives there knows that. No one thinks L.A. "works," or that it's well-designed, or that it's perfectly functional, or even that it makes sense to have put it there in the first place; they just think it's interesting. And they have fun there.

And the huge irony is that Southern California is where you can actually do what you want to do; you can just relax and be ridiculous. In L.A. you don't have to be embarrassed by yourself. You're not driven into a state of endless, vaguely militarized self-justification by your xenophobic neighbors.

You've got a surgically pinched, thin Michael Jackson nose? You've got a goatee and a trucker hat? You've got a million-dollar job and a Bentley? You've got to be at work at the local doughnut shop before 6am? Or maybe you've got 16 kids and an addiction to Yoo-Hoo – who cares?

It doesn't matter.

Los Angeles is where you confront the objective fact that you mean nothing; the desert, the ocean, the tectonic plates, the clear skies, the sun itself, the Hollywood Walk of Fame – even the parking lots: everything there somehow precedes you, even new construction sites, and it's bigger than you and more abstract than you and indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free.

In Los Angeles you can be standing next to another human being but you may as well be standing next to a geological formation. Whatever that thing is, it doesn't care about you. And you don't care about it. Get over it. You're alone in the world. Do something interesting.

Do what you actually want to do – even if that means reading P.D. James or getting your nails done or re-oiling car parts in your backyard.

Because no one cares.

In L.A. you can grow Fabio hair and go to the Arclight and not be embarrassed by yourself. Every mode of living is appropriate for L.A. You can do what you want. And I don't just mean that Los Angeles is some friendly bastion of cultural diversity and so we should celebrate it on that level and be done with it; I mean that Los Angeles is the confrontation with the void. It is the void. It's the confrontation with astronomy through near-constant sunlight and the inhuman radiative cancers that result. It's the confrontation with geology through plate tectonics and buried oil, methane, gravel, tar, and whatever other weird deposits of unknown ancient remains are sitting around down there in the dry and fractured subsurface. It's a confrontation with the oceanic; with anonymity; with desert time; with endless parking lots.

And it doesn't need humanizing. Who cares if you can't identify with Los Angeles? It doesn't need to be made human. It's better than that."

October 11, 2007

Return of the Boy Band

They're called NLT (stands for Not Like Them).

Names: Travis, JJ, V, and Kevin.

Where you saw them: on tour with the Pussycat Dolls.

Courtesy of Timbaland (does he ever quit?), the new single's called "She Said, I Said (Time We Let Go)".

The addiction has begun...


October 09, 2007

The Extinction of Originality

What with the rampant remaking going on in Hollywood these days, I have decided to roll with the blasphemy and come up with a dream cast for a remake that should never be redone AT. ALL. I repeat: NEVER.

I was toying with the idea while knocking back some Barbera red at Briana and Shelby's wine-tasting party this weekend. We were rightfully bitching about the extinction of originality in this business to which we gradually sell pieces of our souls. Halloween is about to be followed by redos of Prom Night (out spring 2008) and Friday the 13th. The Heartbreak Kid will inspire updates of The Big Chill and - wait for it - The Karate Kid , starring - wait for it again - Will Smith's 9-year-old son, Jaden.

Vomit bags can be found in the seat pockets in front of you.

My remake that should never be made? The Breakfast Club. I could write a thesis on why a classic like this should never be tampered with. The time capsule it symbolizes. Its timeless message. Its three-dimensional characters and authentic dialgoue. Neither gross-out nor sex-crazed, it's that rare teen movie that stands the test of time; it continues to resonate with different generations. No wonder why it's been ranked as the number one high school movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly and voted as everyone's most favorite teen movie in various polls.

And you just know that if it were to come out today, it would be considered an indie.

However, while sipping fine chardonnay and enjoying each other's company on Saturday night, we couldn't help but wonder: What if...?

Presenting the cast of The Breakfast Club: The New Class...

Claire - 1985: Molly Ringwald, 2008: Emma Roberts

Brian - 1985: Anthony Michael Hall, 2008: Michael Cera

Allison - 1985: Ally Sheedy, 2008: Ellen Page

Andy - 1985: Emilio Estevez, 2008: Zac Efron

Bender - 1985: Judd Nelson, 2008: Omarion

Principal Vernon - 1985: Paul Gleason, 2008: Kevin Spacey

And if this were to happen, aside from gathering my fellow GenYers to stand with pitchforks outside the studio that greenlights this blasphemous piece of cinema, I would write a lengthy diatribe and send hundreds of copies to the execs who had the cajones to let this be. I would unleash a fury the blogosphere has never seen before.

The threat of Adventures in Babysitting with Raven Simone and a Goonies sequel was enough. Just please make it stop.



October 05, 2007


The pants left no room to breathe.

With the slightest move I could feel the stitches preparing to give way. The tree trunks, also known as my legs, were ready to bust out of their polyester prison. Forget Zombie Prom King, I felt like the Hulk on the verge of a massive blow-up...

This weekend I hope to find my new look for Halloween 2007. I pray for the inspiration to create a memorable costume that could very well top last year's. Last weekend I made a premature purchase at the Spirit Halloween Store in Marina Del Rey, a shredded powder-blue tuxedo with a black corsage (makeup included): Zombie Prom King. I tried on the shirt and jacket knowing full well that the material was as cheap as a box of bargain-bin mac-and-cheese. The fabric, most likely hand-stitched in a Guatamalan sweatshop, was so flimsy and (possibly) flammable I'd have to hide from the tiniest of open flames to avoid becoming an actual cadaver. Since the store had no dressing rooms (how convenient), I attempted to slip on the pants over my jeans. No such luck, but I went ahead with the assessment that they were the right length and would be snug on the ass - but doable nonetheless.

We're at that time of year when I usually go on about the splatterfests I watch on TV to get myself ready for the sexyscary candyfest we all-consuming Americans call Halloween. This is also when I desperately search for the perfect costume, something original - none of that hot cop/hot fireman/hot cowboy bullshit. Last year's costume, Snakes on a Pilot, got raves from random people on the street as I walked down Santa Monica Boulevard during the annual West Hollywood Carnivale. Granted, it wasn't entirely "hot," just creative and relevant, a gimmick that fit in with the zeitgeist at the time.

But what now? I can already predict how many guys are going to don some drapes, grab a helmet and sword and pray for instant rock-hard abs as they walk the street shouting, "THIS. IS. SPARTA!"

No thanks. Muy obviouso. Plus, my ab roller's in the shop.

I've considered putting on a gold headdress, laying on the mascara, and stepping out as Generic Eqyptian Dude. It would be kind of retro, a throwback to the 70s, when people seemed to have had an obsession with all things hieroglyphic (Or was it just my family back in New York, where King Tut's tomb made its American debut at the Museum of Natural History and stirred up Mummy Mania?). My mom is a card-carrying member of the Tut Fan Club. Give her a piece of cow dung with imprints of an ankh or the face of Anubis, and she'll treasure it as if it were a real archaelogical find.

But back to the drawing board, or in this case, the crowded costume shops and novelty boutiques across greater Los Angeles. The clock is ticking; nearly three weeks until the big bash in Encino (See Saving the Date). Must. Get. Costume.

I have yet to understand the indifference some people have towards the holiday. On the surface, yes, it's all about collecting candy while parading around the neighborhood, a night for kiddies. However, as I've gotten older, I have realized it's more about the opportunity to live out a fantasy, a chance to step outside one's self and assume an entirely different and exciting new identity. It's a time when demure librarians can go goth, when shy techies can turn jock, and when homecoming queens can emulate Ugly Betty (but will usually opt for a Slutty Anything). It's that one time of the year when you have no obligation to be yourself. The fakers, for once, have their day.

I will now leave the floor open for costume suggestions. However, please refrain from recommending anything like a Freudian Slip (a nightgown covered with headshots of Sigmund) or The Devil Wears Prada (use your imagination there). The winning suggestion shall receive a nice, shiny can of Red Bull along with a copy of my latest mix CD, compiled especially for the party.

Happy Friday, y'all.

And yes, 80 more shopping days 'til Christmas.


Celebrating My 17th L.A.nniversary with a Bang

The impact, like many impacts, was sudden. I heard the crunch of metal, not as loud as those bang-ups you see in the  Fast and Furious ...