May 31, 2008

In a Dream

Somewhere in Orange County, walking through a gorgeous furniture store that is actually set in a huge mansion by the ocean. I enter an elevator, and instead of going down to the main floor and exit (because I feel like I need to leave), it takes me and the passengers up to a top level. The doors slide open, and it appears we're outside, gorgeous mountains in the distance, almost heavenly. A figure appears from nowhere, walking towards us, and as he gets closer, I realize it's Sydney Pollack ("Dude, you died, like, five days ago"). He gets in the elevator with us, and we proceed to go down, but it seems like forever. I introduce myself to the famed actor-director, and he gets a kick out of hearing my name. He repeats it, almost in a sing-a-long voice, and tells me how great it is. I thank him, and he starts to question me about my heritage and background. I wonder if Sydney is high on something, and before he can ask me to take a look at my work, the elevator doors DING...

And I wake up.

Friday Night 'Sex'

Manolos, martinis and men, oh my!

What can I say? The pure, unadulterated joy this film brought to the theater last night was outstanding. At the first glimpse of Carrie Bradshaw trotting down the streets of Manhattan, big poofy flower and all, the cheers and applause erupted. It was like we never left our favorite fantasyland of fashion, fun and "funky spunk" (That opening credits montage? Killer).

Yes, there were the groups of fanatics - dressed to the nines, handbangs clutched, lipstick re-applied - lined up around the theater hours before showtime, tickets purchased a week in advance. This was undoubtedly the Star Wars for fashionistas everywhere. Taking Oprah's advice, gaggles of girlfriends gathered together to invade the multiplexes and exercise their girl power at the box office. Just to give you a taste of the magnitude of Sex's inevitable success: I hear the film made $6 million at the midnight screenings on Thursday alone (Iron Man made just $1 million in that time frame).

I truly can't see how this film will be an absolute delight for the non-die-hards and the uninitiated. Sure, Michael Patrick King and SJP have boasted about how the film version of the HBO Emmy-winner will cater to both parties (anything to sell more tickets), but in the end, it's all for the fans. Only can the loyal followers of the show revel in the gratuitous wardrobe changes and flashes of designer names, the therapeutic girl-talk over cocktails and power meals, the zinging one-liners bordering on inside jokes. To the casual moviegoers who'll buy tickets to this Mother of All Romantic Comedies, I'm not quite sure what kind of movie this will be for them.

I won't even bother getting into the plot, because most of y'all have seen the online photos, heard the rumors, back while the film was actually shooting in September! Big events are planned (no pun intended), tears are shed, shoes are worn, sex is had.

Having Samantha go bicoastal was a nifty little development. After all, boyfriend Smith's career has bloomed, his mug gracing the covers of every issue of every entertainment magazine. And Samantha is now faced with the gradual monotony of life in a beach house (oogling her insanely hot neighbor) and the occasional shopping excursion to Rodeo Drive. In other words Ms. Jones would use herself, the bitch is bored. And the little pokes at Los Angeles are on the mark:

Samantha: "I haven't been happy in six months."
Miranda: "Isn't that normal for LA?"

The ladies all go through their episodic problems, but this time they're carefully stretched out to fill nearly two-and-a-half hours of silver screen time (totally worth it - just make sure you pee before going in). The length shouldn't be a problem for fans...if you've managed to sit through a DVD marathon at home on a rainy Sunday morning (you know who you are), then consider this the ultimate viewing party.

Our gals have aged gracefully, and what was once a television comedy about being single in your 30s has now aged gracefully into a delectable dramedy of a movie about life and love on the other side of 40.

Raising my glass,


May 29, 2008

When I Grow Up

The Pussycat Dolls have finally returned to the scene after Nicole's sucky solo efforts (I mean, really, the girl delayed the release of her album so many times, we thought we were being Punk'd). And Darkchild has finally returning the producer's booth, this time helping the Dolls climb the charts once again with "When I Grow Up," a bangin' ode to materialism (shocker). Listen here:

When I Grow Up - Pussycat Dolls

May 27, 2008

Hello, My Name Is

I have what I like to call a Starbucks Alter Ego.

Whenever I step into my neighborhood coffee chain, I become Paul Duquense, freelance journalist and lover of grande, non-fat white mochas.

For the few of you who have accompanied me on a caffeine run and been lucky to witness my slight split in personality, you know why this is. I simply have lost patience with the baristas who continue to misspell or mishear my name whenever they request it to later shout it out across busy the room of morning commuters and textbook-toting college students.

It was about a year ago when I decided to give out my middle name to avoid the hassle of carefully spelling out my four-lettered first name (4 letters!). Ninety percent of the time, no one will hear the "H." It's always "Kiko," "Nico," or "Pico" instead. So, asking myself, "How can anyone f**k up Paul?" I chose another four-lettered identity that would be more widely known among the Hooked-on-Phonics set.

My surname only came to me recently. I thought Duquense (that's "doo-cain") sounded worldly and cosmopolitan. It's a city located in Pennsylvania, the name of a South African solider who worked for the Germans and kicked some British ass in 1916, and a famed ship in the French Navy named after a popular admiral (Thank you, Wikipedia). It's also the perfect soap opera name for a guy whose evil twin is the mastermind behind an international mafia responsible for the disappearance of his true love.

If only I could use Paul Duquense in my everyday life. I've lost track of how many times people have misheard my name after meeting them for the first time at one of the countless mixers and cocktail parties I've attended here in L.A for the past several years:

"My name's Hiko."
"Nice to meet you, Kiko."
"No. Hiko"
"Hiko. With an H."
"How do you spell that?"
"Oh, cool name."

It's not like I suffer from a speech impediment. I was a star on my high school's speech and debate team for God's sake. Diction is what I do best.

Don't get me wrong; I'm proud of my name. I don't hate my parents for blessing me with a name that many Americans believe belongs on the marquee of a sushi buffet. I like to think that it stands out among the Matts, Mikes and Marks here in Los Angeles, a place where a name can mean everything. "How many Hikos do you know?" I ask my friends, and they're answerless because they know there's only one (well, according to the MySpace universe, there's a Hiko residing in Studio City who's a father of two and hasn't changed his profile picture in the three years we've been "friends," but let's move on).

Perhaps I'll develop another personality within the year, just to mess with the baristas at Starbucks once they've gotten to know me and greet me by first name the second I walk through the door. Maybe I'll become Francis Oliver, the son of a Japanese tycoon who recently purchased a condo in Century City and is now an efficiency expert at a Santa Monica law firm. Or, there's Takahashi "Hash" Goldman, a Japanese-Jew from Orange County who's in UCLA grad school studying podiatry.

Still, all of them lovers of grande, non-fat white mochas.


May 26, 2008

Going GaGa

Cut to: me at 1 in the morning of Memorial Day, downloading like a madman, keeping the blogosphere bouncing to some hot new tunage. And hot tunage it is: Here we have LADY GAGA (think: Gwen Stefani without the increasingly annoying voice), hailing from the nightclubs of New York City. Accompanying this dance diva from the East is Colby O'Donis, and together (with the help of surprise guest Akon!) they've come up with a hard-hitting track for the clubs. "Just Dance" is what you'll want to do, and it's what I'll dream about while my ass remains glued to the couch watching BBC America for the rest of the night...Enjoy the hell out of this one, kids:

May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

At first I was psyched, then I was wary. Then, I became psyched again, ignoring any qualms and doubts. After all, in Spielberg, I trust.

Psyched, because I was going to revisit my childhood, looking forward to a much-needed throwback to good old-fashioned adventure. John Williams, your score always gave me goosebumps with the first note and helped me escape to an exotic place of danger and wonder.

Wary, because I was reminded of last year's fourth installment of Die Hard, a classic franchise that needed to milk out one last hurrah and senselessly update its thrills for a new generation of moviegoers. Mr. Spielberg, you couldn't possibly let me down as well, could you?

Now, having just seen Indy 4 last night in Century City with a crowd sharing a similar anticipation, I can say this: Oh. Okay. Hmmm.

First thing's first: I'm kind of hating the Internet now. 19 years ago, when we last saw Junior ride off into the sunset after completing his Crusade, such technology didn't exist. Chat rooms never leaked spoilers. Paparazzi pics never revealed or hinted at key plot points to the story. Ongoing speculation never tortured the minds of fanatics once news broke out that the first draft of the script was greenlit by the studio. We just saw a trailer, got all tingly inside, bought our tickets and were taken for a genuine thrill ride we know we'd cherish forever.

With Crystal Skull, most the mystery, most of the rumors about the film (without spoiling anything) are disappointingly true.

Sadly, this fourth installment is nowhere near the caliber of the first three. Consider it Indiana Jones's Greatest Hits, a compilation of homages to his previous adventures that unfortunately turns into a sequel to Mom and Dad Save the World.

And it's not that it's overly CGI-ed. The film just seems to lack any scope. You feel the artificiality of the soundstage. You're not blind to the green screen. Where are the on-location shots? Where's that breathtaking view of a real-life city trapped in time? Raiders' sweeping Moroccan desert, anyone? Temple of Doom's India? Crusade's Venice canals? Here, we get Crayola-colored jungles where the background seems to run cyclically (think: Homer Simpson driving down the streets of Springfield, the same buildings passing by every three seconds). Here, we get Styrofoam caves decked out in silly string passing for creepy cobwebs. Maybe you can blame the lighting. Half of the movie appears to be too bright and shiny. And Janusz Kaminski, what's up with your cinematography skills, yo?

During the past 19 years, we've all grown accustomed to those theme park rides, attractions and stunt shows. We know how it all works, we've seen where the explosions come from and which trapdoor the hero escapes through. Watching Indy 4 feels like that. An audience that has now acquired a taste for the nervy immediacy and close-to-home thrill of a Jason Bourne outing probably won't accept a rubbery-tasting substitute featuring a sextogenerian in a dusty fedora. Maybe Spielberg intended for this to be the ironic, tongue-in-cheek portion of the saga, making fun of itself (Shia LeBeouf impersonates Tarzan in one ridiculous scene - and no, he doesn't don a loincloth). Maybe the man who made Jaws and E.T. and friggin' Jurassic Park for chrissakes thought that we'd get the silliness, that we'd get a kick out of watching him play around in his expensive sandbox with George Lucas and Harry Ford.

By all means, still go out and see it. I'm one who hates to dwell on the negative, and there ARE some cool little nuggets in this chapter: Cate Blanchett's scene-chewing villain (Cold War-era Russians are the new Nazis), an exciting car chase through a college campus (look for a shout-out to Marcus Brody), and a fight sequence upstaged by some pesky bugs.

I thought we were promised old-fashioned moviemaking (Stevie, what were those online production diaries for?). I thought we were being treated to the movie we were hungry for, but as it turns out, most of us already have those on our shelves at home packaged in a nifty boxed set.

May 21, 2008

Utah Must Be Bummed

The Mormon Muppet is NOT your Idol King, America.

I realize I had declared this kid was the frontrunner back in February during the Top 20 rounds, but as time went on, and as reports of his controlling stage dad leaked, his image was gradually tarnished - like with most pop idols - but the rate at which this backlash developed was quite upsetting. Clearly David has millions of fans, but those who fell in love with him early on, viewers who still aren't proud to admit they watch the show, became somewhat cynical and started to see right through what they thought was an act. The oh-my-gosh-me? attitude may have been genuine (he's 17, after all), but those who were looking for a more confident and more articulate candidate grew tired of Archuleta's emphasized innocence and purity.

And I was one of them. True, his voice is amazing, but I couldn't help but feel slightly manipulated while watching him. I had visions of his arms and legs attached to strings, Archuleta Senior dangling him from the rafters above, a sinister grin stretched from ear to ear. For lack of a better Pinocchio metaphor, it was just awkward.

However, what this really means: I am finally getting fatigued by this show (yes, I may have said that last year when Jordin was crowned). "Really, H?" you ask. "It took you seven seasons to reach this epiphany?" This doesn't mean I won't tune in for next season's winner, but it also means I won't be able to follow the entire thing from its bloated audition specials to it's self-congratulatory fundraiser. If you ask me, the program itself has developed its own ego, carefully tooting its own horn, and we all know where hubris gets ya (Don't even get me started on the gratuitous Coke and Ford product placements). I'd rather focus my time and energy on other things when the mania blows up again in '09...I mean, look at how much time I've spent writing this.

It looks like I'm not alone; cynics and haters have been quick to point out that viewership is finally declining (at the risk of clouding the joy of you die-hards out there, let's just call it "plateauing"). Despite its continued ranking as the #1 show on TV, it has stopped growing, like it or not. You know what this means: next year, producers are going to pull out every gimmick and stunt they got to keep their audience awake from January to May. That's desperation you smell coming from the executive offices over at Fox.

David Cook, your shedding of tears on Tuesday night was a genius move. All throughout the competition you maintained your cool, your shrugs of indifference whenever Randy told you "it was just aight," and it always seemed like something was going on inside your head, like you were waiting for the perfect moment to get us...and you did. On the night of all nights, you subtly showed us you were in it to win it. You became the genuine Idol we wanted, a winner who wasn't a puppet, a star ripe for plucking by money-hungry managers. Congrats.

Best of luck in the recording studios. Both of you.


May 19, 2008

Favoring 'Flavors'

I can't wait to sample me some Flavors.

According to Amazon, The first studio album from Alanis Morissette since 2004, Flavors Of Entanglement fuses the organic and the techno prompted by producer Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Björk). Incorporating beats, loops and synthesizers, the album was designed, says Morissette, so listeners can dance your face off. Balancing introspective confession and delirious joy, the global and the personal, Flavors Of Entanglement is a tasty new musical feast from one of pop's most intriguing artists.

Personally, it's one of my most anticipated albums of the year (Mariah who?).

The countdown to June 10...begins now.

May 18, 2008

SINFUL: Summer of 2008, Vol. 1

Summer ain't just for mind-numbing blockbusters, slathered-on sunscreen, and stale reality stunts on network TV. It's all about the music, baby. Grab yourself a CD-R (or juice up the iPod) and rip these tunes for a soundtrack that will make you the star at that Memorial Day barbeque you've got this weekend...

1. "I'm That Chick" by Mariah Carey
2. "Black & Gold" by Sam Sparro - Just watch.
3. "Dance 2Night" by Madonna
4. "Forever" by Chris Brown - Usher Jr. pops out a sugary summer jam that coolly blends techno and synthy R&B (thankfully, Timbaland is nowhere to be found in the producing credits).

5. "Lights & Music" by Cut Copy
6. "Forgive Me" by Leona Lewis - This Akon-produced bouncer, most likely the Brit's third single off her successful debut, is more than just another VH1-friendly tuner; it's got more dancefloor energy and sass.

7. "In Pieces" by Backstreet Boys
8. "Bounce With Me" by Kreesha Turner

9. "Click Click Click" by New Kids on the Block
10. "Double Dutch Bus" by Raven Symone
11. "Nine in the Afternoon" by Panic at the Disco
12. "Chasing Pavements" by Adele - For that patio dinner party, over a bottle of merlot while enjoying the glow of hovering fireflies.

13. "In My Arms (Bimbo Jones Radio Edit)" by Plumb
14. "Electric Feel" by MGMT - The greatest Scissor Sisters track that never was.
15. "End of the World" by Blake Lewis
16. "We Break the Dawn" by Michelle Williams
17. "Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)" by Groove Armada feat. Mutya Buena
18. "Now You're Gone (Radio Edit)" by Basshunter - Because summer ain't summer without an obnoxious-yet-catchy Eurodance single for the clubbangers.

19. "Better Brother" by Madita
20. "Handle Me" by Robyn
21. "Shawty Get Loose" Lil Mama feat. T-Pain & Chris Brown

May 15, 2008

Thank Sandy

Today is my mother's birthday.

She's hitting a milestone, a number I'm sure she wouldn't want to me plaster across cyberspace for complete strangers to see (hint: she's as old as Israel).

My mother's birthday always hovers near Mother's Day (sometimes on the same day), and this always poses a challenge for me. Would a son dare to pull a twofer and celebrate both occasions with one gift? Well, maybe. But there's always two cards!

This year, I'd like to accompany my birthday greetings with a show of thanks for my mom's love and support throughout the past 28 years.

Thank you for allowing your only child to leave the nest and trek to the other end of the country in pursuit of a dream. Know that every time someone compliments me or tells me I'm amazing, it's because of you. Know that every time I am adored and told I'm a wonderful person, every time someone tells me that they love me - know that it is you who has made me so wonderful, so lovable...just so damn great. Next time someone compliments me or thanks me for being a part of their life, I'll tell them, "Thank Sandy Mitsuzuka."

Let us flashback:

I remember your surprise 40th birthday party. I was 8, and no one in the family had filled me in on the secret (did I have that big of a mouth?). We had gone shopping in White Plains, spent some time at the Galleria and enjoyed lunch at Mr. Greenjeans. Remember that place? The Max Headroom TV sets, the sketches of 50s celebrities hanging from the wall, the giant glasses of iced tea, the blinking traffic signs randomly posted above the booths? After our meal, Aunt Carol and Uncle Dave drove us down a long and winding road outside the city (I think it was Tarrytown) to a non-descript building for an Italian dinner, just the five of us. We parked, got ushered down a hallway and led into a catering hall where a crowd of our family and friends scared the crap out of you and made you cry for a good ten minutes.

I pretended to know what was happening, that I had gone along with the ruse. I couldn't fool anyone for long because there was a plate of chicken parmigiana with my name on it that I couldn't resist.

My random Mom Memories range from the most cherished to the most insignificant.

Before that 1988 birthday bash, to help you get ready for New Year's Eve, I had picked out an evening gown for you to wear while we wandered the aisles of Macy's at the New Rochelle Mall. It was a purple number with black polka-dots, shoulder pads wide enough to support two trays of hors d'oeuvres. My fashion sense seemed to have kicked in at an early age, though it thankfully never inspired me to join the bitchy roster of finalists on Project Runway. Instead, I fell into the ways of the writer, influenced by the authors I grew up with and the books you introduced me to (Agatha Christie was to you as R.L. Stine was to me).

"Where do you get it from?" you usually ask, referring to my knack for spouting out descriptive diatribes on the mundane, and maybe it's a skip-a-generation type of thing. Do we have an established scribe in the fam? Any authors on the family tree we don't know about? Perhaps a hush-hush connection to Truman Capote or Jack Kerouac? There's also my idiot-savant-like ability to remember every small detail from the past. While I can remember where we were when we first heard Rick Astley on the radio and thought he was a black guy (coasting on the Hutchinson River Parkway in your brand-new Pontiac 6000-LE, FYI), you, Mommy Dearest, probably forgot who the killer was in that Murder, She Wrote episode you've seen five times on A&E (it was Morgan Fairchild in the library with the revolver).

And you can't help it because, since 1990, you've explained to people that you suffer from a syndrome known as CRS (Can't Remember Shit).

So, please accept this entry as a part of your belated birthday gift. That metallic, bubble-wrapped packet should have arrived in the mail by now. It's not much, but know that I am still working on "hitting it big" and planning to treat you with a birthday/Mother's Day gift that shall eclipse all birthday/Mother's Day gifts: A tour of Egypt in your very own powder-blue Volkswagen Beetle steered by Gregory Peck circa To Kill A Mockingbird (Apparently I discover time-travel in this dream scenario as well).

And if Mr. Peck isn't available, I can always try to work my connections to Antonio Banderas and George Clooney.


May 13, 2008

When in Vegas

*Blogger's preface: Many a travel blog has been written about wild times in Vegas - the late night binges, the not-so-discreet debauchery, the frivolous fun and escape (especially for L.A. folk). For the first time since establishing The First Echo, I had brought along my trusty laptop with the hopes of documenting my fifth trip to Sin City as I experienced it first-hand and tried to plan meetings with the PR team at Planet Hollywood (yes, this trip was slightly business-related). Turns out, recording every move I made was just as exhausting as the trip itself...

Thursday, May 8 (Day of Arrival, a.k.a Warm Up Day)
You want to drink when you’re in Vegas.

It's like a reflex. Strike your knee with a hammer, and your leg is gonna kick. Plop yourself on the Strip, and you're gonna wanna down a few shots to get you started.

The expectations are great in Sin City. As soon as I get out of the car, I want to hit the nearest bar, buy a slushy rum concoction and swig it down in an obnoxious souvenir cup that’s as tall as the dying bamboo plant on my desk back at work. Will I ever use the plastic tube-like memento? Probably never, but it has a cool logo of the bar where I bought it for an even more obnoxious twelve dollars.

Then there’s the food. An extended weekend in Vegas isn’t like any other vacation. You want to get your gluttony on and greet the buffets with a grin as wide as a hungry cartoon shark. You don’t mind throwing down thirty dollars to get into a nightclub where the skirts are mini, the martinis are glowing and the music is pounding. Stuff is inhaled, shit is snorted. There’s an actual desire to get messy, to get absolutely f**ked up, and there’s some consolation in knowing that such recklessness is acceptable in this town of gaudiness and grandeur. You actually plan out the path you’ll take when stumbling back to your hotel at five in the morning after consuming a plate of chili cheese fries and a beer at your resort’s 24-hour diner-café.

The late mornings are for poolside mimosas, SPF 30 and the flipping through of pages of Us Weekly. That paperback novel about a serial killer terrorizing the residents of Des Moines can wait. You’re still stuck on the first chapter anyway, and Zanessa's abs are just too damn distracting. For some, walks of shame are more like cab rides of shame back to hotel lobbies. Mouths are dry, in need of a nice cold Bloody Mary.

We start drinking at 6.

Friday, May 9
Why the hell did I wake up at nine in the morning after hitting the sheets at three? That was not a part of the plan. I am very upset. Now I’m worried about running on six hours of sleep. I’ll definitely have to crash around six this afternoon before heading out for Night of Messiness #1.

We (Hot in Hollywood's very own Corey Moore and I) manage to make it in time for breakfast hours at the coffee shop downstairs and order a short stack of pancakes and a pair of omelettes. Stupid me forgets to pack a swimsuit, so I have to make a run to the Urban Outfitters in our resort to purchase a pair of trunks I know I'll never wear again (blue and white Umbertos that fall right above the knee, exposing my oh-so-subtle tree trunks).

Night: Got on DJ Ray Rhodes's list for Krave at midnight. Stayed til close (4am). Was invited to hang out with Ray and his crew at an afterhours joint. Couldn't. Called Corey, who had already made his way back to the room. Lost 40 more dollars at blackjack around 5am. Told Corey to get his ass downstairs to partake in some munchies. Got a table at the 24-hour coffee shop on the casino floor. Walked back up to our room on the 35th floor...

Holy shit, the sun is up.

Saturday, May 10
Got back to the room at 6 in the morning after a night of Long Island iced teas, green apple shots and vodka cranberries. Hangover inevitable. However, those potato skins I scarfed down at 5 in the morning (along with tall glasses of water) should help a bit.

Didn’t get out of bed until one in the afternoon. Got a text from Jorge, who was staying at Mandalay Bay. “Come take a dip in the pool.” Arm twisted, I grabbed Corey’s car keys (he was trapped deep in Hangover Land and wasn’t coming out of it anytime soon – see his side of the story) and took the Hybrid down the Strip to experience the Mandalay Beach. Met Jorge and Evan in their room-with-a-better-view and learned we were getting hooked up with Duran Duran tickets at the Hard Rock later that night. Sweet.

Down to the pool/beach…As expected, it's gorgeous and covered with hot bodies. It took us nearly fifteen minutes to find some lounge chairs in the sand by the wave pool. A remix of Jordin Sparks blared nearby. It felt slightly White Party-ish, but with more hot girls. Every inch of sand was occupied by fellow Angelenos on a similar escape-weekend, Phoenix party boys on an extended spring break and drunk Pussycat Doll wannabes with pink cocktail glasses and a hunger for the nearest hot jock.

Recouped and changed wardrobes in Jorge's room since Corey and I had early evening tickets to Mamma Mia at the Mandalay Bay Theater. We watched some dancing queens and realized Meryl Streep's got a ton to show off come July when the movie adaptation hits theaters.

Duran Duran at the Hard Rock. Guest list mishap. No show for us, but got to eavesdrop on a few minutes of a set. Not to worry. We need dinner anyway - back to the coffee shop for a late dinner and back to the room to get dressed for...

We're on the guest list at Pure in Caesar’s (Jorge once again). Straight to the head of the line. No hassle. Walk through the stark white corridors. Pass three bouncers. Catch a little Pussycat Doll action after midnight. Avoid the overcrowded, smoky dancefloor. I'm suddenly hit with flashes of Boston and New York City nightclubs circa 2000, when smoking had yet to be banned indoors.

We then move to the rooftop deck overlooking the lit-up Strip. I get handed a vodka tonic. Corey's handed a bottle of Voss to further him down the road to hydration. Three guys next to us maneuver their way into a bachelorette party at the bar, each one apparent subscribers to The Game. A guy with an 80s paint-spattered white blazer walks by creating a wave of double-takes, a woman's ass is grabbed by a greaser who sloppily marks his territory, and the tallest guy in the room arrives with a blonde who can hardly walk in the stilettos that pinch her well-manicured toes. DJ AM continues to spin, and I can't help but take in the view:

Sunday, May 11 (Day of Departure)
We wake up to room service and breakfast in bed while savoring every minute of the two-part season finale of Real Housewives of New York City. *Jill and Bethenny, call us for dinner. We'd love to get sloshed with you gals.

Pack our bags by 2pm. Stop by Mandalay Bay to drop off Jorge's cell phone which was left in the backseat after last night's Duran Duran debacle. We cross over the city limits shortly after 3.

And then it’s the drive back to L.A., the annoying traffic near the Nevada border, the pit stops at no-name towns where fast-food burgers are the specials du jour and gas is ridiculously overpriced.

Back in L.A. by 7:30. It's gray and chilly. Sunday night misery settles in.

We're no longer rock stars.


*Many thanks go out to the wonderful Andrea for putting us up at Planet Hollywood during our extended weekend/escape from reality.

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 ...