August 31, 2008

Summer Breeze

first echo end of summer

Pop culture goodness bursting at the


The following outburst of word vomit is brought to you by two cups of coffee and the fact that my office is pouncing to break out early to kick off the final holiday weekend of the season...mimosas in the kitchen, y'all!

The end of summer is always bittersweet. The scent of sunscreen is replaced with the delicious smells of fresh Composition notebook paper and sharpened Number 2 pencils. Box office grosses are overanalyzed (Dark Knight, who knew?). Oscar contenders rev up their engines. And the flab you couldn't get rid of before Memorial Day just gets covered up in those favored "layers" you love to talk about so much (hurrah for scarves and zip-up fleece!).

Before we return to 90210, before we watch Biden duke it out with Palin (I mean, really, the woman's husband is a "champion snow machine racer") and before our sunburns fade and we finally get every grain of sand out of our asses, let us look back a summer that flew by faster than you could say "Hot Tamale Train" (After all, everyone and their mother's cousin seem to be pumping out summer recaps and top 10 lists these days, so why not jump on that wagon?).


Iron is hot. Racer stalls. Sex is great. And Crystal Skull...Oy to the vey. Most importantly, however, SYTYCD begins, and all is well once Cat Deeley struts on stage. Personally: I do Vegas, my dad finishes his two-week stay in L.A., my best friend visits and I hit the beach for the very first time this year (I proceed to rock a bitchin' tan).


Swingtown brings back the porno 'stache. Lindsay's a les. And Jamie Lynn's a mommy. Personally: I get my fill of cocktail birthday parties, host Hot Mix 4 at Happy Ending on Sunset, get treated to the most spectacular steak dinner by an Aussie fashion designer friend, officially become the Managing Editor of and then get my rave on at the Electric Daisy Carnival at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum (My golden tan disappears).


Meryl Streep's crowned "Dancing Queen". The Jonas Brothers are everywhere. Miley Vs. Demi becomes the new Lauren Vs. Heidi. And a psychotic with a bad makeup job torments our Caped Crusader. Personally: Outfest kicks off and I take over Chicago for the first time and Comic-Con in San Diego for the second time.


Michael Phelps Overkill Mania invades the world. Obama chooses Biden. And Personally: I frazzle myself with the ginormous ball of stress that is the Hot in Hollywood benefit and later attempt to further legitimize my blogger status by sending material to a couple of popular websites (names withheld for obvious reasons).

My Labor Day weekend was neither hopping nor hella crazy...

Friday night was a chill potluck dinner at a friend's condo in West Hollywood (Kathleen rocked out her Danish meatballs). Saturday was spent scanning the pages of Esquire in the tire-filled lobby of Firestone while getting an oil change, followed by a surprise birthday party in a penthouse near Century City. Sunday: had a little HIH pow-wow in Echo Park, made a Pinkberry run to satisfy a serious craving (I had dreamed about green tea and blueberries the night before), dropped by a barbecue with Swaga, and then brought some bottles of Miller to a coworker's pool party in Laurel Canyon. I was home my 9:30, in bed with a frozen South Beach dinner, some frozen yogurt and an old Agatha Christie murder mystery in the DVD player. And finally Monday: a screenplay session with Corey at Java Detour in WeHo, meeting Doug in Hollywood to check out his newly purchased condo (I mean, who doesn't have one nowadays?), lunch at Kitchen 24, some cardio at the Arclight gym, and then back home to prep for a Chinese take-out/movie night with some the Medimoores, Cookie and JLCJules (y'all know who you are).

Like I said, wasn't a crazy weekend.

Now, bring on the VMAs, the Emmys and the foliage.

I can't wait to wear my new hoodie.


August 28, 2008

Party Like It's 1992

brenda kelly EW cover

All I need next is Amanda Woodward to resurface, some Fear Street novels and my orange denim shorts, and I'm back in New Rochelle making mix tapes on my Aiwa stereo.

August 22, 2008

Movie Junkie Time

Click on the pic above to check out my latest trailer showcase on Hot In Hollywood.

Then, after that, why don't you check out my review of the funniest movie of the year:

August 20, 2008

I'm Hot

"Get involved."

That's one nugget of advice my mother had offered to me when I was a freshman in high school (a.k.a. The Loner Period). And I tried. I was a background actor in the fall play. I set off major Nerd Alerts by joining (gulp) the Library Council. And I even pushed myself to write an article or two for The Gael Force, our school paper, my first piece discussing the increasing trashiness of TV in the 90s. But it wasn't until I was recruited to join the speech and debate team that I found myself immersed in something that stimulated me, influenced me, changed me.

Fast forward fourteen years later (gulp, again), and I have found myself overbooked, overstressed - yet overjoyed - in a whirlwind of events I am proud to be a part of.

My summers, especially after the 4th of July, have now officially become Hot in Hollywood season. That's when things kick in and I am suddenly juggling two jobs at once (three, if you count these little contributions to the blogosphere).


Being a part of this steering committee, this event, this experience - in short - has changed my life, and I am so proud to be a part of it and so overwhelmingly grateful for being given the opportunity to work on something that will change lives, not only locally, but globally.

Shortly after Saturday night's enormously successful event (you can see for yourself via the links throughout this entry) I received an e-mail from one of my volunteers who has been with us since the first bash in 2006. He's a friend of a friend who wanted to help out in any way he could, totally gung-ho and ready to take on whatever we threw at him. This year was no exception. He started early in the morning when we needed last-minute help with set-up at the theater, and he stayed well past midnight to break down the stage and clear out the venue. He never stopped or gave up, telling me he was happy to do the work and how he fully supported what we do.

In his e-mail he explained why he has been so passionate about helping us year after year:

My friend Hiko,

Thank you so much for letting me come in and volunteer with everybody. I really feel elevated by this opportunity. These past 2 years have been really good for me with HIH, and here is why.

In 1986 my father was diagnosed with HIV. I did not find out about it until 1988 when I was a sophomore, and back then you kept things like this to yourself. Sadly my father passed in the summer of 1992, and for a while I was very depressed. I had always been a summertime guy, you know?

As the summers passed and the anniversary came around, I found myself down in the dumps a lot. Now, thanks to the Hot in Hollywood family, I have a duty to help fight this disease and HELP people living with it. I no longer am so sad this time of year, and HIH has really helped me feel better. I am actually doing something about helping people.

I am humbled to be a part of this event, and so very happy and willing to go all out when it's time. I am personally touched by the overwhelming goodwill that is connected to this event. I cry a little on the inside when I see all these people coming together to help out those who need it the most.

Thank you very much and may all the good of the world be upon everybody involved in the project!

It's so easy to get lost in the chaos of the planning, the scheduling, the stress, the red carpet brouhaha - the distracting bullshit - and this was a great and much-needed reminder of why we do what we do. While I read his letter at work I was genuinely touched (nearly becoming a blubbering mess myself) and blown away by his dedication and strong belief in us. It truly showed how Hot in Hollywood touches not only those serviced by our beneficiaries but those who are there, on the frontlines, participating in the actual event itself.

All of us who worked on this benefit will take away different things, some more than others. I know I'll still feel the effects of it, whatever they may be, for some time to come.

And some of these feelings will fade, but not completely, as the year goes on and we busy ourselves with other commitments. Call it a hiatus. However, once Spring 2009 rolls around, our engines will rev up once again, and we'll prep ourselves for new challenges that will no doubt stimulate us, influence us, change us.

I'm learning how important it is to immerse yourself in something you're passionate about because, most likely, what you do will have a positive effect on someone, if not many someones. The world can't change for the better unless there's action. And there can be no action unless you believe in such change, get out there and do something.

It's simple.

Get involved.


August 02, 2008

A New Era of Boyband


Jonas Brothers who?

Meet Avenue.

Names (from L-R): Max, Jonny, Andy, Scott and Ross.

Ages: 19-24

The song to love: "Last Goodbye"

Westlife, you've been sent to the retirement home.

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 ...