So This Happened...


File this under: Pleasant Surprise of the Week.

Upon arriving at my second editorial meeting for Bello Mag in downtown L.A., I was treated to my own little sexy box of business cards (yes, boxes can be sexy). I shall use them wisely and continue to whore myself as a self-proclaimed pop culture/social media junkie for hire.

*That pen has been strategically placed there for a reason.

H.P.M.


My Interview With Ashley Madekwe


So, it appears the mega-blogsite, Just Jared, picked up the Bello Magazine interview I did with Revenge vixen Ashley Madekwe (*note to my mom: click on the above image to see my name in the credits if you're still hanging my stuff on the refrigerator back home). And check out the preview here.

Madekwe plays social climber Ashley, who may or may not have hooked up with Daniel Grayson in that action-packed season finale last week. I tried to squeeze some insider info out of the beautiful actress (she's also quite the fashionista), but it looks like we won't know anything until the ABC sudser returns in the fall.

You can see more pics and catch the full article when the issue becomes available in the iTunes App Newsstand on May 28.

H.P.M.


Kelly Clarkson's 'Dark Side': Coulda Been Darker

There are songs you fall in love with long before they're released as official singles. And when they are, you're thankful that the artist (and her record label) had the brains and wherewithal to showcase it -- and excited for the inevitable music video that will hopefully complement the visuals you've already conjured up in your mind. But unfortunately, the vid is far from what you imagined.

Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side" is one of those songs.

As much as I love the song (ever since I got a copy of Stronger back in January), and as great as she looks in the video, I could've done without the PSA sentimentality on display here. While Ms. Clarkson bounces back and forth between two looks (Rough-Around-The-Edges Kelly and Soft-and-Vulnerable Kelly), we're introduced to an ensemble of characters that are going through some tough times: a bullied young man, a girl with body issues, a guy who's lost his job, a war vet, an alcoholic, etc. Each attractive actor seems to have stumbled off the set of a United Colors of Benetton shoot. Therefore, I'm not entirely sure that all of these vague situations necessarily warrant the "dark" label. If the song were called "Victim," then the whole montage would make a little more sense. But I get it; it's supposed to be inspirational (I guess people have already forgotten Christina Aguilera's beautiful "Beautiful" from 2002 -- because, hell, 10 years is way too long ago).

That said, wouldn't it have been cool to see a twisted, comedic take on the song? Why not have Kelly go berserk on a boyfriend a la Pink in "Please Don't Leave Me"? Or be a girl next door with a supervillain alter ego? No? Okay. I'll just sit back, shut up, and watch the result of what happens when a production rushes to pump something out in order to coincide with the debut of said singer's new reality competition show:



Thoughts?

H.P.M.


Best Summer Ever: The 2012 Playlist - Vol. 1

Now that you've seen The Avengers twice and contributed to its $500 million at the box office, why not break out the sunscreen, grab a beach towel (along with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey) and plug in to some tunage that'll have you bopping along and smelling the barbecue.

Just remember to wait 30 minutes after eating before jumping into the pool...

1. "Scream" by Usher
2. "Laserlight" by Jessie J feat. David Guetta
3. "Ruby" by Foster The People -- This unreleased B-side sounds like it's been simmering in 1979 and waiting to be dusted off for all of those kids with pumped-up kicks to enjoy.
4. "Disconnected" by Keane -- The piano rockers have returned to fine form with an easy-breezy harmony, and this time they've brought a Dario Argento-inspired video for their second single off Strangeland:



5. "Some Nights" by fun.
6. "Pop That Lock" by Adam Lambert
7. "Don't Wake Me Up" by Chris Brown -- Normally, Breezy makes me want to fling dog poo at his face, but I can't resist the acoustic opening of this club-banger and the climactic chorus that seals it as one of summer's great dance anthems. Or try the William Orbit mix here.
8. "Promises" by Nero -- The Skrillex-free original, that is. See Exhibit A below:



9. "Blood for Poppies" by Garbage -- And it feels like 1996 all over again.
10. "Guardian" by Alanis Morissette -- See above.
11. "Like A Star" by Britt Nicole
12. "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction -- Because every summer requires a guilty pleasure.
13. "Back in Time" by Pitbull -- Because every summer requires a theme song from a Will Smith blockbuster (MiB3).
14. "Timebomb" by Kylie Minogue -- Or, what I like to call Kylie Schooling Madonna On How MDNA Should've Looked and Sounded:

15. "No Church in the Wild" by Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean -- It had me at the trailer for Baz Lurhmann's The Great Gatsby.
16. "Celebrate" by Jordin Sparks & Whitney Houston
17. "Call My Name" by Cheryl Cole
18. "Dance (The Way It Moves)" by The DNC feat. Gigi
19. "Let's Have A Kiki" by Scissor Sisters
20. "Stay" by Erik Hassle
21. "Put It Down" by Brandy feat. Chris Brown
22. "Sometimes You Need" by Rufus Wainwright
23. "Houdini (RAC Mix)" by Foster The People
24. "Electric Sky" by Milla Jovovich - The Resident Evil star gets all electro-disco on us and surprises with this Euro-trashy number.
25. "Love is Blindness" by Jack White
26. "Kiss Me Again" by We Are The In Crowd feat. Alex Gaskarth

Enjoy, be tanned, and be merry.

Now, about those Prometheus tickets...

H.P.M.


An Open Letter to Teresa Giudice

Dear Mrs. Giudice,

Let me preface this by saying that I am fairly new to the RHONJ world. I jumped into the mania -- head first -- when the third season premiered last year on Bravo. Since then, I have been glued to your East Coast shenanigans along with those of Caroline, Jacqueline, Melissa, and Kathy. I realize that watching you ladies throw parties and duke it out over sometimes-trivial issues allows me to wax nostalgic on my times back in New York (I'm a Westchester County boy, born and raised just outside the Bronx in New Rochelle). Having grown up around a diverse group of Tri-State Area personalities, particularly female ones, I can recognize women like you, so I guess your show kind of reminds me of (parts of) home. After all, Jersey ain't that far from NY.

Now that we're halfway through Season 4, I have to express my concerns about your welfare, the welfare of your children, and the welfare of your "friends" who have tirelessly attempted to help you and be reasonable with you. If by some random chance that you do find and read this, I have no doubt you'll be quick to scoff, dismiss me with a wave of your bejeweled hand, shake your head with a "Whatever," and tell me to get a life.

But just like you have a right to subject your husband and four young daughters to the microscope of reality TV and the glossy pages of US Weekly for further study, I have a right to speak out and share my views with this forum we entitled writer-losers call the blogosphere. So, hear me out, because I've spent plenty of hours listening to your sides of many stories via well-lit testimonials in which you try your bestest to come up with a soundbite.


I have no doubt that you love your children and that you would do anything for them. However, whether or not editing has played a role in portraying your parenting skills, you can't ignore the fact that your daughters, particularly your eldest, have an interesting future ahead of them. And I use the word "interesting" to be polite. I'm sure you've heard the expression "children are like sponges." Well, I recommend keeping that in mind every time your husband spews out hostile insults about your friends and family while Milania and Gabriella play with their Barbies in the living room. It's not hard to envision a future in which they'll look back on their childhoods and remember their father as a belligerent, wine-chugging lowlife who was as paternal as a chainsaw. And let's not leave out the therapy bills poor Gia will eventually have to pay after struggling with her own relationships while she's in her, let's say, late 20s, when her daddy issues come to the forefront. Also, if the previews of next Sunday's episode is any indication (10-year-old Gia learns to hate well-intentioned Uncle Joe, just like Mommy), then you have succeeded in creating your own little Mini Me and guaranteeing that Giudice family history will sadly repeat itself.

Speaking of your husband, I understand that you are loyal and committed to him, and you clearly take your vows seriously, standing by his side through thick and thin (and there's been a lot of thick). But girl, you need to be honest with yourself and be woman enough to acknowledge the tough times you've endured. Stop referring to his time in prison as "that period when he went away." You're fooling no one. Not talking about it isn't going to make the pain go away.

That said, I truly believe that you mean well. However, I also strongly believe that you are a very unhappy person who lives in a denial that's as thick as the marinara you drown your pasta and meatballs in. If you ask me, I know you know your relationship with your husband is strained. But what do you do about it? You bite someone's head off whenever someone reaches out to you, and then you proceed to project your insecurities on others by tearing them down and talking shit about their private lives. We hear (and see) you loud and clear.

There was some promise of seeing an authentic Teresa on the May 13 episode during which your brother, Joe Gorga, calmly tried to make peace and straighten things out between the two of you at Kathy's end-of-the-school-year pool party. You suddenly teared up out of the blue, and for those five seconds, we glimpsed the true Teresa, a hurt and confused wife and mother who doesn't know what to do with her marriage. But you won't admit it. You won't dare show us your vulnerable side. Instead, you wave your hands as if that will solve everything, call Joe "the worst brother in the world," and walk out of the pool party, which was intended to be a fun, innocent gathering for all of the kids. Another window of opportunity for you to genuinely release your frustrations and fears was wasted the second you uttered the words "I'm done" -- it's starting to become your catchphrase -- and ran away to go hide in your oversized SUV.

All of the cookbook deals and paid tabloid spreads in the world won't be able to alleviate the pain you keep suppressing. I truly hope the universe conspires in your favor and forces you to see that soon.

Mrs. Giudice, I'm sure you must have known what you were in for when you signed on for another season of Bravo reality (even if Andy Cohen held a knife to your throat and forced you to participate in a satanic ritual). So ditch the defensive attitude, suck up some responsibility, and get real.

Sincerely,
H.P.M.


Saying Goodbye to Those Desperate Housewives


"They watched her as they watch everyone, always hoping the living could learn to put aside rage and sorrow, bitterness and regret. These ghosts watch, wanting people to remember that even the most desperate life is oh so wonderful. But only a lucky few realize the gift they've been given. Most people just go on, day after day, trying in vain to keep secrets that will never stay hidden." - Mary Alice Young

And so concludes the eight-year run of a show that will now takes its rightful and respected place in television history.

The final episode of Desperate Housewives aired last night, and for those of you who still have it saved on the DVR, bookmark this page and come back later because, naturally, there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

The first hour of the action-packed finale, written by Bob Daily, surrounded the denouement of Bree’s trial, which most of us hoped would just wrap up already. And it did, thanks to the dying Karen McCluskey, who, with having nothing to lose, stepped in and falsely confessed to killing Gaby’s evil stepfather, Alejandro. Apparently Karen overheard Carlos and Gaby’s conversation about coming clean (the ladies had been taking turns helping Roy watch over McCluskey during her final days). The plucky senior citizen of Wisteria Lane ultimately saved the day, preventing Bree from doing time in prison (you just know those orange jumpsuits would’ve been horrible for her complexion). Case dismissed. Glad that was taken care of...

The rest of my breakdown/review of last night's poignant farewell to the women of Wisteria Lane can be found over HERE.


Dominating the Blogosphere


...one website at a time.

Yours truly was asked by the Powers That Be at Picktainment.com to come on board as an associate editor for the entertainment site. And I crazily said yes (I'll mostly be editing movie reviews and op-ed pieces written by the dozen or so contributors they have). And I'll continue to spew out my usual pop cultural ramblings.

You can check out what I've written for them thus far HERE. And they even gave me my own space for a bio

H.P.M.


6 Songs About Boyfriends


With the recent release of Justin Bieber's music video for his single, "Boyfriend," I couldn't help but take a stroll down pop memory lane and reflect on the ear candy (and videos) that has celebrated romantic male companions -- the good, the bad, and the douchey -- over the past decade...


1. "Get Another Boyfriend" by Backstreet Boys - "He's just another player playing in the name of love," BSB warns. This track, taken from 2001's Black & Blue, was unfortunately never released as an official single, but fans could easily get into the groove as our five crooners tell an ex to dump the douchebag and see him for who truly is. Fun, Max Martin-produced pop bliss. GRADE: A-





2. "Boyfriend" by Big Time Rush feat. Snoop Dogg - Apparently in the year 2099, nightclubs (and hairstyles) will look very 2011 (maybe it'll come back in style by then)...and hot chicks will have an appetite for little alien robots. Questionable choreography, Auto-Tune, and the random collaboration from Snoop can't save this mediocre-with-a-capital-M production. This Nickelodeon-manufactured boy band will sadly have to eat the dust that's currently being left behind by the likes of One Direction and The Wanted. GRADE: C-




3. "Boyfriend" by Alphabeat - The adorable co-ed Danish band released this irresistibly, bubbly 80s throwback in 2008, and, like BSB's aforementioned song, it works as a cautionary theme, this time telling some ho-bag maneater to back off and go get a man of her own (you tell it, sister friend). And the video? It's a wonderfully colorful popsterpiece that suits the song well. GRADE: A-




4. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" by Black Kids - Another co-ed group! These synth rockers made a splash on the American hipster scene back when Alphabeat was taking Europe by storm, and their most popular single off Partie Traumatic is a cute concoction, filled with schoolyard chants and a nifty chorus that'll have you bopping along in your ironic tee while chugging down a PBR.  GRADE: B+



5. "Gotta Boyfriend" by Frankmusik - The British electro-pop artist now known as Vincent Did It (damn those record label disputes!) had this retro-flavored gem to share from his self-titled debut effort back in the fall of 2009. GRADE: B+



6. "My Boyfriend's Back" by Katerina Graham - I had the misfortune of stumbling upon this raping remake of The Angels' 60s classic by the Vampire Diaries star. Granted, this was made two years ago, well before Perez Hilton busted his wad all over the blogosphere and gave this girl some much-needed publicity. It's safe to say she won't be making shoestring-budgeted videos (or craptacular songs) like this anymore. GRADE: D.



Then there's Mr. Bieber's contribution to the "Boyfriend" oeuvre. While I can appreciate the more mature production value of the track, I still cringe at that part where he raps about "eatin' fondue." I mean, really. WTF? And the video? Well, see for yourself (GRADE: B).




Bonus: NSync's "Girlfriend" - As you can see, the Biebs totally ripped off Timberlake & Co. Back in 2002 (a decade ago, REALLY?) these five fellows showed off their swagger while surrounded by a bevy of babes and hot cars. Director X, did you really think no one would notice the similarities? Take a gander:




I'm done.

H.P.M.