So I Walk Into A Room Full Of Half-Naked Supermodels...

Here in Los Angeles we are in the midst of Brit Week, that time of year when UK-born artists of all types living in Southern California (and Anglophiles like myself) gather together to mingle and celebrate each other's achievements and overall fabulousness.

I was honored to be invited to attend a Brit Week party in the hills above Sunset Boulevard celebrating opera, fashion, and art (OPARTASH, get it?). Thrown at the private home of Genlux fashion editor Amanda Eliasch (pictured, below), the guest-list-only "soiree" held about 150 guests including actress Lisa Zane from -- yep -- Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (I'll let that sink in for you 90s horror junkies out there). And who knew she could sing? Early in the night, the raven-haired artist slinked up next to a pink piano and performed an Italian number with opera singer Charles Eliasch.

My plus-one for the evening was a filmmaker friend of mine who wished to remain nameless here because of his following description of the house: "It's as if Betsy Johnson and Ed Hardy had sex in 1987 and exploded." Indeed: white walls, onyx tables, pink velvet chaise lounges, baroque sculptures, and neon artwork made for a decor that would've done Andy Warhol proud.

Since we arrived shortly after 6pm, the actual start time, we expected to enjoy some gourmet nibblers as our dinner, but lo and behold, a dining table strewn with cheese plates and hummus wasn't enough to satiate our appetites.

After stuffing my face with brie and grapes, I searched the rest of the party for anything that would quell my stomach. No such luck. Instead, I gulped down two glasses of Veuve Clicquot and a vodka cocktail at the open bar. I then peeked my head into the kitchen where two catering staff members asked if I needed anything. I politely asked them if anything else was being served since I, like some of the guests I knew, didn't prefer to graze on pita chips and berries like farm animals.

Fashion show buffet: champagne, Diet Coke, and an apple.
"I know there's some pizza in the garage," one girl advised. "They're for the models. If you can find them, I'm sure they can help you. But you didn't hear that from us."

So, let me get this straight: The party guests get a snack platter from Costco while the supermodels who need to squeeze into metallic body suits for a fashion show that's happening in ten minutes get pepperoni and sausage thick-crusts?

Cut to: me on a mission, walking through partygoers, nodding my head as I was being introduced to some Duke from England and a British artist who's the son of a famous thespian (it was almost like a 21st century Downton Abbey up in there -- a mix iPhones and monocles). The whole time I'm thinking to myself, Where the hell is this magical garage hiding this mythical pizza?

I got my answer when I stumbled upon a closed door in the foyer. I turned the knob, expecting to be greeted with a closet full of jackets and hangers, and was surprised to find a dozen young ladies -- half dressed -- sitting in chairs, getting their faces painted and their hair teased. Lots of skin, lots of lingerie. Several heads turned. Through the hair spray and lip gloss, all I could smell was baked crust and melted cheese. My eyes locked on the stack of pizza boxes sitting on a table surrounded by eye creams and hairbrushes.

"Sorry," I piped in. "We were told there was pizza in here?"

"Sure," a smiling waif said, unfazed by our intrusion. "You can have this one." She got out of her chair and handed us a box. Surprisingly, most of the pizza had already been eaten. Did we just stumble upon some kind of behind-the-scenes fashion show ritual? Is this what supermodels binge on before walking the runway? Surely this doesn't happen in places like Milan or Paris...

"Don't mind us," my friend said. We awkwardly stood by the door. Smiling Waif went back to her preparations.

I scarfed down a slice of barbecue chicken pizza as if I were a vagabond who had just traveled across a post-apocalyptic Earth after weeks without sustenance.

Somewhat satisfied, we made our way outside to the pool deck to grab a good seat for the pending fashion show. A runway had been constructed over the pool and a spotlight had been situated next to the DJ. A hush came over the Euro-centric crowd.

Amanda Eliasch came out and tapped on a microphone, thanking everyone for coming, especially designer Pam Hogg who had flown in from London to showcase her new line of out-of-this-world outfits. Hogg, one of Gaga's fashion femme fatales, isn't known for making public appearances, so tonight's occasion was quite special and blah, blah, blah...I was just happy I had found that secret stash of pizza.

The models strutted and did their thing. I caught Smiling Waif making her way towards our seats. In a moment of recognition I smiled, nodded my head, and on behalf of my stomach, mouthed the words, "Thank you."

Without missing a beat, before she walked off the pool deck, she turned and said, "It was soooo good, right?"

My kind of supermodel.

@TheFirstEcho


Amy Schumer: Obsession of the Week

Thank you, Hulu Plus, for letting me catch a sneak peek of the first episode of Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, the no-holds-barred half-hour comedy filled with stand-up, sketches, and (wo)man-on-street chatter with comedian Amy Schumer.

Before this week, I had only caught Amy on a couple of roasts and one episode of The Burn with Jeff Ross. And it seems like Comedy Central has done a great job grooming her for her own project. This new comedy series deals with sex, politics, race, and all sorts of hot topics that deserve some skewering.

Do I dare say that she could be the next Chelsea Handler? Okay: She could very well be the next Chelsea Handler.


@TheFirstEcho


I Don't Watch 'Game of Thrones' But...


...now that a friend of mine has shared her HBO Go account with me, I am considering using the summer to jump on the fanboy bandwagon.

Sure, I'm succumbing to TV peer pressure. But how could so many nerd friends and TV junkies be wrong? Last spring I dived head first into the first four seasons of Breaking Bad, and look where I am now: still missing Gus and salivating over the final eight episodes that won't air until this August. And let's not forgot Scandal. I plowed through the first 22 episodes of the series within two weeks last month and am currently obsessed with Huck while wishing Olivia Pope would lighten up on the all-white wardrobe.

But what officially sold me on GoT was this Facebook status from the lovely Jennifer Carno:

"If someone had just pitched Game of Thrones to me as Melrose Place with swords, I would have started watching a lot sooner."

Amanda Woodward in a crown? With dragons? Okay, I'm in.

@TheFirstEcho


Dear Future Employer: A Cover Letter

Hello [insert large corporate entity or small independent start-up]!

My name is Hiko Mitsuzuka, and in response to your recent posting, I am happy to be the 438th potential candidate inquiring about your available social media/web content/writing position at [insert company name].

As a web content creator and editor for numerous outlets and platforms, I know a thing or two (or seven) about meeting deadlines, polishing the written word, managing assets, engaging online communities, and maintaining a brand's identity or voice (without my native New York accent getting in the way, natch). Additionally, being a commercial treatment writer for some of the country's top directors, I know what people want to read and experience -- and more importantly -- how they may want to share particular content with each other online without getting caught by their bosses at work.

As you'll see on my resume (attached, unscented), I've also worked in TV and commercial production for over eight years. As your [insert job title], I will bring with me several years of experience, strong relationships within the entertainment and publicity industries, and an undeniable passion for pop culture, which could never hurt -- some may even call me a junkie.

If you have any concerns about me working with celebrity talent, I can assure you that I've had my fair share of dealing with the demands and sensitive requests that come with such tasks. I can keep secrets. In fact, I've kept a good amount of indiscretions under wraps. There's the SNL alum who once cheated on his wife with a close friend of mine. There's the young Hollywood star of an action franchise who was a big underage drinker back in the mid-2000s (I have a picture of him downing a bottle of Hypnotiq to prove it). There's also the British pop star who favors autoerotique affixation behind closed doors (my former coworker has some anecdotes to back it up).

I'm afraid I've already said too much.

As for my skills, I can roll calls like there's no tomorrow, rock out some projects on Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and InDesign, and make HMTL codes my bitch. As a matter of fact, I am tweeting, taking a conference call, and editing an interview with Keanu Reeves while I write this.

If you have any questions or need more info, please feel free to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you in the 3-5 weeks it will take you to read this.

Cheers,
H

*PS - Enjoy the enclosed $200 gift card to the Apple store as a token of my...appreciation.

@TheFirstEcho


Pop Culture Rant of the Week: Star Trek Into Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys just celebrated their 20th anniversary in Los Angeles this past weekend with a special concert in Hollywood. In attendance were my youth, their dignity, and the lost hopes of everyone else clinging onto the 90s.

Lana Del Rey and Fergie released new singles from the upcoming soundtrack to Baz Lurhmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby. When asked if they had read the book, both singers replied "No, but we loved his magic shows on TV in the 80s."

Bill Clinton received a GLAAD Media Award from his daughter Chelsea. Bill had a lot of people to acknowledge and thank, including all of Chelsea's gay boyfriends responsible for her glam makeover after those awkward high school years.

Iron Man 3 promises to be best one yet. How could it be the worst? If Gwyneth manages to squeeze in some product placement with her new, critically-blasted cookbook, It's All Good.

Star Trek Into Darkness features the USS Enterprise crash landing on Earth, a disaster most likely caused by the movie's mysterious villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. I just want to go on record and say that Benedict Cumberbatch can do whatever. The hell. He wants.

Bates Motel is living up to its promise as one creepy Psycho prequel (as creepy as Freddie Highmore's American accent) and one unintentional showcase for Vera Farmiga to display her MILFness.

I will be visiting my New York roots this summer, including a trip to Playland, the amusement park where Mariah Carey filmed her music video for "Fantasy," Tom Hanks took back his wish in Big, and where I slaved away under the hot summer sun from the ages of 16 to 18. I'll also be attending a poolside party hosted by Perez Hilton, so there's that too.

@TheFirstEcho


The Other 'Bates Motel' Everyone Forgot

Sure, Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga are fine as Norman and Norma Bates on A&E's thrilling new drama, but does no one remember 1987's sad excuse for a revival starring Bud Cort and Lori Petty?

Bates Motel, the Universal-produced TV movie rightfully forgotten by the American viewing public, was also a 2-hour pilot with the intentions of bringing a new generation back to the spooky house on the hill.

In this incarnation, a troubled young man (Cort) inherits the property from the late Norman Bates and attempts to carry on the business...but creepy stuff abounds (Masked figures! Fog! Lori Petty's hair!). It all culminates in a cheesy ending that makes a Scooby-Doo denouement look like a Shakespearian climax.

I remember catching this silly production on Lifetime -- long before Jennifer Love Hewitt rubbed oil on naked men and those Army Wives started bitchslapping each other. This was a time when "television for women" consisted of rerunning treacle like this. Naturally, I loved it.


@TheFirstEcho


Mariah Carey's 'Dreamlover' Turns 20

It was a music video so simple, so sweet, it had most kids my age aspiring to frolic in a field and dance the afternoon away (notice the wax-on-wax-off choreography at the 1:38 mark below).

Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover" was her seventh #1 single at the time -- impressive for a pop artist who had only been out for less than four years. It debuted during the summer of 1993 and featured some carefree, happy-go-lucky visuals. Mariah, decked out in denim cutoffs and doing her best impression of Maryann from Gilligan's Island, bounced around and lounged in the grass like the farm girl she never was.

The video was a Sunday morning staple in the Mitsuzuka household. While my dad was out playing golf, my mother and I would watch VH1's Top 20 Countdown before she commuted to her interior designer job at Thomasville Gallery in Connecticut. The song then followed me wherever I went during the second half of that year: Summer barbecues, birthday parties, eighth grade dances...a definitive 90s jam for the record books and memoirs.

The basic concept for this music video must've made it a relatively easy production. Although I'm sure Ms. Carey was shaking in her Keds while bopping along high up in that hot air balloon:



@TheFirstEcho


Thoughts on Thirtysomethingdom: The Birthday Blog

I realize this comes nearly a month after my actual birthday, March 31, the day Sandy Mitsuzuka gave birth to a 7-pound-4-ounce baby boy at New Rochelle Hospital in New York.

But better late than never.

Once again, it's a time for me to focus on the little things that pop into my head during this time of year. Here are just some of the things I've observed while I proudly embrace Thirtysomethingdom:

I cannot wait for the grand opening of the new Sprouts Farmers Market on my block; this is what now excites me.

I recently turned down an invite to a Kardashian party, opting to stay in and catch up on a couple of episodes of Smash. 2003 Me would slap 2013 Me in the face.

I've realized that I will eventually have to work alongside people who were born in the 90s...and have no idea how much of an impact Amanda Woodward has made on the decade.

The words "letting go" are frequently being used in weekly conversations with friends while discussing petty relationship dramas and trivial things we once obsessed over.

I feel like my memories of Y2K are being raped by David Guetta and his sampling of Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone" in his new single featuring Ne-Yo and Akon.

Birthday celebrations don't need VIP guest lists and bar tab minimums anymore.

According to modern numerology, 33 is a master number. It was also discovered to lead to the essential meaning of life in the Bible in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, the 2009 sequel to The DaVinci Code.

That said, here's hoping I can master my life a little more in the upcoming year.

*PS - Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate my special day on Easter weekend. There isn't enough ink to write out all of the Thank You cards I would need.


FROLIC: The 2013 Spring Playlist, Vol. 2

My second spring collection comes to you courtesy of a group of artists as varied as they come. Supersonic, technotronic, and slightly lesbionic, these songs are holding me over until my eventual summer playlist makes its way onto my iPod, digs into my brain, and prepares me for all the seasonal trappings (blockbuster movies, barbecues, and poolside lounging).

These are tunes for nighttime drives, daytime commutes, and late-night partying. In other words, it's another soundtrack for a life already in progress, and you can sample all of them HERE.

Go ahead now. You know you want to...

1. "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities

2. "One Night" by Matthew Koma

3. "Hey Now" Martin Solveig & The Cataracs feat. Kyle

4. "Come & Get It" by Selena Gomez - Alas, she's ditched The Scene in order to deliver this Middle Eastern-flavored piece of pop that sounds like it was pulled off Mandy Moore's sophomoric 2001 album.

5. "Sweater Weather" by The Neighbourhood - This slice of surfer noir pop-rock is the best autumn jam of the spring:



6. "Fine China" by Chris Brown - Or, what Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" should've sounded like.

7. "Crash" by New Kids On The Block - An impressive high-energy club banger with BSB-like vocals.

8. "Alive" by Krewella

9. "Tonight" by Jessica Sanchez feat. Ne-Yo

10. "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - I'm loving these guys more and more, especially after catching their awesome and culturally necessary video for "Same Love."

11. "If I Lose Myself (Alesso Remix)" by OneRepublic

12. "Your Touch" by Blake Lewis

13. "Play Hard" by David Guetta feat. Ne-Yo & Akon - Apparently Guetta has resorted to sampling songs from the 2000s now. Alice Deejay, are you going to let him get away with this?

14. "I Love It" by Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX

15. "#thatPOWER" by will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber

16. "Heart Attack (Ravi Remix)" by Demi Lovato

17. "Up In The Air" by 30 Seconds To Mars - Lo and behold, another epic rock single accompanied by another music video with another shirtless Jared Leto:



18. "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons - A much-needed relief from the ubiquitous "It's Time."

19. "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" by Stars

20. "Stay" by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko

21. "Cups (When I'm Gone)" by Anna Kendrick - Simply adorable.

@TheFirstEcho


Initial Thoughts On The Crazy S**t That's Going Down In Boston

As an alumnus of Boston University, the campus I once called home never looked so eerie to me as it does in these early hours of the morning.

The crazy s**t that is unfolding today in Boston (I mean, really, there is no other way to describe it) after Monday's horrific events during the Boston Marathon is leaving me nostalgic for better days and better times spent in that city.

While America waits for more clear-cut and definitive answers and explanations, I have a few initial thoughts:

The fact that I had been up late at night watching video footage of a shootout happening on the other side of the country on my smartphone -- from the safe comforts of my bed -- is insane. It truly is amazing the kind of positive role social media sometimes play during times like these.

The fact that one of the suspects is already dead is even crazier because I had hoped we could have extracted a motive from him. However, I'm in awe of how quickly law enforcement was able to move in on these alleged criminals.

If all of these facts are true, and these suspects were indeed responsible for the bombings (remember: they're still "suspects"), then I fear that America will grow more cynical and have a harder time trusting anyone, especially former Ivy Leaguers with seemingly loving families -- like surviving suspect Sunil Tripathi, whose named was trending on Twitter like he was the next elected POTUS or something. The empath in me is feeling for his family, who had declared him missing last month, and wonders what could be going through their heads. But who really knows their history?

Regardless of the race or religion of the living suspect, Americans need to realize that mental health, once again, apparently played an important role in an individual's unforgivable actions. I'm sure there are other factors as well, but I hope people aren't quick to shine a spotlight on one singular scapegoat. Nothing is ever as simple as it appears.

If I were a student at BU today, what would I be doing? Sneaking outside for a few photos of empty streets? Capturing video footage of a desolate city for a film project I'd be working on at the College of Communication? Cowering in my dorm room with friends, glued to the TV?

I can only imagine while I type away and speculate and pray and hope for the best from the safety of a laptop on the other side of my country.

@TheFirstEcho


Why I Want To Be Besties With Anna Kendrick

Don't ask me why this is being released nearly eight months after Pitch Perfect hit theaters last fall and charmed the hell out of moviegoers (myself included)...

It's the full studio version of "When I'm Gone," the song Anna Kendrick's character sang in the film during her a capella audition. And it looks like someone produced a nifty little music video to go along with it.

The track can be found on More From Pitch Perfect, the follow-up to the original soundtrack that includes those awesome mash-ups which were glaringly absent on the first disc. Thank God someone had the brains to make them available for me to shuffle on future playlists.

Perhaps this is just the movie studio's calculated first step in generating buzz for the film's inevitable sequel...



Had this video had been released two months ago when I sat across from Kendrick at a cabaret show at Rockwell, I could've asked for a cup tutorial.

@TheFirstEcho


Slay It Again, Sam Witwer

I interviewed Being Human stud Sam Witwer for the April issue of Bello Mag. He plays troubled vamp Aidan on SyFy's American adaptation of my favorite British supernatural serial.

The guy is passionate about a lot of things, and he happens to be a fanboy himself. The dude is well versed in his Star Wars, and yes, he's an alum of Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica -- so nerd ladies, swoon away.

You can check out a sneak peek of my entertainment feature below, but if you want the whole enchilada, click on over HERE to find out why the chiseled actor thinks he has a big ego.


@TheFirstEcho