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Showing posts from January, 2014


Passport Alert: I'm Going to Vancouver

Next week I'll be flying off to the Seattle of Canada, a place where many a Hollywood producer likes to take advantage of alluring tax breaks -- Vancouver, BC.

My generous hosts at Destination BC are treating me to a four-day experience that includes two nights at the Opus Hotel and two nights on Whistler Mountain at the luxurious Nita Lake Lodge. A shout-out also goes out to Desigual for hooking me up with a much-needed winter coat (I left mine in New York) and the good folks at iHome for supplying the hot pair of headphones I'll be needing for the inevitable plane and bus rides during my wintry adventure with other travel journalists (my feature will be seen in an upcoming issue of Bello Mag).


It's safe to say you won't be seeing any photos of me zipping down the mountain on a snowboard -- my feet haven't touched a ski since the late 80s. Right now, the plan is to enjoy some downtown nightlife, take a snowshoe hike, and absorb as much culture and scenery as I ca…


Obsession of the Week: Neon Trees's "Sleeping With a Friend"

Shortly after returning to L.A. from a three-day weekend in Vegas (I won $30 at blackjack and killed my hamstrings during a kickball tournament), I took a break from listening to the Nerdist podcast, turned on the radio, and was immediately wooed by the latest single from alt-pop rockers Neon Trees: "Sleeping With a Friend."

It's a refreshing little ditty perfect for my nighttime drive down Sunset Boulevard. With drumbeats straight out of 1993, it's as if it came from the soundtrack of some long-forgotten rom-com...or the opening credits to a short-lived GenX drama on Fox.

Watch. Listen. And love:


TWENTY14: Sounds of a New Year

My first compilation of the year consists of an eclectic ensemble. I mean, where else will you find a playlist that includes Vampire Weekend one minute and then Cher in the next?

Once you're done cheating on your New Year's resolutions, pop in the earbuds and give these tracks a spin. You'll be glad you did.

1. "All of You" by Peter Thomas feat. Betty Who
2. "Do What U Want" by Lady Gaga feat. Christina Aguilera
3. "Cannonball" by Lea Michele
4. "Neon Lights" by Demi Lovato
5. "Take Me Home" by Cash Cash feat. Bebe Rexha
6. "Hey Brother" by Avicii
7. "Surrounded" by BT & Aqualung
8. "I Want it All" by Karmin
9. "Take It Like a Man" by Cher
10. "XO" by Beyonce
11. "Farrah Fawcett Hair" by Capital Cities - Like the chorus says, "it's good shit."


12. "I See Fire" by Ed Sheeran
13. "Adore You" by Miley Cyrus
14. "Helium (Rad…

R.L. Stine's 'Fear Street' Turns 25: Honoring Those Demonic Cheerleaders and Psychotic Stepsisters

It all started with a seemingly safe boy-meets-girl story...which ended with identity theft and murder.

In June 1989, The New Girl kicked off one of the biggest YA series in publishing history, Fear Street, transporting young readers to the fictitious hamlet of Shadyside, where the mortality rate rivaled that of similarly sinister towns like Sunnydale or Sleepy Hollow.

Created and written by the incomparable R.L. Stine, Fear Street is the record-breaking teen horror series that dominated bookshelves all across America in the early-to-mid 90s. Much like Springfield in The Simpsons, Shadyside existed in Anywhere America. Most of the action centered around a long and winding dead-end street named after a powerful dynasty known for its duplicitous dealings and black magic practices in the 1800s, resulting in a curse that fell upon on the entire neighborhood.

Before Twilight, there were vamps sucking it up in Goodnight Kiss and Goodnight Kiss 2. Before American Horror Story: Coven, there …


Revenge of the Hollywood Assistants: 20 Things We Need to Get Off Our Chest

Some friends of mine, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, and I were recently chatting about our shiny-happy, palm-tree-filled careers in Los Angeles. Actually, replace "shiny-happy" with "grueling and traffic-clogged," and you'll have a more accurate description of what it's like to climb the ever competitive Hollywood ladder. Sure, the palm tree backdrop is nice, but no one gives two turds about the view after your first day working in the bowels of a production company, agency, or any office related to the big Tinseltown Machine.

Although most of us have moved on to bigger and better things, what's still fresh in our memories are the obnoxiously inane things we've had to endure (or witnessed secondhand) while navigating a gauntlet of big egos, crappy attitudes, and unbearable personalities. You've probably seen Swimming With Sharks. You've probably read the books and blogs written by former assistants who dished on their helli…


20 Nicknames I've Had Since The Age of 12

*Updated.

The thing about having a unique name like mine is that people just LOVE coming up with their own variation on it. Thankfully this didn't lead to any kind of severe bullying while growing up. Perhaps it was because I grew up in one melting pot of a New York suburb where, next to the Johns, Jameses, and Tommys, there was also Veerasak, Sindhu, and Augusto. Now that I'm older, I'm grateful for the one-of-a-kind moniker my parents gave me at birth (for the record, it's Hikoichi, which is a variation on the name of my Japanese grandfather and translates as "the first echo"). I've even developed a sense of pride whenever people tell me how cool my name is after introducing myself.

What's even cooler is the inventive twists friends have put on my name. Like...

1. Heeks - Commonly used today -- at work, at social events, over the phone with loved ones, and everywhere in between.

2. Hikrotchi - This pet name originated in middle school, simply because …


That Time I Was on a Game Show with Louis Virtel and Showed Off My 'Melrose Place' Expertise

Last fall I participated in The Experts, a game show on YouTube that allows individuals, like myself, to proudly let their geek flag fly. Contestants are tested on a pop culture topic on which they claim to be experts.

My topic? It happened to involve a certain Aaron Spelling primetime soap from the 90s...

Catch Round 1 below (and yes, they provided alcoholic refreshments):

@TheFirstEcho


The 'Veronica Mars' Trailer Makes Me So Happy

...and this Marshmallow has just started to binge-watch the entire series (all three seasons - pretty doable) in order to prepare for the glorious March 14 release.

Team Piz!


All Kinds of Awesome: Harry Shum Jr.

The Glee star shows what he's made of in this inspirational piece that I'm sure will make SYTYCD's Mary Murphy weep. It's also a great video to help some of you (myself included) kick off this new year right.


14 Things That Will Turn 20 in 2014

Why should Buzzfeed be the only nostalgic site that makes you feel old? I'm currently mentally time-traveling back to 1994 to relive all of the things that defined a year in which I started to come of age. And by "come of age," I mean "hit the wall of puberty like a crash-test dummy."

1.Speed - Sandra Bullock made a bus jump off a highway ramp. And Los Angeles public transit is never the same.

2. Dave Matthews Band's "What Would You Say" - An anthem for the summer before I became a high school freshman.


3.The wedding of Billy Campbell and Alison Parker on Melrose Place - Because weddings in which the bride ditches the groom by jumping out of a window after learning her dad molested her are the best!

4. Forrest Gump - Life is like a box of chocolates...shit gets old and expires, and you can only enjoy it for so long.

5. Friends - The Central Perk gang came into our living rooms for the first time, and it was instant love. Could we have been any more in…