There are Halloween parties...and then there's Halloween Havoc, one of L.A.'s annual soirees that's been known to inspire elaborate costumes, killer tunes, and countless morning-after status updates.
Hosted at a different private home every year, the invite-only ocassion features a guest list that's as mysterious as the punch that is rumored to be served out of a giant smoking cauldron which usually dries up around midnight...and features some "festive" side effects.
The 2014 online campaign seems to be taking the testimonial approach, using alleged quotes from past partygoers. And it looks like this year promises much of the same:
And then there's this one:
And this one, which makes a pretty damn big claim (sorry, West Hollywood):
Good luck finding out where this year's debaucherous festivities will be taking place...
And if you are lucky, maybe we'll see you there this weekend!
Make sure to report back to us (@HotterInHwood) with a tweet using #Havoc14.
But if you're still not sold on the idea of a very meta web series about actor Ryan Hansen (who played Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars) trying to produce his own detective show, then episode 2 of the spinoff just might help you reconsider watching.
Those who have been on Team Logan since the first season of Veronica Mars will enjoy the ample amount of screentime dedicated to actor Jason Dohring and his unbelievably beefed-up bod (not to mention his charming comedy chops). Like here:
The horror genre gets delightfully skewered in director-choreographer James J. Mellon's Scary Musical The Musical, an electrifying production that gleefully flips every slasher film trope on its head (now running through November 9 at the NoHo Arts Center).
The scene: Vera Miles High School. The story: someone's slicing and dicing the members of the school's drama club before their opening night extravaganza. Meanwhile, a patient has escaped from a nearby mental institution (naturally). Horror enthusiasts may recognize a similarity in this past summer's indie satire Stage Fright, but unlike that letdown of a slasher, this briskly paced musical (at a lean, intermission-free 90 minutes) delivers all the goods on top of a kickass pop-rock soundtrack, thanks to music and lyrics by Richard Hochberg and Michael Paternostro.
With characters named Leeza Courtney Fox, Norman Hates, Freddy Louissier, Jason Cravin, Jamie Lee Leigh, and Carrie Beige, horror fanatics will get a kick out of all of the nods to the genre classics and jump at some of the impressive special effects that jolt the audience throughout the show.
Playing Norman Hates is a sufficiently creepy August Emerson, who could very well be an Edward Gorey-drawn character come to life. With a mop of jet-black hair and a ghostly pale complexion, Emerson delivers lines with a psychotic energy (the dude also has a killer voice - check out his showstopping solo, "Mother"). And then there's Colorado native Keir Kirkegaard, whose rippling abs nearly steal a couple of scenes. But what really stands out is Kirkegaard's uncanny physical and vocal resemblance to superstar Justin Timberlake (I wouldn't be surprised if the actor moonlights as an impersonator).
Several of the cleverly written songs deserve a bigger stage, but under some tight and smart direction, they soar inside the 99-seat venue. The opening number, "Killer in the House," perfectly sets up the deliciously devious tone while "High School Can Be Murder" is an anthem that not only wittily introduces our heroes and heroines, it shines as a theme song of Joss Whedon-esque proportions -- it's like a lost track from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More With Feeling" songbook. And finally, "Baby Let Me Come Inside" is the on-the-nail, pun-tastic performance it sounds like, admirably carried out by Kirkegaard and actress-dancer Jane Papageorge.
The only tune that comes close to steering the musical terror train off the track is "Out of Africa," a number that's a bit heavy on exposition and light on focusing on the themes at hand. But no matter: by the time the blood hits the fan in the third act's zany climax, you'll be glad you hopped aboard this superfun crazy train.
And just who is the killer? Thanks to an interactive component -- the audience gets to live-tweet and vote for their suspect -- there isn't one definitive answer. (Shades of 1985's Clue, anyone?)
Dan Stevens, the once round-faced British object of affection for many Downton Abbey viewers, wants to let us Americans know that he has hammered the final nail in the coffin of Matthew Crawley, his sensitive, soft-spoken alter ego from the PBS period drama.
In The Guest (opening September 17), Stevens is a chiseled badass with several secrets up his sleeve. His baby blues have now taken on an icy quality that'll have you questioning his motives once he locks his gaze on you (and he does plenty of it).
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, who gave us the slasher sleeper You're Next three summers ago, have turned the British thesp into a seemingly down-home American man of mystery named David, a war vet who shows up on the doorstep of a family that has lost their own son in battle.
When David's unorthodox problem-solving methods set off a chain of violent events in their small town, it's up to oldest daughter Anna (Maika Monroe, cut from the same cloth as Kat Dennings) to figure out what's up. Is David really who he says he is?
Wingard and Barrett impressively set the film's dread-filled tone right away (Stephen Moore's ominous and synthy score also helps), and it becomes apparent that the director and writer are nostalgic for old-school thrillers like The Terminator and Halloween (lo and behold, the film is set in late October).
There's something off about David, and the story keeps us guessing until the gruesome and nightmarish third act during which we're treated to a cat-and-mouse game literally set in a hall of smoke and mirrors.
The Guest ultimately comes off as a sick and twisted mashup of two genres that slightly resembles the gloriously lunk-headed action thrillers one would expect to come across on late-night cable. And it knows that. That's what makes it so watchable; in other words, it's a cult classic in the making.
There's nothing that screams California quite like loading up the hybrid with a couple of yoga mats and heading down to the beach for some Saturday morning meditation.
Ocean Minded, the beach-friendly apparel and footwear designer, recently hosted a beach yoga event on Santa Monica Beach just outside the Casa Del Mar Hotel, and HIH was honored to attend and perfect our breathing techniques while aligning our chakras by the roaring Pacific Ocean (seriously, the waves were pretty killer that day).
The event featured a yoga class taught by a Lululemon representative along with refreshments provided by Nekter Juice Bar (our pick: the vanilla-sweetened almond smoothie). Afterwards, guests participated in an Ocean Minded beach clean-up, armed with buckets and trucker caps.
There are movie theaters...and then there are Cinepolis theaters.
The luxury, Califonia-based theater chain is raising the bar when it comes to premium moviegoing experiences, and since HIH is no stranger to a good time at the movies - we watched 82 films on the big screen last year - it was about time we checked out this place and got in on some of its amenities.
The at-your-seat waiter service is just as indulgent as it sounds. Having ordered some seasoned edamame, truffle fries and portobello sliders for lunch in the lobby, we were able to have our leftovers brought directly to our theater seats. Still eyeing something from the menu? Don't worry, you'll have time to order more (read further).
If you're feeling a little adventurous with your popcorn options, move past the usual butter and try their caramel flavor...or spicy chili, imported from Mexico, where Cinépolis is headquartered. Additionally, they offer black and white chocolate-covered gourmet popcorn and a full coffee bar where guests can order anything from cappuccinos to affogatos (take that, Starbucks).
And as summer draws to a close, we wanted to make sure to sample the theater's signature seasonal cocktails before the fall menu kicked in. Our pick: The "Evolution" (pictured above, middle), "inspired by" July's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Mixing Chambord vodka, creme de banana, Zico coconut water, and pineapple juice, this concoction is as light and refreshing as any drink found at a tropical resort (The strawberry basil mix in "The Transformer" is just as irresistible).
But if you're of a traditionalist, feel free to take advantage of the theater's full-service bar.
Craving some red velvet cake in the middle of Guardians of the Galaxy? Just press the button next to your reclining leather seat, and your server will bring it to you along with some silverware. They're extra discreet and will make sure not to bother anyone during your movie.
One would expect a theater like this to be located right in the heart of Hollywood, but Angelenos will have to take a 40-minute drive to Westlake Village in order to get their fill of these luxurious amenities (the next-to-nearest location is roughly 60 miles south in Rancho Santa Margarita).
Naturally, there are plans to expand later this winter (Florida, keep an eye out for a Cinepolis in your southern and central regions).
Visit cinepolisusa.com to learn more, find your nearest location, and get some tickets.
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