What better way to start off the summer than a road trip up the famed Pacific Coast Highway, stumbling on a secluded beach, a smoking hot model in nothing but a bikini . . . and a dead seal? Cue psychotic Greenpeace activist equipped with Ginsu knives and it sounds like the premise of a new Wes Craven flick--only it's not. It's our cover shoot, and for a set prop, the Pacific Ocean decided to spew up the carcass of a Sea World reject. And judging from the rank smell, mangled body and bloated tongue inflated to the size of a French roll, one that's been marinating in kelp for several days.
According to Val, our makeup artist, the rotting flesh reeked like the seafood section at a 99 Ranch Market. Me? The smell of motivation to make this the shortest beach photoshoot known to man. Not to mention our stylist who discovered the corpse was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The last time I saw someone freak out that bad, it involved a straight friend, a gay club and a very long line--a whole other story in and of itself. But despite the aquatic cadaver, our valiant cover crew--including extraordinarily hard working temps Nate Leon from HIN and my buddy Danh Doan--managed to pull it together and help capture the very lovely Alanna Kolette, the new Miss HIN, to kick off summer '09 proper. And judging from the looks of it, it's going to be a scorcher.
Apart from the fact that Alanna could make a eunuch feel uncomfortable in his pants, whereas a few months ago, the tuning scene (let alone the world), was looking colder than a polar bear's nipple, the tide has turned and it seems to be warming up. Fast & Furious, the fourth in the franchise, didn't suck (thank God) and pulled in $72.5 million in its opening weekend, not only breaking the three previous films' three-day take, but breaking April release records. If the first, thinly plotted F&F flick got our industry going, imagine what the fourth is going to do. But even before any trickle-down effects from the film, attendance at events is already up from last year. The first few HINs and Formula D saw an increase in spectators, not to mention D1 is back in the States (again).
While we're not completely out of the cold yet, at least now we have tangible signs that the tuning scene is heating up. I guess all it took was the sacrifice of a seal.
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