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Showing posts from May, 2008

In a Dream

Somewhere in Orange County, walking through a gorgeous furniture store that is actually set in a huge mansion by the ocean. I enter an elevator, and instead of going down to the main floor and exit (because I feel like I need to leave), it takes me and the passengers up to a top level. The doors slide open, and it appears we're outside, gorgeous mountains in the distance, almost heavenly. A figure appears from nowhere, walking towards us, and as he gets closer, I realize it's Sydney Pollack ("Dude, you died, like, five days ago"). He gets in the elevator with us, and we proceed to go down, but it seems like forever. I introduce myself to the famed actor-director, and he gets a kick out of hearing my name. He repeats it, almost in a sing-a-long voice, and tells me how great it is. I thank him, and he starts to question me about my heritage and background. I wonder if Sydney is high on something, and before he can ask me to take a look at my work, the elevator doors DI…

Friday Night 'Sex'

Manolos, martinis and men, oh my!

What can I say? The pure, unadulterated joy this film brought to the theater last night was outstanding. At the first glimpse of Carrie Bradshaw trotting down the streets of Manhattan, big poofy flower and all, the cheers and applause erupted. It was like we never left our favorite fantasyland of fashion, fun and "funky spunk" (That opening credits montage? Killer).

Yes, there were the groups of fanatics - dressed to the nines, handbangs clutched, lipstick re-applied - lined up around the theater hours before showtime, tickets purchased a week in advance. This was undoubtedly the Star Wars for fashionistas everywhere. Taking Oprah's advice, gaggles of girlfriends gathered together to invade the multiplexes and exercise their girl power at the box office. Just to give you a taste of the magnitude of Sex's inevitable success: I hear the film made $6 million at the midnight screenings on Thursday alone (Iron Man made just $1 million in t…

When I Grow Up

The Pussycat Dolls have finally returned to the scene after Nicole's sucky solo efforts (I mean, really, the girl delayed the release of her album so many times, we thought we were being Punk'd). And Darkchild has finally returning the producer's booth, this time helping the Dolls climb the charts once again with "When I Grow Up," a bangin' ode to materialism (shocker). Listen here:

Hello, My Name Is

I have what I like to call a Starbucks Alter Ego.

Whenever I step into my neighborhood coffee chain, I become Paul Duquense, freelance journalist and lover of grande, non-fat white mochas.

For the few of you who have accompanied me on a caffeine run and been lucky to witness my slight split in personality, you know why this is. I simply have lost patience with the baristas who continue to misspell or mishear my name whenever they request it to later shout it out across busy the room of morning commuters and textbook-toting college students.

It was about a year ago when I decided to give out my middle name to avoid the hassle of carefully spelling out my four-lettered first name (4 letters!). Ninety percent of the time, no one will hear the "H." It's always "Kiko," "Nico," or "Pico" instead. So, asking myself, "How can anyone f**k up Paul?" I chose another four-lettered identity that would be more widely known among the Hooked-on-Pho…

Going GaGa

Cut to: me at 1 in the morning of Memorial Day, downloading like a madman, keeping the blogosphere bouncing to some hot new tunage. And hot tunage it is: Here we have LADY GAGA (think: Gwen Stefani without the increasingly annoying voice), hailing from the nightclubs of New York City. Accompanying this dance diva from the East is Colby O'Donis, and together (with the help of surprise guest Akon!) they've come up with a hard-hitting track for the clubs. "Just Dance" is what you'll want to do, and it's what I'll dream about while my ass remains glued to the couch watching BBC America for the rest of the night...Enjoy the hell out of this one, kids:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

At first I was psyched, then I was wary. Then, I became psyched again, ignoring any qualms and doubts. After all, in Spielberg, I trust.

Psyched, because I was going to revisit my childhood, looking forward to a much-needed throwback to good old-fashioned adventure. John Williams, your score always gave me goosebumps with the first note and helped me escape to an exotic place of danger and wonder.

Wary, because I was reminded of last year's fourth installment of Die Hard, a classic franchise that needed to milk out one last hurrah and senselessly update its thrills for a new generation of moviegoers. Mr. Spielberg, you couldn't possibly let me down as well, could you?

Now, having just seen Indy 4 last night in Century City with a crowd sharing a similar anticipation, I can say this: Oh. Okay. Hmmm.

First thing's first: I'm kind of hating the Internet now. 19 years ago, when we last saw Junior ride off into the sunset after completing his Crusade, such technology didn't…

Utah Must Be Bummed

The Mormon Muppet is NOT your Idol King, America.

I realize I had declared this kid was the frontrunner back in February during the Top 20 rounds, but as time went on, and as reports of his controlling stage dad leaked, his image was gradually tarnished - like with most pop idols - but the rate at which this backlash developed was quite upsetting. Clearly David has millions of fans, but those who fell in love with him early on, viewers who still aren't proud to admit they watch the show, became somewhat cynical and started to see right through what they thought was an act. The oh-my-gosh-me? attitude may have been genuine (he's 17, after all), but those who were looking for a more confident and more articulate candidate grew tired of Archuleta's emphasized innocence and purity.

And I was one of them. True, his voice is amazing, but I couldn't help but feel slightly manipulated while watching him. I had visions of his arms and legs attached to strings, Archuleta Senior da…

Favoring 'Flavors'

I can't wait to sample me some Flavors.

According to Amazon, The first studio album from Alanis Morissette since 2004, Flavors Of Entanglement fuses the organic and the techno prompted by producer Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Björk). Incorporating beats, loops and synthesizers, the album was designed, says Morissette, so listeners can dance your face off. Balancing introspective confession and delirious joy, the global and the personal, Flavors Of Entanglement is a tasty new musical feast from one of pop's most intriguing artists.

Personally, it's one of my most anticipated albums of the year (Mariah who?).

The countdown to June 10...begins now.

SINFUL: Summer of 2008, Vol. 1

Summer ain't just for mind-numbing blockbusters, slathered-on sunscreen, and stale reality stunts on network TV. It's all about the music, baby. Grab yourself a CD-R (or juice up the iPod) and rip these tunes for a soundtrack that will make you the star at that Memorial Day barbeque you've got this weekend...

1. "I'm That Chick" by Mariah Carey
2. "Black & Gold" by Sam Sparro - Just watch.
3. "Dance 2Night" by Madonna
4. "Forever" by Chris Brown - Usher Jr. pops out a sugary summer jam that coolly blends techno and synthy R&B (thankfully, Timbaland is nowhere to be found in the producing credits).



5. "Lights & Music" by Cut Copy
6. "Forgive Me" by Leona Lewis - This Akon-produced bouncer, most likely the Brit's third single off her successful debut, is more than just another VH1-friendly tuner; it's got more dancefloor energy and sass.



7. "In Pieces" by Backstreet Boys
8. "Bounce Wit…

Thank Sandy

Today is my mother's birthday.

She's hitting a milestone, a number I'm sure she wouldn't want to me plaster across cyberspace for complete strangers to see (hint: she's as old as Israel).

My mother's birthday always hovers near Mother's Day (sometimes on the same day), and this always poses a challenge for me. Would a son dare to pull a twofer and celebrate both occasions with one gift? Well, maybe. But there's always two cards!

This year, I'd like to accompany my birthday greetings with a show of thanks for my mom's love and support throughout the past 28 years.

Thank you for allowing your only child to leave the nest and trek to the other end of the country in pursuit of a dream. Know that every time someone compliments me or tells me I'm amazing, it's because of you. Know that every time I am adored and told I'm a wonderful person, every time someone tells me that they love me - know that it is you who has made me so wonderful, so lov…

A Tease

Prepare yourselves...

When in Vegas

*Blogger's preface: Many a travel blog has been written about wild times in Vegas - the late night binges, the not-so-discreet debauchery, the frivolous fun and escape (especially for L.A. folk). For the first time since establishing The First Echo, I had brought along my trusty laptop with the hopes of documenting my fifth trip to Sin City as I experienced it first-hand and tried to plan meetings with the PR team at Planet Hollywood (yes, this trip was slightly business-related). Turns out, recording every move I made was just as exhausting as the trip itself...

Thursday, May 8 (Day of Arrival, a.k.a Warm Up Day)
You want to drink when you’re in Vegas.

It's like a reflex. Strike your knee with a hammer, and your leg is gonna kick. Plop yourself on the Strip, and you're gonna wanna down a few shots to get you started.

The expectations are great in Sin City. As soon as I get out of the car, I want to hit the nearest bar, buy a slushy rum concoction and swig it down in an obnoxi…