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Showing posts from August, 2013


The 'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Teaser Trailer is Here

...and my heart is skipping several beats.

Granted, it's a minute-long promo from Britain's ITV network, but still, those two seconds of Tom Cullen (Weekend) are. Giving. Me. Life.

Seriously, we gotta wait til January for this period porn? Damn you, PBS! But at least we get a glimpse at the new faces that are visiting everyone's favorite countryside estate.

Behold, and let your breath be taken:



@TheFirstEcho


Christina Aguilera's "Let There Be Love" Finally Debuts

Apparently I'm not the only one who thought this single should've dropped sooner.

Christina, looking trim, happy and absolutely carefree while delivering a heartfelt message to her loyal fans, is finally releasing "Let There Be Love" as her next single. The super-charged dancefloor anthem is a no-brainer when it comes to selecting Top 40 radio-friendly jams. Yet, nearly a year after releasing Lotus, why now? This should have been the obvious choice after the lukewarm reception for "Your Body" put a damper on her alleged comeback.

As for the video: I don't want to hate -- because that would go against the song's blatant message -- but to me, it reeks of a record label (or management team) trying to ride the coattails of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Same Love" or any other pop song with social relevance. That, or a last-ditch attempt to salvage an album before it's completely forgotten and finds a home in the High Profile Pop Albu…


Pop Culture Rant of the Week: Twerking with Patrick Stewart

To twerk or not to twerk? That is the question asked during this post-VMA week. While some of you continue to flood my news feeds with Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke editorials, I'll focus my attention on other things that are beeping on my radar...

1. Dorian Gray alert! Both Jared Leto and Wentworth Miller are 41 years old. As in, born in 1972. As in, entering middle age. Why do I get the feeling both of these genetically blessed blokes are hiding crumbling portraits of themselves somewhere in an attic?

2. The teaser trailer for next year's Divergent, the dystopian thriller starring Shailene Woodley (based on the bestselling YA series -- surprise), came out earlier this week:



My thoughts? While cynics will be quick to scream "Hunger Games rip-off!" I'll sit back and appreciate Kate Winslet as an icy government bitch and congratulate Theo James for finding something that will hopefully propel him to superstardom more so than CBS's short-lived Golden Boy last spr…


Passport Alert: I'm Going To Peru

There, I said it.

Come September 25 I will embark on a 10-day excursion to South America where I will eat, pray, and (hopefully) love my way through Cuzco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lima.

My gracious hosts at Magical Journey are providing some outstanding accommodations, and I couldn't be more grateful. After spending a night in the city of Cuzco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, I will travel to Sacred Valley and spend six nights at a luxury retreat called Willka T'ika. This will be followed by two nights near the sacred ruins of Machu Picchu and then one night in the metropolis of Lima (I'll have 20 hours to kill there before hopping on my flight back to Los Angeles).

Many thanks also go out to The Westin Lima Hotel and LAN Airlines for their generous support during my trip.


Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled by this amazing travel opportunity. That said, please excuse the Instagram pictures and Facebook posts that will inevitably fill up your news fee…


THE SEPTEMBER SESSIONS: The 2013 Fall Playlist, Vol. 1

Labor Day weekend is upon us, and as we bid adieu to another summer, I'd like to press play on the following tracks that'll help us transition into the next season.

I consider this my own version of Vogue's super-sized September issue. Without the 100 pages of fashion ads tailored to make you feel shitty about yourself, of course.

Some of the songs here are obvious choices ("A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E"), while others may be unexpected and new to some ears (a boy band of yesteryear returns). But ultimately, each one is presented here to make you feel good and remind you to enjoy the hell out of life while you still can (isn't that right, Basement Jaxx?).

1. "Applause" by Lady Gaga
2. "Take Back The Night" by Justin Timberlake
3. "Roar" by Katy Perry
4. "Miss Movin' On" by Fifth Harmony
5. "Permanent Stain" by Backstreet Boys
6. "Best Song Ever" by One Direction
7. "Hears Like Ours" by The Naked an…


'The X-Files' Debuted 20 Years Ago

It was the show that not only rejuvenated sci-fi, it practically gave birth to the genre of mythology-driven serials that allowed shows like Lost, Fringe, and Grimm to exist and flourish on network television.

Created by Chris Carter, The X-Files introduced millions of people to what would become one of TV's most popular duos, Mulder and Scully -- the believer and the skeptic -- in the attractive forms of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, respectively. These two FBI agents investigated every proverbial bump in the night and out-of-this-world freak show imaginable, and every week each case proved to be creepier than the last.

Next month, my inner fanboy-geek will be celebrating the Emmy-winning drama's 20th anniversary as well as cringing at how fast time has flown since that fateful autumn premiere on Fox.

Allow me to paint a picture for you: It was September 1993. I had just started eighth grade and was looking forward to collecting my umpteenth Fall Preview issue of TV G…


Another Reason to Love Olivia Munn

Had I known Olivia Munn made this mock trailer for Ghost Tits, I would've asked her about it when I interviewed her for Bello Mag back in May. Have a laugh:


@TheFirstEcho


'Orange is the New Black': So I Finally Finished the First Season...

It took less than two weeks, but I finally made it. Ahem...

A great show works on so many levels, and OITNB touches upon a plethora of issues few dramas tread on.

Effortlessly and ingeniously blending themes of sexuality, female friendship, identity, race, religion, psychology, redemption, fate, and corruption (especially within America's prison system), Jenji Kohan's (Weeds) behind-the-bars drama isn't as dark and heavy as you'd expect, but it's not light either. Taylor Schilling, who embodies a J.Crew-and-Whole-Foods preppiness, surprises as Piper Chapman, a traditionally pretty fish-out-of-water who reluctantly succumbs to her harsh environment; it's the most compelling de-evolution of a TV character we've witnessed since being introduced to Breaking Bad's Walter White in 2008. To see what she becomes within the first 13 episodes is as shocking as it is natural (those last two minutes of the finale were jawdropping).

Backstory in a nutshell for those …


This Scared The Crap Out Of Me As A Little Kid

While browsing through the racks of used DVDs at Amoeba Music in Hollywood earlier today (in the horror section, natch), I came across a movie I haven't seen -- or thought about, really -- since the mid-80s.

The Watcher in the Woods is a 1980 Disney flick (Disney!) about the spirit of a dead girl haunting a young teen at her family's British countryside home. Starring Bette Davis in one of her final roles, the melodramatic movie also features Carroll Baker, the gun-toting grandmother from Kindergarten Cop (all together now: "You're not so tough without your car, are ya?").

To think that the studio that gave us the Happiest Place On Earth also produced a straight-up supernatural thriller without any comic relief or blatant product placement is mind-boggling today (granted, it was rated PG). If I were to make an analogy? It's like if Disney had released Insidious two years ago.

I must have been 4- or 5-years-old when I saw this movie for the first time. The eer…