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Showing posts from February, 2014


I've Been Listening to This Song Since 1996 and Never Saw The Music Video Until Now

Unimaginable but true.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah: Probably with my nose in a book waiting for the next episode of Melrose Place to air. I guess, back then, I didn't want my MTV...


@TheFirstEcho


Bill and Ted Went On An 'Excellent Adventure' 25 Years Ago This Week

On a chilly day in the late 80s I ventured out to Movieland on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, New York with my father to witness two dim-witted high school seniors from Encino, California have a fateful encounter with George Carlin and his time-traveling phone booth in the parking lot of a Circle K.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was released on February 17, 1989 and became a surprise hit considering it was shot two years prior and went through some drama-filled distributor swapping. It was also one of the first films I ever owned on VHS cassette, a hand-me-down from an uncle who had gotten in way over his head with a Columbia House membership. And since I owned a copy of the movie, I watched it numerous times, learning how to say "shit" in French (thanks to Napoleon's bowling snafu) and appreciate a good Iron Maiden pun.

Fun fact: Joan of Arc was played by Jane Wiedlin, the same Jane Wiedlin who appeared as the Singing Telegram in Clue four years prior. It took…


The Vancouver Sessions: The 2014 Winter Playlist, Vol. 2

It's the second (and final) volume of my winter compilation. I know some of you out there (ahem, the East Coast) are still braving blizzards and wicked wind chills, and the current weather conditions across the country only make those who live in L.A. (like myself) feel more justified in their decision to move out west. For the record, it was 84 today.

But back to the music...While you binge on Valentine's Day candy, pressure your loved ones to do something special for you on this high-holy Hallmark holiday, and eventually kiss those Winter Olympics goodbye (so long, Sochi), enjoy these tunes from yours truly.

These are what kept me company during my travels in Canada last month, and I hope they do the same for you.

1. "You're In Love" by Betty Who:


2. "Holding Onto Heaven" by Foxes:


3. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
4. "Holding On For Life" by Broken Bells
5. "Unbelievers" by Vampire Weekend
6. "I Sold My Bed, But Not …


This Makes Me Happy: Veronica & Logan

I'm just 34 episodes away from finishing my binge re-watch of this glorious series. Can I finish in one month, in time for the movie's long-awaited theatrical premiere? I think so.

Neil Simon's 'Murder by Death' Defined Most of My Childhood

On a Thursday night in the early-to-mid 80s I became transfixed by a film that would leave a lasting impression on my young brain. I remember it was a Thursday because those were the nights my mother worked late, and my father pretty much let me watch whatever I wanted.

Murder by Death, the Neil Simon-penned farce that starred a dozen famous names (Maggie Smith, Peter Falk, Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers - to name a few), had a few runs on broadcast television, and since the age of 5, I had always made an appointment to watch it whenever a listing popped up in TV Guide -- that is, until my family finally learned how to properly use a VCR.

Murder is clearly a precursor of Clue, another murder-mystery spoof I proudly list on my Top 10 Favorite Films of All-Time. The zany plot points, the cheeky dialogue, the gothic settings -- all of it must have conspired to appeal to my then-burgeoning inner mystery buff.


The opening credits of this 1976 film is probably another element that drew me in. D…


The 10th Anniversary of "Totes"

Totes.

It's not just a line of umbrellas, gloves, and slippers found at JCPenney.

The abbreviation of "totally" has permeated the lexicon, popping up in iChats, becoming a part of movie catchphrases (I Love You Man's "Totes magotes"), and peppering everyday conversations between rather intelligent individuals.

According to Urban Dictionary:

The most obvious advantage of using this word is the time saved. Data collected at a prestigious university found that every syllable spoken takes approximately 0.14 seconds. The same prestigious university also found that the average valley girl says the word totally around 190 times a day.If you do the math, the average time saved by using the word totes as opposed to totally would save 26.6 seconds a day! Over the course of a year that adds up to 2.7 hours!

It has been commonly assumed that the word originated from teenage girls, particularly those of the Valley kind, but I can proudly tell my grandchildren that I was …


More Shameless Plugging: Notable Features of the Month

It's been a while since I shamelessly plugged some writing of mine, so here it goes...

February is gearing up to be a splashy month for me. In the current Hollywood Issue of Bello (the one with Shawn Ashmore from The Following and X-Men: Days of Future Past on the cover) you can find my piece, "Revenge of the Hollywood Assistants," in which I offer my L.A. brethren a platform to vent out their feelings to their horrible bosses.

Then, currently on newsstands is the February-March issue of Instinct, in which you'll discover a travel feature of mine -- remember that trip to San Francisco last May? Read all about my jam-packed 4-day weekend and see why I consider SF "my mistress city."

Your readership is very much appreciated.

@TheFirstEcho