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Showing posts from July, 2015

20 Life Lessons from R.L. Stine's 'Fear Street'

My first visit to Fear Street was 27 years ago.

In the fall of 1990, I picked up a copy of the eighth title in the series, Halloween Party, and throughout the following decade I was hooked on the sinister goings-on in the fictitious town of Shadyside. Since then, there hasn't been a book in R.L. Stine's seminal series I haven't read. (To see how fanatical I am, see: here.) And now, as a grown-ass thirtysomething, I'm proudly reading the new batch of hardcover novels the 72-year-old author is pumping out for the next two years - albeit with a much more critical eye.

That's why I like to think I'm an expert when it comes to all things Fear Street. Hence the many things I've learned from reading these YA thrillers for nearly a decade...

LIFE LESSONS FROM FEAR STREET
1. If you're new in town, believe every single story about the street where creepy and nasty stuff happens. And then move again.

2. Don't take any babysitting jobs in a house where someone …


#TBT: That Time I Thought Jesse Tyler Ferguson Hit On Me

I was horribly mistaken.

And it wasn't because we were dressed like twins during this Outfest event back in 2009 (two months before Modern Family premiered). A short film I had produced with Michael Medico (left) was making the rounds on the festival circuit that summer, and back then, I clearly lacked any skills in making proper eye contact.

@TheFirstEcho


Pop Culture Rant of the Week: My Adolescence Is Being Defiled by Lifetime

It all started with The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, Lifetime's shamelessly exploitative TV movie about the behind-the-scenes drama of everyone's favorite Saturday morning sitcom.

Then came news of The Unauthorized Full House Story and The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story. More blatant capitalization on 90s nostalgia. More reasons to stay in on the weekend with a bowl of popcorn, a large pizza, and a group of your friends who share the same love-hate relationship with these pathetically produced pieces of treacle.

And now, we have the inevitable Unauthorized Melrose Place Story, an attempt to showcase all of the real-life scandals behind the show about a scandalous apartment building.

I consider the original MP a sacred piece of television. It defined a part of my adolescence. It was one of the shows that inspired me to become a TV writer. (Before I wanted to be the next J.J. Abrams, I wanted to mirror the career of Aaron Spelling.) You can even read about my c…


Being Basic in L.A.: 15 Things We Need To Stop Doing

I think I've lived in Los Angeles long enough to be familiar with all of the tropes and trappings this city is known for. I think 13 years is long enough to identify the cliches and typical characteristics with which its residents are associated. Granted, I've been guilty of some of the following, but let's face it: It's time to move on and be a little more unique in the way we present ourselves as Angelenos.

1. Using traffic as an excuse for being late - Sure, there may be some scenarios in which traffic is a legitimate bitch (see: my 10 Types of L.A. Traffic), but let's face it: you suck at time management and left your apartment late because you were too busy choosing which shirt to wear to brunch. Speaking of...

2. Waiting an hour to get a table for brunch - How about we switch it up and do a potluck at someone's house instead? If you choose a restaurant where waiting for a table lasts twice as long as enjoying a meal, go somewhere else.

3. Getting high at Ci…


PLEASURE: The 2015 Summer Playlist, Vol. 4

My final compilation for the Summer of 2015 is nothing short of a miracle.

Despite the absence of a clear frontrunner for the title "Song of the Summer," I like to think that there's so much great music to share this season, every song in these playlists deserves equal time in the spotlight. Giorgio Mordor certainly delivered (his name appears here twice), and Demi Lovato has thrown in a late-but-not-too-late contender with "Cool for the Summer," an out-of-nowhere track pulsating with enough energy to keep summer lasting a little bit longer. (Seriously, if you haven't listened to it, click play now.)

@TheFirstEcho


Songs of the Month: July 2015

I cannot get enough of "Body Talk," the new single from Foxes.

Besides posting about this breezy, synth-filled slice of pop perfection all over social media, I've been playing it on repeat for the past week - in the car, at home, at the office, at the gym (the few times I've gone in the past several weeks). Even the neon-tinged (and slightly bizarre) music video is a cool visual treatment of the track. That said, I can't wait to see what her new album will sound like later this year.

Get in on it. Now:


And then there's the latest from another Brit, Jess Glynne, who is delivering some uplifting 90s dancefloor realness on "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself." Her album doesn't hit the U.S. until September, so in the meantime, start brushing up on this fantastic female artist:

@TheFirstEcho