Flashback Friday: The Summer '96 Mixtape


20 years ago, I was obsessed with The X-Files, seeing Independence Day for the second time at the Cross County Multiplex in Yonkers, New York, and patiently waiting to see how several cliffhangers would be resolved on Melrose Place.

And these were the 23 songs that were in heavy rotation during my summer job at Playland Park, where I had my nose stuck in the pages of the latest Fear Street novel while manning the booth at the beach parking lot.

Go ahead. Press play. And let the nostalgia wash over you like a bucket full of Fruitopia...

@TheFirstEcho


Barb is My Spirit Animal & Other Thoughts from This Week


Is it me, or does Clinton Kaine sound like the name of a badass hero from an early 90s action flick in which the fate of the world rests in one person's hands?


I finished watching the first season of Stranger Things on Netflix, and I loved it every minute of all eight episodes. (Welcome back, Winona Ryder.) It's one giant mashup of homages to genres that shaped much of my childhood. And most importantly, what I learned was this: Barb is my muthaf**kin spirit animal. See Brian Moylan's brilliant breakdown of the character over at Vulture.


M. Night Shyamalan's latest, Split, debuted its trailer, and I'm down for seeing it in January for a number of reasons:

1. We need more Betty Buckley.
2. Being kidnapped by James McAvoy can't be all that bad.
3. I'd like to inflate my moviegoer ego and predict the twist ending: all three girls are part of his multiple personalities.
4. Again, James McAvoy.


There's also a new Blair Witch movie coming out this year. Meanwhile, Blink-182 is on tour, and a Clinton is making national headlines. Now I just need a new Backstreet Boys single to complete the 1999 realness of this week.


Take a look at the above photo. Because this is where I will be escaping to this weekend: The Riviera in Palm Springs. We're more than halfway through the summer, and I need to seriously up my suntanning game and maintain my summer reading skills.

@TheFirstEcho


2006's 'Southland Tales' Totally Predicted 2016 America


I was one of the very, very few people I know who actually saw this in the theater nearly a decade ago -- and loved it. (I even wrote a passion piece on it back in 2007 -- here.)

Now, watching it again, it is utterly eerie how much this semi-dystopian satire resonates today, especially given America's current social and political climate. I urge you to watch it however, whenever you can.

Because this is our country as it stands now:


@TheFirstEcho


What Happened When I Attended Outfest 2016


I watched 10 movies in 11 days, which actually isn't a record breaker for me.

The 2016 edition of Outfest here in Los Angeles just wrapped up, and after enjoying most of those films, including an award winner (the adorable Miles) and one tearjerker (Closing Night's fantastic Other People, above) -- both starring Molly Shannon coincidentally -- I am a bit wiped out.

But you can check out my wrap-up over at Hotter in Hollywood (and soon in Bello Mag).


*PS - I got to meet and take a photo with Silicon Valley's Zach Woods, who appears in Other People, but I'm afraid the snapshot didn't turn out to be so flattering for either of us.

But here's the trailer:


@TheFirstEcho


Song of the Month: July 2016


Olly Murs's sparkling and very playable "You Don't Know Love" is giving me some Brit pop realness, and the accompanying video is a stylish romp through old-school Vegas. It's also nice to see the British artist evolve from adorable X-Factor contestant to suave leading man in what is surely his attempt to play out some kind of James Bond-like fantasy.

This is the current jam that will be blaring out of the moonroof...of my new car! (It's a 2016 Honda Civic LXP Coupe, and I am in love.)

@TheFirstEcho