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Showing posts from November, 2016

R.I.P. Hotter in Hollywood (2007-2016)

It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce the end of an era.

With a heavy heart, I have reached the difficult decision to close the digital doors on HotterInHollywood.com, the site I've been overseeing for the past nine years. It is something that has provided me lots of opportunities and tons of great experiences, and I couldn't be more grateful for what it has given me.

For those unfamiliar with my history with HIH, it all started with the annual Hot in Hollywood benefit on which I was a steering committee member for three years. During the non-profit's second year, its founder, the incomparable Michael Medico, wanted to start a blogsite to spotlight other charities, celebrate pop culture in a fun, positive way, and showcase what celebrity alumni were up to throughout the year. I was more than happy to offer some of my views on music, TV, and movies during those first couple of months.

Then, I was absolutely honored to take over the reigns shortly after its launch…

REVIEW: 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World was first introduced to pop culture back in 1997 with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and now, 19 years later, fans of the ubiquitous book series and film franchise are given the chance to see what life was like decades before that little boy with the lightning scar tried on that Sorting Hat.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them promises, as the tagline would suggest, “a new era” in this magical world, and result is a mixed (but mostly good) bag of delights and whimsical adventure...

Head over to ScreenPicks to read the rest of my review.

Obsession of the Week: Client Liaison

Picture it: Tuesday night.

I've just finished dinner and decide to watch episode 4 of the third season of the excellent, criminally underrated Please Like Me. (Seriously, get on board -- Entertainment Weekly included it on its annual Top 10 list of TV shows two years in a row.)

I pause the scene in which Josh, Arnold, and Tom take MDMA for the first time and go to a nightclub. I rewind, whip out my iPhone, and proceed to Shazam the shit out of the song they're dancing to. And I'm directed to this:


This indie electro-pop duo, like the show, hails from Australia, and I am now a convert, taking to Spotify to consume every piece of music they've put out since 2014. Everything about them is unabashedly 80s, from their production sensibilities to their wardrobe. Even their WEBSITE looks like it was designed in 1989.

Here is their most recent single, "Wild Life":


And here's "World of Our Love," a summer jam that should've made its way to the State…

Help! I Suffer From Too Much Good TV!

Less than twenty years ago, when it came to TV viewing, times were simpler. My television diet consisted of regular tune-ins of favorites like Melrose Place, Friends, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Saturday Night Live.

Less than ten years ago, I would usually find myself on weekend mornings catching up on shows I've missed during the previous week. It was a time when I could easily break down the week, day by day, listing what shows I watched. I had at least one for every day of the week. TV geeks and pundits deemed those days of the DVR the "Golden Age of Television."

But now we live in Streaming Times. I am a proud cord cutter (going strong 3+ years). I am both an advertiser's nightmare and prime target. I stream and download everything at random hours. I have no set schedule. I watch whatever I want, whenever I want. And since we're also living in the era of "Peak TV," there is simply too much television to keep up with. Seriously, in 20…

Invasion of the 'Girl' Thrillers: What Do They Mean in the Era of Trump?

Call it the Gone Girl Effect.

When Gillian Flynn's blockbuster literary thriller hit shelves in 2012, little did Pop Culture realize the ramifications this would have...

My latest piece at The Huffington Post is now available for your reading pleasure (Women friends, I look forward to hearing your thoughts): HERE.

@TheFirstEcho

After the Election: A Chronicle of Thoughts From the First 24 Hours

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

5:00pm - She has to win, right?

8:20pm - I don't know if my heart palpitations are a result of the incoming projections...or the watermelon martini I had with dinner.

9:45pm - Really? This is actually happening?

10:05pm - No. Wait...no. No. No. No. No.

11:30pm - Hate did not win tonight. Fear did. Fear of progress. Fear of “otherness.” Fear of privilege being taken away. And while the shock has not worn off, when we woke up in the morning, it will not have been a bad dream. And a new fear will take hold.

11:34pm - James Carville's "worst case scenario" prediction was right. The markets are crashing. The value of the American dollar around the world is plummeting. My God.

11:37pm - We now live in Panem. (Have you seen those projected images lighting up the Empire State Building and announcing the winners?) All that's missing is the sound of cannons being fired with every victory. When do the Hunger Games begin?


NOVEMBER 9, 2016

12:03am - At the risk of sou…

REVIEW: 'Trolls'

Earlier this year, Justin Timberlake dropped his single “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” a summer jam contender that demanded to be liked by every man, soccer mom, and child with its happy-go-lucky message and irresistible groove. It insisted on its own mass appeal. (Personally speaking, I am in the camp of believers who argue that, while a fun piece of pop, it’s a blatant wannabe of Pharrell’s superior 2013 megahit “Happy.”)

Trolls, the latest animated creation (and toy adaptation) from a major movie studio, is just as persistent in its determination to make you to love it, dance to it, and inevitably buy merchandise based on it. And it makes sense that JT’s chart-topping single hails from the movie’s soundtrack, a collection full of family-friendly covers and mash-ups designed to send your middle-aged aunt to the nearest dance floor and shake her rump like it’s 90s (or 80s) again...

Read more of my review over at ScreenPicks!