Showing posts from June, 2017

New Rochelle, NY: The Farewell Tour

It's one thing when you move away from home after college to pursue your dreams and go make something of yourself in the big and scary Real World. However, it's an entirely different emotional experience when your parents make their own move after calling the same place home for the entire duration of your life. Yes, after much deliberation and time spent in Florida, my snowbird parents have decided to sell my childhood home and permanently remain in the Sunshine State. Never have the words "end of an era" rung so true. I've called New Rochelle, New York  "home" my entire life, even after 15 years of residing 2,805 miles away in Los Angeles. Virtually every pre-L.A. memory stems from this "Queen City of the Sound."  And as I write this, a small part of me still expects to go back to that apartment on Centre Avenue for my annual Christmas visit come December, but it will take some time for the reality to set in and force me to real

#TBT: J.J. Abrams in 1993's 'Six Degrees of Separation'

Holy crap. After catching the final performance of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation on Broadway this month (after which I got a tipsy Allison Janney and a drunk John Benjamin Hickey to sign my playbill ), I went into full nostalgia mode, reminiscing about the time I played Dr. Fine in the Boston University Stage Troupe production of the same play during my freshman year. Then, it was time to look up clips of the 1993 film adaptation starring Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, and a baby-faced Will Smith. And little did I know who else makes an appearance in one of the movie's best scenes... Who is it? Future creator of two of my favorite TV shows ( Felicity and Alias ) and mega producer-director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens , J.J. Abrams. He plays one of the Ivy League brats, the son of the character I played in a small underground blackbox theater so many years ago. Soooo...does this make me one degree of separation away from my writing-producing idol?

Katy Perry's 'Witness' and the Rise of Dystopian Pop in the Trump Era

Before Witness even dropped, it seemed like there were dozens and dozens of thinkpieces dedicated to dissecting the current state of Katy Perry's career. Pop music pundits had good reason to assume the 32-year-old singer's political activism would inform the sounds of her next project after seeing her stand on the celebrity frontlines of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. However, there were immediate criticisms ready to call bull on her intentions to create "purposeful pop" after releasing the album's first social-PSA single, "Chained to the Rhythm," and following it up with the blatant, food-as-sex-metaphor bop "Bon Appetit." And while fans may be confused by the theme of this particular "era" after the release of those two songs (not to mention "Swish Swish," which I'll get to later), listening to Witness in its entirety may help clarify some things. One thing's for certain: Gone are the ea

The Radical Empathy of 'Master of None'

During a recent episode of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, music journalist Stephen Thompson had written down two words to associate with the second season of Aziz Ansari's Emmy-winning Netflix series Master of None : "radical empathy." His commentary was part of a glowing review of a television show that feels so very  necessary right now. Why necessary? Because  Master of None , which is about the comedic misadventures and romantic entanglements of New York actor Dev Shah (Ansari), is doing something no other TV show has done in recent memory. It is providing a much-needed stage for characters (and actors) that are not often found on screen, big or small. And by doing so, it is giving these names and faces a chance to share their perspectives, tell their stories ,   during a time when spotlights in film and television are usually hogged by individuals who are seen as  bankable  or "audience-friendly." (Translation: able to guarantee big box

The 'Murder on the Orient Express' Trailer is My Nerdgasm of the Week (VIDEO)

I was raised by an Agatha Christie fan ( my mother's bookcase was loaded with her novels the way mine was loaded with R.L. Stine's ), so I was on board this train ever since I heard Kenneth Branagh was behind this remake of the star-studded 1974 adaptation. The trailer for this new edition just dropped, and my initial thoughts? The way the characters are introduced here is kind of awesome (love that slow, single take through the train car). Imagine Dragons song? Really? PS - I know who did it. @TheFirstEcho