January 31, 2018

The Year Was 1998...


Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The X-Files were hitting their peaks on the small screen.

James Cameron's Titanic swept up 11 Oscars at the 70th Academy Awards ceremony.

U.S. President Bill Clinton denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. The world's largest airport opened in Hong Kong. Microsoft released Windows98. Apple birthed the iMac.

Singer-songwriter Khalid, pop heartthrob Shawn Mendes, and Modern Family's Rico Rodriguez were all born. A British author by the name of J.K. Rowling published the second novel about a boy wizard called Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A former Mickey Mouse Club member named Britney Spears dropped her first single called "...Baby One More Time." And after the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep, 19 European nations agreed to forbid the cloning of humans.

1998 was another year during which lots of things happened. Celebrities died, disasters occurred, and scandals erupted throughout those 12 months.

And yours truly (gulp) graduated from high school.

20. Years. Ago.

#oldAF.

January 11, 2018

Oh "My My My!" Troye Sivan Drops a New Single


The Australian YouTuber-turned-popstar (and subject of my inaugural HuffPost piece) whose devastatingly gorgeous Blue Neighborhood was one of the best albums of 2016, has dropped a new single and music video.

"My My My" is the track, and it's an adequately catchy electro-pop number about young passion...and intertwining one's tongue with the teeth of a lover. "I die every night with you" goes the chorus, and it's a line that will undoubtedly launch a thousand memes, GIFs, and various posts among the singer's 7 million-plus followers.

As for the video, Troye sings and shakes his hips in an abandoned warehouse that could arguably double as an underground sex club. It's an artsy, black-and-white piece with enough strobe lights to warrant a seizure warning at the top. Enjoy:

@TheFirstEcho

January 08, 2018

Cabo Rising: 4 Days in Mexico's Riviera


If you were to take the scenic coastal roads of Malibu, the decadence of Vegas, and the film festival prestige of Cannes, the result would resemble the Los Cabos of today. The southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula has begun shedding its spring break reputation to become a highly regarded resort destination that’s luring some of Hollywood’s biggest names…

TO INFINITY (POOLS) AND BEYOND
At Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf and Spa Resort, there are plenty of reasons to never leave the premises. There’s El Patio, one of the many exquisite dining options available for guests (try the ceviche), a swim-up bar where a daiquiri a day could very well keep the sunburn away, and the Secrets Spa by Pevonia, where a deep-tissue massage could help you unwind after a day of puttering around the 18-hole course.




THE LIFE AQUATIC

Take a La Gringa Catamaran at Chileno Bay and venture out to the iconic Arco Del Cabo San Lucas. Then, jump into the blue-green waters for an Instagram-worthy snorkeling experience before munching on some light bites and Bloody Marys on the top deck.


TEQUILA WITH (SNAKE) BITE

Grab some lunch at Panchos in Cabo San Lucas and savor some chicken mole from Puebla, carne asada from Sonora, tamales wrapped in banana leaves from Oaxaca, and fresh seafood of all types from the Baja. And after you hydrate with some delicious agua frescas, take a shot of rattlesnake-infused tequila from the giant jar sitting on the restaurant’s bar. Panchos is also known for housing the world’s largest collection of tequila as well as hosting weekly tastings during which guests can enjoy a lively discussion about the mythology, history, customs, and fabrication of pulque and mezcal.




GOING TO THE CHAPEL


In the evening, make a stop at One&Only Palmilla, where you can sip some cucumber margaritas under twinkling lights while lounging in the courtyard at the bottom of the resort’s mid-century Chapel, an intimate venue (max capacity inside is 40) with whitewashed arched walls and a bell tower. This is the stuff exotic romances are made of.



MASTER THE ART OF STENCILING

A drive into San Jose del Cabo near Plaza Mijares will take you to Intagrafia, a nondescript art gallery and studio where you can take a class taught by Mexican sculptor Nacho Gallardo (a.k.a. “El Nacho”), who contributed his work to the Los Cabos International Film Festival this past fall.



RESCUE SOME WILDLIFE

After taking in the breathtaking brutalist architecture of the massive lobby at Paradisus Los Cabos, we had the exclusive opportunity to visit the private crescent cove beach where wildlife preservationists guided us to a roped-off area where hundreds of newborn baby turtles were being prepared to be released into the ocean.

SAVOR SOME MEXICAN-FRENCH FUSION

…at the exclusive Café des Artistes Los Cabos inside the palatial JW Marriott of Puerto Los Cabos. The carefully curated menu, overseen by Chef Thierry Blouet, is an elegant collection of savory dishes. Try the signature pumpkin cream soup with prawns (served in a carved pumpkin shell) and the mouthwatering short ribs that are nothing short of spectacular.




HIKE AND GO ‘WILD’

Located in the third fork of El Tule Canyon, Wild Canyon is an “adventure park” designed to appeal to thrill seekers of various levels. We hiked and zip-lined our way through a dozen courses (including a walk across a very long suspension bridge), soaring more than 300 feet above ground and taking in the views. Then our group recuperated at the park’s Lion’s Den Restaurant with some nachos, chicken fingers, and a cold mug of cerveza (beer, for those who never took Spanish).

…AND BRUSH SHOULDERS WITH AN OSCAR WINNER

Behind the massive gates of the Resort at Pedregal is a small road that takes you through a tunnel lined with chandeliers underneath the rocky bluffs of Cabo San Lucas and leads you to a torch-lit courtyard where adventure, luxury, and relaxation awaits. This is where some guests, back in November, were fortunate enough to spot Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman making an appearance on the lobby’s terrace for an impromptu press conference for her film The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which was screening across the way at Pabellón Cultural de la República during the sixth annual Los Cabos International Film Festival.
@TheFirstEcho

January 05, 2018

Song of the Month: January 2018


Properly kicking of the new year requires a proper track.

And that track is "Say Anything" from Australian quartet MOBS. The single takes its name from the beloved 1989 John Cusack movie that was written and directed by Cameron Crowe and even incorporates a few sampled notes from the film's signature song, Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."

The result is an irresistible slice of electro-pop that feels nostalgic and fresh all at once.


Then, once you've fallen in love, try their latest, "Growing Up."

@TheFirstEcho

January 03, 2018

An 'American' Theory


Is it me, or has there been a sudden surge of the word "American" in the titles of movies and TV shows over the past 20 years? Seriously, take a look...

American Gigolo 
An American Christmas Carol
All-American Christmas Carol
American Graffiti 
An American Tail
American Beauty
American Pie
The American President
American Gangster
American Psycho
American Hustle
American Ultra
American Sniper
American Dreamz
American Heart
American Splendor
My All-American
American Violent
American Ninja
American Idiots
American History X
American Made
The American
American Satan
American Vandal
American Ninja Warrior
American Gods
American Assassin
American Crime
American Crime Story
American Horror Story...

I ask this question because I have a theory. Hear me out...

I believe the increasing appearance of the word "American" in titles is a result of a growing sentiment in the United States, pride, which is, in itself, a result of an increase in nationalism. We're living in a time when the rest of the world is portrayed as scary, unwelcoming, and harmful, a time when "globalism" has become a dirty word. And when something is "American," certain people will invest their time in buying it, consuming it, experiencing it.

One could then argue that blatantly slapping on the word as an adjective is a lazy marketing exercise, an attempt to lure in a certain group of people that won't bother consuming content that appears to be foreign or unfamiliar. Throw in the word "American," and people will know what they're getting. This was made here in the US of A, dagnabbit! This is for the red-blooded citizens of The Greatest Country on Earth!

In other words, this could very well be another example of the dumbing down of consumer culture -- or society -- selling something in the most digestible, accessible, approachable manner.

I can't think of any other country that exhibits its nationalistic pride in the titles of its own film and TV shows to this extent. There's no German Horror Story. No Australian Beauty. Not even a Brazilian Psycho. So what gives, America? Why the need to label "American" so much? Do you feel compelled to mark your property, to make it clear that America makes the best stuff? Huh?

*This was written in a drunken stupor last year.

@TheFirstEcho

The 'Slender Man' Trailer Is Just As Terrifying As You'd Imagine


The trailer for the long-awaited big-screen adaptation of the myth behind the Internet's most popular boogeyman, Slender Man, has dropped.

It's an eerie mood piece that sets the tone nicely. Little dialogue. No gratuitous title cards. Just pure, dread-filled imagery that promises a horror blockbuster for 2018 (and of course, a frightening, new franchise for Sony).


P.S. - Congrats Sarah!

@TheFirstEcho

January 02, 2018

TWENTY18: The Winter Playlist


Not only is January a time for people to preoccupy themselves with resolutions that will fall apart by Valentine's Day, it is also a time for post-holiday doldrums, continuously dreary weather, and for Hollywood to dump crap movies into theaters. That's why you need to inject some fresh music into your life.

Starting with these (check back for new additions throughout the season)...

@TheFirstEcho

Catfights, Cleavage and Carrie-Anne Moss: 'Models Inc.' Turns 25

In the early 90s, as anyone familiar with the oeuvre of uber-producer Aaron Spelling knows, the successful  Beverly Hills, 90210 begat ...