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Showing posts from May, 2020

I Miss So Much

I miss hugs.

I miss sitting in a crowded restaurant, enjoying a delicious dinner and several glasses of wine with several friends, grateful for having made a reservation ahead of time.

I miss going to the movies at least once a week, smelling that popcorn as soon as I enter the theater lobby, my Pavlovian response kicking in.

I miss hosting an impromptu movie night at home, having several friends gather in my living room, passing around a giant bowl of popcorn.

I miss game nights that didn't require our phones or clicking on a link and huddling over my laptop.

I miss attending a live performance by an artist I love and respect.

I miss boarding a plane at least twice a year and the subsequent excitement and joy of flying off to a destination to unwind and escape demands of my job.

I miss ordering some guilty pleasure food at a mall food court.




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I miss this. All of it. A post shared by H I K O (@thefirstecho) on May 19, 2020 at 3:25pm PDT

America is a Cocky, Unruly Teenager

I recently revisited Can't Hardly Wait, the seminal 90s teen comedy about the various members of the Class of '98 coming together for a giant house party, one last hurrah before they all go on their separate paths. The movie has a special VIP section roped off within the chambers of my heart because I too am a member of the Class of '98. Watching it in the theater back in June of that year was the first time I had watched characters my own age go through something I was concurrently experiencing.

Like most mainstream teen movies, Can't Hardly Wait features an array of stock characters, most notably the pompous jock, the socially anxious nerd, and a posse of popular pretty girls. There is wild and reckless behavior, fueled by the requisite drugs and alcohol, along with an inevitable reckoning and several lessons learned by everyone. Like most mainstream teen movies, its characters are focused on the here-and-now, uncertain about their future, yet full of naive hope. An…

Kimberly Shaw Blew Up 'Melrose Place' 25 Years Ago

On May 22, 1995, Fox's Melrose Place ended its third season with one of the biggest cliffhangers of the decade -- and one of the most memorable in TV history. It was a delicious convergence of storylines that cemented the prime-time soap's legendary status in pop culture.

After two seasons of being betrayed, bothered, and bitchslapped, Dr. Kimberly Shaw (the marvelously wicked Marcia Cross, nearly a decade before she became one of the Desperate Housewives) had plenty of reasons to hate just about everyone who resided at the titular poolside apartment complex. She hated Michael for driving drunk and getting her into the car accident that ruined her life. She hated Matt for helping Michael hide damning evidence against him and for literally snatching her wig. She hated Sydney, Michael's former sister-in-law, for sleeping with him. She hated Jane, Michael's ex-wife, after Kimberly's plan to frame her for Michael's hit-and-run backfired. She hated Amanda for nearl…

BURNT: The 2020 Summer Playlist

Before we all start brainstorming nicknames for the Summer of 2020 (Coronasummer, Summer of COVID...), let's take a moment to appreciate and be thankful for what we already have. And one of those things is the gift of music, songs we can blare during these next few months to help us lift our spirits and keep our asses moving.
Seriously, there are some tracks here ("Rain on Me," "Hallucinate") that'll make you long for the days of dancing in a crowd on a hot summer night. Others will surely conjure up images of backyard barbecues, pool parties, and outdoor concerts (R.I.P. Hollywood Bowl's 2020 Season.) So go ahead, press play, and make sure to revisit this playlist as I'll be adding more goodness to it over the next month. 
Because every summer, no matter how shitty things are, deserves a spectacular soundtrack.
@TheFirstEcho

How to Get Away with the Most Inclusive Casting on Network TV

When it premiered in the fall of 2014, How to Get Away with Murder followed in the footsteps of uber-producer Shonda Rhimes's other buzz-worthy drama, Scandal, by putting an African-American woman front and center as the lead of a primetime drama on a broadcast television network. And not only was she black; she was a woman of certain age (nearing 50) and black. It's both sad and frustrating to see how those seemingly simple traits were considered groundbreaking just six years ago, a time when the other majors were still picking up pilots centered around (mostly) white male doctors, cops, and lawyers.
But after a first season that proved to be as refreshingly compelling as any cable drama and earned star Viola Davis a well-deserved and historic Emmy, the drama about law professor Annalise Keating and her students getting embroiled in countless murder plots...went even further. Not only was Annalise middle-aged and black, she was also bisexual. (We saw her sleep with her white…

Music Therapy: Words of Wisdom from the Spice Girls

Sometimes you need some late-90s disco accompanied by flutes and frog ribbits to help you temporarily forget the dire state of the world. And "Never Give Up On The Good Times" from the Spice Girls is that retro jam we all need. It's all there in the song's title, a seven-word slice of advice that carries so much hope.

And if this track from their 1997 sophomore album, Spiceworld, doesn't lift your spirits or make you want to hop on the bed with a feather boa...then please take your soulless self somewhere else.

@TheFirstEcho

That Time Raven-Symoné and I Kicked Some Game Show Butt

In case you missed my performance on 25 Words of Less back in November, the entire episode is now available on the game show's YouTube channel. Feel free to watch me and several celebs compete in some wordplay. (And you know I love me some words.)

Semi-spoiler alert: I made it to the final round, but did I win the grand prize? Click to find out:

@TheFirstEcho

Current Mood: The 1994 Opening Credits from Part 2 of Stephen King's 'The Stand'

For one week in May of 1994 millions of Americans, including 14-year-old me, were glued to their TVs to watch the ABC miniseries adaptation of Stephen's King's doomsday epic The Stand (back when broadcast networks invested in miniseries). Throughout four nights, we witnessed a fictitious "superflu" wipe out most of the world's population and leave behind a band of survivors who either fell in line with The Good (Ruby Dee's nurturing Mother Abigail) or The Evil (Jamey Sheridan's sinister Randall Flagg).

As eerie and morbid as it would be to watch this six-hour teleplay today (I own the DVD set), I find myself drawn to one particular sequence twenty-six years later...

The below clip is taken from the opening of Part Two of the miniseries. It features the characters Frannie and Harold, respectively played by 80s icon Molly Ringwald and short-lived 90s icon Corin Nemec. The childhood friends console each other while coming to terms with the end of the world …

Mother Earth's To-Do List

...and something tells me she has more up her sleeve.

Cheeky girl.

@TheFirstEcho

World Wide Width: Confessions of a Fat-Footed 12-Year-Old

I've been blessed with what my mother refers to as "pork chop feet."

It's neither a sizable trust fund, an antique jewelry box, nor a collection of vintage hardcover novels that I have inherited from both my mother and my father. No, what has been passed down to me is the inconvenient genetic anomaly that is...wide feet.

Below is a picture of a Brannock device, a tool with which I was quite familiar every time my mother would take me to the mall to buy new shoes for the school year. Placing my foot on the cold metal, a sweaty middle-aged salesman would usually comment on how wide my foot was and that I've grown another inch!

"You don't say, Captain Obvious," I wanted to reply. "How about you go to the back room and fetch me some shoes before you go back home to your loveless marriage?"


Having wide feet was, and still is, a pain in the ass. It was especially frustrating back then because I was relegated to certain brands of sneakers or -- …