Saturday Night Serenade–Winter Is Coming

According to reports, around a billion people are expected to tune into Sunday night’s premiere of the final season of HBO’s blockbuster series, Game of Thrones.  Mr. R and I will be two of those people.  If you’re a fan of the show, you know what I mean.

If you’re one of those who hasn’t seen a single second of the show, I get it.  Normally, I am that person.  The one who bucks the trend and avoids that which everyone else seems to obsess over.  I was that way about Breaking Bad, but I eventually saw the error of my ways.

I was also late to The Sopranos party.  I don’t think I saw a single episode until after the entire series was over.
Fun Fact: Mr. R and I are currently binge-watching The Sopranos for at least the second time, LOL.

When Game of Thrones was first coming out in the spring of 2011, I read a lot about it from a lot of different sources.  It really didn’t sound like my cup of tea.  An epic fantasy filled with kings, queens, knights, wars, dragons, etc?  On the other hand, did I want to miss getting in on the ground floor of the ‘next big thing’?  So I decided to watch the first episode.  Worst-case scenario, I waste an hour of my life.

But then I watched the opening sequence.  In seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, I was totally in.  I had no idea what was happening, but I was hooked.  Eventually after that first season, I went back and read the books.

Game of Thrones is based on A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series of books by George R.R. Martin.  And he has worked closely with the creators of the show.  As a writer, I’m fascinated at Martin’s ability to create a whole world–no really, the books include maps, and the locations in the show are based on those maps.  He’s created characters that are rich and diverse and strong and flawed.  Dragons aside, for me it’s the human drama that makes the show the achievement that it is.

Westeros and beyond is populated with strong women, ruthless warriors, noble folk, and monsters of the human variety as well as the supernatural ones.  I was impressed by the fact that dwarf Tyrion Lannister (expertly played by the excellent Peter Dinklage) has a hugely prominent role.

Granted, the show is not for the squeamish–scenes of violence abound.  And there is quite a bit of sex as well.  These are not well-behaved characters, for the most part.  But I wonder if you might see a few things that ring familiar, as well.

Music plays a huge part in Game of Thrones.  In fact, it’s almost a character within itself, setting the mood, identifying the various families and banners.  The opening theme, A Song of Ice and Fire, is iconic, and for tonight’s serenade, I’ve included two versions.  The first one is an acoustic quartet, and the second is an entire orchestra featuring 2Cellos.

And…
If you’re still on the fence about Game of Thrones and haven’t seen a second of it…
Please grant me seven minutes and twenty-two seconds and watch the first sequence of Season 1 Episode 1.
Oh, and rule of thumb for watching GoT–don’t get too attached to anybody.  Just saying…  And be careful online–The internet is dark, and full of spoilers.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We’ve reached mid-March, and you know what that means!  What better way to start off a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day than with Irish Rover by The Dubliners and The Pogues?

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  One of my favorite memories is the time Mr. R and I spent the holiday at the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City.  Ybor is the historic Cuban district of Tampa, so it makes for an odd choice of places to celebrate all things Irish.

But that day, we were lucky enough to snag a high-top table by the front window and we spent about six hours enjoying great Irish food, a pint or three, and terrific live music.  Mr. R even paid the band to play Dirty Old Town.

Tonight, I’m giving you a playlist of great Irish music.  Here’s the Pogues’ version of Dirty Old Town.

We’ll continue with Galway Girl.  On my bucket list–pay someone in a pub in Galway to play this song.  This is a great video!

Here is one of my all-time favorite Irish bands, The Prodigals.  I first met them when they came to Irish Fest in West Palm Beach, but I had the opportunity to see them in their ‘natural habitat,’ their home bar Paddy Reilly’s on the lower east side of Manhattan.  Weile Weile Weile is a little creepy, but it’s a traditional Irish song.

All of those are great, but I can’t end a St. Patrick’s Day playlist without the boys from Boston.

I hope you are doing well this St. Patrick’s weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Seasons of Love

Happy last Saturday of January!  Can you believe it?  Next week, it’s February.  It seems like the month has passed quickly.

Have I mentioned that I’m a HUGE fan of musical theatre?  Just kidding, I know I have said maybe one or two things.  Possibly more, LOL.

Which is why I’m so excited about Sunday night’s live performance of RENT on FOX.

Loosely adapted from Puccini’s opera La boheme (in fact there’s a song called La Vie Bohème), RENT ran on Broadway for twelve years and won several awards including a Tony for Best Musical.  It was also adapted into a movie which featured many of the original cast, including the amazing Idina Menzel.

Fun Fact: I mention RENT and La Vie Bohème in the first Rannigan’s Redemption book, RESISTING RISK. 

The LIVE telecast starts at 8pm EST Sunday on FOX.  So guess where I’ll be?

I hope you’re staying safe and warm this last January weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Down at the Twist and Shout

Hello, August!
It’s the middle of summer, but I always used to dread August, because that means Back-to-School.  But now, while my teacher friends are gearing up for battle, I’m ready to release my 9th book, and I’m 25k words into the next one.  There’s enormous freedom in giving up a steady paycheck for a career that nourishes your soul.

So this Saturday finds me feeling light and happy.  I’ve pulled up an older song that makes me feel the same way.  Mary Chapin Carpenter released Down at the Twist and Shout in 1991, and it won a Grammy the following year.  It just makes me want to go to a country bar and two-step all night.

Look closely–she’s backed up by members of traditional Louisiana cajun/zydeco band BeauSoleil.  I saw them perform once in downtown West Palm Beach as part of a free outdoor concert series, Sundays at the Meyer.  Then-Mayor of WPB (now US Congresswoman) Lois Frankel went through the crowd handing out chocolate chip cookies, which is the part my kids most remember.

I’m tucking in a little BeauSoleil just for fun.

I hope you’re having a relaxing summer weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Perfect

Who doesn’t love a royal wedding?  Today’s ceremony was absolutely perfect!  I’m the dork who was up before the sun to watch the whole thing live.  Wasn’t it just beautiful?

So now I’m in the mood for pure romance.  Do you wonder what song Harry and Meghan will use for their first dance?  I have an idea.  You know how I love Ed Sheeran, and this version of Perfect he did with Andrea Bocelli just gives me goosebumps.

I found a love for me
Darling, just dive right in and follow my lead
Well, I found a girl, beautiful and sweet
Oh, I never knew you were the someone waiting for me

‘Cause we were just kids when we fell in love
Not knowing what it was
I will not give you up this time
But darling, just kiss me slow
Your heart is all I own
And in your eyes you’re holding mine

Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
When you said you looked a mess
I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it,
Darling, you look perfect tonight

Well, I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know
She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I’ll share her home
I found a love to carry more than just my secrets
To carry love, to carry children of our own

We are still kids but we’re so in love
Fighting against all odds
I know we’ll be alright this time
Darling, just hold my hand
Be my girl, I’ll be your man
I see my future in your eyes

Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
When I saw you in that dress
Looking so beautiful
I don’t deserve this
Darling, you look perfect tonight

Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
I have faith in what I see
Now I know I have met an angel in person
And she looks perfect
I don’t deserve this
You look perfect tonight

I hope you’re having a magical weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Walk of Life

May 5, 2018
It’s such a busy day today!

It’s Cinco de Mayo.  Just like everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day, don’t you just have to have a margarita (or three) on May 5th?

Only this year, you have to choose between a margarita and a mint julep, because it’s Derby Day.  It’s the 144th Run for the Roses at the Kentucky Derby.

I must confess a little fondness for the races.  Mr. R and I have been to Gulfstream Park a couple of times, and it’s lots of fun.  I have a scientific method for picking winners–I pick the names that jump out at me.  It’s 2:26pm as I’m writing this, and I’m all in with #10, My Boy Jack.  He’s currently 18:1, but I don’t pay attention to odds.  I’m the proud mom of a 7-year-old German shepherd named…Jack.  It’s kismet.

But tonight, I will be curled up on the couch with popcorn and a glass of wine to watch the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on HBO.  This year’s honorees are Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  I can’t wait to see the show, and I’m bringing a little preview for tonight’s serenade.  Dire Straights has a lot of cool songs, but I’m choosing Walk of Life.

Here’s wishing you felicitaciones, may your horse come in first, and I hope they play your favorite song.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Easter!

It’s the end of March, the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer.  And it’s finally Spring.  Hopefully, it feels that way where you are.

Happy Easter!  It’s a time of renewal and rebirth, a time for peace.  For this week’s serenade, I have a couple of classics from Cat Stevens, or, if you prefer, Yusuf Islam as he’s now known.  I imagine his new name stirs up some feelings for some people.  Who am I to judge?  I call myself Pandora Spocks, for corn’s sake.  😉

What I know is that Morning Has Broken is a sweet reminder of mercies that are new every morning.  And for that, I’m grateful.

And as long as we’re talking Cat Stevens, I couldn’t resist this performance of Peace Train from the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  I saw the whole show, and this was the surprise highlight.

This Easter, suppose we embraced peace.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family, no matter what holiday you celebrate.  Be sure to hug the ones you love.

Happy Saturday night!