Saturday Night Serenade–Man, It’s a Hot One

August is so hot!
You watch the national weather and you see places where the actual temperature is over 100 for days at a time.  I’ve seen unimaginable temps in Europe, too.  It’s crazy.  Here in south Florida, it’s hot, although not in the 100s.  But I do appreciate air conditioning, for sure.

Smooth by Santana and Rob Thomas is the perfect song for a hot summer night.  I’m loving this live version, although the official video really captures the mood I’m talking about tonight.

I hope you’re relaxing someplace pleasant, maybe enjoying a nice cool drink and appreciating these dog days of summer.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Advertisements

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–One Thing I Love About Summer

One thing I always look forward to in the summer is America’s Got Talent.  I was a reluctant fan, dragged to it kicking and screaming a few years ago.  It’s kind of what Mr. R would call ‘short attention span theatre.’  I mean, it’s just a nationally televised talent show, really.

You might see a kid ventriloquist, someone doing close-up magic, a stand-up comedian, someone pulling a tractor by rings through his nipples, and a singer or two.  But the little gems are what make the show worth watching.

This performance of Africa by the Angel City Chorale was show-stopping.  There’s just something magical that happens when people do something for the joy of it.  It actually moves me to tears.

Originally, the band Toto released Africa in 1982, incidentally the year I graduated from high school.  Which makes it an odd choice for a 14-year-old Weezer fan, who hounded the band on Twitter until they did a cover of the song.

And just because I can’t talk about Weezer without out talking about my favorite song of theirs…

I hope this last weekend of July finds you well, and that you enjoy tonight’s songs.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

I’m so excited!  Ten years ago, Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical based on the songs of 70s group ABBA, was made into a movie.  It’s not Shakespeare, okay.  But if you ever wanted to see a movie that just makes you feel happy, this is the one.

A decade later, the entire cast is back for a sequel, and with a few additions, most notably Cher, as Donna’s (Meryl Streep) mother.  Mr. R is imminently glad that my best girl Mo and I have plans to go see it this week.  I suppose it’s a chick flick, but don’t say it like it’s a bad thing.   I added a sneak peek from the new movie below.

The world has become a very scary place.  Up is down, right is wrong, and you never know from one day to the next what the hell is going on.  So let me go sit in a cool, dark theatre for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Sprite while I may or may not sing along to songs that make me happy.  Feel free to join me on the next recliner–not going to one of those moldie-oldie theatres, no thank you.  I know there are those who are avoiding this movie, angered by something or other Meryl Streep said a while back.  To that, I say, Good!  More room for me and Mo.  😉

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend doing things that make you happy.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Breakfast Date

Last Sunday, Mr. R took me to breakfast at one of my most favorite places on the planet.

Howley’s is a West Palm Beach institution, an establishment that describes itself as “Hip diner slinging comfort chow amid ’50s decor with a pressed-tin ceiling, full bar & jukebox.”  It has had the same motto, “Cooked in sight, must be right,” since the place opened in 1950.  After years of neglect, it was taken over by Subculture, who lovingly restored it into the joint it is today, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7am to 2am, except Friday and Saturday when it’s open until 5am.  I may or may not have rolled in drunk in the wee hours of the morning and ordered a grilled cheese and fries to soak up a little alcohol before heading home.

Howley’s is so much more than just a diner.  The place has an open, funky, creative vibe.  Art on display on most available surfaces is for sale.  I have to confess, I had my eye on a pair of photos on canvas–black and whites of a Creature of the Black Lagoon action figure with a surfboard on the beach and on a pier looking out over the water.

There’s even a fantastic outdoor mural by local artist Amanda Valdes on the south wall.

The staff is young, tattooed and pierced, and gender fluid.  Oh, and by the way, the food is great!

Sunday, shortly after we were seated in a retro-style booth, our server, a thin, much tattooed, delightfully gay man came to take our order.  When I started with a mimosa, he drew a heart on his chest and declared that he and I are soul sisters.  As he left to get our drinks, I couldn’t resist.  “I LOVE this place,” I told Mr. R.

We enjoyed our breakfast to a soundtrack of music in keeping with the vibe of the place.  When Still Feel It by Portugal. The Man came on, our server friend (my soul sister), who was helping a nearby table, broke into a fabulous shimmy.  I LOVE THIS PLACE!

I love it so much, in fact, that when I set my award-winning book, FOR SPARROW, in West Palm Beach, I featured Howley’s.  Yes, the book title is a link, just in case you’re looking for a great read.  😉

I hope you like this song.  Fun Fact: It’s the song in the latest Coppertone ad.  It just feels like summer to me.  And funky diners.  And happiness.

Enjoy this balmy summer evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Something New

Date night in has a certain appeal to it, don’t you think?
I mean, it’s more economical, for one thing.  And you don’t have to get all dressed up, deal with traffic, fight for parking spaces, or put up with annoying crowds.

It can be nice to curl up on the couch and relax.  With cable television and subscription services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu, you can always find something that appeals.

Mr. R and I have probably watched Breaking Bad, in its entirety, about four times.  We’re slowly working our way through Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale.  Sort of savoring it, really, although it’s intense enough, you really wouldn’t want to binge-watch it.  We finished the first season of Lost in Space on Netflix, and that was lots of fun.  I’ll be up for Season 2 when it comes out.

Last night, we decided to try something new on Netflix, a strange suspenseful series called Safe, created by mystery and thriller author Harlan Coben.  It stars Michael C. Hall (the creepy yet lovable serial killer star of Dexter) as a widower whose teenage daughter goes missing in a British suburban neighborhood where everyone has a shit-ton of secrets.  We’ve seen three episodes so far, and I’m game to see where the story goes.

BUT, it’s the mesmerizing opening theme song, Glitter & Gold by Barns Courtney, that really drew me in.  Gosh, don’t you love when you discover something cool?  I’m also including his song, Fire.  See if you aren’t as impressed as I am.

So for this July weekend, try to stay cool.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Guilty Pleasures Make Me Happy

Hello, July!
In the US this week, we’ll celebrate with cookouts and fireworks, family and friends.

There’s something about summer that makes me feel nostalgic.  When I was a kid, I didn’t worry about a thing in the summer.  I ran barefoot all over the neighborhood, went on picnics, climbed trees, and played outside until well after dark.

Summer has its own soundtrack.  Those oldies that bring back the good old days.  I’ve often confessed that boy bands are my guilty pleasure.  They just make me happy.

So when this musical moment happened this week, I was thrilled.  Jimmy Fallon’s classroom instruments segments are my favorites.  Add the Backstreet Boys, and I’m in heaven.

Out in the world at large, this has been a rough couple of weeks.  It seems like everyone has lost their mother-loving minds.  So I needed this dose of happiness.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

Be sure to hugs those you love.  And recognize that everyone else just wants to do the same.

Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I couldn’t resist this bonus track.