Saturday Night Serenade–Rock of Ages

I may or may not have mentioned my enjoyment of musical theatre.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I just posted about it a week or so ago.

The musical Rock of Ages is a cheesy treasure trove of the best of 80s music, and by best, I mean the hair metal rock and power ballads, not that dippy new wave stuff Mr. R. enjoys.  The Broadway show was made into a movie and it’s completely possible that I’ve seen it once or twice, and maybe, potentially I might have sung along.  Loudly.

A couple of years ago, the touring company came to town for one night only.  My girl Mo and I grabbed ourselves a pair of tickets.  Looking back on it, it’s possible that they were still in their rehearsal/soft launch phase, because to tell the truth, it had a bit of a high school production feel to it.  Which was slightly disappointing, seeing as how we paid more than we ever would have paid for a high school show.  But, the music’s the thing, and we had a blast singing along.

So…the Lake Worth Playhouse (where Mr. R. and I saw a stellar production of Spamalot) is doing Rock of Ages starting this weekend.  My love and I have tickets for Thursday night and I’m so excited.  As good as Spamalot was, I have high expectations for the caliber of the performance and I know we’ll have fun, regardless.

This video is from the 2009 Tony performance.  It’s energetic, fun, nostalgic, and features a freaky cameo by Liza Minnelli.  I hope you love it like I do.  So rock out with your…

Ahem, well, anyway…  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Whitesnake

Okay, sue me, I loved the hair bands in the eighties.  I loved this song when it first came out and I love it today.

Oddly, though, when I hear it now, it takes me back to a time only a few years ago.  In a very unusual turn of events, I was on a business trip with a group from work in Manhattan.  This was a disparate group that included a representative from each department, some of whom did not exactly get along.  It was very late on a Friday night and I had persuaded the gang to go to the lower east side (of course our hotel was on the upper west side) to a pub that happens to be the home bar of one of my favorite jig-punk bands.

It was a surreal moment in time as we tossed back shots, my boss included, and waited for the Prodigals’ set.  Then someone played this song on the jukebox and suddenly, lubricated by the soothing elements of free-flowing liquor and eighties hair metal, we were as one, belting out the lyrics as though we owned the place.  Good times!

Happy Saturday Night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Once Upon A Date Night

Right here at the beginning of this post I want to issue a massive spoiler alert.  I’m going to reveal a delicious surprise that you might not want to see.

wpid-img_20140404_194536.jpgAbout a year ago, Mr. R. and I attended a performance of the touring company of Broadway’s American Idiot.  For the uninformed, American Idiot is the Broadway musical adapted from Green Day’s brilliant album of the same name.  If you’ve never listened to the album in its entirety from beginning to end the way it was meant to be heard, drop what you’re doing and listen to it right now.  No seriously.

We made the journey to Ft. Lauderdale’s Broward Center for the Performing Arts for the show.  As we sat in our balcony seats waiting for the show to start, we overheard a hysterical conversation.  A couple of septuagenarians who were season ticket holders were a few rows behind us and they chatted in a friendly way with a young man seated next to them.

“What is this show? Some of our friends told us they walked out of the performance last night,” the woman said.

American Idiot is sort of this generation’s Hair,” the young man explained.  “The songs are from the band Green Day.”

“Green Tree?” the older man said.

“Green Day.  The band is called Green Day,” the younger man said.

“Are any of their songs in the show?” the woman asked.  By this time, Mr. R. and I were snickering.

“All of the songs in this show are by Green Day,” he patiently explained.

“Oh, I think we’re going to like this,” the woman said confidently.

To their credit, the couple was there until the end.  We loved the show and highly recommend seeing it when you have the chance.  Be forewarned, it’s not for the easily offended, but if you’re a Green Day fan it’s an absolute must-see.  And for the spoiler…

At the very end of the show we were treated to something completely unexpected.  The entire cast came out, each with an acoustic guitar, and they played Good Riddance.  With twenty guitars and vocal harmony, it was an experience that still gives me goose bumps.  This video is from the final show on Broadway and features Billie Joe Armstrong.  It’s a bootleg video and the quality isn’t all that, but you’ll get the idea.

So, goosebumps, from me to you.  Happy Saturday Night!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I love the wearin’ of the green.  I love to spend part of St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish pub listening to Irish music.  Last year, Mr. R. and I were in one of our favorite places, Ybor City, the old historic Cuban district of Tampa.

I know what you’re thinking.  Spending this, the most Irish of holidays, in the Cuban district of Tampa?  To which I would say, yes.  There’s the nicest bar there called the James Joyce Irish Pub where Mr. R. and I snagged a table and were there for about six hours, no exaggeration.  The atmosphere was friendly, the food outstanding, and well, the tiny little green shots, of which I had several, did not suck.  They had live music the entire time we were there and while I cannot recall the name of the band, they were terrific.

I love Irish bands.  I’m a huge fan of Dropkick Murphys, and I know, technically, they’re from Boston and not Ireland, however, they play great Irish punk.  Another of my all-time favorite jig-punk bands is The Prodigals.  I first saw them when they came to Irish Fest in West Palm Beach and after that, I made sure we saw them every year.  I even scheduled our March wedding around Irish Fest, but alas, they no longer make their annual appearance.

I did, however, have the amazing opportunity to see them play at their home pub, Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on the lower east side of Manhattan.  If they’re in town, they play late Friday nights, 11:00 or later.  Paddy’s is a tiny hole in the wall pub on 2nd Ave. and 29th, and it’s everything you’d expect to see in an Irish pub.  It’s narrow with a big bar down the left side and narrow seating on the right side.  Just past the bar is a tiny stage and beyond that is a back room with billiards.  And when The Prodigals play there, they don’t turn down the sound just because it’s a small room.

I’m including this video of The Prodigal’s Open Reel.  It’s long, nearly eleven minutes, and the drum solo at the beginning is exceedingly long, but if you hang in there, it will be worthwhile.

And so I give you this little Valentine to St. Patrick’s Day.  Yes, I’m mixing my February and March holidays.  So sue me.

And when I see some of you little buggers limping…I’ll know.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

My First Drag Show or Date Night–Ybor City

Ybor City, the historic Cuban district in Tampa, is one of my favorite places to visit.  Mr. R. and I spent last St. Patrick’s Day there and we had a blast.  I know what you’re thinking, St. Patrick’s Day, Cuban district…???  But go with me on this. 

I feel the same way about hotels that I do about restaurants, which is to say, I prefer to avoid big box chains and stay in smaller, funky, boutique places.  Which brought us to the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn in Ybor City.

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Photo by Loyce Hood, from Google Images

This hotel is absolutely beautiful, inside and out.  Its sixteen guest rooms, all located on the second floor, are tastefully decorated with antique furniture and accessories, as is the lobby and the other common areas.  The inn is remarkably affordable and because there are so few rooms, the place did not feel crowded.  It is, ahem, supposedly haunted, but we can report that we had no disturbances during our stay. 

I found our corner king size room breathtaking.  We had windows on two walls, making for lots of natural light.  One of the french doors on the front of the hotel opened onto a Juliet balcony overlooking the street. 

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Our king room at the Don Vicente Photo by Mrs. R.

Again, it was St. Patrick’s Day, so we went in search of an Irish bar, and found a terrific one within staggering distance of the hotel, The James Joyce Irish Pub.  It looks just like an Irish pub should, all dark wood and bookcases, and being a holiday, it was packed, but we managed to snag a high top table right in the front window.  We parked ourselves there for the next five or six hours, enjoying live music and libations, before stumbling back to our splendid room at the Don Vicente.

The problem with the Don Vicente is that it is an extremely popular wedding venue, making it difficult to secure lodging on weekends, especially Saturday nights.  Which is why, on our recent trip to Tampa Bay Comic Con, we ended up at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City (eyeroll, whatever).  There was nothing at all wrong with the hotel, it was just crowded and corporate. 

On Saturday night, Mr. R. and I had planned to attend Comic Con after party at The Castle, a dance club in Ybor City.  The party started at 10:00 and required costumes.  Alas, after a somewhat strenuous day, I was not feeling it.  So instead, we set out to find a bit of dinner.

burger marysWe ended up at a place called Hamburger Mary’s, because after a long day, doesn’t a hamburger sound great?  Who knew they had a drag show?  Certainly not the family with small children that abruptly got up and left the restaurant.  I had to switch to Mr. R.’s side of the table to watch the show and I ended up digging all the singles out of my purse so he could give some to the performers.  We had a blast!

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The James Joyce Irish Pub, Ybor City, FL Photo by Mrs. R.

After the show, I made Mr. R. take me back to the James Joyce one more time so we could catch Kirk, the guy who plays there on Fridays and Saturdays.  Interestingly enough, we got the same table we’d had on St. Patrick’s Day (or maybe they just keep that table for us, that’s probably it) and settled in to enjoy.  Kirk plays all kinds of songs on his acoustic guitar, but after he played Galway Girl, Mr. R. used some of my singles to request Dirty Old Town, my love’s favorite Irish song (you can find it on YouTube by The Pogues or The Prodigals). 

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Ybor City, FL Photo by Mr. R.

It was before 10:00 when we staggered back to the Hampton (eyeroll, whatever) and we knew we’d made the right decision about skipping the party.  Ybor City is a really cool town.  Next time you head to Tampa, try this little district.