Saturday Night Serenade–Dreamers

If it’s summer, it’s time for my lazy-days guilty pleasure, America’s Got Talent. I know. We shouldn’t love this show. The title isn’t even grammatically correct.

And do we really need to watch dudes getting shot out of cannons, dudes using their nipples to pull tractor-trailers, creepy contortionists, and mediocre magicians. I would say yes, because among all the rabble you find diamonds in the rough, dreamers, many of whom have put their dreams on hold while they got ‘real’ jobs and watched time go by.

One such contestant was Chris Klafford who appeared last week. His unique take on Imagine held the audience and judges spellbound. See what you think.

I think part of the show’s popularity is that most of us root for the underdog who gets a second chance. Because if a large Swede with skinny jeans and the voice of an angel gets his shot at his dreams, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, too.

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘dog days’ of summer. Be sure to hug those you love. And maybe dare to dream a little.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Going Home

I’m a happy girl.

I’m the mom of two incredible young men. Life hasn’t always been what it should be, and we’ve been through some hard times, not the least of which was living with a controlling narcissist, and dealing with the aftermath of divorce.

Each of us emerged damaged in our own ways. and we’ve worked to move forward. But it’s been a struggle, and my older son has had a hard time of it. Following high school, he drifted, finally ending up in the Air Force for a time. Full of anger and bitterness, he stayed away, refusing to keep in contact. In fact, I haven’t seen him in eight years.

Until three days ago.

Out of the blue, he responded to a Facebook message I sent him a month ago. He and his girlfriend were visiting her aunt in Tampa and it wasn’t going well. Naturally, I invited them to come here.

When I hugged him (maybe I squeezed him just a little too hard), he was shaking. I think he was afraid of how he’d be received. He’d convinced himself that I hated him.

A mom always loves her kids, no matter what. And we’ve had the nicest three days I’m had in a long time. Who says you can’t go home?

They’re leaving tonight for the 24-hour drive back to western Missouri. But we have plans to get together again soon. And I have his phone number. Like I said, I’m a happy girl

Be sure to hug those you love. Let them know you love them.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–I Love a Good Story

I love a good story. But I’m a writer, so I don’t think that comes as a big surprise.

I tend to write long stories. For me, the characters are everything. Their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their past experiences, their flaws and self-doubts blend together to make them relatable. I always want readers to feel like they know the characters, like they’re friends. And that takes time to build.

As a reader, the best books are the ones where I intentionally slow down about halfway through because I know I’m going to miss the characters when I finish the story. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was like that for me.

That being said, I’m always impressed with writers who can communicate all that emotion in fewer words. Like in a song, for example.

Tequila by Dan + Shay tells a great story. This video enhances that story. Be sure to stay until the end. 😉

And because I have a perverse sense of humor, I’m taking a left turn at Albuquerque. (You have to be a certain age to get that reference.) On my summer television guilty pleasure America’s Got Talent, a guy performed a karaoke version of a different Tequila. Enjoy.

This weekend, we’re well into summer, and in the States, we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. I wish you a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand, y’all, because DUH!

Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–

Tonight’s serenade is a classic, and it doesn’t get much more classic than the Beatles. This clip of Yesterday is from a live 1965 television performance. It’s funny because the audience is so frantic about seeing the Fab Four, they don’t really appreciate the beauty of the song. I think true classics are like that–it’s only later that we recognize their value.

I’m beyond stoked about the new movie coming out at the end of the week. Yesterday, from the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the writer of Love Actually, is a fantasy musical romantic comedy about a struggling young singer who wakes up one day to discover that he’s the only one in the world who remembers the genius of the Beatles. When he begins to play their songs, everyone assumes they’re his original work, and his career soars.

The premise intrigued me months ago, the first time I saw a few short clips. It looks like a charming story about likeable characters, all punctuated by the music of the Beatles. In one hilarious clip, Ed Sheeran, as himself, advises our hero Jack to change one particular lyric to “Hey, dude.”

I can’t wait to see this movie, and as we have been hoarding a Fandango gift card since Christmas, awaiting a worthy film, I predict a date night in our very near future.

I hope this first official weekend of summer finds you well. Be sure to hug the ones you love. Maybe I’ll see you at the movies!

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Little Sunshine

Do you have a list of songs you consider musical ‘comfort food’?

I do, and this one is near the top of the list. Boogie Shoes is my favorite K.C. and the Sunshine Band song, and it’s from their 1975 self-titled album. The official genre is disco/funk. I love the brass in this song. And it’s fun to sing, too.

Which is probably why it’s been added to the background of a current television ad for a prescription medication. You know how the advertisers sell us drugs–pleasant images of happy people doing happy things, with a soundtrack of happy music.

If you’re paying attention to the name of the drug, which I usually don’t, you kind of wonder how long it will be before you see class-action lawsuits because these drugs are causing ‘suicidal thoughts or actions, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and perineal tearing’ (all actual side effects I’ve heard over the background happy music). Maybe we’d have been better off with the original ailment.

At any rate, I’d like to relax this summer Saturday with a little blast from the past. Did you notice that this clip is from American Bandstand? If you don’t know what that is, sit down and let the grown-ups talk.

Sending warm Happy Father’s Day wishes your way. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Magic

The first concert I ever attended was Barry Manilow’s One Voice tour waaaaayyy back in the early 80s. I know. Nerd alert!

I have a hugely eclectic taste in music. I love 80s hair bands, classic rock from the 60s and 70s, punk, country, coffee house, classical, jazz, Celtic, French pop, and more.

Since that night I went to see Manilow with my mom at the UTC Roundhouse in Chattanooga, I’ve been to many concerts. Probably the best ever was Green Day. The worst? Tim McGraw–we actually walked out. It was one of those deals where you had to weigh your level of enjoyment against the fact that thousands of people would be trying to leave the parking lot at the same time. Getting out quickly won out.

Over the years, I had forgotten how great Barry Manilow is. I was reminded earlier in the week. (Odd segueway coming…)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones just ended its 8-season run. I was a big fan from the very first episode and I hung in there until the closing credits of the last one. Following that, HBO did a documentary about that final season, and I found that absolutely as fascinating as the show itself. If you didn’t watch the show, avoid the documentary–massive spoilers are there.

But during the course of the documentary, viewers heard from, among many others, one of the directors who described his process of creating an unforgettable scene. He went on to say that as he imagines a particular scene, in his mind there’s a soundtrack that has nothing to do with what actually airs. And for one of the more notable scenes in the last couple of episodes, Could It Be Magic was the song in his mind.

This is such a hauntingly beautiful song. And Barry Manilow is an extremely talented musician. I’m shifting him from my ‘Guilty Pleasures’ list to my list of favorites. See if you agree.

So welcome to June. Here we are, staring down the barrel of another summer. Here in south Florida, it’s officially Hurricane Season. Yay.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Song and a Movie

To say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is a great song is to be simply redundant. Taken as a whole, their body of work is sublime, with stand-out nuggets like Fat-Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and cult-classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But I really like this one. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s currently featured in several television commercials. And with the success and acclaim of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, all these songs are getting new life. Take that, Millennials, who believe if something didn’t happen in their lifetime, it didn’t happen at all.

As promised, though, this week’s serenade comes with a movie recommendation. While there are countless versions of Don’t Stop Me Now, this is one of my favorites. It comes from a fantastic little horror-comedy from 2004 called Shaun of the Dead. It’s a smart, funny, and yes, okay, gory at times, take on Dawn of the Dead. Just the title cracks me up.

The story follows hapless Shaun and his slacker-pothead wingman Ed (played the the hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) into what appears to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Only we’re not using the zed-word.

Complicating matters is the fact that Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has just broken up with him, and he’s perpetually at odds with his stepfather (the brilliant, if low-key in this role, Bill Nighy).

Once he realizes that the end of the world is here (and it takes him an hysterical amount of time to figure it out–watch him pop out to the shop for a Diet Coke), Shaun cooks up a scheme to save Liz from the undead, and thus win her back. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

At one point, Shaun’s intrepid band of survivors finds itself holed up in his favorite pub. The fight scene set to this Queen classic is a marvel of choreography and comedic editing.

I’ve checked–you can stream Shaun of the Dead for about $4 from nearly any streaming service. So what are you doing tonight? Saturday Night Live is in reruns until Fall.

By the way, happy Memorial Day! I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Be sure to hug those you love and tell them that you love them.

If you’re remembering someone who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, please accept my deep respect and gratitude. Freedom isn’t free. It never was.

Happy Saturday night!