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–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–Guilty Pleasures

Okay, y’all.  It’s 2019’s first guilty pleasure.  I shouldn’t like it.  Nobody should like it.  And yet…

Anybody besides me find themselves sucked into FOX’s new music competition show, The Masked Singer?  It’s beyond ridiculous.

Famous people dress up in costumes that cover their entire bodies, drop clues to their identities via short video introductions, then come onstage to sing.  A panel of four judges (Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger tries to guess who the singer might be.

Six singers compete in each episode, and at the end of the hour, the singer with the least number of votes (from the judges and the studio audience) loses, and removes his or her costume head to reveal their identity.

The show is like a cross between American Idol and a fur con (It’s a thing, look it up, LOL.)  It sounds awful, right?  Except I’m loving it, and lots of people agree with me.

In the most recent episode, the losing contestant turned out to be 4:20 icon Tommy Chong.  Which was a little sad, because he wasn’t as terrible as you’d imagine.

Another contestant belted out Ricky Martin’s classic Livin’ La Vida Loca, and I was in heaven.  I’d forgotten how much I love this song!  (Okay, Ricky Martin might be another guilty pleasure, so you can see how layered this thing is.)

At any rate, if you find yourself with nothing special to do on a Wednesday night at 9pm EST, you might just turn to FOX and see what’s up with The Masked Singer.

In the meantime, I hope you’re managing to stay warm this January weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Spooky

Halloween is just over two weeks away.  Time for it to get Spooky.  I couldn’t resist this classic from the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

This time of year, I’m dying to watch a good ‘dark and scary night in a spooky house’ kind of thing, and in the past couple of years, I haven’t had much luck finding something that fits the bill.  I’m not talking about a cheesy, slasher, ‘all the teens are gonna die’ movie–I’m looking for something smart and creepy.

Then I turned on Netflix last night and found this, their original series The Haunting of Hill House.  It’s based (loosely) on the 1959 classic horror novel by Shirley Jackson.  I watched the first two episodes last night, and it’s creepy as hell.  I’m in for the rest of the ride.

It’s just a thought if you’re looking for something Halloween-y to do tonight.  Gather with those you love, and I’d recommend leaving the lights on, just saying.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

Bonus Track:  I couldn’t resist the divine Eagles with a live version of Witchy Woman.  Cheers to the late, great Glenn Frey.

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–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!