Thursday, August 30, 2007

Young @ Heart

A while back I posted a video of Young @ Heart Chorus in action ... however, something inside made me revisit them - and I am glad I did.

When the Young@ Heart began in 1982 the members all lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House. The first group included elders who lived through both World Wars. One of the members had fought in the Battle of the Somme as a 16 year old and another, Anna Main, lost her husband in the First World War. Anna was a stand-up comic who at 88 told jokes that only she could get away with. She sang with the chorus until she was 100.

By 1983 the original group was ready to create their first stage production. They enlisted the support of Roy Faudree from No Theater to stage “Stompin’ at the Salvo”. The show sold out four times and brought in a broad cross section of younger and older people from the community. It also brought new performers.

In 1996 No Theater was in Rotterdam performing in the annual R Festival. Roy asked the organizers about the theme for the next year’s festival. When he discovered that it was Forever Young, he told the organizers about Young@Heart and plans began to bring the group over to Europe. This was the first time they would create a stage production that just included members of the chorus. Mixing songs and costumes from past shows with some new music they created “Road to Heaven” staged by No Theater. The response was phenomenal and the chorus went on to 12 more tours of Europe, Australia and Canada from 1997-2004.

The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 71 to 88. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions.

The spirit found within Young @ Heart can totally rejuvenate you on a day when you are beaten down, or just feel old. I am inspired by Young @ Heart and - after taking a moment to watch the videos below - I hope you are too.

And finally - the video i posted a while back. The performer here is Fred Knittle, who suffers from congestive heart failure. This song was intended to be a duet between Fred and another chorus member, Bob Salvini. Sadly, Bob died of a heart attack and it was left to Fred to carry the song on his own. If I'm correct, the people you see crying at 01:13 are Bob's family. The lady you occasionally see mouthing the lyrics in the audience is Fred's wife. This is powerful.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Latest Addiction

People wonder what I listen to
when not immersed in the Rock of the 80s
... and here's my latest addiction!

MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS is a band from Australia and they mix electronica, dance and new wave elements into one seamless audio trip! These guys are destined to do for electronic music in Australia what Daft Punk did in France a decade ago...

Earlier this month (August 4) they released their debut CD "Dystopia" in their homeland only - and all I've been able to do is listen to their songs on My Space for now ... but as soon as I can, this disc is mine to wear thin!!

Click the CD cover above to hear four of their tracks for yourself - especially enjoy INTO THE GALAXY (very modern version of Electric Light Orchestra) and SHADOWS (a mix of electro-godfather Patrick Cowley with modern beats)

Mark my words: Midnight Juggernauts are going far!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We Pause For This Commercial Break

After such a deep entry, I decided to share some interesting clips that I've found while fishing in the pond that is YouTube. These slices of life come from local Philly TV in the 1980s and can easily trigger some crazy flashbacks! Enjoy :)

look - it's the 80s sweater brigade with KYW's infamous gay anchor, Jerry Penacoli

check out this SHARP outfit she has on ... SHARP MEANS FASHION!

ah ... the vet. one could spend a day just trying to find their seat!

of course - we all remember Night Flight!

and who can forget good ol' Ben and his yellow Rolls Royce (and desire to have hookers hang all over him - LOL)!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Full Circle

I remember reading once that those who give the best relationship advice, tend to be single people. I’ve believed that, since I have been single most of my adult life and always offer sound tips on how to handle relationships.

Over time I realized that one of the reasons I was able to share such pearls, was due to my ability to be detached from many of life’s emotional experiences. I’ve always been one to look at the practical side of things – versus reacting or processing situations from an emotional plateau.

With the exception of a codependent and draining life experience, I’ve been single since 1986. That odd experience – which I refuse to call it a relationship, even though people classified us as boyfriends at the time – lasted a few years, cost me well over ten thousand dollars and hundreds of hours filled with emotional heartache. It did one good thing however. It showed me some major flaws in my character and allowed me to see how not to win a heart.

Since that faded away – thanks mostly to my own internal and spiritual growth – I’ve become at peace over the concept that I am simply a single man. I’ve gone through cycles in my life where I longed for the companionship of another man to where I simply found my fulfillment through my circle of friends and my social outlets.

However, a decade or so ago – just years after I moved back to South Street in the 90s – I stumbled upon a human spirit that intrigued me; his energy, his passion for music and life was quite similar to my own. He was one of the few people that, whilst in my presence, took such command that I locked up and said nothing.

Grant it, he was in a relationship anyway – so with the exception of just befriending him – there wasn’t much more that I could, or would, do.

Years went by and we traveled in the same circles – each within one or two degrees of separation from the other.

I always pined for this man – but never spoke aloud my feelings. Partly due to his situation and mostly because I just assumed it would be a useless task.

A month or so ago, we crossed paths, thanks to an opportunity that placed him in my world. Following that experience, in casual conversation, he revealed how strong his feelings have been towards me for oh so many years.

I could barely breathe. The spirit who, deep inside I craved, craved me. We had a marathon conversation over instant message, where we explored our pasts – and realized just how connected we have always been.

From that moment, it has been a whirlwind experience. I, a self-proclaimed independent, detached, unemotional sort, have allowed myself the refreshing – no, exhilarating experience of a pure and cleansing emotional shower.

There are moments when I feel as if I am being excavated … gingerly dusted off after years of being buried in layers of internal fears and frustrations. As with a paleontologist, he has steady hands and a passion and desire to preserve. I am grateful for his patience.

And, as much as I have been proud of my professional life, I've realized that I was lacking pride in my personal world ... thanks to John's love and understanding, I now am comfortably proud of ME, completely.

For the first time in 20 years I have allowed myself to be cared for by someone. For the first time in 20 years I have allowed myself to be intimately appreciated by someone. For the first time in 20 years I have allowed myself to be loved by someone.

Most importantly, for the first time in 20 years, I have allowed myself to love someone in return.