Monday, June 30, 2008

Young at Heart

Ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, I have wanted to see the documentary Young at Heart. So the other night we headed to our local arthouse theater The Broadway and were treated to one of the more entertaining documentaries I have ever seen. Young at Heart is a geriatric rock 'n roll singing group out of Northampton, Massachusetts which you've got to see (and hear) to believe. Really. Until you've seen a 92-year-old woman steady herself with her cane as she walks to the microphone and belts out "I Wanna Be Sedated" from The Ramones, well, you haven't seen the full potential of Punk.

Young at Heart is thoroughly enjoyable, filled with humor, affection, irony, fascination and toe-tapping music. But more than anything, it is hard not be profoundly affected by the twist in your perspective, realizing that great-grandma might get into ColdPlay better than you. They change the nature of the songs, making them much more lyric-driven, and often with more feeling and emotion. Very, very cool and inspiring. Especially one of my favorite songs of all time: Forever Young. They gave it a whole new meaning.

But there was more. I knew the group would be performing the next night at a local auditorium, but were surprised and delighted that several of the cast showed up after our movie for a Q&A, including founder and director Bob Cilman (a kid at 53!). We chatted with them afterwards. But one exchange really struck me. I asked them how being in the group had impacted their lives. Profoundly, for all of them, they said. But an 80-year-old retired doctor told how important it was that he had someplace to be, something to do, songs to learn, cadences to master, an important sense of purpose and an appreciation for what he was doing. Definitely something to think about as we move into those ... Golden Years, whop-whop-whop Gold ... Don't let me hear you say life's takin' you nowhere ... Angel ...