Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Aging Rockers--Not About Rocking Chairs!

I first saw information about the Young@Heart Chorus when I was working for an Area Agency on Aging. It was so inspiring to get my latest post from one of my favorite blogs, Time Goes By
by Ronni Bennett to see that they are Staying Alive!.

I checked out their website to see more about the movie about them that will be released this April. There I found out more details about their movie: "Prepare to be entertained by the inspiring individuals of 'Young@Heart,' a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. As Stephen Walker's documentary begins, the retirees, led by their strict musical director, are rehearsing their new show, struggling with a discordant Sonic Youth number and giving new meaning to James Brown's "I Feel Good." What ultimately emerges is a funny and unexpectedly moving testament to the simple things these seniors value: old friendships, new challenges and a little time in the spotlight".

Also from the Young@Heart website I found some of their history. "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 our 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 us until she was 100. We celebrated her 100th birthday with a parade downtown. We actually had to reschedule the parade for a year later when her family informed us that we had the date wrong and she was only 99. This initial group also included Diamond Lillian Aubrey who came on our first two European tours and wowed the audiences with her deadpan version of Manfred Mann’s “Doo Wah Diddy”. In later years she appeared “on stage” via video, performing the Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

"The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 72 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."

Here is the trailer for the movie which will be released in April 2008.

What are you doing this Saturday night? I'm searching to find my Saturday Night Live album and I am gonna be rockin'!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Grab any gift cards you have and go on a shopping spree. I know, I know; I am the same way. I like the idea of having a stash of cash (via gift card) which is earmarked for shopping. I may not always know how I want or need to spend that particular card. I may be saving it to use for buying that special birthday gift for someone else. Perhaps you are like me and put yours away in a "special" place and now can't find it Or, unlike me, you really don't like to shop.

Consumers spent an estimated $26.3 billion in gift cards at retailers alone last holiday season, compared with $24.8 billion in 2006 and $18.48 in 2005, according to the National Retail Federation. However:.... About 27% of adults who received gift cards during last year's holiday season still hadn't used them nearly a year later, according to an October survey by Consumer Reports. That was up from 19% the previous year.

Sharper Image announced late last month that it was suspending the acceptance of gift cards, at least temporarily. It urged shoppers to check the company WebSite later this month for an update. That is typical of businesses that reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which treats gift cards as a loan, not as cash.

As more retailers file for bankruptcy or go out of business, gift cards are turning into worthless pieces of plastic. The number of bankruptcies and liquidations this year is expected to reach the highest levels since the recession in 1991. And because gift card holders fall into the class of unsecured creditors, experts say they're "low in the pecking order" of people that businesses need to pay back. One analyst estimates that shoppers could lose 75 million dollars as restaurants and stores close.

So, my advice is to grab those cards and go shopping! And if you are really one of those people who hate to shop; send an early birthday gift to someone who has a birthday coming up, i.e. your grandson who would love to use it on a video game for his xBox 360, your granddaughter who would love to use it on iTunes purchases or to a dear friend - just because.

An interesting side development in all of this is that competitors of bankrupt companies may start offering discounts on certain cards. Sharper Image's rival, Brookstone Inc., is capitalizing on the situation by announcing last week that it would exchange now worthless Sharper Image gift cards, for 25 percent off any purchase.

But, I would not wait around to see how far that goes; I am off to start drinking my Grande Soy Lattes with the gift cards from my son. I have two right now, because I hoard them for special times. I guess I shall start having more "special" times.