I’m at Trader Joe’s doing my “food gathering” thing and rolling the cart past the display of ready-made yummies because…well…I am good at reheating and turning on the microwave.
Another shopper, a Gen Xer kind of gal, is leaning into the stacks of meatloaf and chicken wraps when her cell phone goes off. Let’s put it this way, the volume is at eleven, and it’s playing The Age of Aquarius. Suddenly this particular quadrant of TJ’s is awash in the cast of Hair singing “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, Age of Aquarius…”
She wrestles the cell phone from her purse and answers, “Hi Mom!”
MOM? That’s mom’s ringtone? Really? I saw Hair in 1968 at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood. If I had had a kid (instead of house plants) that kid could have been this lady.
I wanted to laugh out loud. But I didn’t. This is the same Trader Joe’s where my mother had a public melt-down. Where they almost had to call the guys in white suits to haul her off. (Click Click if you want to read THAT blog). It happened a handful of years ago but it kind of feels like yesterday. So I quietly remind myself that I’m still alive. I’m still making music AND—here’s the big news—I’m appearing (along with a whole bunch of other musicians) in a brand new documentary called Never Too Old.
One of my longtime friends got me into the party last June when we filmed at the Long Beach Senior Center. This documentary was produced by The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund which is part of The American Federation of Musicians. They send musicians to underserved communities around the country to share music and a whole lot of happy. The documentary gig is right up my alley. This is what I do when I’m not teaching—I sing and play ukulele for senior citizens and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.
Before my performance, the crew puts me in a big high-back wicker chair that I swear feels like a throne. It goes crunch when I move so I try not to move. It’s decorated with a fat garland of plastic roses. There’s a lot of pink happening here.
We are on a second floor walkway outside the senior center and the director asks me lots of questions about performing and music and then we have to wait a few seconds as a helicopter whizzes go by…and a nearby siren stops wailing…and the car horns stop honking. You know…urban life. (Special shout out to the film editor.)
The video crew filmed in New York City, New Orleans, Long Beach and the documentary features very talented and dedicated musicians. Life-long musicians, doing such important work, changing lives, all the while hovering under the media radar. And here we are bringing the generous heart of music to communities where music really heals, really comforts and really brings us together. At least for an hour.
CLICK HERE to watch the documentary.
It runs twenty-seven minutes and I hope you will watch the whole thing because you will be inspired! I appear around minute nineteen. They have included snippets from several songs I play including two of my own tunes: Pony Ride (which is a ukulele instrumental) and This Morning Something Wonderful Happened To Me (I Woke Up).* You have to know that I am THRILLED about that. As a songwriter I’m not sure there is anything better than hearing people sing your song back to you.
I am so proud to be part of this documentary. Big record companies actually help support these Trust Fund projects. Jeez isn’t it nice to know that it isn’t always about making $$$ and getting a zillion downloads on Spotify. Music is also about serving the heart and soul of a community with something that reminds us all of our shared humanity. That we are in this together.
Maybe this really IS the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.