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Sunday, August 20, 2006

PROCESSING AGE

This weekend I have thought a great deal about getting older and the challenges (and rewards) that come with it. A part of me is really fascinated to see how my journey has gone and continues to go but another aspect of self is screaming, "No! I don't wanna get old!" ...but the good news is that I appear to be getting older --- much better than the alternative. And, I don't guess I am horribly unhappy with the way the aging process is treating me. But, still --- it can be a bit worrying to realize that I've most likely already passed or am passing the mid-point of my life. I mean, how did that happen?

Thursday I was entering a new patient into the system at work and it struck me that this adult was born in 1983. ...A year I remember quite well. As if it were almost yesterday, actually. And, then I met another patient well into the 60's who carried that offensive scent of mothballs. What is it about turning 60 that makes everyone want to freeze their food and pack their clothing in mothballs!?!?! Will that happen to me? Will I grumble about those kids who play their music too loudly? Not yet. I am still in that category of people who get asked to turn the music down. But, it could happen.

I've a friend who has lived an exciting and full life. He is currently entering into a battle for his life. A battle which I feel he will win but a very horrible time for both he and his family. I am so worried for him. And, I seem to find little comfort in the fact that he is older and has had a wonderful ride on this planet. In fact, I sometimes find myself wondering if we have our views out of alignment. I mean. We all cringe and cry when a young person loses life. This seems natural. A young person has not had the chance to taste all that life has to offer. Or, could it be that it is somehow harder to let go when you HAVE tasted most of what life has to offer. You know more of what is to be missed. I think the bottomline is that it is hard to let go which is why most of us cling so hard to life and all that it may or may not mean. We don't want to lose it.

...And, none of us seems to --- as much as we grind out heels into the dirt to the grave --- wants to be "old" Yet, like taxes. Death is really all that is promised to each of us. Or, rather, as Gaiman's "Sandman" comic once stated -- we all get the same: a lifetime. Does the span really matter? I think it does but maybe the next curve on the journey is a lot better than the one we are all taking at such high speeds right now. 1983, indeed.

Anyway, this weekend I bypass'd SNAKES ON A PLANE because I could not find a way to score two tickets. And I took in a viewing of the independent film, THE BOYNTON BEACH BEREAVEMENT CLUB, which would appear to be as close to a realistic but upbeat look at getting older than one is likely to see. There was much truth to be found in the movie and I loved the fact that the older actors were playing characters against western stereotype and were allowed to lust, have sex, be angry at their children/grandkids/grandkids and animals. In the end, the film showed the pain of loss and the joy of discovery --- at any age. And, it also allowed us to see that old doesn't mean "the end" --- actually, the growth continues. And, also, in the end -- we are all children forever. We never really grow up. I think a better way to phrase the process is "evolve" --- we evolve and, I hope, learn to cope better with the shoes that SHE drops on us from time to time.

One of the aspects of this film that sparked some ideas and some interesting conversations between me and B were two actors in the film: Brenda Vacarro and Dyan Cannon. Two very different type of film actors. Both have been on the fringes of mainstream entertainment for the last couple of decades because of -- well, age. Both are talented actors. Yet, both have approached their work from different angles. Both started out at about the same time. Vacarro was born in 1939 and Cannon hit the pavement a couple of years earlier in 1937. Both were screen beauties who were just a tad too old to be full on hippies but also young enough have edge. Both did nudes scenes but played roles that required more than just a hot pair of tits. Their options both started to limit at about the same time. Vacarro opted to not fight against time -- she allowed her curves to curve out more and took on the "best friend" and "mom" roles quickly. Cannon, really more the movie star who never got the lead roles didn't take things so easily. She dieted and ran to surgery. The results have been a bit mixed. Vacarro does a lot of voice-overs and was the FIRST actress to do open ads for tampons. Vacarro did the Vegas thing and did a great deal of B grade older sex pot roles but all led to a turn on some good TV programes in the 90's. Now, as they enter their 70's they are in the same film and it is hard to say who is more attractive/interesting. They are talents are fairly equal in my book. dyan -- youngtoday and pushing 70...

However, there is something much sexier about Vacarro who has allowed her body to age as it was probably more intended. At the same time, there is something kind of hot about Cannon in her form fitted jeans and long golden thread of hair. brenda in the mid-1970's...
brenda today and just two years away from 70
And, then we have Sally Kellerman who was never allowed in the mainstream anyway and who, in this new film, takes the bold move of doing full on nudity without the aid of back lighting and soft focus granted to Diane Keaton a few years back. And, she looks damn good. And, the men in the film take some chances, too. But our society has it out for the women. So, I was relieved to see the way the director and writer (both female) approached their female characters. It would have been so easy to cast Dyan Cannon as the character the other women hate for being "too hot-too-trot" or something. However, a more realistic approach was taken. Each character has her own insecurity and friendships are born out of need more than out of greed or petty issues. Not a great film, but certainly a film that made me think.

And, left me wishing that such talents as DeNiro, Hoffman and Streisand had put better use to their "power" than they did with MEET THE FOCKERS ---- Vacarro/Cannon do not carry that level of power and it took close to two years for BOYNTON to find a distributor. Just think what Hoffman/DeNiro/Streisand/Fonda/Eastwood/Hawn/Pacino if they really put their heads together and made a film which might have something more to say than dirty jokes or warm fuzzies about space aliens. ...and, maybe they could cast Vacarro and Cannon as characters more than "the best friend" or "the aging slut" --- wouldn't that be cool? ...and considering the number of folks at the screening we attended on a lovely Saturday SF afternoon --- I suspect that DeNiro and Streisand would really pack 'em in. Shit. Let Ben Stiller produce it just don't let him write it or anything.

...somewhere Joni is singing of both sides. ...now.

5 Comments:

Blogger ing said...

Very well said, Matty. You are a hippy, and I'm sorry if you don't like being a hippy. Because there are some hippies I like a lot, and you are one of them. You're a gay hippy.

I have this one question -- in paragraph five, the final sentence, you refer to someone who is identified only by SHE. I was wondering if SHE is your nickname for Barbra Streisand, or if Mrs. Palfrey has been using her powers over everyone for evil again.

Hee hee! Hope you had a good weekend -- I did!

12:18 AM  
Blogger Karyn said...

Matty, I hear you on this. I just saw a marriage announcement for a kid I taught in PRESCHOOL. Gaaaa! How is this possible?! And realizing that "middle aged" is my neighborhood is terrifying because I still FEEL like a young, spry, happenin' hot chick. I think maybe we are who we are from about age fifteen on. The wrinkles come, the hair color changes and God knows, gravity kicks us in the ancient ass. But we are who we are, and in the end, I think that is what matters most.

In which case you are going to dance on our graves.

Mwah!

PS: I would watch anything with DeNiro and Hoffman in it. I think they are both yummy. I don't care how old they are. Damned attractive. Good voices. Nice hands. Yum.

5:22 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

You're raising a stink over the good fight because M you'll be 40, am I right?

Prompted by an article in the NYT's travel section, I was just the other day trying to understand why people would party all day and drink and smoke and hoot and hollar and boat hop and strip and blow ALL DAY on Lake Michigan (as they do in Chicago), and then go home, change, and head out to a club to dance and drink and smoke and ??? all night.

Did we do that?

Don't we look great for having done all that? ;-)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Metalchick said...

Hi Matt,
I haven't read your post yet, but I will read it when I get back from class. Anyways, before I forget, you wanted to know how you can make your own South Park character. Here's the link http://southparkstudios.com It's under the games category. Here's the important part, to save it, you push the Print screen button on the keyboard. That button should be on the very top of the keyboard. After you have pushed the button, open up paint, or photoshop if you're lucky to have it. Open up a new page, then go up to the edit menu and click on paste. Then you just crop the image and save it.
Sorry if this is a little late, anyways have fun!

I promise I will comment about this post later.

12:01 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Ing -- I just don't think a hippie would fret over the perfect cologne at Macy's, secretyly read Vogue (I don't) or hate all things organic (I do) -- I actually like wax on my veggies ( not true I don't like veggies or fruit) ...I like Dim Sum.

Oh, no. Barbra is not God. She is a godess, tho. No, I just happen to think that if The Creator has a sex it would be of the female type and I prefer to refer to "God" as She. Just me.

I'm glad you had a great weekend! Wish I had seen you during it!!! I had a good one. Mrs. Palfrey made me yearn for my Grandmother and Alan sang with the waiters at that cool deli at the Opera. You should have been there!

Karyn -- Isn't is scary how fast the time goes? And, odd but oddly intersting how our bodies change? I want not to dance on anyone's grave. I just want to lie on the sand and listen to the ocean. ...but I'm not a hippie as I will be lying on a designer towel with loads of sunscreen and Goldfrapp on my iPod.

Gina -- Yes, approaching 40 had me thinkin' about so much -- and, yet so little. Yes, I suspect we both did do something of that sort. I feel no worse the wear. I just wish I could remember more of my way-ward youth. hmmmm....

Metal Chic -- Awww, you are so sweet! It is a long, long blog entry that will take much time to read. So, don't worry about it! Love the new graphic of you jammin' out!

11:37 AM  

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