Jay Philomena is a retired designer from Boston, MA. In his sixties, Jay realized that he always wanted to be a singer. He took voice lessons, joined the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and now performs throughout New England. This summer he will join the chorus on their international tour to the Middle East – the first gay chorus to tour that region of the world.
How will we live tomorrow?
This question prompts me to consider how we as a society think about age.
Many celebrities have dedicated significant time, their celebrity, and parts of their fortune to helping the disadvantaged here and aboard. Few, however, have endeavored to change the way we think about ourselves and reevaluate values of a society that has evolved from being ethic’s based to personality based, from a respect for age and its knowledge, to a worship of youth and its promise.
Recently, I saw Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett perform in concert. I went with my sister, who had just lost her husband. We joked about the diversity of the audience. Yet, watching those two talented individuals perform together gave me hope how generations can view and respond to each other.
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are doing something that can change the way we think about youth and age. She is a “pop” icon in her late 20’s; he is 89-year-old icon from another generation – actually four removed.
Two or three years ago, most 25 year olds did not know who Tony Bennett is; now they do! Most people over 60 did not know who Lady Gaga is, or if they did, didn’t care. Today, Tony and Lady are a performing phenomena! Young and old alike know them both, and watching them together overcomes the stigma of age.
Lady Gaga’s action by performing with Tony Bennett, and he with her, may help change how we think about aging, and in so doing, how we live tomorrow. Perhaps our age-based and youth-worshipping society will think differently about the value of age / maturity and proficiency.
Watching the two of them, the way they respect each other, the playfulness, and obvious love they share for each other, the music and the act of performing together, is amazing. Lady Gaga has broken a new frontier as a “pop” star by partnering with a man old enough to be her great-grandfather.
So much so, that I may consider dating an 89 year old, or at least playing around with one. 🙂