Hip-Hop a Tonic for Seniors
My first encounter with the documentary "Gotta Dance" was at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
Gee, I thought, what an entertaining, life-affirming movie. My gut feeling was reinforced when it won the audience favorite award at the 2008 Palm Beach International Film Festival.
Now more than a year later, "Gotta Dance" has been picked up by foreign and art film houses here in South Florida. What a perfect place for a film that says life does not end after age 60.
"Gotta Dance" is a documentary by Dori Berinstein about the first-ever over-60 hip-hop dance team, performing for fans of the New Jersey Nets NBA team.
The Nets already had a professional dance team of young babes, but it was thought the sight of a bunch of old codgers attempting teenage hip-hop moves would be an amusing sight. It is.
Team team consists of 12 women and one man ages 59-83. We meet each of the performers and the coaches who teach them. they are a jolly lot; a cross-section of humanity from a plucky kindergarten teacher who blossoms into a star and group leader, to 83-year-old Marge, whose granddaughter Marla Collins is a Nets dancer and coach.
As kind of comic relief we have the lone guy Joe, who admits to having no sense of rhythm whatsoever.
"Gotta Dance" is not about choreography or perfection. It is about being fully alive.
"Six of the original dancers still dance with the team," reports Dori Berinstein. "They are so vibrant and filled with life. Fortunately we have suffered no casalities."
Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
We didn't get a television set until I turned seven, in the summer of 1954, so I missed out on the opening of the Golden Age of Television.
"Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg" shows me what I missed.
Gertrude Berg was a woman before her time. She first appeared on radio in "The Rise of the Goldbergs" in 1929. The show ran 17 years and she was hailed as "The First Lady of Radio."
"The Goldbergs" debuted on television in 1949. Gertrude Berg not only starred, but wrote the scripts(12,000 in all in her lifetime),produced and even cooked the food.
The television series lasted less than two years, thanks to the big Red Scare of the early 1950s. Berg's co-star Philip Loeb, who played her husband Jake, was accused of being a Communist.
Berg stood by Loeb, but it essentially destroyed her career. Loeb died in 1955, a suicide, and Gertrude Berg in 1966, largely forgotten by the American public.
"Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg" restores Gertrude Berg's status as actress, feminist, writer, business innovator and folk hero.