People often suggest that I give a TED talk, and of course I hope this opportunity comes my way. In the meanwhile, I searched all TED talks tagged with aging. Nine come up:
After my talk last month at for the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York, a woman with a wonderful face handed me her card and mentioned that she'd been collecting birthday cards for years. Would I like a look? Yes I would. We got together last week, and I've posted a select and quease-inducing selection on the This Chair Rocks Facebook page.
“Ashton Applewhite's thoughtful, funny and very smart talk, This Chair Rocks, was perfect for launching our new center. It attracted a lively, multigenerational crowd, reflected our core message that aging can be met head-on with optimism, and got people fired up about the prospect. What could be better? —Senior Planet, NYC
This organization has supported me from the get-go, and I hugely appreciate it.
That’s the title of a piece by Tim Kreider on the New York Times Opinionator blog, and I hope it’s not news to everyone who passed me the link. Some of Krieder’s other eye-popping observations: you’re not getting any younger. You have to say goodbye to your childhood home. The old and infirm are pretty much missing from movies and TV. (There’s a term for that: symbolic annihilation.)
I missed the 12-12-12 concert in New York's Madison Square Garden to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims and I wish I’d missed this vile write-up in the New York Times. Snarkily titled “The Music Is Timeless, but About the Rockers ...”, it sneered at the star-studded line-up of “retirement-age rock icons,” described their “visible aging” as “tragic,” derided “geriatric acts” like Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters for refusing to “accept with a certain grace the ravages of time,” mocked Iggy Pop’s “freakishly impressive” body and Roger Daltrey’s “snare-tight” abs (“a specimen for his age, to be sure”), and called out these “men of Viagra-taking age” for “violat[ing] an obvious dictum for seniors: keep your clothes on in public.”
An excellent scout, my partner returned from London with the current issue of British fashion magazine Dazed and Confused—the one with Iris Apfel on the cover. Editor-in-Chief Tim Noakes writes, “It’s not every month you get to put a 91-year-old on the cover of a magazine obsessed with alternative youth culture.”
That’s the card I bought to thank London friends for hosting my talk, Old Age Sucks and It’s Going to be Great, last Wednesday night. It was well received by a bunch of smart people, among them my younger colleague in the Sehgal piece at the Tate Modern, Will Jennings, who gently corrected my statement that most people don’t want to think about getting old. “My generation does,” he said, “You grew up in a period of plenty, but we’re aging into scarcity - no pensions, no job security, no water – and we have to think about it.” Point taken, and it’s why it’s so terrific to have all ages in the audience.
"The myth-busting sixty-something is in London for one night only." That's how DIVA, "the only monthly glossy newsstand magazine for lesbians and bi women in the UK," is billing my talk, and I'll take it. Editor Jane Czyzselska has written a snappy introduction to my unorthodox oeuvre, and I can't wait to see who shows up at the Betsey Trotwood Pub on Friday.