Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, a wonderful project that I contributed to when they had a Kickstarter campaign is doing so well! They just won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s one of the most dramatic examples I’ve seen of how music can bring people back to life. From a review after the Sundance premiere:

Alive Inside is a pitch-perfect documentary that brilliantly explores the transformational effects of music on elders with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A savvy distributor should snap this one up; despite its apparent marketing challenges, the film is emotional, uplifting, hopeful, and action-oriented …

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett followed social worker Dan Cohen for three years, for what began as an experiment and became a crusade. Cohen, volunteering to work in a nursing home, discovered that by giving the residents iPods and allowing them to experience the music of their past, their symptoms reduced and even seemed to vanish at times. The extraordinary transformations as 90-year-olds put on headphones and suddenly light up with spirit, moving with joy in ways that seemed impossible just moments before, are among the most emotional in the film.

Grace Church, where my Choral Society performs. Scroll down for how it looked in 1846, when the Church first opened …


Before pews were installed, and lanterns hung. If you go back and forth it’s amazing how little has changed. Or, not so amazing. Why mess with something so beautiful. The glowing reredoes (the altarpiece or decoration) and altar was designed by James Renwick Jr. (who designed the Church) and executed by Ellin & Kitson in 1878. The choir furniture was built and installed in 1903.


The Word Thug is not Code for Black

I use the word to describe bullying, threatening, behavior. It has nothing to do with race. For instance, Congressman’s Michael Grimm’s response to the reporter was thuggish. “I will break you in half, like a boy.” Yeah, I’m as perplexed as everyone as to what that even means. Do boys break in half differently than girls or men or women? Or is he saying he’s going regress and break the reporter in half like a boy might do it?

Back to thug. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner used the word to describe Bach, for christ’s sake! “It is just as credible that the bewigged cantor-to-be was the third in a line of delinquent school prefects — a reformed teenage thug.” (From the new book Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.) But my experience is not everyone’s. Have other people found the word “thug” applied disproportionately to blacks?

Yet another cat picture. I need to spend a day taking pictures of other things besides cats.


My YouTube Channel Introduction

Every time I add a video to my YouTube channel I’m encouraged to make a “channel introduction” video to introduce new subscribers to my channel. Today I finally made one. What do you think? I’m think I should probably just include take two.

Okay, here’s the short version. Yeah, I think this is better.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I’ve tweeted about it, talked about it on Echo and Facebook, and now I’m going to mention it here. See The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is such a genuinely sweet movie. I was feeling a little blue yesterday and needed something uplifting and this movie is it. Thank you, Ben Stiller. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a lot more talk about it. I just love the heart of this movie. Everyone in it is great, even though some of them only get a few minutes of screen time. You’ll love them all. I could gush about specifics, but I don’t want to spoil a second of it for anyone.

I wasn’t happy with the picture I took of Finney yesterday. Bleeck looked cute, I thought, but not Finney, who looked irritated, and he probably was. So I tried again. Much better, I think. He’s in a favorite spot and baking in the sunlight, so less cranky. (Note the lights from my prisms.)


Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

You must watch Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2. I’m off to watch everything else these people have done. Okay, there are only two others, all worth watching, but this one is the best. “Make it stop.”

Also, the heat came back within a day, but my apartment is still freezing. It’s like it can’t catch up and get warm again. The cold was allowed to build up and take hold and now it just laughs at my meager attempts to fight it. I think I need to put gloves on.

Here is Bleecker, curled up in his reserved seating in front of the radiator.


And Finney with me, in front of the space heater. Oh, do you see that small heating blanket on the floor? Finney and I take turns with that.