Sunday, February 26, 2012

How Did it Feel?

I was privileged to be part of a glorious night last night at the Living Room, where, in the guise of helping the Smith Street Stage raise funds for its summer Carroll Park production of Twelfth Night, a room full of music and theater enthusiasts celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Bob Dylan’s debut album.

We were a generationally diverse group, equal parts alter cackers and youngsters with all ages sprinkled liberally in various combinations around the room, and we were all having a blast.

The event was the brainchild of producing dynamo Beth Ann Leone, Smith Street’s ( Artistic Director, and the evening was dominated by extraordinary talent.  The musicianship, the voices, the exuberance of the entertainers were exemplary, but I have to admit that there was another factor that especially resonated for me.

It was ASC’s Peter Galman, seated next to me for the show, who first commented on it before I articulated it in my own mind.   He surveyed the room and observed that we have a really good thing going here: unlike our parents’ generation, we Boomers have not alienated our under-40 colleagues and pals.  Maybe it’s Bob Dylan and his ilk who’ve paved the way for us to do so, but we have managed to be admired, sought out, beloved by people in our children’s generation in a way I honestly don’t believe we would have with those who populated our parents’ gen.  Some of my best friends are in their thirties and forties, and I can’t even imagine having been close to people thirty years my senior when I was their age.  But then, it’s impossible to fathom a room full of multi-age-group adults drinking together over the music of the era that preceded us.  We may have learned to love Frank Sinatra, but he didn’t embody a zeitgeist that we could embrace in the way Dylan does for our people born in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

When we all joined in shouting, “How does it feel,” we were scolding, in unison, demons we can all recognize, though they have varied origins.  We universally  hope they feel Like a Rolling Stone.  It’s a genuine tie that binds.

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