Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do Something Different

     For those who were asking . . . my book, You Only Retire Once, is now available on amazon for kindle or other electronic device. Hope you find it informative and entertaining!

     But I'm here to tell you about something else. B and I spent this past weekend in Pennsylvania visiting her family. We decided to stop off and spend a day in Philadelphia on the way home. We toured through a couple of neighborhoods, including Fishtown where we had lunch at a coffee emporium called La Colombe.

     It turns out La Colombe is a small chain -- there are other restaurants in New York, Washington and Chicago -- but this one is housed in an old factory building, with ceilings about 30 feet high. Most of the diners were 20-something hipsters -- the only ones over 30, besides us, were a few women with long, gray tangled hair wearing flowing cotton dresses, and guys in jeans sporting bald spots and gray ponytails.

     We stayed at a Doubletree, right downtown, and were headed out to our usual sedate, mid-priced dinner when we saw, across the street at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, there was a show called So You Think You Can Dance.

     "It's a TV show, right?" I said to B.

     "Yeah, kind of like American Idol, except it's dancing," she offered.

     So you know we'd never seen this show; didn't know anything about it. The show is not to be confused with Dancing with the Stars, which we have seen a few times.

     Now, B and I do go dancing sometimes. We take ballroom lessons through adult education at our middle school. Our class consists of six gray-haired couples. About once a month we go to a dance at the American Legion. It's all very mild and proper.

     Anyway, we're standing on Broad Street in Philadelphia and I looked at B, and she looked at me, and then, as if by mutual understanding, we acted on a whim and stepped inside, just to see if there were any tickets available. And sure enough, we soon found ourselves in Row E, waiting for the action to begin, hoping that we didn't do something stupid and waste our money.

     This was completely uncharacteristic for us. We go to restaurants, movies and events where the other people, as we joke, are "in our demographic." But the people here were not over 60, like us. Most were under 40, many of them under 20.

     Now maybe some of you have followed So You Think You Can Dance on TV. The show just finished its 12th season. But we had no idea what to expect. Still, we couldn't help getting a little excited, because the Academy of Music holds 2,500 people, and it was full of enthusiastic, sometimes screaming fans. The music started and it was LOUD. But we got used to it, and we were charmed by the young men and women who came leaping and jumping and flying across the stage.

     We both liked Hailee Payne, a bleached-blonde Miley Cyrus look-alike who could do amazing things with her body. I liked Ja Ja, who looked like a cute girl-next-door type; but actually her background is the street, not the stage -- hip hop, not ballet.

     This is the live show that is touring the country, after the TV show finished up its contest in September. A young woman named Gaby Diaz was the winner. She did an impressive solo tap dance on the Philadelphia stage, along with all the other acrobatic routines.

     But it was a young man named Virgil Gadson who stole the show. He could dance with the best of them; he had a winning smile and his personality jumped off the stage. Virgil was the one who consistently got the most audience reaction. I was going to say applause. But applause was the least of it -- there was cheering, whistling, laughing, screaming.

     It was only after the show, as we all stood up to leave, that a man in the row behind us turned to the middle-age couple next to him and asked if they knew Virgil. Apparently their cheering had given them away. The woman replied that, yes, they were his parents. You must be so proud of him, I ventured. And they nodded, their broad grins widening even more.

     So we had a memorable time in Philadelphia, just because we took a chance and decided to do something we don't usually do, something beyond our comfort zone.

     This is not necessarily to recommend you run off to see So You Think You Can Dance. Just to go out and do something different for a change. Go ahead, take a little chance. You might like it.

     Here are Virgil and Ja Ja.


Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Congratulations, Tom, on the publication of your book! I just received my print copy of "You Only Retire Once" from Amazon and can hardly wait to read it! I'm so happy that it is now available on Kindle as well. That should increase your readership considerably.

Celia said...

Watched the clip of Virgil and Ja Ja. Amazing dancers! True serendipity to come in and see them. Congratulations on your book, will be reading it soon as it comes.

Barbara - said...

Im big on stepping out of the box, although I don't do it as often as I should. I love, love, so you think you can dance, especially the trials.

Thanks for putting the book on digital, will download to day. M
Need to get back on my blogging horse.

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a good time. I enjoy dancing, too.

Tom Sightings said...

They are amazing dancers. But we are all amazing bloggers, too, don't you think? Maybe not as flashy, but just imagine if, say, a few hundred readers come to your blog every day. That would fill a pretty good size theater every night ... so we should all give ourselves a round of applause!

rosaria williams said...

I have followed the show for many seasons, always amazed at the quality of the contestants and the amazing choreography. Glad you enjoyed yourselves. Yes, we all need stimulations, and the arts do it better than anything else.

DJan said...

Waiting in the airport for the shuttle that will take me on my last leg of the journey home, and I watched the video and enjoyed it very much. You are one of my very favorite bloggers and I applaud YOU for your posts. :-)

Olga Hebert said...

Grab those opportunities when the jump out at you like that. What fun!

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha, I take it this show is broadcast on FOX?

Take a chance? I'm retired from that kind of activity. Our chance-taking days are mostly behind us. David and I both led lives out of the ordinary and suffered from or reaped the benefits of doing so. For example David once had a pilot's license and did many reckless stunt maneuvers. Later in life he worked for NATO on missles armed with nuclear warheads. I could go on and share some of my more exciting actions like walking alone a night on NYC streets, but you get the idea. Today my chane taking involves surgery and the other " exciting" activities of the "not a Baby-boomer" generation who survived. I give the advice to take a chance to the millennial generation. 🤔

#1Nana said...

Congratulations on the book! It's a little late for me, I've been retired for 7 years now! I like the advice to take a chance. My friend, Linda the bag lady says yes. I'm not quite as eager to say yes, but now I try to not say NO immediately. I'm taking small steps.

Wisewebwoman said...

Opening up possibilities, I love it and have done so, it's only off the beaten familiar track we find unexpected joy. I remember particularly my granddaughter and I losing our way one time and having an unforgettable couple of days North of the St. Lawrence in Quebec.

The show sounded wonderful.