The best (and worst) pop song earworms

By Bob Levey
Posted on June 11, 2024

Has it happened to you? It has to me. Some rip-roaringly overconfident young person will announce that he has just discovered a new singer. “Some guy named Paul McCartney,” he will proclaim. “I hear he played in a band back in the day.” Or maybe it’ll be “some guy” named Fats Domino or Buddy Holly, both huge stars in the 1950s. Today’s kids prove two very old truths:... READ MORE

Rock musical ‘Hair’ brings back late 60s

By Mark Dreisonstok
Posted on June 04, 2024

Decades after its 1967 premiere, the rock musical Hair is seeing a revival, and with it come many of the staples of the era: Transcendental Meditation, ecology, LBJ, psychedelic aesthetics, the first lunar landing, and general confusion about the best way forward for youth of the time. Hair began as a New York production. After a four-year run on Broadway, it soon spread to theaters... READ MORE

Honoring volunteers for decades of work

By Margaret Foster and Ana Preger Hart
Posted on June 03, 2024

For each of the past 25 years, Montgomery County, Maryland, has honored two older adults with the annual Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award for their lifelong commitment to volunteer service. The awards, named after former County Executive Neal Potter, are co-sponsored by the Montgomery County Commission on Aging and the Beacon Newspapers. This year, the county selected Bruce Adams ... READ MORE

Historians capture voices of Woodstock

By Michael Liedtke
Posted on May 21, 2024

Woodstock didn’t even happen in Woodstock. The fabled music festival — seen as one of the seminal cultural events of the 1960s — took place 60 miles away in Bethel, New York, an even smaller village than Woodstock. It’s a fitting misnomer for an event that has become as much legend as reality. An estimated 450,000 people converged on a swath of land owned by dairy farmer Max... READ MORE

Author crafts novel from life experiences

By Robert Friedman
Posted on May 20, 2024

Maryland author Jean Burgess sang and danced with a swing band in the 1970s, performed in and directed plays in local theaters, taught drama and acting to high schoolers, and earned a Ph.D. in educational theater from New York University in 2002. Now, at age 68, she’s had her first novel published. The book, That Summer She Found Her Voice: A Retro Novel, follows the life and hard... READ MORE

When a rational decision really hurts

By Bob Levey
Posted on May 16, 2024

As the old song says: regrets, I’ve had a few. Home runs I never hit. Millions I never earned. Not doing enough to make the world a better place. But at 3 a.m. (when I often do my best thinking), my mind regularly returns to The Radio That Almost Was. Way back when, before it was overwhelmed by partisan politics, I worked as a radio talk show host. One of my best gigs was on... READ MORE

Get paid to visit and befriend your peers

By Margaret Foster
Posted on May 09, 2024

When Simy Buckwold, a retiree in New Market, Maryland, visits her Senior Companion clients each week, they both light up. “You arrive and [you can tell] you’re a hero, just by their look and by their smile,” Buckwold said. “It’s such a joy. The experience is mutual because we have built this trust and connection. It’s reciprocal, that’s what I’m finding out.” And... READ MORE

Toby’s enchanting ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By Eddie Applefeld
Posted on April 23, 2024

The current production at Toby’s Dinner Theatre is the family-friendly Beauty and the Beast, based on Disney’s 1991 animated film (which itself was based on an 18th century fairy tale of the same name). Featuring the voices of Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach, the Disney movie made $331 million at the box office and was the first animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for ... READ MORE

How to make yourself a happier person

By Audrey Partington
Posted on April 22, 2024

“Don’t believe everything you think.” According to Baltimorean Betty Cherniak, who sports that advice on a bumper sticker, our thoughts get in the way of our happiness. “Thoughts run our lives 24/7,” Cherniak explained in an interview with the Beacon. “They create our reality, but they are not real. We must learn to use our minds instead of letting our minds use... READ MORE

What’s the matter with these kids? Nada!

By Bob Levey
Posted on April 16, 2024

We oldies certainly do love our childhood heroes — even when those heroes weren’t always so heroic. Frank Sinatra? Hung out with mobsters. Dwight Eisenhower? Might have been an unfaithful husband. Babe Ruth? Never met a bottle of bourbon he didn’t crack open and adore. But I’m still stuck on one idol who never fell (or could fall) off his perch: Walter Johnson. He was... READ MORE