Old Music Makes New Entertainment

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You know you’re getting old when what’s playing on “Oldies Radio” are tunes fresh from your 30s and 40s.

In case you hadn’t noticed, what used to be the province of the Beatles, Stones, Seger and Motown Records greats has been “youth”-infused with the best of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the grown-up Michael Jackson and old-school hip-hop.

This is no surprise at all – why, 1980s and even ’90s movies pop up frequently on Turner Classic Movies (much to the dismay of Studio Era diehards who fear their beloved channel is being invaded). What might not seem classic to me may be just so to my sons. And, otherwise, what channel out there would deign to air “Eraserhead” or “Deadly Friend”?

But pop music of the ’60s and ’70s hasn’t gone away on the big screen, judging by the recent box office-friendly biopics on Queen and Elton John. And documentarians have been playing the same old songs as well, judging from a pair of films on hit-makers that the Flint Institute of Arts is showing this month.

Between January 23 and 26 (check FlintArts.org for screening dates and times), the museum’s Friends of Modern Art film series is screening “David Crosby: Remember My Name” and “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”

The hangover of the sex-drugs-and-rock-’n’-roll lifestyle is particularly strong in the Crosby bio, as the gifted but self-destructive Byrds/CS&N/CSN&Y member is beset by nightmarish personal trials that include substance abuse woes, legal tangles and long-term health crises.

“Do you ever wonder why you’re still alive?” the present-day Crosby is asked by an interviewer in the film. His reply: “I have no idea why.”

The Ronstadt film can’t help but be more upbeat, affectionately covering its golden-voiced subject from her emergence in the late ’60s folk rock scene to ’70s pop superstardom and beyond. (Do you know that Ronstadt’s mother was raised in the Flint area?) Linda’s still alive and kicking, too.

Despite all the music, the highlight of the FIA’s January slate may be on January 10-12, with a booking of “Parasite.” The smart, blackly-comic thriller from South Korea won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival and figures to garner Oscar talk. It’s about an unambitious man who stumbles upon a potentially lucrative scheme: pose as an English tutor for a teenager from an affluent Korean family.

Also coming soon to the museum: “Cold Case Hammarskjöld” (January 3-5), a Danish/Swedish look into the mysterious 1961 death of United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld; “Cyrano, My Love” (January 17-19), about how Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” came to be; and “The Nightingale” (January 31-February 2), a drama from Australia.

You’ll have to excuse me, as I must return to my ’60s and ’70s channels on satellite radio. (Sorry, Johnny Burke!)

 

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