By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader
Ravinia Festival presents the great Aretha Franklin on Sunday, September 3. The concert begins at 7:30. The Public Gates to the venue open at 5:00 p.m. A few pavilion seats may be available, but there should be ample lawn tickets. Ravinia is located at 200 Ravinia Park Road in Highland Park, IL. Ravinia is an internationally renown- ed, not-for-profit music festival that presents outstanding performances by the world’s greatest artists. It is North America’s oldest musical festival, which is located on a 36-acre park. Aretha’s concert was re-scheduled to September 3 from an earlier June date.
Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight will bring their iconic sounds together in a concert at Ravinia on Friday, September 1. The smooth Smokey Robinson will appear on Friday, September 15. For more information, visit www.ravinia.org.
“Leftovers”—Documentary about hunger among seniors in America
“Making this movie has been one of the most trying, rewarding, frustrating and eye-opening experiences of my life, and it was well worth the journey” – Seth Hancock (director).
Photographer Seth Hancock was ASKED to make a documentary on a subject matter that meant nothing to him – Senior Citizens and Hunger. So he traveled across America to discover why senior citizens are the fastest growing group of people going hungry in America, why we treat senior citizens as second-class citizens, why he never cared about this issue and what can be done to make a difference in the lives of senior citizens in America.
“…There are Americans in this country who are 60 years of age and older who are going hungry, and this is the richest nation on earth…they don’t have the funding to buy the food, buy their medicine, pay their rent and pay their utility bills…they have nothing left over, nothing left over for food…six million seniors going hungry every day is a national disgrace.”
Made with the support of the Meals on Wheels Research Foundation, “Leftovers” is unarguably the most important film you can see this year.
This movie is so gut wrenching, because you just can’t watch it without feeling concerned for the more than 5 million seniors in this country who face food insecurity, or in simple terms–hunger. Even if you don’t have family members that are coming into their older years, you would have to be concerned about a neighbor, a friend, a church member, the guy who runs the corner store. The United States makes it hard for seniors to eat, pay rent or mortgage, manage health care needs, medications, and a number of things that they need to manage to maintain their lives and keep their dignity.
Hancock is good with this documentary; he hits all the right places, and he feels pained when he meets some of the clients in California who rely on these meals daily in order to live. The beginning of the documentary is disturbing, because some of the people on the street believe that seniors might not be eating, because the situation in which they find themselves is one of their own doing. This is simply insane.
The movie opens with an interview with Carla Laemmle, who was born on October 20, 1909, in Chicago. She is known for her work on “Phantom of the Opera” in 1925 and “Dracula” in 1931, in which she spoke the first line of dialogue in a horror film. She also starred in “Frankenstein” in 1931 and “The Mummy” in 1933. She was the niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle. So you would think that she wouldn’t need social services, but she speaks fondly of the meal program and her need for it, in order to eat on a daily basis.
Paul Fillow was another senior who was interviewed, who didn’t have much of anything and talked about how he couldn’t survive without the food program. He also surprisingly shared how he sends money whenever he can to an organization that feeds children.
Not every documentary carries a message so strong that America is just wrong when it comes to caring for the elderly and making sure that they are in good shape. “Leftovers” shows all the waste of food on a daily basis, and how more programs should be in place to make sure that food that is still good will get to those in need. This documentary is so compelling and heartbreaking. It is hopeful that someone is watching who can make sure that not only are programs sustained, but that more programs are implemented to help the elderly and those in need. It is noted that many grandparents across the country are caring for grandchildren due to circumstances beyond their control. These children need nutritious food daily, as well.
One of the most powerful and thought-provoking documentaries of the year, “Leftovers” originally screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center and is available on DVD and streaming services.