Filmmakers Tom Palazzolo, Jeff Kreines, and Bernie Caputo attend the annual Chicago Senior Citizens Picnic hosted by the Democratic Party. Shot in the style of direct cinema, they spend the afternoon in a Chicago park following the seniors as they have a musical revue, hula dance, listen to speeches, play organized games and generally seem to have an all around fabulous time.
0:17Copy video clip URL An elderly female humorously engages the camera man, asking him first to guess her age. She indicates “hula girls” elsewhere in the picnic, and states that she is interested in dancing herself. She walks away, drinks in hand.
1:18Copy video clip URL Title credits. Park benches gradually fill up with senior citizens, who are talking animatedly.
1:34Copy video clip URL Well dressed women are interviewed; one asks not to have her “picture taken”. Another states that she hopes it will not rain.
1:48Copy video clip URL Inaudible dialogue. A man wearing a “senior power” badge interacts with another, younger man. A row of well dressed women exchange handbags and accessories.
1:58Copy video clip URL Another woman mock-threatens to “go and break your [the camera man] camera” if she is filmed further, then breaks into a smile and wink.
2:04Copy video clip URL A middle aged man in a blue shirt hands out raffle tickets, explaining repeatedly the difference between group and individual tickets. An unseen younger woman assists a picnic attendee with his raffle ticket when he admits that he does not know where to put it. The middle aged man continues to assist elderly women, eventually (and good-naturedly) remarking to his coworkers, “You guys are gonna be this old one day”.
3:33Copy video clip URL The man in the blue shirt explains the different types of raffle and prize-winning tickets.
3:39Copy video clip URL A fortune teller flips playing cards as two women watch and a line gathers behind them; she predicts both theft and “riches through stock” in her future.
4:34Copy video clip URL An MC announces that food is ready to be served to ticket-holders, qualifying, “no tick-y, no hot dog”.
4:44Copy video clip URL As the announcement continues hot dogs are laid on the grill and a food service area is set up in the park.
5:00Copy video clip URL A man is interviewed, then seems to forget that he is in front of a camera. He repeatedly asks “which newspaper” until the answer (“The Tribune”). He affectionately refers to The Tribune as “my paper”.
5:28Copy video clip URL Volunteers hand out hot dogs and briefly break into dance.
6:03Copy video clip URL A surprise guest, Illinois senator Ben Palmer, is announced and called up to speak. The senator discusses various senior citizen facilities in the Twelfth District (his and their district) of Chicago. He thanks the seniors in front of him for their qualitative and physical contributions to the city and the country itself, and emphasizes the importance of their political participation, “the concern you are showing in government”.
8:03Copy video clip URL A middle aged man interviews various seniors about facilities such as police protection and the cashing of checks.
8:15Copy video clip URL A younger woman extols the value of the day’s yoga program (part of a larger wellbeing service), which stimulates good mental health without the use of alcohol or prescribed medication (these are described as “a crutch”).
8:55Copy video clip URL At a music revue event, one woman announces her request, “to sing ‘Hello Dolly'”, and then commences to do so. A montage of men and women dancing, celebrating, entering the picnic, and speaking together is over-layed.
10:20Copy video clip URL The man in the blue shirt hands out individual plates for a group game, joking “whoever wins takes me home with them”. Women throw their paper plates across a field like frisbees, and stand by their plates wherever they fall.
11:59Copy video clip URL The winner’s plate is marked ‘First Prize’ with a pen; she states ruefully, “the first time I ever won anything”. She brings her plate to the covered main stage as an announcer begins organising a “shoe kicking contest”. The first, second, and third place winners are lined on the stage and their names are taken down by a volunteer.
13:06Copy video clip URL Women engage in a practice shoe-kicking contest, kicking their shoes from a starting line across a field. They exclaim as the game progresses, noting the Chicago wind catching the occasional shoe in its draft.
13:41Copy video clip URL “A few minutes of entertainment”, a group of hula dancers, are announced and brought onstage. The group is not professional, and entirely comprised of senior citizens. A large audience gathers around the stage to watch the performance, which is not immediately in view.
14:46Copy video clip URL The hula dancers are gathered together for a photograph, offstage, and post-performance.
14:55Copy video clip URL Further scenes from the hula performance.
15:27Copy video clip URL The raffle prizewinner is drawn onstage, their name, address (in a senior center) and age are announced. The prize, a large, red pillow, is awarded.
16:11Copy video clip URL The raffle winner is interviewed, pillow under his arm. “I don’t know how I won this prize […] first time I won anything in my life.”
16:44Copy video clip URL A man sings while a woman plays both the kazoo and the guitar at the front of the stage.
17:13Copy video clip URL A man with a violin is brought to the microphone to play in front of a gathered audience. Guitar and accordion can be heard faintly in the background. It is over-layed with footage of the picnic: walking, sitting, holding small handicrafts, eating, and dancing. The violin player concludes to applause.
19:13Copy video clip URL The original singer continues to sing and play, “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”. Footage of couples, further musicians, and single attendees at the picnic is over-layed as the crowd is invited to sing along.
20:13Copy video clip URL The singer plays kazoo and guitar alongside a group of school-age children onstage, who sing, dance, and clap along to “Merrily We Roll Along”. Footage of seniors stepping onto and sitting in school buses (presumably bringing them back to their respective homes) over-lays this. The bus pulls out of the parking lot.
20:54Copy video clip URL End Credits.