Monday, October 1, 2007

Friday Evening “Accordion Jazz Dance Night” , Milan

So I’m walking on a side street in Milan trying to get to another show and I hear this music almost blaring from somewhere nearby.

It just sounded so unusual for Milan that i just had to follow it. I have found when something seems unusual, it can usually lead to something special.

Anyway, I quickly find a church hosting “Accordion Jazz Night”, The church is packed with senior citizens dancing the early evening away.

Understand, these were not a lot of 70 year olds, these were a lot of 17 year olds trapped in 70 year old bodies.

I mean, i wish i could just say this to you because i will never be able to type or articulate in words what I saw.

Their faces…their joy….their youth

It was people moving past the psychical and living on the emotional.

There was joy, there was fun, there every look, every flirt, every expectation that you could see a a senior prom.

Immediately I was struck by this gentleman in the top image. He wasn’t so much dancing with this woman as he was speed walking, but he was there, he felt it, he was in the moment.

Eventually he came out to the foyer and took a rest right next to me and started talking to another gentleman. I have no idea what they were saying but it was about girls. I’m a guy and i can tell when other guys are talking about girls (no matter what their age).

I had to get to the next show but I was so happy to have stumbled on this this little, tiny slice of life.


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  1. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    hi.. there’s something very kind and gentle about both your photography and your writing. it actually makes me want to be a better person, hah. thanks. love reading it.

  2. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Dude, You rock. Great Post, it reminded me a similar experience I had not with older people but with working class, illegal immigrant (Mexico, Salvador, Honduras etc…)in some dancing club in Jackson Heights. Except I don’t have the talent to to describe the experience as well as you did.

  3. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    You are wonderful. Thank you for this image, captured.

  4. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    “…slice of life…” just lovelly, thank sart, once again you ligth up my day ;)

  5. j

    October 1, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I’m happy you showed it to us.

    I love your fashion shots (who doesn’t?), but I’d love to see this from you, too. Maybe another blog?

  6. Laguna Beach Trad

    October 1, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the Old Man Style shots, Scott! I love the gentleman’s blue crew neck sweater and sport jacket with windowpane pattern. Very nice. Notice how well-groomed and well-dressed the people are in the first photo. The men are so kempt! Sensible haircuts, shirts, and ties. The Italians know how to live. Scott, I think you have caught something rare and dignified in these photos. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    you’re so poetic. Sounds like a beautiful moment.

  8. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    That’s beautiful, thanks for the detour. It’s a funny little insight into your aesthetic philosophy.

    I moved from NYC to Berlin a while ago and I know what you mean about following signs of the unusual. For some reason it’s easier to do in a foreign city, maybe because you feel like you’re there to actively chase down new experiences anyway. And you have no preconceptions about what’s unusual and what’s normal.

  9. Butch

    October 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    This isn’t really about the clothes, is it–though the dress here invites comparison with its probable American counterpart.

    That is, Milanese attention to tailored “grown-up” versus…versus…well, I don’t have to detail it’s opposite, do I?

  10. Elli

    October 1, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    This is a really special post. Thank you.

  11. DeepBlueSea

    October 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Listen to that voice that tells you ‘go there’, ‘take that turn’.
    I’m still learning to do this – to follow my instincts.

    Like you showed with this post, it can be really rewarding.

  12. beandiva

    October 1, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    the photos were great, but thank you especially for the very heartfelt narrative. It makes me want to dance with someone old. No grandparents left, but you have inspired some sweet memories!

  13. Ookoo

    October 1, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Fabulous. Your photos show the stylish dignity of an elderly gent, the classic beauty of an adult woman, or the creativity of a young person on a budget. I love the way you find real people who epitomize style, not just fashion.

  14. stephanie s

    October 1, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    spectacular images and words… this is what i find most compelling in what you do. keep following your instincts, they can’t steer you wrong.

  15. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you, Sart.

    – desertwind

  16. Felicia

    October 1, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    I love his face. His eyes, those eyebrows!
    He’s a real man with a real history. Intelligent.
    The hands!

  17. Candid Cool

    October 1, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    oh wow that’s incredible & beautiful. A gem you’ve found.

  18. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Your pictures and words captures what I envision my old age to be: another chance to be young but with the dignity of having lived and seen–and a dance will always be a dance with flirtations like how 16 year olds experience them..
    Having said that, nothing beats carrying the years in dignity and style with well put together clothing. Even if you’re wearing them while you take a smoke and gossip about the girls at the back of the gym :)
    Effort in carrying ourselves well creates elegance in living– And your story captures that perfectly.

  19. E. Ross

    October 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    this post brought tears to my eyes – not of sadness…but of joy. its so refreshing when you can find the moments in life that are joyful and fun…i feel like we are so rushed that we look past the little moments in life that are what make life beautiful. thanks for sharing scott – thanks for paying attention to the smaller things…i love this blog.

  20. saudade

    October 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Something special indeed. Thank you.

  21. Anonymous

    October 1, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    I’ve never commented before but I always visit. And after reading this post, I just said to my husband for the millionth time, I love the Sartorialist! Thanks.

  22. cruelandpretty

    October 1, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    lovely. thank you for your work.

  23. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Thank you for sharing this pleasant “tiny slice” of your life, it’s very thoughtful of you. Beautiful description, I felt that I was there too. Made me feel warm and fuzzy.

  24. Leah

    October 2, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I think this may be my single favorite post of yours, ever. Thank you.

  25. phoebe

    October 2, 2007 at 1:28 am

    after reading your post and the comments that follow – I want you to know how much this meant to me – it made me smile – and if you can do that then you can do anything – making people smile is what life’s all about!

  26. yvonne

    October 2, 2007 at 1:28 am

    i love the expression on his face.

  27. citizen

    October 2, 2007 at 1:55 am

    He looks very classy – and very alive. Reminds me very much of my grandfather, an equally elegant and exuberant man, who passed away a couple of years ago. Thank you for the beautiful entry.

  28. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 3:06 am

    how wonderful! And beautiful. Thank you for sharing… Reminding us that style and elegance – and the pleasures in life – are not restricted to those under 50.

  29. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Wow. This post made me want to move to a different city, made me almost looking forward to being old, made me want to dress sharper, made me want to pick up some tango lessons…

    Man. Old people. Got to love them! Wonderful!

  30. Charles le brusseler

    October 2, 2007 at 3:46 am

    That is an amazing photo!

  31. Kate

    October 2, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Ah yes, dancing is so wonderful and so underrated in the US. Too bad! Sensual pleasure that can lead to other things – or not. Thanks for the peek at the 17 year olds! K Q:-)

  32. LostInTranslaton

    October 2, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Don’t get me wrong – I do appreciate your photo’s of the fashion crowd, but what originally attracted me (& spreading of the word to anyone that would listen) was your skill in capturing REAL people..

    Please more REAL people.

    A few of us were just discussing how your blog does not have enough of the real people anymore.

    I undestand that one has to make $$$ for a living, so do what you have to do..

  33. LostInTranslaton

    October 2, 2007 at 4:42 am

    Me again – though I do love your series of girls on bikes & anything with Giovanna!

  34. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 5:18 am

    so true and so heart-warming.

  35. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 5:23 am

    Everyone should try social dancing. It will never be a question of age, but rather,a way of life, when you fall in love with it. Its magical!

  36. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 5:25 am

    once again, thank you!:) for actually having changed the way it feels standing in front of my closet every morning. and for this post.

  37. The Sartorialist

    October 2, 2007 at 7:21 am

    For Lost in Translation
    I don’t feel I’m shooting any fewer “real” people but stories like this don’t just happen. I can’t shake a stick and make these people appear.

    For me, part of the fun is the complete chanciness of it. I think the images would lose a lot of soul if i could promise every friday a story like this.

    all i can say is i will always try to find these images i just can’t when i will find them

  38. Nature Nut /JJ Loch

    October 2, 2007 at 7:22 am

    What a beautiful story. :D My grandmother would have been asking to play the piano. :D

    JJ :D

  39. Graziela Oborn

    October 2, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Ahhh, you gave me great joy with this post; you, amongst the fashion world, sometimes so cruel, found yourself enchanted by the older generation; we’ll all get there one day and like them, we’ll be ignored by the society that does not pay any attention to elderly people. I’m from Brazil, and have a grandmother which is 82 years old and goes to this type of events almost daily. She has a 50 year old boyfriend, which she met in one of these things and she is the biggest joy in my life. Not only she makes me laugh about her funny stories of a very harsh past, which she never takes seriously, but she has something so pure about her… it’s like she got that innocence, once lost, back, and I want to reach that age just like them… dancing away!

  40. Stacy

    October 2, 2007 at 8:06 am


    You just captured, in words & photographs, my dream for my husband and I…forty years from now.

    What a wonderful post.

  41. Luis Royal

    October 2, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Mr. Sartorialist,
    That’s what happens when we get to much into fashion, style, design, art, or whatever.
    There’s people around who never heard about it.
    If you’d even try, not to talk about, but to hear about it, every friday you’d see that you’d be much more aware of people and style without any style.
    Try it.

  42. laura

    October 2, 2007 at 8:42 am

    “17 year-olds trapped in 70 year-old bodies” as years pass i notice that this is happening to me too and i feel empathy and lucky as well.

  43. Alice Olive

    October 2, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Great post. Wonderful image and wonderful words. Lovely start to the day!

  44. Asian Models Blogger

    October 2, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Awesome capture!! Your description reminds me of the Japanese movie, Shall We Dance (skip the remake with Richard Gere & Jennifer Lopez).

    Music is the food of love, afterall.

  45. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 9:38 am

    As someone coming close to that age, many thanks for showing life and style isn’t just for the young.

  46. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 9:52 am

    thank you again for sharing your beautiful pic. and the wonderful story behind it. (It’s way beyond wonderful… simply indescribable)
    it’s my birthday today and i feel that i already got a gift of little joy.
    have a great day~

  47. aka scrunchie girl

    October 2, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I used to live in Milan (I’m from Barcelona) and i’ve seen this scene so many times in my way to Duomo, from home, in Paolo Sarpi (aka Chinatown).
    It’s in Corso Garibaldi, right?
    Thanks, u’ve remind me a lot!

  48. Deirdre

    October 2, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Matbe Lost In Translation is confusing this guy with Ray Walston from My Favorite Martian?

    LOL. Great shot.

  49. blair

    October 2, 2007 at 10:48 am

    those pics made my day. thanks sartorialist!

  50. Escapist

    October 2, 2007 at 11:29 am

    I love it when little discoveries like this happen.

    And I love to see that at least somewhere older people have moment when they’re enjoying their life. I never see that here.

  51. Shaina

    October 2, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    dancing brings out the absolute best in people…it’s amazing how freeing it can be, no matter what age you are. so wonderfully intimate, as well.

    wonderful post, sart!

    ps – nice write up in the uniqlo magazine/catalog! i picked it up in the soho store, but it appears to be the london-based version. i was flipping through and noticed a sketch of this semi-familiar face, then went back and realized it was you! congrats!

  52. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    What strikes me most about your photos and your writing is that you treat everyone delicately; with respect and kindness. In this post you’ve uncovered the extraordinary in the everyday and shown that life sparkles and shimmers in the most unexpected ways and places. You inspire me to look for those moments in my daily life.

  53. Sarah B

    October 2, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    This is why I love your blog.

  54. cranberry

    October 2, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Awww, that’s sweet. I love the little insights that you stumble upon and share with us all. Thank you. :)

  55. jill

    October 2, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Beautiful post.
    I really get the feeling of…jazz

    (Song recommended: “Feeling of jazz” by Wynton Marsalis, album ‘The magic hour’)

  56. TANITA

    October 2, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    This is a beautiful “in between” moment. Makes me look forward to the later years.
    Thank you.

  57. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Aww so cute! My grandmother goes out to the senior centers with her friends and dances several nights a week. I LOVE IT! this post really perked up me day. :)

  58. 10012girl

    October 2, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    This anecdote reminded me of the time you stopped going wherever you were going because you were struck by an old man you saw in Le Marais (I think), who’d had a stroke. You had coffee with him instead of going to a show and he told you about his crazy, exciting life- one of my favorite entries. His face left an indelible impression on me. If you revisit him, could you please update us?

  59. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    now I know what to do in my old age.
    Wonderful post –thanks!

  60. Anonymous

    October 2, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    This summer I saw a similar scene in the South of France, we were about to enter the hotel and we noticed that everyone had their eyes shifted left to a cafe nearby who has loud dance music blasting from it. We looked, and there was an old lady dressed in sequins dancing and doing so many moves at once even teenagers won’t dare do! And she was holding her old husband’s hands who was dancing as well. She was adorable!! They both were TOO cute to be true!! Wish I had a camera to show you all, of course I’m not as talented as you Sart ;) This is why we visit ur blog

  61. MacGuffin

    October 3, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Wonderful and inspiring story. And the old fellow looks pretty sharp too boot! Great post.

  62. read

    October 3, 2007 at 3:30 am

    These slices of life are what makes it worth living :) thank-you so much for this truly inspiring & uplifting post.

  63. Anonymous

    October 3, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Wow, this is a wonderful slice of life. I was in Milan some years ago and was taken to a gay dance ahll, where there was ballroom dancing. I was a wonderful experience as the couples-all genders- were having such fun swinging around the dance floor. Couples were from 90 down to 20 years old. It was a most memorable night. Thanks for reminding me of that night.

  64. Anonymous

    October 3, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Before I even read your comments the french phrase “tranche de vie” came to my mind, which means slice of life. You captured it perfectly. Thanks!

  65. Elizabeth

    October 3, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    The care in which you witness (and capture) life is really beautiful. I enjoy your blog so much! Keep up the great work!

  66. Charmaine

    October 3, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    A beautiful post, S! IMHO, true style transcends fads and age and rests on a certain dignity. Whether the outfit is outrageous or classic it works when the wearer has the self-possession to wear it well.

  67. Athena

    October 3, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    You amaze me. I love this. I’m a bit speechless about how wonderful this is.

  68. Anonymous

    October 3, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t know if you’ll ever get this far with all the posts these pic’s and that story have inspired. I just wanted to let you know I have become addicted to this blog. I like most of your pic’s, but these kind of pic’s and that story really take it to another level. It brings back very special memories of the only Italian vacation I went on.

  69. Jessica

    October 3, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    what a loving post.

  70. papersailors

    October 4, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    This entry encapsulates why, though many others are doing the exact same thing (wandering around cities and shooting street fashion), your images are the most successful and captivating. Because you seem to have a general love for human beings, a compassion and empathy that radiates from each and every one of your images. Thank you for celebrating people, their vulnerabilities and their strengths.

  71. Anonymous

    October 4, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    just you in the world makes me feel good

  72. emily

    October 5, 2007 at 2:26 am

    When I see elderly people like that, it makes me excited to grow old.

  73. Ekaterina Bazeva

    October 5, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    …”I was so happy to have stumbled on this this little, tiny slice of life” – great words! We always run somewhere: to the next show, to the work…whatever…and leave moments such this aside, moments that are properly real, and what indeed unconsciously very crutial to our fastspeeding iamveryinahury lifes.

    Catya, Moscow

  74. Alice Larkin

    October 9, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    i loooved this piece. i try to capture moments like these in my photography as well. i love your work.

  75. AnastasiaC

    October 10, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    fantastic post…great shots!!!

  76. Inga B

    October 11, 2007 at 8:27 am

    wow – what a wonderful post!
    It’s early morning and I just had to have my little shot of The Sartorialist before I get started on the day – and there is was, this wonderful post!! – you are a poet as well as a great photographer.
    Thank you for sharing – you made my day and made my heart sing.
    Inga B

  77. Andrew

    October 18, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    I agree with what anonymous said. You have a light touch, but there is something profound in your photography and your passion for the aesthetics of fashion, and humankind.

  78. Chanel Haddad

    October 19, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I check your posts here in New Zealand and enjoy a moment of style each day. I am almost 62 and recognize your description of these people dancing on this evening, supremely unaware of physical time. It has convinced me to start a similar group. When this kind of happiness is available to us, why don’t we all grab it?

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