John Weil is the creator of the Daily Geezer, a weekly newsletter with cool activities for people over 65 in the San Francisco Bay area. The activities are truly unique and off the beaten path.
Here’s a recent example that intrigued me:
Bay seniors have their last chance this summer to pay nothing to see a film in the legendary Top of the Mark Lounge. On Tuesday, September 6, Clint Eastwood’s 1979 “Escape from Alcatraz” will be screened. Wine tasting starts at 5:30. The show goes on at 7:30. And if you can believe it, there is no cover charge and no ticket price. It certainly sounds like a cozier experience than all the free outdoor movies in cold parks and parking lots this summer.
A fifth generation San Franciscan, Weil credits his sister-in-law with encouraging him to start the Daily Geezer. She often calls him with pleas for activities and in an inspired moment suggested he post them.
From the beginning he was determined to make the stories be discoveries, defined as anything that you would not find in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Pink Section. It’s not a hard and fast rule he follows but he tries his best.
Weil’s background is in advertising and writing, including a guidebook to the East Bay. So he’s well trained in making information entertaining. He consciously avoids the heavier topics that most senior sites concentrate on—health, retirement homes, and financial issues.
A good number of his stories come from experience, though he candidly admits to not actually participating in all that he writes about. He’s grateful for Google and social networking where he gets assessments from reliable bloggers. He often comes up with a possible idea, like senior motorcycle clubs, and then hunts it down online.
Weil says the reactions have been terrific, especially in his neighborhood.
“At parties, people buttonhole me and comment happily on something they’ve read on the Geezer, either in my blog, my Facebook page or my online newsletter.”
He chose the title “Geezer” despite some criticism. His idea was to take the sting out of the word, to make it a badge of pride rather than something to be embarrassed about.
“I felt it would help me humorously ease myself into my dotage. Especially when I look around at my contemporaries and see mostly vital, involved, active people.”
Weil’s keen sense of humor is apparent in describing himself:
So what if my sparse hairs are all white? So what if my neck looks like the scarecrow’s in the Wizard of Oz? I am, proudly and irretrievably, a geezer. I made an executive decision to revel in my dotage. It’s not that I’m a kid of 50 again, but the Bay Area is my sandbox and I’m loving digging around in it.
Maybe when he becomes a grandpa, he’ll put in more activities to do with grandchildren!