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August 23, 2014:

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must write these here notes in a hurry for she of the Evil Eye will be here all too soon.  I’ve just been playing on the computer, doing nothing whatsoever of substance.  I did do some things of substance earlier in the day, in fact several things of substance – some would say an overabundance of substance, which, I suppose could be deemed substance abuse.  It’s always nice to do at least one thing of substance every day.  For example, singing a loud, obscure musical theatre song every day would be a lovely thing of substance to do.  Why, I’ve been known to stand on Ventura Blvd. and sing “Nobody Throw Those Bull” from Whoop-Up, to much acclaim.  So, I would like each and every dear reader and lurker to go outside today and sing a very loud, obscure musical theatre song and then come tell us the result.

Yesterday, I did several things of substance.  I got ten hours of blessed sleep.  That was definitely a thing of substance.  I then did some work on the computer, answered e-mails, had telephonic calls, and then it was time for the work session with John Boswell for our Kritzerland show.  It was actually a complete breeze.  What usually ends up taking a lot of time is when I futz with arrangements or we’ve got a bunch of put-togethers.  But we only have one put-together in this show and no real arrangement stuff, so that was good.  We played through what we needed to play through, did the put-together, and figured out a couple of intros and outros and then we were done.

That was followed by a rehearsal with Juliana Hansen and her musical director, A.J. Robb.  We ran the whole act, and it went very well.  I did make a few patter adjustments and we’ve added one short little number.  The act is built to really let her personality shine through and it really does.  I gave a couple of tiny notes and that was that.

Then I had to mosey on over to Hugo’s for a little early dinner meeting.  I had my beloved pasta papa and a teeny-tiny Caesar salad, both yummilicious.  I may as well spill the beans about what project the meeting was regarding.

After seeing several “youth” productions of musicals that were horribly done and where the kids really didn’t learn anything, I began thinking about perhaps doing a really good version of that model.  The motives seem to be all screwy in these youth productions.  The parents pay a not insubstantial sum for their kid to be in a show.  That’s okay.  But they cast about fifty kids, maybe more, which, as you might imagine, brings in a lot of dough.  They then have people direct and stage the shows who have no business doing such a thing.  The work usually consists of herding the kids on and off the stage.  Well, no.  One production I saw was especially egregious in the staging and what the kids were left to do, and I was later told the “director” literally did nothing but play on his cell phone at every rehearsal.  So, it’s more like baby-sitting than actually trying to give talented kids a really good learning experience.

So, several months ago meetings took place with a local theater here in the San Fernando Valley, a very nice, small ninety-nine-seat space.  I chose a show that I thought would work really well with kids, we figured out a budget, and what the charge would be for the kids to attend what is going to be an eight-week musical theatre camp beginning in late June of 2015.  We came up with a figure that will cover our budget completely, but we’re also going to reach out to local businesses about sponsoring some kids who may not be able to afford the fee, plus we’re also going to try and get one main sponsor to put in a nice monetary cushion for us – all of which is possible, I think.  I’ll be running the show, along with Kay Cole.  We’ll do all kinds of classes and give every kid the chance to get up and work out stuff, and I’ll also bring in some heavy-hitter master class folks – we’ve budgeted in a stipend for that and I know of at least three well know people who would love to join us and do it.  Then we’ll cast the show, rehearse for four weeks (we want this to be a very professional experience for the kids), and play eight performances in two weeks.  Still in discussion is whether we’ll double cast some of the bigger roles.  We shall see.  I think several of the Kritzerland kids will be doing it, so that will be fun.  The camp will be five days a week, maybe four to six hours a day until rehearsals begin, then the hours will be slightly longer.  We’re all very excited about this and I just want to show that these things can be all about the right things and that kids can really have a great learning and performing experience.  It will be under the aegis of the Kritzerland name, but the theater is the Group Repertory Theatre and we’re partnering with them for what we hope will turn into a yearly thing, with some other events that could happen outside of the summer camp.  I’ll keep you posted as we progress.

When I got home, I did some more work on the computer, then decided to do a jog, which I did.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched Out of the Past, a classic film noir of the Golden Age of Noir, starring Mr. Robert Mitchum, Miss Jane Greer and Mr. Kirk Douglas, brilliantly directed by the great Jacques Tourneur.  The film has a terrific script by Geoffrey Homes (from his novel, Build My Gallows High), great photography, and top performances.  It’s one of Mitchum’s best, Jane Greer is one of the great femme fatales in all of noir, and Kirk is his usual excellent self.  Much of it is shot on location, too, which adds quite a lot.  It moves along at a steady clip and if you’ve never seen it, it comes highly recommended by the likes of me.  The transfer on the new Warner Archives Blu-ray is great.

Today, I shall be up early, I shall do at least a two-mile jog but maybe go for three.  Then I’ll do some stuff and then I have a one o’clock lunch.  After that, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I have a little work to do and then I’m relaxing.

Tomorrow is an all ME day – just relaxing and getting ready for an intensely busy next three weeks in which I think there will not be one day off.  Next week involves every day work sessions with Sandy Bainum, several meetings and meals, a birthday party thing on Friday night, and then we have two long days in the recording studio.  And directly after Sunday’s session I mosey on over to the Hollywood Bowl to see a concert.  And then we’re right into the Kritzerland rehearsal week.  Whew!

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora and the Monkey for today is the birthday of our very own beloved dear reader TCB.  So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own beloved dear reader TCB.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN BELOVED TCB!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a jog, do stuff, have a lunch, hopefully pick up packages, do some work and then relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, after which I shall arise and have a day with lots of substance.

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