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January 4, 2008:

ALL IS WELL IN NOTESVILLE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, You see what I did there? What I did there was just kill twenty minutes staring at this here blank page. I just stared at it like so much fish, mesmerized by its blinding whiteness. I tried to picture words on the page, and yet I could not, since there were no words on the page. I think this is what comes from writing all day, and then having to write these here notes from scratch. If one can write the notes from scratch, can one also write the notes from itch? In any case, thank goodness there are now some words on the page and all is well in Notesville. One day, instead of words perhaps I’ll write these here notes with various and sundried symbols and the first person who figures out the meaning will get a sparkling prize. Wouldn’t that be interesting? For example, the first sentence could read thusly:

@*)) %=}{} [#!!> >>/^ &(—-| \\||.

I like this idea. The notes would have symbols and hence be symbolic. Now, how many of you have figured out the meaning of the first sentence? SPOILER ALERT – if you don’t want to know, don’t look at the answer. And the answer is: Sitting here like so much fish. What the HELL am I going on about? Don’t I have some words to write? Speaking of words, yesterday was a day filled with words. There were words everywhere. I had a nice night’s sleep with some very odd dreams, then I got up. After about an hour, I began writing, ultimately doing another seven pages. I’m actually thinking that muse Margaret will get her first forty or fifty pages in a week, at least she will if I keep up this pace. At two-thirty, Miss Juliana Hansen came over and we went to the California Pizza Kitchen and had a late lunch. Even at that hour, the place was jammed with young teenagers, parents with young children, and I continue to be amazed how an upscale place like this can be, in essence, the Bob’s Big Boy of Studio City. And these little fifteen-year-olds with their parents’ credit cards, eating huge lunches – this place is not cheap. In any case, it was fun catching up with Juliana. We talked of cabbages and kings, and other things. She’s going into a new off-Broadway musical when she returns to New York. The food was, as always, excellent. I then came home, did some futzing with what I’d written earlier, and then I went to the mail place, where I was happy to see that one of the errant and truant packages had arrived. I truly believe the other one has been there since the day it was noted on a slip that I’d received two packages but was only given one. I think they misplaced it or something screwy happened. In any case, I wrote the fellow who sent it and he’s sending out another tomorrow. I then came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, since I’m on an Otto Preminger kick, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled Laura. I always forget just how terrific Laura is, and I always fall under its spell instantly. It’s beautifully written, beautifully directed, and beautifully acted by Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson. The score by David Raksin is also wonderful. The film is very tightly constructed with not a wasted moment – it clocks in right around ninety minutes. The transfer could use some sprucing up – I’ll be curious to see what the 35mm print looks like when I see it at the upcoming Preminger festival. I then took out The Cardinal on DVD, thinking I might at least begin it, but then I saw that there was a feature-length documentary on Preminger on the second disc, so, since I’d only seen that once several years ago, I decided to give that a spin. It certainly is feature-length, thirty minutes longer than Laura. It was made in 1991 and it looks like it was originally shown on Austrian TV and the copyright is held by Otto Preminger Pictures. While it’s perfunctorily shot and edited, at least it’s not like today’s featurettes – it’s just what it is. I could live without the Burgess Meredith on-camera appearances, because there’s no point to them, and they’re really inconsistently used. But there are a plethora of interesting interviews with a lot of people who have since passed on (and a few who amazingly are still with us). It’s not a puff piece by any means, as evidenced by Tom Tryon’s segment, where he basically says Preminger destroyed him on the set of The Cardinal. It’s grand fun to hear reminiscences from Patricia Neal, James Stewart, Don Murray, Mr. Meredith, Ossie Davis, Louis Nizer, George C. Scott, Ken Howard, Saul Bass, Frank Sinatra, and many others. There are some clips throughout, but curiously Exodus, one of Preminger’s biggest successes is only mentioned in passing – just the story of Preminger being the first producer with the guts to give blacklisted Dalton Trumbo a credit for the script. They got clips from everyone else, so I think back then that MGM/UA were the culprits, namely one idiotic individual who is now at Warners – I’m sure they were greedy and wanted more money than anyone else. Fie on them, fie. There’s no mention whatsoever of Porgy and Bess, not a mention, a still, a poster – nothing, and that probably stems from the Gershwin Estate’s hard-nosed position on the film, although they seem to have lightened up on it recently, allowing a handful of showings, including one at the upcoming Preminger fest here in LA. And, for whatever reasons, the last film mentioned is Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. No mention of Skidoo or any of the post Junie Moon films (not that there were a lot of them). In any case, an enjoyable watch. I know the two-disc set of The Cardinal has been replaced by a one-disc set, and I have no idea if this two-hour show is on the one-disc version.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because all is well in Notesville and there are quite a sufficient number of words in this section.

Today, I shall write yet more words and sentences and paragraphs and pages. I may try to see a late afternoon showing of the Coen Brothers film No Country For Old Men, but I’m not sure if they’re allowing union members in on weekends – some theaters do, some don’t. I’m also not sure I WANT to see it in a multiplex. We shall see. I do have some errands to do and some important telephonic calls to make.

The weekend is essentially mine all mine. Oh, I’ll be writing each day, and I may have a meeting on Sunday in the afternoon, but that’s it. I am determined to be adventurous, dining-wise and I’ll try to find somewhere I’ve never eaten before. I really want to broaden my dining horizons.

Next week, in addition to writing every day, I should start having regular meetings and work sessions on the two two-person shows, at least I think that’s the plan. Also, we’re going to do an informal reading of act one of the musical I’m mentoring – I’m going to try and do that within the next week-and-a-half.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, write, do errands, and perhaps see a motion picture and perhaps have a dining adventure. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player, and your DVD/video player? I’ll start – CD, the soundtrack double bill of Klute/All The President’s Men, and the soundtrack to The Lives Of Others. DVD, not sure what will be up next – perhaps The Cardinal. Your turn. And stay tuned because I think we’re going to do an experiment based on a Ron Pulliam suggestion – wherein I will make a list of five films. Everyone will vote on which film they think we all should watch. The film with the most votes will be the one we all watch and then have a film discussion on. If it works, I’m going to make it a monthly feature, as I think it could be wonderfully fun and stimulating, too. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, because, after all, all is well in Notesville.

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