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January 25, 2008:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, another week has flown by, like a gazelle eating rock candy. Now wait just a darned minute – does anyone still eat rock candy? Does anyone still wear a hat? Do they still make rock candy? I haven’t thought about rock candy in probably forty years. As a child, I used to find it quite odd, although that didn’t stop me from eating it. Okay, all you hainsies/kimlets, all you candy experts, let’s have the skinny and the low-down on rock candy or, at the very least, let’s have the fat and the high-up. In any case, this week has flown by, like a gazelle in a corset. I gotta tell you. Has it occurred to anyone that January is almost over? Next week is the final week of January and then it will be February and February is a short month, so before we know it it will be March. Speaking of March, yesterday was a day that couldn’t make up its mind. I woke up early. The sun was out and parts of the sky were blue. A few moments later the sky was completely gray. A little while later, the sun was out and the sky was blue. An hour later the sky was gray, and then it began drizzling. Once it went to the drizzle place, it rained pretty steadily right through the evening, including some pretty heavy downpours. My early lunch meeting with Mr. Kevin Spirtas was pushed to two=thirty, so I wrote right up until I left, doing about six pages. I also spent a little time at the piano revamping and rethinking a second act song from the musical I’m mentoring. I’ve come up with a new take on it musically, just trying to make it different than the other stuff in the show, plus trying to focus the lyric. I very much like the tune I’ve come up with and it has a nice vamp at the top. I do love vamps. I then had a very productive and fun lunch with Mr. Kevin Spirtas, and we discussed both two-person shows we’re doing, and I also discussed another long=term project I’m interested in pursuing. After lunch, I came back home, wrote another page-and-a-half, and started a new chapter. I also did some more work at the piano and by the time I finished it was already eight o’clock, so I’d say I put in a very good day’s work. After that, I made some soup and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture entitled A Streetcar Named Desire, a film of Tennessee Williams’ play, directed by Elia Kazan, starring Miss Vivien Leigh, Mr. Marlon Brando, Miss Kim Hunter, and Mr. Karl Malden. I will shamefully admit that I’d never seen the film before. I believe I’ve started to watch it about twelve times, and just never gotten past the first ten minutes. I’ve also seen several of the famous scenes over the years. The first thing I will say is that the Alex North score is a work of genius. I really liked the film, but didn’t love it as much as I thought it would. I don’t know why, really, but there were times I just tired of its floridness. However, Miss Leigh is wonderful, Brando is terrific, as are Kim Hunter and Mr. Malden. Kazan’s direction is terrific, except for the echoing soundtrack on certain lines, which I found unnecessary. The transfer of the director’s edition is very nice. The DVD transfer is four minutes longer than the original theatrical cut because they found the trims that the Legion of Decency insisted Warners make. While it’s nice to see them and have them back in the film, when Mr. Kazan saw them back in all those years later he said, “It really doesn’t matter does it? You get it without them.” And he’s right. The one trim put back in and restored with its original music cue that absolutely is dynamite is Kim Hunter’s coming back downstairs after Brando’s famous “Stelllllllllla.” It’s just not the same scene in the cut and rescored version. There is a whole second disc of extras, but sadly they are produced and directed by the banal and trite Laurent Bouzereau. When you have Karl Malden and Kim Hunter, and interviews with Kazan, why do we have to have Richard Schickel pontificating in his oily way? And much as I like Rudy Behlmer, really, what is he doing in these extras. But Mr. Bouzereau is never content to let people just talk – he just keeps throwing in endless and meaningless shots of theater programs (if someone says “Irene Selznick” it MUST be followed by a shot of the program and her name), the same stills over and over with awful motion control panning and turning, scenes from the film, and wall-to-wall music not from the soundtrack but from the rerecording done by Varese Sarabande (and not their finest hour). However, knowing how Warners loves to throw money at these things, I’m sure Varese made some good bucks, so that’s nice. Mr. Bouzereau doesn’t do these things cheaply, even though it looks like he does. There is some nice, interesting information in the supplements, I just find getting to them and trying to concentrate is very difficult, given the barrage of visual ephemera that Mr. Bouzereau keeps hurling our way.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I must find out if they still make rock candy and if so, where I can get it.

It’s still raining here in the City of Studio – right now it’s just a trickle, but five minutes ago it was very heavy.

Today, I shall be writing all the livelong day, and I shall also be taking possession of a new dishwasher, as the current dishwasher has been broken for some time. Trying to get this replaced has been a three month journey, and I wasn’t all that happy about having to wait that long. The Handy Man will be here tomorrow to install it.

This evening I shall be going to see Otto Preminger’s film of Hurry Sundown at the American Cinematheque. I’ll probably try to dine at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle prior to the film, but if it’s empty in there and they won’t give me a booth (their usual policy, for some stupid, idiotic, ignorant reason) then I shall just toddle off and dine elsewhere. I’ve never seen Hurry Sundown, so I’m looking forward to it.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, write, do errands, dine, and see a motion picture. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/video player? I’ll start – CD, my new professionally cleaned-up LP transfers of Agatha and Evening Primrose, done for me as a favor by my mastering engineer. They both sound faboo. An interesting thing about the Primrose LP is that every copy has a problem on the song When – the tape that was used to make the LP slipped on one section and you can hear it clearly and you miss one or two words of the lyric. Well, I sent the mastering guy my DVD-R of the TV show, and somehow he performed the most marvelous magic and got that one tiny one second hiccup fixed and you can barely hear what he did – very skillful. I’ll be sending a copy to Mr. Sondheim. DVD, next up, This Sporting Life. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we find out the truth about rock candy.

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