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June 11, 2008:

BEEF WELLINGTON

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is quite late and I am quite tired so I must quite write these here notes in a hurry because my eyelids are heavy, like a gazelle who ate two Beef Wellingtons. Whatever happened to Beef Wellington? Is that the sequel to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Seriously, Beef Wellington was quite a popular dish back in the 70s and I had it several times in various upscale restaurants. It was very yummilicious, but I don’t know that I’ve even seen it on a menu in the last twenty-five years. Well, enough! It’s time to bring back the Beef Wellington, damn it all. There has simply been too much Beef Wellington neglect and frankly the Beef Wellington is either an endangered species or completely extinct. Why am I talking about Beef Wellington? What the HELL has Beef Wellington got to do with the price of herring? Well, if anyone wants to do the research and find out if there are any restaurants serving Beef Wellington in my area, that would be nice. And I promise a trip to the restaurant if the Beef Wellington is found. Speaking of Beef Wellington, yesterday was a day in which things happened. For example, I got up. That happened. I then did some work on Ye Olde Computer, then played through the score of the musical I’m mentoring. I then packaged up a few packages and shipped them out. I then came back home, made some telephonic calls, did more work on Ye Olde Computer, and then, happily, received the first blurb for my new novel. And here it is:

Fans of mysteries, especially West Coast-centric mysteries, rejoice! The irrepressible and irresistible teenage sleuth Adriana Hofstetter is back, with funny-snarky attitude, 40s wardrobe, hippy-dip but caring mom and BFF Billy Feldman intact, and a puzzling new murder to occupy her summer vacation. This time the scene is L.A.’s super mall, The Grove, with Adriana forced to deal with such alien (to her) contemporary concepts as iPods, YouTube and FaceBook to catch the killer of an Apple Store employee. Put away that new iPhone and enjoy.”

Dick Lochte, author of SLEEPING DOG and CROAKED!

Needless to say, I was very pleased. Then a couple of singers arrived and we went over all the group numbers for the musical that we’d be reading through a couple of hours later.
Last night, we did a reading of the musical I’m mentoring. Since we’d made changes to the first act based on what we’d heard at the reading of that, we did that act first. It played better, but it’s still too long and we’ll be finding things to cut during our next go-through of the script. But everyone seemed to enjoy it, and it has two very important elements in place – a strong opening, and a strong act one closer. We then read act two. We had done a whole heap of work on the act and it did play much better, but again, it’s too long, and there are a couple of sequences I’m still not happy with, so we’ll be addressing those soon. We’ll be doing a staged reading next, probably during the first week in August. We had a fun group of people, including several of the actors who appeared in the show when I played the lead in its first reading. Bridget Hanley is always a delight, Mr. Barry Pearl was fun, Alet and Andy Taylor were very good, and the others all had fun with their roles. Most of the score works very well. A few weeks ago I told the author that I felt one of the songs went on too long and that its structure was quite odd and the reason for it’s too long length (the form of the song is the classic AABA – we go through it once – then there are two more A’s and then suddenly, instead of going back to the B and then the final A, we get two MORE A’s and THEN we get the repeat of the B and THEN the final A. Too unwieldy so I’ll be cutting those two extra A’s right out of there. What was interesting is that the author’s son was at the reading – he was the composer on this project, so I didn’t know how he’d react to the sometimes sweeping changes I’ve made to the score – aside from the two numbers that I wrote from scratch, I’ve kept a lot of his tunes, but re-jiggered the harmonics, done clever arrangements, and then changed structure and form – plus adding some of my own music to many of the songs. But he seemed very pleased – either that, or he was just being gracious. The one thing he said to me, interestingly, was that he felt the song I referenced above was too long. I told him I’d already said that to his dad a few weeks ago and that I was in total agreement about it. I also think one of the second act ballads has one A section too many, so I’ll think about cutting that, too. But overall, the hard work has at least resulted in a show that feels more like a musical and has a lot more clarity. We’ve still got work to do, but I’m quite ready to get it on its feet, even with the minimal staging we’ll do for the staged reading.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I must go get my beauty sleep whilst I dream of Beef Wellington.

After the reading was over, we all schmoozed and then Mr. Barry Pearl and I went to Little Tony’s, an Eyetalian jernt in North Hollywood. Now, I have driven by this jernt for over thirty years and have never eaten there. Well, imagine my surprise to find they serve food until one in the morning every day. And I’m happy to say that their food is excellent and yummilicious and I shall now be a Little Tony’s regular. We split a pizza (very excellent) and he had some pasta, too. We had a lot of fun catching up, trading war stories, and there was a lot of laughter and some fun dishing of the dirt.

Today, I should be able to hopefully get a little relaxing time in. I’m having either a late breakfast or an early lunch with Miss Lauren Rubin, and then I have nothing until my post mortem meeting at seven, re the charity event.

Tomorrow morning, we may meet to begin work on cutting the musical I’m mentoring and figuring out what the next pass on the script will be. This weekend I’ll be seeing A Very Brady Musical and I know you’ll all be waiting for the full report on it.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a late breakfast/early lunch, I must do errands, and I must relax and then attend a post mortem meeting. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you dear readers get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we all get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we – and I’ll be waiting to learn where I can have some fershluganah Beef Wellington.

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