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June 8, 2008:

DUO-VISION

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I think we’ll do today’s notes in that wonderful motion picture process known as Duo-Vision. Last night, TCM showed a motion picture entitled Wicked Wicked – I saw it when it originally came out back in 1973 in Duo-Vision. This startlingly original process showed the entire film (shot in scope) with split screen. Of course, Brian de Palma has used split screen very effectively (especially in Sisters) and The Silence Of The Lambs has one very effective split screen sequence, maybe the best use of split screen ever. But Wicked Wicked? The ENTIRE movie is split screen, which renders the movie not only incomprehensible, as you never know which side of the screen to look at, but it’s also headache inducing. Add to that one of the most inept movies ever made and you’ve got something really special. And because this here site is known for its bold forays into unknown territories, I think Duo-Vision is perfect for the notes. Of course, as with most of our bold forays, we’ll probably have another site rip it off within the week. So, we now switch to Duo-Vision for the next paragraph.

Well, apparently we don’t – I’d written a brilliant Duo-Vision notes here, and they looked just fine, but because the notes are in such a thin little box, it wouldn’t do side by side notes. Perhaps I’ll post the Duo-Vision paragraph in the posts. But take my word for it – it was startling.

Well, that was a bold foray, wasn’t it? I ask you, where else on all the Internet can you have notes in Duo-Vision? Nowhere, that’s where. Speaking of Duo-Vision, yesterday was quite a day. I got up quite early, did some highlighting, played through the Nudie Musical score, made some telephonic calls and answered e-mails, and then it was time to go to the Wilshire Ebell for a sound check for the charity event. I arrived at two and immediately had a telephonic call from our musical director informing me he’d forgotten to bring the music. Say what? Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, our musical director left his house and forgot to bring the music, so he was in Hollywood. I had no choice but to tell him to come do the sound check without the music, which, of course, was both amateur and madness. Luckily, one of the gals at least had her Wicked songbook with her, so we kind of faked our way through a sound check. We managed to at least get some sort of balance, and then our musical director went home to get the music. I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was indeed at a loss for words. I also noticed that the drummer did not have a full kit there – he had only a snare and kick, no toms, and only two cymbals. I figured he was bringing the rest in the evening. I figured wrong. I went and got a bite to eat, then came back at five. Our musical director was back and I kept asking him why the drummer didn’t have a full kit – he had no answer. Then the drummer arrived (late) and I asked HIM why his full kit wasn’t there. He told me that in rehearsal he’d never played anything but the snare and kick and the two cymbals, which was a bald-faced lie. Perhaps he made the common error of thinking I don’t know music well enough to know the difference. I said to him, “Well, what were all those lovely fills you were playing all over the toms yesterday?” I also pointed out the word “fill” in every piece of music we were doing. Then he just sort of clammed up and said he hadn’t brought them, but that I’d be very happy with his performance and I wouldn’t miss them. He turned out to be wrong on both counts.

The event began at five. Lots of families and friendly folk were in attendance, and there were lots of appetizers and drinks and games for the kiddies. Playing Air Hockey was the now teenage Dakota Fanning. The program was supposed to begin at six, but actually started around six-twenty. And, as always with these sorts of things, they just hadn’t thought the program out well. I always try to tell people that with these types of events you have to think like a writer and you have to both know and have structure. When you don’t have structure, the result is what happened last evening – i.e, too much talking and speechifying before the entertainment finally goes on (we were last on the program). By that time, the audience has basically had it and, in fact, a good half of the audience had bailed from the room by the time the gals went on. What they should have done is simple: Start with introductory remarks. Then TEASE the entertainment and say that the audience is going to be in for a real treat – two of the original LA cast of Wicked will be doing songs from the show. Show their ten-minute film about the charity. TEASE the upcoming entertainment again, then give out the first of three awards, with the presentation and then remarks of person one. Then, do the seventeen-minute entertainment. The audience is then on a real high, and then you give out the two final awards presentations, THEN you end with the raffle. But instead, we got introductory remarks, the film, all three awards presentations, the raffle, thank you acknowledgments, and finally the entertainment. The girls did great and the half of the audience who stayed loved them and the selections. The drummer, sadly, was completely terrible and was so off on Popular I didn’t really know if Emily would get through it (she didn’t either, but she’s just so good she plowed forth and saved it). It almost seemed as if he couldn’t read music, that’s how bad his playing was. I mean, why did we have a two-hour rehearsal on Friday? And yes, his not bringing the full kit was amateursville – he couldn’t do any of the fills, and there was no excitement to the charts at all. After the show, I was given the real reason we didn’t have the full kit: He had another gig and he didn’t want to have to break down the full kit. This person is apparently very well thought of, but I can only say he will never be working for me again, and if I could withhold his pay, I would. I have to say, we’re not paying budget rates – I never do with the musicians. They were getting what the house musicians at the Ahmanson and the Pantages get for playing a show, plus rehearsal pay. For that, I expect professionalism and my money’s worth. I was so annoyed about it, that I told our musical director that I wanted to send this guy an e-mail voicing my displeasure. He thinks I shouldn’t, that he probably knows he screwed up. I think he needs to know that I know he screwed up and that I find that sort of thing very poor.

After the program, a huge buffet supper was served. There were food tables in several different locations, each with different food types on them. I sampled the Eyetalian table – very good penne pasta, and excellent Caesar salad. The girls got many compliments. In addition to Miss Fanning, the only other real celebrity I saw was Mr. Val Kilmer, who was one of the awards presenters. All in all, I suspect it was a very successful event and everyone seemed very happy. This coming Wednesday, they’re having a post mortem meeting that I wasn’t going to attend, but I think I will, just to voice my opinion on the program, so that next year they may want to rethink the structure of it.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because this section is becoming the Gone With The Wind of sections.

Today, I shall be finishing the last of the stage direction highlighting, then I’ll be going to the closing performance of The Brain From Planet X. I haven’t heard anything about a cast party, so maybe they’re waiting to do one for both us and Rabbit Hole, which closes next week. In any case, I’ll be coming home directly after the show.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up bright and early getting everything ready for the reading of The First Nudie Musical. I have to buy a bunch of bottled waters (luckily Staples has very cheap prices on bottled waters in bulk), and, most importantly, get the room set up, which is going to take a bit of time to configure. Some of the cast are coming at five to go over the group numbers.

Tuesday, we do the reading of the musical I’m mentoring, which I’m also looking forward to. I’ll probably leave the room set up the same.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, highlight, attend a closing performance, and try to get some relaxation in before a very busy week begins. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, and let’s have some Duo-Vision posts, too.

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