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June 24, 2008:

PROCRASTINATING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am procrastinating. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I, BK, am procrastinating. Not anticrastinating, mind you, no, I am procrastinating, which means I am all for crastinating, if you get my meaning and I know you do. It’s a little warm in the home environment, but I just don’t want to turn on the air conditioning right now, because the cold air blows right where I sit at Ye Olde Computer and I don’t really care for air conditioning all that much – it sort of wreaks havoc with my throat and sinuses. The warmness has made me lethargic and here I sit like so much fish, procrastinating. But, now I’m in the swing of things, so onward to glory I go. Oh, I guess I’ll turn on the air conditioner for five minutes. Now there’s a cold wind blowin’ and, as you know, the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. Speaking of the wind, yesterday was a very busy day, and a fun one, albeit intensely so. I got up very early, shaved and showered, and then headed over to rehearse the Kevin Spirtas/Sean McDermott show. The goal was to get all the blocking roughed out and to smooth out the patter, a lofty goal to complete in about six hours. But, complete it we did. I love working on my feet this way, creating as you go. We’d already staged the opening number, so we went on from there. A lot of the work is just the basics: Just figuring out who stands where during the patter, when we use the mic stands, when we use stools, moving those things in and out of the action, and making sure everything is completely fluid. But there were about four numbers for which I had to do Kimmelography, which is the most fun for me, although scary because I just do it as I go, after getting a central idea from listening to the arrangement and the boys singing. I was especially pleased with the way the second act opener came out – my favorite sort of number to stage – very tight, economical, with easy but good-looking moves, which look really good on the guys. And the guys have good ideas, too, so it’s a real collaboration. And sometimes I’ll have a really good idea but one I can’t figure out exactly how to execute, but between the three of us we figure it out. I cut a bit of the patter, focused some, and completely redid a couple of patter things that weren’t working at all. I think the structure is pretty good, although I won’t really know that until we really get a run in, which I’m hoping will be tomorrow night, rough as it may be. On our one and only twenty minute break, we brought in some sandwiches – truly one of the worst sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, accompanied by a nothing salad. It was small, so I just ate it for the energy value. All in all, it was a really good first rehearsal day.

After rehearsal, I got some Pad Thai and then sat on my couch like so much fish. I decided to watch a motion picture I’d TIVOd entitled The Best Man, a film of Franklin Schaffner, from the play and screenplay of Gore Vidal. I’d never seen the film before, other than a few short bits, so it was nice to finally catch up with it. Well, I just really liked it a lot. Beautifully made, with a great company of players, and writing that was funny, pointed, and filled with truth. Henry Fonda is at his best here, just a wonderfully understated but honest performance. Lee Tracy, the only one from the Broadway show to repeat his performance, is just terrific. Cliff Robertson is so good that you just want to kill him. Margaret Leighton does wonders with her brief scenes, and Edie Adams is adorable as Mr. Robertson’s wife. Nothing’s really dated about the film – what was true then is true now, especially about the depths to which candidates will sink to discredit their opponents. The film was all shot on location, most of it at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, USA, the same hotel where just a couple of years later Robert Kennedy would be assassinated. The film really only has one flaw and it’s a minor one – the score by Mort Lindsay, who was at that time one of Judy Garland’s conductors, and who would soon go on to be the bandleader on the Merv Griffin Show. The film could have used a real film composer – Mr. Lindsay’s music is just too blatant and doesn’t really do anything for the film at all. But I do hold a special place in my heart for Mr. Lindsay. In 1972 or so, I was on the Merv Griffin Show, and Mr. Lindsay was the first person to ever orchestrate a song of mine, which I got to sing with his band – holy smokes! I have an LP recording of it (taken off the air) somewhere, and I guess I should transfer that one of these days. Why this film isn’t on DVD is a head-scratcher, especially with an election coming up, it would seem a no-brainer. Of course, when the people putting out DVDs have no brains, these no-brainers don’t happen.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I mustn’t procrastinate on account of I have a busy day tomorrow and must get my beauty sleep.

Today, I must attend to some errands early in the morning, then I’m having lunch with my old pal, Mr. Gordon Hunt, over at the California Pizza Kitchen. After that, there’ll be some more errands, then an evening rehearsal with the boys. We’ll be going over everything from yesterday, tightening, getting the staging to be in their bones, and just working it as much as we can.

Tomorrow, more errands and meetings, and then another evening rehearsal – our last until just two weeks before this show goes up for the first time, at the end of July. We’ll try to do a complete run through, no matter how rough it is. Then the boys are back in mid-July and we’re flying in their accompanist for the first gig to rehearse for three days here, at which time will do a bunch of run-throughs, including one final one with a few people in to see it. Their first gig is an outdoor one somewhere outside of Manhattan in New York, so I don’t have to worry about the lighting or anything. I won’t be there for it, but they’ll tape it so we can do a post mortem on it, then we’ll go back into rehearsal, fix what needs to be fixed, and then, sometime in the last couple of months this year we’ll be doing a one-night-only videotaping of the show, probably at the El Portal.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do errands, have lunch, do errands, and then have an evening rehearsal. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite political-themed books, plays, and films? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and let’s have no pro or anti crastinating.

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