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November 8, 2008:

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the day off was just what the doctor ordered. I feel relaxed and the windmills of my mind are clear and ready for the busy weeks ahead or, at the very least, the busy weeks aknee. The doctor also ordered a corned beef on rye and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda. Speaking of a cream soda, yesterday was just what I wanted it to be. I got up early, went and did the annoying errand, which wasn’t all that annoying and went quickly, I gassed up the motor car, then came home and did the long jog, which was longer than usual by a half-mile. I then proceeded to do nothing whatsoever. I listened to some CDs, I soaked my aching feet in the Jacuzzi, and then I ate some eggs on an English muffin, which was just what the doctor ordered, even though he then changed his mind and got the corned beef instead. I had a couple of telephonic conversations, and answered a few e-mails. My plane reservation was finally made – I’ll be coming to New York, New York on November 23rd and will return to LA on December 3rd. Now all they have to do is find me a place to stay. We finally cast the lead role in the Turkey Lurkey Time number – you’d be shocked how many people couldn’t do it. We went with a relative newcomer who is apparently amazing and very Donna McKechnie-like. I then sat on my couch like so much fish and dove back into my wonderful Jacques Demy box set.

Yesterday, I watched three count them three more Jacques Demy films on DVD. The first Jacques Demy film on DVD was entitled Parking, which was Demy’s retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, with Hades being a secret level of a parking garage. In Demy’s version, Orpheus is a rock singer and Eurydice is his wife and an artist. I’d never seen or heard of the film. I only know that Mr. Demy has received one of the great bum raps of all time for all his films made after The Pied Piper (and frankly, he received a bum rap on that and Young Girls Of Rochefort, too). If you read the critics or the “reviewers” on the imdb you just hear repeatedly how Demy had lost it in the late 70s and all through the 80s. I got news for you – it wasn’t Demy who’d lost it – it was the times and the audience. So these critically reviled films, which reviled audiences as well, have actually aged well and are well worth watching and are not the dogs they’re supposed to be. Parking is a beautifully directed film and I was quite taken with it. It has a beautiful score by Michel Legrand, the design of the film is very interesting, and the cast is terrific, and even features the great Jean Marais, who played Orpheus in Jean Cocteau’s version. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s very enjoyable and does not deserve the rep it has. The transfer is fine, as is the sound. I then watched the second Jacques Demy film on DVD, entitled Lady Oscar, a film produced by the Japanese. Of all Demy’s films, this one seems to be the one that’s hated most, so I was very curious to finally see it. Well, what do you know – it’s not a stinkeroo at all – it’s a beautifully made period picture, very interesting, wonderful Demy touches, and again, a gorgeous Legrand score. Most of Demy’s films clock in under ninety-five minutes – Lady Oscar clocks in at just under two hours, but it tells a much more varied story. It’s also, I think, the only film for which Demy did not contribute to the screenplay, which is, I gather, based on some sort of anime or something like that. All the actors were unknown to me, but the leading lady is quite fetching. Transfer is very nice.

I then took a break and went to Gelson’s and got a couple of their yummilicious chicken egg rolls. I was a teeny bit worried about their caloric value and their fat gram value, but some quick checking on the Internet assuaged my fears – chicken egg rolls are pretty good, calorie-wise, about two hundred per roll, and only four grams of fat per egg roll. Since I’d only had the eggs and English muffin, I was still way under what I’m trying to eat, calorie-wise. So, I also made another English muffin with jam, and had a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich for dessert. I think all of that added up to about 1400 calories, which is fine.

I then watched the third Jacques Demy motion picture, which was entitled Three Seats for the 26th. It’s really the oddest of all Demy’s films (it was his final film – he died not long after). I’d seen it once before, on the old Z Channel, I think. It stars Yves Montand playing someone named Yves Montand, who’s doing a new show, which revolves around episodes in his life. Since those episodes involve Edith Piaf and Simone Signoret, one can assume that the actor and the character are at least somewhat based in reality. But then there’s the fictional plot of him trying to find a woman of the night that he was in love with twenty-two years prior. It gets somewhat complicated after that, but there’s a lot to enjoy, including a whole slew of wonderful musical numbers, most by Legrand. The opening number, where the press meets Montand, is terrific. Demy has a really good choreographer here, Michael Peters, who was the co-choreographer on Dreamgirls with Michael Bennett, and who also choreographed the Michael Jackson videos, Beat It and Thriller. Montand is charming, as is Mathilda May as a fan and then co-star of his show (she takes over when the leading lady leaves). The film takes a very weird turn at the end which involves incest (the characters don’t find this out until afterwards), and then it just sort of ends enigmatically but on an up note. The film looks great in scope, and Demy’s usual team (some of whom hadn’t done the previous few films) is back – cameraman Jean Penzer, set designer Bernard Evein, and others. Again, this film was reviled by all and like Lady Oscar and Parking, never had a US release. One wonders where all these pundits saw these films. I’m looking forward to the rest of the set, and there’s lots left that I’ve never seen.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Today, I shall do the long jog, do some Nudie Musical work, some Bacharach benefit work, and then this evening I’ll be attending the opening night of Silk Stockings at Musical Theatre West in Long Beach. I’ll probably get down there early, pick up the tickets, and then sup. I will, of course, have a full report for you upon my return.

Tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’m doing. Monday, I’ve got a lunch appointment, and then I’m seeing The Most Happy Fella at the Musical Theatre Guild at the Alex Theater. Neighbor Carol Kline is in the show, and I know a few others, as well.

Monday, we’re hoping that the new Kritzerland CDs will be in by three, and if they are, then I’ll be able to ship out most of them by the end of the day, including the big orders. Tuesday, I’ll finish shipping, and the rest of the week is a lot of telephonic calls, meetings, and meals, almost one after another. I suspect that’s the way it’s going to be until I leave for New York, New York.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the long jog, write, sup, and attend an opening night. Today’s topic of discussion: If you could take the haineshisway.com Time Machineā„¢ back in time and attend any movie premiere ever, what would it be and why? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, because, after all, that’s just what the doctor ordered.

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