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November 12, 2008:

RHAPSODY IN BLUE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week is already flying by, like a gazelle playing the Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin. I personally am playing the Rhapsody In Green by Herman Phlit – one of my favorite pieces, written for piano and banjo. Mr. Phlit was known for his many-hued rhapsodies – in addition to Rhapsody In Green, he wrote Rhapsody In Beige, Rhapsody In Magenta, and his masterpiece, Rhapsody In Burnt Umber for prepared piano played by gloved hands and bass clarinet. Mr. Phlit never joined ASCAP because he didn’t wear a cap and didn’t think it right that an organization have “cap” as part of their name. He tried to join BMI but found there was another member named Herman Phlit, which was unacceptable to him. He then started his own publishing organization, ASNOCAPIBM. He was the only member. Mr. Phlit died in 1993 at the age of 107. The day prior to his death, he had completed a new piece, Etude in C# minor and C major at the same time, for string quartet, electrical outlet, and piccolo. Six months later his final work was presented, but ended in tragedy when the man playing the electrical outlet (Dr. Samuel Isaac Cube) was inadvertently electrocuted. What the HELL am I talking about? Have I just had a flight of fancy? Have I just gone off the deep end? Where was I? Oh, yes, this week is flying by like a gazelle playing the Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin, as opposed to the Rhapsody In Blue by Ira Plant. Speaking of Ira Plant, yesterday was a very busy day in which I did many things that needed doing. I got up early because there were men trimming trees outside the home environment. I then did the long jog, then did some errands and whatnot, and then, at long last, bought some proper running shoes, and a cell phone charger for the car (not in the same store). I then had a craving for Dino’s Pizza, and since I’d done a very brisk jog, I went with a friend and we shared a medium pizza with eight slices – four apiece. While that sounds like a lot, the slices at Dino’s are not very big, maybe half of what a NY slice is and more like the small California Pizza Kitchen slices. That said, Dino’s now has my favorite pizza in all of LA – it comes closest to the kind of pizza I had as a kid and that I grew up loving. We were the only ones in the whole jernt. After pizza, I came back to the home environment and had to attend to some copyright business, all of which I did online. I’d been putting this stuff off because it seemed so complicated, but it was pretty easy and effortless, with the only problem being the upload of the work I’m copyrighting. That’s because the pop-up windows on the .gov site don’t work with Safari. So, I had to open IE to do that final step. After that, I delivered a box of 100 CDs to a local dealer, then finally came home and caught up on e-mails and telephonic calls, most of which had to do with the Bacharach show. We’ve added the wonderful Kerry Butler to our merry cast of players, and a couple of young people from In The Heights. We’re just going after two or three more people now and we’ll have a full show. I then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled Horizons West, an early Budd Boetticher oater from Universal. I’d never seen this film, even though I’d always wanted to. As far as I know, it’s never been available on home video. This DVD is from Germany, and it was great to finally see this after wanting to for so long. The film stars Robert Ryan, Rock Hudson, James Arness, Julia Adams, Raymond Burr, John McIntyre and a bunch of excellent character people. Ryan is, as always, perfection, in a very complex role. Hudson and Arness are fine as his brothers, and Burr is great as a villain (although, interestingly, his story ends at the halfway point). There’s a surprising amount of plot in this little eighty-minute film and Boetticher is such a lean filmmaker it all plays simply and to the point. The transfer is a bit soft due to the Technicolor matrixes not being quite aligned correctly, but the color is terrific – and anyone who thinks the brown Quo Vadis is what Technicolor looks like (it doesn’t help when you have a restoration expert saying that it does – he’s completely wrong), you need look no further than this transfer’s color, which is not brown. All in all, a terrific little B-western with great performances and to-the-point wonderful direction.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below whilst we all play our various and sundried recordings of the Rhapsody In Blue or any other hues.

Today, I must get up extra early, do the long jog (in the new running shoes), and then hie myself to the bank and then to Teddy, my hairdresser, who will dress my hair and make me look spiffy. After that, I must ship a bunch of priority boxes (already stamped), and two that I have to bring in and have the post office do. I then have work to do on the computer, and then I have a six o’clock meeting with our very own Miss Alet Taylor about her one-person cabaret act, which we’ll be getting serious about.

Tomorrow and Friday are basically writing days and errand days, and my starting to get ready for the ten-day NY trip. Rehearsals are beginning this week for the two big numbers in the Bacharach show – with Adam Cates choreographing.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the long jog (in the new shoes), bank, get my hair dressed, post packages, hopefully pick up a package or two, write, and have a 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 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, whilst the Rhapsody In Blue thunders forth from our collective speakers, and Herman Phlit remains in total obscurity.

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