Haines Logo Text
Column Archive
December 8, 2008:

THE BIRTHDAY BOY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, why is this day different from all others? What is it, Passover all of a sudden? Why, no, it is not Passover and yet I am asking the question why is this day different from all others. Well, I’ll tell you why this day is different from all others, for why should I keep such things from you dear readers? This day is different from all others because on this day sixty-one years ago a wee bairn named BK was born. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, on this day a BK was born. And, as my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim wrote, I’m still here. First of all, I do acknowledge that there are some out there in the dark who do not think I was born at all, but that I just arrived here from another planet (Planet X?). I deny that rumor, even though there are very few photographs of me as a baby and the ones there are look nothing like me. For example, in the baby pictures purporting to be me, I am bald. I mean, if that isn’t proof right there that someone was trying to pull a fast one, then I don’t know what. Or maybe someone was trying to pull a slow one. Why are people always trying to pull fast ones – slow ones can be much more fun. What the HELL am I talking about? Oh, yes – me. Speaking of me, yesterday was a very me day. For example, I woke up. That was very me. I then did the long jog, then toddled off to my booklet designer’s house to go over ideas for our about to be announced new limited edition Kritzerland release. He knows what to do now and I should be seeing something in the next day or two. After that, I came home and made two count them two tuna sandwiches on rye bread. I felt quite wry putting the tuna on rye. I ate both sandwiches all up, whilst sitting on my couch like so much tuna fish.

Yesterday, I watched a potpourri of DVDs. First, I watched two count them two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. The first, Body In The Barn, starred Miss Lillian Gish and Mr. Peter Lind Hayes, along with Maggie McNamara. It wasn’t really very good, but it did have a nice score by Bernard Herrmann. The second episode was called Sign Of Satan, and starred Christopher Lee and was from a story by Robert Bloch. It, too, was pretty weak. I’m hoping some of the other included episodes are stronger. I then watched White Christmas, which I’d begun the night before in the bedroom. First off, on my little widescreen LCD TV in the bedroom it looked pretty decent. On the big widescreen TV in the den – terrible. Too brown, not sharp enough, and an annoying flicker throughout. It was very interesting seeing the film again, especially after having seen the stage version. I hadn’t seen the film in over twenty years. I do enjoy it on certain levels, but it’s really not as good as it’s cracked up to be, despite a screenplay that includes the wonderful writers, Panama and Frank. I wonder if they’d directed it it would have been somehow funnier and lighter – Michael Curtiz, the wonderful director who did direct it is not known for his light touch. The songs are mostly wonderful, but the stage show bests the film in that department by losing some weak numbers like Choreography and Mandy and replacing them with winners like I Love A Piano and Let Me Sing And I’m Happy (a snippet of which is heard in the film). Where the film succeeds over the stage show is that when there are jokes they’re actually funny – the stage show doesn’t land one joke, at least at the performance I saw. The stage show’s plot adjustments also best the film, but one wishes they were better written. The one place you can’t best the film is the performances – Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen all have personality and presence, while their stage counterparts, save for Stephen Bogardus, just don’t. They’re okay, but never more than that. I really liked Larry Blank’s stage orchestrations a lot – they’re better than the film’s. I will say it was fun seeing George Chakiris in all the dance numbers, and Robert Alton’s choreography is, at times, really clever (especially the Choreography number, which is dated, but droll). It’s a shame Paramount doesn’t pop for a first-class restoration direct from the VistaVision negative – this was the first VistaVision film and it would look spectacular if they went from the original elements. As it is, what’s on view is so many generations from the original that it just looks plain bad.

After watching, I felt like listening to more CDs, and I’m actually making a dent in the CD pile. I’ve listened to all six CDs in the big Georges Delerue box set I recently got, and it’s quite a good set. I’ve listened to Michael Franks’ Sleeping Gypsy album – I’d never heard him or it before, and it’s quite nice, with great orchestrations by Claus Ogerman. I listened to the new Liza Minnelli complete A&M recordings double CD – it’s really interesting to hear these in the order in which they were recorded – she’s so affecting and simple and wonderful on the first two, and then the mannerisms start getting worse and stronger, and her funk album is not much fun to listen to. But those first two are treasures.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button because as soon as I post these here notes, I, BK, will be a birthday boy.

Yes, I am sixty-one years old (or young, depending on your point of view) this very day. Why, it seems like only yesterday I was sixty. Of course, yesterday I WAS only sixty, so maybe that’s why. I shall try to have a special day today, doing only things I wish to do and be with people I wish to be with.

To that end, if it’s not raining I shall do the long jog. I’m then being taken to lunch at a local Thai jernt by Mr. Nick Redman and a couple of other nice folks. I will eat very lightly – perhaps just a salad, or maybe an appetizer or two. I shall then drive about in my motor car, perhaps visit a store or two I like, and then I’m being taken to dinner at six-fifteen, to the Smoke House, where I’m quite sure I will eat a large and lovelier than lovely meal. I’ve already decided what I’ll be eating and I don’t think it will be too problematic, diet-wise, but even if it was for one day I just don’t care. I’ll be very good the rest of the week.

After dinner, I have no idea what’s happening, but hopefully whatever it is will be cozy and fun. Perhaps I’ll watch a favorite motion picture on DVD. Or perhaps I’ll actually venture out and see something (doubtful). Whatever I do, I will, of course, be wearing my pointy party hat and my colored tights and pantaloons and I will be sampling a cheese slice and a ham chunk, and I will be dancing the Hora and the Monkey.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do all of the above and hopefully have a wonderful birthday during which I will do my impression of a birthday boy. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your all-time favorite Christmas songs – which versions, what’s the first Christmas song you fell in love with, and do you own your favorites on CD? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst this birthday boy hits the road to dreamland.

Search BK's Notes Archive:
 
© 2001 - 2018 by Bruce Kimmel. All Rights Reserved