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August 16, 2017:

A LOVELY WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am girding my loins for the cloven hoof of negativity, which I shall have to deal with at eleven this morning in a telephonic call – but to get a jump on how that will go, I have already sent a long e-mail that will hopefully table all this for another few weeks – that is the hope, so do send all your most excellent vibes and xylophones for a positive conversation rather than a negative cloven hoof. But let’s accentuate the positive for now so I can tell you about last night’s run-through of Robert Yacko’s first cabaret show. For as long as I’ve been directing cabaret acts, and that’s going on thirty years now, I’ve always insisted on doing a run-through for a few folks prior to the first performance. I don’t think many other cabaret folks did that before I began it, and some still don’t – some who’ve heard about the process I use now do it, though. I find it extremely beneficial for the performer to play to people, get a sense of how the reaction will be, learn how to time the applause, where it’s best to sneak the drinks of water, and just get used to playing the thing without any safety nets.

We had about four people cancel only hours before, so it was impossible for me to fill those four chairs – I’d stopped inviting people when I’d gotten us to ten people. But we ended up with seven, as it turned out, and it was wonderful to have those warm and supportive folks watch the show. Robert got through it beautifully – he was fairly nervous – as I said, no safety nets, no character to hide behind, just out there on your own, holding a show by yourself for an hour and five minutes. I have, in the last few days, put in a lot of little comedy bits and I have to say that every single one of them got big laughs – especially the interplay between Robert and Alby. All the songs landed very well, but I took lots of nitpicky notes of stuff to smooth out. The pace and structure were fine and everyone really enjoyed themselves and were very vocal about it after.

When everyone was gone, I dove into the notes, most of which had to do with energy, how to begin patter for each new section, and especially about the opening number and how it has to function. It was fine as it was, but it needed a slight tempo push and I just want it to go that little extra mile. Then I fixed the endings of about five songs where I felt they were just sort of not being buttoned properly. Those were fairly easy adjustments to make, however. I moved the majority of the thank yous to before the final number (I previously had them before the encore), added a couple of minor patter bits and that was that. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend an evening and I know Robert felt relieved and good about the reaction.

Prior to that, I’d only gotten about five-and-a-half hours of sleep. Once up, I answered e-mails, had telephonic conversations, and then went and did some banking. Directly after that, I had some chicken tenders and a side Caesar salad. I came home, listened to music, sent more e-mails, listened to music, and even sat on my couch like so much fish.

I checked out the new Kino Blu and Ray of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Kino made the very basic mistake of actually listening to the insanity on one chat board about the previous 2014 Blu-ray, the one everyone hated because, in their charming words, it was urine soaked or like piss – so said because they all thought it was blanketed in a yellow tint. The proof was in screen caps that resembled not one or even two whits what I watched when I watched it – the skies were not green, they were not teal, and while there was certainly plenty of yellow in the transfer, it pretty much at least resembled my former 35mm dye transfer Technicolor print, when said print was put on a light bed and the light was adjusted to the look of a carbon arc light source, which is what these prints were timed for. They don’t use carbon arc any more – it’s all Xenon and has been for decades – when you project a dye transfer print timed for carbon arc with a Xenon bulb you don’t get anything resembling what that print actually looked like. But no one wanted to hear that – I was called every name in the book, especially “liar” because no one believed I’d checked the print, which I had. Besides, they’re all experts, what with having grown up seeing the film on TV, VHS, Beta, Laserdisc, and DVD. That makes them experts, all those previous video and TV incarnations. Yeah, right.

Then they read stuff and look at screen caps – most doing the complaining of the yellow, teal, and green were basing it on seeing screen caps – they hadn’t actually, you know, seen the damn disc. So, Kino listens to these “experts” and decides to lessen the yellow. But by doing so, they have literally sucked the life out of the image, which is now flat as a pancake and resembling no Sergio Leone film that I’ve ever seen. His films had a very specific palate with the westerns especially. So, yes, less yellow, but since I had no problem with the 2014 Blu, this new thing is just not good. When the caps first started showing up, all these complainers about the 2014 Blu started being all revisionist – suddenly that transfer wasn’t “that bad” and only certain scenes needed adjusting but Kino went too far. Lesson learned, friends at Kino – you cannot win with these experts. Ever. Then some preferred the dull look of the new transfer, saying it was more “natural” looking – “natural” and “Sergio Leone” is an oxymoron. The pity here is that we finally get something approximating the original US release without the terrible extra scenes that were put back in – but we get it with this dulled-down palate. They should have left it alone or perhaps just taken a teeny-tiny bit of yellow out – but had I been them I wouldn’t have done anything to it because I have gotten plenty of enjoyment out of the previous Blu, save for the fact that I loathe the longer cut.

Then we did our run-through. By the time notes were finished and we’d worked stuff, it was almost close to ten – I went quickly to Gelson’s and got a couple of small snacks, came home, and ate them, then wrote the long e-mail I referred to above.

Today, I have to have “the” conversation at eleven. My mood will depend on how that goes. After that, I have some stuff to do, and then I have a five o’clock meeting at the Group Rep with Doug Haverty and their board of directors, regarding something that we may potentially do towards the end of 2018. We’ll see how that goes. Otherwise, I hope to jog, eat, pick up packages, and relax.

Tomorrow I’m getting a haircut, and have lots o’ Levi stuff to do. Friday I’m leaving at eleven to be on my way to Coachella. We’ll run through stuff and especially tech when I get there, I’ll see the opening performance (Robert does three shows), then drive back home. Not sure what the weekend holds.

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora or the Swim, for today is the birthday of our very own Vixmom.  So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own Vixmom.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN VIXMOM!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a conversation that I hope does not turn unpleasant or generate too much negativity, I must hopefully pick up packages, jog, have a meeting, and eat. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you 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 I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had such a nice run-through and that it was a lovely way to spend an evening.

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