Haines Logo Text
Column Archive
August 12, 2017:

HONING A CABARET ACT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the creating a cabaret act process continues and, for me, never really stops until we open the show, and even then we learn things and frequently change things up. I thought the show order I’d made for Robert Yacko’s first cabaret act was pretty damn good. Until we ran it straight through. There was one what I call sequence, four songs and hearing them in the order I’d chosen didn’t flow right for me, so I flipped two of the songs and that will work much better, I think. It’s simply not possible to know that until you hear and watch the act from start to finish. Happily, the material all seems to be working really well. I haven’t really given anything but perfunctory performance notes, but regular notes will happen from here on in. Up to this point, I’ve just really been concerned with the layout and musical arrangements. I made a few further fixes to said arrangements, including one that I’m sure would be controversial to purists, but one which I felt was necessary to have the ending of the particular song land. In the show it’s from it ends abruptly, vocal-wise, with a little quick musical coda. I asked Robert if he’d be willing to hold the final note out – he really wasn’t sure, but we worked on it and when he heard what I had in my head, he seemed to like it and think he could make it work – no one has ever done it with this song – but if we try it today and it’s not comfy we can always go back, but hearing him do it it did feel pretty good and definitely buttoned the song better. We adjusted some tempos and transitions, and musically it’s in very good shape thanks to the stellar Alby Potts. So, now we start really drilling everything and run-throughs regularly until Robert leaves for Coachella. And our little run-through for about ten people on Tuesday night, something I always insist on when I’m helming an act.

Yesterday, I got eight hours of sleep, answered e-mails, and realized I could do a flash sale part two as I had about twenty-eight titles I hadn’t included in the first flash sale, so I attended to that and got it up and running. Then I made my two burgers – same configuration as the day before – one with McDonald’s Big Mac sauce and one with my 1000-Island type spread. They were quite good – lettuce, pickles, onions, and tomato. So, another 800 calorie main meal. Then I picked up some mail (but no packages), did some banking, then came back home. I did some work on the computer and at the piano, and then it was time for our run-through. Robert will also be in the Kritzerland anniversary show, and he’s brought me two songs that few people have ever heard – one by Mr. Sondheim and one by Mr. Bacharach, and we’ll be doing both of them.

After the run, I ran – did the two-and-a-half mile jog, then the cloven hoof of negativity made a brief appearance, as I suspected it would and I’ll be dealing with that VERY briefly this morning via e-mail in such a way that I won’t have to deal with it until mid-week. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched more Hitchcock Hours – I’m just about ready to be done with these – so many wrong-headed, boring shows and not enough brilliant ones. But when the latter do show up they’re really something to behold, I must say. I watched several beginnings of episodes and shut them off because they were boring and bad. Then came a really interesting episode that really had nothing whatsoever to do with the kinds of shows Hitchcock’s show did – Harlan Ellison’s autobiographical Memo from Purgatory, about his showing up as a young writer in New York and joining a gang so he could write a juvenile delinquency novel convincingly (that novel was called Rumble – a paperback original). It’s not a bad episode, it just isn’t Hitchcockian at all – in fact Hitchcock dispenses with his wry humor, telling us all how delinquency is a huge problem – it’s almost like a public service announcement. Good cast, though – with James Caan as Ellison, Walter Koenig as the gang leader, Tony Musante as a creep gang member, and, in a Wild One Brando cap a young man named Michael Lamont – yes, the same Michael Lamont that’s married to our very own Kay Cole. Well directed by Joseph Pevney (the director of Tammy and the Bachelor).

And then came Consider Her Ways, one of the weirdest and wackiest hour-long episodes of any TV show ever. Based on a short story by John Wyndham, who gave the world Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos (Village of the Damned), the first forty minutes takes place in some unknown future where there are no men, women birth babies, and, well, you just have to kind of watch the thing. It’s all ultimately a hallucination of sorts, thanks to a mind-altering experimental drug (they call it something in the film, but it’s clearly modeled on LSD). It’s a beautifully directed episode (by the wonderful Robert Stevens, one of the best of the Hitchcock directors, who also helmed some of the all-time great Twilight Zone episodes), with a great score by Bernard Herrmann, and a great performance by Barbara Barrie. I stopped there because the next episode starred Peter Lawford and looked absolutely dreadful.

Then I had a couple of snacks to bring the calorie count back up to 1000, listened to music, and that was that.

Today, I’ll be up early to do a Costco run (out of everything), then I’ll jog, then we have a run-through, and then I’ll attend the evening performance of Dial ‘M’ for Murder, after which I’ll go sup with some friends who are attending.

Tomorrow I’ll attend our final performance (matinee) and then I’m hoping that a few of us can go to Genghis Cohen to have a little celebration dinner around five. We shall see. Next week is working Robert’s show, doing our run-through for a few people, then I go up to Coachella on Friday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a Costco run, I must hopefully pick up some packages, I must watch a run-through, I must see a performance, and I must sup. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of James Caan? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, always enjoying the process of honing a cabaret act.

Search BK's Notes Archive:
 
© 2001 - 2017 by Bruce Kimmel. All Rights Reserved