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August 2, 2017:

THE SANDWICH THING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this month is already flying by, like a gazelle doing an impression of a gnu and singing the classic song, What’s Gnu. I gotta tell you. Before I go any further, may I just tell you about the sandwich thing? Good, then I shall. I ordered the sandwich thing from Goldbely, an online jernt that has deals with all kinds of well-known regional restaurants and food jernts. They ship in bulk, so you can’t just order a sandwich for one, and it’s very pricey, but since I was having several people over yesterday for various and sundried meetings, I thought it would be much cheaper to try this and let people have that for food. The thing that looked most interesting was this sandwich thing from a New Jersey deli called Town Hall Deli. This jernt opened in 1927 and was the birthplace of the sandwich thing, which they call The Sloppy Joe. Now, my knowledge of what a Sloppy Joe is is anything but what this sandwich thing is. The Sloppy Joe’s I’ve had are chopped meat on a burger bun with a lot of Sloppy Joe sauce on it. But this Sloppy Joe has three layers of specially baked Pullman Rye Bread, two meats, a cheese, Cole slaw, and Town Hall’s homemade Russian dressing. I believe the classic would be roast beef and turkey as the meats, but there are other variations. Well, that’s just about everything I love on a sandwich and so I ordered it. It was made on Monday and shipped directly after via Fed Ex in a container with ice packs. It arrived at ten-thirty yesterday and I immediately went to pick it up.

I brought it home, opened the box and unwrapped it – it looked and smelled very good. I’m sure it’s better in the jernt because obviously even though it arrived very quickly, the Russian dressing and tomato probably make the bread a bit soggy, although it didn’t look that way to me. I immediately refrigerated it. When Kay Cole arrived we were supposed to have that whilst having our meeting, but she hadn’t been feeling well and wanted chicken soup, so off to Jerry’s Deli we went, where I had the ubiquitous chicken Caesar salad. So, I knew I’d have to wait to try the sandwich thing. Meantime, the helper came by and she was the first to sample it – the sandwich thing was cut into little squares, and she loved her little square and took one for her hubby. Then after our Robert Yacko work session, pianist Alby Potts tried a square (really quarters) and he, too, loved it. And then about three hours later I finally tried it as my evening snack, and yes indeedy it was really good. Bread wasn’t really soggy, everything tasted fresh and the flavors were wonderful. I had two squares and a few cashews and was stated – that left three squares, which will be my meal o’ the day this very day.  Here is a little video about the sandwich thing.

Yesterday, I awoke after six hours of sleep, picked up the sandwich thing, came home, did some work on the computer, and then Kay arrived and off we went for our lunch meeting. Then I came home, the helper came by, and then Robert and Alby arrived for our work session. Robert had all the sheet music for the potential songs, and the song list I’d already seen. And so we began playing through everything. He had an idea of how he wanted to open the show, a brief thing before the real opening song. The minute I heard it I said I thought it would get the show off on the wrong foot and he completely agreed with me. Then I did a little arranging work on the song that will open the show. And as we played through stuff, we both kind of knew right away what had to go and go that stuff did, instantly. I just have an instinct for how to structure and pace cabaret shows and my instincts are usually pretty sound. But as we began losing songs and making solid the keepers I began to see patterns and structure. I immediately knew what the second song would be, but the way Robert had envisioned it in his head was a bit convoluted, so I switched things around and gave it a logical structure and it’s going to work beautifully. I did the same for several of the other numbers. Alby is really terrific and fun to work with and very focused – and happily he’s also going to play the Kritzerland anniversary show in September, so that’s good. We worked for about two hours and by the end of it we had the songs all chosen, including three that weren’t on the list at all. I’d already figured out what the first four songs should be, and I know what the final song and the encore are, so now I just have to structure the rest, which I’ll do today. So, it was a very productive and fun session – it’s my favorite part of the process and it’s so fascinating to see things just start to fall into place, via discussion, trying things, throwing things out, adding things – none of it’s easy, but the process is very rewarding when you figure it all out.

After that, I had e-mails to answer and a few telephonic conversations to have, I did a two-and-a-half mile jog, and then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I ate my two sandwich thing squares and watched more Hitchcock episodes. I was in the middle of one called Night of the Owl, which wasn’t brilliant but which I still enjoyed due to loving Brian Keith. The thirteen-year-old playing his adopted daughter was sometimes excellent and sometimes too shrill, which the director should have stopped – but it was her only TV appearance. Turns out even at that age, she was a working ballerina, and that was the path she continued, and is still teaching ballet in Florida, I believe. Then it was an episode I’d only seen once before, and one I really was looking forward to – I Saw the Whole Thing, written by Henry Slesar and directed by Mr. Hitchcock himself. There’s no show-off moments, but you can instantly tell that the set-ups are so right and so perfect – every shot – obviously he had to keep it simple because they shot these very quickly, but I just love the way he shoots scenes. The story is interesting, and it has a nice little turnaround at the end. I loved it.

Then came an episode called Captive Audience. I was excited for it – written by Richard Levinson, who with William Link would go on to create Columbo, and starring James Mason and Angie Dickenson. I was excited until the director credit came on – Alf Kjellin. I’m being hard on him, but his episodes, well, they’re not bad or anything in terms of direction – but he has no style and he’s never more than competent, and that is very clear in this episode – it should have been better, but it ended up being not so hot. And finally it was one of the worst episodes of all I’ve watched, Final Vow, starring Carol Lynley and Clu Gulager. It was directed by Norman Lloyd and written by Henry Slesar (who probably wrote more Hitchcock Presents and Hitchcock Hours than anyone), but the story was terrible and didn’t belong in this series at all.

After that, I went and put gas in the motor car. Tuesday night at nine-fifteen – apparently THE time for the entitled of Studio City to put gas in their overpriced motor cars – I couldn’t believe it, actually.

Today, I’ll eat the three remaining sandwich thing squares, I’ll do a jog, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, then the two errant and truant singers arrive for their first rehearsal. After that, I’ll relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll eat early, then Richard and Elizabeth Sherman are coming over and we’re going to talk through some Levi stuff I need him to do. Haven’t seen him in a few weeks, so I’m really looking forward to it. After that we have our second Kritzerland rehearsal. Friday there’s a lot of stuff to do and Dial ‘M’ performances resume, Saturday is our stumble-through, and then I’m sure some of us will go eat something, and then Sunday is sound check and show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, eat sandwich thing squares, jog, hopefully pick up packages, rehearse, and relax. 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 a successful delivery of the sandwich thing.

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