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October 25, 2017:

WE CAN DO THIS!

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we are at 118%, which is brilliant, but now in the final moments of our Indiegogo campaign we need some damn miracles, we need some high-flalutin’ high-steppers to step up and grab one of the big-boy perks, that would be ever so grand and glorious, wouldn’t it? So, share our handy-dandy link and let’s all puuuuuuush this right up to the final second. It’s weird, this one, in that it should have ended Monday night, since it began on a Monday, but it won’t end until sometime today and until they start counting down the hours I have no idea WHEN that will be so I don’t know if I’ll be in rehearsal for the countdown, but I truly hope it’s before or after so we can have FUN with the countdown. Fun with the Countdown – that’s the title of my next novel.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/levi-a-new-musical-by-the-sherman-brothers/x/9165600#/

Yesterday was a day I like to call yesterday. I didn’t get to sleep until two-thirty and for some reason I woke up at six-thirty – I think I swallowed wrong in my sleep because I woke up coughing. I couldn’t fall back asleep so I got up and did stuff on the computer, tracked the Indiegogo campaign (all the stuff above our goal still gets fees applied, so we never go up quite as much as I’d like – they are taking over $1200, actually – Indiegogo gets five or six percent and the credit card fees are three percent. It’s a little nutty but they don’t exist to not make money. At about eight-thirty I got back into bed and fell right asleep and got two additional hours, so that was good. Then I got up again, answered additional e-mails, watched us go up a few percent, and then I went and had a side Caesar salad and chicken tenders for my meal o’ the day. Then I moseyed on over to Grant’s for an hour, then picked up no important mail (the lack of important mail is beginning to irritate me, actually – it should have been here last Thursday, but on Saturday I was told the sender had just stamped it, which means maybe it wasn’t mailed until Monday, which means I should have already gotten it. Hopefully today so I don’t have to make another call.

So, the endless Grant visits. I know some of you have probably figured this out, whilst some of you are probably in the dark as to what exactly these visits are all about. So, here it is – I’ll get more detailed about it as we go, but here’s the story: Four years ago Grant bought another house, which he named the Yucky House, because it was in such disrepair and was truly hideous. But it was a huge property with four other buildings on it. Well, Grant’s really good with this stuff and slowly but surely he transformed the Yucky House into a beautiful thing. The main house, which he uses occasionally (he lives in his real house about ten minutes away from the Yucky House), is small but so lovely and fresh and new. Then his ever-lovin’ Lydia quit her hair salon job and she’s in the building in back of the Yucky House – it’s like her own personal salon. Then his daughter Greer lives in the house in back of the salon and then Grant has an office in yet another building, all lovingly restored (well, not restored, redone from scratch) by him and his construction folks.

Well, two-and-a-half years ago a similar property next door in even worse shape was sold and the buyers had already said they were going to tear down and build a McMansion, which infuriated Grant. When the escrow fell through, Grant grabbed the house. It was pricier than his other one but this way he insured no McMansion would be built and amen to that, brother. He dubbed the new house Yucky House II. Just after buying it, he called me and asked if after he fixed it up would I be willing to move in. I honestly didn’t have an answer but I went to look and it was indeed the yuckiest house ever, much yuckier than the Yucky House. And it was way too tiny for the likes of me. But I know Grant and so I told him that if he built on and made me the equivalent of my den here in my house, and if everything were beautiful that I probably would be willing to do the move. At that point, we were talking about six months away.

But life intervened, Grant was busy with other stuff, his two composing gigs for TV ended so work didn’t really begin for almost a year. And when it did begin it was very slow, then things came to a halt when his contractor died. Another six months went by and I figured it would never get done. But he found a new contractor, designs were done and approved (Grant does everything up to code and exactly right) and work began in earnest. He’d occasionally send me photos of the progress. That was last January and we were talking about April or May. Well, April or May went the way of the Dodo bird. Finally in July we began serious discussions. I went and looked at it and even in rough shape (floors still being done, etc.) it was an amazing transformation. It was all freshly painted, the bathrooms were brand new from top to bottom, the kitchen was brand new from top to bottom, he’d opened up the whole house to have an incredible flow, and the den was really a wonderful add-on that looked like it had always been there. Things moved swiftly and when I went back in August everything was pretty much done, save for making the front of the house non-Yucky. By September it was all looking pretty splendid but he was still attending to things, being a perfectionist. We talked about October, but eventually we settled on November 15, just two days before Levi opens. Yes, I am moving during this crazy Levi period.

So, last week we signed the papers (we had many meals hammering out the details) and I began bringing stuff over there. I will no longer be in the City of Studio – I’ve loved living in the City of Studio since 1998, almost two decades, but twenty years ago it was a whole different place. In the last decade, but more like the last five years, it’s had a huge number of teardowns with incredibly intrusive housing put up, housing that in the case of THIS house robbed me of every bit of yard privacy. Not good. Add to that a film shoot literally every week, endless construction noise, and living in a house for fourteen years wherein nothing was ever fixed unless I arranged for it – I spent thousands of dollars fixing stuff that I was not reimbursed for because I’d never cleared it with them. Well, sorry folks, when you’re dealing with people who NEVER respond to your calls or e-mails about problems, then you do what you have to do. For instance, the water heater broke. I e-mailed about it instantly to no response – and the response would have been the same as it always was – I have to call and get permission and see where we can get the absolute cheapest crap available. That would have taken not weeks but months and I was not about to be without hot water for that period of time.

This house was a mass of dry rot – it took me three YEARS of complaining to finally do something about it, because I actually threatened to go to the city about it. But that took three MONTHS to finally get going – and I ended up finding the folks who did the work and I ended up staying home and supervising. But those problems started two months after I moved in – I saw the lay of the land immediately and if you go back and read the notes from the end of 2004 you’ll see what I was dealing with even then. I’ve loved living in this house, but everything is ancient and pipes have broken, I’ve had to fix the sprinklers at least six times, the sink drain in the main bathroom doesn’t drain at all anymore, the water in the sink of the guest bathroom doesn’t come out smoothly, there’s no a leak under the sink, and I just don’t like it here anymore. And I loathe what the neighborhood has become with all its entitled show runners and idiots.

So in a bit of full circle, I’m going to be back in the Oaks of Sherman, where I bought my first house back in 1975. The Yucky House II is literally one and a half miles away from where I currently am, so it’s not a long move. And I’m not hiring movers – far too costly for the likes of me. We’re getting LACC kids cheaply and most of this is boxing stuff up – I don’t really have all that much furniture. Last week, I mostly took art over there – in fact, the only art left here is in the living room, dining room, and hallway and by Sunday everything but the living room will be over there. My intention is to take stuff over every day – anything I can put in a box and take over there I will. The piano is the expensive move because a real expert piano mover has to do that. My audio/video guy is coming to take all of that over about a week before move in and that includes the stand the TV is on – he can get that all in his truck. The helper is organizing everything and she and her husband will rent the U-Hauls to do the actual big stuff. With the LACC kids, they’ll load up one U-Haul about six days prior – to get the couches and coffee tables over there. The bed will go over there the day before move in as that’s when the Internet stuff gets turned on and working and that will be the first night I write these here notes from the new house. Every time I walk in I marvel at what he did to this place. Every single thing in it is new and fresh. And the flow is great. Kritzerland rehearsals will work great there and the Christmas Eve Do will work so much better there.

I’ll have some photographs in other notes and I’ll keep you posted on the progress of it all.

Then we had our second rehearsal. I got them to tape out the two big rolling stair units and that was very helpful – we’ll actually have the units by the end of the week, so that’s great. Once we saw the layout, Kay and I changed a lot of stuff and it began to look really good, this long opening sequence. We spent two of our four hours on it, maybe more, but both Kay and I were very happy with it when it was finished. I made a musical adjustment to two sections. And then we FINALLY moved on to the scene that comes after the long opening sequence. I was dreading staging the frankly clunky scene – it’s more a movie scene than a show scene and we just don’t have enough people to really make it work. The fact is I would cut it entirely but there’s one thing in it that must happen, plot-wise, so it can’t be cut altogether. I’m thinking about how to shorten it and make it work smoothly, but that’s something I’ll go back to later when everything is staged. But we got past that, thankfully, I staged the little reprise of the opening number, and got to the scene where Levi meets his relatives in the tenements of New York. I should be further on but we had to get the opening right. I should now be able to catch up and get us on track. It was a good rehearsal and the kids are starting to sound good on the song, too, getting very solid on notes and intentions.

After that, I stopped and put gas in the motor car and then came right home, where I caught up on stuff, saw that we’d achieved 118%, answered e-mails and had some nutmeats for my evening snack.

Today, we have a Robert Yacko rehearsal, which will leave me just enough time to grab a bite to eat – no visit to Grant on this day – and then we have our third Levi rehearsal (I’m not counting the music-only rehearsals).

Tomorrow is another Yacko rehearsal so no time for Grant, and then our rehearsal follows. Friday we work longer so if I get to Grant it will be the early evening. But by the end of the weekend, I’ll get the keys then can go whenever I want to, doing several trips a day. Saturday is a longer day, and then I’m relaxing, damn it, although I’m sure I’ll do a house run. Sunday we have LACC kids coming to box up stuff – I’d like to get all the books and CDs and Blu-rays done because all those bookcases are mine and are going to the new house and the sooner we can do that the better.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a Robert Yacko rehearsal, I must eat, and I must have a Levi rehearsal. 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, as we puuuuuuush to our hopefully big Indiegogo finish. We can DO this.

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