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February 28, 2018:

THE NUMERO UNO EXPERIENCE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this seems to have been a week in which I revisited old haunts of which there are only a handful left. First Sizzler, and yesterday it was Numero Uno. I used to enjoy Numero Uno in the final years of my marriage, at least I think it was around back then. I could be wrong. But where I really began eating it a lot was in 1993 because it’s what we always ordered when mixing albums at Trax on Sunset Blvd. We practically had it every day. I always had the small pizza and salad. I loved their dressing and the pickled onions, and the deep dish pizza was different and fantastic, with that slightly sweet crust. It was more like eating a loaf of bread than pizza – the toppings and the amount of cheese used was very judicious. But after we moved to other studios I didn’t have it for years. I wrote about a poker game I attended in 2006 where they brought in Numero Uno and I was very pleased with having it again. And in 2007, rather astonishingly, I wrote about having a hankerin’ for both Sizzler and Numero Uno, but since there’s no follow-up to it I assume I never did go. I knew there were a few Numero Unos left but I didn’t think any of them were close by. I know I used to go to the one on Victory Blvd. and Coldwater Canyon back in the day but I assumed that was long gone. But surprisingly it’s still there, only not quite where they were. They had a really nice place, large with nice booths – that building is still there but they’re not in it. They’re now behind it in a tiny hole in the wall jernt with only a handful of small tables, so mostly a takeout jernt.

Grant and I went yesterday. They have two sizes of small pizzas, a seven and nine-inch size. We both got the nine-inch because the smaller one is too small if that’s all you’re planning to eat. We also both ordered the dinner salad. Now, I will admit here and now and also now and here to being worried that it would be bad, that everything would not be as it should. The salad arrived and certainly there was no cause for worry there – it was fresh, the onions were perfect, and it was exactly the way I remembered. But the test was going to be the pizza, which arrived a bit later. It certainly looked and smelled good and one bite of it was like going back in time twenty-five years. We both got it with sausage and it was great. Now, it’s not like normal pizza, it’s nothing like normal pizza, but it is grand stuff, with chunky tomatoes, that slightly sweet crust, judicious cheese and meat, and mostly dough. The nine-inch size rendered four very small pieces, but it was just perfect and we couldn’t have been more pleased. I will return, just not until I lose some weight.

Prior to that, I got eight hours of sleep. Falling asleep took a while because I’d literally been standing on my feet for eight hours straight and for the first time ever when I got in bed my thighs and calves started cramping like crazy. It took me forever to find a position where they wouldn’t cramp, but I finally did and fell right asleep. Once up, I answered e-mails and caught up on stuff, and read nice comments about the Robby Awards show. I had some telephonic calls and then we went to lunch, I picked up some packages, and then I came home.

By the way (BTW, in Internet lingo) has anyone noticed that this is the final day of February? I truly do not like February because of its short duration, which makes so many things problematic, at least for me it does. But that means that tomorrow we will march into March and it is my fervent hope and prayer that March will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.

Once home, I had two very long telephonic conversations, dealt with the merde as best I could, finished a song I’ve been working on, and then finally had to sit on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture entitled 78/52, purportedly about the making of the shower scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho. Much of it is indeed about that, but the interviewees also go on about many other things. It was something I thought would be right up my alley, but unfortunately it’s yet another director who takes an interesting subject and makes it all about his artsy-fartsy direction, which, of course, has nothing to do with why we’re actually watching the damn film. It’s so pretentious and awful. Some of the interviewees are okay and fun – directors, editors, composers, but as always it’s the teachers, those film teachers who should never be allowed near any documentary, who are so phony and awful and who go off on tangents and the one guy here as almost the worst I’ve ever seen, save for Dr. Drew Casper. No one will ever top Dr. Drew. I have to watch again but I don’t think they ever actually show the shower scene in its entirety as filmed. It’s slowed down, chopped up – the 78 in the title is the number of set-ups it took to do the murder scene, and the 52 is the number of edits. And then everyone talks about how it’s three minutes long. So, I haven’t quite figured out how they’re doing the math or what they’re including because the murder itself runs about twenty-five seconds I believe, maybe a minute. So they must be including the lead-up from the time she enters the bathroom and they must be including the clean up, but I’ll rewatch and take some timings and count shots. In any case, it’s all very arcane but nerds seem to love it, but for me it’s no different than a DVD or Blu-ray extra.

I then watched an actual motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled Harper, starring Paul Newman, Arthur Hill, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Pamela Tiffin, Robert Wagner, Robert Webber, Strother Martin, Janet Leigh, and Shelly Winters. What a cast. I saw the film on its opening day and absolutely loved every second of it, and I saw it about six or seven more times during its run. It was fresh, loaded with hilarious lines, was very hip, and the direction was fun and it looked great. The transfer was raved about by Mr. Robert A. Harris, who I normally agree with for lots of stuff, but who I disagree with sometimes. I owned an IB Tech print of the film and know its look very well. The film itself is obviously dated now and if you’re one of those now people who don’t have the ability to view a film in the context of when it was made, well, there will be many eye-rolling moments for you. But I have to say, I laughed out loud at much of the dialogue, which I could quote just before it was said, that’s how well I remember and know the film. The story is based on the first Lew Archer novel, The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald. I’m a huge fan of those books. The last name was changed to Harper because Newman was in his “H’ phase – Hud, Hombre, and Harper. Everyone in the cast delivers and Bacall is especially good in her bitchiness. The screenplay was the first movie for William Goldman. No one knew who he was back when this came out, but I did because I’d read all his novels and loved his writing. The dialogue is golden, but he does belabor things and has unnecessary stuff and gets a little too smart assy occasionally. Now to the transfer. I’m afraid I can’t join the praise party – it’s very clean, but it is too brown (blood in this transfer is more orange than red) and it’s just pasty looking and flat. The photography is by Conrad Hall and that is not his look. It’s also surprisingly soft and not because there were filters – it just looks like it came from an older internegative that was slightly to the brown, color-wise. It’s not horrible, and most people don’t know enough about color to know, but it’s just not like the IB prints, which it should be.

After that, I listened to music and did some other stuff on the computer.

Today, my morning meeting was canceled, so I’m going to the editing room at eleven instead and I’ll be there for a couple of hours. Then I’m getting a haircut at two-thirty, which I really need, then I’ll eat, hopefully pick up packages, and I’m hoping to hear from the guy who oversees my books at the publisher. After all that, I might be able to relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same and I have to figure out when we’re doing the work session. Not sure what’s happening on the weekend.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, go to the editing room for a couple of hours, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and do whatever else needs doing, then 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 that my Numero Uno experience was such a nice one.

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