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April 14, 2018:

SLAVING OVER A HOT PIANO

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is, in its way, a lot of fun to be slaving over a hot piano these days.  I don’t think I’ve written a full theatre score since The Brain from Planet X – yes, there was L.A. Now and Then, but that was a revue and I had other collaborators.  And yes, I’ve written the odd song here and there, including my two with Richard Sherman. But it’s fun to write for characters and situations – not as easy as it once was, but still very satisfying.  I can’t remember if I’ve even said what it is we’re writing, Doug Haverty and I, but it’s been in the works since we did Dial ‘M’ for Murder last year.  My first musical notes on my app in my iPhone are from last April.  But I didn’t really seriously begin writing until last November, and then it was only part of the opening sequence and the tune and a few lyrics for one other song.  But now most of the opening is done, the “I want” song is done, the other song that just had a tune and a few lyrics is finished, and I have about half of two others done, so I’m plugging along. Plus I’m using one other song that wasn’t specifically written for this show but that Doug wanted to incorporate, so that one was done before we began, of course.  One interesting thing that has been happening is my irritation with myself when my fingers automatically go to typical BK places and I’ve been fighting that urge constantly, while also trying to stay true to my style.  As soon as I finish a song it goes to Richard Allen, who creates a chart and an orchestrated track – he’s only done two so far, but they sound great.  So, that’s how I’ve been spending much of my days and even evenings, just chipping away at the score.

Yesterday was that kind of a day.  Happily, I did get eight hours of sleep.  Once up, I answered e-mails, did some work at the piano and on the computer, then I went and picked up a few packages that had actually arrived the day before, and then I went and had a chili, cheese, and onion hot dog, a few fries, and a little side Caesar salad, all good.  Since it was our very own Grant Geissman’s birthday I stopped in at K’s Donuts and got him two birthday treats – he loves their glazed jelly donut things so I got him one of those and a chocolate buttermilk bar. Of course while I was there I also got myself a chocolate whipped cream donut thing – they were out of my beloved chocolate peanut butter thing, but the nice lady took a chocolate chip bar, which, while a different shape, is basically the same thing without the peanut butter, and she put some peanut butter in that, so I got that, too.  I came home and Grant came and got his treats and I ate mine all up, but I ate no other food aside from what I’d had at lunch.

Then I did more work at the piano, more work on the computer, whilst listening to more music by the Russian composer Kara Karayev – two ballet scores, one of which has some very Bernard Herrmann-like passages that sound like Vertigo.  I’m really enjoying this guy’s music.  And I also listened to another marvelous Lee Hoiby opera, this one based on Mr. Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching the Blu and Ray of Mr. Sam Fuller’s excellent film Underworld U.S.A. starring Mr. Cliff Robertson. I’m a fan of Mr. Fuller’s, and this particular period is my favorite for him.  The title doesn’t quite fit the film’s story, but it’s very entertaining, filled with typical Fuller touches and his occasionally kooky dialogue. It’s all very entertaining.  The transfer is spectacularly good – crisp, great detail and contrast – just perfect.

I then watched the first half of a motion picture on Blu-ray entitled Alice, one of the few Woody Allen films I’ve never seen. It’s not from a period of his filmmaking that I’m very fond of, but the first ten minutes were certainly interesting, then it gets a little arch and whimsical.  And I always miss Woody when he’s not in his movies.  This one is thankfully free of shaky cam and looks quite nice.  More about it when I finish it this day.

After that, I had a telephonic conversation, listened to more music and that was that.

Today, it will be more music making, then I’m taking Grant for a birthday lunch, probably Barone’s – why am I suddenly having an allergy attack when I have no allergy pills and can get none?  It’s this damn crazy weather – one day hurricane-like winds and power outages and chilly air, the very next day in the mid-90s. But yeah, all this is completely normal. Hopefully I’ll get through the night. Where was I?  Oh, yes, a birthday lunch.  Then I’m home and working and still choosing songs and still looking for our final female performer.  At some point I’ll relax and watch the rest of Alice and something else afterwards.

Tomorrow is more of the same, then I’m attending another opening, another show upstairs at the Group Rep – some one-acts, one of which involves Doug Haverty.  This coming week is very busy, as I get serious booking people for the Richard Sherman event.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a birthday lunch, hopefully pick up some packages, work at the piano, work on the computer, choose songs, find our final female singer, and then relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. Cliff Robertson. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to be slaving over a hot piano these days.

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