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May 2, 2018:

HERE’S TO NO BLINDERS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, May is flying by, like a gazelle pronouncing Leonard Bernstein like Elmer Bernstein.  I gotta tell you.  I also think my head is about to explode, which happens when I write this many songs so close to each other, so I have to take a couple of days off now. But I did come up with something fun – got the idea just before bed two nights ago, and wrote most of it yesterday, finished today and told Doug about it, and he was taken aback as he sometimes is, because he’s written the book a certain way.  So we had a nice conversation about it – as a writer and collaborator I am the opposite from him – he loves outlines and adhering to same. I never outline and hate them and mostly refuse to read them because then I get locked into seeing things only one way, which, for me, makes for very stilted art.  It puts blinders on.  For me, I know the idea of a scene or sequence and what comes to me comes to me and sometimes I go into unexpected directions, especially if something feels like it needs more sauce or juice in terms of personality.

And so it has been with the songs for this show. I write the best I can and then we decide where it live exactly within a scene and then we adjust so it works in the way it should.  Others don’t work that way, which is fine, but I find this is very freeing.  For example, I knew I wanted a song for one character because she only has one sequence in the show.  I knew her purpose but didn’t see much that was different from the character who appears before her.  In trying to figure out what I wanted it to be I just coming to musical stuff I’d either done or that seemed too cliché for the moment.  And then out of the blue something came to me that was the polar opposite of what you’d ever think would work.  I got the idea of it recorded with four lines of dummy lyrics, then the next day fleshed it out, and it just tickled me and gave the scene something unique.  Doug was concerned that it wasn’t set up for (he hasn’t heard the music nor read the lyric) and asked me to read the scene, which I had a few weeks ago.  So, just for fun, I did.  And while it does have to change a bit, there was a perfect lead-in line to the song already there – so we talked again and I think he began to see what I was talking about, and we discussed the nature of what follows and so onward we go.  But I love little surprises that are fun and surprising for the ear and a character. That’s the way I like to work and I really don’t know any other way.  I’m also smart enough to know when something won’t work and I’m always prepared to throw something out if, when I hear or see the show, it clearly doesn’t work.

Yesterday wasn’t a bad day at all.  It wasn’t a great day, certainly, but not a bad day at all. It was an okay day, what we’d call a blah day.  I got seven hours of sleep, answered e-mails, printed out a few orders, and had a telephonic conversation.  Then I worked on the song and got a rough version recorded, then continued to finesse the lyrics.  Then I went and picked up an important envelope, did some banking, then came home. Bills are starting to come for this wacky slate of releases – hate that.  I made two over easy eggs and put each in a tortilla with a bit of cheese. Then I did more work on the computer, more work on the song, and then spent several hours finally finishing the opening number of the show.  I had the first part (it was the first thing I wrote, exactly a year ago), but I went off in a direction that I ultimately didn’t like (a lot of counterpoint), so I finally decided to lose that and just do new lyrics for the song proper, so I wrote all those lyrics and came up with an ending I finally liked, and got that recorded.  Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching an excellent Outer Limits episode entitled Don’t Open Till Doomsday – definitely one of the great season one episodes.  Gerd Oswald is back directing, Conrad Hall is back photographing, so all is well in those departments – wonderful visuals throughout.  Miriam Hopkins is the star, and John Hoyt is in it, too.  It’s a very weird episode and Miss Hopkins is very much in Baby Jane territory, especially with make-up – this was shot the same year Baby Jane came out so I don’t think they were copying the film.

After that, it was more telephonic calls, and I made two more tortillas with just a bit of cheese and onions and some Taco Bell hot sauce – very good, and for the first time in ages, did less than 1000 calories.  I need to keep doing that for about five or six months. Then I took a hot shower, then listened to some music.

Today, I will work on stuff other than music, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, I’ll eat no more than 1000 calories, and then we have two back-to-back people rehearsing.  We did manage to replace the two people who dropped out – Bill Hayes is coming to do the guest star slot (along with Don Most), and a wonderful performer named Adam Wylie is filling in for our sick guy.  I haven’t met him, but we know and have worked with so many of the same people that I’m glad this has worked out.  We chose two songs for him that he knows, and he’ll learn the one I wanted to keep.

Tomorrow is our second Kritzerland rehearsal, not sure about Friday yet, Saturday is our stumble-through, and Sunday is sound check and show.

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora or the Charleston, because today is the birthday of our very own writer/parodist FJL.  So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own writer/parodist FJL.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN WRITER/PARODIST FJL!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, work on stuff, hopefully pick up packages, eat reasonably, 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, always happy to have no blinders on.

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