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June 8, 2018:

THE BEAUTY OF BOOKENDS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week has flown by, like a gazelle uploading CDs into iTunes.  Speaking of that, I continue listening to tons of CDs I haven’t heard in years, in some cases two decades, and how sweet it is to have all these CDs – wish they didn’t have to be in boxes, but that will have to remain for the time being.  Yesterday’s most amazing listening experience wasn’t one of the old CDs but a Blu Spec 2 CD of the Simon and Garfunkel album Bookends.  Let’s get the simple part out of the way: It’s simply one of the greatest albums ever made.  Every track is a winner, and the production is spectacular, especially when you consider the technology of the time.  Old Friends is my favorite track on the album and one of my favorite tracks ever.  When we did The Paul Simon Album no one but Guy Haines had a chance at that song, and Lanny Meyers’ arrangement of it was wonderful.  I also love America, the short lyric to the Bookends theme, but all of it is amazing and this Blu Spec 2 CD sounds fantastic.  And if I may wax annoyed for a moment, The Paul Simon Album was one of the most lambasted CDs (and there weren’t many) that I ever produced, and certainly the most misunderstood.  I mean, what do people think when it says Broadway sings Paul Simon?  But I’m not sure I’ve told the real story before.

Weeks before the CD was released, when we first began to advertise it one girl, one girl who’d become obsessed with Mr. Simon and not from these classic albums but from – wait for it – The Capeman – took it upon herself to poison the release everywhere she possibly could on the Internet. I mean, without hearing one note of it, she literally went from board to board and site to site to spread her disdain for an album she hadn’t heard and had no intention of hearing.  And everyone on those ridiculous boards just went along with it and also began trashing an album they hadn’t heard.  It was, at the time, so shocking to me that that could happen, and I really began to take her on and of course when I did she immediately played the victim.  It became very apparent she had serious emotional and life issues – she once said The Animaniacs saved her life.  I’m glad that show did, but come on, to trash an album like that just because you think no one but Mr. Simon (and presumably Mr. Garfunkel) can sing those songs is a joke. Music is universal and open to any kind of interpretation.  I would hate to see what she would have thought of Paul Desmond’s Bridge Over Troubled Water jazz CD – it probably would have given her a heart attack.  By the time the album was released it was so tarnished by these people that it didn’t have a chance – everyone just went along with the party line by that point. And it made me not like the album for years.  Then I listened to it about five years ago – no, it’s not one of the best of what we did, but there are really good things on it.  Tami Tappan’s I Do It For Your Love is wonderful, Amanda McBroom’s Still Crazy After All These Years is wonderful, Drew Sarich’s Bernadette is wonderful, Jane Krakowski’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover is wonderful – there are some tracks I don’t care for for a variety of reasons, but overall I now like it. I’ve tried to find those posts but can’t seem to get to them on Google – maybe searching a different way than I am would find them – I’d like to remember that gal’s name – she was a regular poster to All That Chat.

I also listened to all my Vince Mendoza CDs – just like Claus Ogerman and wonderful albums.  Another terrific Pete Jolly album on AVA.  Bobby Scott’s incidental music for the Broadway production of A Taste of Honey, which is great.  Bobby Hackett doing Henry Mancini – I love the way Hackett plays – so romantic – he was the trumpet player on all the classic Jackie Gleason Capitol albums. I love music in case you haven’t noticed.

Yesterday was some kind of day.  I was kind of fighting a headache all day, and my voice is kind of not all there due to these heave allergy days and lots of phlegm.  I got eight hours of sleep, did the usual morning stuff, and just as I was about to rustle up some Wacky Noodles, Grant called and wanted to go eat lunch, so off we went to Mel’s Diner, where I had a very good chicken salad sandwich and a little salad.  Since I knew that that would be my meal o’ the day and left me a lot of calories to play with, I treated myself to a chocolate peanut butter thing and boy was it good.

Then I picked up a few packages – not all because they forgot to give me one that had arrived late the day before, then came back home and began listening to stuff.  Then at some point I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the new Blu and Ray of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  I really enjoy the film, but this time through I was especially impressed by how good the script was – just beautifully written, with fun dialogue throughout.  There are two versions of the film included – the original scope version and the second version in 1.85 widescreen.  The scope is really the only version to watch since that’s how the film was designed and those are all the best takes of the performances and dancing.  The flat version’s performances are, well, flat, comparatively speaking.  They all seem to not be happy about having to shoot all the scenes a second time.  Some of the barn dance is less precise, too. The scope version, whose negative is very problematic, looks better than it has any right to.  But the surprise is how good the 1.85 looks – in certain ways it has more detail and better color.  But I just can’t watch it for the reasons stated above.  Anyway, this is highly recommended by the likes of me.

After that, I relaxed, finally took some aspirin – hasn’t worked yet – and listened to more music.  I also heard and approved the latest track, which came out great. So he only has three more things to do and he’s finished with all the songs.  At that point, there’s nothing else until we stage the dance numbers – at that point we’ll create those tracks based on the choreography, and whatever scene change music we’ll need.

Today, I have a noon o’clock meeting with my wonderful set designer Tesshi Nakagawa (he did Levi, L.A. Now and Then, and Li’l Abner for me.  I’ve asked him to do the new show, even though it’s in a small theater.  He knows what I like and I want to keep whatever we do very simple and on wheels so I can fluidly move from scene to scene easily. I’ve told him there isn’t much money in it but that I’d really love him to do it if he can – we shall see, but I’m hoping the answer will be yes.  Then I’ll pick up some packages and hopefully an important thing will have happened – it’s really not due to happen until Saturday, so it will either happen today or will have to wait until Monday, which will be irritating.  Then I’ll just relax, try not to use my voice, and listen and watch.  The Geissmans and I are going to have a celebration dinner for Grant finishing his latest book – yet another compendium about EC Comics, this one for the publisher Taschen Books – a six hundred-page coffee table book.  I’ve been watching its progress for months and it’s going to be a beauty.  Anyway, the dinner will either be tonight or tomorrow night, so it will depend on how much I eat for lunch.

Tomorrow and Sunday will be devoted to casting the Kritzerland show – I’ve chosen most of the songs, so it’s just finding the right and perfect people.  Then next week is nice and busy as we prepare for our private reading.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, hopefully pick up packages, then relax and listen and watch.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player?  I’ll start – CD, two Gary McFarland CDs.  Blu-ray, The Big Country.  Your turn.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have rediscovered the beauty of Bookends.

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