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November 24, 2018:

GETTING MY BEARINGS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, pondering the imponderables, and listening to music after a relaxing day of relaxing.  I slept a little over eight hours, not arising until twelve-thirty (that’s right, I didn’t get to sleep until four).  Once up it took me a while to get my bearings because those pesky bearings were hiding from me.  Once I had my bearings, I answered a few e-mails, I decided on my foodstuffs for the day and at around one-thirty I went and first picked up some packages, and then I put gas in the motor car.  I then went to Jerry’s Deli and got a quarter pound each of ham and turkey, some 1000 Island dressing, four pieces of rye bread and some cole slaw.  These fancy shmancy items I brought home and I made myself the first of the two sandwiches that would be my meal o’ the day. Some ham and turkey with cole slaw and 1000 Island dressing – the rye bread slices were pretty small, too.

Then I had a visit from dear reader Leslie and daughter Alexa, who brought me some pumpkin pie.  We chatted for a while and then they left.  I ate some pie with whipped cream – or should I say some whipped cream with some pie – and then listened to some nice music for awhile, whilst answering more e-mails.  Then I had a telephonic conversation, relaxed, listened to more music and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a DGA screener entitled A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, directed by Bradley Cooper, co-written by Bradley Cooper. Those credits might inform the way the film is skewed, unlike past versions.  The bottom line here is that no version of A Star Is Born is ever going to top the 1954 version with Judy Garland and James Mason – never going to happen.  I didn’t love the Streisand version but the story is so strong it can pretty much stand up no matter what is done to it and who does it.  This takes bits from both the Garland and Streisand versions but is, of course, closer to the Streisand version.  Cooper seems to be channeling a little Kristofferson and a little Jeff Bridges. Lady Gaga is fine.  I will freely admit that for the entirety of his long career, I have never understood a single word Sam Elliot has mumbled in any of his performances.  The reviews and gushing of show biz friends led me to believe this was the second coming. For me it was not the second coming. It was okay.  The raves for Mr. Cooper’s direction are baffling to me as I found it serviceable and nothing more.  I’m guessing that the majority of the young’uns who LOVED this have never even seen the Streisand let alone the Garland.  But where the Garland/Mason version walks the tightrope perfectly as to the two characters and their trajectories, this new version is skewed to Cooper’s character and it just isn’t as effective.  The other big downside is the music or what they call the music.  When Cooper’s character tells Lady Gaga that she must be true to herself and her music, that she has something unique to say and people are listening to it – well, there is nothing unique about any of the music in this film – it’s just mind-numbingly ordinary and the lyrics are tripe.  You don’t have Arlen and Gershwin, you don’t have Paul Williams and Rupert Holmes – you have the music of today – open fourth and fifths in the same patterns – it’s just such a bore.  The big song at the finish is a big load of nothing.  And the pacing, especially in the middle, is completely slack and I found my mind wandering constantly.  I certainly wanted to LOVE it, but alas, I just didn’t.

After that, I ate the rest of my slice of pie (it was too large a slice to eat all at once), listened to more music, and that was that.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven at the latest, although probably earlier, as I have to get ready for our matinee at two.  I’ll probably get to the theater at one and then we play our matinee, take a break, and then play our evening show.

Tomorrow is the same – we have our matinee.  The Shermans are attending so that will be fun, and we’ll probably sit together.  There’s a talkback after, and then I’ll take Richard backstage to meet the cast.  I think we may go out for a bite after that. Then I have the evening free to relax. Monday we have a noon o’clock run-through of the revue, then I’ll give notes and work on stuff, then we have our first Kritzerland rehearsal, and then I have the rest of the day to attend to other stuff.  Tuesday we have our sound check and then we do the revue.  I’m looking forward to that very much.  Then we have our second Kritzerland rehearsal, our stumble-through, and we do the Kritzerland holiday show, all the while resuming performances of A Carol Christmas.  We’ve gotten several other rave reviews, which I’ll post at some point this weekend.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, attend our matinee, eat, hopefully pick up packages, attend the evening show, and then relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite versions of A Star Is Born, and what do you like and dislike about each version? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have gotten my bearings.

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