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January 24, 2019:

PEOPLE COME, PEOPLE GO, LIKE GRAND HOTEL IN JAPANESE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much tired fish, listening to music after a very long day.  I only got about four hours of sleep, maybe less, due to an upset tummy.  And I had to be up early, at eight-thirty to get ready and attend our ten o’clock rehearsal at the Autry.  I got there right at ten, approved the set-up with one little change, then our musicians and singer got there at eleven.  There were a lot of things to run and we had to get our cello player out by one, so we did her stuff first.  I made a few fixes to the arrangements, nothing major. The projections look good.  And I made a few notes as I heard the music.

After the cellist left, we continued on, doing things in order when we could.  It became very apparent to me that the end of act two wasn’t working like it should, so I swapped two things and that’s going to really help, and I also added a very short perky piano solo for act one, where there was a pile-up of ballads.  From the rough timings it would seem we’ll be okay depending on how long the patter runs.  Most of the patter intros are short, but the reality is there are twenty-four selections and the patter is the patter.  But we’ve asked for one five-minute dirge to be cut to three and I hope that can happen.  Anyway, it was a long five hours.

After that, I went to the mail place and picked up not much but we did get the first half of our royalty check for A Carol Christmas – first half was not too much, but the second half, which we’ll get in a couple of weeks will be more. Then I went to In N Out and got two cheeseburgers, came home and ate them and that was basically it for food, so slightly under 1000 calories.  I did some work on the computer but was just so tired that I went and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching the Japanese Blu and Ray of the Japanese production of Grand Hotel.  The all-woman cast did very well, and it was mostly the original Tommy Tune staging with just a couple of tiny adjustments, and as far as I could tell it was all the original costume designs, the Tony Walton set design, and the original lighting design.  The only thing that was really different was the orchestra was in the pit rather than on the second level of the set.  The reason for that is that the second act of the evening is a musical revue with a completely different set.  How they get that changed during intermission is anyone’s guess.  The show is cut down, like a Vegas tab version – but it still runs about an hour and thirty-five minutes or a bit more.  And I started to watch the revue, which is full on kitsch and very entertaining for that reason.  I’ll finish that at some point.

Then I watched a motion picture screener entitled Stan and Ollie.  I’ve heard mixed things about it, mostly people thinking it’s just “okay” but I kind of liked it quite a bit.  First off, John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan are really good and for my money better than the other actor who’s currently up for an Oscar for his impression of Dick Cheyney.  I actually believed Reilly and Coogan as the people they were playing, whereas the Cheyney portrayal seemed like a stunt to me.  The writing isn’t great and I have to say in the first five minutes they lost me and it took some time to get me back – when a PA comes to get Laurel and Hardy to film their dance number from Way Out West he says, “You’re wanted on set.”  Well, no, bad, do your damn research.  Saying “on set” has only been a thing since the late 80s, maybe even the late 90s. No one EVER said that even when I was working all the time, and certainly no one EVER said it in the 1930s. You’re wanted on the set is what they said, not on set.  Big demerit for that booboo.  And then the filming of the number is kind of a joke in terms of the director and more importantly Danny Huston’s overplaying of Hal Roach and those little scenes are just horribly written.  But it gets better as it goes and the two actors overcome the mediocrity of the writing and direction and score.

After that, I just relaxed and listened to music and twiddled my thumbs just because I was in a twiddling mood.

Today, I am sleeping in, baby, and will not set the alarm.  Once up, I have to write liner notes and I have to also finish up the concert commentary, which I’m going to need to keep short due to all the extra music.  I’ll eat something light but fun, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’ll relax.

Tomorrow will be exactly the same, Saturday will be exactly the same, and then Sunday I’ll be at the Autry at ten for sound check, then we do our first show at 1:00, then the second show at 5:00, and then we’re being taken out for a dinner at a nearby eatery.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, write liner notes and finish a commentary, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: We forgot that yesterday was Ask BK Day, so today will serve as 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, where I shall dream that people come, people go, like Grand Hotel in Japanese.

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