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December 17, 2019:

THE TWO-WEEK VACATION, SUCH AS IT IS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I have begun my two-week vacation, such as it is.  Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I, BK, have begun my two-week vacation, such as it is.  Yes, there’s a bit of work to be done and our final three titles to announce, hopefully this evening at midnight, yes, there’s one more set of liner notes to write, yes, there’s some prep work to do on what will hopefully be my twentieth book, yes, there’s the Christmas Eve Do to prepare for, but that’s the extent of any work, save for one callback session this evening.  Otherwise, I’m doing what I damn well please, I’m doing what the HELL I want, and that includes watching a lot of DGA screeners and Blu and Ray discs, listening to a lot of CDs, relaxing, and getting ready for a brand New Year.

Yesterday, I slept until eleven, but had difficulty falling asleep, so I probably only got seven hours of sleep, if that.  Once up, I answered lots o’ e-mails, did a bit of work at the piano, wrote the second set of liner notes and got them where they needed to go, then I went to Jerry’s Deli and had some excellent chicken tenders.  After that, I went to the mail place – the first of two trips – they are so busy that the USPS packages just sit there until the end of the day.  The irritant is that those of us who play money to get our mail there are treated like some kind of afterthoughts.  I’m probably going to have a chat with the owner about it, because he should hire on extra folks at this time of the year. It’s also become THE go-to spot for everyone to return all their Amazon packages – I’m not sure when that phenomenon began, but it is truly annoying on just about every level, especially level three.  So, I only got some packages.  Then I came home.

Once home, I did more work at the piano and computer, had some telephonic conversations, and listened to quite a bit of music.  Then at six, I went back to the mail place and got the rest of the packages, then came right back home.  I uploaded some more stuff into iTunes, and then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a DGA screener entitled Marriage Story, written and directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver and a kid who rather looks like the kid in Stanley Kubrick’s film of The Shining.  This film has gotten the kinds of reviews that make you think you’re going to see the second coming.  Well, for me, it was hardly the second coming or even the third or fourth coming.  It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, just longer.  The actors all do very good work, which will stand them in good stead, since the film clearly has Oscar bait written over every inch of it.  It wants to have it all ways from Sunday – a little Woody Allen, a little Ingmar Bergman, a little 1980s heartfelt family drama (think Kramer vs. Kramer), and Mr. Baumbach indulges what is obviously a Sondheim obsession, with not one but two songs from the musical about marriage, Company.  Of course, neither song makes any logical sense, and yet the Sondheads are THRILLED that their Lord and Master has these songs in the film.  And the film really gets bogged down with when the lawyers enter the picture – Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta – and that whole section of the film I found kind of a bore.  The movie clocks in at a way too long 135 minutes.  And then there’s the Randy Newman score – I’ve loved Mr. Newman for decades – his songs and his film scores – but this is my least favorite of all his scores and it’s very obtrusive in this film.  So, I didn’t hate it – the actors are all fun to watch, and there are some nice moments, but overall – sorry, not the second coming of anything at all.

After that, I had some pistachio nuts and an English muffin, and listened to more music – two of my favorites of the composers I’ve just discovered – Philippe Graubert and the great Janis Ivanovs, whose symphony number eight I’m listening to right now – magnificent.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven, I’ll prepare the eBlast for our three new releases, and then I’ll do some work at the piano, hopefully pick up some packages, eat, and then we have a couple of callbacks at seven, I think.  After that, I’ll watch a DGA screener.

Tomorrow, I may go to a little lecture thing in the early evening at the Beverly Hills library – an old chum does a lecture series there – has been for over a decade – and he’s playing the Guy Haines version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and asked if I’d come down.  Otherwise, just a relaxing day.  The rest of the week is more of the same, and then we resume performances of The Man Who Came to Dinner.  They insisted that some member do a pre-curtain speech to hawk subscriptions and I fought it and lost.  But it’s turned out exactly as I said it would – audiences bored to tears by people reading off a piece of paper in a monotone voice – you don’t sell anything that way and it’s one of the reasons it’s taken a while to warm up the audience.  So, I’m taking one for the team and I’ll do the pre-show announcements before each performance – I did the previews and the audiences like to have someone who’s energetic and fun.  And I can do it in under a minute.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eleven, prepare the eBlast and announcement for our final three CD releases of 2019, work at the piano and computer, hopfully pick up packages, eat, have callbacks, relax, and watch a screener.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite 2019 film and TV performances?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have begun my two-week vacation, such as it is.

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