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April 22, 2020:

SAUERKRAUT WESTERNS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we all know about spaghetti westerns, oh, yes, we all know about spaghetti westerns but how about sauerkraut westerns?  Yes, there are such things and they predate the spaghetti westerns.  I just happened to watch one I’ve had on Blu-ray forever but had never watched.  Winnetou was the name of it, based on very successful books by Karl May.  Like the spaghetti westerns that would follow, these were multinational casts – this one has Lex Barker, a French actor was Indian Winnetou, the villain is Eyetalian – you get the idea.  Now, this is like no western you’ve ever seen.  I mean, it has all the trappings of a western – cowboys, Indians, bad guys, good guys, but it’s just weird.  It’s beautiful to look at, the acting is stiff, as you’d imagine, it’s horribly dubbed but the Spaghettis are too, occasionally, and for whatever reason, everything feels a little off.  But it was definitely influential on bringing forth the spaghetti westerns, and the Winnetou films were all huge hits in Germany.  They didn’t get to the US until 1965, which was still two years ahead of A Fistful of Dollars.  These were filmed in Croatia of all places, so that probably accounts for some of the weirdness, although I don’t know why.  The musical score is a cross between a standard western score (complete with harmonica theme) and John Barry.  But I kind of enjoyed it and the two sequels, Winnetou 2 and Winnetou 3 are also in this set.  The first film made from a Karl May book was made in 1963 – I have that, too, in the garage and will find it and watch.

Now, in the same way the sauerkraut westerns are just weird and unlike anything you’ve seen, we turn to the symphonies of Alan Hovhaness.  I don’t know what to think – I really like his music but it’s simply unlike anything you’ve ever heard, but in structure and tonality (and it is some sort of tonal) – he is his own unique creation, Mr. Hovhaness is.  We issued one of his works back in the Bay Cities days, but I’ve never had the time nor the inclination to start with his symphonies.  Why?  Because there are sixty-seven of them.  Yes, you heard that right, dear readers, Mr. Hovhaness wrote sixty-seven symphonies.  Some have never been recorded, but many of them have, and then there are some that had radio broadcasts.  So, I grabbed symphonies 1,2,3,4,6,8,9,10, and 11, and began with those.  And I must say they are just endlessly fascinating. Some are glorious, some are repetitious and not to my liking, but all are at least intriguing and interesting.  So, I’m looking forward to more of his music.  Say, don’t I have notes to write?

Yesterday was yet another day.  I got just under eight hours of sleep.  I answered e-mails, ascertained there was no mail, then decided I would have Kentucky Fried Chicken aka KFC for food.  I would have done Popeye’s, but delivery from there doesn’t allow one to actually get what one wants, which is two mild breasts and attendant biscuits.  You are forced to buy combos and meals and you can’t specify that you don’t want dark meat.  But you can get separate things from KFC.  I ordered one crispy breast, one chicken sandwich, a side of corn, a small side of cole slaw, and two biscuits.  It all arrived about twenty-five minutes later and delivery, like everything I order, was free.  I wish I could say it was good, but alas, it was merely adequate.  In my married days, when the darling daughter was young, we used to get KFC every now and then and always enjoyed it.  I haven’t really had it in probably thirty years.  The crispy breast was a little soggy for my taste and I only ate a little more than half of it.  The chicken sandwich was okay – not bad, not great.  I had one biscuit, which was just kind of lumpen.  The corn was good and I always liked their cole slaw so that was good, too.  In the end, I don’t need to ever eat KFC again.

After that, I did some work at the piano and then on the computer, and then at six I did a Zoom session with Richard Allen, which actually worked out very well.  We routined all the songs, and so now he can create the piano tracks for the singers, and they’ll all be getting them in the next day or so. So, that was a big load off.  That took about an hour-and-fifteen-minutes.  After that, I sat on my couch like so much fish and watched the Winnetou motion picture.  In the US the film ran around ninety-six minutes, but this copy has the full-length version, which runs around 102 minutes.  So, when you’re watching the English dub and any scene comes on that was snipped for the US, you get German dialogue or no sound at all.  But the only think they cut for the US was all the comedy relief, including a bumbling photographer who didn’t even appear in the US version, and he’s so unfunny that that was a wise choice.  There’s also another character prone to funny and while he remains all his quips have been excised.

After that, I took a drive around the neighborhood, then went to Rite Aid and got some low-calorie sweets just to have around the home environment.  Then I came home and listened to music and relaxed.

Today, I’ll get out of bed when I get out of bed, then I have stuff to do on the computer, including making a show order and starting to write the commentary.  I’ll eat, probably here, then I have a telephonic meeting in the afternoon for the Kritzerland show to hammer out each and every detail.  I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll watch another Winnetou movie, then I’ll take a drive of some sort, and then I’ll listen to music and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same and we are in desperate need of some little and large miracles around these here parts in this crazy time we’re all going through.  And, of course, I’ll be getting the Kritzerland Live show ready, with those Zoom or Skype rehearsals.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, get out of bed when I get out of bed, do stuff on the computer, make a show order and write commentary, eat, probably here, have a telephonic meeting, hopefully pick up packages, watch, listen, take a drive, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are you eating whilst staying at home.  What are you cooking, what are you bringing in, let’s hear it and with yummilicious detail.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have seen an authentic sauerkraut western.

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