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May 6, 2020:

THERE ARE A MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to music, and pondering the posts about Nudie Musical, both here and on the Facebook.  I’ve never sat and thought much about how a silly little movie might have brought happiness and laughs to folks.  I’m always taken aback by some of the stories I’ve heard over the years, from the person in Chicago who wrote me to tell me how much he loved the movie and that he and his friends had formed a John Smithee fan club.  Or today on Facebook, a nice fellow saying he knew his future husband was the one for him because he showed him the movie and future hubby laughed loudly all the way through it – he said, “That’s when I knew he was a keeper.”  Some saw it first run, some saw it at revival houses (it was more popular than people know), and many saw it via early cable TV – we were one of the first hits on cable).  Or the kid who showed up at my door in 1981 on Halloween, kept staring at me while I got some candy for him, and then blurted out, “I know who you are – I just saw that nudie movie on cable!”  He was all of eleven.  We just laughed and laughed.  But that’s the power of movies, no matter which movies they may be, from terrible to masterpiece and everywhere in between, if the movie holds some importance or delight or treasured memory, then who can argue with that.  Certainly not I.  And therefore, I shan’t.  Anyway, it was fun reading your reminiscences and the ones on Facebook and knowing there are a million stories in the naked city.

Otherwise, yesterday was a pretty okay day. I got almost eight hours of sleep, got up, did stuff that needed doing, ascertained that there was no packages or mail to gather up, and ordered food from Island’s.  That arrived a little later and it was excellent and oh those fries are so yummilicious.  After that, I cast three of the five regulars for the June Kritzerland, if we can even pull it together quickly enough, which I’m hopeful we can.  I did some work at the piano and then on the computer, took a drive, and then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched another great Polanski movie, Repulsion.  I saw it, probably on its opening day, although I can’t quite remember where it played, which is unusual.  I know it opened in just one theater but I’m going to see if I can figure out which.  It was 1965 and I don’t think it opened in a huge theater or anything – maybe like the Beverly Canon or the Music Hall or the Fine Arts, one of those kinds of theaters.  It’s a great film, but unlike Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby and even The Ghost Writer, it’s not one I can watch too often – it’s really disturbing and creepy and nightmare inducing.  Catherine Deneuve is great in it, it has an unnerving score by jazzman Chico Hamilton, great photography by Gil Taylor, and excellent supporting performances.  It was a super low budget affair, but you’d never know it.  The transfer on the Criterion Blu-ray is excellent.

After that, I tried, oh, yes, I tried to watch another movie.  I began with Jacques Tati’s first feature length film, Jour de Fete.  It’s cute but also tiresome, and I kept falling asleep.  I finally shut it off.  Then I began watching the film that made him famous, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.  I do remember where I saw Hulot – at the Lido Theater, which graces the cover of Benjamin Kritzer.  That would have been around September or October of 1954.  I remember being there vividly, and I remember not really understanding the comedy.  It was the English-language version, not that that made a difference, since there is almost no dialogue in the film.  It’s fun to watch, but not my favorite Tati – I much prefer the film that followed it, Mon Uncle, which I also saw at the Lido, and Playtime, which is my favorite film of his.  I got about fifteen minutes into it, because I started by watching the original 1953 release but switched over to Tati’s 70s re-edit.  He tinkered with it many times.  The 1953 version is longer by about twelve minutes, but the quality of that transfer is not so great, so I chose the shorter version, although I didn’t really notice any big differences in the first fifteen minutes.  I’ll finish it tonight and maybe even watch Mon Uncle while I’m at it.

After that, I relaxed and listened to music and then it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll choose songs and start thinking about who in New York I’d like to have join us and try to cast the last two singers.  I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat (not sure if I’ll make something or order in), and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same – planning Kritzerland, and that will require several telephonic conversations, and I’ll do some cleaning of the house and organizing and have my daily and/or nightly drive.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, choose songs, think about New York singers and who the other two cast members in LA might be, I’ll eat, hopefully pick up packages, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s 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, happy to have heard a portion of the million stories in the naked city about Nudie Musical.

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