Well, dear readers, this week is flying by, like a gazelle pulling an inside straight whilst doing a pas de bourree. How many here have ever done a pas de bouree? I, myself, did a pas de bouree at the tender age of fourteen, when I attended dance class at the Roland Dupree studios, where the class was led by the one and only Roland Dupree. When he was teaching us the combination that would end that day’s class, he said for everyone to do a pas de bouree. Thankfully, he demonstrated what it was, since I had no clew what a pas de bouree was, other than it sounded like some kind of pastry. I couldn’t quite get the hang of the pas de bouree but it was not for lack of trying. I think I finally got it, but I was pretty certain that Mr. Dupree thought that either my feet or brain did not work properly. But I have it my all and did the combination, however poorly. These days, the only combination I do is Casa Vega – two cheese enchiladas and one beef taco. Of course, I wrote about Mr. Dupree, probably in Kritzer Time but perhaps even in Kritzerland. I do remember the music that Mr. Dupree played for that combination because I went out and bought it so I could practice at home. It was on a Capitol album by Billy May, called Big Fat Brass, and the selection was called Solving the Riddle. I have it in iTunes – perhaps I’ll put it on and attempt to do a pas de bouree, if only I could remember how to do it. I did enjoy Mr. Dupree. After about four lessons with him, he had to miss several classes and his replacement was none other than Mr. David Winters, who was the original Baby John on Broadway in West Side Story, and A-Rab in the film version. That was very impressive, and his combinations were very much in the style of West Side Story. I can’t imagine I did any better with his combination, but I did give it my all. I do remember him chuckling at my efforts a couple of times, and who could blame him, frankly. And I also remember the music he played – the soundtrack to Walk on the Wild Side, which I also went out and bought so I could practice at home. That selection was, I think, called Hallie’s Jazz. I stopped taking classes not long after Mr. Winters because there was school and other stuff to deal with. But a mere sixteen years later I was doing one of the four guest shots on Donny and Marie and lo and behold and behold and lo, there was Mr. Winters, who would be choreographing that episode. I reminded him of the class and I’m not sure he remembered but he said he did. And so, the man who chuckled at my attempts to do his combination, choreographed me, but by that time I could pretty much do any simple stuff thrown my way. And then about three years later, I got a call from my manager saying that I’d been offered a role in a film called Racquet. I asked why anyone would offer me a film and was told the director had requested me – David Winters. When I read the script, I saw it was only a couple of scenes and it wasn’t very good, so I turned it down. They came back and offered more money. But it wasn’t enough to make me care, so I turned it down again. They asked what it would take for me to accept, so the manager tripled the dough they’d offered and said main title billing on my own card and my name on the poster. And rather to our amazement, they said okay. It’s a dreadful movie, but there I was with my own card and my name on the poster. Go know. What the HELL am I talking about?
Yesterday wasn’t much of a day at all. I got seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, got up, did stuff that needed doing, did some work at the piano, cast another person for the November show who, while not a name, I think will be a wonderful addition to the show. I was determined to spend no money on food and to that end I made a frozen pizza – total calories were 1500, so I only ate a little over half, for a 900-calorie count. It wasn’t horrible. I did some work on the piano, listened to a track and approved it, did some work at the computer, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched two motion pictures on Blu and Ray – the first motion picture was entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy (as opposed to Stephen Sondheim’s Frenzy). I first saw the film at a private screening a few months before its release. I quite liked a lot of it – in certain ways, after Topaz, it felt like a real Hitchcock movie, but the first to have nudity. Everyone always acts like Frenzy was a huge step to do violence for Hitchcock – I guess they don’t remember Psycho. What I didn’t care for was some of the casting – I didn’t care for Jon Finch, although part of that is the writing, I really didn’t like either Jean Marsh or Billie Whitelaw, although that, too, may have just been the characters. The slam dunk casting was Anna Massey, who was great, and the brilliant trio of Alec McGowan, Vivien Merchant, and Michael Bates, and the villain of Barry Foster. They were all wonderful. The best scenes in the film are between McGowan and Merchant – really funny and wonderful. The set pieces are all done very well, too. I always want to like the Ron Goodwin score more than I do. As you probably know, Henry Mancini was the original composer (I have a trade ad for the film in which his name appears) and was let go after Hitchcock heard the main title. If you go to the Tube of You you can see the Mancini main title married to the film and I have to say I prefer it – it does two things at once – it sounds majestic, which is what Hitchcock seemed to want – Elgar-ish – but it also has a hint of menace, which I like a lot. Of course, I’d love to hear what else he wrote but I guess we never will. It would have also been fun to hear what Herrmann would have done with it. It’s still entertaining to watch. The transfer is the old DVD job but it looks okay – not very like film but the color is pretty good.
I then watched the 2017 motion picture Get Out on Blu-ray. I’d only seen it on a DGA screener, and I enjoyed it and bought the Blu-ray but hadn’t actually watched it. It really is most entertaining, with excellent performances, a decent script that isn’t quite as good as it thinks it is, and it’s directed well. I really like Allison Williams in it, but everyone’s good except for the indulgent actor who plays Williams’ brother – I wrote about him when I first watched it, so no need to belabor the point – but he’s a mumbler and just so full of shmacting that it makes me want to run from the room. Transfer is fine, as you’d expect it would be.
After that, I did a quick Gelson’s run for today’s food – tuna and some buns (that Hawaiian bun thing). Once back home, I listened to music, read some of Grant’s new huge tome on EC Comics, and that was that.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I will absolutely choose the final two songs, I’ll probably hear some more tracks, I’ll do work at the piano and the computer, I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and mail, then I have a Zoom one-on-one with someone I haven’t seen or talked to in over thirty years, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.
The rest of the week is more of the same and I hope to lock down two guests for the show. Guess I’m not having a lunch meeting.
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, choose two songs, hear tracks, do work at the piano and the computer, eat, hopefully pick up packages and mail, have a Zoom thing, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: How many of you have taken any kind of dance lessons, whether ballet, jazz, tap, or ballroom? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I attempt to do a pas de bouree directly after I post these here notes.