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November 16, 2020:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I’m sitting here like so much fish, having finished with Leonard Bernstein’s Sibelius cycle, which is even better than I remembered, and now listening to the Akeo Watanabe cycle – not his more recent but recorded from 1960 to 1962, the very first stereo cycle of Sibelius symphonies and therefore of historic importance to those who like historic importance.  They also happen to be wonderful performances – not all are perfect, but there is much to love about this set, which has sadly never been issued on CD, not for want of my trying to do just that.  Maybe someday.  These are not fussy performances, or “here’s my vision” performances – these are honest and very musical performances recorded well – the band is fine – not the New York Philharmonic or Philadelphia but fine.  These were issued in a box set on Epic Records, the Columbia subsidiary. Because it was the first cycle in stereo, it sold very well.  I got a minty fresh LP set about three years ago, along with a reel-to-reel tape, but sadly at the slower speed.  I had that transferred to digital but wasn’t happy with the quality at all.  But someone has uploaded the entire cycle to the Tube of You – they must be from LP, but you’d never know it – they sound incredible, whatever the source.  Frankly, I never tire of these symphonies.  Other than that, I’ve had some grapes, an apple, and still I’m hungry but I shan’t give in to the hunger pangs.  I shall hang tough and that’s all there is to it.

Yesterday wasn’t such a bad day.  I got eight hours of sleep, I shaved and showered, as I wanted to look kempt and smell nice for the Zoom rehearsal, which was in Smell-O-Vision.  The rehearsal was with Peyton Kirkner and Mackenzie Wrap, two of our favorite young performers.  We went over the details of their duet and they’re all set now.  Then we rehearsed Peyton’s solo and that’s now all set, too. After that, I made tuna for tuna sandwiches and ate two of them and they were great.  I had a few taffy candies, too.  Then I did some work on the computer, had a telephonic call about Doug’s play and we’ll now set a rehearsal schedule and figure out the shoot details.

I also began work on project two – just feeling my way as I go, to see if I can pull off what I think is a good idea.  I also, out of the blue, got an idea for a new book that I can start in January.  I came up with a catchy title already and know what the conceit of the book is and now I’ll begin making notes and I’ll probably even write a couple of pages next month, just so on January 1 I’ll already be into writing it – that’s served me very well in the past.  After all that, I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I attempted to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but I actively hate it – it’s not a real Hitchcock movie, and while his direction is professional, it’s just not what he’s about – he’s not a guy who should have ever made a screwball comedy.  I don’t even care for the writing by Norman Krasna, a very hit and miss writer, at least for me.  After that, I watched the 1959 Brit remake of The 39 Steps, directed by Ralph Thomas.  When he told Hitchcock he was going to do it, Hitchcock told him if he had the chutzpah to do it to do it but that it would never be as good.  Needless to say, Hitch was right.  Thomas made a silly mistake of playing for laughs – it’s not a comedy, Ralph.  Kenneth More is a fine actor, but too bland for this kind of film.  Taina Elg I’ve always found interesting – she’s just very cute but not a great actress – she got panned for this, but I like her fine.  The rest of the cast all seem like they should be in a Carry On film.  The Brit DVD is zoomed in and full frame, which does the film no favors, and the color is a little brown for my taste.  I’d only seen this once before, when I first got it about twelve years ago – it’s not horrid, but it’s certainly not good.  Then I watched about twenty minutes of the comedy, Who Was That Lady, by the same Norman Krasna who wrote Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  I saw it at my beloved Stadium Theater when it came out in 1960 and thought it very funny back then, as did the audience.  I remembered many things from it before seeing it again when this DVD came out – until then, I hadn’t seen it at all.  Thus far, it’s still cute.  There’s a main title song, but the minute the first score cue kicked in directly after that I knew instantly it was Andre Previn.  The film stars Tony Curtis, then-wife Janet Leigh, and Dean Martin, with Larry Storch recreating his role from the Broadway play from which the film was adapted.  The play starred Peter Lind Hayes, wife Mary Healy, and Ray Walston.  I’ll finish it up tonight.

After that, I did a quick Gelson’s run, just to get a couple of items I need for today and tomorrow’s meal.  There were only two checkout lines open and both had lines.  The Gelson’s deal is that they never allow that to happen.  I happened to be next to the manager’s desk and asked him to please open more checkout lanes – he said his other staff were on breaks.  I merely said, “This is not why we shop at Gelson’s and pay higher prices.”  He apologized and magically just two minutes later another lane was opened and I got in that line and was out of there two minutes later.

I knew I’d be hungry, and I’d been on the verge of making a frozen dinner, but I just didn’t want those calories, so at Gelson’s I bought some tiny bay shrimp and four regular size shrimp.  I made some cocktail sauce and that was my snack for a net of zero calories.  That enabled me to have a few more taffy candies and I think I ended up around 1100 calories.  Then I began the Watanabe cycle of Sibelius and have been enjoying it right up to the time of beginning these here notes.  Oh, and I chose the final song.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll begin to schedule the Zoom rehearsals for the rest of the cast, I’ll continue finding my way with project two, I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and I’ll continue figuring out how I want to shoot Doug’s play.  After all that, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same and I’ll have a visitor one day, and I’m sure we’ll have some Zoom rehearsals this week, as I want to get those out of the way.  I also want to have more diverse meals – I’ve been eating from the same jernts or making the same things over and over and over and I need some new flavors making their way into my hungry maw.  So, I’ll start looking at the many restaurants on Grubhub and Postmates.  I am growing increasingly bored with Grubhub – one of the come-ons to do the free delivery monthly charge was that they had daily deals.  Well, I have seen no evidence of that, whereas Postmates sends me deals every single day, mostly 30% off and they also will deliver from restaurants much further away.  I think what happens with these companies is that once you do the monthly fee (ten bucks) they stop giving you offers.  So, I’ll probably stop the monthly thing with Grubhub and then they’ll start making with the offers again.

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, schedule Zoom rehearsals, have Zoom rehearsals, plug away at project two, eat, hopefully pick up packages, continue figuring out how I want to shoot Doug’s play, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Tony Curtis and Dean Martin? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, glad to have started on project two and gotten an idea I like for what will hopefully be book 21.

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