Well, dear readers, anyone else notice that January is almost done? How can that be? Just thought I’d mention it in case anyone still thought January still had a lot to go. In other news, I’m sitting here like so much fish, listening to a very interesting opera by Ferruccio Busoni entitled Doktor Faust from the Faust legend. I’m on third CD – the instrumental stuff is really pretty fine and there’s a lot of it, but the whole thing is kind of like nothing you’ve ever heard and I’m really enjoying it. This recording is on Deutsche Grammophon, but there are subsequent recordings that are complete and with an alternate ending, since Busoni died before he’d finished the last few pages. I don’t know if I need to hear any more – apparently the cuts are small and inconsequential. The lead performance by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is stupendous and so is the sound. The other thing I’ve been listening to for the last four hours is the sound of rain. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, it is raining here in sunny California, and I like it and especially the sound of it. And throughout the day and evening I proofed another sixty-something page, so I’m 100 pages in now, so that’s good. And now, the Busoni has finished, and I’ve moved on to Mr. Benjamin Britten’s opera of Mr. William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, conducted by Britten and featuring the ubiquitous Mr. Peter Pears. I’m waiting for someone to throw me a tune, but it’s certainly interestingly orchestrated. What else can I tell you? Well, Barry Pearl got an Ovation nomination for his performance in my production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, so that was nice. What else can I tell you? I saw a fun screen shot of what one of the effects scene will look like and I was very pleased with it. What else can I tell you? I got a residual from Audible – won’t quite pay for a twelve-pack of Diet Coke, but it’s always nice when money just shows up. Well, perhaps it’s time to move on to paragraph two since I have run out of things I can tell you in this paragraph and we’ve had all the news that’s fit to print. Now, we’ll have some that’s not fit to print.
Yesterday moved right along. I got seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, answered e-mails, had a couple of telephonic conversations, did a few things on the computer, then started the day’s proofing. After an hour of that, I made some Wacky Noodles, a very good batch it was, too. I ate that all up (a bit less than I usually make), then I moseyed on over to the mail place and picked up some packages including a new screener. I came right home, proofed more, had more telephonic conversations, then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched a DGA screener entitled News of the World, starring Tom Hanks, directed by Paul Greengrass. I’ve enjoyed some of Mr. Greengrass’s films, despite his proclivity for shaky cam. But there was none of that on display in this film, I’m happy to say. I had no idea what this film was about from the posters, but the one thing I absolutely didn’t think it was is what it turned out to be – a western. I guess they don’t want people to know that. It’s a leisurely paced film and I really liked it a lot. Mr. Hanks is his usual excellent self and his co-star, twelve-year-old newcomer Helena Zengel, a German child actress, gives a great performance, most of which is sans dialogue. She has a great face, and she should get an Oscar nomination for it, as should Mr. Hanks. It looks great, too. Of course, it’s gotten a lot of good reviews but not one single four- or five-star review, just a lot of nitpicking from reviewers who give four and five stars with no nitpicks to Da 5 Bloods, a film I don’t think I’ll be able to get through. It’s just amazing to me. I think this current batch of critics is the worst I’ve ever seen and I’m quite bored of them all. Considering I have turned off so many of the screeners or simply not liked the ones I’ve lasted through, I’m grateful to this film and The Father and The Life Ahead for being as good as they are. None are masterpieces, but, you know, we’ll take what we can get.
After that, I had a little ice cream, proofed more, and then sat on my couch like so much fish again.
I then watched the first twenty-five minutes of the new Blu and Ray of The Pajama Game. It’s never been a favorite film of mine, mostly due to the terrible DVD transfer and just not loving the story. The real problem with the film is John Raitt. I’m sure he was fine onstage, but the camera really hates him and that’s really hard to overcome. Whereas the camera LOVES Doris Day. Sadly, the camera also hates Carol Haney, whereas the camera LOVES the gal who understudied her on Broadway, Shirley MacLaine. The score is mostly wonderful, with several hits. The Bob Fosse choreography for the group numbers is very busy – he was still figuring all that stuff out and they just don’t quite work, but boy then comes Steam Heat and there is Fosse in
full flower. Also, a side note, I’ve never understood Eddie Foy Jr. I find him charmless and completely unfunny, but he worked quite a bit back then. But here’s the good news – the transfer is incredible. There’s no way the release prints ever looked this good. The color is superb, it’s very sharp and detailed, and I was blown away over it. Have you ever been blown away? I hate being blown away because then I have to come back to where I was. Anyway, a winner of a transfer.
Still waiting for a tune in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I’m getting used to its musical style and enjoying it. It’s quite a good recording, too. And the rest you know because you read the first paragraph and are completely up to date.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll proof throughout the day and evening, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat something light, I’ll hopefully see an effects sequence, but not sure that won’t happen until the weekend – I was hoping to lock everything today, but I don’t think that’s going to be happening as we haven’t gotten the smoothed out sound files back yet and once we do then Marshall Harvey and I have to view it and make sure we’re completely happy with it – if not, we’ll use the original version, which I was pretty happy with. After all that, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.
Tomorrow, she of the Evil Eye will be here, so I’ll have to go have a little breakfast somewhere and that somewhere will depend on the weather and whether outdoor dining is happening anywhere. But mostly the weekend will be spent finishing proofing the book and then entering all those typo fixes and whatever else I’ve done. Then next week we really have to hope for part three of the major miracle.
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, proof throughout the day and evening, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player? I’ll start – CD, after A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I think we just had a tune) will come Britten conducting some of his most popular works, which I’m looking forward to. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, and that, dear readers, is all the news that’s fit to print.