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January 3, 2021:

THE DAYS OF FUTZING AND FINESSING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, after an extremely busy little Saturday, I’m finally sitting here like so much fish, listening to more Entartete music, namely an opera called Sarlatan by Pavel Haas, yet another talented young man killed by the Nazis. He was a student of Janacek and his music, while not quite up to Janacek, is clever and fun and this is a comic opera. Recording-wise, this isn’t great – the band sounds under-rehearsed and a bit sloppy and the engineers haven’t done anyone any favors, balance-wise. It’s perfectly okay, not terrible, but should be much better. That said, I really am enjoying it and the singers are good. Pavel Haas’ brother is probably known to some here, fans of B-movies – he was actor/director Hugo Haas.  Prior to that, I’d finished listening to Massenet’s Thais, which I adored. I only knew the famous Meditation piece, which is stunning, but the entire opera is filled with wonderful melodies of high quality. I’m now interested in hearing others by him and because I had some Amazon credit to eat up, I ordered Werther and one other whose name is escaping me and which I’m too lazy to look up. The Thais I have is a wonderful recording with Beverly Sills in the lead and she sounds just wonderful. The Renee Fleming version is also supposed to be very good, and I’ve noted there are several DVD and Blu-rays available, but I don’t recognize any of the players on those. I also listened to a really charming French opera by a favorite composer of mine – it feels more like a musical comedy than an opera, really, and I could issue it if I thought it might be of interest to folks. It’s based on a play by a famous author and has also been musicalized by a composer who’s done several off-Broadway shows. The issue in issuing it is, no libretto, just a synopsis, but half the stuff I get, even the biggest recordings, no longer come with libretti. What do you think? I think that was all I listened to. I never got to watch anything because what I thought would be a lighter day ended up being anything but that.

Yesterday, I got about five-and-a-half hours of sleep, got up, she of the Evil Eye arrived and, after doing a few things on the computer, I left her to her own devices. Rather than have breakfast in the car, which smells up the car pretty good, I decided to do a drive over the hill, as I needed to do a little research.  I always enjoy that, and especially enjoy when I’m right on the money with my memory. I drove around for about an hour, then took Benedict Canyon home. I don’t think I’ve taken Benedict Canyon in quite a while, so that was interesting. I used to take it all the time but got so used to Beverly Glen that I’d completely forgotten about it, really. Once back in the Valley, I parked and had a finessing session on the cell phone and got another song locked. Then I drove around a bit more, then it was finally time for me to come home.

Once home, I ordered from Hugo’s – pasta papa – and it arrived very quickly about twenty minutes later, so I had plenty of time to eat it before the one o’clock Zoom session. I have to say, it wasn’t as good as usual – oh, it was still good, but it’s usually perfect. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the issue was, but I still finished it all up.

Then I had the Zoom session and that was fun. After that, I finally began to futz and finesse the previous day’s writing – I actually went back to the start again, and added more details and fleshed out a few things, removed a few things, added more stuff and finally got back to where I’d left off. Then I finally wrote two new pages.  Then it was more finessing tracks, another two of them, which took some time, but we only have about three left to do, I think. But it was hard going from that back to the book back to the tracks and on and on.  But I wrote more new pages, took a few music breaks, wrote more new pages, picked up quite a few packages in including two very errant ones – one had taken exactly one MONTH to get from New Jersey to here. The other took three weeks on a similar route. Outrageous, and yes, I’m looking at you USPS. Even better, both important envelopes had arrived – the most important was posted on December 28 and took five days to travel from Burbank to Valley Village, approximately ten miles. Outrageous, and yes, I’m looking at you USPS.

Once back home, I ate a cupcake I’d gotten next door to the mail place (which, by the way, was jammed with a long line out the door – ALL Amazon returns). Then I alternated between writing new pages and listening to music. Ultimately, I wrote seventeen new pages in addition to all that futzing and finessing I did. I’m learning the character’s quirks, which is why I keep adding things, and the main story has already kicked in, so I have to get that right in terms of clarity and pacing. But so far I’m having fun with it. The rest you know.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’m sure we’ll finish finessing the tracks and then I’ll have to listen to all of them, then they’ll go to our cast. I’ll also futz and finesse what I’ve written, then move on and write new pages – at least ten, maybe even more if I’m feeling it. I think there might be a package coming tomorrow, so if there is I’ll pick that up. I’m thinking about making something here for food – I have stuff for Wacky Noodles or pasta with red sauce or butter and cheese, or tuna sandwiches. And then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax. I’ve gotten a few more screeners, but there isn’t one of them that sounds interesting to me.  I wish we’d get some of the Netflix stuff.

Tomorrow is more of the same, but I have to start the day doing the banking thing – going from bank to bank thanks to Bank of America changing their rules. That went pretty smoothly last time and I’m hoping it will on Monday. Then I’ll write, futz and finesse, and make sure everything is ready to start filming project one starting on Tuesday and ending on Thursday or Friday. Everything is broken down into sequences, and the sequences in and of themselves are never more than a few pages. We’re going to try and do four sequences a day, and then the actors will shoot four songs a day either before or after that. I’m very excited to start this process. The rest of the week is more of the same – writing in the first half of the day, filming in the second half – so, a very, very busy week.

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, finish finessing tracks, futz and finesse and then write new pages, hopefully pick up packages, eat, write, take breaks, write, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I continue the days of futzing and finessing.

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