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February 28, 2021:

MINDLESS NOTES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am getting to these here notes very late so I shan’t tarry or dally or procrastinate or think, I shall write mindless words and sentences and paragraphs until they add up to mindless notes, rather like we have every day. There, I’ve said it and I’m glad and I’m glad I said it. Right now, I’m listening to disc three of a Richard Strauss opera called Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Frau Ohne Schatten). I gather this was not well thought of when it premiered, but it has somehow endured and is well thought of now, which happens more than it should, let’s face it. Have you ever faced it? If so, was it facing you at the same time? Where was I? Oh, yes, Die Frau Ohne Schatten. I’m quite enjoying it, especially after listening to Mr. Hans Werner Heinz’s incredibly strange children’s opera, Pollicino. I’m not much of a fan of Mr. Heinz’s musical meanderings, but I am fond of his ketchup. I’d listened to a bit of it on YouTube and it sounded like it was cute, so I took a chance. It is cute – for about five minutes. It’s like Mr. Heinz crosspollinated with Mr. Weill while on a bad LSD trip. I don’t think I need to hear it again. So, the Strauss was a relief, I must say, and I have said. And I have another Strauss opera waiting in the wings, entitled Die Agyptische Helena (The Agyptische Helena), which I know nothing about and about which I know nothing. And earlier, for reasons I don’t know, I decided to watch the Blu and Ray of Levi. I see a few things I’d fix up a bit now in the book, but I am so proud of the production itself – the look of it, the flow and pace, and especially Marc Ginsberg’s performance. The student actors all worked very hard and I’m very proud of them, but I see things that I’d love to see with really good pros, because I think that would help certain aspects of it. It was fun to see on the big boy TV. Oh, and has anyone noticed that this is the last day of February? I hate short months like this, for a whole slew of reasons. But, tomorrow we march into March with head’s high and it is my fervent hope and prayer that March will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.

Yesterday wasn’t much of a day. I was up at eight-thirty and out the door at nine. It was very windy and nippy out. I decided on Jinky’s for breakfast and ordered my usual eggs benedict and potatoes. But it was really cold and windy and unpleasant, and I’d have been better off at Hugo’s, whose patio dining is in a real enclosed patio with heaters. I sincerely hope I don’t catch anything.  So, I killed very little time there because I needed warmth. So, I drove about a half-mile, parked, and went through the book, just skimming and clarifying some of my corrections.

That killed some time. The joke was, of course, that as soon as I left Jinky’s, the wind died down and it got hot. Go know. Once home, I answered e-mails, then did a work session via the telephonic device and that went well. After that, I began listening to stuff and doing a few more things on the computer. But I actually have no idea where the damn afternoon went but it was over quickly. I had a couple of hot dogs for the evening snack. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, prior to watching Levi, I watched a Blu-ray of The Cunning Little Vixen, which I’d seen on DVD – the Nicholas Hytner production with sets and costumes by Bob Crowley. I just love the music, but it’s really a weird little libretto and I don’t think I need to ever watch it again. Listening to it is just fine – that way, I appreciate the music and the performances and since it’s not in English I don’t have to hear the story. Levi you know about.

I spent more time on newspapers.com, which is fascinating as always. What’s really fascinating is how crystal clear my memory is about what I saw when and where. But occasionally I am quite wrong about things. For example, after seeing North by Northwest several times at the Wiltern, I saw it at other theater, one of which I write at length about in the Kritzer books because my memory of that is so vivid. And for all those years I was sure I’d seen it at the ratty New View Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. But it never played there. It did play across the street at the Academy, another ratty theater, so I thought that’s where I saw it and it made some kind of sense. But in looking through 1959s newspapers I see that the same week it played the Academy it played my beloved Stadium Theater near my house and I know I saw it there on the Saturday matinee, as it was a school week. So, how could I have seen it that same weekend in Hollywood. But then last night I saw that it played during Christmas vacation of that year at the Admiral, another ratty theater at Hollywood and Vine. It doesn’t feel right, that theater, but it would make sense. All I remember for sure is that it was pouring rain when I came out of there and I remember running down Hollywood Blvd. to the bus stop. The Academy location would make more sense, location-wise, but if I’d wanted to see it twice that week I would have just seen it at the Stadium that October. So, I’m thinking the Admiral is correct.

And for years, I knew I’d seen The High and the Mighty at the Village. I didn’t even look it up because the memory of it was so strong – and seeing it there several times. Guess what? It never played there. It played the Picwood and that’s where I had to have seen it several times, but at least I had the Westwood part right. But mostly I’m spot on. Someone posted in a thread about the Picwood on Facebook, that the first movie this person’s father had taken her to in LA was in 1954 at the Picwood – The Creature from the Black Lagoon. So, I checked – never played there unless it was a reissue a year later, which I seriously doubt. The fact is, The Creature from the Black Lagoon opened in three theaters in 3-D – the Ritz, which was on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile, and the Vogue in Hollywood and some other theater downtown. Interestingly, it only played two weeks and then disappeared completely, not even playing the nabes. Now, perhaps it was eventually shown again in 2-D, since that’s the way I saw it at some point, but it wasn’t in 1954 because I went through that entire year and halfway into 1955. I suspect I saw it at a kiddie show.

Gee, I thought I was writing short, mindless notes. But before I go on, even though I’m not going to really announce until tomorrow night, if you want to beat the crowd, the two new Kritzerland releases are up. I’ve had so many people begging for the five volumes of Bagley Cole Porter CDs, that I finally gave in. So, the first two volumes are up – Cole Porter Revisited and Unpublished Cole Porter Volume II which, in Bagley weirdo world, is really Cole Porter Revisited Volume II. That’s our Ben. Here are the covers.

So, order away.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up and I hope that Grant will be true to his word and that we can get the book corrections done, which will finish his work. Other than that, I’ll relax a bit, but I also have to write something, and also do stuff for project two prior to our Zoom meet and greet. So, not exactly a day off.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up by nine-thirty and out the door by about ten-forty to go to CVS and get the first vaccine shot, which I’m not really looking forward to, but one has to do what one hast to do. After that’s done, I’ll come right home and rest, which I understand is the best thing to do, post-shot. Then we have a Zoom rehearsal at seven. The rest of the week is more of the same and the only day off, so to speak, is Thursday, otherwise we work on project two aka project two right through Sunday, and then there’ll be one additional hour of work to do. So, a very busy week it will be.

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, hopefully enter corrections in the book, relax, and then have our Zoom meet and greet. Not sure when I’ll eat but at some point, I’ll have to. 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, now ready to post the mindless notes.

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