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February 18, 2021:

WHERE IS THE WONDER?

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish listening to various opera arias originally released on 78s, conducted by John Barbirolli. This is a fun way to get a sense of operas I don’t know. The sound is, of course, from 78s but not bad at all and there are five full CDs of these, so this will be fun. I’d never played these when I went through the big Barbirolli discs – these are at the very end. I also listened to his Madama Butterfly again and it’s a superb recording with Renata Scotto and Carlo Bergonzi – great sound. I still prefer the von Karajan with Freni, but this is pretty much its equal. I tried to listen to Barbirolli’s Verdi Otello, but that one has horrid distortion right in the first bar of music and I can’t abide it and it’s a surprising problem on a lot of the Barbirolli CDs – not great engineering and I don’t think a single thing in that big ol’ box has been remastered. And I finished re-listening to Phyllis Tate’s opera of The Lodger, which I enjoyed much more on this second hearing of it. I also just had two In-N-Out cheeseburgers because I was so irritated at the two-and-a-half hours I wasted watching a completely wretched motion picture entitled Wonder Woman 84. Did no one actually read the script? It is monumentally stupid, and I cannot understand why people love this stuff, although they didn’t love this particular one. We get two villains, each one sillier than the other. I don’t know who Kristen Wiig is and after this film I don’t care to know. I mean, have I actually seen this woman in anything? Let’s check. I see she was a Saturday Night Live regular – haven’t seen a Saturday Night Live since 1978. Lots of film credits. I’ve seen exactly one film, the terrible movie The Martian and I have no idea what she played in that film nor do I have any memory of the film at all, other than I hated it. It’s just one ridiculous scene after another, including the ubiquitous girl power sequence of Wonder Woman as a kid on the island of whatever it is. I wasn’t going to eat anything else, but I had to after enduring the endless thing known as Wonder Woman 84 (or WW84 in cutesy marketing lingo). The director gets endless passes because – she’s a woman. For me, there are good directors and uninteresting directors and just because you can direct an action movie like a guy would doesn’t make you a good director. In fact, I don’t like many male OR female directors these days. It’s all about money, it’s all corporate, it’s all Oscar bait, it’s all comic book or tentpole or big openings. As Louis Jourdan said repeatedly in Gigi: It’s a bore. Oh, and the end credits? Teeny-tiny type. In fact, I think the best-directed film this past year is The Father. Always interesting, always direction in service of the story, no “now” BS.  And as I wrap up this paragraph an aria from Orfeo by Gluck is playing. I don’t know from Gluck, so it’s fun to hear. We’ve also had Verdi, Beethoven, Wagner (as repulsive a character as he was, he sure wrote beautiful music), Elgar, Handel, Bach, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – and that’s just on this one CD.

Yesterday was, I think, a day that was a little irritating straight down the line. Nothing major, certainly, but just little things. I got eight hours of sleep, so that was good and not irritating. I answered e-mails and got a nice dealer order, so that wasn’t irritating. Then I made some bow tie pasta with chicken and sauteed onions and some parmesan cheese – that wasn’t bad at all and pretty low calorie. And that’s all I had until I had to get the taste of WW84 out of my system by having two, not one, cheeseburgers from In-N-Out – they were very good. I was the only one in the jernt, but outside there was the usual line of cars, although not as long as usual. I’m always astonished at the people who eat that late – I normally don’t, especially from a fast-food place, but there are always lines at this jernt and Taco Bell and McDonald’s. Marshall came by and dropped off the hard drive again, and I spent time making a folder for the Blu-ray, presuming we can afford to actually do the thing. So, that folder has all twelve episodes of Outside the Box, the full-length version of the two shortened songs from Psycho, and the new shorter version of Animal Farm, which plays sooooo much better than the long cut that we aired. Glad we did that. I had a nice telephonic conversation with Sandy Bainum, who enjoyed our musical event and was curious how we did it. I’m not being shy about telling people how we did it, because I think it will be fun to see who will be the quickest to copy the way in which we did it. Anyway, it was fun to catch up. After that, I got the second song from Tonight’s the Night to proof and a nice dear reader is helping proof, as well, as my eye simply doesn’t catch stuff in sheet music, and we want to make sure all the lyrics are exactly right.

I went to the mail place and picked up a package that came back to us from overseas with nary and explanation as to WHY it came back. And here’s the part you will not believe – we sent this package one YEAR ago and it JUST came back. That’s service, baby, that’s service. Then I came home, did some stuff on the computer, and then sat on my couch like so much fish and the rest you know and you know the rest.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll eat something light, probably via Grubhub, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll so whatever needs doing and then at seven we have our callbacks via Zoom for project two. That will probably take an hour all told. We’ve called back everyone who auditioned, which is eighteen people. We’ll have one group of eight at seven, then the second group at seven-thirty, as I have to hear them all together, not separately. And the two other people will arrive at 7:45 and we’ll add them to group two by letting two other actors go. Then I’ll figure out who’s doing it and we can let them know on Friday. After that, I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week – well, there is no rest of the week, is there. Tomorrow, I’m not sure what will be, but something will be – I’ve finished choosing the Kritzerand show songs so still need to get them to a couple of our singers and it does look like the guest I was after will do it, so that’s good. I’ll go for one more guest and that will be that. At this point it looks like it’s just one guy and the rest women. And hopefully, the weekend will be quiet and relaxing.

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, eat, hopefully pick up packages, then have our callbacks, after which I’ll watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite superhero movies? I don’t like any of the ones from the last twenty years, I’m afraid. I find them dopey, ponderous, loud, annoying, especially the DC “universe” movies. But I do love the Richard Donner Superman – he knew what he was doing and so did the screenwriters, which is why that holds up so beautifully today. I didn’t love the first Batman movie, which Tim Burton directed, but in retrospect it was a zillion times better than any of the subsequent Batman movies. And then they all got dreary and depressing and angst-ridden and that was it for me. I liked Mighty Mouse, I loved the Superman TV show, didn’t like the silly Batman show, loved the Captain Marvel serial. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, wondering where the wonder went in Wonder Woman. Oh, and there’s a cutesy appearance by Lynda Carter halfway through the end credits. Thanks to CGI she looks like she did on TV. They have literally removed every wrinkle and blemish from her, but that’s what they do these days – that’s not moviemaking, that’s movies made in a computer and frankly I’m sick of it. End of rant and end of notes.

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