I always know when company is coming over because we start cleaning the apartment. That started a couple of days ago. Up and down. Over and through, the biggest shock came when Jim volunteered to clean the bathroom. So, wanting to be the dutiful partner, I tackled the kitchen, the dishes, vacuumed the living room, the cat box area, etc.
But all the while, I'm racing up and down the spiral staircase to my loft because I want to finish writing out the sheet music to the new song "Nobody Leaves New York." Work, rest, work, rest. Jim is doing the same, between coughing and sputtering and gagging at the smell of the cleaning fluids in the bathroom. Finally, however, the apartment begins to look fit for habitation again. (I keep thinking we should get one of those nude cleaning services that L.A. is so famous for, but what do I know.)
Finally, Saturday rolls around.
Oh, remember a few days ago, I said I was going to see my old friend, Bob Malone playing his gig at The Mint? I totally missed it. Took a nap so I'd be awake for it and I slept right through. I guess my body hasn't quite adjusted from the Norway trip. Arrgh. I really wanted to see him play.
Anyway, since I missed going out Friday night, I got up early on Saturday and made my way to Ralph's supermarket to get a big vegetable lasagna because Rich & Sue Bloch, Alvin Schuster and Michael Sugar were coming over for lunch. Rich is one of the world's most prominent magicians. Sue, his wife, who assists him in his act, is one of the world's most prominent constitutional scholars, Alvin Schuster was once the Foreign Affairs editor of the Los Angeles Time and Michael Sugar is one of our best pals. He claims to work for one of the major movie studios around here, but no one knows exactly what he does. (I kid).
We had a most lively and entertaining lunch. It's always fun to hang out with people who are smarter and more talented than you are. The cats, of course, were the center of attention. Steinbeck -- all 30 pounds of him -- splays himself on his back on the floor in the middle of everything whenever there's company, and Thurber -- all 7 pounds of him -- is always begging for food.
Lots of fun stories are traded, of course. Everything from celebrity hilarity to Supreme Court hijinks to foreign correspondent highlights to us showing off videos of Big Voice fun back in New York. At one point, when Jim was playing them the hilarious video that Barry Z did of us, so Michael and I stole away and gossiped together. It's been so long since we've hung out, that being together felt like I was having a cool glass of water.
Later, after the others left, Michael and I went up my loft and I played him the latest songs from the upcoming revue. He was suitably impressed. We are both very proud of Amy Lynn, my sweet lyric-writing protege because both of us have known her since she was 19. He couldn't believe how mature her lyric writing had become.
Later Saturday evening, Rich invited us to the Magic Castle where we had a scrumptious meal and a hilarious evening of magic in the big room. Rich is truly one of the funniest men on earth. He had the audience rolling in the aisles. He also took us on a tour of the Magic Castle. Downstairs in the basement area are scattered little close-up magic performance spaces, but also these wonderful bookcases with memorabilia from Hollywood people like Paul Winchell, Edgar Bergen, and many others.
The fun part of touring the Castle with Rich is that he knows all the little secret cubby holes and trickster things that are built into all the rooms. Unfortunately, they don't allow cameras inside. There's the table that secretly revolves when the guests aren't looking, switching their drinks around, the stool at the bar that slowly sinks until the guest is looking up at the bar, bathroom with the urinal that starts to play, "It's A Small World" after 30 seconds of peeing, and, of course, the world famous ghost who plays the piano, Erma. Ask Erma a question and she answers you with a musical response.
So, no pics. But a very fun night, to say the least.
When the history of "The Big Voice: God or Merman? is written, there will be one moment that will shine, for us, above all. And it happ...
Hal Block, the increasingly irritating panelist on "What's My Line?" was fired last night after the show. Well, back in 1953. ...
Charles Nelson Reilly with the Laguna Playhouse cast of The Last Session. R. to L.: Joel Traywick, Bob Stillman, Michele Mais, Charles Nels...