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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bernhart

Long before Bradley Cooper announced he would direct and star in a biographical film about Leonard Bernstein, I felt that the life of one of the great musical figures of the 20th century deserved to be dramatized on the screen.

Of course, most people think of him as a conductor first. He served as music director of one of our country's principal orchestras and regularly guest-conducted the leading symphonic ensembles of the globe. He was also a top-drawer pianist, frequently directing orchestras from the keyboard. Additionally, he was a composer of both popular songs and "serious" music, one who struggled to reconcile his place in two musical worlds: too popular to be taken seriously by some in the classical establishment, too serious to be a pop star.

As if all that weren't triumph enough, he became an unlikely television personality in middle age, guiding viewers through the classical repertoire and, once again, bringing together the realms of popular and serious music.

While the depiction of professional accomplishments is important, a successful biopic conveys drama, necessitating that the subject also led a drama-filled personal life. This man's private life certainly meets that prerequisite. His lovers were many and varied, his relationships with his children often complicated. In short, there's no doubt his story contains all the ingredients needed for a sensational motion picture.

And if you don't agree that André Previn deserves a movie about his life, you know how to reach me.

  • Writer's pictureDavid Bernhart

Our local newspaper, the Simi Valley Acorn, just concluded a competition in which readers were invited to submit original works of fiction on any subject, with the stipulation that stories comprise no more than 100 words. And to the voice from the back of the class, no, not including the title.

I decided to accept the challenge.

My entry, which appears below, did not win or receive honorable mention, but I enjoyed the exercise of creating a story of highly finite length:


Kayla slumped into her armchair, inhaled deeply, then let out a long sigh. Nothing was right with the world. She’d been ghosted following her most recent first date, her supervisor was riding her hard, and her mother was, well, her mother.

At Kayla’s feet lay Sebastian, her Boston Terrier Mix. Sebastian had just been fed, enjoyed a drink of water and relieved himself as trained on Kayla’s balcony.

Sebastian inhaled deeply, then let out a long sigh. All was right with the world.

Maybe I'll enter again next year.

  • Writer's pictureDavid Bernhart

Laurie and Dave, somewhere off the British Columbia coast ...

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