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Showing posts from October, 2007

Quick Personal Update.

Another big offer has come my way, and I'm not sure if I can officially announce it yet. If it does come through, it will be among the most challenging and meaningful things that could ever happen to me. It would be a dream come true. So, I don't want to jinx it by saying too much.

On that note, the also challenging and meaningful show Amy, Jim and I have been collaborating on is moving along nicely. We have 20 songs or more ready to go. Since I've been home, I've been working on them constantly while checking in with the medical professionals who keep me alive. I've focused on music rather than this blog. Or video. Now that I have 114, or whatever it is, videos on YouTube under the name steveshack, I actually have video fans! Or fan, anyway.

Healthwise, the new shoes are working out fine. I still favor my right foot when I walk. I'm always aware of how it's hitting the pavement. Knowing where that pressure point is, I want to give it every chance to heal. I …

Speaking of The Last Session...

I was approached by someone very seriously and passionately committed to seeing it all the way through as a movie. With electronics getting so cheap and with the current resurgence in musical movies, I really do feel like the time is now. As much as I might enjoy all the other songs and things that have been a result of finger tapping on keyboard or keyboards (music or computer), the music from this show means the most to me. In fact, the entire show means the most to me. Weirdly, even though The Big Voice was our most specifically personal project (being an autobiography and all), it's The Last Session that FEELS the most personal. I can't sing those songs without losing it.

On our cruise to Norway, a bunch of the people we had met on the ship -- both gay and straight; one woman who was a cancer survivor -- gathered together one afternoon and asked me to sing my "AIDS songs" which I had been talking about so much.

It was a tear-drenched afternoon in that little lounge…

The Unknown TLS

Funny what happens when you surf the Net. Jim discovered this clip of a production of The Last Session. Whoever this is, they totally kick ass. Apparently, it's from a production that was done in Florida featuring Gary Waldman as Gideon. I gotta tell ya. This group is really good.

Cat 300.

The Smoky Sky Outside.

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The air here in the San Fernando Valley smells like smoke. Last night, when we went out for dinner, it was burning the back of my throat. Today, with all the TV newspeople telling us to stay inside as much as possible, I stepped outside to just take a look at the sky and the above photograph shows you what I saw. A thick cloud of dark, reddish tinged smoke lying across the Valley. On the horizon, you can see the blue sky and what it would look like if the fires weren't raging all around us.

We are not in any danger zone with regards to the fire, but the smoke is something else...

Is There A Physics To Musical Healing?

I recently received a fascinating email from a reader who saw some of my blogs writings about musical healing, and about how writing and singing the music for The Last Session, had a measurably healing effect on my body.

From Stuart Vail:

Steve,
I had a chance to read some of your writings online and was intrigued by what you had to say about the healing aspects of music. You may be interested in an editorial I wrote in my Internet magazine, of which this is an excerpt:
A French scientist who became interested in the connection between frequencies and sound discovered that a molecule can be broken down into a chain of amino acids, each possessing its own frequency, which is a vibration measured in cycles per second. In music, the "A" above middle "C" resonates at 440 cycles per second, therefore any molecule can be translated into musical terms. The scientist analyzed the frequencies of the amino acid chain for the molecule prolactin, a milk-inducing hormone, and nota…

The Safe Schools Coalition Uses My Music.

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I am very happy to have been informed that the Safe Schools Coalition has chosen to use three of my songs on their terrifically informative website.They're using "William's Song" on the page discussing Bias Crime, Hatred and Extremism.
"The Closet"on their Coming Out resources page.

"Intro to Gabi's Song" and "Will It Always Be Like This" on their Suicide resources page.

and all the songs are linked here:
Music on the Safe Schools Coalition Website.

The Wildfires.

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A few people have written me asking if Jim and I are near the wildfires that are raging around southern California. We are not. However, we do have friends with homes in several of the areas and we are very concerned about them, their homes, their children and their pets. So, thank you for the notes. We have been warned to avoid going outside because the smoke is pervasive and very bad for people with asthma and allergies, to which both Jim and I are susceptible.

The above graphic shows you satellite photos of southern California taken about three hours apart. The wind has been howling here and that's why the fires are almost impossible to contain.

Zero Hour Opens in SF on Nov. 10, 2007.

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Zero Hour will head into San Francisco in a new three-week run at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, where we just did The Big Voice. It was a kind of surprise booking that made us very happy. At NCTC, the response to the one night staged reading was so overwhelming that Ed Decker, the artistic director, asked Jim if he could bring it in before the New York plans are firmed up. (More on that later).

Jim is really happy to have a chance to just run the show for a few weeks and work on rewrites, and -- well, give the show more buzz. As for us, we get to bring the cats and hang out in San Francisco again, something I am so looking forward to. I even got my jury duty postponed again.

The Dancing Cockatoo.

He loves The Backstreet Boys.

h/t: My friend Diane.

Happy Anniversay, TLS

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10 years ago yesterday, on October 17th 1997, The Last Session opened off-Broadway. Here's the diary entry for that night:

Thursday-Friday, October 17, 1997
Opening Night Part One.Thursday night -- our last preview -- was a total disaster (or at least it seemed to be). The sound person was late and someone booted up the system incorrectly, so when Bob Stillman sat down and began singing the opening of TLS, he was singing a cappella. It was just one of those things that makes a composer go crazy. And not only that, we had critics in the audience. The guy on the sound board went into total heart attack (figuratively) and finally it all got put under control, but that's why you have previews: so you can figure out what can go wrong.Since Mama Ronda and Kim were out from El Lay and seeing this production for the first time, it was shocking for them because (since the show was being mixed manually without benefit of the sound guy actually being able to hear it), they thought the mix …

Bev's Thoughts On Ellen's Dog, Iggy

I thought Bev, who raises rescue puppies until the local ASPCA can adopt them out, had the most rational and informed "take" on Ellen Degeneres' situation where she adopted a puppy and then tried to give it away to a couple of kids (and family) who fell in love with it.

Documented Harm Caused By "Ex-Gay" Ministries.

Peterson Toscano has been doing incredible work interviewing people who survived the so-called "ex-gay" ministries. In fact, he's interviewed over a thousand of them and has reached documented conclusions about the vast areas of harm that are inflicted upon GLBT person by these edifices of misdirection.

He lays it all out in a blog entry here. It's terrific reading.

Foot Doctor.

I finally saw my foot doctor so we could talk about the incredible pain that I've been having on an intermittent basis. What I told him was that I was having more frequent attacks of neuropathy in the last three toes of my right foot.

He asked, "What kind of pain? Burning? Sharp?

I said, "It's like someone hits it with a hammer. But, in the very next instant, I can squeeze those toes and they don't hurt at all."

He then began to squeeze my feet. Beginning by squeezing the entire foot, he then reached my toes and gave each a little squeeze. No real pain. Then he put his thumb on the ball of the foot beneath my third toe and squeezed.

WHOA! I jumped about a foot.

"That hurt?" He asked. "Uh, yeah."

Then he went to the second toe and hit the same spot on the ball, just at the joint of the toe. And WOW! That was it. That was the spot. That hurt like hell.

He said, "I know what's wrong, but we can take x-rays just to make sure it's not so…

Quote of the Day: Peter Mehlman

On the Information Age: "...we spend our lives preparing for an argument we'll never have with a person we'll never meet whose opinions we could never change.

"Just Give Me Some Truth"

He makes the observation that crimes and dishonors committed by people in power no longer get taken seriously because there's always a dozen other voices defending the wrongdoer. All "truth" becomes relative in the Modern Media.

The problem is that The Information Age is exactly the opposite. There's no longer anything even close to a consensus of where we gather truth. This isn't the information age, it's the blather-ation age. All we have is a trillion sources from which to choose truths we want to believe.

Net Hilarity

I feel like I'm the last one to find this, but I think it's genius. Imagine that all the YouTube viral videos that you've had to endure were actually written, cast and performed by professionals. This three-episode "youtube," as they call the virals, is a mockumentary of the casting directors, as written and performed by Jeff Whitty of Avenue Q.

The mockumentary imagines them during the time that they are casting the recent viral video of one "Chris Crocker," whose raw, naked emotions are a sight to see (and possibly evidence of someone with too much time on his hands, but still..). I can only watch it in small doses. It starts to hurt after a few moments.



And now, under the category of I wish I had thought of this, "Meet the Casting Directors":

EPISODE ONE


EPISODE TWO


EPISODE THREE


I wanna meet these people and hug them.

Sex & Religion Round-Up

Reported at Ex-Gay Watch:
The UK evangelical ministry Courage lent its support to a new anti-discrimination campaign this past weekend.Courage began in 1988 as an ex-gay ministry, but announced it was gay-affirming in 2001. Now the pioneering organisation is among the supporters of Would Jesus Discriminate?, a campaign being run by the Metropolitan Community Church in Bath, England. Other UK Christian organisations backing the initiative include Ekklesia and Accepting Evangelicals.At the heart of the campaign is an appeal to Scripture, with a call to look again at the biblical teaching on homosexuality, beginning with an examination of Jesus and the Gospels:The gospels are clear. Jesus refused to be bound by cultural prejudice. Repeatedly, he took up the cause of the oppressed and defended them against narrow-minded religious leaders. Unfortunately, the Church has often failed to live up to Jesus’ example. Perhaps most significant is that the majority of the campaign’s proponents are e…

Devin's Les Mis Blog.

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The phenomenally talented (and gorgeous hunk) Devin Richards is playing Javert in the North Shore Music Theatre's production of Les Miserables and they chose him to write the blog for the show.

It made me laugh at how far we've come. The Last Session was among the first two or three shows to create as website/blog. No one else in New York had a website at the time. Now, they're choosing who will run the blog for this production, which runs four weeks. I love it.

Devin is a good writer and I love that he drove down from Boston to get Tarzan, his cat. I met Tarzan when I stayed there earlier while visiting the city. I know he's gonna be great in this.

Home & Music-Obsessed.

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I might have mentioned this before, but it didn't hit me how glorious it all was until I got home and found a stack of birthday cards & letters. Jim knew that I've been itching/DYING to get back into my favorite recording studio and make a new piano/vocal recording just like in the old days when I was creating the score for The Last Session. At the time, it was out of necessity because I had NO money whatsoever and so I would end up piggybacking an hour from someone else's session.

But in order to make the session work, I had to know the material well enough to sit down and record the entire album in one sitting with no playback, no editing, no nothing. Live in the studio.

Now, for those of you who don't make records or work in music, you might think this is not that big a deal. But I can tell you that it's almost unheard of. NOBODY just sits down and records an album that way. They will record a take. Stop. Listen to it. Record it again. Stop. Listen to it again…

How Bush Honors Our Troops

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I have long contended that the Bush administration treats our soldiers horribly. They are all talk about how "strong" they are and how much they "honor" the troops who have been dishonestly tossed into Iraq with no grand plan and no public mobilization to support them. But the evidence is glaring. First, instead of raising the proper number of actual troops (fearing the public would never support a draft, which would demand sacrifice from everyone), they swept through and took all the people on National Guard into this. I have friends who were ripped from their jobs and stationed in that sinkhole of pointlessness. And now this story:

National Guard Troops Denied Benefits After Longest Deployment Of Iraq War
Rhonda Erskine, Online Content Producer WCSH6.com

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) -- When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been ex…

The Last Big Voice in Tucson

We finished our run last night to a sold-out house which was filled with laughter and applause, two of the most beautiful sounds in the world. There were several moments where we just had to stop and wait, wait, wait for the laughter to die down so that we could get on with the show. It was most beautiful, to say the least.

But it also marked the end of a long five years that we've been doing The Big Voice. At this point, there are no other productions scheduled. But now that Samuel French is licensing it, there's no telling where it could pop up, with or without the two of us.

Still, after almost a year on the road, it will be nice to get back home. But there's news on the horizon about "Zero Hour." No dates or venues have been set yet, but I do have news and when I get the "all clear" sign to toss it at you, you'll be the first to know. Stay tuned.

Split The Kids Up!

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In Utah, a drug-addicted mother with four children ranging in ages from 10 months to 11 years old has opted to let her children be raised in a loving home headed by her uncle. Even though he's already raising two children, he took them in and gave them a home.

Enter the state, which wants to take the kids out of this home, separate them so that they never see each other again, and throw them into the state foster parent system. Why?

Because that uncle is gay and is in a longterm stable relationship of five years with his partner. According to Utah law, you have to be married to adopt or be a foster parent. The couple would love to marry, but it's ILLEGAL. Why? Because only heterosexuals get the "special privilege" of marriage. Both men are native to Utah, have no criminal record and have excellent work records.

But that's not good enough in Utah. You have to be straight.

h/t: Dan Savage

My Very Happy Birthday.

Guess what I did most on my birthday? I slept. My favorite activity. Okay, it's not really my favorite activity. I have one other that slightly surpasses it: playing a show in front of an exuberant audience. And, boy, did that happen last night. In fact, it has happened two nights in a row. And not that the other audiences haven't been really and truly responsive. But something happened this week that is unexplainable.

In show biz terms, it's called "finding your audience." Or, in this case, it's probably more accurate to say that our audience found us. Week One you get the regulars. The people who are season ticket holders. Here, they tended to be a bit older, a bit reserved in terms of their response (and I mean only "a bit"). But word from the office was that they were "loving" the show. Chances are they went out and told a friend or two.

Week Two, the reviews come out. If you've been following the blog, you know that every single rev…

Happy St. Francis of Assissi Day!

There's something else going on today, but I can't remember what it was. Some old guy's having a birthday.
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I can't believe it's already our last week here in Tucson, but the truth is, as much as we love the people here -- and we really do -- it will also be nice to be home for awhile (except for the following's quick weekend trip up to Indio for two performances of "Zero Hour").

We realized last night that we've been almost continually on the road (or on the seas) since last November -- and we miss our home, our kitties, our everything.

However, if we were going to end our busy period on a high note, we couldn't have picked a nicer place. The houses here have been near sell-outs each night. The people, even though they are a little older than we normally experience, have been PASSIONATE about the play. It's really lovely. And there's a part of me that believes that we've been able to educate folks about what a "gay marriage" really looks like. (i.e. we're just folks, too).

I also met, in person at long last, a young man I've been cor…

Veterans Reply To Rush "Phony Soldiers" Limbaugh.

And General John Batiste.



h/t: towleroad

Drag Queen Workshop

Joe.My.God posted a hilarious video this morning promoting the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. Then posted a link to this one: The Drag Queen Workshop. (Created by David Quantic.) I couldn't resist: