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Showing posts from April, 2007

Houston Vlog 2: Intro to Stages

Houston Vlog 1: It's All About Steve

This is the first video diary from our trip to Houston with "Zero Hour." In this one, we meet my brother, Scott, and his wife, Jill.


The Big Voice NY will close on May 13th.

After a successful six month run in New York, The Big Voice will finally close on May 13th. So, if you have a chance to see Dale and Carl, please go check them out! Meanwhile, Jim and I will be taking The Big Voice on the road beginning with a San Francisco production in August. Stay tuned for more dates and more cities!

Paul's LifeCycle Page.

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Got a note from Paul Serchia, a journalist who interviewed me way, WAY back before TLS even got to NY. He has his own AIDS LifeCycle blog. Best of luck to Paul!

"Ted Haggard Is Completely Heterosexual!"

Roy Zimmerman nails it again:

Steve Does The Talking!

Whenever you're half of a couple, you tend to take on roles. And when you're forced into a role you're not used to, it can be a bit disconcerting. For instance, last night at the theatre, they were having a pre-show reception for one of the show's sponsors, a law firm called haynesboone. (Thanks! I love their slogan: Setting Precedent.)

Lise, who does PR for the theatre, asked me if I would appear at the reception and say a few words about Zero Hour because Kenn McLaughlin was home sick. Of course, this means more than just talking about the play. This means being at the reception, shaking hands with people, entering into conversations with them, being personable -- all things I let Jim do for us as he's much more chatty, story-telly and charming than I am at parties. (I tend to find the food, sit in the corner and wait for it to be over).

So, before the show started I snuck into the kitchen and sampled all the food -- it was quite good! They were all unique little s…

Around The World.

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As readers know, Jim and I travel a lot because he lectures on cruise ships and I go along for the ride. He recently put together a page with photos from many of the places we've gone. Thought you might get a kick out of it.

Jim and Steve's Travel Page.

He Had To Say Something.

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Mike Jones' book, "I Had To Say Something" is being released in June. As readers of this blog know, I have become good friends with Mike Jones and I consider him to be a hero of the last election. Rev. Ted Haggard worked against gay and lesbian people, while doing drugs and having sex with men.
Mike was a hustler at the time and Haggard, who was fighting against a gay marriage bill in Colorado, was one of this clients who called himself "Art." When Mike saw him on TV ranting and raving against gay people, he knew he, indeed, had to say something.

Get this book. Support Mike. He's a beautiful man.

Questions For Steve From Amy.

1. What's it like going from performing to being the husband of the performer?

It's more work. :-)

I will always consider myself a husband first. Jimmy is my first priority in everything. I knew he couldn't handle four weeks alone without me, so I decided to come along and be a husband. Or maybe I just didn't want four weeks alone at home without him. We are a married couple. Despite the rantings and ravings of the idiotic right wing religious fanatics who dominate the American political and religious environment, there is no difference between our marriage and the marriage of any straight couple except, of course, that we love each other more than they do, and we don't divorce each other at the drop of a hat. (How many marriages do the "Christian" Republican Presidential candidates have between them? So many I lost count.)

Actually, since we write together, we have ample opportunity to work on the new pieces we've been writing. And there's a piano d…

N.H. Approves Gay Civil Unions.

Another wonderful victory for equality. The New Hampshire legislature approves same sex civil unions. The governor has pledge to sign the bill.

Bill Moyers Lays It Out. Talking Heads Missing In Action.

At Firedoglake, there is a superb summary of the Bill Moyers PBS program about how the press became Bush's lapdog in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Taking it step by step, Moyers shows how the press missed every opportunity to do any actual investigating of the "evidence" that we needed to go to war. Instead, the media simply offered 24 hour a day talking head opinionators who did little more than talk, talk, talk.

Ironically, few of these talking heads, who cannot WAIT to get on Fox or CNN to act like they "know it all," were available to be interviewed by Moyers. They only want to be on TV when they can be seen as experts. Not when an actual journalist is asking questions.

Houston Press Raves Over Zero Hour.

Zero HourIf you've never had the absolute pleasure of experiencing the one-and-only Zero Mostel -- and that's the only way to describe his free-wheeling performances, an experience -- then Jim Brochu's one-man show on Mostel's life and times, running concurrently at Stages Repertory Theatre with another one-man show, I Am My Own Wife, is probably the nearest and best you'll ever get.

Three-time Tony winner, Mostel is one of Broadway's monstres sacrés: an original, something titanic, a force of nature. As a performer, he was his own shock and awe, and his story is one of steely determination, fierce pride and unquenchable anger at what happened to him and his many friends during the '50s Communist witch-hunts. When his performing career was curtailed, he survived through his first great love -- painting -- his lifeline to creativity. Mostel was one of the lucky ones; he outlived his adversaries and returned in triumph to Broadway (Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoce…

Dale & Carl Represent Big Voice at the Easter Bonnet Competition.

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Tomas Vrzala. See all the photos of the event here.

So Long, Rosie.

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Sadly, today Rosie announced she would leave The View, a daytime talk show. Rosie was the only reason to even watch the show, especially with that screeching right wing naive idiot Elizabeth on there, who never knows when to shut up.

Rosie brought that rare truth to TV, saying what everyone is actually thinking, about the vile machinations of the Cheney/Bush/Rove axis of evil and the disgusting loudmouthed Donald Trump.

Rosie, you were the breath of fresh air. An out gay person who had a voice and a point of view that is going to be missed.

Big Storm Today!

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Woke up this morning to HUGE lightning and thunder rolling across the skies. The angry clouds are pouring wrath upon the land, punishing us for allowing the Bush administration to twist our constitution and turn us into a nation that tortures its prisoners and destroys our human rights.

Either that or a warm front is clashing with a cold front.

Free Prizes!

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We love the place they've put us for this run here in Houston. It's a suite hotel where we can cook meals. It sits on a golf course and, if we want to use the restaurant attached to the golf course, we can get 50% off on the weekends. And this restaurant has GREAT food, including a terrific Texas Chicken Fried Steak.

Today, they announced a free buffet here in the hotel with chicken fingers and salad. AND a BINGO GAME! So, Jim and I, who've never turned down a meal, made our way down to the "Great Room," loaded our plates up with hot chicken fingers and bought some Bingo cards (for $1 each, the proceeds to go to a children's charity).

Although there were several groups of men (British workers doing something for Siemens) eating large platefuls of food, Jim and I were the only two people playing Bingo.

And we both won at the same time! Our prizes? Two free meals for two at the Sand Trap Restaurant!

Wizard of Oz (Alternate Ending).

(Thanks Barbara).

Opening Night in Houston.

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I can't take videos and post them because I stupidly forgot to bring the power cord to my video camera. I can take video, but then I'd use all my battery power to download them and I'd rather have a lot of video. So, I'll post stuff after I get home.

The opening night of Zero Hour was great. The audience was on its feet before the lights even came up. The Chronicle review was the same as in the blog posted earlier, but it had a huge layout on the page with a great picture. After the show, one of the Board members, so excited about it, took the picture Jimmy draws during the performance and auctioned it off for $100.

We took Saturday off and went to see the movie "Grindhouse," which we enjoyed in all its blood-splattering glory.

Sunday, my brother Scott and his wonderful wife, Jill, came to visit and see the show. (Video to come). They took me out before the show to a place called the Ragin' Cajun.

Jill and Scott. I like my brother, but I like Jill better.
She …

Thinking Out Loud.

The consequence of having been raised in a devout home where there was not a speck of religious hypocrisy is that you realize:

1. It can be done.

2. It's a relaxed and joyful place. Not a prison.

3. When you get out into the world, you realize that you have not been trained to deal with the fact that most religious people, including the clergy, ignore what their church actually teaches -- and they create a comfortable place for themselves outside the walls of doctrine and theology and inside the walls of the church structure itself.

At first it's shocking. You go looking for a set of rules that make sense. But then, your humanity takes over and you realize that this is the condition of mankind and religion. And thus it has ever been. This is how we survive the church, the clergy and all the man-made devices standing up, proclaiming themselves to be God's representatives.

It's the religious version of "Network."

Can the world actually face a truth teller? Can it end…

Houston Chronicle Blogs Zero Hour

Everett Evans, the Houston Chronicle's theatre critic, has posted a pre-review of Zero Hour on the newspaper's blog. It's overwhelmingly positive. What do you think?

First Preview in Houston.

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The first preview in Houston was off the charts positive.

The audience, of course, didn't really know what they were in for. Zero Hour is like a freight train. Zero opens the play by hitting the audience hard and fast because he's aggressively determined to take control of the "interview" that's taking place (which is the conceit of the play, that he's being interviewed by a reporter).

I sat in the back row watching, hoping they would "get" what was going on. It seemed, at first, that the laughter, though plentiful, was nervous, as if they weren't quite sure if they are supposed to be laughing. Zero, as a character, gives no quarter.

Then when it gets into the blacklist and the rant that Zero goes on against McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee and being called a communist, by the end of the play, which concludes suddenly, like a shotgun going off, the audience immediately went into roaring applause. The people around us were say…

R.I.P. Kitty Carlisle

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The great Kitty Carlisle Hart has died. She was 96 and was doing concerts all the way up to her death. A veteran of stage, film and TV, she was a great lady who was a patron of the arts and a great artist herself. Here is a picture of us with her, Marge Champion and Ann Kaufman Schneider (daughter of George S. Kaufman).

Kitty was one of the classy ladies who was witty, hilarious, talented and beloved. The Wikipedia entry:
Carlisle's early movies included Murder at the Vanities (1934), A Night at the Opera (1935) with the Marx Brothers, and two films with Bing Crosby, She Loves Me Not (1934) and Here Is My Heart (1934).Carlisle became a household name through To Tell the Truth, where she was a regular panelist for some 20 years, appearing on each version from 1956 to 2002. Carlisle also appeared as a frequent panelist on the 1968 revival of What's My Line?.During this period, ever conscious of her image, Carlisle was alert to fashion and became an early patron of Scaasi: "…

First Pictures From Houston.

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We arrive!Here is the front of Stages Repertory Theatre:

It has a beautiful lobby:


Jim, Lise & Calvin:


Karen the Stage Manager:

Assistant Stage Manager Megan:

Lighting Designer Jeremy:


Jodi the Property Mistress:

Steve the very serious hanger-on:

Jim and Calvin:


Photos from Jim's runthrough:






This shot is very large. I am using it as my screen saver. If you click on it, you can see the full sized image:

After the runthrough, Kenn McLaughlin, the extremely talented producing artistic director gave Jim some thoughtful notes. We worked with Kenn four years ago and completely fell in love with him. He presents terrific theatre and very creative seasons of plays and musicals on two stages.

Up To Old Tricks

A great post from Wayne Besen:

In trying to beat back a growing wave of support for federal hate crime legislation, the right wing was up to its most dastardly and divisive old tricks. On April 17, they had scheduled a media conference at the National Press Club pairing so-called "ex-gays" with anti-gay black ministers. Their goal was to drive a wedge between the African American and GLBT communities by cynically sending the repulsive and incorrect message that homosexuality is unnatural and changeable, while race is immutable and genetic.

It turns out, however, that their science is as bad as their political acumen. The event had to be cancelled at the last minute, following the murderous rampage at Virginia Tech. Although the motive is still under investigation, a pro-hate conference became a liability with the worst killing spree in American history dominating the news. The ghoulish images that saturated television coverage had people calling for more law enforcement protec…

Behold the Big Voice Easter Bonnet!

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Dale Radunz just sent a bunch of pictures of The Big Voice Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet competition entry. It's hilarious and genius. Tim O'Hara designed and built this bonnet.

Here is the front, complete with AIDS ribbon, Steve's piano and Brooklyn Dodgers logo, all in the shape of the Pope's hat.

In the back, there is a picture of Ethel surrounded by lights (looking like a saint in a little altar) along with a TV set and candy stripes.

Dale is one of the most hilarious persons I've ever met. I can't wait for the competition. This bonnet nails our show totally.

Quote Of The Day on Virginia Tech

"Imagine that this kind of massacre happened every day. Imagine a police force that was far too small to even respond to most of them. Imagine this occurring repeatedly for years until the perpetrators and their accomplices became the de facto power-brokers throughout the land. Imagine the shootings also being accompanied by the brutal torture of victims. Imagine families never having finality on whether their own siblings or parents or children have been murdered or not."This is Iraq today. Now think of the justified rage many feel at the VT campus police chief and university president for misjudgments. Now imagine them presiding over several more massacres in the same place. Ask yourself: why do we not feel as enraged by those responsible for security in Iraq? Are those victims not human beings too? Are they not children and mothers and fathers and sons? Are we not ultimately responsible for them, having destroyed the institutions of order in their country? Now go watch Jo…

Understudies???

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be in show biz. Dale Radunz sent this note about an incident that happened right after a performance of The Big Voice.

This is funny...a young woman, early forties, who stood up at the end of the show and led our little standing O, was asking Carl and I the usual questions about the show on her way out. You know, it this a true story, etc., We pointed out your pictures and started to explain that we had replaced the two of you, basically, the whole story. She said, "Oh, so you're the understudies?" We went on to explain, even more thoroughly, or so we thought, that we replaced you and that you were going on to do other things, Jim, Zero Hour, Steve, composing and that you'd be doing TBV in SF in August.

After all of that (it seemed to go on forever) and mind you, we were still collecting and explaining simultaneously, perhaps the ultimate in multi-tasking, she seemed to finally understand. However, as she was walking down the steps …

Now THIS is an article!

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Click on the image to see it BIG.

New HIV Drug Proves Promising.

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This article briefly brings good news about a new class of HIV drug.

Long ago, when I was first learning about how HIV works, I learned that the chemists and researchers began their fight by trying to find out which enzymes HIV used (to replicate itself) that the human body did not. They found three: Protease, reverse-transcriptase and integrase.

Reverse transcriptase take a single strand of RNA (which what HIV is when it first enters the t-cell) and changes it into a double stranded DNA helix. It does this so that the new strand of DNA can zip open the DNA of the t-cell (using the integrase enzyme) and insert itself. Then it uses the t-cell to throw out strands of DNA which are then cut into individual new HIV pods (using the protease enzyme).

(There are other classes of drugs also being investigated, but those were the main first targets).

The first HIV drugs targeted reverse transcriptase. The second class of drugs targeted the protease enzyme, but it has been a hassle trying to inhi…

Zero Hour in the Houston Chronicle

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Sunday morning brings a terrific article about Zero Hour in the Houston Chronicle.

When I got the link in an email, it didn't work very well. So I went to chron.com and entered through the front page. You might have to do that.

By EVERETT EVANS
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Any playwright attempting a solo biographical play had better make sure he's chosen a fascinating subject.

So why would Jim Brochu write a solo play about a big zero?

Because the "zero" in question is the late, great Zero Mostel.

Brochu stars as the unique, celebrated and bedeviled actor in Zero Hour, making its Houston debut Friday at Stages Repertory Theatre.

Mostel (1915-77) is best remembered for originating the role of disreputable producer Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks' original 1967 film The Producers, and for his three Tony-winning Broadway triumphs of the 1960s: in Ionesco's theater-of-the-absurd landmark Rhinoceros, and in the hit musicals A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Foru…

Back in Texas

I knew I was back in Texas when I stepped off the plane and the blanket of humidity hit me in the face. There's a huge stormfront lying low over Houston and there's news of tornadoes on the tv.

Stages Repertory Theater is full of old friends from our trip here four years ago with The Big Voice. We love them and they, thankfully, love us.

The flight was exhausting, but we decided to attend the opening night of "I Am My Own Wife" which, ironically enough, features the same actor we shared a dressing room with the last time we where here. At the time he was at an adjoining stage performing "Dirty Blonde."

Today, Jim has a long day of setting up "Zero Hour." The staff is young and cute. We are looking forward to a wonderful month here. I'll write more later. Right now, it's time for a shower.

Zero Hour in Houston

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Wonderful article about how Stages Repertory in Houston is doing "Zero Hour" and "I Am My Own Wife" in rep.

Song of Surrender

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If I haven't written all that much in the blog, it's because I've been really focusing on both writing and recording. It's a slow process for me. I wish I could just pop out a song every day as some writers can. But that's not me.

And then, once the song is written, there is the tedious process of getting it recorded. I love it, though. As time-intensive as it may be, it's definitely rewarding to begin with a blank page and end up with a song.

The song I've been focused on this week is one that was on a CD of demos which I gave back in New York to Devin Richards, the singer I've written about more than a few times here in the blog. (He'll be opening on Broadway in "110 In The Shade" very soon -- they've just finished teching.) At the time I gave him the folder of demos, I told him, "Pick whatever songs you like and let's see what happens."

One of the first songs he chose was "Song of Surrender," a song I co-wrote w…

10th Edition of the Carnival of Pozitivities

How Can Lies Be Truth?

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Former patient of Ex-Gay therapist Dr. Nicolosi, Daniel Gonzales, examines the lies behind the "Day Of Truth" sham being promoted by Focus on the Family and Exodus International:



Don't miss this conference sponsored by Beyond Ex-Gay:


And if you never saw this, here is Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out telling the story of catching Exodus President John Paulk in a gay bar on drag night trying to pick up a friend of his:

An Amazing Magic Trick by Cyril

Last night, we were invited to the Magic Castle Academy of Magical Arts awards ceremony where they award Magician of the Year to a guy I never heard named Cyril who is incredibly famous in Japan, but who has gotten a big following via YouTube. It was THIS trick that blew my mind:



BTW, I could totally kill myself. I was such a rush to get out the apartment, I forgot my camera. It was star-studded. Steve Martin, Nichelle Nichols, Carl Ballentine, Rich Bloch (our host), Doris Roberts and many others.

The Yoke of Religion.

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As these "holy days" come around, I'm going to post something that reflects my view of religion. It's expressed in Christian terms because that's the religion I was brought up in. It's from Paul Tillich and it perfectly expresses where I think religion has gone wrong -- and how individuals can free themselves from the burden of legalistic religion. How? By following, oddly enough, the example of Jesus Himself. If Jesus were here today, he would be destroying the religions that have been propped up in His name.

The Yoke Of Religion by Paul Tillich.

Key quote:The burden He wants to take from us is the burden of religion. It is the yoke of the law, imposed on the people of His time by the religious teachers, the wise and understanding, as He calls them in our words, the Scribes and Pharisees, as they are called usually. Those who labor and are heavy laden are those who are sighing under the yoke of the religious law. And He will give them the power to overcome re…

Cute Doggies

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(Click on image for larger view.) I can't resist the temptation. Bev, my friend who raises puppies for the ASPCA until they're big enough to be adopted, has been taking care of the most adorable little black puppy named Dakota. Dakota has fallen in love with her other dog, Lizzy, following her everywhere. More pics here.

Our Big Fire

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This past weekend, as we were leaving the movie theatre, I thought I saw, through the trees, some smoke that looked suspicious. Sure enough, just up the road from our apartment, there was a huge grass fire in the Hollywood Hills just on our (the Valley) side of the big, famous HOLLYWOOD sign. It looked like a bomb had gone off.

Luckily, no one was hurt. And thanks to low winds, the firefighters managed to put it out before it got to any buildings. I hadn't realized, though, what it looked like on the Hollywood side of the hill until I saw this picture! What a shot!

Gay Marshall visits Big Voice.

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Gay Marshall, the brilliant singer from "Jacques Brel..." which was just recently playing in New York at the Zipper Theatre visits Big Voice. Pictured: Carl Danielsen, Gay Marshall and Dale Radunz.

And here is a video of her singing "Sons of" by Jacques Brel. She's really fantastic: