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Showing posts from June, 2007

Hello From Copenhagen

I'm live blogging from Copenhagen. A gorgeous city with lots of historic buildings AND NO BILLBOARDS! Just a few well-tucked signs on some businesses. Love it.

On The Train With Ritt Henn

Another video diary from my recent trip to New York. I bumped into my favorite bass player/singer/songwriter, Ritt Henn. We were so engaged in trying to be funny while traveling from 103rd down to Christopher Street, we missed a very important announcement...

"Lovers In Disguise" sung by Devin Richards

This is the very first lyric Amy Lynn Shapiro put into my hands when we began writing songs. It came from a night back during the cold winter months when we were racing around trying to find the Rouge Wine Bar to get to the Salon. And I mean it was BITTER cold outside. So, she had the idea of writing a song about secret lovers (since she's my secret girlfriend). When Devin heard it, he insisted that he had to sing it. What we didn't know was the he'd turn it into a comedic number. With his permission, from his nightclub act:

"I Want To Make Music" sung by Devin Richards

Devin Richards sings this song from "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" in his nightclub appearance at the Metropolitan Room in New York. Words and music by Steve Schalchlin.

Working With Mark Janas

Just a little slice of life in New York beginning with a guy sitting in the middle of the street on a chair...

On Winning A Tony

While in New York, I met up with our NY Big Voice producers, Paul Kreppel and Murphy Cross. They were fresh from winning a Tony Award for co-directing and conceiving (and producing) Jay Johnson's "The Two & Only," a show we saw here in Los Angeles (and loved). Unfortunately, it closed too soon on Broadway. But now it's a Tony-Award winning show -- well deserved.

Open Invitation to Exodus Leaders

My very good friends, survivors of ex-gay therapy programs, Christine and Peterson, have organized a website featuring former ex-gays called "Beyond Ex-Gay." They are having their first national conference in Irvine, California at the end of this month and they have issued a personal invitation to the leaders of Exodus International to participate in a dinner and conversation.

Here is the open invitation.

Dear Exodus Leaders,It is no coincidence that we scheduled the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference at the same time and in the same city as Exodus’ Freedom Conference. Although we do not wish to interrupt your gathering, we do long for the opportunity to connect with you. Many of us have spent months and years under your care in your ministries. We turned to you for help and received some good from our time under your care. Sadly our ex-gay experiences caused more harm than good, and for many of us we have needed years to recover.We understand t…

Focus On The Music.

A tribute song Amy Lynn and I wrote for her friend and mentor, Casey. We recorded this in Bill Goffi's living room in New York:

Broadway By The Year.

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Scott Coulter and Devin Richards.

On the last day I was in New York, my pal Devin (who I wrote about below) invited me to a concert he had been in rehearsal for ever since I got into town. It was produced and hosted by Scott Siegel, a columnist and author. What they do is invite the very best singers on Broadway and have the sing selections from the Broadway shows of any given year. This time they chose 1964.

The singing was spectacular. The two singers that I loved the most, though, were Devin (of course) and Scott Coulter, a guy with a fragile, soaring tenor that totally had me in thrall. He sang "It Only Takes A Moment" from Hello Dolly. After the show, at the cast party, I all but tackled Scott to get him to sing my songs. But when Devin introduced us and he heard, "Composer of The Last Session," HE practically tackled ME. He said, "I LOVE THAT SHOW." He knew we were at the 47th Street theatre. Asked me about Bob Stillman and Amy Coleman, and just was …

Devin Rocks.

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Last night at the Salon hosted by Mark Janas, I had one of the best times of my life singing. I don't know why. Maybe because it had been too long, but I think also it's due to the fact that I have so many new songs, thanks to my new lyricist, Amy Lynn Shapiro. I can't praise her work loudly enough. I'll post some more things later, including some photos and video.

Meanwhile, check out the brilliant review of Devin Richards' cabaret act at Cabaret Exchange.
Exuding as much charisma as confidence, and with a song list that celebrated composers ranging from Cole Porter to Steve Schalchlin, the devilishly handsome young singer conjured the classics, while remaining refreshingly hip and modern.
Look at that! "From Cole Porter to Steve Schalchlin!" I love that.
He blended the Carpenters' "Sing a Song" with Billy Rose and Vincent Youmans' "Without A Song," and sang Schalchlin's "I Want to Make Music," from The Big Voice: G…

"What Have You Been Doing In New York?"

I got an email from a reader who has been quietly and patiently waiting for me to report all the exciting things I've been doing here in New York. So, here's the report:

I've been hunched over a computer screen.

Here's why: One of my goals on this trip was to work with my music editor Mark Janas to finish a publishable version of the score of The Big Voice for our publisher, Samuel French, so that when other theatres want to perform our show with different casts, they can have a readable, beautiful, professional score to work with.

But, you ask, haven't you already written out most of the score?

Why, yes, I have. The problem was that it was not really in the best, most professional format. Since I've never really worked as a musical director for shows, I've never seen that many scores from musicals. The ones I have seen are wildly inconsistent. Some are almost unreadable and some look absolutely beautiful in their lay-out. I wanted one that looked beautiful so…

That Stupid Subway!

So, this morning I'm on my way to Mark Janas' apartment so we can work on some songs. I get into the subway and run right into primo uber mega talented Ritt Henn, a singer, songwriter, bass player I knew back in Los Angeles. I told him I had just, the night before, seen a video of Devin Richards show from last week, and how much I loved the song he wrote, which they sang together, a sensitive little ditty called, "Change Sucks."

He had a CD in his pocket and had the wrapper off and was signing it for me before another word was spoken. I was very excited, but when he tried to give it to me as a gift, I said, "No way. I don't take free music from songwriters. Name a price."

He said, "Mmm. Okay. How about 10 bucks."

I looked in my wallet and found seven. "How about seven?"

"Deal."

I pulled out my video camera and we were doing shtick when we discovered that the train wasn't exactly acting right.

See, we had gotten on the Downtow…

My New York Visit

I took the $15 bus from JFK to Port Authority. As we were crossing mid-town from the East Side to the West, a kid behind me with a cell phone was totally freaking out about being in New York.

"OH MY GOD! I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M HERE! What? I'm not sure where we are..."

I said, without hesitation, "Approaching Times Square."

"Oh, thanks! OH MY GOD!! CONDE NAST!! I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M LOOKING AT CONDE NAST!!"

Then we passed Times Square and I told him Port Authority was one block down at 8th Avenue.

And it hit me. I'm talking to him like I'm a native. I love New York.

Buzzed Murphy Cross. She said, "I can't believe you just called me. I was going out for coffee."

It was about 8pm. The shows would just have been starting. Since Paul (Kreppel) was now starring in an off-Broadway show, "My Father's Italian, My Mother's Jewish..." I thought she might be down there until the curtain went up.

I told her, "I don…

Evangelical Leaders Proclaim God to be a Terrorist!

God will destroy America because of lesbians! Just like Osama!
in the twisted and cowardly world of James Dobson and John MacArthur, gay sex will bring about the destruction of an American city. It's God's wrath, they say.

In other words, what they're implying is that if another American city is attacked, God is the Bin Laden -- and He's declared a jihad against lesbians and the subsequent celebration of lesbians. Similarly, the late Stay-Puft Jerry Falwell believed that God punished America on September 11 for its harboring of gays, feminists and abortionists. Again, God is the real attacker here.

God, it seems, is an evildoer. All He needs is a video camera, dialysis machine and a pudgy, bearded sidekick and he's all set for a holy war.

But God isn't the only evildoer here. These ministers have literally admitted to God being the real terrorist, and they've admitted to praising God, so they're with the terrorists. So why haven't they been detained and…

My Beautician Sums Up Paris Hilton

Said in an Eastern European very heavy accent:

"She open her body. She not sick. She go to jail. She sick."

Steve in NY from June 9 - 19

I'll be in New York City from June 9 through 19.

Lennon Piano Hits New Orleans

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From Daily Kos:

In a world of strife and tragedy, with new sorrows arriving not as single spies, but in battalions, what would you do to spread a message of peace, to offer a hope of healing to those who've braved the darkest days?

What if you had been fortunate enough to purchase one of the most significant musical instruments of a generation, an instrument on which was composed perhaps the greatest anthem to peace and love of all time? Imagine if you somehow use that instrument to heal the world's broken heart.

Just imagine...

Story continues here.
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During the run of The Big Voice here in Los Angeles, we made an appearance at the Metropolitan Community Church. It was video taped and has been included in their compendium of 2005 Pride events. You can download it here: http://www.mcclatv.org/

My Two Dads! A Play From A Middle School

This is a wonderful play written by a kid in a California Middle School about a boy with two dads. It's just terrific.

Sgt. Kokesh Loses in Tribunal

Joe My God has the whole story at his blog. His discharge was downgraded to "general" so he doesn't lose his benefits.

And he links to this video of their appearance on Good Morning America:

Living Memory LGBT History Timeline

The Transgender Aging Network (TAN) of FORGE is pleased to announce the release of a new teaching tool, “Living Memory LGBT History Timeline,” available for download at www.forge-forward.org/handouts/LGBT_elder_timeline.pdf


Lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders may approach “mainstream” aging, health, and other public and private services differently than their heterosexual and/or gender-normative peers. Every person is shaped in part by the major public events that happen during their lifetime, whether these events are tragedies like 9/11 or struggles and triumphs like the Civil Rights Movement or passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although each individual will draw different conclusions and make different life choices in reaction to such public events, knowing what was reported in the media and discussed at dinner during a person’s lifetime may help others understand how that individual’s worldview was shaped.

To offer those who work with, live wit…

Youth Pride Chorus Documentary

For anyone in NYC next week, their Spring concert is on JUNE 13 at 8pm at New World Stages!

Amy's Big Night (Oh Yes, and Devin, too).

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Last night, Jim and I were watching something on the tube. I forget what because I was only half-watching. My laptop was open and I was working on some music to get ready for my upcoming trip to New York. (I'll be there from June 9 through 19).

He suddenly said, "I think Devin must be on stage by now."

This is the big concert at the Metropolitan Room that we had all been waiting for. Devin Richards, a singer and a friend we had made back earlier this millennium when The Big Voice was playing in New York, was not only making his big club show debut, but he was singing three of my songs -- including a song with lyrics by Amy Lynn Shapiro called "Lovers In Disguise." Amy had been a nervous wreck all day thinking about it. A big Broadway singer debuting one of her songs!

And to add to all the excitement, Audra McDonald would be in the audience!

A few minutes later, my cell phone buzzed. It was a message. I called through to the message and it was just noise. Then I rea…

Cure AIDS @ Home

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The World Community Grid is a project that lets you participate in chemical and biological research. The way it works is like this. It uses your computer's computing power, when you're away, to participate in research that would otherwise have to be handled by expensive computers that researchers would have to buy and maintain on their own. Fight AIDS@Home is one of the projects that the World Community Grid adopted.

On my home computer, when I leave to run errands or other stuff, instead of flying toasters going across the screen, the software uses the idle time to work on complex computational models involving molecules. Then, each month, it sends you a report of how much work you personally contributed to curing AIDS or any other disease you sign up for.

It's a terrific idea because it unleashes the power of the worldwide computer grid to work on problems they would otherwise have to wait years to do.

12th Carnival of Pozitivities

My New Hero: Sgt. Adam Kokesh

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You know what a true hero is? He's someone who serves his duty in the service, is more than willing to go back, but who knows what a bunch of lying thugs this administration is. Who protests the war and who lets the world know that he is a veteran STILL willing to serve, but who has been thrown out of Iraq on a technicality even though he learned Arabic and was a brilliant soldier. (The picture above is him at the Alberto Gonzalez hearing, counting how many times the chief law official in the country said, "I can't recall.")

Wonkette tells the story best.

Iraq veteran and honorably discharged Marine Sgt. Adam Kokesh has been the Pentagon’s biggest public relations nightmare this year, because he’s some kind of magical Cindy Sheehan — people actually like him! And while right-wingers had no problem mocking the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, they have a tougher time mocking an actual living Marine male veteran who actually fought in the war they just write about on…