Showing posts from January, 2008

Hemo2Homo: There Will Be Blood

The Hemo2Homo Connection Movie Review

The Hemo2Homo Connection are Shawn Decker and Steve Schalchlin. The Hemo2Homo Connection's creators met online in 1996, and posted their first movie review in 1998. Both have been living with HIV for over twenty years, and have annoyed their friends and loved ones for longer than that. Steve Schalchlin resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter. Shawn Decker lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is the author of My Pet Virus.Homo: Hey, thinblood.
Hemo: Well hidey-ho thar, thickblood. *tip of the hat*
Homo: I'm glad we're continuing our blood brother theme for this round of movie reviews. It's what binds us together, that positoid virus coursing through our veins.
Hemo: It sure is, pahdnur. That, and that ol' love for them thar movies coursin' right alongside that virus. And a strut; we both have a certain way of carryin' ourselves.
Homo: Stop it with the cowboy speak, unless yer …

Amazing History of "Amazing Grace".

How music can change history.

BTW, knowing none of this, I wrote the song "Connected," which brought me back to life, in F#, and it's sung on black keys.

h/t: Kibs

Theater of Simultaneous Possibilities.

I found this wonderful essay about how art is a religious experience and transformative because the mind is a "Theatre of Simultaneous Possibilities."

Hemo2Homo: Sweeney Todd

The Hemo2Homo Connection are Shawn Decker and Steve Schalchlin.
The Hemo2Homo Connection's creators met online in 1996, and posted their first movie review in 1998. Both have been living with HIV for over twenty years, and have annoyed their friends and loved ones for longer than that. Steve Schalchlin resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter. Shawn Decker lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is the author of My Pet Virus.
Homo: Hey, Hemo.
Hemo: Hey, Homo. You still alive?
Homo: Wait. Let me check my pulse. Ah, something's throbbing. Yes, I'm alive! You're that same thinblood-hemophiliac guy, right?
Hemo: Yup, same thinblood. It's been 10 years since our first review, can you believe that?
Homo:And they said we'd never make it.
Hemo: Lifeexpectancies of people with HIV/AIDS have gone way up since then.
Homo: And that's a good thing, right?

Hemo: Yes! But expectancies for honest movie-reviews have gone up as wel…

Heath Ledger's Death

I can't help but remark about what a tragedy it is to have lost the actor, Heath Ledger. He was so brilliant in Brokeback Mountain. It seems almost impossible to me that an Australian actor could so fully embody this kind of southern man. His accept and his cold, frozen attitude were absolute perfection.

It really is a tragedy, thinking of what this young man might have become -- and now, this will have been his defining role. Sad.

Still In Mourning.

I was telling my friend, musician and singer Norman Anderson that I haven't really cried over Thurber yet.

I have some real life things that are stressing me out just a bit and I just haven't allowed myself, for some reason, to really mourn over him. But I feel this pall. I don't want to inflict it on others, so when I tell them about Thurber having died, I don't make a big deal about it. It's okay with me that some people aren't "pet people."

And I don't know if I'm ready for "the big cry" yet. For instance, as I'm writing this, my face is starting to burn hot, my nose is beginning to water and my eyes are starting to hurt. Do I need to plunge in and just get it over with? And when you do that, does it help?

God, I just remembered, as a child, picking up our dog, Tippy. (TIPPY??). Hit by a car. Dead in the street. My brother Dave was there. He has a better memory for these sorts of things. He always accuses me of dramatizing ever…

Kitten Godzilla

When I found Thurber yesterday morning, it was about 6am. I went into the bedroom and whispered, "Jim."


He awoke with a start and sat up.

"Thurber's gone."

I was saying it as gently as I could. I had tears in my eyes, but because I knew he wasn't well, because I knew he was dying, I also felt very peaceful. Even grateful that he had such a lovely, gentle passing in his sleep. He was even doing his Godzilla mouth.

When he was a kitten, just getting strong enough to respond, he'd rear up on his back legs when we'd tease him and he'd open his mouth, baring his teeth so that he looked like a Kitten Godzilla. We'd put our fingers just within his personal space, say "Do Godzilla mouth!" And his mouth would slowly, slowly start to open and stay that way.

He eventually outgrew his Godzilla stage. And I always missed it.

R.I.P. Thurber the Cat

This morning I got up and found Thurber the cat lying at the bottom of the stairs not breathing. He had passed quietly in the night. He was 18 years old, which is pretty extraordinary for a cat.

He was in the late stages of renal failure and had been sick for quite some time. This past week we knew it was getting bad because he was peeing all over everything and hiding from us beneath the bed. In fact, we had already decided to call the Humane Society and have him put to sleep, something I was NOT looking forward to.

Last night, he poked his head out and ate just a little bit. Then, as Jim was going to bed last night about 3am Jim laid down right next to him on the floor and said goodbye. I found him this morning in the exact same spot. So, it almost felt like he knew and decided to pass here at home.

So, we're sitting here wailing and crying. He was a great cat. He really was. He had his little routines and patterns.

For instance, every night he would crawl up on the bed and lie with…

My Peace Cantata To Be Performed by SF Gay Mens Chorus

I'm pleased, excited, elated and thrilled to announce that on Dec. 19, 2008, the great San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Kathleen McGuire, will be performing my new "cantata for peace" called "Pantheon Bar & Grill" with full orchestra at Davies Hall in San Francisco as half of their annual Christmas concert.

I began writing this piece four years ago, beginning with a core of four lyrics written by my friend, Rev. Peter Carman, who you might remember is the pastor of Lake Ave. Baptist Church in Rochester, New York.

Beginning with those songs, I began adding numbers one at a time as I pondered the philosophies of relentless non-violence and watched the conflicts in the Middle East. If you're been reading this blog and following the videos, you've seen some of the songs: My Thanksgiving Prayer and Holy Dirt are but two.

One new song, which you might enjoy listening to, examines the deadening result of violence on the soul. It's…

How Boris Escaped A Concentration Camp

[Watch the video above of Boris and then read this story below, which describes what's in the video. I met him onboard the ship on this cruise.]

Boris sat back away, silhouetted by the slatted windows behind him. I could kind of half see him and half not, because the dim lights of this shipboard piano bar could not compete with the Mexican sun’s klieg-light intensity coming from the rippling water outside.

I could see that he was little and he was a senior. But his eyes flashed with this brilliant intelligence, and he had a little half smile permanently etched into the folds of his skin.

I had seen him the day before and had been introduced to him by Collin Salter, the amazing Australian pianist singer songwriter. And I remembered that Collin had said that he had played the piano the other night during one of his sets.

(I hadn't hung out yet in the piano bar. I’d been protecting everyone from my cold, which had turned my head into a overstuffed, dripping center of pain).

Boris as…


From the cruise:

I was in a total state of panic until I realized that I was in the hands of the gods or God or goddesses or fate, and that I should simply center myself and accept what is.

I was on board without a book.

If I don't have a book while I'm on board, I go crazy. I am never without my book. I go to lunch with my book. I am in my tux and I have my book. I attend lectures with my book.

[Think Gene Wilder in "The Producers" without his blue blanket.]In our rush to get to the ship, after packing at the very last minute, I realized I didn't have a book. I always have a book.
I remember now that I brought Jerry Robbins biography with me, but I just didn’t have the patience for a non-narrative “His father was born in Russia in 18-bla bla” stuff. I'm sure I'll read it, but it'll feel like a task.

I needed escape. I felt like I needed to enter into someone else’s world and headspace and culture and just live there. Novels so do it for me.
[Songs do it for…


Does this sport look painful to you?

From my cruise diary.

DECEMBER 25, 2007

Sometimes I have to unplug.

In an earlier time, that expression would have been utterly meaningless, but I have no doubt that sometimes even cave people felt overwhelmed with stress from their daily exertions and needed to clear their heads. But in this modern era where the little 11 year old girl at the Santa Claus arrival yesterday asked Santa for a cell phone--
[The ship’s rabbi just stopped by as I was writing that sentence sitting here in my breakfast nook I have dubbed The Office and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was having heavy thoughts. He asked me if they weighed at least 200 pounds.He said it was too early to deal with heavy thoughts right now, too much of a time sink and I smiled at him and said that, to me, heavy thoughts are to be played with like a toy. Just for fun. His face brightened into a smile and he said, “Ah, now that’s a wise thought!”]I am on a ship and have elected not to use th…

San Francisco's Top 10: Bay Area Reporter

We came home to a very nice surprise. Richard Dodds, in the Bay Area Reporter, lists us as one of the top ten theatrical events of the last year in San Francisco. Here's the blurb:
In the hard-to-describe category, we have The Big Voice: God or Merman, but it's not hard to find appropriate adjectives: funny, touching, showbiz savvy, and life-affirming. In the show imported by New Conservatory Theatre Center from New York, writer-performers Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin describe their highly contrasting adolescent paths to sexual self-discovery, their hilariously described meeting aboard a cruise ship, and the rocky road to a lasting relationship fueled by the theater.

Home And Dry.

We are back from our Christmas vacation. I met some extraordinary people on this cruise and also had some amazing things happen. I will be updating you soon.

Also, remember I told you I had a big announcement?

All will be soon revealed...