Showing posts from June, 2008

Do You Hate Needles?

Funny the things that find their way to your inbox when you post to a blog. Years ago, when the neuropathy in my feet was rather intense (before we changed medications and I got a little better), I wrote in my blog that I like Gold-Toe socks because they seemed to be much softer than the average sock one buys in the department store.

Well, lo and behold, someone in the marketing department of Gold-Toe read my blog and sent me a handful of socks. I guess they liked the plug! (And I still get Gold Toe socks for birthdays and holiday gifts. Keep 'em comin'!).

This week, after writing about my visit to the infusion center, I received an email from a person a person named Tara Hart representing something called "emla," with the fabulous web address of

Who doesn't hate needles?

"emla" (spelled without a capital "e" for some unknown reason) is an ointment that's packaged in a "pre-injection numbing kit." You …

Sun-Sentinel Reviews "Zero Hour."

Even though I know I needed this time here to finish writing out the score of the cantata, and a few other musical things I haven't talked about yet, it's been driving me out of my mind to not be with Jim, watching what's going on with the play.
He says the houses have been full to overflowing and very enthusiastic. There was a talkback for a group from a synagogue this past weekend. Jim went back to change, and the rest of the audience was told they didn't have to stay. When Jim came back on stage, he was stunned to find that almost every person in the packed theatre stayed, riveted to their seats.
What most people don't realize, going into the play, is that it's a serious character study about a real man who was mostly known as a comedian. But that doesn't mean it's not funny. Jim is the master of the unexpected punchline, but Zero wasn't a panderer. He was a tough cookie who had his own loud and aggressive sense of humor, and he didn't slow dow…

Paul and Kevin's Story in the LA Times.

Paul Waters, right, is served cake by Kevin Voecks in one of two cake cuttings after their wedding.
Photo by Gary Friedman/LA Times

Last night, I attended a special fundraising event for the MCC in the Valley. I'll post a video and pictures later, but I met a man there named Paul Waters. He and his partner of 15 years were among the first to be married when it became legal here in California. The LA Times wrote a beautiful article. Go read it.

And, especially, watch the charming and heartwarming video slide show posted narrated by Paul.

Wall-E, the most romantic movie of the year.

I made a mistake of going to see the movie Wall-E all by myself and it made me miss Jim so much, I was absolutely in a puddle of tears. Already, the reviews for this movie are pronouncing it to be the best movie of the year, and possibly the best Pixar movie ever.

The problem with those pronouncements is that they are both correct.

Why is that a problem? Because you're going to go with really high expectations and that's always a let-down. So, pull your expectation in and enjoy this small movie filled with tiny, little moments that had me laughing and crying all at the same time. To call a $180 million dollar movie "intimate" might seem absurd, but in this world filled with CGI movies and CGI cartoons, where everything is possible on the screen, the only real thing that will separate a good movie from a mediocre one is the script.

The central character of Wall-E is so adorable and so sweet, it makes you realize that the tin man really does have a heart.

It's also one…

The Infusion Center.

Last night at 8pm, I got to the infusion room at the Cancer Center. It's really very beautiful, considering what happens there. It's a large room with an arching smoked glass atrium. In the center is a fish tank and lots of plants.

Also, in the center is a row of comfy chairs, each one with a pillow. As nice as they try to make it look, you know what it's there for. Chemo. I suppose if I do end up with a cancer diagnosis, this is going to be a familiar setting. But, I wasn't really thinking that way. I'm still convinced this is just the usual routine gland swelling that accompanies AIDS.

I was the only patient there at first since it was after hours. I checked in with the attendants and got an wristband so they'd know who I was. And another one with my medication allergies (sulfa drugs).

Then this adorable Asian nurse named Josh came over and said to just sit anywhere I liked. I found a nice chair and had my book with me. Figured this couldn't be half as bad a…

They're gonna bleed me!

Just got a call from Dr. Handsome who said my preliminary blood tests are showing my blood is still too thick. (Hey, Positoid! You were right to be calling me thickblood all this time after all!).

So they're going to bleed me and then replace what they take out with saline.

How medieval is that! Going in tonight and will be there for three hours. Really? It takes three hours to bleed someone and... oh, never mind. I'll bring a book. I got an old Michael Connelly book on my last trip and never finished it.

Visiting the Oncologist.

I'm not really scared about this lymph gland thing, but it's very unsettling, still, to walk into a building with a big sign on it that says CANCER CENTER.

Then comes the routine of filling out the forms for yet another new doctor. I meant to bring all my meds with me, but in my haste to get out of the apartment, I forgot. So, there I am trying to list everything I take. Let's see: Atripla, Glucophage, Actos, the little blue pill I have to take before meals... what's it called, and the blood pressure med that sounds like a Marvel superhero... Cozaar, Lipitor, Tricor, Synthroid... what else.

I'm scanning my med tray, mentally peering into each slot trying to remember what goes where. This one with the last meal, this one at night, this one before I eat in the morning. And it's not like I have the best memory to begin with. And then they want to know the dosage. Dosage?? And there are never enough slots for me. My list of meds is so long, I start squeezing them two…

Glands and Openings.

It has been so very hot here, ever since Jim left for Florida to do "Zero," I've hardly been out of the house except to get food (both human and cat).

My attentions have been focused on music, mostly. Getting my "Pantheon" score all finalized for delivery to Kathleen, since she's going to be doing the final arrangements around the end of July. I also have been working on some other random songs as well as writing a kind of memoir, which is coming out in short chapters which I should just post here but I haven't yet.

Also, I got a call from my doctor last week, "Dr. Tony wants to know if you can come in today. He wants to look at that swollen lymph gland under your arm."

Geez, I barely recall a swollen lymph gland. Oh, yeah, I remember now. He asked me if it had been hurting me or giving me any other kind of discomfort. "No." "That's good."

So I made my way over the hill last week in the boiling heat and had an extra exam.


George Carlin, 71.

The loss of George Carlin is incalculable. But also incalculable is the upward intelligent, upward aware effect he had on the culture. In front of George Carlin, the media could act and pretend and do its act, and he even played along with them, smiling all the way. But they knew how naked they were when they stood in his gaze.

Adventures in Philly.

Jim with Festival volunteers Will and Paul.

My favorite moment doing "The Big Voice" opening the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival happened on the second night. The old Plays and Players Theatre, a hundred or more years old, looked like a grand faded Broadway house. Rising on each side were murals, almost black with age. The stage was raised high. It was wide and roomy with fly space and wings. It was a hot, humid night, so the ancient air conditioning was straining to keep us at least comfortable.

If you know Big Voice, it begins with thunder and lighting and rain exploding out of the speakers in the dark. Then the Big Voice says, "In the beginning..." etc. As we start doing our lines and crossing over to sing "Why?" I hear what I think is a rumble, like someone is dragging something heavy just outside the doors and stomping their feet.

It kept going in and out as Jim stepped up to say, "I knew I was destined to be the first Brooklyn born…

Review: Bash'd a gay rap opera.

photo by david morgan

As part of our weekend back east, we were invited to the first prevue of a show opening in New York soon. It's a gay-themed rap opera imported from Canada featuring the two guys who wrote it. I wondered if Jim and I were young, if this is what we'd be writing.

I posted this review to All That Chat.

First of all, I am too old to really "get" rap music. It's not from my generation being that I'm 54, so I went to the first prevue of "Bash'd" prepared to resist it with all my being, though it won the 2008 GLAAD Media Award.

My worst fears were realized during the first five minutes because they were trying to get the audience to join in on some hand gesture -- I hate audience participation theatre -- and the fact that I was catching only about every fourth word.

But then, once the two engaging performer/writers settled in, the little prologue, I began to realize, was their way of getting us used to the delivery. They even promised u…

Review of Big Voice: Falstaff & Prince Hal

It's fun to see how different critics and observers view The Big Voice. In Dallas we were "Zero Mostel in love with Anthony Perkins." In Philadelphia, as the opening to the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival, a particularly literate reviewer, Henrik Eger, saw us in Shakespearean terms:
Serious, skinny Schalchlin looks like the unlikely Prince Hal to match big Brochu, who looks and acts like a campy Falstaff. Both bring out a humanity in most unexpected ways.

Just as the sixteen-year-old Hal was almost killed by an arrow which became lodged in his face, he survived through the benefit of the best possible care, though his face was permanently marked by deep scars, proof of his valor in battle, so Schalchlin was nurtured back to life from the devastating ravages of AIDS by his life-mate Brochu. Their life, dramatically different as they are—one a young, introverted Baptist from Arkansas versus the overweight, boisterous Brooklyn boy who idolizes Ethel Merman a…

This Weekend in Philly!

Tonight we open the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festive! Catch us tonight and tomorrow doing The Big Voice!

The Hemo2Homo Connection Movie Review: Sex and The City

The Hemo2Homo Connection Movie Review
Homo: I'm a bad gay. A horrible homo. I don't like shoes or shopping. I don't like gossip and I don't like hearing people talk about their feelings. And now that I've suffered through 2 1/2 hours of it, where can I go to get my masculinity back? Hemo: I'm a bad straight- I love to gossip, and watched most of this HBO series with Gwenn and two of our best (good gay) friends. So of course I was there for the movie, it was somewhat of an event in our household.I know, I'm a bad straight.
Homo: I wouldn't have even gone to see this thing if not for you. And you said you liked it?

Hemo: Yes, there was humor, and remember, I'd just had the Spielberg/Lucas shitbomb of Indiana dropped on me. Maybe I just got Sex more, since I knew the characters from the TV show. Homo: You don't understand. I watched the series. I'm not THAT bad of a homo. Hemo: My bad, Homo.Homo: No probleemo, Hemo. But a bad movie …

The Last International Carnival of Pozitivities.

Sadly, the last International Circus of Pozitivities has been posted here. For two years, this floating "circus" of focused links to interesting blog entries and stories about HIV positive people around the world, has been a unique gift of connectedness. I've hosted the ICP on my site once, I believe.

Ron Hudson is the man who has been at the center of it all. He is facing some health and other personal issues that have taken his time. Hopefully, he'll come through strongly and come back to us.

Here is what he wrote on the ICP blog:

Dear Friends of the ICP,It is with relief and sadness that I have decided to allow the International Carnival of Pozitivities to come to an end with our next and final edition in June of 2008. I have made many wonderful friends in the past two years and have been fortunate to learn the life-stories of some amazing people and their efforts to end the stigma of HIV/AIDS around the world. I am truly grateful to the contributors and hosts who h…

Same-Sex Couples Offer Insight Into Gender and Marriage -

Article from the NY Times about how gay couples compare to straight couples in terms of their relationships.
June 10, 2008 Gay Unions Shed Light on Gender in Marriage

For insights into healthy marriages, social scientists are looking in an unexpected place.
A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships. Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships.(snip)
In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship. With same-sex couples, of course, none of these dichotomies were possible, and the partne…

Who Still Dies Of AIDS?

An insightful article from New York Magazine. about the current condition of AIDS and the fact that people are still dying from it.

Hemo2Homo: Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Hemo2Homo Connection Movie Review

Homo: This lame-ass movie was best summed up by my partner, Jim Brochu, who called it "Mr. Chips & The Temple of Doom."Hemo: Spielberg scored Erik Estrada? I think I missed that scene.

Homo: If you're gonna be a movie reviewer, you should pay more attention to the film, and really should try to see a movie made before you were born. One with, like, dialogue and stuff.Hemo: After seeing this clunker, I may take your advice. And I'm still trying to figure out why Harrison Ford looked older to me ten years ago... does that mean I'm, getting old?

Homo: Yes, you're getting old. Uh oh. It sounds like we have a sad meeting of the minds. I wasn't surprised by anything is in this movie.

Hemo: Really? You are so jaded that you weren't shocked by the re-emergence of Marc Almond of Soft Cell, riding in as Indiana Jones's son?
Homo: That wasn't Marc Almond of Soft Cell, thinblood.

Hemo: Oh. No Erik Estr…

Photos from AIDS LifeCycle Closing Ceremonies.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the closing ceremonies of the AIDS LifeCycle. They raised, I think, 11.6 million dollars for AIDS healthcare by biking all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The age range of the riders was 18-81. I took pictures!