Showing posts from August, 2008

Jim on the Nomination of Sarah Palin.

"She looks like Gena Davis in the TV show, "Commander In Chief.

And it's the same plot."

What I think:
This nomination is about getting churches fired up and using them as recruiting vehicles for the Republican Party again just like they did for Bush/Cheney. And you can see that it's working. The religious right, which despises McCain, have finally been pulled onboard.

If he wins, she'll get a little desk off in the corner, and when the religious right leaders show up at the White House, they'll be cordially escorted to her desk where she'll entertain them and make them feel important. And McCain will never have to talk to them again.

It's brilliant!

A Historic Event: The Wall Street Journal

Though the Wall Street Journal opposes Barack Obama for President, it did acknowledge this:
We also count ourselves among those millions of Americans, of all races, who take pride in a man of African descent reaching these political heights. It is easy to be cynical about celebrating such an event in our age of diversity correctness. But America has suffered much pain over its racial divisions, and the nomination of a man of mixed racial heritage is undeniably a sign of our progress.Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass would have viewed Mr. Obama's success as vindication both of their struggles and their faith in America's promise.

No, they would have seen it as a good first step.
But this was a pivotal moment in our nation's history. Whether you support his candidacy or not, this is a moment that symbolizes what this country means. That two outsiders, he and his wife, can come from the bottom of the social and economic system, and rise, through hard work and a firm…

Shopping in the Modern Age

Bev takes her family out to Costco to buy food for the big wedding they're cooking up for themselves. They broke up into little groups and sent photos and texts back and forth.

Nine of us: Alice and Joe, Walt and I, Jeri and Phil, Tom, and Jeri's friends Meghan and Cris, who had just arrived from Boston and Wisconsin, respectively. We all had cell phones and we were all keeping track of our locations.Jeri sent a photo to pinpoint her location:Walt, Tom and Joe were picking up about 25 tri tip roasts while I was off looking for crackers and chips. "NO CLAMS!" I texted to Jeri, when I realized I could find cream cheese, but no canned clams for the mandatory clam dip. You can't have a wedding without clam dip, for heavens sake!

Obama's Acceptance Speech

First of all, I hated the brown background. I felt it diminished the image of being in a stadium. Why be in a stadium if you can't see the grandiloquence of it in the main shot? It looked, in close-up, like he was standing in front of a Chinese screen or a fake firehouse.

Also, he eschewed the soaring kind of preaching he's known for (and for which McCain's horde of Rovian attack machines have been focused on in their numerous attack ads). Instead, he gave a rather wonky, totally sober and rational speech. Instead of using emotional techniques to maniuplate the listener, he calmly talked about his agenda in very specific terms.

And FINALLY he did a John Kennedy and said we could achieve energy independence with freedom from carbon fuels in 10 years. I've been waiting for three decades for someone to finally make that challenge. It's a superb way to giving us a new economy, new industry, new innovation and a renewed collective goal which will, in his words, be good f…

Lunch With Celebrities!

Today, we got to do something really special. A friend of ours from Ft. Lauderdale, Bobbe Schlesinger, who we met through Charlotte Rae, invited us to Beverly Hills for a "luncheon" with a bunch of her other friends. We had no idea who would be there, but if you like celebrities, at our table were some of my favorite people in the world.

Patty Van Patten & Jayne Meadows.
Can you believe Jayne will be 90 this year?

Dick Van Patten, Marriette Hartley, Jerry Sroka.
Jerry and Jim did a children's show together 40 years ago.
Dick and Marriette did a TV show together.

Charlotte Rae.
I caught her listening to a story. I love this pose.

Nels Van Patten, Jim Brochu, Carol DeLouise, Bobbe Schlesinger (our host), Patty Van Patten, Steve Schalchlin, Dick Van Patten, two friends of Bobbi's. Bottom row: Jayne Meadows, Marriette Hartley, Jerry Sroka, Charlotte Rae.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Jim Brochu pretending to be a parking attendant for Dick Van Patten.

Now, we'd met Marriett…

Biopsies Were Negative.

Looks like I'm gonna live.

"Mom's" Homemade Southern Biscuits.

This isn't my mom, but Jim and I were lying on the bed one lazy Florida afternoon and we started thinking about my mom's wonderful gumbo recipe video. He suggested we start a new blog that featured nothing but recipes from peoples' moms. So, I made one through blogger here and stuck my mom's video on there. But I hadn't done much about the blog itself since then.

Then, this morning, I stumbled across one on YouTube. It's such a sweet labor of love. Shot at Christmastime. She's still in her robe. And we finally get to see her face at the end. Here is what is written in the intro:
Ever want to know EXACTLY how the deep South cook made her homemade biscuits? This 10 minute video shows my Mom as she, step by step, prepares her homemade biscuits from scratch. They REALLY taste like fine French pastry! Mom passed away in 2003 but thanks to the foresight of my brother David who died 9/2007 (nonsmoker, lung cancer), her art of making the best biscuits on Earth has no…

First Rehearsal, Kulak's, the Neighborhood & Chuck.

I wanted to be there so badly. San Francisco. A rehearsal hall. 250 male singers. My music.

It would be the chorus members' first time to hear it. I was so nervous back here in L.A.

I feel like "Pantheon" is the most personal work I've ever written -- and that's something coming from a man whose only two musicals are autobiographical. (duh)

So, I went down to Kulak's and was selected to go on first. I had planned to play something dark and dramatic, but instead opted for "Cool By Default." I mean an opening number should be, you know, upbeat. Or something.

I don't think it went over so well. Or no one was listening. I didn't stay long. I couldn't concentrate. Usually, I stay there the whole night, listening to the other singers, but I was too antsy. I was thinking about the chorus.

Between performers, I sneaked out and took a nice, slow walk back to the apartment. (Plus, Jim's home and I was missing him really badly while he was away).


David Byrne & Brian Eno's New Album.

Two of my musical heroes, David Byrne and Brian Eno, have made a new album together and it's only available online. They have bypassed record labels, not that any label would know how to market these two guys anyway. And to up the coolness factor, the entire album is streamed online... right here:

Kulak's, Health Update & Pantheon

The biopsy was at the end of last week, but my neck and throat are still sore from where they took tissue from the back of my throat and where they shoved the needle into my neck. In my throat, it feels like a sting/itch that won't quite go away, especially when I eat.

The place on my neck just feels sore, especially if I turn my head a certain way. I'll be seeing the ENT doc on Thursday for the results.

I'm still going to go down to Kulak's Woodshed tonight. I also still plan to sing. You can catch it live on the Woodshed's live broadcast.

This Friday, there will be a hearing to determine the legal status of Kulak's. I plan to be there to support the music space. (There is a neighbor who hates us even though we only play acoustic music in the evening).

Lastly, the rehearsals for Pantheon Bar & Grill start this week. Maybe even tonight! (I'm not sure of the chorus's schedule). Kathleen McGuire heroically finished everything by the end of the week and th…

Happy Birthday, Jim.


Hemo2Homo Reviews The Dark Knight.

The Hemo2Homo Connection Movie Review

Homo: Hemo, since it's taken you three weeks to see the movie, I'd like to elaborate on why I went on opening weekend. (And yes, reader, hemo is the reason this is so late).
Hemo: Take it away, sir. Homo: Boy Wonder Drugs, I have been a comic book fanatic all my life, and it made me crazy that most of them have been so bad. Before, it would be a studio making a "comic book" movie. Campy or badly acted.
But the best super hero comics are deadly serious and very adult in their relationships, which is what makes them interesting. And too many Hollywood people think, "Comic book! Let's do something 'comic booky'." Hemo: It's the opposite of the typical "AIDS movie", where no humor is allowed to enter.

Homo: Exactly. So, I'm amazed at how good The Dark Knight is on every level. Heath Ledger's Joker has already become iconic. I still live with the vivid image of him in that nurse's …

Test Results & Biopsies.

"The good news is that the scan showed negative activity -- that is, reacting to the radioactive sugar -- from your neck down. And in the neck region, there was a very small reaction, so I'm sure it's nothing. But, we should have it checked."

That was yesterday. So, we quickly scheduled a biopsy this morning.

"Your throat and neck are gonna hurt for a few days," my ENT doc announced with a very apologetic tone after describing what samples she would take. My first time seeing her. I'd put Diane Keaton in the role.

So, after a few shots to deaden the back of my throat and the side of my neck, she grabbed some skin samples from inside my throat followed by some procedure where she sucked stuff out of a lymph gland just below my jaw (several times).

So, we'll have the test results in a week.

Gauging from the fact that there was no activity in most of my lymph system, they've assured me that this is going to be nothing.

Arthur Laurents Interviewed on NY1.

Arthur Laurents, the author of the great Broadway musical, Gypsy, is interviewed about the current production, which he directed. Two parts. In part one, he discusses his history with Patti Lupone. In part two, he talks about Jerry Robbins.

Thanks to Mark Evanier.

The Show Will Go On!

Jim sent me a link to a very inspirational story concerning an actress appearing in a local production of his comedy play "Cookin' With Gus." She's battling cancer and talks about why it was important for her to continue in the play and keep their little theater in Danville, Kentucky. (I wasn't sure until someone posted the location in the remarks).

Radioactive Man!

I was in the PET Waiting Room. It's where we who have been injected with radioactive sugar go.

There was an older gentleman there in a wheelchair accompanied by a younger man, his son, I presumed. The son was holding up a magazine with pictures of the upcoming Oliver Stone movie about George W. Bush, "W."

Chair Guy: "Oh, no. Who's gonna want to see that? We've been stuck with him for eight years. He's run our country into the ground, destroyed the military, wrecked the economy -- a TRILLION dollars for Iraq? -- and now they think I'm gonna spend two hours more with him? I can't wait to get RID of him!"

I laughed.

He smiled over at me and said, "What you in here for? Got cancer?"

"Just for tests. Don't know. They're testing for lymphoma."

His eyes softened for a moment, like he'd been punched. "Well, I hope you don't get it. But you want to know what's the worst part?" he asked with a devilish glint…

The Arrangements Roll In!

First of all, tickets are now available for Pantheon Bar & Grill on Dec. 1st. Since it's the 30th Anniversary Concert of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, I recommend getting your tickets now. I've even talked Piper Laurie into making a personal appearance! So, go. Buy!

And, speaking of which, the thing that has kept me in such high spirits lately, aside from the great trip to Pismo and singing at the open mics -- I sang at another in Woodland Hills on Tuesday night -- is the fact that choral arrangements for Pantheon are beginning to flood in from Kathleen McGuire, who, if you check her blog, is sitting in a house outside of Victoria, Australia, way out in the countryside.

And the house is run solely on sunlight. The solar panels are supplying all her electricity. And that would be fine except that it's dead in the middle of winter down there and she's been dealing with overcast skies. However, she wrote just now, the sun has been out for four days straight. S…

PET Scan on Friday.

Today, I'm not allowed to eat any carbs at all. Only proteins and dark green veggies.

Because I've been scheduled to take a PET Scan tomorrow. That's a test where they inject or I drink or however it's done, radioactive sugars. If I have sugar in my system, then the new sugars won't be able to get in.

And I have to stay completely still for a solid hour.

Me? Still for an hour? Why don't they just ask me to recite the Constitution from memory? That would be easier.

Anyway, they're checking specifically for lymphoma, but everyone has been telling me not to freak out, that they're sure it's not that. But still...

And, of course, everything happens at once. They're steam cleaning our carpets today. Steinbeck was totally freaked out and hid beneath the bed until I could drag him out and put him in his carrier. Now, he's feeling more secure.

Who Knew From Pismo?

Travis Terry as Macbeth.

Phone. Michael. "Hey, why don't you drive up the coast with me up past Santa Barbara tomorrow?" (This was last Friday.)

He pushed, "I'm sick of the city. I just want to get out of this town, and also, Travis is doing Macbeth in Pismo Beach."

"Oh, right! Shakespeare in the park. I'm in. I've never gotten to see him. Is he a good actor? No, wait. Don't tell me. Let me just experience him. So, it's outside?"

"It's in a park on a beach, so bring beach stuff. Do you sit out in the sun?"

"Never. But I have swimming trunks."

"Well, I don't know what's there or what we'll do. So, I'm bringing towels and a blanket."

He picked me up about 10am and I packed a little bag with swim stuff, some munchies. And off we zoomed, his hybrid purring like a kitty cat.

It had been awhile since we'd had a chance to just chat and gossip. Took about four hours to get there. But Michael wa…

"It's Like Church."

Dave said to the beautiful young female singer who was at Kulak's for the first time on Monday night, "This is like church for me. Wherever else I might be singing, I come to Kulak's every Monday night."It had been a couple of weeks, so I was excited to get back down to Kulak's Woodshed for the Open Mic Night. It's fun to hear the new songwriters just starting out and some great veterans mixing it up with the kids. And it all goes out over the net live!

But there's danger lurking. It seems that the Woodshed, which has been going for a good five years or more is in danger of being shut down because it has been set up in a place where the zoning laws permit only offices. The city would rather have a cold, dark block where no life exists than a glowing little community of artists bringing light and life onto the landscape.

Or so it seems.

We'll find out. There's a hearing later on this month which will supposedly decide its fate. There are neighbors whi…

Reorganizing My Musical Life.

I decided to follow the advice of a friend who told me that when she's finished up a job, she reorganizes everything so that it feels like she's starting fresh. Seems like a good idea.

So, I decided to creep upstairs to my loft and, instead of avoiding all the stacks and stacks and stacks of paper (my usual method of dealing with stuff), I decided to bring everything downstairs into one gigantic stack, sort through it and start seeing what's there, what isn't there, and what I need to do to get it all to make sense.

But, first, I decided I needed a goal. Okay, easy enough.

Steve, in the best of all worlds, what would you like to have instead of stacks of paper?

Well, Steve, I'm glad you asked. I was thinking it would be nice to have a three-ring binder to two full of all my new songs, along with a selection of songs from my shows, which I can whip out at a moment's notice.

And why would you like to have this?

I would like to have this so that I can see it all in fron…