Showing posts from December, 2008


This blog will be on break until January 10th.

Thank you for reading, responding and watching my videos. If you're new to the blog, be sure to check out my youtube site. You'll find lots of things to watch.

If you're interesting in New World Waking, go here and watch the playlist of all the videos of the rehearsals and events leading up to the performance, which happened on Dec. 1st.

Happy holidays to you.

"Holy Dirt" with Piper Laurie & SFGMC

This is the centerpiece song in "New World Waking!" with special guest, Piper Laurie, reading some special text. San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus in rehearsal on Dec. 1, 2008.

"William's Song" in rehearsal.

Look! I finally figured out how to render and then upload something in wide screen! Now I wish I could go back and replace all my videos to make them look like this.

I also found Blogger Busters and learned how to widen this column by altering the java code so that it would fit. I feel so geeky this week.

Musings, Plans for the Future.

I think I've finally come down from Dec. 1st. The hard cold reality of having a big event, such as we had at Davies Symphony Hall (I love saying that), is that when it's over, it's really over. No matter how long it might linger in the mind, it all went too fast. Kathleen had barely raised her baton before it was over. Did they applaud? I don't even remember.

Happily, I knew this going in. I was prepared for it, emotionally. That's why I celebrated all the days leading up to it -- the anticipation is so energizing and uplifting. But now, the letdown. I can't go back and recreate what happened that night. It's in the past.

Still, there is much to look forward to.

For people in San Francisco who might have missed it, the Chorus is going to be performing an abridged version of "New World Waking" for the annual "Home for the Holidays" concert on Dec. 24. If you're in town, be sure to go.

Also, that night, if things go according to schedule, …

Thursday Night at Kulak's Vlog Pt. 2

A surprise! A man wants to propose during the show tonight. And Paul tells us more about the creation of Kulak's Woodshed.

The Big Moon

We had overcast skies, but my friend Doug Watt took this picture. Last night the moon was epic close to the earth. As a SF lover, stuff like this always feels spooky and wonderful. And they say the tides were an inch higher. Imagine how spooky it was back at the dawn of civilization when the moon was the teevee.

Thursday Night at Kulak's Vlog Pt. 1

Best Attendance Ever.

One of my brothers oversees a large department in a government office in a Southern state. He sent me a note regarding yesterday's "Call In Gay" Day, where some online activists had sought for gay people to "Call in gay" and take the day off, donating the time to charity. The idea was to show visibility so that they could become personalized to friends and co-workers.

"Went to my management staff and asked who called in sick today. I figured it would be a good way of knowing, for sure, who's gay."

[He was joking, btw.]

"We were at 100%. Probably first time ever. Guess no one wanted to be suspected."
That kinda tells you everything you need to know. It would be one thing if everyone had ignored the call and caused barely a ripple. It's quite another when everyone takes it as a cue to show up. I wonder how many straight people who otherwise might have had to call in sick, due to a cold or the flu or something, came to work anyway out of f…

Jason & Jason & Rachel.

This is one of my adopted sons, Jason. He and his partner, whose name is also Jason just celebrated their 10th anniversary. They got married in their backyard. And Jim and I performed the ceremony under a tent with all their friends. (Jim got a minister license off the Internet. I played piano and sang. And no, we haven't started up a gay marriage business and yes, we did it because they asked us to and they are part of our family and we love them).

And it wasn't legal.

The cops didn't rush in, but there is a time in our nation's history when that would have happened.

There is a time in our nation's history when that little gathering of friends -- if it had happened at all, and it wouldn't have -- would have been raided by cops and the people hauled off to jail.

I want you to look at these renegade civilization killers:

They recently this year, they quietly celebrated their 10th.

That "time" that I mentioned when the cops would have raided us? It was during…

Three More Portraits.

I've been looking over the pictures taken down at Davies Symphony Hall. I've never really sat for this kind of session, where we just went all over the place and posed and got all artsy with a photographer with really good lenses.

It's also a very important part of being taken seriously as a professional. When someone asks you for one, whether for press or a program, it's not a good idea to start tossing snapshots at them that you took yourself out on the front porch.

Anyway, I've finally had to chance to just sit and look at these. I think most of them would work as an 8 x 10. They all have different character. This one makes me look innocent.

This one's slightly rakish, maybe.

Colleen, the photographer liked this one:

Sing Along to "My Thanksgiving Prayer"!

Sing along to this rehearsal video of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performing "My Thanksgiving Prayer" with the Community Women's Orchestra -- as part of New World Waking! Songs on the Road to Peace, Inspired by John Lennon's Piano. Lyrics by Peter J. Carman. Music by Steve Schalchlin. Arranged, orchestrated and conducted by Dr. Kathleen C. McGuire.

Homeless In L.A.: Chuck

Prologue with Orchestra.

If you want to get a feeling for how beautiful the orchestrations were for New World Waking, check out the rehearsal video I did for the "Prologue," which I've documented from the first rehearsal we heard Dan O'Leary doing it for the chorus. This is taken with my camcorder.

More Pics From San Francisco.

So, what's a country boy like me doing in a place like this? SELLING IT OUT! (Okay, maybe it was the chorus that sold it out, but I can dream, can't I?

The New World Waking Playlist

I've set up a YouTube New World Waking playlist. Meaning that if you click on the video below, it will play all the videos related to New World Waking. This is my first time to fool around with playists, and I finally figured out how to put them in the order I want them..
I haven't fooled around with playists yet at YouTube, but now that I've discovered them, I'm going to be doing a lot more. I love having a new toy. Try it out and tell me if it works.

I Own This Joint. Tonight, Anyway.

So, there's a happy face.

SF Bay Times calls New World Waking "powerful."

In the first post concert review, the Bay Area Times describes the experience of New World Waking.

Bringing Down the House
By Sister Dana Van Iquity
Published: December 4, 2008

On December 1, World AIDS Day, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) presented their pearl anniversary concert featuring Jennifer Holliday, Piper Laurie and Kim Kuzma. The Community Women’s Orchestra provided the music, along with pianist Thaddeus Pinkston. Each chorister wore his red sequined ribbon along with strings of pearls in commemoration of World AIDS Day and of their XXX year of singing. Mayor Gavin Newsom had pronounced SFGMC WEEK (not the usual Day that he typically proclaims, but the whole week). The chorus was under the skilled baton of Dr. Kathleen McGuire, SFGMC artistic director. That night they recorded the concert to be available as a CD in a month. If you missed the live show, at least you can enjoy the music; and if you were there, you no doubt will want to purchase the CD, which I will be …

Video Blog: Driving to San Francisco

"You sound angry online, but with your music connected..."

I have a friend named Chris. He and his wife, Claudine, have become like family to Jim and me. She wore a fabulous red dress and called me her vampire lover. (Okay, now I get Twilight. It's the straight version of "Will and Grace".)

Chris went with a few of us over to Martuni's after the event. Kim Kuzma was there. Oh, my god. Kim Kuzma. What a voice on this woman. It was my first time to meet her or hear her. Just wow. We talked about doing something together for the Upright Cabaret here in Los Angeles.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Big Voice is coming to Indio Center for the Performing Arts near Palm Springs. Mid-January.

I don't have details yet. It's the same place where Jim did Zero.

Anyway, we're standing out in front of Martuni's. The whole night felt electric. Claudine looked fabulous. And he said, "You know, you actually have very angry lyrics and online you sometimes sound angry. But the music is so opposite to that, that it comes out making me …

Joe.My.God. reports on New World Waking.

My friend, Joe Jervis, who writes one of the top gay oriented blogs, was the inspiration for one of songs in New World Waking. It's called "Dead Inside." His most recent blog post contains his own report of the night. He took this great picture of me outside the venue.

It was thrilling for me that he flew out from New York and was able to be in the show. He took a wonderful picture of Jim and me.

He says:
But like many in the audience, I lost it during the two songs dedicated to two mothers, Gabi Clayton and Carolyn Wagner, whose sons were the victims of anti-gay violence. Together they founded Families Against Hate and were in the audience and recognized from the stage, to many tears. Here's Steve's backstage video of the women meeting the chorus members. There's a few laughs in the clip, but you should get a hanky.
What Joe doesn't know is that Carolyn has been struggling with a lot of health problems. She is battling cancer and, for a very long time has b…

AIDS Food Pantry in Dallas Needs Help.

This is something I just received. Since I lived in Dallas, and came out in Dallas, I wanted to post this for readers who might want to help them out.
Resource Center of Dallas' (RCD) AIDS Food Pantry is being forced to move from their location after almost 25 years. Many of their clients do not even have the money to take the bus to get their groceries now, so their fear is where the pantry will move to. Even with an end of January extension given, RCD says donations are coming in slower than expected and the initial $25,000 moving budget is expected to increase. The current 20 year old refrigeration equipment will not be able to make the move to a new location, according to an assessment from a refrigeration expert, forcing the pantry to buy a replacement. And once the moving expenses are met, additional money will be needed to buy food for the Center's clients during this time of year. From November through January, the Center traditionally sees an overall 30% increase in f…

More Photos at Bev's Blog.

We had a sold out house at Davies Symphony Hall.

Bev blogged her night at New World Waking. More photos there. And I have new video coming soon. If you don't know who Gabi and Carolyn (pictured at her blog) are, just wait.

Just. Wait.

My new portrait.

I posted a photo by my friend, Colleen Mullins, who is a very noted photographer. She also took this portrait. I'll be posting more photos soon.

"So, how did it go?"

Photo by Colleen Mullins.
From the stage of Davies Symphony Hall.

I've had so many emails from people asking me how it went last night.

I'll try to find words, but now I know why people take drugs. The adrenalin coursing through my body last night had me floating about six feet above the floor and I couldn't feel anything the whole night.

I was literally numb. I sat there listening to the music, but not hearing it. It was scary and frightening. I tried to relax, but then I'd look down and see that I was pitched forward in my seat, tense and knotted up.

It was happening on that massive stage with that huge chorus and the 50 piece orchestra, but I was listening to the audience. Let me tell you what I did NOT hear. I did not hear throat clearing. I did not hear coughing.

This is a very good sign.

What I did see were tear-streaked faces. And intense faces, actually listening. I looked up and behind me at this magnificent room and saw the seats packed to the ceiling. Before the sh…

Moscone/Milk Memorial 2008

A friend sent me this saying, "You're writing the soundtrack for our lives."

The opening song on this video is "My Thanksgiving Prayer." It's the memorial on the steps of City Hall followed by a march to Castro Street. This past Friday.

Who Can Sleep?

I was awake at 4 am. And 5 am. And 6 am.

At 7 am, I had to take our car across the street to the Ford dealership because we got here with a leak (after having just had it serviced). When the guy behind the counter asked me why I was here, I just blurted out (no doubt sounding like a crazy man), "THEY'RE SINGING AND PLAYING MY MUSIC AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL TONIGHT!!

The handsome guy behind the counter got a big smile on his face and told me he played French Horn and that he was very happy for me.

Yesterday morning, after walking around the City Hall plaza, I wandered over to MCC SF for the morning worship service. Got there early during the choir rehearsal. Kathleen was there singing. My friend, Stephanie, was musical directing.

I was buzzing from my walkabout and barely able to sit.

And then they started singing "Seasons of Love" from RENT.

"Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes" -- "How do you measure a year in the life?" And tears jus…