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Showing posts from February, 2009

Animal Night at Kulak's.

Tonight, Saturday, I will be volunteering down at Animal Night at Kulak's. You can watch it on the Net. http://kulakswoodshed.com

Gabi's Song from Santa Cruz.

I think I got the YouTube coding right. This is the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus on tour performing at the First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz, CA.

Working with YouTube

I have been struggling with finding the right settings for the youtube videos to get them into the wide screen format. I thought I had it right, but it's not working. So, I've taken down some recent videos and am working now with the software to see if I can get the rendering correct.

Bear with me and when I solve the problem, I'll have a bunch of new videos ready for you.

Homo Wins! Hemo Walks Away In Disgrace.

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I want to make a horror film about a tap dancing werewolf. Oh, wait. I just saw it. It was called "The Academy Awards," though it looked and sounded more like the Tonys. When I said that the Oscars were gayest event of the year, I wasn't expecting them to take me quite so literally. Have I mentioned that I hate big, gay production numbers?
Well, I do. I said it and I'm not ashamed.

But the set looked fab, Milk won in two categories, and the best speech of the night was by its writer, the young Dustin Lance Black. I also like that Sean Penn said "homo" on stage. Looks like I won the contest between Hemo and me.

SAYS HEMO: I got nothing! Nada! I'm going to blog that Penn gave the H2H a shout out from stage. You are right- best speech by the writer!

Our friend said Brody looked like Snoop Dogg. I said that maybe he is playing him in an upcoming biopic.
Actually Snoop Dogg is hosting a variety show soon.

Snoop Dogg. Variety show.

The man can barely string a se…

Secularism Not Incompatible with Faith

I made this point frequently when trying to demonstrate, during the rehearsals of New World Waking, how singers who considered themselves secular -- me being one -- could sing songs about faith and religious journeys with full integrity. Andrew Sullivan, on his blog this morning, posted something that concurs with my point.
They are, despite the propaganda of the atheists and the fundamentalists, compatible - even necessary for one another. Bruce Ledewitz, a non-believer himself, discusses his new book Hallowed Secularism:I am afraid that without the influence of religion, secularism will eventually succumb to a weary relativism, or even nihilism. That is the fear as well of other secular thinkers, such as Austin Dacey, in his book, The Secular Conscience. My proposal is that secularists continue to learn from religion, especially the lesson that Martin Luther King, Jr., called, “the moral arc of the universe.” Religious symbols and language, such as redemption, salvation and forgivene…

Hemo2Homo Predicts The Oscars

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Tonight is the Oscars. It’s always a chance for Shawn Decker and Steve- The Hemo2Homo Connection- to match wits and predict winners. I’ll post the results tomorrow and will try not to gloat too much when I win. Oh, and since Shawn didn't dress for the occasion, I'll do most of the heavy lifting. STEVE SAYS: The Oscars! The gayest event of the entertainment season featuring five movies no one in America actually saw all competing to win a prize so that their DVD sales will escalate (since none of the films ever played in any actual theaters where “the public” — that great unwashed mass of Paul Blart lovers — resides.)BEST ACTOR: Sean Penn. No actor has ever so completely captured a real figure. Ever.(SHAWN SAYS: “No way- Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler! It’s still real to me, dammit!”)SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger. No actor has ever so completely captured Dick Cheney’s persona. Ever. And, amazingly, though both are dead, one manages to crawl out of the grave and appear on Fo…

Why I Love Texas

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A bill was just introduced into the Texas legislature to allow hunting of feral pigs by helicopter. As it stands, the only animals that are allowed to be hunted by aircraft are alligators, turtles and frogs.

Frogs?

HEMO2HOMO OSCAR SPECIAL COMING SOON.

Yes, folks. Not all is gloom and doom and politics! We have your Hemo2Homo 2009 Oscar Special coming soon!

The world awaits.

(Snark will be thrown.)

Legal Options For Those Harmed by Ex-Gay Programs

New Landmark Publication By Truth Wins Out and Lambda Legal Offers Legal Options To Those Hurt By Ex-Gay Programs

If You Have Been Harmed By 'Ex-Gay' Programs, 'Ex-Gay & The Law' Is For You

CHARLOTTE - Truth Wins Out and Lambda Legal released a landmark publication today, "Ex-Gay & The Law", that aims to educate victims of "ex-gay" programs of their legal options. This work was inspired by the many people who have had their lives damaged by programs that seek to "pray away the gay" or use questionable counseling techniques.

"Ex-Gay & the Law helps survivors of ex-gay programs explore their legal rights if they believe they have been harmed," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "This groundbreaking publication offers practical legal advice so important questions can be answered."

"We are pleased to help support this publication and to be a part of this effort," said Hayley Gor…

"I'm sorry. You're not allowed to see your dying wife. Not in this state."

One moment everything was fine. You were in your stateroom on the cruise ship -- it was to be an anniversary cruise -- unpacking your things. The kids were in the adjoining stateroom playing with your wife. Suddenly, they banged on the door crying that mom was hurt.So now you're in the hospital -- Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital -- waiting for word, and it's not coming. They tell you, Joe (we'll call you Joe), you can't be with her. You plead with them, to no avail. No, Joe, sorry, Joe, we can't tell you anything. One hour turns to two, two to four, four to six. Your wife is dying, and no one she loves is there.Finally, in the eighth hour, you reach her bedside. You are just in time to stand beside the priest as he administers last rites.Your wife is dead. Her name was Lisa Marie Pond. She was 39.It happened, Feb. 18-19, 2007, except that Pond's spouse was not a man named Joe, but a woman named Janice. And there's one other detail. Ja…

Breakfast with Bev, Michael and Walt.

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Bev came into town to watch tapings of the NPR quiz show, "Says You" so we had breakfast at Denny's, where they give you a huge handful of creamers. Michael and I started stacking them. He won.

I had a bit of a headache, so I missed ribbing Bev about writing too many blog entries, which was the main reason Michael showed up. (She writes one every single day.)

Now that I think of it, I think he did it because he was bored of all of us.

Bev tells all.

Miss Your Flight?

This is what Jim does when he misses a flight.

Head's In The Music

As I reported in my last blog, these days my head is deeply sunk into music. Mostly my own, of course, because that's my passion. But having listened to The Planets with score in hand -- "Ahhh, so THAT'S where all those 50s sci fi movie composers got their ideas!" -- it gave me confidence that I could start trying to get down onto paper the orchestral music that has been haunting the symphony hall in my head.

Or, to put it in Southern terms, "They done flung a cravin' on me."

[That comes from the punchline of a joke by the old cajun comedian Jerry Clower concerning a country bumpkin character named New Gene. New Gene was eating mustard sardines on the wooden steps of the general store and he had it all on his face, in his eyebrows, etc. And the observer says something like, "Hoo-weee! New Gene has done flung a cravin' on me." It's funny when Clower says it.]I actually finished writing out the Adagio movement for the Antarctic Suite. (I c…

Bernstein, Holst, Ives, Copeland.

One of the aspects of my musical education is that I don't have one. Or, rather, it's all street learning/ bar & church music, since I left school after two years (long story) and hit the road. So, yesterday morning I sat and listened to Bernstein's Mass for the first time all the way through after spending the last couple of weeks listening to his series of lectures at Harvard about 20th century music. This morning I downloaded the orchestral score to Holst's The Planets and listened to that all the way thought while trying to follow the score. (I had to back up and start over a number of times).

As a maker of popular music, this stuff just never crossed my path and I couldn't have understood it even if it had.

And it's orgasmic. I feel like I'm finally making up for a lot of lost time. I feel foolish that I don't know this stuff, being a professional musician and songwriter.

Part of the reason I'm doing this is because my own New World Waking got…

Devastation in Australia.

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My friend, Kathleen McGuire, who is currently on hiatus in her homeland of Australia, has been telling me about the utter devastation going on down there with wildfires. Tens of thousands of acres spread out over the size of Texas are going up in flames. It's summer down there, reportedly the hottest on record. Here is what she wrote on her Facebook page:

It's hard to describe what it has been like here this weekend. Thankfully none of my immediate family, nor their properties, were harmed. I was in Berwick on the outskirts of Melbourne for most of it. As we tried to stay calm, celebrating my niece's 12th birthday on the hottest day on record here, we started hearing news of the fires. It instantly reminded us of the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, which were the worst fires Australia had ever seen. Little did we know that the tragic events that were about to unfold would surpass even that devastation.

Here in Berwick the sky started to darken, filled with smoke from fires in d…

Singing Gabi's Song in New World Waking.

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Pictured: Stephen Camarota.

Earlier this month, I wrote to several of the chorus members up in San Francisco asking them if they could write a little paragraph or even just a sentence about what singing the piece meant to them, or perhaps just share a story of something that happened. I did this partly because I couldn't be there and I wanted to live it as much through them as possible.

But, also, as we finish up the formal score and begin to offer it to other choruses, I'm thinking these quotes could be a part of the package.

And then I get this from Stephen Camarota:
I had an instant connection to “Gabi’s Song.” The melody, the words, the arrangement, all of it called to me in a subtle, yet definitive way. After reading the whole history of the song, about Bill and his parents, I kept thinking about what he might have been like now so many years later. We would be about the same age now. In a way I was Bill if he lived on. That was a great responsibility.

About a week before I …

Trial Begins for HIV Gene Therapy.

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Gene therapy that could immunize people against the most common type of HIV is ready to be tested on humans. From Wired Blogs.
Recruiting for the trial began Tuesday, and the first people to receive the experimental treatment will be HIV patients with drug-resistance problems. "We do have good treatments for HIV. That has been one of the most successful stories of the last 20 years in medicine," said Pablo Tebas, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania. "However, over time, if the medications are not taken properly, individuals develop resistance to the HIV treatments, so they tend to have more limited therapeutic options."Since the discovery that a small portion of people who are exposed to HIV do not get infected, scientists have been working to discover the secret to those people's resistance and how to make others resistant as well.It turns out that most people have a gene called CCR5, which makes them vulnerable to HIV infections. The…

Quick Catch-Up.

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I've been working on this musical piece, The Antarctic Suite, and listening to some great recordings of Leonard Bernstein given to me by Ken McPherson. It's a lecture series he did at Harvard on American music in the 20th Century. I can almost understand it. But, man, when you hear someone who REALLY knows music (and art and literature and poetry), it humbles you greatly.

So, I haven't done any more video editing. I wanted to get this music ready and use it in the videos.

Meanwhile, last Wednesday I helped facilitate the songwriter workshop at Kulak's Woodshed being run by Marc Platt. Marc's a terrific teacher and has a great knowledge of popular music -- again, humbling me.

This afternoon, I'm having coffee with an old college buddy whose wife found me through Facebook m-- I actually wrote a song and performed it at their wedding.

We haven't seen each other nor spoken in 30 years. Their sons are part of a terrific pop/rock band called The Daylights, who are to…