Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
An astonishing new video shows for the first time how HIV attacks and infects healthy immune cells. This glimpse has provided researchers with some new ideas.Before you look at the video, I wanted to point to a comment someone made, that the reason this research was possible was because scientists somewhere decided they wanted to study genes to find out what made certain sea life glow. By finding this gene, they were able to insert it into a virus, which made it possible to take pictures of the AIDS virus actively infecting a cell.
Here's the comment, a reader named in60657:
You can probably thank Martin Chalfie, Osamu Shimoura, and Roger Tsien. They won the 2008 Nobel prize in Chemistry for the green flourescent protein discovered by Shimoura in 1960 in a jellyfish. Chalfie was able to insert the gene into another organism and Tsien expanded it to flouresce in different colors. This technique is also used in cancer research.From the article:
This also illustrates how something that seems silly on the surface (why does this jellyfish glow) and is used mainly by Republicans to attack science, can have far reaching and positive influences on the health of everyone.
Researchers found that the virus is transferred from infected cells to healthy ones in a previously unknown way. It is hoped that the discovery will help researchers create a vaccine to combat the virus, which has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people.
The study was made possible after experts created a molecular clone of infectious HIV and inserted a protein into its genetic code which glows green when exposed to blue light. This allowed scientists to see the cells on digital video, and capture the way HIV-infected T-cells interact with uninfected ones.
They noted that when an infected cell came into contact with a healthy one, a bridge was created between them, called a virological synapse. Researchers were then able to observe the fluorescent green viral particles moving towards the synapse and into the healthy cell.
The US study has broken new ground by revealing that it is the synapse through which the viral proteins are gathered and moved into uninfected cells. The team, comprising scientists from UC Davis university in California, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, believe that this knowledge could help create new treatments for HIV and Aids.
The scariest of horror movies. (Add spooky music.)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I thought I'd use act one for TLS and TBV, framing the songs with the story of creating this blog back in 1996, meeting Gabi Clayton, and ending act one with how helping her put Bill's Story online led to playing John Lennon's piano.
Then, because NWW was created out of that event, I would use act two to sing some of those songs and then finish with, perhaps, some of the newer songs.
So, the question is, for those of you who know my material, what songs would you expect and want to hear if you came to a solo concert?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Ugh. Trying to get to Ft. Lauderdale from L.A.
No direct flights. So, finding the cheapest flight possible, we booked Northwest Airlines leaving 10pm arriving in Detroit (DETROIT??) at 5am, leaving at 8am, arriving Ft. Lauderdale... whenever.
Both flights were packed to the gills and I think they've moved the rows closer together. Sitting next to, and around, me was a family from Mexico, complete with baby. But, happily, the kid was so cute and so happy, it made the flight much more endurable. (I love happy babies).
Still, it was very uncomfortable. I managed to doze off a couple of times, but I decided that by the time I got to Florida, I was never going to let Jim live this down.
In Detroit, though it was really early, there was a breakfast place open, so I got some food and then waited around for the next flight. Also packed. Also uncomfortable. But just seeing Jim was reward enough. All was forgiven. (He met me at the airport with a sign that read "Schalchlibromawitz."
The housing here at the theatre is comfortable. Next door is the cast to "Sugar," which is playing on the stage next to Jim's. I'm looking forward to meeting the kids in the show, most of whom are from New York.
So, all is well. I was exhausted, so I slept all day.
Next week, we'll do The Big Voice. Now, how do I reach all the gay folks here to get them to the show?
Monday, March 23, 2009
I did not have any idea I would alive this long. I remember full well that, at the time, I was getting desperately ill -- and would continue downhill until the summer of '96 when Crixivan finally arrived by FedEx, probably at the very last moment that it had any chance of working.
Then, June of '96 saw us working on our very first workshop production of The Last Session with me playing Gideon (since, at the time, I didn't know how to write out music charts, nor did I know anything about arranging -- so we winged it and just threw it together the best we could). Adding to the complications was the fact that I was hooked up to an I.V. for 14 hours a day, infusing nutrition because my entire digestive system had failed.
Slowly, during that long month of July, I began to gain weight. The show got better and better, and by the end of our run, we had totally sold out the venue. And on the last night, at curtain, I "triumphantly" pulled the IV out of my arm and announced that I was going to cross my fingers and hope that my body would begin to sustain itself.
And it did.
And I'm still here.
Happy blog-iversary to me.
What could I say? "I've been totally lazy, totally eating lousy food, and completely frustrated."
"Well, my feet. I know I should be out running, but with this nerve damage, I can't just go buy athletic shoes. Everything hurts to the point that I'm crippled."
"Well, you could do bikes or weight lifting..."
"I know. I know. I'm just..."
"Okay. It's okay. I hear how frustrated you are."
"I'll figure it out. I'm just so unmotivated."
"Do you think it's because Jim is gone?"
I wanted to say yes, but that's not it. Or maybe it is. It just always feels like I'm climbing uphill. I get to a place where the sugars are good, kinda, and then it all falls apart unless I stay on it all the time. And so I lose a couple of days and then it gets worse and I can't motivate myself back up again.
Oh, well. Time to start over. Again.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So, we offered to do a one night only performance of "The Big Voice" since I was planning on going down there anyway. Hopefully, someone in the Ft. Lauderdale area will have heard of us and it will sell a ticket or two. And it will be fun to be doing the show again.
With him focused on "Zero," it makes it increasingly hard for us to find these opportunities. Happily, "Big Voice" is "recession friendly." All we need are two chairs, a table, a keyboard and a mirror ball.
After doing the show again in Indio (for a healthy group of seniors, none of whom had heard of us but liked us anyway), I was reminded how healthy it is for me be performing. Last night, at the open mic, grabbed Lisa Turner (who has one of the most mesmerizing voices you'll ever hear in person) and had her harmonize with me on a new song, adding John Cartwright on bass.
I am stupid with this blog because I didn't advertise this in advance. The truth is that it all came together so quickly, I didn't even think of it.
But except for the next two weeks, where I'll be in Florida, you can almost always catch me at the open mic.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Marc and I are volunteering our services, and donations are made to help pay the rent so that we can keep the place open. (And I say "we" because I am he as you are me and we are all together.) I just follow his lead and, thankfully, he knows what he's doing.
Now, I've been asked by my friend, JD Sebastian, to facilitate a songwriter workshop for a new group of songwriters and musicians concerned about the environment. They've formed a loose association called songs4earth.com and we're going to do the workshop on Saturday morning at MCC-LA.
Truthfully, I don't know if songwriting can be taught, but I have found that in our Kulak's workshop, the songwriters there are telling me that they learn from just experiencing the techniques I've introduced to them when we do a "group songwriting."
For me, it's a great way to sharpen my skills. In fact, Tuesday night, I was so inspired by all of this activity I sat down and wrote a song called "It Ain't Home." I just have a little tweaking to do before it's finished. So, when that's done, I'll record it, or do it down at the open mic and put up a video.
Meanwhile, I'm planning to visit Jim at the end of the month down in Florida and we've agree to do a one night performance of The Big Voice as a fundraiser for the theatre, which is really hurting in this economic meltdown. I'll have more information very soon. If you're around the Ft. Lauderdale area, please come and see us.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Hemo: (somberly) You know, I'd like to think that- if I had more clotting factor- I could put together a suit and go out and fight crime...
Homo: Please let me dwell for a moment on what your costume would look like. I know! Paint your pee pee red and go naked! (It's the homo in me. I had to go there.) But seriously, as fellow positoids, we are bound together by our blood and purpose so that others aren't afraid of our kind. I saw Watchmen as a symbol of our abiding friendship as competitive good guys making things right in the world.
Hemo: ... so, am I a super hero?
Homo: Yes, but the only thing you bomb people with is your jokes.
A warning to our readers: Watchmen is a violent, complex, adult drama. It is not a "Let's get together and fight the bad guy" kind of movie, though they describe, in the film, that that's how super heroes in costumes started -- cops dressing up in reaction to bad guys dressing up like gangs.
Hemo: I also enjoyed the dark tone of the movie, how the lines were constantly being blurred. It's like watching the Today show, you don't know who the bad guy is, or if there even is one.
Homo: It plays like a novel. Dense, intelligent and captivating. In fact I went to see it a second time and liked it even more. There's so much in this movie, you can't get it all the first time.
Hemo: Kind of like a Hemo2Homo Connection review, right?
Homo: Only if someone reads my parts.
Hemo: Yeah, yeah. Enjoy your insults while you can, thickblood. I'm off to go work on that red pee pee suit. There are bigger things out there in the world for me to do than review movies. You haven't seen the last of me, Rorschachlin! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Is this the end of the Hemo2Homo Connection? Will Shawn return as a masked avenger, and try to take over the Hemo2Homo Connection once and for all? Tune in next time to find out!
Steve's addendum: Since I really liked this movie so much, I'd like to publish some additional thoughts after having seen it again. The best review I've read of "Watchmen" --the one I most agree with -- is here written by Andrew O'Hehir. To tell you the truth, I'm a little peeved at the negative tone of many of the reviews, dismissing this intelligent, thoughtful and complexly difficult film outright as if it were a piece of fluff. That's just too easy. For one thing, you have Alan Moore's full permission. (He's the rebellious author of the source material, a comic series now available as a graphic novel, who has refused all royalties or even allow his name on the credits). And for another, no one can convert a great work into another great work. One will always be a pale imitation of the other.
Steve Schalchlin resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter. Shawn Decker lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is an HIV/AIDS educator and the author of My Pet Virus.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I have tickets to tomorrow's first matinee of the greatly anticipated movie version of WATCHMEN, possibly the greatest graphic novel ever written. The author of said book has renounced all association with the film because of how they murdered his other books, "League of Extraordinary Gentelmen," "V For Vendetta," and... well, trust me. They murdered them.
Early reviews for WATCHMEN have been all the way from absolute hate to complete and total embrace. (Roger Ebert loved it!).
So, who knows? But I'm gonna be there. Front and center.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
I've embedded the entire playlist here. If you click on it, it will cycle through the entire concert automatically. However, this playlist isn't hi def. If you go to each song individually, you can click through to the hi def version. My thanks to Ken McPherson who arranged to have this done.
I keep meaning to bring up another little history lesson that came from watching the B&W games shows on the Game Show Network. When you...
Hal Block, the increasingly irritating panelist on "What's My Line?" was fired last night after the show. Well, back in 1953. ...
When the history of "The Big Voice: God or Merman? is written, there will be one moment that will shine, for us, above all. And it happ...