This whole new wave of personal appearances, culminating in the creation and design of a new live solo concert, began with a simple request. Gabi Clayton -- do I have to remind you who she is? -- approached me about going back up to Olympia, the place where I played the "Imagine" piano, to sing a new concert as a benefit for PFLAG-Olympia. Given the fact that I'll do anything, anywhere, for any PFLAG, my answer was yes.
For me, PFLAG is a most vital organization because it is the most "roots." It consists of parents helping parents. They are a support group, both locally and online. I subscribe to the PFLAG-Talk email list (which, I believe is not an "official" PFLAG list, but, rather, a group of PFLAG moms and dads). I've been with them from the beginning because Youth Guardian Services was instrumental in helping them get online back in the dinosaur days of the Internet, and I've been involved with them from the beginning before the beginning.
After more than a few years doing only theatre work, with a script, dialogue, staging, etc., I am really looking forward to returning to what I feel I do best: Sit at a piano, sing, tell a few stories, get some laughs and some tears, and then hang out for awhile, huggin' and talkin' to everyone.
It's not sophisticated. It's not the way "big city" people entertain, where the object seems to be to act as removed and above it all as you can be, but it's who I am.
Facebook has been equally interesting lately because people from my high school have been writing me notes. Buna, Texas where I graduated, is a very small town in southeast Texas. Since my dad moved us around a few times, due to his calling as a pastor, I only knew the Buna folks for 2 and half years. I was a total outsider.
When I left Buna, I only had a couple of close friends, Butch and Dwight. Dwight died last year of throat cancer and Butch is still living on the farm his daddy built. This is why I love Butch. I love the stable feeling of a guy who knows exactly who he is and whom you can always find.
But I'm digressing. Back to the concert.
The last time I did any serious touring was, really, in the couple of years after TLS went to New York. That's 10 years ago. And since all my songs were TLS songs, along with Gabi's Song and William's Song, most of my concerts were about having AIDS. If you needed an AIDS music guy, that would be me.
But now, as I review my material, if I'm not the AIDS guy, then who am I? I have TLS, The Big Voice and New World Waking, along with a handful of love songs and cabaret songs. A career that began as a series of songs designed to keep me alive has grown from my hospital room to off-Broadway to award ceremonies to a Beatle's piano to symphony halls.
And since I've been enjoying this so much, I've been in contact with some other venues in other cities to do more benefit concerts for local groups. Why put together a show and only do it once? As soon as I have more information, I'll post it here.
Anyway, here's the latest generic poster design for my concert. Do I look impressive yet?
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