BRIEF BLOG INTRO:
I'm a man on a mission. A mission to convince you that life is worth living, no matter how many obstacles are placed in your way. And that you can accomplish great things if you just push ahead and don't let anyone tell you no.

I'm a singer/songwriter and actor from Texas "Living in the Bonus Round" in New York City-- which is my way of describing how I feel having cheated death. (In a game show, the Bonus Round is where time speeds up and the prizes are better.) Accepting my death changed me. Now, I'm consuming life as quickly and as fully as I can, while still taking time to breathe and appreciate every single day as an utter miracle.

Last year, I turned 60 and I had a set of goals, all of which came true, including composing -- and performing in -- a Mass, recording a solo album (selling 10s of copies), headlining to a sold out house at a major night club in New York City and playing the lead role in a staged reading of a play not written by myself. I update a few times a month these days, and I don't spam. So it's easier to keep up with me by following by Email. When this blog began, it was to track my death. I'm told it was the first AIDS blog. You can start at the gruesome beginning if you want. Or just jump in and maybe we can learn some life lessons together. Welcome to the Bonus Round. I'm Steve [SHACK-lin] and we're just getting started.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Jim and "Jim" On Both Coasts!

Today was a very cool day. We made the papers on both coasts.

The DC papers made the first announcement of Jim Brochu's Zero Hour at Theatre J, August 26. And the San Francisco Sentinel came out with the first announcement of Jim Schalchlin's "...And I Played John Lennon's Piano."

Yes, you read it right. Jim Schalchlin. Seán Martinfield, who wrote the blurb has always been a really big supporter of our work, so I know it was just a little typo, but I think it's kind of adorable.

The graphic for the concert is below the article, so readers will figure it out.

The main thing is that I want to help raise money for New Conservatory. It's a very tough time out there for theatres, and Ed Decker has always brought interesting and current gay-themed dramas and musicals. Right now, they have a chance to meet some matching grants, so every dollar donated gets multiplied.

Anyway, here is what's on the page today.

MONDAY- AUGUST 17th, 2009 - 7:30 pm
Jim Schalchlin’s“And I Played John Lennon’s Piano”
A Benefit Concert for the NCTC Challenge Campaign

Over the next 60 months, NCTC must match 2-to-1 a generous half-million dollar legacy gift from philanthropists James L. Coran and Walter Nelson-Rees. The Legacy Challenge Campaign goal is to raise one million dollars from individual donors and corporate matching gift programs by the end of August 2012. Steve Schalchlin is a “Best Musical” awards winner. His mantle includes the LA Ovation Award, GLAAD Media Award, and another from the NY Drama League. The evening will include his partner, phenomenal author and comedian Jim Brochu whose play about Zero Mostel, Zero Hour, is bound for New York. Click here for ticket information: And I Played John Lennon’s Piano

steve-schalchlin

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spiritus Christi Church Supports YGS.

Once again this year, the Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester NY, has made a significant donation to Youth Guardian Services, the online peer support group for LGBT youth. It's part of their tithing program. We especially thank church member, Bud Minard, an old friend, for encouraging the church to include YGS.

As many of you know, I have been both a board member of YGS for many years now. I have supported them because they were founded by, and are still run by, youth. We adults are merely there to make sure YGS meets all its legal obligations. But the teen membership does all the work.

Thank you, Spiritus Christi, Bud Minard, and YGS for all your great work.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Download the Sheet Music for "Rescue".

For those of you who wish to sing the song "Rescue" about rescue dogs, Google Docs has now made that possible.

DOWNLOAD THE SHEET MUSIC TO "RESCUE".

Andrew Sullivan Asks A Question of Obama.

How many gay people have you personally fired this past month for the sole crime of their sexual orientation?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell continues to terrorize our soldiers, and makes our country less safe. From Wikipedia:

In the fiscal years since the policy was first introduced (1993), the military has discharged over 13,000 troops from the military under DADT.[17][18] Statistics on the number of persons discharged per year:

Year Coast Guard Marines Navy Army Air Force Total
1994 0 36 258 136 187 617
1995 15 69 269 184 235 772
1996 12 60 315 199 284 870
1997 10 78 413 197 309 1,007
1998 14 77 345 312 415 1,163
1999 12 97 314 271 352 1,046
2000 19 104 358 573 177 1,231
2001* 1,273
2002* 906
2003* 787
2004 15 59 177 325 92 668
2005 16 75 177 386 88 742
2006* 612
Total 113 655 2,626 2,583 2,139 11,694

*Breakdown of discharges by service branch not available

Fantastic Night of Big Voice.


I have pictures around here somewhere. But this past Saturday's jam-packed performance of Big Voice was one of the most fun times I've ever had on a stage. The little black box theatre is great for our voices -- and both Jim and I were never so relaxed on stage.

And afterwards, Piper Laurie came up to me and said, eyes gleaming, "You've never looked so sexy on stage before!"

Me? Sexy?

I guess all these morning lifting my weights to bring my blood sugar down is starting pay off!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Voice tonight!

Tonight is Big Voice in North Hollywood. You should come just to see if we can remember our lines!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Piano Cat's Big Night as Orchestral Soloist.

Someone took the notes played by the famous "Nora the Piano Cat" from the viral youtube video and then wrote a moody orchestration around it, and performed it, with orchestra, live with video. It's not just a genius idea (so 21st century!), but you get to watch kitty rub his face on the keys while listening to music.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago Today.

Open Mic Tonight.

I'm looking forward, as always, to the open mic tonight. What song should I sing?

Also, Saturday night is "Big Voice" here in Los Angeles. One night only. Are you coming? Have you made your reservation? Remember, only 40 seats available.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sue Bloch on Sotomayor and the Supreme Court.

My friend, Sue Bloch, who teaches law at Georgetown University appeared on Charlie Rose discussing the Supreme Court and Sonia Sotomayor. The point she and the other guest makes is that no one can divorce their life experiences from their opinions, not even white men. And to assume that the law is like a math formula, as many of the Senators were implying, is simply divorced from reality.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Rescue" Live at Kulak's Woodshed

This is the new song I've been telling you about. It's called, for now, "Rescue."

(NEW: Download the sheet music!)

It's dedicated to The Pepper Foundation, which is run by my friend and fellow songwriter, Julie Chadwick. What I like about this song, apart from the song itself, I mean, is that it was a group project. Val, Avril, Bo and I were given a room and a piano.

Remembering that Animal Night at Kulak's was three days away, we decided to write a song to be played that night. Since The Pepper Foundation is a rescue group, we decided on the theme of "rescue." I think what we ended up with is very tender and real.

This performance below is actually my third time to sing it for an audience. It was my first time to sing it by heart -- and my first time to play it without any mistakes on the piano.

And here's to doggies everywhere.

Hemo2Homo review: BRUNO



THE BRUNO REVIEW


HOMO: I know why you wanted to see this. Big homosexual terrorizes the public at large! It's because you thought it was a horror film -- "Saw" for straight men.

HEMO: Actually I thought Bruno was the a wrestling biopic for Bruno Sammartino. When I found out it wasn't, I decided not to go.

HOMO: You flaked on me again?

benefitshawndark.jpgHEMO: I was totally busy this past weekend, playing an HIV benefit with my synthpop trio. MAC artists were there, and they totally made me up in guyliner, check it out.

HOMO: Mmmmm, hmmmm... say, what band did you meet through the Make-A-Wish Foundation back in 1990? Was that Guns N' Roses? Motley Crue? Bananarama?

HEMO: No, Depeche Mode. What are you getting at?

HOMO: Well, I don't want to say you look a little gay or anything, but not even Bruno wore that much eyeliner... When I first heard that there would be this insane movie about a totally exaggerated, offensive gay stereotype running around scaring straight people, I was waiting for the scene where he asks Carrie Prejean about gay marriage and then calls her names in an insane rant equal only to "Leave Britney alone."

HEMO: Leave Hemo alone!

HOMO: But it wasn't Perez Hilton they were talking about- it was that fake Austrian oversexed sissy who once asked a skinhead, "Are there any of you who aren't gay?"

HEMO: Not even Bruno Sammartino would say that to a skinhead.

HOMO: I thought, "What could Bruno do that's worse than Perez, a guy who makes Ross the Intern look like Johnny Carson?"

HEMO: Wait- did the Latoya Jackson scene make it in? He asked her to talk like Michael because that way he could say he interviewed the legend.

latoya-michael-jackson.jpgHOMO: NO! See what I mean? This is Bruno Lite. They took that scene out. It doesn't matter. After seeing the film, I realized that it has the same plot as the Kathy Griffin Show, trying to get famous every week, except Life on the D List is much, MUCH gayer.

HEMO: That's one of my favorites. On the most recent episode, she went off on Reagan for not saying "AIDS" for so long after someone gave her a jelly bean.

HOMO: See, she's a lot funnier than Bruno, who's a bit of a hum ho. I mean if you're gonna do shock comedy, does anyone really think that Bruno is even REMOTELY as outrageous as Divine...

HEMO: What does that hooker that Hugh Grant banged a decade ago have to do with this?

divine.jpgHOMO: Okay, maybe you're not gay, thinblood. John Waters' Divine, who picked up a piece of dog crap and ate it, and who chained prostitutes in the basement, got them pregnant and then sold the babies to lesbian couples. Is there ANYTHING in Bruno REMOTELY as wild as that?

My biggest problem with Bruno is that very few of the people they ridicule are showing homophobia. Most of them are just reacting to someone putting a dildo in their face in public, or someone who would trade a baby for an iPod. You don't have to be homophobic to hate that. I don't know who he's skewering.

Or does it matter?

HEMO: It matters. I would have been there on opening night if his MTV Movie Awards show stunt with Eminem wasn't totally staged. I mean, it makes sense to drop your balls in a rapper's face unexpectedly, right? Em was great, acting offended, but he and MTV were in on the whole thing.

Which means that, despite Bruno's balls being in Eminem's face, the entire stunt had no real balls to speak of.

HOMO: Exactly. Hell, even the big scene at the end with all the wrestlers going nuts over "a same sex kiss." Well, no. It wasn't a kiss. It was a full-on sex scene with a guy who wasn't that cute. I was just as turned off by it as the so-called redneck haters.

HEMO:
So, you think they were rioting because they found out they weren't starring in Bruno Sammartino?

HOMO: I don't know. How cute is he? Given how gay wrestling is -- big sweaty guys, doing S&M sex for pay -- I wouldn't want to miss that.

HEMO: Here he is.

sammartino-medium.jpg


HOMO: Never mind.

HEMO: So, how do you rate Bruno?

HOMO: Kinda funny, but not as gay, or as edgy, as the Republican Senate.

Steve's Pick: If you want to see the scariest movie of the year, go see "The Hurt Locker." It's only showing in parts of the country, but this is the movie that will have you on the edge of your seat, and should be nominated for best movie Oscar.


hemo2homo.jpg

The Hemo2Homo Connection is Shawn Decker and Steve Schalchlin. Just two guys with AIDS who like to review movies.

The creators/stars of the Hemo2Homo Connection met online in 1996, and posted their first movie review in 1998. Both have been living with HIV for over twenty years, and have annoyed their friends and loved ones for much longer than that.


Steve Schalchlin ("Homo") resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter. Shawn Decker ("Hemo") lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is an HIV/AIDS educator and the author of My Pet Virus.






Monday, July 13, 2009

Catch-up!

Last week, at the open mic, I got very tired about halfway through, and finally had to go in the back and lie down. It took me a couple of days to recover. Sometimes I drive my body too hard, and have to remember that no matter how "normal" I might feel from day to day, I'm not at full health and never will be unless someone finally finds a cure for this virus.

I don't play it out in real time here in the blog because it's difficult to determine, on a daily basis, what's actually going on. Happily, this was just a matter of taking on too much, and pushing myself too hard, both in my exercise routines and in writing.

I think a little credit has to go to Facebook, too, as I'm spending a great deal of time there, and sometimes I post a lot of things there, forgetting that I could also be posting stuff here. But there, it's mostly political items of interest, whereas I try to keep the blog to more personal things. Politics interests me, but in the long run, it's also mundane as something that sounds brilliant one day can sound really stupid upon reflection.

Tonight, however, I will be at the open mic. Not sure what song to sing. I've been preparing demos for "He's Coming Back" and a new song about rescue dogs, both of which we developed in the songwriter workshop. But something is telling me I should do something fierce, like "Somebody's Friend," from The Last Session. You know, just to scare the locals.

So, back to health, I've been doing very well with my exercise routines. For my own sanity, I do not test my blood every single day. It's too maddening. Like someone who's trying to lose weight who weighs themselves every half hour, it can drive you crazy.

However, I have a doc appt. coming up soon, so I'll start testing on a regular basis to see if my work has paid off.

Meanwhile, we're excited to be doing The Big Voice on July 25th and then my solo concert on Aug. 17. After that, we go to DC for Jimmy's opening of Zero Hour. I'm really thrilled about that because I've never spent that much extended time in our nation's capital. I will, of course, be dragging my camera around with us as we visit all the national monuments.

Friday, July 10, 2009

13,000 Soldiers Dismissed from Service for...

...for nothing more than being gay. And the charge to end this abomination is being led by a conservative Democratic congressman and Iraqi war veteran.



Listen to his entire interview. Listen to his words.

What I can't figure out is who's against him. When he talks to other congresspersons, the only people objecting are the ones who are afraid that they'll be punished at the voting booth. All I can say is if this man from Pennsylvania has the courage to face his conservative constituency and tell them that this is a matter of national security, then the other members of congress should show a little backbone, too.

It's maddening how this policy has ruined both our ability to fight war and the individual lives of the men and women who serve.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jake Interviewed.

My friend, Jake Wesley Stewart, is interviewed by Stage Scene LA.

Jake sang with me at Kulak's several times, and he and I have been working on songs together. He's a wonderful singer and great talent.

JakeGrey2larger

North Carolina native Jake Wesley Stewart has been on quite a roll since appearing in the Ovation Award-winning City Kid The Musical less than two years ago. He followed the hip-hopping musical with some Irish jigging to “wake the dead” in Open Fist’s production of James Joyce’s The Dead, then a summer of Shakespeare—followed by a featured role in Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. More recently, Jake appeared multiple roles in Big The Musical, understudying and going on in the lead role of Adult Josh, and is poised to dazzle and captivate audiences once again in the L.A. Intimate Theater premiere of the hit off-Broadway musical Altar Boyz. Somehow, Jake found time in his hectic performance/rehearsal schedule to sit down and talk with us about his life as an up-and-coming musical theater star.

Singing "Rescue" tonight.

Tonight at the open mic, I'm singing the new song we wrote a couple of weeks ago, in the workshop, for Animal Night. It's a song called "Rescue." It will be broadcast live from Kulak's Woodshed, and yes, you can get it on your computer.

The song, "Rescue," is about doggies.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A 4th of July Message from the USO.



A few days from now, Fourth of July celebrations will be held in small towns and big cities all across America. Bunting will be everywhere. Parades will feature bands, antique cars, kids on bikes, and veterans of many conflicts… all marching proudly to show their patriotism and love of country.

At the same time, halfway around the world, 170,000 brave young men and women will demonstrate their patriotism in another way: by putting their lives at risk to defend everything America stands for.

As we gather in our backyards for cookouts and picnics, our troops overseas will grab an MRE and head out to patrol crowded streets and back alleys where insurgents continue to lurk.

As we play softball or watch a parade, they'll spend their afternoons in harm's way: a "place" where rounding any corner can mean a deadly ambush… where stopping any car or passerby can trigger an explosion and sudden death.

As we "ooh" and "aah" at fireworks displays, they'll duck live rounds and remain alert for the sudden rush of an incoming rocket-propelled grenade.

Today, the nation's economic concerns continue to push the ongoing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan off the front pages; some Americans may even have forgotten about the brave men and women who are doing their job overseas, but counting the days till it's their turn to share the home-town celebrations with their loved ones and friends.

However, the USO hasn't forgotten; we've already geared up to provide extra services to our troops… not just for July 4th, but throughout the weeks and months ahead. With American troops spread all over the globe…

  • We must recruit more stars to man our Celebrity Entertainment Tours to combat zones… not just to entertain, but also to shake hands with our GIs and say face-to-face, "Thanks! We're here for you. You're the real star!"

  • We need to buy more pre-paid phone cards, so our troops can call home for free whenever they get a chance, even from a pay phone in Baghdad.

  • We must staff up and supply our overseas Centers and Mobile Canteens; with the War in Iraq now in its sixth long year, they'll have to stay open extra hours to provide our guys and gals in uniform with a cold Coke, a warm smile, and a chance… even if just for a few moments… to escape from the War and enjoy a taste of home.

Meeting these special challenges, on top of all the everyday services we provide to our troops and their families, will take a huge effort, cost a lot of money, and stretch our resources to the limit. Many people are surprised to learn that the USO is not a government agency; in fact, we rely on individual citizens who want to support the troops, and who always seem to stand behind us at the times we need them most.

Now is one of those times. Please send your tax-deductible donation today, to help the USO make certain that every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman around the world knows that the folks back home are thinking of them, and that we honor their dedication, their heroism, and their sacrifice.

As Americans, we count on them. They count on us. I hope we can count on you.