Showing posts from 2010

Oh, Good Lord.

You should see him, on the bed, looking at his laptop, with the words "beloved star" expanded in the browser.

I have to live with this, people. Please use caution with this kind of language. It only encourages him.

The Blizzard Hits.


Our Best And Worst Christmas.

25 Special Holiday Memories at Theatremania.

Jim Brochu
Starting in 1988, when Steve Schalchlin and I moved to Los Angeles, we spent Christmases at the home of Kathleen Freeman. She celebrated Christmas like no one else. Outside, her home was covered with lights. Kathleen greeted everyone wearing a Santa hat and ringing sleigh bells. Inside, every inch was decorated with toy trains, snow-covered villages - all leading to a giant tree filled with magnificent ornaments. In 2000, there was the promise that the night sky would host an astronomical phenomenon, a Christmas star as bright as the one that shined over Bethlehem. After dinner, we went to the backyard. I lifted my video camera and saw light shining brightly in the dark sky. I said, "There it is! The Christmas star!" In her unmistakable deadpan, she quipped, "That's neat since the lens cap is still on." There was a pinhole letting light in. I mistook that for the star! It was also, the worst of all our Chri…

"The Call" debuted by Steve with Jake Wesley Stewart

Last Sunday, Jake and I debuted "The Call," the song I wrote for Father Jeff Hamblin's 30th anniversary in the ministry.

He's Coming Back.

Avril is a woman I met back in Los Angeles while volunteering down at Kulak's Woodshed. I think her accent is Australian? Or maybe she's British? I keep forgetting. Anyway, Marc Platt, who runs the workshop, told us all to write a song -- we had an hour -- featuring the word or the concept of "joy."
I think our group consisted of four women that night -- and myself as a kind of facilitator. 
We were hemming and hawing, trying to come up with an idea. Finally, Avril stood up, stone-still as was her way, and simply said, tearlessly, soberly, "I don't much joy right now. I sent my kid back to Iraq this morning."
That stopped the conversation.
Silently, I wrote down, "I sent my kid back to Iraq this morning." 
It was an electrifying moment, because, when you're suddenly very sad or angry or whatever, your first reaction is to sit down and take a break so that you can start breathing again.
She stood there, staring off. So, I just started asking her …

My New Commission.

I was just standing there, after a show at the Laurie Beechman, when Father Jeff Hamblin came up to me with a big smile on his face.
"Hey, I want to commission you to write a song for my upcoming consecration service. The Bishop will be there." 
It was the first time anyone ever blindsided me like before. I mean, I written songs for people and I've written songs for events. But no one ever came up to me and just said they'd pay me to write a song, at least, as far as I remember. (New World Waking was commissioned, but it was largely written before the SFGMC made the offer.)
"Sure," I said. "When is the service?"
"Next week," he responded, his grin expanding ever wider.
Next week.
"Yes. The service is on December 17th." (That's tonight, of course, as I'm writing this blog entry).
And that, dear reader, is what I've been doing for the past week: Walking around in a daze, writing and rewriting this song. (I've also been a…

New Clinical Trials of Gene Therapy for AIDS to Begin.

I posted, yesterday, about the breakthrough in Germany about the patient who is HIV negative after receiving bone marrow treatment from a donor without the CCR5 protein that the virus needs to penetrate T-cells. Following that up, there are now new clinical trials beginning for gene replacement therapy, also involving CCR5, plus several others.

Jim to play Barrington Stage in the Spring.

AIDSmeds - Top Stories : Berlin Patient Follow-Up 'Strongly Suggests' HIV Cure - by Tim Horn

This Is Exactly What I Had Hoped.

Last week, I posted an email from Rev. Jean Norton, the minister of music from the United Church of Christ, thanking me for the "gift" of My Thanksgiving Prayer for their city-wide interfaith Thanksgiving concert. I wrote her back, very pleased that the song had been utilized this way. (I put "gift" in quotes because I didn't know they were using it, that's okay. I said on the free download page that I was offering my music for non-profit use, if the situation was appropriate).

In the note, she mentioned that the idea for the song came from the minister of music at the Unitarian Universalist church.
So, I went looking to find out who this obviously wonderful person was, found their website, and sent a note. This is what I got this morning.

Hi Mr. Schalchlin,
So nice to hear from you! I was so happy when Jean Norton sent you a note to tell you of our performance. I am a Roman Catholic and new to working for the UUs since February. As you can imagine, it has b…

The Day John Lennon Died.

I know I've told this story on the blog, but it came roaring back to me when my old drummer, Chris Hawkins, found me on Facebook and sent me this note.

Steve, I am sure you vividly remember Dec.8, 1980. We were in Columbus Ohio playing at the Rodeway Inn hotel. There was snow on the ground and it was freakin cold for us Texas boys. I will always remember that day. We had heard that John Lennon was shot and killed in NYC and you opened our set that night with a few songs of John's. I was only 18 at the time. That day will never be forgotten for me. You made such an impact on me just seeing how sad you were with Lennon's death and you performed a few songs beautifully in John's name. I will be thinking of that day back in 1980 tommorrow just as I have for the last 29 years. It is so great to have contact with you again.
Best Regards, Chris
What Chris did not know at the time was the rest of the story.

It was really cold, as he said. We were in the middle of a long night do…

Gypsy of the Year

Today, sitting with Jake at the Gypsy of the Year competition, Judith Light stepped forward to ask for a moment of silence in remembrance of people who died. She was there at the first one and she said people who weren't alive during that time will never know the kind of extreme loss of that year, when people were dying by the hundreds and thousands.

Having gone through a lot of memorial services, including my own, I tend to be pretty hard to move to tears.

But, without warning, my eyes started just gushing tears. Jake patted me on the shoulder, but I didn't react to him. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling, except loss.

Loss of entire generation of gay men. The ones -- as Fran Liebowitz puts it in the hysterical HBO movie, Public Speaking -- who were the most likely to get laid. That's a punchline, of course, but the underlying truth, she says, is that the smartest, most talented and beautiful died. We're left with third and fourth level talent. Not just the art…

I'm Number Five!

Hello Steve

I just wanted to inform you about a new piece we've published over here at LPN to RN Blog called "Top 50 Blogs About HIV and AIDS." I found Bonus Round to be very interesting and relevant, so I thought that both you and your readers might enjoy the article. Please do let me know if you have any questions or comments --
Warm Regards,
Alba Collazo
Co-founder, LPN to RN Blog
I went there and saw I'm number 5! So I wrote this Alba back and said, "I claim FOUL! That nasty little Shawn Decker came in number 1! That's so wrong! Why... why... why... I was the one who talked him into his online blog/diary in the first place!"

Okay. No, I didn't. I think, actually, this is the first time someone's put me on a list. I wrote her, thanking her very much for the honor, and also mentioned that since my mom is a retired RN, nurses mean a lot to me. They're the real front line of healt…

Jim Brochu to Appear in All-Star Project Shaw Heartbreak House.

If you're in New York, you might want to grab a ticket to Project Shaw's Heartbreak House at the Players Club, as these things sell out fast. Jim will be joining an all-star cast.

Jim Brochu, Alison Fraser, Elizabeth Inghram, John Martello, Brian Murray, Elena Shaddow, A.J. Shively, Emily Skinner, Mary Testa, and Lenny Wolpe will be featured in Project Shaw's presentation of George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, to be presented at The Players, on Monday, December 20 at 7pm. David Staller will direct.

The comedy is sent in an English country house crammed full of revelations, romance, light comedy and earth-shaking adventure--just before WW1 changes everything. Time Out New York's David Cote will hosts the evening, and New York Times journalist David Belcher will narrate.

For World AIDS Day: Going It Alone

All Singers Come Thursday Night.

Come sing with me!

Show up Thursday night. It's going to be a free-wheeling concert, unplanned. But I know I'll be doing a few of the big gospel numbers from New World Waking. We'll make up the harmonies on the spot. You do not need to know the songs to sing.

9:00 PM. ARRIVE 8:45 PM.

New York Ethical Culture Society Building
West 64th & Central Park West, 4th floor

I Am Spartacus, SoulForce Style.

SoulForce has this simple idea, started by South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat, and then repeated in Canada by my friend, Rev. Jim Mitulski and Dr. Joshua Love; a way to help end the stigma of HIV. Stigma causes death because, among many other things, it makes people afraid to get tested and to get treatment.
December 1, 2010 is World AIDS Day.  At Soulforce, our focus for this day of remembrance is on solidarity with people who are stigmatized by the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS.  We want to invite you to  join us in an action on World AIDS Day that you can do all by yourself and with people in your community.Here are the steps:Take out a plain t-shirt and a big magic marker and print “HIV+” on the shirt.  Then wear it to the coffee shop or work or to school, to the store or the gym.  Encourage people to ask you about it and then tell them “I am standing in solidarity today with people who are living with HIV and AIDS around the world.  As long as one person has HIV, I have HIV and my …

The Faces of HIV.

THE GREAT GAME's Nabil Elouahabi

I ran into a guy sitting in the comfy chairs at the Starbucks near the Christopher Street subway entrance. We quickly got into a conversation. I noted his English accent and he, after we had spoken for awhile about our respective projects, he said, "This would never happen in London. Two strangers just sitting excitedly, jabbering on about things. It's what I love about New York."

Turns out he's an actor in a very interesting new work from London, which had a remarkable impact in DC.

Afghanistan is a place nobody knows anything about. But, somehow, we know we're in a war against, um, the bad guys.

New show featuring HIV. Me, Myself and HIV.

A Happy Joan Crawford Thanksgiving to Al!


Being Thankful for Friends.

This past weekend, I put together a quick invitation to my Dec. 2 concert for the Afterglow concert for the University Glee Club here in New York when I realized that I have way many more actual friends and close acquaintances than I had thought. How interconnected we all are. So, today I'm going to be thankful for friends.

Friends would come around
And bring me little things
And say how much they
Needed me to live

Everyone is so busy these days, I don't really expect that many people to show up, apart from the members of the Glee Club who have decided to hang around after their rehearsal. Luckily, it's free, and they do encourage a 7:45 arrival.

Also, since it is a glee club, you know I'm gonna make everyone sing.

My Thanksgiving Prayer.

This next Sunday morning, Jake Wesley Stewart and I are going to perform a duet of "My Thanksgiving Prayer" at Christchurch Episcopal in Brooklyn. I was going to post a video, and then I found a blog called that did it for me:

Over the last several days I have read many blogs and news articles, searched Scripture,  talked with several people and participated in and interfaith worship service all in an effort to better grasp both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  For some reason, this Thanksgiving what resonates deeply with me are the lyrics to a song: “My Thanksgiving Prayer.”  I encourage you to take some time to read them, then to hear them sung, and finally to offer them as a prayer.In this time of my thanksgiving as my song begins to riseListen to the prayer within me - Look into my grateful eyesMay I humbly stand before you, as I reach out with my handMay the music bring a healing to this cold and troubled landIn this time of my thanksgiving — ohhh — In thi…

Jim Brochu to Interview Peter Filichia - Barnes & Noble, Nov. 30.

On Tuesday night at 7:30pm, Jim will interview Peter Filichia about his fantastic new book Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959-2009.

Special guests will be NY cabaret legend, Steve Ross and hot new actor, Jake Wesley Stewart, who has just moved to New York. (He and I sang together a lot back in Los Angeles, where he was a sensation in the Celebration Theater production of "Altar Boyz.")

The book itself is beyond priceless, especially if you're studying theatre, or are interested in theatre. Far from being a "dry read," Peter tells all the backstage stories, analyzes why shows hit or flopped, and remembers great performers of the past and present.

I read the book a couple of weeks ago, and I sped through it so fast, my only complaint was that I wanted more! More! More!

GET  Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959-2009 at Amazon.

Zero Hour Closes in NY Jan. 9th For Tour.

Adam Feldman sweetly lamented Zero Hour's New York closing, today, in his UPSTAGE Time Out NY blog, . He similarly was saddened by the more sudden closing of Devil Boys From Beyond, which I have not seen. It opened while we were away.
Zero Hour has had a solid run; Devil Boys from Beyond deserved one as well. For what these two very different shows have in common is that they are superb examples of their kind. Critics have noticed: On the StageGrade critical aggregation site, Zero Hour has the second-highest median rating of all current plays in New York; Devil Boys has the sixth-highest. Audiences have noticed too: Everyone I personally know who has seen either show has told me they're glad that they did. So if you haven't seen them yet, fix that soon. Devil Boys is here for another two weeks, Zero Hour for another two months, and who knows how long we'll have to wait for another two shows like these?

Read more: Get there soon: Devil Boys from Beyond and Zero Hour set …

An Amazing 14 Year Old.

Seriously. I want to be this kid when I grow up.

Letter from a Poz Stranger.

I've been writing my blog for so long -- and have been "out" as an positoid for so long, I forgot what it feels like to be starting down this road. So, this email was a welcome wake-up call. In the letter, he tells how he tested positive at the age of 17.


And his parents "basically disowned" him, so they left him to fend for himself. Imagine for a moment being this child. This kind of terror is what many teenagers feel when it comes to just coming out. Imagine having AIDS and being disowned at that age.
Hi Steve,This is totally out of my character to send random emails to random bloggers. I found your blog this morning when doing a search for "HIV blogs." I recently started my own and wanted to see what everyone else was doing with theirs. I started mine because this year is my 10 year anniversary of having HIV/AIDS and I figured I might have some wisdom to pass on. What struck me about your blog is how open to other topics you are. It is not just …

Angels In America

I posted my "review" of this on Facebook and All That Chat. Here is what I wrote:


First, I've never seen Angels before, so I cannot compare this to past productions. Secondly, I have AIDS and was almost as sick as the character of Prior, in and out of hospitals -- and I remember the fever dreams and the cold sweats and the rage. The rage that actor Christian Borle drags up from the depths of his soul. It's so real. My eyes begin to tear up even as I write this.

I could go through the rest of this incredible cast, one by one, because every performance is now seared into my soul.

But let me tell you just how great Zachary Quinto is. Like most, I know him only as the evil Sylar or Spock. His stage presence is electrifying and grounded, all at the same time. Not a single false moment. This man commands a stage with subtle body movements, at once masculine and then feminine and then masculine again, as the character tries to find his own soul, even as he abandons…

It Gets Better: GMCLA & Oral Roberts' Grandson.

Oral Roberts' oldest son was gay. He committed suicide. This is his grandson.

This is the LA Gay Men's Chorus singing "True Colors." When the family members join in on this song, it's chilling and wonderful.

It's A Miracle.

You may remember a posting I did during the Iranian green uprising, called "The Religious Ones." I spoke about how, after I came out to myself and left my band, I got a job working as a cook at a Mexican food restaurant in Jacksonville, Texas, where I met a group of Iranian students working their way through school.
It was 1978 - 1980 that we knew each other. In fact, when they moved to Denton, Texas to continue their studies, I piled up my Ford Maverick and followed them -- and that's where I found the gay community and finally started to live openly and freely.
In that posting, I mentioned having a friend named Koorush -- he called me "Astiv," which was the closest he could get to "Steve." Koorush, who was straight as an arrow, was my very best friend during those Jacksonville/Denton years. And even after I came out of the closet, he was the one who protected me, and fought for me, and loved me when I felt very much alone.
At the end of that diary entr…

Is that a sad face?

Taylor was part of the Zero Hour stage management crew at St. Clement's, coming in for Jeramiah.
We got a Skype call from Jim, and he was telling us about all the people who have been coming back to see him. Not just friends or family of Zero, but also Jim's.

I have to say this about Jim. He's a very loyal man.

Long before Zero Hour landed in New York, Jim did a "tab" version of Zero Hour for the Crystal Cruise lines. It was kind of a daring experiment for Crystal, because the usual fare on a ship is light entertainment or classical music -- which is not a criticism, by the way. Just a statement of fact. He even included a particularly potent comedic line containing a few f-words, gracious me. (The fear, for the line, is that people on holiday don't need to walk into an adult theatrical piece accidentally. The emails! The complaints!)

After the cruise, we were contacted by a Mister Andrew Kato from the Maltz Jupiter Theater (formerly, the Burt Reynolds Theater)…

The Wars, The Wars.

I have now spent this entire week, trapped on the couch, keeping my arm in ice. I didn't know until two days ago, though, that the problem was in my shoulder, not my wrist (because the pain seemed to be more focused on the lower arm and wrist area -- I thought the shoulder pain was coming from "favoring" my arm.

I'm still in pain, so I can't do much, include type, but I thought I'd just put down a few thoughts.

I probably shouldn't have gone to Columbus and done those two shows, but at the time, after I fell, mere steps away from my front door on a Sunday morning at 5am, all I could think of was, "I gotta get to the plane!" What can I say?  I'm dense.
Anyway, since I couldn't use my right hand much -- still can't -- it has given me a chance to slow down and just think, even as I have all the media I can eat.
I saw on the news the other night a story about making some kids spend a week, or something, away from all electronic devices -- an…

My X-Ray Results.

The good news is that I don't have a fracture. However, I do have a separated shoulder. Not Dislocated. I also traumatized muscles in my elbow and wrist, but there's no break.

So, the prescription is that I need to keep it as immobilized as possible, and it will heal after few weeks.

I was going to attend the Afterglow tonight at the University Glee Club, just to see what Dec. 2 is all about, but I'm still in a lot of pain. I can't use my left arm. But I have food for a few meals more, friends volunteering to help me, and my usual stubborn refusal to stay down.

And Jim gets home on Sunday. (Horray!)

He's been having a blast down in Florida. I'm so glad for him. Zero Hour is really starting to become more and more well known in theater circles. Already he has had several theaters contact him for inclusion the post- New York international tour. It's all very exciting.

Here he is on the radio with Jo Anne Pflug.

Steve Schalchlin Free Concert Dec. 2, NYC

9:00 PM. ARRIVE 8:45 PM

New York Ethical Culture Society Building
West 64th & Central Park West, 4th floor

I've been asked to sing an "Afterglow" for the University Glee Club of New York City, and I couldn't feel more honored and scared. It's one thing to sing for "civilians." It's quite another to sing for people who really know music. It's a free event for the public, also. So, anyone who would like to attend, get there at 8:45pm.

I know 9pm is a late start for a show, but I promise I won't be doing a 2-hour presentation. I believe Afterglow lasts only about 45 minutes.

I know I'm going to sing "Gabi's Song" and "William's Song" (unless I invite a special guest soloist to do so -- hmmmm) because of all the gay bullying/suicide stuff in the news.

For me, these are my entries in the "It gets better" meme that's been going around, where older gay people tell younger gay people that, no matter …