Showing posts from December, 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.