Showing posts from January, 2011

The Most Famous Barber Chair Gets A Home.

For people who truly love musical theater, the name Al Hirschfeld is legendary. Even if you haven't heard of Al, you know his work. It's everywhere. Jim considers him one of, if not, the finest artist of the 20th century. But his field was pen and ink. And his world was the theater.

Louise, his widow, is a dear friend and a wonderful human being. When we visited there, after she saw Zero Hour, she let him sit in Al's famous barber chair, which is where he worked every day, against the window, on the upper floor of their townhouse on 95th street.

Well, now that she's remarried, she's moving on. And in doing so, has donated Al's chair and drawing table -- he kept the same one since the beginning. And it's grooved with all the times he cut the drawing paper and boards. You might remember our visit:

We arrive at Lincoln Center.

A Weekend By The Shoreside.

It felt so 1800s. Actors on the road! We even brought Steinbeck, who sat in his carrier in the back seat of the rental car and stayed quiet the whole time. Upon arrival, he quickly took over the top floor of our friends' house, on the beach in Delaware on the coldest day of the year. A glamorous life for us.

Our friends are Rich and Sue Bloch. He has just built, almost as a hobby, but really out of passion, a 50-seat "magic parlour," complete with Dickensian motif.

Rich is a very successful lawyer, but he's primarily known for his magic, having worked with Orson Welles and won multiple awards for his illusions, which he creates and builds. Our audience would be, primarily, locals, of course. The hotels are mostly shut down. Restaurants closed.

Jimmy was unaware that he would be doing a magic show, but I suppose theater is magic. Turning into another person and bringing them into the room is a kind of magic. I forgot to make the suggestion that he start Zero Hour off …

Jim & Steve in the Social Pages!

Look how pretty we are. The other night we attended the opening night of legendary New York night life performer Steve Ross, at the Algonquin. More pics here.

Family Advocate and Civil Rights Hero Carolyn Wagner has died.

I'm very sorry to tell the readers of this blog that PFLAG mom and civil rights hero, co-founder of Families United Against Hate, Carolyn Wagner, has died. When I first met Carolyn, cyberly, it was in the early days of this blog. She and her son, William, came to New York to see The Last Session, and I got to spend time with William just talking to him and giving him whatever meager support I could.

It's hard to imagine that a force of nature can die, but death is one of those inevitabilities. I don't know everything Carolyn has done. Someone needs to write her story up and make a movie or something because if you ever met her, you would have never guessed, just by looking, that beneath the skin of little "southern mom" was a steely rage against injustice that never wavered, even when she was staked and beaten in her own back yard.

She never stopped fighting for equality before the law and especially never stopped lending her personal support to families who were…

I love this kid.

A Hymn to Ophiuchus

I wrote a silly lyric about the news report this past week that the signs of the Zodiac had shifted, and that a new sign had come into play. At the Salon last night, I improvised some music and played the song for the first time to great reaction. Here's the video.

Zero Hour Weekender in Delaware.

Jim and I are going to go down to Delaware to do Zero Hour at our friend, Rich Bloch's, new theater. He built it after I gave him my professional advice that building and running a theater is the worst idea in the world. He should stop. Uh uh. We've been there, done that. Please. No. Don't. Just stop. Your lost all sanity for even thinking of it.

But, thankfully, he completely ignored my advice and built one anyway, and I can't wait to see it. It's near a beach just outside of Washington DC, in Delaware.

January 21-13. Dickens Parlour Theater. Millville, DE.

Tickets for the Dickens Parlour Theatre production of Zero Hour are $55 and must be reserved in advance by calling 302-829-1071. Brochu will perform Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Jim Brochu in Sondheim Unplugged, Jan. 31

Jim will be performing at the Laurie Beechman Theater, Monday, Jan. 31 at 7pm for an evening in a series they've been doing, Sondheim Unplugged.

This series is hosted by Phil Geoffrey Bond, one of my favorite persons in this town. He is so funny and charming, and impish, you never know what he's going to say next. But he provides a great thread that connects up the evening. Last time, Marni Nixon and Sarah Rice sang "One More Kiss," and it was GLORIOUS.

I see they're on the program again. That alone makes the night worth whatever they're charging. I suggest everyone book early. As for exactly what Jim is going to sing, we'll see what he comes up with.

For reservations, which are necessary, call 212-695-6909.

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

I woke up early to look out my window, onto the street outside. Looks like about a foot of show. The streets look relatively passable, at least here in midtown. But, at 6am, not many cars are on the street.

But, baby, it's cold outside. This is the one recording of Margaret Whiting I have in my list of all-time favorites. With Johnny Mercer's easy southern grouchiness against her softly purring "what I could do to you in that warm bed up there" voice, it's a perfect marriage of singers and song.

Margaret Whiting died yesterday. She was a cabaret and big band singer. I met her a few times, but knew only her name, at the time, not Who She Was.

The first interaction was not really with her. It was with her husband, Jack Wrangler. Jack had conceived a big Broadway show called Dream. All I remembered was hating it. Absolutely hating it. It was just boring. A bunch of songs, lined up and performed with no rhyme or reason. Like a check-list. 
And, to make matters worse, t…

I'm the stupidest person on the planet.

Not really. It was a simple mistake, easily made. When I put a piece of black tape over the red light on my little video camera, I also covered up the microphone.

I wondered why the sound seemed messed up. But I'm only using a head phone and a laptop, so I just figured it was my equipment.

Anyway, I do have a lot of video. I just can't use a lot of it like I wanted to. But, now the problem is fixed. I have had at least one complaint about the fact that I haven't made many videos recently. So, apologies. I promise to start back again soon. New York is the most picturesque place on earth. Maybe not always the most beautiful, but definitely picturesque.

Toowoomba Flood Video

This is unbelievable, how easily the water just washes away an entire parking lot of cars in only a few minutes.

h/t: Business Insider

Pics from New York.

I took this picture the morning after New Years, on my way to sing at the new year's morning mass. The Hilton's wacky clock makes the whole street look like 42nd Land, a theme park in France. And you can see the great big Spider-Man musical sign. Musical theater veterans are scoffing at the fact that the piece opened into previews without the composers in attendance. How do you know what to fix if you aren't watching?

Happy new year!!

The Last Painting for the NY run.

As you may know, Jim paints an entirely new painting each performance of Zero Hour. Over the years, "Arthur," the unseen "model/interviewer" was pictured in many different kinds of ways, but, toward the end of this run, Arthur started morphing more and more into Zero. It's dated, on the bottom, 1-9-11.

This is the final painting of the series that includes the original New York run, beginning at the Theater at St. Clements, the DR2 and, finally, one of the places we think of as "home," the Actors Temple Theatre on 47th street, a synagogue we turned into the theater space with "The Big Voice: God or Merman?", thus helping save the synagogue. (Hooray!)

But it's been a great run and Jim needs a break before he starts hitting road. I'll be updating you on the plans for the coming year, soon.

PFLAG mom, Carolyn Wagner, is very ill.

For those who read this blog, you know that the name Carolyn Wagner sits high on my list of Heroes. She has been a fierce advocate for GLBT equality, due to the abuse her son, William, endured in high school. I canonized her in my song "William's Song," which could just as easily be called "Carolyn's Song."

She has been fighting cancer for some years, now, and I am most proud of this moment, which happened because the members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus banded together and flew her, husband Bill, and Gabi & Alec Clayton in for the concert.

So, if you're the praying type, it would mean a great deal to me if you would hold Carolyn in your heart this morning. I'm told she's in very fragile condition and is mostly sleeping.

Carolyn is one of those invisible activists, ministering to families affected by violence, providing support to parents, brothers, sisters and friend. because her country is the backwoods of America, the small …

Phil Ochs

I never realized, until I finally made my way, as an adult, to New York and Los Angeles, how much of the non-Baptist culture of the Big Wide World that I was barely aware of.

It's not that my parents ever cut us off from things. It's that we were raised with a certain set of principles, and much of what the outside world offered, went against those principles. So, we had, and have, a culture. One that exists outside the view of the rest of the world. And this, by the way, is true of every human being. We live inside our own worldview and culture. So, I'm not slamming Baptists. Just stating a fact.

When I was five, our folks moved us from Arkansas, where I was born, to Anaheim, California where my dad eventually became pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Missionary Baptist. (In the past, when Northerners asked me what a Missionary Baptist was, I would tell them, "They dropped out of an association that dropped out of an association that used to be Southern Baptist. So, …

The Guide Person

Wednesday night, we went to a birthday party for Dan Glosser, who works in the tv and music industry. We saw so many friends from Los Angeles! It didn't make me nostalgic for being in El Lay, but it made me really miss my friends who live there. It's hard maintaining friendships when you work in the biz. 
The party was upstairs at a place called Angus McIndoe, a very hip Broadway area joint on West 44th. It was very loud and very happy. Joyful even. You cannot find anyone who has a negative opinion of Dan.
But that level of conversation/noise is difficult for me. It makes me dizzy and I have to sit down. I know that sounds stupid, but it's such a cacophony, my senses get overwhelmed. Also, I feel very awkward trying to engage in chitchat. Jim is so good at it because he remembers faces and names. I remember them, but not on the spot. I kind of panic and freak out that I'm not holding up my end of the conversation. So, I sort of withdraw and make him do all the work.
I spi…

Reminder: Zero Hour Closes Sunday, Jan. 9

Initially set for a 12-week run, Zero Hour has now run 14 months, and must now going to close so that he can fulfill tour dates that were booked long before anyone knew the show would be this successful in New York. Will it come back? Who knows? Anything is possible. But this is it. If you're in New York, you have Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Yesterday at the show, a man came back to meet Jim. He knew Zero when he was a child. He embraced Jim, with a tear in his eye, and said, "You got him! You got him!"

No higher compliment is imaginable. All of his family members have said the same thing, that Jim really brings Zero back into the room.

David Gurland Dies.

I did not know David Gurland well, a singer here on the cabaret scene in New York, But all my friends here are deeply saddened at this news. It seems everyone loved him. If you were a fan of is and didn't know, here is what I was sent by my friend, Marle.

With tremendous sadness, it was announced today that David Gurland, the multi-award winning singer and recording artist, passed away on January 1, 2011 at 4:52 PM as the result of a massive brain hemorrhage.

David passed at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan surrounded by friends and family. David is survived by his partner, actor Rob Maitner, his parents Evelyn and Gerry Gurland, his brother James Gurland and James’ wife Leslie, his nephew Ariel and by countless friends and a lifetime of music that will be enjoyed forever.

The families of Mr. Gurland and Mr. Maitner released the following statement:

“The world today sounds a little less sweet now that David has gone on to the next part of his journey, but his essence will live on …

Note to a Christian conservative.

I posted this on a board that consists of Christian conservatives. They were citing statistics about the promiscuity of the gay community.

When it comes to your anger and frustration and judgment, I wish you could see the world through my experiences -- growing up Baptist, preacher's kid, scared to death that God hated me. And once the Calvinist in my life informed me that being gay was "proof" that I was doomed to hell, I thought, "Well, then. That means I have no chance, anyway. Might as well live it up!"
Took me awhile to get out. I had a band I had to tell. I had a family who I could not tell. I was living in my college town (Baptist). And the only anchor I had in life -- my relationship with God -- was just, "according to the Bible," severed forever. My 23 year old head said, "You're free!" Why wouldn't I go and have the time of my life? If I had no chance for heaven anyway, then wow! Now, I realize not every kid has a Calvinist …