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Showing posts from 2013

Feeling a bit better.

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Save me from this couch! I have been trapped here with this upper respiratory infection, but woke this morning feeling much better. So the antibiotics are kicking in. Thank goodness! 

Great News.

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Jim and I both just received year-end recognition for our respective appearances at the Metropolitan Room this past year from Stephen Hanks writing in BroadwayWorld Stephen is one of the very few critics who takes the time to see just about every show in the City -- and believe me, it's a lot.
Best Use of Personal Photos/Multi-Media Presentation in a Show: In his absorbing tribute show, Character Man, Jim Brochu mixed in some wonderful snapshots of himself with many of the great actors to which he paid tribute. And for me:
Most Surprisingly Powerful Show That I Didn't Expect To Be So Good: Steve Schalchlin's highly-personal and emotionally enriching, Tales From the Bonus Round, was a 60th Birthday/CD release show that was a revelation at the Metropolitan Room in late October. So this is a great time to remind you that our big show night is in a little over two weeks! (And all my starving artist friends and blog readers, the half-off discount code is stevejim. Enter it after…

Health Update.

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First of all, the bad news. I'm down with an upper respiratory infection. Taking antibiotics. Should be good to go in a few days. But I was plagued all last weekend with some kind of stomach thing. Wasn't serious. Just very uncomfortable and it made singing a bit tough.

Still, our choir sang the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services and I made it through just fine. Even made it to a couple of Christmas parties.

My favorite pic was this one. Jim and me posing with a legend in this town, Sondra Lee, who you may know as Tiger Lily in the original cast of Peter Pan, the original Minnie Fay in Hello Dolly and one of Jerome Robbins' prima ballerinas.

This respiratory thing hits me about once a year. So, it was expected.

The other test results, which I got a few weeks back, though, were great. Virus still undetectable. Liver and kidneys functioning normally. My exercise routine has made a big difference in my blood sugars and cholesterol, all of which I'm keeping under…

Funny how relevant The Last Session is, suddenly.

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With this new London Cast Album being released, I hope it will bring new attention to the show itself because I would love for people to see how well Jim's book dealt with the very "religious divide" issues that are now reaching a kind of climax with the Duck Dynasty thing going on.

And how did he do it? With humor. But also with respect for people on both sides.
Recently, I played an AIDS education concert for The Lab School here in New York City, singing the songs from TLS for the dramatic club. They mentioned to me that next year they'd like to do a show for next year's program, and wondered about doing TLS. I said I've done it with student groups all over the country. So, we're talking. 
It's great because it gives me the chance to play Gideon. I'm too old for the role at this point in my life, but then, high school students are too young for the other parts. So, that makes us even. Doesn't it?



The Duck Dynasty Anti-Gay Guy.

As for Duck Dynasty, the issue is not so much him as it is the fundamentalist religious beliefs and culture that taught him this. He said these things because someone told him these things. Someone who he believes speaks for God. That's the real story, and it's one the media is not religiously sophisticated enough to address. So, instead, it's about "bigotry," a nice, generic catch-all that becomes more and more meaningless without context.

Duck Dynasty star suspended for anti-gay statements.

Steve's Spicy Black Bean / Quinoa Pasta Skillet Casserole.

I brought this to a Christmas party and everyone began demanding the recipe, which is something I made up while trying to discover vegetarian meals for myself.

Steve's Spicy Black Bean / Quinoa Pasta Skillet Casserole 
COMPLETE VEGETARIAN MEAL

This quick and easy to cook bowl of spicy deliciousness consists mostly of protein-rich fresh vegetables, is a rich, hearty mouthful, suitable as a main course. I eat this almost every day as my “don’t have to figure out what to make” regular meal. This recipe will make two very big bowls of food, depending on how much you throw into the skillet. 

Early prep for ease of use: Early in the week, I blanch the vegetables and cook the pasta in the same water. Then store it all in the fridge. This way, when I’m ready to “cook,” all I have to do is throw everything into the pan, and can make it easily over several days. 
INGREDIENTS:
1 chopped big sweet Onion
1 Handful of cooked Quinoa pasta (any pasta will do)
4 Spicy Black Bean “burgers” (thawed),…

In Daddy's Arms

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Another pic featuring results from my workout/exercise regimen.


At a Hospice, In the Atrium (Official Lyrics Video)

The true story of the day they asked me to sing at an AIDS hospice. Please share it with a caregiver. No ads. No pop-ups. Totally free.

You Can Vote!

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It's free.

It's the 2013 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards and I am gratefully nominated in the categories of Best CD Release (Solo, Duo or Group) -- Tales from the Bonus Round -- and Best Original Song for a Cabaret Show -- "So Many Days in an Hour." And you can vote! For me or for whomever you like best.

Here is the newly created lyrics video:


VOTE HERE!

My Obligation as a Positoid on World AIDS Day.

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When I first tested positive in 1993, the literature that came from the AIDS Service Organizations had this listed as your number one thing to do:
1. Survive.
That whatever you had to do, whomever you had to beg, whatever humiliation you may endure in public and in private, whatever you do, first you survive. You know, put your mask on before your kid's.
So, when I try to express the gratitude that I feel to you, reader, for whatever part you played in my life or in the life of any other positoid, I fall short. Words are not enough. My obligation, my gratitude is to do exactly what you were working so hard for me to achieve:
Survival.
For Christmas, all I wanted was a stretch or yoga mat which now resides just behind Jim's chair in the living room.
Physicality is not something I've ever been that aware of. My hamstrings are so tight, I can barely bend over from the waist. So, my next goal is to touch the ground. And yes, I'm still running every day.
I don't have a…

Somebody's Friend - Lyrics Video

For WORLD AIDS DAY. December 1, 2013.

Sea Glass

I wrote this song for a friend, then she recorded me singing it for her. Then I took that video and, using photos she shot at the beach, made a new video edit. Thank you, Lynne for your friendship and love.

Book Review: 12 Years A Slave.

For 2 dollars, I d/l'd "12 Years A Slave." After having read Frederick Douglass' autobio which is FREE online, the original and the rewritten one -- I had become obsessed with what makes people cruel. But also with the definition of "humane." The writer, Solomon Northrup, even though he endured cruelty few of us can even imagine, refused to hate white people. He hated cruel masters, but he was even compassionate about the 12-year old son who he felt was a fine person, but was being taught cruelty by his dad, who would cheer him as he rode down a row of cotton beating slaves randomly.

A refusal to hate takes huge amounts of courage. But it's the only route to a sane existence on this earth. What I observe on Social Media is that people too easily use ridicule against a political or religious opponent. If that opponent can laugh at himself, then it's cool. But if it's just a triumphalist way to play to the choir, thereby shaming the opponent, the…

Jim & Steve Do Our Shows on Jan. 15.

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BIG NEWS! Jim Brochu will be performing Character Man on the same night that I"m repeating my "Tales From The Bonus Round" concert. For both shows, you only pay $40. Call 212-206-0440 now and reserve your seat!


The Review of the Metropolitan Room Concert.

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I was in email black-out when the review hit.

I had been waiting and waiting for it, but went offline for a week. When I logged back in, there was an email from my old pal, Bev saying, essentially, what did you pay the guy at the BroadwayWorld for that review?

That "guy" is Stephen Hanks, a well respected online critic, publisher and producer on the cabaret and theater scene in New York. He sees everything. I cajoled him to come and review my one night only concert. We've met many times at various shows, benefits and events. And also, to be fair, Stephen is a sweetheart and I don't recall him ever having written a nasty review. Even if he hated it, he'd find something kind to say. And then I could use that for future publicity and promotion. (Promotions don't work if you're the only one telling the world how good you are.)

"A terrific night of music!" says Steve Schalchlin about Steve Schalchlin. Nope. Doesn't do it.  Quotes, people! We nee…

Concert Aftermath

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On Monday, the day after my new concert debut in New York at the Metropolitan Room, I was sitting on the couch trying to take it all in. Decompressing from a very long day.

And, suddenly, out of nowhere, I started crying. Huge, big, heaving, sobbing tears.

Because the concert not only came off as well as I had been dreaming it might, but way, WAY beyond what I could have imagined.



As the emails flooded into my box, I read story after story of people who told me their lives had been changed. Really?

Two friends said the show as so emotional for them, that they held each other's hands all through it. Another said that every face in the room was wet with tears of joy and release, as they cried and cried at the songs and the stories coming from the stage.

What I remember is how, when I looked out at the room during the show, every person was on the edge of their seats, leaning forward trying to catch every word, every note, every nuance.



And how they all turned into a huge Bonus Roun…

We're gonna do it again January 15.

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I still have to write a diary entry about the extraordinary experience we had on Sunday with the debut of the Tales from the Bonus Round concert at the Metropolitan Room, but for now, it's sufficient to say that we're booked to do it again on January 15th at 7pm.

I've quickly pulled together a graphic for the page here so we can begin publicity. What I will tell you, reader, is that there wasn't a dry eye in the house. So many little miracles and coincidences happened, my heart is full and I'm still amazed how it all got pulled off. What a show.


Making the Choice to Live.

Lately, I've been contacted by several friends asking my advice for either themselves or for someone they know: How do you convince someone to want to live? Or, more directly, how someone qualify to be in the bonus round?

I don't think they really think I can provide an answer, but because of my experience, I can describe my road.

I said to him it's not a destination. It's a decision you make. One I make. Every single morning. Maybe every single moment. Rebirth is a constant. Not a one time event.

I said to him, "You have decide to live because WE have to." You know, like we're gonna let you off easy??

I have continued my training/exercise regimen. Faithfully, though I think I could push myself harder. I am very sure that if I had a trainer, he would all, "Come on, pussy! One more!" So, no, I'm not going to look like a body builder any time soon.

However, I have been faithful. No matter how much I didn't want to, no matter the voice in …

Rehearsing by myself. Reinventing myself.

I sat in the darkness of the Metropolitan Room and played through the songs the other day, all by myself. I just wanted to see if I could do it, the same way I recorded this album. No prompting. No lyric sheets.

The first thing I discovered was I love this piano.

It really fills the room. And it was at the piano that my entire life of Lazarus began.

With this new show and album, I'm reinventing myself by turning my focus from what was solely an AIDS education concert into a motivational concert, which, in a way it always has been. My experience in overcoming the adversity of disease empowers others to realize their own untapped potential.

And now, with my friends joining me, we're going to make some GREAT music together!

See you on Sunday!

It's a Jam Band on Sunday!

I'm so excited! I have a band, for the first time in forever, playing with me on Sunday. Bill Goffi on guitar. James Lawless on bass and Stephen Elkins are all joining me on stage. Also, Alex Thomas is going to do the intro and Evan Cohen will be taping it.

SPECIAL GUEST: JIM BROCHU!

Last chance to get tickets!

STEVE IN CONCERT! Get tickets here!

The Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd St.
NY, NY

ONE SHOW ONLY. 4pm.

Limited Edition Signed/Numbered CDs Available.

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There are only 100 CDs available. You may purchase yours by sending $20 through Paypal to steveshack@gmail.com. Or, if you don't use Paypal, write an email to that address and we'll work out a different method of payment. Low numbers are still available. (I'll cover the postage and handling unless you're international. In that case, include $10 extra.)


Every Day A New Amen (Official LYRICS video)

From "Tales from the Bonus Round."

The Only Kind of Music (Official LYRICS video)

From "Tales from the Bonus Round."

Poster Design for PFLAG-Olympia benefit concerts.

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#wds2013
Traditions Fair Trade Store Olympia, Washington Two shows. Saturday, January 25th.

Wanna Sing With Me?

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Here's how you get into the Bonus Round Choir: Show up.

There. You're in.
Anyone who comes to my October 27th gig at the Metropolitan Room who loves to sing, I'll be concluding the program with Lazarus Come Out and My Rising Up, both of which feature simple call-and-response back-up. 
I have been so preoccupied with the CD, I forgot I have to sell tickets to this thing.
I've neglected my big gig! The official 60th Birthday and Album Release Party
Oh, damn. I need to write up an official looking press release or something.
If you read this blog, please tell yer friends about it.
Selling tickets is hard!



A Birthday Thank You.

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I want to thank the many, many well-wishers, friends and family who posted links to my songs on YouTube. It was the best birthday present of all, to know that people care enough to share your art. I spent many, many hours, days, weeks and years writing those songs because I had to live them before I could write them.

For struggling artists with no label, no producer, no agent, no manager, but lots of friends who care, those shared links mean the world. So, don't just share mine. Go to an artist you love -- someone else struggling to pay the rent and stay alive -- and give them some link-love. You have no idea how it will brighten their day to know someone out there really listens to the heart and soul they invest in their music.

Lastly, just as I did when we started the TLS adventure, I've burned 100 home made discs for sale of Tales from the Bonus Round. I've signed and numbered them as a collector's item. In a way, I had to do this anyhow since I didn't use a se…

Tales from the Bonus Round (playlist)

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You don't have Spotify or iTunes? No problem. Now you can listen to the entire album on YouTube by clicking on this playlist.

Official lyric video for "The Secret of the Great Big Hall"

From "Tales from the Bonus Round."

Tales from the Bonus Round now on Spotify.

I wasn't expecting it to happen so quickly, but I'm thrilled that Tales from the Bonus Round is now also on Spotify and, presumably, most other streaming services.

New Album now Available in the iTunes Store.

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Featuring two of the songs heard at #wds2103 Tales from the Bonus Round is now available on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I recommend this new AIDS blog.

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The next generation of HIV/AIDS awareness by Perry N. Halkitis. And look for his book, The AIDS Generation, which features stories of the first generation of people with HIV/AIDS.

Running and Radio!

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Health update and some unexpected fun with a friend.

First of all, I got my cards for my Oct. 27th gig at the Metropolitan Room.

Now that the weather has cooled a bit, and it's more fun to run, I thought I'd run down to the Metropolitan Room, which is about two miles. In fact, I've lately found myself avoiding the subways or buses unless absolutely necessary, preferring to run or power walk to my destinations. I remember when I moved to NY back in the early 80s, I was surprised at how small the island actually is, and how close together everything is compared to LA, which was spread out for miles and miles.

I saw owner, Bernie Furshpan, who, with his wife Joanne, has become a great friends of ours. He stuffed my cards into one of the little displays at the front of the club and then asked me if I wanted to co-host a radio program with him that afternoon.

Sure! Why not?


I also ran over to Swing 46, where Jake and Katie work, dropping some off there, and also at Don't T…

Listen to my episode on the Powder Keg of Awesome!

I really enjoyed speaking to Jackie Dotson and Jerry Kennedy today.

Here is our talk!

Media Alert.

Tomorrow, Sept. 25th, Steve Schalchlin is the scheduled guest on the Powder Keg of Awesome podcast at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.

The link to the show page is here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/powderkegofawesome/2013/09/25/episode-103-steve-schalchlin

A Singular Honor.

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Maybe it's because I'm approaching my 60th birthday, but I was the recipient of the Artist of the Year award at the 160th Anniversary of Christ Church, Bay Ridge, an Episcopal Church where I am privileged to be composer in residence.



It exists because of the efforts of Fr. Jeffrey Hamblin, MD, who uses the money he earns as a physician to fund, or help fund, the music program.

These kinds of churches are different from the Baptist congregations I grew up in. And I'm not saying one is better than the other. But the sense of history, and the "presence" of Christians down through the ages all the back to the time of Christ, comes back when we hear them through their music. It's two completely different cultures.

Lately, in an effort to expand our repertoire, Kalle Toivio, who is working on his doctorate at Manhattan School of Music, has created a small group that sings medieval music, the kind actually written for these big open Gothic spaces. It's so haunt…

Steinbeck Sleeping.

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Sleeping cat. I could sit and look at him for hours when he does this hide the eyes things.

Graphic for my 60th Birthday Concert.

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USNY: Shakespeare Update "The Hollow Crown"

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In this blog, I'm going to plug a PBS show and a new book about AIDS research. I hadn't actually planned it that way. Just wanted to warn you in advance.


The University of Steve in New York is what I call my current self-generated (bonus round) plan to learn everything in the world there is to know and write one of everything that can be written. Part of that education are the Shakespeare Studies, an inadvertent course (correction)

It happened after I was invited to participate in Andy Gale's advanced scene study acting class after having worked with him and the students at Manhattan School of Music. BTW, Andy doesn't have a website and he doesn't go on Facebook. Currently, however, he's performing in a production of "Fiddler" out in Portland, since, aside from being one of the best acting coaches in the City, he's also a working actor and singer. He mostly works privately with a great number of stars whose names you would know. The class I enter…

The Word I Couldn't Remember.

"I've got a patient in his 40s and his cognitive function is..."

This was my doctor talking to me yesterday.

I don't remember the word he used. Degraded. Screwed up.

I was sitting in my running shorts. I had run to the appointment, continuing my training (for SteveFest60). The clinic is down on west 17th street.

"You've gone from using 60 units of insulin a day to zero after only a month of daily aerobic exercise."

"Yes, and 40 at night on the Lantus, down from 60." (That's the basal insulin).

After the exam, he was writing out the prescription for the blood tests for three months from now. He numbered them off but had missed one. I said, "And the thyroid." (I have Grave's Disease. My right eye is a little googly and tends to wander off.)

He snapped a happy grin at me. "And your mind. Your mind is quick. I talk about you when I do presentations."

"You talk about me??" I beamed.

"We don't know the…

Bonus Round Portland Performance Now Online.

Steve Schalchlin from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

I am grateful to Chris Guillebeau for inviting me to the World Domination Summit 2013. You'll hear several references to other speakers in my talk. All of their talks are also online and I absolutely ENCOURAGE you to click around and listen to them.

Service. Community. Adventure.

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It has become this mantra for me. Ever since I experienced it at the World Domination Summit, those three words just keep ringing and ringing in my ear.



My most immediate, daily, adventure is my health. My new running/exercise routine is having startlingly strong effects on my body. Feeling good really can be thought of as an adventure when you're physically or mentally down. It takes a conscious effort to, every day, make the choice to live. To grow. To learn.

My new album is also an adventure.

But what am I doing in terms of service? One thing is my volunteer work singing in the church choir. There are also other things I do, such as helping friends with tedious tasks. I like being useful. Does that make sense? Like stuffing envelopes or stapling things.

And then, finally, community. Where is my own personal community? In this world of connectedness, I belong to many communities. My close personal friends are one. But I feel just as close to my cyber friends. I always have. Giv…

Tales from the Bonus Round FAQ

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IS 'TALES FROM THE BONUS ROUND' FINISHED?
Yes.  DID YOU RECORD LIKE YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO, ALL SINGLE TAKES, NO FIXES OR OVERDUBS OR PITCH CORRECTION?
Yes (with slight exception). And on two songs, my friend Bill Goffi, a terrific musician who plays and sings all over town, came in with his guitar and played on two of the tracks. It feels like a jam session because it was a jam session. I think we had run over the songs once together.   And, I admit at the the end of one particular song, I fixed one wrong note. It would have been a mistake to leave it and I didn’t have the energy to re-record the entire song just to fix one note. So, maybe we’ll make it a guessing game as to which note got fixed. 
WAS IT DIFFICULT, RECORDING THIS WAY?
Impossible. In theory, it seemed like an easy thing.  But in practice, recording an album “live in the studio” is not the same as performing a concert in front of people, where you can relax and go from song to song, bringing in the energ…

Bonus Round Emporium Is Now Open.

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GO TO STORE.
Featuring the brilliant "Tales from the Bonus Round" logo of artist Peter Grundy, not only will you find beautiful items to purchase, such as mugs, t-shirts and cards, but you'll be helping me pay off my recording studio bill and helping to spread the word about the new album, which will be released in about a month or so. Bonus Round Emporium.

Longtime readers know that it was the sound of the piano that brought me back to life in 1995, writing the songs that became The Last Session. So, when Peter created this piano graphic, based on my appearance at the World Domination Summit 2013, I was stunned by its meaningful simplicity and beauty and I knew I had to co-opt it for the cover image on Tales from the Bonus Round.

Look at this gorgeous mug.

And several people requested these cards:


First thing I did, after setting up the store was order a t-shirt:


The fabric is thick and ultra-high quality, just like before. I still have an old Bonus Round t-shirt from o…

That Weird Space Ship Looking Thing At The End of the Block.

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It was being created on the top of an abandoned car dealership, which, according to the signs on the sides of the building, is supposed to become a big shopping mall. But it's been empty ever since the cars moved out. So, I thought, "Hey, maybe this is the grand opening!"



Yes! An hour glass.


The other night they were lighting up the sky with all these spotlights. You can also go online and play the game to get qualified to be a contestant. I think part of the deal is that whoever is playing, you have to live in this hourglass for 11 days.

Manhattan Photo of the Day: The Grove at Lincoln Center.

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This is a totally unretouched photo I took yesterday at Lincoln Center. As many times as I've been there, I never noticed this little grove of trees. When I looked through the lens and saw how the sun was washing out the edges, it just mesmerized me.

Health Update: The Exercise (surprise) Is Causing Miracles.

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I've been exercising, each day, more and more. Yesterday, I did a very long run (for me), almost two miles. Then, later, went back and did another two miles. For real runners, this isn't much. But for me, it's a lot.

The strange thing is that I didn't need insulin for either lunch or dinner. My metabolism was at such a high level, it disposed of the sugars all by itself, I guess. And it didn't hurt that I am eating low carb meals, while supplementing with extra whey protein.

My blood tests reflected all this good news, too. The virus is still undetectable in my blood. My t-cell count is up over 500 (which is way below normal, but great for me).

Also, my A1c dipped below 6.0 to 5.9, which was great cause for celebration at Dr. Tony's.

So, the training continues under Cat Steinbeck's watchful eye.