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Tales From The Bonus Round: The Package Pt. 2

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TALES FROM THE BONUS ROUND
L.A. MAY 1996

Previous entry: The Package Pt. 1

The knock on the door seems so dramatic in retrospect
But he barely mentioned it in his diary
The Crixivan was just another drug
In a long line of drugs

Another punishment
In a long line of punishments

Instead, he wrote about his friends

A woman he nursed after she got too drunk at the ASCAP Awards

And the strangers
Who were slowly discovering him
And each other
On this new thing: The Internet

About "Bro. Jerry,"
A minister who used his lyrics
Going It Alone
In a sermon
Because a parishioner's son had died of AIDS

A sermon?

It had been years since he had even been inside a church
He thought of himself as the
Worst of the Worst kind of human being
Ashamed and angry and pissed off at churches

Why would a minister use the writings
Of a queer dying of AIDS?
In the pulpit

About meeting, online,
A 20-year old straight boy with AIDS
Named Shawn Decker
The Positoid

He wrote about his ears
Now painfully bl…

Tales From The Bonus Round: The Package Pt. 1

TALES FROM THE BONUS ROUND
L.A. 1996
LATE SPRING/EARLY SUMMER

(Read the previous entry here.)

THE PACKAGE Pt. 1

After he got home from
The Last Cruise of His Life
After he had accepted that he was dying
With New infections taking over
Ear infections
Parasites defeating his immune system
All he had left in life was Jim,
Thurber the cat,
Jim’s childhood piano
A Radio Shack cassette of his songs
Recorded by himself in a single hour
And a desire to see his show
Just once

And the Internet
It was a new thing at the time
Like many desperately ill people
Needing help
Needing information about their disease
Needing community
Some trapped alone
Some with an abusive spouse
Some searching for alternative therapies
He went out onto the Net

And just told his story
About just being a patient
How being a patient makes you a nurse

People wanted to hear his healing music
So he gave the Radio Shack cassettes away
He signed and numbered them
“Remember me!” he sang. “I existed!"
He always gave it …

This Weekend is Jim's and my 28th Anniversary.

We are spending it sleeping in front of the TV after doing laundry.

The gay agenda in action!

A Sacred Duty.

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She asked me very apologetically, "Would you mind going out to Queens and helping me pick out a piano for my new apartment?"
Mind?
There is no more sacred duty in all the world.
"They're having a warehouse sale on Steinways in Queens. I hate to ask anyone."
Mind?
I could try to put my love of pianos into religious terms, but who needs another religion? 
I could try to put my  personal depth of feeling that I have with every single one I've ever played, including the sad, broken piano with only 10 good notes at a youth center in Columbus, Ohio -- or was it Cincinatti? -- where the sad, not yet broken glbt teens lined up to hug a very hubbable Martha because they had never met a mom that loved their gay kid before.
But if I expressed the true depth of my personal feeling about each piano I meet, I would sound like a pervert.
I walk into a room and, if I see a piano, everything else in the room disappears. 
There she sits. A virgin to my fingers. A virgin to …

How To Host A Party Full Of Celebrities.

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Not that you want that. But if you do, we stumbled onto the secret.

Myself, living in the bonus round, since I don't know when the bell will go off, I am trying to meet all the people I have admired over my lifetime. So, getting them all into the same room is a great shortcut.

So how did we do it? We aren't famous ourselves except among a few theater folk. And we certainly are not wealthy. So, how did we do it?

It all happened by accident. We invited a friend over and told him to ask a few friends to join us.

First of all, it helps to know at least one celebrity. Being in show business your whole life, you're going to meet some celebrities (not that celebrities are the be-all and end-all of anything -- in fact, usually they aren't; they're just people who got famous for one reason or another, but this post is about celebrities and we've been asked, so here it goes).

In our case, Jim has been around theater all his life. It also helped that our three Off-Broadw…

I'm So Mean.

I was really mean to Kim Kardashian in my previous post about the Celebrity Nullification Game. I'm sure she's a very nice lady. I think I'm just allowing her to embody the kind of TV celebrity most of us love to hate. Hey! They put themselves out there. Jeering from the sidelines is part of the show, isn't it?

So I was mean. But it totally subverts my angelic sweet guy image.

In acting class, I learned that I've not been speaking with my real voice. That what I think is my real voice actually sounds like a phony voice and me speaking in very low tones is actually my real voice which sounds like my fake voice (to me). It's a trick that played by your cranium.

That's why we hate recordings of our own voice.

So, I need to find my true voice! It's so weird to think that my real voice is not my real voice, but a phony voice that's hiding the real voice.

Today, we were at a memorial service for a Broadway actor named Kevin Gray. I didn't know him. B…

The Celebrity Nullification Game.

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Celebrity Nullification, the game. My new favorite game in this overly-connected world.

THE RULE: Identify a particularly obnoxious, untalented and ubiquitous celebrity while they're on the rise and then avoid ever hearing them speak until their celebrity cycle has run its course.

A perfect celebrity example would have been Paris Hilton, but I wasn't playing the game back when she was famous for doing nothing.

So, you have to be ready with the remote because they're likely to appear on commercials, the Internet, their own manufactured reality shows or talk shows.

If you ever hear their voice, even one time, you lose the game.

The current celebrity: Kim Kardashian.

I have never heard this woman's voice, nor have I watched a single second of her on TV except through imitators on Saturday Night Live. So, the only Kim Kardashian I know is the one making fun of her.

They almost caught me when I saw her face pop up on a commercial for California -- really? They think people…

Manhattan Video Diary -- April 2013 Pt. 2

A walk up Broadway from Union Square. A bus ride to the United Nations building, a trip out to Coney Island for a fundraiser and much more!

Inside Every Piano Is A Song

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Inside every piano is a song
A song only this piano can play
There's a soul of the guy who got drunk one night
Or the girl who threw up in his lap
A songwriter pounding the last songs before he dies
That spinster in her turn of the century dress

A barefoot kid just noodling around

A wannabe Bernstein
A wannabe John Lennon
A wannabe
Next
A wannabe Next

And all these people
Remain in the strings by the small damages
Each one does during the playing
A loosening of a peg
Wear on the moving parts
Each person hurts it a little
But it all adds up to a sound
Based on woulds
And a sound is a soul
And soul is a sound

I actually believe this

People are constantly asking me what I believe
I believe this

That there is a song in every piano
And if I don't find its song
I might miss out on having written
the Song
The song that will heal the world

ii

Over on the west side of manhattan
She is waiting for me
She does not know I'm coming
We have flirted with each other
We have even slight…

Manhattan Video Diary - April 2013 Pt. 1

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A great story about Milton Berle, a little Marilyn Monroe from them who was there, and meet my foot doctor plus lots of Manhattan and Jim and Steve take their daily exercise.

But we start with a cat in a pizza box.

Jim Brochu sings with the Great Marilyn Maye

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This was completely improvised. Billy Stritch on piano. Marilyn Maye is a national treasure. They were raising money for Zani's Furry Friends, a pet rescue group.

Landfill Harmonic.

This is the kind of thing that brings tears to my eyes and takes my breath away.

One New Hell (the original).

I received a request through Facebook yesterday by a guy named Nick Pierce, had posted a youtube of "Save Me A Seat" on his wall.
Hi steve it was great finding you! I just had to post that song on my wall. I found it looking for one that was not in the Last session but was on a CD i got at a performance of Living In The Bonus Round before it transformed in The Last Session. I had the cd up until about 5 years ago and i have not been able to find the song.  a line in the song goes..."I'm living one new hell after another...." So, I went back through my folders, looking for "One New Hell" and was unable to find it. I thought it was on the Bonus Round Sessions CD, but it wasn't there. And then I remembered...

First of all, "One New Hell" was featured in "The Big Voice: God or Merman." But it was a rewrite of the earlier version, which is the one he was talking about -- which was featured on the very first CD I released called &qu…

Think-piece on sitting at a piano alone and just playing music.

Yesterday, I sat at the piano, cleared my mind, and just started playing songs in no particular order. Jim had gone out to see Mark Nadler's new show at the York -- a last minute invitation and I was too exhausted from a long day of walking and socializing with some friends.

So, he went off to see it (and said it was fantastic). I knew Mark Nadler way back when, doing piano bars in the Village, a job for which I was not suited but wasn't bad at. At long as people could talk and drink, I was fine to have in a corner. Mark was more ambitious. I had no idea how be a night club entertainer. Did I mention Jim said it's great?

So, I was home. I watched a bunch of "Arrows" episodes, which put me in a zen mood and then I went to our little upright -- or, rather, Sylvia's upright. Barbara Spiegel's mother. She lived here until she died. Barbara says she would love knowing her piano is being used and sung around.

Knowing I'm going to be singing "Rescue&qu…

First New Bonus Round Recording Session, May 15.

I feel like Gideon in The Last Session. I have now booked a studio for two hours, two weeks from yesterday.

Two hours with John Kilgore in his studio here in Manhattan. We met briefly yesterday when I went over to check out the piano, a deliciously seasoned Yamaha grand. John, a veteran on the New York scene, knows all about live studio recording, so the plan is to be relaxed and just get a real performance.

He asked if I wanted it freshly tuned. Oh hell no. Absolutely not! And kill all the soul?

It's tucked into a corner of the studio. I sat down. Started playing Db chords. Actually, I was playing "At A Hospice, In An Atrium." The sound was rich and full and loose. Yummy.

At some point, I'm definitely going to invite a Bonus Round Choir. But, perhaps, for this first session, since it's only two hours, and this is a new environment for me, that might be asking too much. Or maybe not. Like I'm going to try to control this? Oh hell no. Absolutely not!

Now to c…

REMINDER: Jim and Steve sing for Zani's Furry Friends on May 4 at Birdland. 5pm

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And so many stars, including the just-added Marilyn Maye, one of the greatest vocalists of our time.