Friday, September 01, 2017

A Stunning Letter from Texas and Harvey.

My friend, Brenda Bateman, down in Texas wrote this after hours on a horse in the flood, freezing, saving animals and humans. This is an incredible read:

There have been no walks along the path this week as I have followed the path of Hurricane Harvey instead.

I have ridden a horse in lap-deep water for so many hours, I thought I would never feel warm again. I have listened to the desperate calls and read fb messages of people who have been on rooftops in pouring rain for hours and who were unable to get their calls thru to rescuers. I have dispatched those calls to the Cajun Navy, the Coast Guard and the Red Cross because I was gifted with the right contacts.

I have been able to rescue a few people, some livestock and pets. I have also passed by the bloated floating bodies of animals who grew too weary and drowned.

I have seen snakes and lizards and bats clinging to treetops and rooftops, looking just as shell-shocked as the people we were pulling into boats and processing at the shelters. I have seen neighbors from near and far...WAY out of up with boats, supplies and compassion. I have seen first responders who have been on scene since Saturday, sleep propped against a wall for a few minutes, then get up and do it all again.

I have seen all this and much more. Every muscle in my body aches, my head hurts and my heart is shattered. I want and need to cry but there is no time yet for such self-indulgence. There are too many people in pain who need a kind touch and a tender word. Because they have lost home, vehicle, mementos and beloveds. They need love and they need hope.

YOU can provide that. Many of you have already been opening your wallets to organizations who can meet some of these most immediate needs. Thank you for that. And there is going to be such a need for a while.

Many of you are already planning and packing to go help with the cleanup...which will be weeks...maybe even the making. But you may not know how to start.

The best way to help is to just show up. Go to one of the streets where you see debris piled by the curb and people hauling trash out. Just show up and start sorting....salvagable from ruined beyond description Take a hot meal with disposable plates and utensils to the homeowners/workers.
shovel mud, sweep water, tear sheet rock, bleach walls, countertops and anything else water has touched. Play and talk with the children/teens as you work. They need to feel like they are seen and heard.

Load up supplies. These are what I can think of in my distress; I am sure there are many others.

gloves, masks, trash bags, string, duct tape, boxcutters, ladders, old tshirts and aprons that can be worn and then thrown away, bleach, cleaning supplies, spray bottles, paper towels, old or shop cloths, hammers, ziploc bags of all sizes for saving papers, photos, etc, sharpies to label, boxes of all sizes (clear plastic ones are best), insect repllent, fire ant killer, rat poison, animal traps.

First aid supplies, hand cream, tylenol, nonperishable foods that can be eaten without preparation (fruit cups, sandwiches,
juice boxes, bottled water, etc.)

Things you can do while the cleaning goes on: play with the children (bring balls, cards and board games...they have lost everything, too), read to little ones make a clean, dry place for children or adults alike to lay down and nap while others work.
provide toiletries (brushes & combs, too), diapers, linens (most of us have extra), pillows, phone/tablet chargers that can be used in your vehicle if they are still without electricity.

Bring hot meals, cookies and snacks.

I know this is long but my mind is all cluttered and my desire is to dispense as much info as possible to those of you who want to know what you can do. There is no limit.

What is your talent? Your passion? your instruments, tell some cute jokes (they need to is heaing), take pictures and photo their damage/possessions for their insurance claims. Offer to run errands, Pray with them and for them. Hug them. Even big burly men who are terrified of how they will care for their families need a hug.

Just show up. It's the best way to help.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Kathleen Turner Sang My Song.

Kathleen Turner was to debut my new song at 4PM.
One I'd written just for her -- for her new cabaret.
(An afternoon run-through for her
opening in Philadelphia on Sept. 25).
(Lyrics co-written with James Freeman).

I was feeling very weak, though recovering, so I had
Just about enough energy to get there
Don't Tell Mama, a club a few blocks away
Watch the show and come home

Saw lots of friends and got lots of hugs
But I sat down early and got comfortable

And it was glorious.
She sang once before in a play
So she hasn't made a career of singing
And she's not a technically skilled singer,
like opera or anything
But she's Kathleen Turner,
One of the most iconic voices of all time
She sings with great acting ability
Like all the classic cabaret great singers

That rich female baritone

After it was over, I went home and
Slept, missing project runway

Oh right! I have project runway to watch!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

two guys in times square

AUG 23

a short walk
my first after my surgery

met two people

times square
1:30 pm
the constant current of people
must find strategic places
to shoot photos and video

middle island
a switch box on a wide green pole
wide shadow

i move to the pole
listening for the whine of the subways
beneath the grate
it’s the only place with that particular sound
but the crowd is too loud

i reach the pole
stop to position my camera
a guy jumps from the shadow of the pole
gives me a flyer for a tour bus

Older. 50s? Dark skin. 
Salt and pepper beard and hair.
Later, said he was Indian.

he asks, gruffly, “where ya from?”
“i live here. just out for a walk.”
“yeah? you look like the tourists from sweden or norway.”
“that’s my ancestry. i bet you get to know them all standing here.”

“i’m a child of god!” he proclaimed. “Shall I prove it to you?”


“i have no father or mother. i have no last name!
when i got my social security number, they told me,
‘you have no parents’
and that’s how i know God is my father.”

I thought of the movie The Lion.

i nodded, not sure how to respond.

“how many languages you speak?” He demanded, followed by,

“Parlez vous, Fr…” “Sprechen ze…”

Ashamed, I said "none," but then “Puedo habla espanol.”

“Meh. Everyone around here speaks Spanish.
It’s like speaking English. I'm Felix."

I said, “Mr. Bonus Round.”

But I think “Mr. Bonus Round” can learn a lot from this guy.

“Are you usually here?”

“They put me on different corners.”

“I’ll come find you again.”

met another guy on 44th and 7th.

I had stopped next to a trash can

A voice: “It never stops.”

Vaguely Eastern European. Male.

I turned.

Easy smile.

Tall. Handsome. Late 20s?

Very manly.

“No, it doesn’t. Except Sunday morning. Not a soul in sight.”

He pondered that.

“I’m from Belarus. Do you know where that is?” he laughed.

“You probably don’t.”

No. I couldn’t picture it on a map but,
“Eastern Europe, right? Was once part of the Soviet Union.”

“We are not part of it now.”
His easy smile evaporated for just a moment.
“I’ve been working in New Jersey and I came in to see it for the first time.”

We both looked at the coordinated masses streaming around us.

He said, “I like it.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Best HIV/AIDS Blogs

I'm proud to announce that the Bonus Round blog has been named by as one of the Best HIV/AIDS blogs for 2017. At first I didn't respond to the email because I figured it was some kind of spam. Then, I got a note from Meagan Jones, following up.

I wrote back, asking how they came to choose me since, these days, I mostly link to new music.

She wrote back,"Hi Steve! Definitely not spam :). We took into account your amazing archive as well, and you have posted this year so we know you're still blogging, even if it isn't as frequent as before."

And they gave me a sparkling badge for this site.

The Best HIV and AIDS Blogs of the Year

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Cold Comfort - Schalchlin & Goffi

Jammin' out on a new song.

I called Bill Goffi the day before and said Jim Freeman had some green screen TV studio time at BRIC in Brooklyn and could we throw something together. So, this being the most recent "song of the week," I taught it to him in the hall and just said, "Sing harmony whenever you feel it."

You can see the lyrics taped between us. Then, Jim went outside the next morning and shot the sunrise in Prospect Park with his iPhone. Eureka was there, cheering us on -- and Bill chides me at the end. But there we are!

Guerrilla songwriting and creating!

A Stunning Letter from Texas and Harvey.

My friend, Brenda Bateman , down in Texas wrote this after hours on a horse in the flood, freezing, saving animals and humans. This is an i...