BRIEF BLOG INTRO: I'm a man on a mission to convince you that music is a Super Power, and that life is worth living, no matter how many obstacles are placed in your way. And that you can accomplish great things if you just push ahead and don't let anyone tell you no.

I'm a singer/songwriter and actor from Texas who is "Living in the Bonus Round" in New York City-- having cheated death from AIDS. (In a game show, the Bonus Round is where time speeds up and the prizes are better.) Accepting my death changed me. Now, I'm consuming life as quickly and as fully as I can, while still taking time to breathe and appreciate every single day as an utter miracle.

In 2013, I turned 60 and I created a set of goals, all of which came true, including composing -- and performing in -- a Mass, recording a solo album (selling 10s of copies), headlining to a sold out house at a major night club in New York City (while getting great reviews). Now I'm out to redefine theater and cabaret. I update a few times a month these days, and I don't spam. So it's easier to keep up with me by following by Email. When this blog began, it was to track my death. I'm told it was the first AIDS blog. You can start at the gruesome beginning if you want. Or just jump in and maybe we can learn some life lessons together. Welcome to the Bonus Round. I'm Steve [SHACK-lin] and we're just getting started.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Daily Shack. 21 JAN 2016. Learning Fingerpicking.

Oy. It's so hard. I'm incrementaling my way through "Rescue." It sounds great on guitar. I just wish I could do it in less than 45 minutes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Daily Shack: Back in the Studio

Happy to be back practicing guitar after a day of rest, watching movies and catching up on TV shows.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

the security guard’s human event

young glasses guard with big smile
a taciturn presence

“oh? you’re doing acting classes?
what do they -- what do you… do in there?”

i said,
“well, it’s a scene study class, so we bring scenes
or the teacher gives us scenes and we do them
and he says, here try it this way
or try it that way”

“what do you get outta that?”

his eyes were bright with curiosity
like, behind this big, aloof, handsome man
who i was, at first, afraid of
months ago when i first encountered him
here at the desk in the middle of the night

he speaks in almost a whisper
now i see he is very shy, extremely shy
but i know that look
i know it from my own face

the first time i thought about an acting class
it sounded exciting

a playground

where you use all your senses

and explore your inner self

by exploring the inner selves of others

to not be myself

to play

to pretend

to be free

i imagined what he would be like in the room with us
he would be silent as a stone
staring off into the corner
when speaking, he’d be softer than dan
who always gets told to speak louder
afraid that someone might see him
might judge him
that he’d open his mouth and they’d see he is an amateur
because he would be

his acting would probably be terrible
at first

but then he’d find something or say something in a scene
and the people watching would see an
actual human event

and he’d know it too

but not quite know what it was

but remember the feeling

and the sense of accomplishment

a flood of endorphins
for doing nothing?

and think

how do i get there again?

he’ll think, what did he do before?
he was unconscious of the effort
so he wasn’t trying before
it was probably a moment when
he got tired of trying
and, bingo,

a human event

as if there are events involving humans that aren’t events

who knows?

as he sits staring at the monitors all night
i wonder what he’s thinking about
whether he has a rich inner life

no, strike that
i know he has a rich inner life
he’s human

and every human has one of those

c2016 by Steve Schalchlin