Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Rehearsal, Kulak's, the Neighborhood & Chuck.

I wanted to be there so badly. San Francisco. A rehearsal hall. 250 male singers. My music.

It would be the chorus members' first time to hear it. I was so nervous back here in L.A.

I feel like "Pantheon" is the most personal work I've ever written -- and that's something coming from a man whose only two musicals are autobiographical. (duh)

So, I went down to Kulak's and was selected to go on first. I had planned to play something dark and dramatic, but instead opted for "Cool By Default." I mean an opening number should be, you know, upbeat. Or something.

I don't think it went over so well. Or no one was listening. I didn't stay long. I couldn't concentrate. Usually, I stay there the whole night, listening to the other singers, but I was too antsy. I was thinking about the chorus.

Between performers, I sneaked out and took a nice, slow walk back to the apartment. (Plus, Jim's home and I was missing him really badly while he was away).

You remember Chuck, my homeless vet friend? I ran into him a couple of times recently. Once, he saw me at the grocery store. He was working out back at the recycle bin, he said. (That's the thing about Chuck. He's not a lazy drunk. He actually works harder than most people who have actual 9 to 5 jobs. It's just that picking up cans doesn't really bring in that much.)

I saw him again when I was walking home from Kulak's. He was sitting under a bus shelter with another guy, African American whose name I missed. They were laughing and talking with each other. He, the other man, looked at me suspiciously until Chuck assured him I was cool.

So, we hung out and talked for about 20 minutes.

I think I've said this before, but having Kulak's there makes this a neighborhood for me. I wouldn't have had a chance just to run into Chuck or meet his friend. I think it's a mistake for everything to be zoned to eliminate opportunities for neighborhood interaction.

I'm saying all this because on Friday, there's going to be hearing on whether the City will let Kulak's continue operating. Right now, as I understand what I've seen on the Net, it's the Wendy Greuel, who's on the City Council, who has let Kulak's stay open.

Anyway, seeing Chuck was great. Being out on a beautiful night was great. (And the nights here are glorious. The sky has been clear. The ocean breeze is just making its way over the Hollywood Hills. The heat still in the ground warms your feet and ankles.)

And up in the most beautiful city in the world, a baby was being born. Yes, a lesbian and a gay man can have a child. (Thanks, Kathleen!)

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