Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh, Good Lord.

You should see him, on the bed, looking at his laptop, with the words "beloved star" expanded in the browser.

I have to live with this, people. Please use caution with this kind of language. It only encourages him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Blizzard Hits.

The snow started while we were in church.
We came out and saw this.

The snow is really beautiful.

I was headed to Jimmy's matinee on 47th. Ducked under the marquee of "Fela!"
at the Eugene O'Neill Theater.

The snowfall is horizontal, with the wind whipping. We even have thundersnow, with lightning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Best And Worst Christmas.

25 Special Holiday Memories at Theatremania.

Jim Brochu
Starting in 1988, when Steve Schalchlin and I moved to Los Angeles, we spent Christmases at the home of Kathleen Freeman. She celebrated Christmas like no one else. Outside, her home was covered with lights. Kathleen greeted everyone wearing a Santa hat and ringing sleigh bells. Inside, every inch was decorated with toy trains, snow-covered villages - all leading to a giant tree filled with magnificent ornaments. In 2000, there was the promise that the night sky would host an astronomical phenomenon, a Christmas star as bright as the one that shined over Bethlehem. After dinner, we went to the backyard. I lifted my video camera and saw light shining brightly in the dark sky. I said, "There it is! The Christmas star!" In her unmistakable deadpan, she quipped, "That's neat since the lens cap is still on." There was a pinhole letting light in. I mistook that for the star! It was also, the worst of all our Christmases with Kathleen -- because it would be her last in that house. The next year, she was on Broadway in The Full Monty; and months later, she was gone. For Steve and me, the greatest Christmas star will always be Kathleen.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"The Call" debuted by Steve with Jake Wesley Stewart

Last Sunday, Jake and I debuted "The Call," the song I wrote for Father Jeff Hamblin's 30th anniversary in the ministry.

He's Coming Back.

Avril is a woman I met back in Los Angeles while volunteering down at Kulak's Woodshed. I think her accent is Australian? Or maybe she's British? I keep forgetting. Anyway, Marc Platt, who runs the workshop, told us all to write a song -- we had an hour -- featuring the word or the concept of "joy."

I think our group consisted of four women that night -- and myself as a kind of facilitator. 

We were hemming and hawing, trying to come up with an idea. Finally, Avril stood up, stone-still as was her way, and simply said, tearlessly, soberly, "I don't much joy right now. I sent my kid back to Iraq this morning."

That stopped the conversation.

Silently, I wrote down, "I sent my kid back to Iraq this morning." 

It was an electrifying moment, because, when you're suddenly very sad or angry or whatever, your first reaction is to sit down and take a break so that you can start breathing again.

She stood there, staring off. So, I just started asking her questions. I think I said, "Okay, now that you've said that, what's the next thing that comes to your mind?"

She said, without taking a beat, "That now I have to clean up all his mess."

I think we all laughed out loud. Avril smiled, but she didn't move. I wrote down what she said.

And over the next half hour or so, I just kept asking questions and writing down, as word for word as possible, what she said. Then, I went home that weekend, found that sheet of paper, and converted it into music and lyrics, using her words and phrases. The video clip below is from our benefit concert earlier this year:

As we cruise through the holidays, we see lots of soldiers on the TV saying hi to their family. I'm totally a sucker for it, because they are real people, and there really is a war going on.

But, just like when I was writing about AIDS, it's not only the patient who suffers through the war of the disease. It's the caregivers, the family members, the workmates, best friends, shopping pals, hunting pals, movie pals, who all feel the emptiness of that person they love not being present, we're all in it together.

Except we're not. We, at home, are not getting shot at.

Because that's the part we don't want to look at.

And because the war is so amorphous --who's the enemy again? can it ever be over? will it ever be over? what does it mean if we "win?" who will we have defeated? a people? an ideology? a culture? a religion? -- it becomes very sad and unsettling for everyone, whether they have family members in the service or not.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My New Commission.

I was just standing there, after a show at the Laurie Beechman, when Father Jeff Hamblin came up to me with a big smile on his face.

"Hey, I want to commission you to write a song for my upcoming consecration service. The Bishop will be there." 

It was the first time anyone ever blindsided me like before. I mean, I written songs for people and I've written songs for events. But no one ever came up to me and just said they'd pay me to write a song, at least, as far as I remember. (New World Waking was commissioned, but it was largely written before the SFGMC made the offer.)

"Sure," I said. "When is the service?"

"Next week," he responded, his grin expanding ever wider.

Next week.

"Yes. The service is on December 17th." (That's tonight, of course, as I'm writing this blog entry).

And that, dear reader, is what I've been doing for the past week: Walking around in a daze, writing and rewriting this song. (I've also been attending to some urgent personal matters that involve health care. Moving from L.A. to NY has presented some problems, which I will talk about at another time).

I asked him, "Well, what do you want the song to be about?"

He said, "The mission of the church. You know. And it's my 30th anniversary of being in the ministry."

The story grows bigger. This is not just "Hey, write me a nice tune." His consecration as pastor of the church, with Bishop in attendance, and it's his 30th anniversary in the ministry. 

In previous times, I probably would have been terrified at the prospect. But, calmly, I just said yes. Why not? I love writing songs and I've discovered, over the years, that I love writing songs about people I've met, telling  their stories.

But still, the timing. 

If anything terrified me, it was that. I usually don't know if a song I've written is any good or not until weeks after it's written. All new songs sound like The Greatest Song Ever Written while you're writing it. It has to. That's what drives you while you're in the moment of creation.

(This is also what slays many new writers. That song that they felt was the Greatest Song Ever Written, which, in the cold light of a few weeks later turned out to be The Worst Song Ever Written, makes them mistrust their talent and instincts. "How could I have been so wrong?").

But, a song about the mission of the church. 

Big subject. 

So, I wrote to him later and said, "Write me a short essay. If this song were a speech, what would you want it to say?"

As Sondheim famously said, once, Don't ask me to write a love song. Ask me to write a song about a woman with yellow purse who walks into a bar... etc. In other words, give me details. What do you want to say?

He sent me a note and the essence of it was how he believes that music is the one element in a service that actually draws God into the room. It's why he's been so fierce about establishing a strong music program there at Christ Church.

(I've posted pictures of the beautiful building, but I'm not a member of the congregation. And though I usually will sing a solo, one of my own songs, I really am, officially, just a member of the choir. A choir filled with exquisitely fine singers, by the way, all hand-picked by Mark. Last night, at rehearsal, I sat next to Adam Hemming West. You cannot believe this guy's soaring tenor voice, not to mention the fact that he's a great musician and arranger/conductor himself. He and I relate to each other, too, because he also was, in his youth, involved in Contemporary Christian music. I was doing that way back in the 70s, just after Love Song upended the Christian music market, which had, until then, consisted almost solely of Gospel quartets, ala the Oak Ridge Boys or the Imperials. But I'm trailing off here, aren't I? But, the truth is, I used to be kind of ashamed of my past, especially after came out and witnessed how horribly "my people" have been treating gay people. This whole thing about these anti-gay conservative Christian groups being designated at hate groups -- they still think it's because they oppose homosexuality, rather than how they oppose it, but all of this resides in the background as I was writing this song. Yes. Religion can be like a mental illness, and Christians seem to become mentally ill when they confront homosexuality. And all this is going around in my head.)

And here I am back in church singing. 

But what he said. That music literally brings God into a room.

It goes against every anti-supernaturalist bone in my Recovering Baptist body. 

Literally bring God into the room? Is that what Fr. Jeff was saying? 

No, wait. He said something else. "I want to bring musical healing."

I worried for a moment, because, well, I've already written "My Thanksgiving Prayer," which, thanks to the beautiful lyrics by Peter Carman, expresses musical healing. No way to top that. No, the song can contain the element of musical healing but it has to be about something else.

This brought me back to my dad, to his two ministries. Trinity Baptist in Santa Ana, California -- we lived in Anaheim -- and his small town east Texas Baptist pastorship. (I was born in Little Rock, moved to LA area when I was five, went back to Louisiana when I was a freshman in high school, and then moved to Buna, Texas a year later.

Lots of opinions on what the mission of a church should be. But what Fr. Jeff, who also works at a hospital, I think believes, is that when you bring great music to a church, if you build that program first, the music itself will become a healing instrument because you're literally bringing God into the room in a way that even post-modern skeptical people can feel. 

You don't have to "believe" in music for music it to have power. Music is just music. And maybe God is just God. 

Feeling that the word "mission" isn't particularly singable -- MSSSSSH-un. Miiiiii-shun. Amy Shapiro said to me, "How about calling?"

Ah, now that's a nice word. It's not only vocal, but the word itself describes what a voice can do. Call. To call. A calling.

And what is a calling? 30 years, Fr. Jeff has been ministering. And what does it mean to minister? What if you think of the word "minister" like this -- like a nurse ministering to a wound. What if the church thought of itself as a source of healing to a wounded community? 

I look out at the congregation there in Bay Ridge and I see very humble, kind people who don't really have a lot of money. At least, that's my perception. I see one man who comes with a little basket, and he gets some canned food to take home. 

The lyrics to a song are inscribed in the painted scrolls on the walls over the choir loft and behind the altar.
This is a humble congregation of people living and working close to the ground. And they're doing it in this gorgeous, gorgeous sanctuary. 

The thing about a calling, whether it's to minister, to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer -- whatever drives you to fulfill your calling is not that it's a calling, but that it's so much more. It's who you are as a person. 

If Fr. Jeff and this congregation -- and the building itself -- are being consecrated as an instrument of healing, then it's because they have no other choice. It's who they are. It's what they do. Sure, they need a leader. But I've seen the little post-service coffee fellowship grow from a few, to a few dozen over the months that I've been there. 

Musical healing. A call for life.

When I first began singing at Christ Church, I wasn't sure I really belonged. But I cannot say no to anyone who wants me to sing my music, especially if they find it to be meaningful, or healing. But as I find myself worrying about tonight, and whether I'll make a mistake, or whether the song "The Call" is any "good" or not, I realize that that's not the point. The point is that this is an honor for me. Not because some "bishop" will be there, or because it's a "big" event, though I'm sure those are marvelous things.

Something else comes to mind as I ponder all this. Thanks to Facebook, I've been reconnecting with all my old pals and roommates from Jacksonville Baptist College. Some of them want to get me saved. Some of them are horrified at how Baptists treat gays. Some don't think much about either way; they just love me and are happy to be back in contact.

But when I was at JBC, I felt utterly alone in my Fabulous Gayness. And, to this day, I still would not be welcome back there. I'm an errant sinner on the road to hell, or something.

But here. The honor is that I get to be with these people. I get to sing in a church again, with great musicians and singers, and I can come "just as I am." And, may I say,  we are having some fun. With trumpets! And a cello!

If you want to come to the mass, it starts at 6:30pm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Is Exactly What I Had Hoped.

Last week, I posted an email from Rev. Jean Norton, the minister of music from the United Church of Christ, thanking me for the "gift" of My Thanksgiving Prayer for their city-wide interfaith Thanksgiving concert. I wrote her back, very pleased that the song had been utilized this way. (I put "gift" in quotes because I didn't know they were using it, that's okay. I said on the free download page that I was offering my music for non-profit use, if the situation was appropriate).

In the note, she mentioned that the idea for the song came from the minister of music at the Unitarian Universalist church.

So, I went looking to find out who this obviously wonderful person was, found their website, and sent a note. This is what I got this morning.

Hi Mr. Schalchlin,
So nice to hear from you! I was so happy when Jean Norton sent you a note to tell you of our performance. 
I am a Roman Catholic and new to working for the UUs since February. As you can imagine, it has been a struggle for me to figure out what they are comfortable singing, theologically. :-) Then I was faced with this Thanksgiving Service, joining with the Congregationalist and Jewish communities, as a newbie, never having attending the joint Thanksgiving service in the past. 
And, the UU budget for music is non-existent, at least for this year. I was desperately seeking free resources. I found you just by searching the internet. At some point I must've searched youtube for "Thanksgiving" or "Thanksgiving Prayer" and found the rehearsal video by the SFGMC. Somehow I found your website. I loved the piece and was sold by the story, too.
Our Thanksgiving service was to focus on youth and support for a new youth drop-in center ( I had been aware that gay/lesbian issues lead some youth to leave home and need a service like this center offers. The piece was also easy to learn, and had plenty of flexibility for splitting the parts if we had enough voices in a joint choir, or not, if the voices didn't show up.
So, we rehearsed our choirs separately, had 1 joint rehearsal, then another joint rehearsal before the service. We sang the TTBB score as SATB with piano, with the women in the higher octave. Not quite as tight harmonies, but it was still beautiful. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anyone who made a sound or video recording. :-(

Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece of music!! I hope to send you a donation when our budget allows.
Sheila Doak
Director of Music
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities
PERFECT! This is exactly what I had hoped would happen when I first began posting these arrangements online, that someone who needed a quick resource, whose budget was strained, but  who was doing something for the community, would take the arrangement, make it fit their situation, and then SING it.

Knowing that, in addition to celebrating thanksgiving, they would also use the song to help benefit a teen center makes me even happier. And happier, still, that they didn't really know me until they went looking!

Now, I've made a couple of new friends, and have seen Peter's and my song used for exactly kind of service we had envisioned.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Day John Lennon Died.

I know I've told this story on the blog, but it came roaring back to me when my old drummer, Chris Hawkins, found me on Facebook and sent me this note.

Steve, I am sure you vividly remember Dec.8, 1980. We were in Columbus Ohio playing at the Rodeway Inn hotel. There was snow on the ground and it was freakin cold for us Texas boys. I will always remember that day. We had heard that John Lennon was shot and killed in NYC and you opened our set that night with a few songs of John's. I was only 18 at the time. That day will never be forgotten for me. You made such an impact on me just seeing how sad you were with Lennon's death and you performed a few songs beautifully in John's name. I will be thinking of that day back in 1980 tommorrow just as I have for the last 29 years. It is so great to have contact with you again.

Best Regards, Chris

What Chris did not know at the time was the rest of the story.

It was really cold, as he said. We were in the middle of a long night doing cover songs to a crowd of two, the bartender and a drunk chick at the bar. But the manager said we had to play the whole night, so we had done three or four sets already and I had gone back to the room before the last set, flipped on the TV and saw the announcement.

A profound sadness settled over me. I called my best friend back in NY, Diane, and commiserated with her. Then went back to the club.

With no one in there, I agreed to just sit and sing so that we'd fulfill the contract, and everyone else could just chill until the clock ran out.

I sat down at the piano, feeling the enormity of the death, when I reached out to the piano and began playing "Imagine." I played it all the way through without a single mistake. Now, you're thinking, not such a big deal. Popular song. Everyone knew it, etc.

But I had never played it before.

Not once. Not even in rehearsal. I just heard it in my head, put my fingers on the keys, leaned into the mic, pictured John's face, and started singing.

I guess I must have talked about and sang a few other songs. I don't remember.

So, when Chris sent me this note, I was so happy just to know that he remembered that night from all those years ago -- and that it meant so much to his 18-year old mind.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gypsy of the Year

Today, sitting with Jake at the Gypsy of the Year competition, Judith Light stepped forward to ask for a moment of silence in remembrance of people who died. She was there at the first one and she said people who weren't alive during that time will never know the kind of extreme loss of that year, when people were dying by the hundreds and thousands.

Having gone through a lot of memorial services, including my own, I tend to be pretty hard to move to tears.

But, without warning, my eyes started just gushing tears. Jake patted me on the shoulder, but I didn't react to him. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling, except loss.

Loss of entire generation of gay men. The ones -- as Fran Liebowitz puts it in the hysterical HBO movie, Public Speaking -- who were the most likely to get laid. That's a punchline, of course, but the underlying truth, she says, is that the smartest, most talented and beautiful died. We're left with third and fourth level talent. Not just the artists, she says, but the audience.

The audience died. The smart, informed audience. As effectively as if they'd been cut down in a war. I would have been one of those victims, too, if my name hadn't been picked in the Crixivan lottery.

I just cried at the enormity of it. The crying turned into weeping and then, when I started gasping, I just took control of it and put it back under control, wiping away rivers of tears.

Honestly? It felt good. I just wasn't expecting it.

I also got an email:
Thank you for your gift of music with MY THANKGIVING PRAYER.  Three congregations that used to be on three adjoining corners in Davenport, Iowa continue meet together annually to celebrate an Interfaith Thanksgiving service:  Temple Emmanuel, the Unitarian Church and Edwards Congregational UCC.  This was our 67th year of worship and fellowship together.  Each year a speaker is chosen representing a community of need in our Quad Cities.  This year we heard about homelessness and gathered funds for the new youth shelter in Illinois, across the Mississippi River. 
Hosted by the Unitarians, we had a combined choir of male and female voices in November, doing our beset to make the PRAYER sound beautiful…and people were moved by your music which the Unitarian choir director chose.  Thank you for making this music available for our use.  Many have been blessed by your creativity.  May the blessings return now to you.
 Advent Peace to you.
Rev. Jean Norton
Minister of Music
Edwards United Church of Christ
3420 Jersey Ridge Road
Davenport, IA 52807
I wrote her back and asked if anyone recorded it. I also invite readers to see if anything shows up on YouTube.

And Iowa. Hm. Maybe I should run for president. As a third and fourth level guy, I'm at least as qualified as that woman with the reality show.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I'm Number Five!

Hello Steve

I just wanted to inform you about a new piece we've published over here at LPN to RN Blog called "Top 50 Blogs About HIV and AIDS." I found Bonus Round to be very interesting and relevant, so I thought that both you and your readers might enjoy the article. Please do let me know if you have any questions or comments --
Warm Regards,
Alba Collazo
Co-founder, LPN to RN Blog

I went there and saw I'm number 5! So I wrote this Alba back and said, "I claim FOUL! That nasty little Shawn Decker came in number 1! That's so wrong! Why... why... why... I was the one who talked him into his online blog/diary in the first place!"

Okay. No, I didn't. I think, actually, this is the first time someone's put me on a list. I wrote her, thanking her very much for the honor, and also mentioned that since my mom is a retired RN, nurses mean a lot to me. They're the real front line of health care, and there's not a doctor who will disagree. (Okay, maybe one or two, but then we wouldn't go to that kind.)

Thanks. As a matter of fact, one of the men I met at the University Glee Club asked me if I ever did health-related concerts for schools. (Yes, I do.)

Jim Brochu to Appear in All-Star Project Shaw Heartbreak House.

If you're in New York, you might want to grab a ticket to Project Shaw's Heartbreak House at the Players Club, as these things sell out fast. Jim will be joining an all-star cast.

Jim Brochu, Alison Fraser, Elizabeth Inghram, John Martello, Brian Murray, Elena Shaddow, A.J. Shively, Emily Skinner, Mary Testa, and Lenny Wolpe will be featured in Project Shaw's presentation of George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, to be presented at The Players, on Monday, December 20 at 7pm. David Staller will direct.

The comedy is sent in an English country house crammed full of revelations, romance, light comedy and earth-shaking adventure--just before WW1 changes everything. Time Out New York's David Cote will hosts the evening, and New York Times journalist David Belcher will narrate.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

For World AIDS Day: Going It Alone

All Singers Come Thursday Night.

Come sing with me!

Show up Thursday night. It's going to be a free-wheeling concert, unplanned. But I know I'll be doing a few of the big gospel numbers from New World Waking. We'll make up the harmonies on the spot. You do not need to know the songs to sing.

9:00 PM. ARRIVE 8:45 PM.

New York Ethical Culture Society Building
West 64th & Central Park West, 4th floor

I Am Spartacus, SoulForce Style.

SoulForce has this simple idea, started by South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat, and then repeated in Canada by my friend, Rev. Jim Mitulski and Dr. Joshua Love; a way to help end the stigma of HIV. Stigma causes death because, among many other things, it makes people afraid to get tested and to get treatment.
December 1, 2010 is World AIDS Day.  At Soulforce, our focus for this day of remembrance is on solidarity with people who are stigmatized by the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS.  We want to invite you to  join us in an action on World AIDS Day that you can do all by yourself and with people in your community.
Here are the steps:
Take out a plain t-shirt and a big magic marker and print “HIV+” on the shirt.  Then wear it to the coffee shop or work or to school, to the store or the gym.  Encourage people to ask you about it and then tell them “I am standing in solidarity today with people who are living with HIV and AIDS around the world.  As long as one person has HIV, I have HIV and my t-shirt is designed to say exactly that—no one is immune, all of us are in the fight to stop AIDS together.”
Go to their blog and read the whole inspiring history. 

The Faces of HIV.

Positively Aware publishes "A DAY WITH HIV IN AMERICA" pictorial.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE GREAT GAME's Nabil Elouahabi

I ran into a guy sitting in the comfy chairs at the Starbucks near the Christopher Street subway entrance. We quickly got into a conversation. I noted his English accent and he, after we had spoken for awhile about our respective projects, he said, "This would never happen in London. Two strangers just sitting excitedly, jabbering on about things. It's what I love about New York."

Turns out he's an actor in a very interesting new work from London, which had a remarkable impact in DC.

Afghanistan is a place nobody knows anything about. But, somehow, we know we're in a war against, um, the bad guys.

New show featuring HIV. Me, Myself and HIV.

New show featuring HIV. Me, Myself and HIV.

Me, Myself & HIV promo from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

ht: Shawn Decker

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Happy Joan Crawford Thanksgiving to Al!

Being Thankful for Friends.

This past weekend, I put together a quick invitation to my Dec. 2 concert for the Afterglow concert for the University Glee Club here in New York when I realized that I have way many more actual friends and close acquaintances than I had thought. How interconnected we all are. So, today I'm going to be thankful for friends.

Friends would come around
And bring me little things
And say how much they
Needed me to live

Everyone is so busy these days, I don't really expect that many people to show up, apart from the members of the Glee Club who have decided to hang around after their rehearsal. Luckily, it's free, and they do encourage a 7:45 arrival.

Also, since it is a glee club, you know I'm gonna make everyone sing.

My Thanksgiving Prayer.

This next Sunday morning, Jake Wesley Stewart and I are going to perform a duet of "My Thanksgiving Prayer" at Christchurch Episcopal in Brooklyn. I was going to post a video, and then I found a blog called that did it for me:

Over the last several days I have read many blogs and news articles, searched Scripture,  talked with several people and participated in and interfaith worship service all in an effort to better grasp both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  For some reason, this Thanksgiving what resonates deeply with me are the lyrics to a song: “My Thanksgiving Prayer.”  I encourage you to take some time to read them, then to hear them sung, and finally to offer them as a prayer.
In this time of my thanksgiving as my song begins to rise
Listen to the prayer within me - Look into my grateful eyes
May I humbly stand before you, as I reach out with my hand
May the music bring a healing to this cold and troubled land
In this time of my thanksgiving — ohhh — In this time of my thanksgiving
God of love who made apostles out of every clan and race
In this time and in this valley – You are there in every face
As I face the burnished offerings to the gods of power and fear
Make of me a living offering – Let me be your servant here
In this time of my thanksgiving — ohhh — In this time of my thanksgiving
Give us grace to face the struggle which the world yet holds in store
Walk beside us ever loving – Grant us peace forevermore
In this time grant us peace — ohhh — In this time grant us peace
Ohhh — In this time – peace

So What?
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what has been, for what is, and for what can be.  Take time today to reflect on blessings from past, recognize those happening in the present, and imagining those yet to come.  As you look ahead to the place God is guiding, remember and live into these words: “Make of me a living offering – Let me be your servant here.”
About the Song
“My Thanksgiving Prayer” is found in Part 3 of New World Waking: A Musical Insurrection for Peace.  You can view and download a free copy of the sheet music here.
The lyrics were written by Rev. Peter J. Carman who serves as pastor of The Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The music was composed by Steve Schalchlin who is best known for writing the music and lyrics to two critically-acclaimed, award-winning off-Broadway pop gospel musicals The Last Session and The Big Voice: God or Merman?  The YouTube video clip is of a rehearsal by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Community Women’s Orchestra directed by Dr. Kathleen McGuire.
Don't forget that you can still get the full recording of the entire New World Waking at the website of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jim Brochu to Interview Peter Filichia - Barnes & Noble, Nov. 30.

On Tuesday night at 7:30pm, Jim will interview Peter Filichia about his fantastic new book Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959-2009.

Special guests will be NY cabaret legend, Steve Ross and hot new actor, Jake Wesley Stewart, who has just moved to New York. (He and I sang together a lot back in Los Angeles, where he was a sensation in the Celebration Theater production of "Altar Boyz.")

The book itself is beyond priceless, especially if you're studying theatre, or are interested in theatre. Far from being a "dry read," Peter tells all the backstage stories, analyzes why shows hit or flopped, and remembers great performers of the past and present.

I read the book a couple of weeks ago, and I sped through it so fast, my only complaint was that I wanted more! More! More!

GET  Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959-2009 at Amazon.

Zero Hour Closes in NY Jan. 9th For Tour.

Adam Feldman sweetly lamented Zero Hour's New York closing, today, in his UPSTAGE Time Out NY blog, . He similarly was saddened by the more sudden closing of Devil Boys From Beyond, which I have not seen. It opened while we were away.
Zero Hour has had a solid run; Devil Boys from Beyond deserved one as well. For what these two very different shows have in common is that they are superb examples of their kind. Critics have noticed: On the StageGrade critical aggregation site, Zero Hour has the second-highest median rating of all current plays in New York; Devil Boys has the sixth-highest. Audiences have noticed too: Everyone I personally know who has seen either show has told me they're glad that they did. So if you haven't seen them yet, fix that soon. Devil Boys is here for another two weeks, Zero Hour for another two months, and who knows how long we'll have to wait for another two shows like these?

Read more: Get there soon: Devil Boys from Beyond and Zero Hour set closing dates - Upstaged Blog - Time Out New York
BTW, that other show that came in number one? "Merchant of Venice" starring Al Pacino.

For the record, Zero Hour is closing in New York because it is going on the road, due to previously booked dates. It should be noted that the producers brought it into town for a limited run of 12 weeks. That it has endured, and run for over a year, is quite an accomplishment. In fact, it was extended from the most recently announced closing date of December 19 because of ticket demand.

So, New Yorkers, we cannot extend even one more performance. January 9th is it. And thank you, Adam, for noticing Jim's performance.
"We owe Jim Brochu a debt of gratitude for Zero Hour, an extraordinary act of reincarnation that restores the outsize actor to us in all of his daunting dimensions," we wrote in our review last December. "From the moment that Brochu spins around to face the audience, he is a Hirschfeld drawing come to pulsing life: the paradoxical lightness of his bulk, the bulging eyes beneath rolling brows, the garish comb-forward of hair."
 I know he's my other half, but I think he's pretty great. So, for Thanksgiving I made him this graphic:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Letter from a Poz Stranger.

I've been writing my blog for so long -- and have been "out" as an positoid for so long, I forgot what it feels like to be starting down this road. So, this email was a welcome wake-up call. In the letter, he tells how he tested positive at the age of 17.


And his parents "basically disowned" him, so they left him to fend for himself. Imagine for a moment being this child. This kind of terror is what many teenagers feel when it comes to just coming out. Imagine having AIDS and being disowned at that age.
Hi Steve,
This is totally out of my character to send random emails to random bloggers. I found your blog this morning when doing a search for "HIV blogs." I recently started my own and wanted to see what everyone else was doing with theirs. I started mine because this year is my 10 year anniversary of having HIV/AIDS and I figured I might have some wisdom to pass on. What struck me about your blog is how open to other topics you are. It is not just a blog about your experience with AIDS. It is more about the "whole you." And I really admire that. Up to this point I've been afraid (for lack of a better term) to put too much of myself into my blog. I guess I am most concerned about "outing myself." My co-workers have no clue. And even some of my friends don't know. Were you always very open about it? Or did you just reach a "fuck it" point? Have you gotten any negative backlash from it?

Anyway, thanks for making me feel less alone out in cyber space.

Pozitively Acquired
I wrote him back:
I have to say, in response to your
question, that as soon as I tested positive, I told everyone around me, and I had an office job at the time. It never occurred to me to keep it a secret. So, when I started my blog, since it was based on having written a bunch of songs about living with AIDS, there really wasn't anything left to hide.

So, my circumstance is probably much different from yours. Also, back then, if you got AIDS, you died. It was much more important that everyone know, so that we could change hearts and minds about health care, etc.

The response was amazing when I did tell, in the beginning. People embraced me, loved me, kissed me, came out to me, and felt grateful in that, by revealing this personal thing, they felt like they could also talk to me about things in their own lives. It's incredibly freeing.

What you have to think about, personally, is your own stress level. Your body is now always in a state of low grade infection. It's working harder than other bodies. So, you must thing, first, about your own survival -- and survival is about letting go of irrelevant worries, pulling together a team of people around you who you know care about you, and focusing on your health.

You should ask yourself, aloud in your blog, what is keeping you from sharing the diagnosis -- or more, specifically -- why you are afraid of anyone finding out. Since I don't know your city or your situation, I cannot tell you what is the best course for you.

But, I would say this, when people read blogs, they never think it's about themselves. The chances that someone will put two and two together are pretty slim. And, if they did, would do you think is, realistically, the worst that could happen? If it's conceivable you'd lose your job, then you definitely have cause to worry. Or if you think you'll lose clients, etc.

But if it's just office gossip, and no real professional negative backlash, I'd say fuck em. There's a way to do this where you can be a hero. Where you just gather everyone, tell them outright what's the deal, tell them that you feel you're on borrowed time, and that you want to make sure everyone creates a healthy environment, but that, unless they were planning to either have sex with you or drink your blood, they are in no danger -- and, in fact, they're more dangerous
to you than you are to them -- the great irony.

That's the big way to go.

Or, maybe even better, you could write this speech in your blog, and start thinking out loud about what it means to come out with AIDS in whatever town you're in. It might give your blog some focus. I mean, really, we blog to survive. We blog so that we can be remembered. So
that we can think out loud. Or we simply blog because we must.

In fact, we should dual post this email exchange in our respective blogs.

What I learned is that whatever I'm going through, someone else out there is going through it, too. By saying it all out loud, just as you felt a little less lonely in finding my blog, you will do the same for another. Their journey might be closer to yours. And who knows where it will lead? I wasn't a "semi-famous" songwriter when I started my blog. I was a guy behind a desk, helping others in the music biz. I barely wrote a song a year.

Getting AIDS is definitely, for most a kind of death sentence. But, given the fact that all creatures die, it's not really new information. It's just makes us more present. It's why I call it the Bonus Round. We've been given this new lease on life, thanks to the meds, and now we have to make something of it.

*I just now looked at your blog. You're on heavy diet restrictions -- ugh. I am too. This shit made me diabetic. Are you? Ah, and you're candid about having been a hustler. I played a hustler bar in New York, once. Long gone. So, that's another factor that enters into your
coming out. If you're working in a grocery store in the midwest, you might shock the locals.

You're a good writer, by the way. I like how terse and brutally honest your prose is.

He wrote back.

I am totally on board with posting the email exchange. I think the reason why I am hesitant to go balls out and tell everyone my status is because there is just so much back story to it. I tested poz when I was 17, and then people always say "wow, that's young, how did you get it?" So, then I have to share my epic "slut years" story. And, I think I am, in a way, ashamed I got it so young. When I did tell people (in particular my parents) they basically disowned me and I was left to fend for myself. So there is a huge sense of loss connected to disclosure.

I realize that I take up such small real-estate on the web, and the likelihood of anyone ever reading my blog and making the connection that it is me, is slim to none. But, I almost lead two lives. The 9-5er has his shit together and can show up on time, work hard, play the corporate game, and go home. But that's only half of me. There is the ex-druggie, ex-hustler, poz guy that is hiding in the background, who I am so afraid will mix with the 9-5er. It makes me really isolated but I don't see how the two halves can coexist in "real life." They are just starting to mix on my blog, and that makes me nervous. But, maybe that's the real reason why I need to blog. Who knows.

As for the other stuff. MAN, dietary restrictions... I can't stand it. I'm not a diabetic yet but was put on a diet because I was heading down that path. I think one of my previous meds fucked with blood sugar. I think I read that somewhere anyway. But, I switched from that regime but my doc still wants me on the diet. I had a glucose test last Thursday so we'll see. Results should be coming in this week. Oh, and I'm in Las Vegas. Ironically, vegas is such a conservative city. The gay community here is sputtering along, but its not like West Hollywood (my old stomping grounds.) I work as a designer for one of the casinos here. It's totally a desk slave job and am looking for other opportunities. I was unemployed for about a year (did the rehab, and took some "get your shit together" time off.) So, because of that, I took whatever job I could. I used to work as an Art Director in an advertising agency, which is really where I belong. I will get back there. Just took a detour.

Again, thanks for writing back. I'm going to post my email and your response in my blog so if you get a FLOOD of viewers (6 or 7) they are my readers. haha.
Well, my friend. I long ago took the counter off my blog. Chasing numbers is not why I blog. I blog because it is helpful to me, and to the "6 or 7" people who might need the information I share about the virus, myself and whatever else I might be involved in -- whether it's encouraging gay kids and their parents to find places of safety, or encouraging world leaders to create safe spaces.

For each of us, we are all going it alone. But when we reach out and tell our stories, it does, indeed, make each of us feel a little less alone.

Check out my new friend's blog at

Friday, October 29, 2010

Angels In America

Zachary Quinto ("Sylar" from HEROES & "Spock" from STAR TREK) played Louis in the
Signature Theater's revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA

Steve with Christian Borle ("Prior" in ANGELS IN AMERICA).

Frank Wood ("Roy Cohn" from ANGELS IN AMERICA) with Steve.

Steve with mega-award winning playwright of ANGELS IN AMERICA, Tony Kushner.
I posted my "review" of this on Facebook and All That Chat. Here is what I wrote:


First, I've never seen Angels before, so I cannot compare this to past productions. Secondly, I have AIDS and was almost as sick as the character of Prior, in and out of hospitals -- and I remember the fever dreams and the cold sweats and the rage. The rage that actor Christian Borle drags up from the depths of his soul. It's so real. My eyes begin to tear up even as I write this.

I could go through the rest of this incredible cast, one by one, because every performance is now seared into my soul.

But let me tell you just how great Zachary Quinto is. Like most, I know him only as the evil Sylar or Spock. His stage presence is electrifying and grounded, all at the same time. Not a single false moment. This man commands a stage with subtle body movements, at once masculine and then feminine and then masculine again, as the character tries to find his own soul, even as he abandons the one person he loves. Chilling. Mesmerizing. Helpless. Forceful.

His tearful breakdown in the bathroom in act one, snot dripping, eyes pouring tears, and yet all contained and controlled by both actor and character. Sylar and Spock are driven from my memory banks. He's nothing like them, a consummate, skilled actor whose scenes with Prior are chilling and desperate and scary and loud, and haunting and brave. (Yes, brave. In the first park scene, where he begs for sex, he completely exposes himself and the scene is so anti-erotic in its desperation, I forgot how sexy the man is).

Three hours felt like three minutes. The play is more than I ever dreamed it could be. Tangled storylines that breathe with life and humor and anger and determination, thrillingly performed and perfectly staged.

And all of it so close to us in the little space, where tickets are $20 apiece. I would have paid $1000 (if I had that much to spend).

And that was just Part One.

PART TWO (the next night):

This morning, after reading the mostly cold, intellectual reviews comparing this "Angels" to past "Angels" and these actors to past actors, I can only state that I will never be a critic, do not envy their jobs, and am thankful that I don't have to be one. Because what I read so missed the forest for the trees, that I almost feel sorry for them.

I sat riveted in my seat, on the edge of tears, overwhelmed with so much emotion and memory of the days when AZT was considered so valuable, people fought for it.

When I was first diagnosed, right about the time this play came out, AZT was considered, as Prior says at the end, poison. People were wearing them like necklaces, warning others off. And when I tried AZT, my body rejected it so violently, that I had to pull my car over in Los Angeles and vomit in the street.

So, seeing Roy Cohn's small refrigerator full of the stuff, and Belize the nurse taking it and stealing bottles away, begging for it, I was transported back to that era where nobody knew nothing, and having AIDS meant absolute death.

In part 2 of Angels, the supernatural encounters with the angel made zero intellectual sense to me, but emotionally? All the sense in the world. Critics carping on the politics in Angels may make a valid intellectual point, but those scenes (both with the angel and with Zachary Quinto's riveting, lost, wandering Louis) provided, for me, the breath/space that I needed to take in order to process all the base level anger that is the bedrock of this piece -- and which resides, painfully and eloquently in the huge, all-seeing eyes of Christian Borle's Prior.

Before, I mentioned how I never saw Angels before because I was that sick man dying in that bed when it came out. I couldn't watch the HBO version because I just... couldn't. It was too close. Too soon for me.

So, last night, after feeling alternated smacked down and emotionally slaughtered, then inspired and lifted up by part one, I can tell you that part two seemed to go by even faster.

I got to briefly meet Tony Kushner last night and I told him that I was thankful for the surrealism because I don't know how else one could honestly, and with depth, describe what 1985 felt like. The world, for most of us in the gay and gay-supportive community was, literally, crashing down around us and death was our constant companion. We needed desperately to awake to a new world, God had deserted us, and mourning black was the only color that bound us all together.

When Prior wrestles with the angel, now sheathed in black, and ascends to a feckless, hopeless, ridiculously unempowered "heaven," where angels dressed like judges stood around helplessly wondering what the hell is going on down on earth, disconnected, and unable to act or even feel, as they stuttered "I.. I.. I.." it was the perfect metaphor for empty religious promises and the phoniness of "prophets" or even thought that one could be a prophet. Prior's basic "fuck you" to God and the rest of the celestial do-nothings was searing.

Because, once the fever breaks, you're left with the few who care and ones who held your hand, whether it's a Mormon mom or that nurse that stuck it out and cared for you when it seemed like no one else could. (Unlike Prior, I had a husband who never left my side). But the thing about disease, as someone in the play says, you have to endure it alone because no one can feel what you feel or live what you're living, no matter how close they are.

See, I cannot "review" a show like this. I was too busy living inside the show. Was Zoe Kazan a "good" Harper? Was Frank Wood appropriately "mean" as Roy Cohn? Was the Mormon story "too" much an emotional center? I felt Harper's naked helplessness and Cohn's denialist rage against his own mortality, and Louis using his own rants against Cohn as a substitute target for his own self-hatred and betrayal was perfectly pitched. His hatred of Cohn had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with a guilty man staring into a mirror, begging to be beaten, which is why he needed and pushed the wandering/weak Joe to beat the shit out of him.

I'm glad I missed the grand spectacle of the Broadway version because this intensely personal, pain-wracked play, which plays like a theatrical Incredible Hulk, bursting from his street clothes in order to stomp around the stage, smashing dioramas of ridiculous Mormons and laying waste to the streets of San Francisco, and the emptiness of the false promises of a heavenly savior, wakes up in the real world, a little smaller and little more human than how it came in, with people still imagining a better future that, in history's hindsight, reveals that the only better world you can create is within.

The Perestroika that seemed so promising gives way to Putin. The Red Menace, so scary before, is now wearing Muslim garb and the promise of Obama falls before Sarah Palin's Tea Party, and where today's Roy Cohn is named Karl Rove.

In many ways, the naivete of the characters at the end of Angels is just as politically and religiously ignorant as when they came in. And that's the world.

That's why this play, for me, is so rich. And that's why it works on this tiny human scale, where we all stand shivering in the Antarctic, alone, because, in the end, power, politics, and religion will fail. But faith -- and love -- in each other, and in ourselves -- to wrestle the angel to the ground -- is where our true salvation lies.

It Gets Better: GMCLA & Oral Roberts' Grandson.

Oral Roberts' oldest son was gay. He committed suicide. This is his grandson.

This is the LA Gay Men's Chorus singing "True Colors." When the family members join in on this song, it's chilling and wonderful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's A Miracle.

You may remember a posting I did during the Iranian green uprising, called "The Religious Ones." I spoke about how, after I came out to myself and left my band, I got a job working as a cook at a Mexican food restaurant in Jacksonville, Texas, where I met a group of Iranian students working their way through school.

It was 1978 - 1980 that we knew each other. In fact, when they moved to Denton, Texas to continue their studies, I piled up my Ford Maverick and followed them -- and that's where I found the gay community and finally started to live openly and freely.

In that posting, I mentioned having a friend named Koorush -- he called me "Astiv," which was the closest he could get to "Steve." Koorush, who was straight as an arrow, was my very best friend during those Jacksonville/Denton years. And even after I came out of the closet, he was the one who protected me, and fought for me, and loved me when I felt very much alone.

At the end of that diary entry, I called out to him and said, "Are you out there?"

Well, it happened. I received a mysterious email on Facebook, and it turned out to be him. He had found that page, said he'd been looking for me for years, but couldn't spell my last name, and reminded me that he was not among the group that used to troll for girls at the gay bars, which was true. He was not a partier like the rest of us.

This morning, we had our first long chat and he remembered everything. Remembered me. Remembered our crazy times together. He lives in Iran now with his family, and as we chatted, I got very misty-eyed and started crying. 

Looking back, I realize that he was one of the few people who really and truly loved me during a time when I felt completely alone. I had cut off, more or less, my old Christian friends, my family, everyone. I thought I had to. I thought if they knew I was gay, they would hate me and reject me. So, I rejected them first, though, to them, I kind of just disappeared with only occasional phone calls.

When the other Iranians discovered I was gay, it was Koorush who defended me to them, and held onto me until I finally moved down to Dallas and away from them. 

That period of my life is difficult for me to remember -- he reminded me that I have a "bad brain" -- but I never forgot him over the years, always wondering if he was still alive.

So, this is a great day today. He asked me to keep his life details private, so I will not say much else except to say that, even as I write this, huge tears are rolling down my face. 

He has a book of American idioms which I gave him long ago and he quoted to me what I inscribed. After all these years. After all these years. I am determined to see him again. Thank you, old friend, for finding me. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is that a sad face?

There I was. Alone. In pain.
(How great is my "I'm pathetic" look?)
And then, an angel arrives!
It's Taylor, fresh from his gig in White Plains,
checking up on me. His girlfriend is stage managing a show
just a few blocks away.
Taylor was part of the Zero Hour stage management crew at St. Clement's, coming in for Jeramiah.

We watched Project Runway together,
agreeing that Mondo is the best,
and he got me stuff from the kitchen so I could keep my arm still.
We got a Skype call from Jim, and he was telling us about all the people who have been coming back to see him. Not just friends or family of Zero, but also Jim's.

Mr. & Mrs. Maltz of the Maltz Jupiter Theater.
He saw Jim perform Zero Hour on a ship, and booked it long before it got to New York.
I have to say this about Jim. He's a very loyal man.

Long before Zero Hour landed in New York, Jim did a "tab" version of Zero Hour for the Crystal Cruise lines. It was kind of a daring experiment for Crystal, because the usual fare on a ship is light entertainment or classical music -- which is not a criticism, by the way. Just a statement of fact. He even included a particularly potent comedic line containing a few f-words, gracious me. (The fear, for the line, is that people on holiday don't need to walk into an adult theatrical piece accidentally. The emails! The complaints!)

After the cruise, we were contacted by a Mister Andrew Kato from the Maltz Jupiter Theater (formerly, the Burt Reynolds Theater). Andrew came to see it and loved it, and booked it.

Jim asked him, "And how did you hear about 'Zero Hour?'"

Andrew said, "Mr. Maltz just came back from his cruise to Antarctica."

So, fast forward. We've booked Zero Hour into New York for 12 weeks, thinking we'd cross our fingers for some good reviews, and get more bookings from that.

None of us foresaw winning the Drama Desk Award. Nor did we foresee that the Maltz Jupiter date would come while Zero Hour was still running (now at its third venue, the Actor's Temple, finally getting its "Jewish show" from us after getting the "Christian show" when we did Big Voice there).

But the date was upon us and Zero Hour is coming upon a year run.

Jim, in collaboration with our producers, shut down the New York run and allowed Jim to fulfill the contract.

He's kind of an old fashioned man of the theater. He's always good for his word. And, on that note, more and more bookings are coming up, so the show may have to take an extended hiatus. An official word will be coming soon.

And there's more, in November, we shall both take a long-planned and well-deserved holiday, beginning November 2, and returning around the Thanksgiving season. (Which will be great for me and my injured arm).

So, if you plan to see Zero Hour in New York, there are literally only a few performances that are going to be available. After that, he hits the road.

And he's coming home tomorrow night. He has really been raving about everyone, down to the last crew member, at the Maltz Jupiter Theater. The stage manager reports, describing the audience reactions to the show are AMAZING! I don't know it's legal for me to share any of it. Maybe it's best just kept in-house.

So, that's my report. I'm staying absolutely still, while occasionally testing a range of motion, trying to keep all the muscles cool, then warm, then cool.

Someone asked me if having AIDS contributes to the damage of a fall like this. I don't know, officially, but Dr. Anthony said that we are always in a low grade state of inflammation. I think it's safe to say that HIV isn't helping.

At least it gives me a good excuse for not having vacuumed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Wars, The Wars.

I have now spent this entire week, trapped on the couch, keeping my arm in ice. I didn't know until two days ago, though, that the problem was in my shoulder, not my wrist (because the pain seemed to be more focused on the lower arm and wrist area -- I thought the shoulder pain was coming from "favoring" my arm.

I'm still in pain, so I can't do much, include type, but I thought I'd just put down a few thoughts.

I probably shouldn't have gone to Columbus and done those two shows, but at the time, after I fell, mere steps away from my front door on a Sunday morning at 5am, all I could think of was, "I gotta get to the plane!" What can I say?  I'm dense.

Anyway, since I couldn't use my right hand much -- still can't -- it has given me a chance to slow down and just think, even as I have all the media I can eat.

I saw on the news the other night a story about making some kids spend a week, or something, away from all electronic devices -- and judging how "addicted" to the net they are.

It all sounds so fantastically sci fi to my ears. And yet, how quickly I take for granted things that, a generation ago, weren't even thought up yet.

But how ironic it is that the more we think up in The Cloud, the more unreal "reality" starts to seem. The two "wars" they keep telling us "we're" fighting rage on like an intermittent mini-series on USA Network. Our lives are so divorced from that reality, we don't even want to look at it.

(And, now, the Wikileaks Papers, which the major news organizations have been hoarding, so that they can analyze it before the government spin doctors go to work? have come out. Al Jazeera broke it 30 minutes too soon.)

Friends of mine on the Christian Right have been insisting, to me, that we are in a war with Islam itself, and that lefties are all in denial about it. Radical Islamists and radical Jews agree with them. It's nice to know they all agree about something other than gay people are going to hell. But, I kid my Abrahamic faith brothers and sisters!*

There was this song by the Monkees, long ago. Peter Tork sang it. The King of Zor / Called for a war.

I have several friends in the armed services who tell me they almost wince when someone says "thank you for your service" but ignore how this country treats its veterans, and how the wars are treated as this remote thing "the government" is doing. As interesting as watching someone else play a video game. Thus, without substance.

It's why I added the song called "He's Coming Back" to New World Waking with a shared lyric credit with my friend, Avril, who volunteers at Kulak's Woodshed. She sent her son back to Iraq and I wrote the song surreptitiously over the weekend, by writing down what she said as she told the story at a Wednesday song writing workshop.

That's the vocal arrangement I was working on all week. 

This is the video where I first performed the song for Avril, that following Monday.

It makes me even more committed to New World Waking, The Last Session and The Big Voice. All three pieces, written from the heart with no original purpose other than to tell a story and to entertain, foster an environment of dialogue and communication. 

Just last week, I heard from a theater in Canada that wants to use The Big Voice as their way of engaging with the conservative people in their area.

That's how all wars end. With a negotiation around a table. And that's how I'll end this rambling post. With a trip to get another ice pack out of the freezer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My X-Ray Results.

The good news is that I don't have a fracture. However, I do have a separated shoulder. Not Dislocated. I also traumatized muscles in my elbow and wrist, but there's no break.

So, the prescription is that I need to keep it as immobilized as possible, and it will heal after few weeks.

I was going to attend the Afterglow tonight at the University Glee Club, just to see what Dec. 2 is all about, but I'm still in a lot of pain. I can't use my left arm. But I have food for a few meals more, friends volunteering to help me, and my usual stubborn refusal to stay down.

And Jim gets home on Sunday. (Horray!)

He's been having a blast down in Florida. I'm so glad for him. Zero Hour is really starting to become more and more well known in theater circles. Already he has had several theaters contact him for inclusion the post- New York international tour. It's all very exciting.

Here he is on the radio with Jo Anne Pflug.

Jo Ann Pflug with Jim Brochu.

Steve Schalchlin Free Concert Dec. 2, NYC

9:00 PM. ARRIVE 8:45 PM

New York Ethical Culture Society Building
West 64th & Central Park West, 4th floor

I've been asked to sing an "Afterglow" for the University Glee Club of New York City, and I couldn't feel more honored and scared. It's one thing to sing for "civilians." It's quite another to sing for people who really know music. It's a free event for the public, also. So, anyone who would like to attend, get there at 8:45pm.

I know 9pm is a late start for a show, but I promise I won't be doing a 2-hour presentation. I believe Afterglow lasts only about 45 minutes.

I know I'm going to sing "Gabi's Song" and "William's Song" (unless I invite a special guest soloist to do so -- hmmmm) because of all the gay bullying/suicide stuff in the news.

For me, these are my entries in the "It gets better" meme that's been going around, where older gay people tell younger gay people that, no matter how horrible things can get, it does get better if you endure.

Also, "Rescue" has been requested.

Should be fun!