Volume 2 Book 3 Part 3 of
Living In The Bonus Round
by Steve Schalchlin.

[Diary Index ]
[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ] [ Part 5 ]

November 1999. Los Angeles, Orlando, Pennsylvania...

Charles Nelson Reilly emcees the Celebration Concert

[Diary Index ]

Monday-Sunday, November 1-7, 1999.
A Total Celebration.
It was really a dream come true.

I was standing backstage listening to Charles Nelson Reilly talk about the great composers he has known from Richard Rodgers to Jerry Herman to who knows who else in his long illustrious Broadway career as an actor and director.

"But our composer tonight, I could never figure out how to pronounce his name. So I thought 'ramshackle' is a 'shack' and 'lin' and in 'Lynn Redgrave' who would never live in a shack. Shack-Lynn. And I would put his name in the company of the great composers I have known: Steve Schalchlin."

Did he really say that? I looked over at Bob and Maisey and the others who were leaning towards the curtain and my jaw just dropped. Not five minutes earlier we had heard Jess Carey (you all know Jess) doing her monologue about the night we met. So, basically, I didn't stand a chance to even feign humility. Might as well just go have a good time.

The Celebration Theatre is this tiny theatre on Santa Monica Blvd. and this night was one of those nights all of us have needed for a very long time.

I moved to the little upright which was set up stage center. On one side there were four theatre folding chairs. On the other side, two. And without saying a word I just started playing the opening notes to "Faces In The Music," a song cut from TLS. It's a very funny number and it got the audience in a good mood. Then I sang Lazarus just to bring everyone up to date on death and not-dying...

And then the fun really began. First I told them a little bit about creating TLS at Stan Freeman's piano -- Stan was in the front row -- about Jimmy's assignment, "Write a song about your own memorial service and call it 'Save Me A Seat,' and from that point on we just went from song to song to song.

"Preacher and the Nurse" with Michele Mais, Jeff Juday and Ginger Freers was next with Ginger singing the Vicki part and man! that girl can sing. Maisey looked like a million bucks with her hair all combed out as opposed to the locks she wore earlier this year. Jeff looking handsome and joyful.

And just when we got to "I know I'll never be the kind of man..." I started the chords and suddenly offstage the beautiful lyric tones of Bob Stillman were heard as he joined us. The audience went WILD! and of course he asked where his spotlight was.

Bob Stillman makes a great entrance

Jeff then thrilled the crowd with ALL of "Shades of Blue" in the same falsetto he used on the TLS-LA Souvenir album which we are all still waiting for -- what is it with this manufacturer? -- then Ginger sang a kick ass "Somebody's Friend" followed by "The Group" which Bob explained was the final reason he decided to do TLS in the first place way back in New York.

Jeff Juday & Ginger Freers

He said, "I remember listening to the demo tape and when I got to that song I just stopped the tape and cried. I mean how many shows do you get to be in where you have even one song that will make you cry. And this was just a demo tape!"

Then I began playing the opening strains to "Going It Alone" and Joey Traywick came out. I haven't heard Joey sing this since way back last spring and his voice is as clear and as beautiful as it has ever been. He and Bob teamed up on it. But after it was over I made Joey do it over again from the bridge. But first he stopped and talked about how this song made him cry every single night.

Joel Traywick

Next I dragged Bob Cox and his acoustic guitar out and the two of us accompanied Bob Stillman on "At Least I Know What's Killing Me."

Bob Stillman sings "At Least I Know What's Killing Me"

Then Marie Cain came out and we did an extended version of "Friendly Fire" together. I explained to the audience that Marie was up for several Ovations the following evening.

Marie Cain & Steve sing "Friendly Fire"

"Yes," she said. "It's me against myself, which kinda describes my love life, too."

Then Bob Cox once again pulled out his guitar and accompanied Bob Stillman and me on an acoustic duet of "Connected" which was so beautiful. I love it this way because it really reconnects the song to its folk roots. Julie said, "Bob and Steve sang a duet accoustic version of  CONNECTED with guitar ...This is my absolute favorite song in the whole show and I didn't think it could get any better but of course I was wrong.  I was shaking."

Then Bob sat at the piano and I went out front to join Maisey as she sang "Singer and the Song" to me while holding my hand in an emotional moment that Bev describes, "The two most awesome moments of the evening, for me, were your duet with Bob on Connected and Maisey's Singer and the Song, which was so loaded with love it enveloped the whole audience.  But it was just fun watching how much fun you were having."

Steve with Maisey singing "Singer and the Song"

We finished the long night with "When You Care" encouraging the audience to sing along. And yes, I totally was in heaven the entire night. Are you kidding? Those voices singing my songs? The memories of our great times together and absolute and perfect love we feel for each other?

And to think we get to do it all over again when The Last Session opens next March in Ft. Lauderdale at the Wilton Theatre. I don't know if I can stand the wait.

Pics at http://members.xoom.com/mizzkaytee/celebrationindex.htm

Monday, November 8, 1999.
Carol Channing's "Best Friends."

Jim escorts Carol Channing

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. We did not win the Ovation award for Best Musical and neither did Bob or Maisey win for the acting. However, Joey Traywick did win for Best Supporting Actor and he thanked God from the podium even though I think Jimmy (and Anthony Barnao) actually did the casting. :-)

One thing did happen that we were so totally not expecting. Carol Channing was handing out the awards for Best Musical. Just before she began reading the nominations she... well, let Bev Sykes from the TLS list tell it:

It was a Gala night, with searchlights lighting the sky, the red carpet, the limos, the flashlights--just like the opening scene from "A Star Is Born."  We were told that the party was upstairs and as we walked upstairs I could hear Steve's voice.

As we came around the corner into the room, at the first table sat Steve, Jimmy and Carol Channing, who was deep in conversation with Jerome Lawrence, being honored that night for lifetime achievement.  Jimmy told me who Mr. Lawrence was and cited some of his credits, the most famous being for writing the script of "Inherit the Wind."

The pre-awards party was nice and it was special getting to meet and sit and chat with Carol Channing.  Steve looked very dapper and Jimmy was sporting his Tin Man tie, autographed (he told me later) by Buddy Ebson.

It was, of course, disappointing that TLS didn't win more than the one award, but just being there and having the show recognized was very special.  And Carol Channing was wonderful.  After she announced the award for the big-theatre show ("West Side Story"), she said she wanted to give her own diamond award and talked about her dear friends Jimmy Brochu and Steve Schalchlin, who had written this wonderful play about AIDS.

Then she pulled a couple of "diamond" rings from her purse and called Jimmy up to the stage so she could give them to him.  It was a very sweet moment and I suspect meant as much as that gaudy award would have meant (and besides, the green in the [Ovation] award would have clashed with Steve's shirt--diamonds are so much better!)

Showing off my "diamond" from Carol Channing

I think I left a glass slipper behind last night.  Thanks, Steve and Jimmy for letting me be a part of your special night.

Steve again: Just in case you're keeping track, the rings she gave us weren't really diamonds but I'm going to treasure mine for always. Tomorrow I leave for Florida and then off to Pennsylvania for a grueling two week tour. I'll stay in touch and write as often as I can. Congratulations, Joey!

Pics: http://members.xoom.com/mizzkaytee/ovationsindex.htm

November 9-22, 1999.
Driving Mr. Steve.
First of all, let's all agree that something scary was coming up: Steve would be driving himself all over the state of Pennsylvania. This upcoming mini-tour would be to seven colleges and universities in the hills of Pennsylvania, none of whom were accessible by plane. And since they don't rent mules in this country the only thing left to use was a car.

Steve driving. By himself. Oy.

Anyway, the tour started off in Orlando Florida at a national gathering of the BACCHUS and GAMMA peer educators. Campuspeak, my representatives would be manning a booth and I'd be one of the featured presentations. Even this late in the season Florida was kind of muggy so I kept to my precious air conditioning most of the time.

There wasn't a whole lot to do until my show. Since it was in a hotel ballroom, which I hate, we managed to talk them into getting me a piano, albeit upright, onto a little riser -- and a small PA system. So the concert was a great success with hundreds of people grabbing my cards and promising to bring me to their campuses. In fact, I am going to Saginaw Michigan soon because of this appearance. Here's an excerpt from a letter I got:

Your show made me again realize what a great family I come from. They accepted my uncle as a gay man and continued to love and support him and his partner. Your show also made me wish that he could have lived a few more years so that I could have learned first-hand about the disease to be more able to educate my peers about it.
I got up at the before dawn on Sunday and was told that there no cabs to take me to the airport which was miles and miles away. Then suddenly there appeared a cab so I barely made it to plane. Orlando is weird.

I landed in Pennsylvania and was greeted by two handsome college boys who told me they were with the one of the gay groups in the next college I'd be playing for, Dickinson College. Cool! We didn't have a gay group at my Baptist College. It made me happy to know that even out here in the woods glbt kids could find support for each other. I was put into a very nice, totally antique wood frame house for the afternoon. In the lobby was a very nice, totally antique Knabe piano which I used for practice.

That evening, I was escorted to the concert by Dr. Stechschulte from Bucknell University and -- oh, man, I forgot her name -- from the school to a very unique theatre on campus. They had a 6' Yamaha grand for me. Johnno, a British boy introduced me and I did my concert. We didn't have a very large crowd but it was okay. They promised to bring me back sometime.

Dr. Stechschulte then drove me to Lewisburg, PA which is more northern than Harrisburg and which feels WAAAAY out in the boonies. We began our odyssey the next morning at Lewisburg Area High School where I had done a program two years ago. But things were very different. In the wake of the Columbine shootings they had had two bomb threats and now the whole school was under armed guard with only one entrance available.

hey...this is a student from Lewisburg Area High School. i just wanted to tell you that i enjoyed what you said to us and your singing was great. i wouldn't cuss at you just becuz you have HIV. because that's just messed up if someone does do that ....i mean you're a strong man to put up with that hassle and all of the medicine. i will tell you a little about my self now. i am in 9th grade and i play sports ...i am on the football team, basketball and track team hopefully this year. i also wanted to say that i think you put a positive note in our heads about aids you have an intersting way to get across to students.
I am a teacher at Lewisburg Area High School.  I just wanted to thank you for visiting our school and sending such a strong message to our student body and to our staff.

I was very moved by your presentation.  Your music spoke to me and conveyed so much.  I was on the verge of tears and then laughing in a few short moments.

We sometimes live in a sheltered world and to be with someone talking about HIV the way you did really caught our attention.   You were "speaking" to us, not at us and we could really hear you, hear your message.

I admire your strength and dedication to educate those around you in such a meaningful way.  I sincerely believe that you are making a difference.

Next was the Junior High where I did programs for two 7th grade classes. But the big reward happened that evening when I entered the beautiful little chapel on campus for my evening program: a newly tuned, 9-foot Steinway grand piano.

For longtime readers, imagine a starving man pulling up to a banquet. That was me. So I did something I've never done at one of these school programs. I divided my show in half. First half was the usual Bonus Round concert with songs from TLS. Then a break. And then I played my new piece, The Quiet Session which contained a brand new song with lyrics by Marie Cain called "Where Is God?"

Oh, reader, the awesome power of a huge Steinway cannot be described. It can only be experienced. And since I gave the attendees the option of leaving at intermission, I didn't feel the least bit nervous delivering this new music. Afterwards, I got quite a few emails from people actually asking me for the sheet music! I told them it was all still in my head and that I hadn't written any of it down yet.

Oh, but just the experience of actually playing it on that piano was all I needed. It was truly an awesome experience. After Quiet Session was over I wanted to just start it all over again.

Well, I'm almost an hour out of your performance here tonight, and the tears are still welling. Picture me if you will right now...I'm a frat guy...actually the president of my fraternity, and I'm sitting here in my frat room with frat guys running all around, and I've got tears in my eyes from something I saw an hour ago. Thank you for giving me a little perspective tonight. I've had so much stupid shit going on in my life lately, and I feel like I've started to die a little every day just like you said. I get up, I do as little possible all day, tell myself I'm depressed, and I go to sleep having accomplished nothing. You've reminded me there's a lot more to life.
Lycoming College was next. Here I did a talk for a Nursing Class telling them about my experiences as a patient. I became very teary-eyed during this talk as I remembered nurses and doctors who really seemed to care for me and I encouraged them to remember how scary it can be to be a patient. That evening I sang in the student center at a little Wurlitzer console and our numbers were few, but the Dean of Students was there and he was totally blown away.

After the show a Nursing Student came up to me and said she would remember everything I said about being a patient as she moves through her career, that she was wanting someone to tell her that it was okay for her to really care.

At Moravian College I played to a full house in a little theatre in the Student Center. Wow! What an incredible reaction they gave me in this religiously conservative college.

I wouldn't say that I am a conservative Christian-but when it comes to homosexuality I do think it is wrong and a sin; however, I have my own sins that I need to atone and make amends with and I shouldn't be worrying about yours or any other homosexual's.

I think too many times people stereotype homosexuals which makes it hard to see them as people.  You are a beautiful person with a beautiful soul and I can't thank you enough for coming and being with us tonight.

...the last thing I want to do is offend you or hurt you, but when your untimely passing happens, I hope that I am aware of it so that I may pay my respects and honor the work you have done.  I'm afraid that I will never be able to tell you how much you have touched me.  God truly smiled upon you and know always that He loves you-no matter what your sexual preference is.  Your AIDS is not a punishment sent by him.

After Moravian, I drove halfway back across the state to Bloomsburg University situated in a cute little town just off the Interstate. Once again I was singing in a huge concert theatre and had another beautiful Steinway as an instrument.

After Bloomsburg I found a little, ancient, "resort" hotel out in the middle of the woods and I slept for two days. Then I drove up to Keystone College near Scranton. And here at Keystone I experienced the most emotional program of the tour because they had brought in a substantial portion of the AIDS quilt to accompany my appearance.

After a very exciting show in one building we crossed the street to the gym where the quilt was folding up into little bundles. Then they gave me t-shirt with Keystone College AIDS Quilt on it and invited me to assist with the unfolding of the sections, something I've never done before.

I don't think we got through the first section before I started blubbering. I remember what it was that caught my heart. It was a tiny little square with four little handprints and the words, "We love you Uncle Mike." Oh, God I just broke down. The kids around me probably thought I was nuts.

But it was beautiful and heartrending and incredibly touching to see this much of the Quilt laid out. All I could think of were the families and friends and husbands and wives who had spent the time to pay tribute to their loved ones who had passed away.

After that night, the next day I went across town to Marywood University where I got to have dinner with some good Catholic girls and sing for them that evening. I was a bit nervous singing at a religious institution but I needn't have worried.

The President of the University came up to me afterward and said it was the best AIDS education program he'd ever been to and would write letters of recommendation for me to any other religious-based institutions.

And so it ended, my two weeks in Florida and Pennsylvania except for the fact that I drove the wrong way to the airport that morning and came within two seconds of missing the plane -- they actually called the pilot and told him to hold. I held up well physically. I'm back to taking pills six times a day with the new thyroid medications and they are beginning to take a toll on my energy levels as we expected. But I will talk about that more as I describe my visits to the doctors in the next diary entries.

November 23-27, 1999.
That Thyroid Thing.
I got new tests this week after getting back from the tour and I don't have the results yet. But I also went back online to www.drkoop.com to read about the disease.

The thyroid is like a little thermostat. The pituitary gland sends a hormone to the thyroid and this hormone enters a receptor like a key into a lock. This is what makes it run. When the pituitary detects too much T3 and T4, it slows down sending this hormone which should slow down the thyroid.

Well, what's happened is my body has decided to attack the thyroid. Graves' Disease is an autoimmune disease. An antibody has been created in the bloodstream and it's the exact same shape as the hormone created by the pituitary. So it entered the thyroid "lock" and suddenly the thyroid is running on overdrive.

It is the reason why I've been so hot compared to everyone else and it also is the reason I've had such an abundance of energy -- because my body's been running at full tilt boogie. Oh, and this receptor which is being attacked by these antibodies. Guess where there this receptor also resides... yep, the eyes.

So, in short my body is attacking itself and the only cure is to kill off my thyroid and then use drugs to replace the T3 and T4 for the rest of my life, of course.

Luckily, this is all possible. I'm on one drug which blocks the action of the thyroid hormones and another which will slowly kill off the thyroid. It'll take six months to a year to accomplish this task. Meanwhile, the way I'll know it's working is if my energy levels start to go down.

Whether my eyes will get better or not, we don't know. So far, they're about the same. I hope they get better cuz I feel this low grade headache all the time from trying to focus my eyes while reading. But anyway, the good news is that this is all being treated and we caught it early enough that it will not be life-threatening although it could have gotten that way.

Meanwhile this week, I've laid low at home with Jimmy and the cats. I also visited Ghost in the hospital. He had a set-back and still has a tracheotomy but he said he's going to be released soon. And also Dickie, who is a part of this website is terribly sick in the hospital with possible liver failure. Prayers for us all would be greatly appreciated.

Tomorrow I head out to Saginaw Valley State College in Michigan and then I'm off to Indiana University.

November 28- December 1, 1999.
Saginaw Valley State University.
I almost didn't make it this morning to Saginaw, Michigan USA. The morning flight was packed with post-Thanksgiving travelers. When I checked my bags curb-side at LAX I didn't notice that he had given me an envelope but not a boarding pass.

It was 5am and I was sleepy and hungry. So I went to Burger King and got two breakfasts. Then I walked over to the gate and sat down to eat. I noticed a very long line at the gate counter.

Then for some reason I picked up my ticket envelope and realized I needed to check in at the gate. They made an announcement that the flight was overbooked and that some people would be left behind. So I joined the back of the line and started sweating. Luckily, I got a boarding pass and made it to Michigan where the air was very cold but clean and refreshing.

When they showed me place I'd be singing I got a total thrill in my bones. A 9 foot Steinway. How did they know? I found out that Tony, the guy responsible for bringing me in had been reading my diary and he wanted to make sure I was happy.

I was very happy.

I must say I like playing for universities. They beat grungy little clubs with beat up keyboards any day of the week.

Back at the hotel room I got a phone call from Dr. Peter's office. They were taking me off the thyroid killing drug and reducing the beta blocker. Now that was confusing. I mean, they did take six vials full of blood so I knew they were testing me like crazy but didn't Dr. Koop say that it would take at least six months for the thyroid killer to work?

Well, I didn't have time to think about it. It was time to sing.

The recital hall was full -- YAY! -- and when I looked out I saw sitting in one of the near front rows were two kids wearing BONUS ROUND t-shirts!! It startled me so much that I even mentioned it from the stage. How cool to see them so far away from home. Made me feel really good.

I found out later it was one of the Amys from the TLS list. In fact, here is her completely unsolicited review of the concert:

i am at a loss for words!...yesterday i saw steve's concert at Saginaw Valley State University and it was probably the most moving experience in my life. no lie. his voice was beyond beautiful and he was funny and sweet and moving. i sort of dragged my mom along and she has now fallen in love with steve (like i knew she would) and joined the "cult" =) she wanted me to tell you steve that you have truly changed her outlook on life and that your concert was the best performance she has ever seen. (see steve...she is really not all the evil...it just seems that way at first!LOL) that goes for both of us.

 after the show i got to meet steve and he was so nice and now i know what it feels like to get a steve hug...if i may say the best hug i have gotten in a LONG time! steve i really hope that you can find your way to saginaw again and bring TLS to SVSU. and if you come again maybe you can sing at my high school =) anyways if you dont get back to saginaw i am sure i will find a way to see you again!

I love singing for high schools, Amy. Let's try to work it out. Maybe they'll bring me back next year. They seemed to love the concert. Anyone reading this have to ask why they call me BigHead?

(By the way, I'm writing this from Indiana University where I have been in bed for two days with bad stomach problems and diarrhea. Finally took some Immodium and it's working, thank goodness. I just hate being holed up in this room on this beautiful campus.)

Thursday, December 2, 1999.
Beautiful Indiana University.
I was feeling so much better this morning after a hard day yesterday in bed that when my Bridges Across friend Jeramy came down from the IU extension campus to visit me we took a walk around and I realized I had been missing seeing one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

As Jeramy and I walked around someone with an electronic camera stopped us and asked us if he could take a picture of us -- I guess we were just too cute to avoid -- and said the picture would appear at a photot gallery at www.collegeclub.com/getthepicture if we search the school and the date.

Ah, 1999. Of course, when I went there this morning to get the picture I had to sign on as a college student, join the club, tell them my interests and then sort through hundreds of pictures. I'll save you the effort. Here we are:

Jeramy, Steve and Steve's googly right eye

Majestic limestone buildings and little bridges decorated this plot of land here in Bloomington Indiana and I could see why the students held this school with such pride. Not a phony school-spirit pride but a real "I LOVE IU pride." I'm not saying it well but Sarah from Columbus' brother went to this school and he let me know that he loves his alma mater.

Jeramy accompanied me to a Human Sexuality class where I spoke about my life with AIDS. It became a very emotional class.

Then I went over to the theatre on campus for sound check where I was greeted by a stage manager, a house manager, a lighting guy, a tech guy and a representative from the theatre department. Jeramy loved that.

I was presented with an 11' Steinway. *I* loved that. Newly tuned in this little jewelbox of a 400 seat theatre, the microphone and monitor were already in place but rising beautifully over the piano, stretched across the back of the stage was huge section of the AIDS Quilt. It was beautiful.

I went to the Quilt and looked at the names. Prominent, just at eye-level was a photo of a particularly beautiful young man. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for beauty lost but he was extraordinarily beautiful. The photo showed his face and upper body. Just to the right of the picture, lovingly etched into the cloth was "Went to heaven February 1999."

1999? I thought everyone stopped dying of AIDS a couple of years ago. Guess not.

Dave, the Stage Manager took me down the old spiral staircase to the dressing room in the depression-era building where there was a door with my name on it and a piece of paper welcoming me by name to the Theatre Department. Very sweet.

It was a labyrinthian dressing room area and I wandered around before the show coming upon another set of dressing rooms to the huge performing arts center attached to this little theatre. The musical RENT was playing there -- the Benny Tour -- but the cast hadn't arrived so I didn't get a chance to say hello to any of them.

Soon it was time for my program. I didn't like being in the dressing room so I went up and sat backstage and talked to Dave who wants to come out to El Lay and be a stage manager. The room we filling up and I could feel the buzzing in the room as people were talking. I even got butterflies in my stomach which is unusual.

Dave asked me if I wanted to enter from the backstage curtain or the "Shakespeare doors" -- a term I hadn't heard. He said, "Yeah, I learned it in Theatre History class. It's little doors built on the side of the stage." Learn something new every day. Of course I took the Shakespeare doors having just watching "Shakespeare in Love" on the Union Hotel TV the day before.

I'll let RENT fan RandomGirl tell you about the concert itself.

so tonight Steve Schalchlin performed his Bonusround show at Indiana University tonight and I couldn't wait to go.  i got there about fifteen minutes before it was to begin and I was really excited.  i went and sat down in the second row, right in front of the piano.  they had placed part of the AIDS quilt as a backdrop - it was really powerful in a silent way.

so steve came out, sat down and started with "save me a seat".  he had only played the first couple of notes and i could feel tears welling up in my eyes.  and when he started singing, they escaped my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  i couldn't help it.  i had been listening to the "TLS" cd for over a year and here steve was sitting in front of me singing it.  it was beautiful.

at the end of the song steve said that it was emotional for him to play in front of parts of the quilt because they not only tell about the person who has died, but those that have been left behind.  and then he told the story of when he helped unfold parts of the quilt and saw one panel that had little handprints on it and a message that said "we love you uncle mike".  anyone in that theatre who wasn't crying before then was crying now.  steve could have continued to tell stories all night and we would have stayed to hear them.

then steve continued to sing and tell corresponding stories.  i won't go over every song cause he sang every song on the cd.  although i secretly wished he would do a little "shades of blue".  but it was great to hear the songs straight from steve's mouth.  kind of surreal.

before he started "friendly fire" he said it was time for audience participation but he wasn't going to tell us what to do, we had to figure it out on our own. then he said we had better get it, cause the 7th graders he played for got it.  needless to say, we got it and were probably a little over excited about it.

he ended with "when you care" and had us sing the chorus with him at the end.  i had read other stories of how he had his audience's sing with him, and i was glad to now be added to that group.  there weren't a huge amount of people there, but they still sounded great to me, and i think to steve too.  after he was done we gave him a well deserved standing ovation and he walked off stage and then came back on and asked if he could play one more.  no one argued at all.

so he gave us an encore with "the singer and the song" which was great. then he walked off stage once more.  and about a minute later came out and declared that there were hugs for everyone.  again, no one argued that either.  i was excited to finally get a famous "steve hug".  but before i got up to him a woman asked him to go back on stage and take a picture with another woman in front of her son's panel.  i watched this endearing encounter between steve and this mother.  she pinned a red ribbon next to her son's picture and then both her and steve broke down, as i did watching them.  it was very very touching.

well, it's been almost three hours since the show was over and i still have tears writing about it.  i'm so glad i finally got to meet steve and hear him sing his amazing songs.  thank you steve, thank you.

The audience was astonishingly warm and receptive to me. We laughed together, cried together, sang together and I felt so welcomed and appreciated.

The "mother" RandomGirl refers to in her review above was the mother of the beautiful young man whose picture I had seen and mourned earlier. They had spent a month with the Name Project finding his section to make sure that it was included in their section of the Quilt.

She was pinning a new little ribbon to his picture and they had asked me if I would pose for a picture with them and when I saw it was him I totally broke down. The mom and I wept on each other's shoulders for a good solid minute.

What can I say? World AIDS Day. It's a bitch.

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© 1999 by Steve Schalchlin.
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