Life During Wartime
Volume 2 Book 9 Part 3 of "Living In The Bonus Round"
The Online Diary of Steve Schalchlin

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Part2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

November 2001.
El Lay, DC, New Jersey, Virginia.

Steve behind the piano, holding his hands in the air. Very happy picture.
Steve at Virginia Commonwealth University.
November 11-30, 2001.
Fall Tour Part 1.
I started to write a funny description of going through the airport last week having lost my picture I.D. twice in the space of a single hour -- me emptying all my pockets out on a table surrounded by soldiers in fatigues holding rifles when suddenly II heard that George Harrison died. Like many people of my generation, the Beatles were my musical gods. Period.

I also would like to say that as much as I adored Lennon and McCartney, George's "All Things Must Pass" album is the best post-Beatles album. I became very nostalgic for playing in a band.

Jimmy standing in stairwell with pink and green umbrella.The month started out with Jimmy and me taking the L.A. subway to the Ovation (theatre) Awards in the new Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland. The building is a brand new shopping complex on Hollywood Blvd. designed to look like an old Hollywood Egyptian movie. The staircase is both inside and outside at the same time so Jimmy posed with his umbrella since it was raining cats and dogs. What's funny is that he thought the roof had a leak. When I explained to him that it was MEANT to be that way, he just shook his head.

We love Hollywood. They do the strangest things here. On purpose.

1. The grand entrance to Hollywood & Highland. Notice the big elephant, top right.
2. Jim with John Spencer from The West Wing and his wife, Patti,
an old friend of Jimmy's.
We didn't stay for the event. We just went to schmooze and then leave. That's how we prefer to go to things. Show up and leave. LOL. I think Smallville (which our friend Todd calls "Gayville") was on that night or Celebrity Weakest Link. Who can remember?

Out of focus picture of Steve singing. Hand on heart.I next found myself in Louisville Kentucky playing for a statewide meeting on AIDS. The piano company that was to deliver the piano got there late. And when someone mentioned their lateness to them, they got all huffy and took the piano away. Luckily, the hotel had an upright and we had a great time anyway. I love singing for caregivers.

The best part of being in Louisville, though -- well, two things. First I sang my "war song" for folks from Henderson Kentucky who were in attendance and they said they LOVED it. Also, I got to spend an afternoon with Jake from Youth Guardian Services.

Jake, now 19, is a boy who started on their lists when he was 13, has suffered greatly the slings and arrows of being gay in a homophobic high school but has come through with his head on straight and a brilliant mind. We shared some Italian food in Louisville and he really helped me to understand why I support YGS the way I do. He reminded me how lonely and scary it can be out there for LGBT kids. YGS becomes their lifeline.

And THAT was helpful because I went from Louisville to Washington DC for a day of rest and then a board meeting of YGS which took place in this big boardroom at Deloite and Touche. It was my first time to run a board meeting as the chair and I opened the meeting telling them that I hate meetings. My basic goal for this meeting was to reaffirm the mission of YGS -- PEER support for young people through email lists -- and ended the meeting a hour ahead of schedule.

Now that's MY kind of meeting! The fun part was hanging with Lyndsay and Patrick who drove in from Cincinnati -- and the two Jasons, of course. All of us packed into their condo together.

I flew home after DC and then turned right around and went back to New Jersey. In fact, it was the same town in New Jersey where all the anthrax letters were mailed so the headlines in the local paper were all about how the people would be getting their mail after several weeks, but that it would be all yellow from the radiation.

The College Of New Jersey's gay and lesbian club (GUTS) was my sponsor and I invited my friend Shaun Cooney to join me on guitar. I met Shaun six years ago when TLS debuted in NY. We've kept a friendship going through all this time and he's been making a name for himself as a guitarist and composer.

A handsome Shawn Cooney holding his guitar. He has a fresh all-American face and a great big smile.
Shawn Cooney, my guitarist for the evening.

Jay Brancato from the TLS list was there, as was Amy. After I finished my program, I made Jay come up and sing "Going It Alone" with me. He was wonderful, of course. Then we all stood around the piano and I sang all my "gay songs."

11 foot grand piano. Steve playing and a slender young man stands at the end singing.
Jay Brancato sings "Going It Alone"

And this is where the story gets murky. See, Amy and Jay took me out to dinner and then I was supposed to go to my hotel. The problem was we didn't know where the hotel WAS since I had been driven in from the Philadelphia airport an hour away. All I know is that Jay, Amy and I were in Jay's little car, it was running out of gas and the road selection was limited to:

1. Turnpikes.
2. Dark country roads.

We went north and then we went south and then we went north and then we went south...

Amy with a big smile on her face.AMY WROTE:
"After the official concert, Steve sang "The Closet", which is even better in person than on mp3. And he rocked the hell out of "William's Song" which got laughs in all the right places.
"Then, we ended up at TGI Fridays, where Jay, Steve, and I ate ourselves into the wall, and had a grand ol' time. Before eating, we called Steve's hotel, and they told us it was exit 9 off Rt. 95... I assumed it was two miles. WRONG. The Campuspeak people booked Steve in a hotel near the Philly airport, more than an hour away. So, after Jay proceeded to get us lost in Central Jersey..."
I sent a note about this to the TLS list telling them about the two hours we spent driving around in the woods.
"I'm currently on the road in a hotel room somewhere out in the boondocks. [Last night we were] lost in the booger woods with Jay telling scary stories about the Jackson Whites who are deformed white people who live in villages
and hate visitors."

"...Steve is NOT in the boondocks, he's in a very nice hotel in Princeton, near a mall, near the University. We TRIED to put him on the other side of the highway, but NOOO.. he had to stay at a hotel with a RESTAURANT :) ..."

Close-up of Jay Brancato. He has a sweet Italian face, black hair and brown eyes.JAY SAID:
"Alright alla ya's! Jersey's not  such a bad place if you know where to go... and Steve is FAR from the boondocks... if he wants to see the boondocks I'll take him there. And the Jackson Whites are nowhere near Central Jersey; they live in secluded villages in North Jersey where I'm from... oops I've said too much... they're really there though, people have traced them back to the Revolutionary War."

I spent the next day resting, shopping at the nearby mall and going to see a bad movie ("Heist" -- BORING, STUPID). The next day Jay drove me back to Philly and saw me off to sing at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was picked up at the airport by my old pal, Tracey Thornton and her son Josh. Tracey looked gorgeous. I hadn't seen her in several years.

Tracy looks really good. She's smiling/laughing and looking to the right.Josh is five. He's bugging his eyes out. I'm sitting next to him, eyepatch and all with a big smile.
Tracey Thornton, Josh & Steve

The concert at Virginia Commonwealth was one of the best of the tour. The hall was packed with students (probably because they were given extra credit for showing up). Also, Jason Hungerford drove up from DC and took lots of pics of the performance.

Singing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The preacher.

Steve looking rather serious with one hand raised in the air.
"Nobody in this room ever has to be infected with HIV."

I fell in love in love with the people at VCU. They have a strong involvement in the community and the room was filled with great information about HIV and AIDS. I told them they had no choice about inviting me back. Period. :-)

All during this time, though, I was nursing a cough. It didn't interfere with my voice but I knew I was getting something. So, after flying back home, I visited the doc who gave me some antihistamines and other kinds of pills, spent a couple of days in bed -- and I was all set for the next leg of my fall tour...

[ Diary Index ] [ WRITE ME! ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Part2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

[ Hannah, Hospice Social Worker ] [ Shawn Decker's ]
[ Jimmy's Sunday Sermons ] [ My Lynchburg Diary: Meeting Jerry Falwell ]

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© 2001 by Steve Schalchlin.
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