Life During Wartime
Volume 2 Book 9 Part 1 of "Living In The Bonus Round"
The Online Diary of Steve Schalchlin

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Part 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

Late October 2001.
San Francisco.

October 22 - 31, 2001.
Life During Wartime.
It was with great excitement that Jimmy and I loaded up the car and drove to San Francisco to see the New Conservatory Theatre Center's new production of THE LAST SESSION. Already I had sent my spies from the RENT fanlist and the word back was that it was a good production. We could breathe easily.

The drive up Highway 5 to the Bay Area takes abour 6 hours if you really are determined to get there. I think we made it in 5 1/2. To pass the time we invented a (for us) new automobile entertainment. I became a Books On Tape.

Windmills stretch across a rolling hill.
Windmills stretch across a rolling landscape.

See, this past week, after raving about "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown, Jimmy picked it up and started reading it -- and couldn't put it down. He was especially entranced by all the Catholic stuff in the book. Dan REALLY did his homework. It's chock full of Vatican details and procedures. And, Jimmy LOVES Catholic trivia and detail.

So, after listening to the cast album of THE PRODUCERS as our send-off, I found myself reading Dan's book aloud. And I'm glad I did because it is most certainly a timely book since it deals with terrorism. The statement that really got to me, because we often think of the WTC terrorists as angry loners connected only distantly, was this:

"Terrorism is NOT an expression of rage. Terrorism is a political weapon. Remove a government's facade of infallibility and you remove its people's faith."
Not an expression of rage. Fascinating.

Our car drive seemed to go by effortlessly once I started reading the book out loud. What a great way to travel. And Jimmy bought some sunglasses that made him look like Dr. Strangelove, so the effect was complete.

We pulled into Ken McPherson's apartment and of course the first thing you have to do at Ken's is throw the ball for Piper the Dog. And if you don't throw the ball for Piper the Dog, she will stand there and throw the ball at YOU until you comply.

After a short nap we took off for the theatre and had dinner at a place Jimmy said was an oxymoron. A restaurant called Mandarin Villa. ("Shouldn't it be Mandarin Pogoda?" he asked. Of course, I didn't say anything but it occurs to me that "pogoda" is Japanese while Mandarin is Chinese.)

It was very exciting in the lobby of the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

The New Conservatory's beautiful doorway.
Their banner out front.

Posters on the wall. The cast photos.
The buzz was definitely high in the lobby and it was exciting for Jimmy and me to be there. But what was even more exciting was the fact that the production was superb. Director Dan Kryston truly understood the piece and the cast rose to the occasion beautifully.

George Quick's Gideon is tender and fragile as well as giddy and funny. He's one of the best actors to do the role. The girls (Michelle Starrs as Vicki and Shirley Smallwood as Tryshia) came out of the shoot like gangbusters, slicing each other to ribbons on one hand and singing together like angels the next.

Joe Settineri as Buddy was full of goofy southern charm and Randel Hart was coldly dry and perfectly cast as Jim. I knew they were doing a good job when Jimmy whispered several times (to me), "I wish I'd thought of that." Ed Decker, the executive director really knows how to pick a creative team. By the time Jimmy and I stood for an ovation, we were thrilled and elated.

Afterwards, we took pictures of the cast and then after I got home I realized that we had forgotten Ken McPherson -- my pal, the one who was putting us up for the night, the one who's acting as stage manager, who I love with all my heart. Not in the shot!! Poor Ken! So I posed him below as if he were standing with us. It's easy to make Ken happy.)

Michelle Starrs, Steve, George Quick, Jimmy, Randel Hart,
Shirley Smallwood, Joe Settineri, Dan Kryston & Ken McPherson.
Here are some random shots we took after the show:
1. George Quick with Jimmy.
2. Dan Kryston with Steve.
3. Steve with "Bri", an internet friend.
4. Jim with Barbara Block, an old friend.
5. Steve with Jeff Walsh from Oasis Magazine.
6. The delicious buffet.
7. Steve with Shirley Smallwood.

8. Steve with Ed Decker.
9. Steve and Joe Settineri.
10. Randel Hart.
11. Steve with Bev Sykes' mom, Mildred.
12. Dan, Ben & Jimmy.
13. Jay Martin & Steve.

To say we were elated about the quality of the production would be to understate our excitement and relief, especially considering the fact that these are mostly young performers just getting their feet wet. And I don't mean that as a qualifier. They are every bit as good as most "pros" I've met.

My favorite shot of the night with my friend Richard Connema
who I met at back in the first year of TLS.

The next morning, Jimmy and piled back in the car and I read to him for the next six hours until we finally landed at home, tired but happy.

Since this is a new diary book, I am celebrating by writing a new song (about the war) and by announcing that we have made a deal with Barry Fasman to produce a new Steve CD. For the technically inclined, what we're gonna do is take the songs as I sequence them over to Barry's where he'll "soup" them up a bit as producer (adding little drum touches and other arranging bits), play them through his sound modules, re-record the vocals, and come out with a fully produced brand new record.

I don't have a name for it yet. Who knows. Maybe we'll have a contest or something. But I'm so EXCITED to FINALLY have the chance to put out a fully produced CD (whereas in the past I've had to settle for simple piano/vocal recordings).

As soon as we have a release date set in stone, we'll put up an order form on the net and allow people to order copies. But this is very exciting for me. Have I already mentioned that? I think I did!

Welcome to "Life During Wartime" (apologies to the Talking Heads for stealing that phrase), Volume 2, Book 9 of Living in the Bonus Round.

Reviews are in:

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Part 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ 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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© 2002 by Steve Schalchlin.
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