Volume 1 Book 9 Episode 6
of Living In The Bonus Round
the online diary of Steve Schalchlin
Life's a Beach (and then you open).

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P.M. Howard

An Online Diary of the
1998 Laguna Playhouse Production

featuring Jim Brochu, Amy Coleman, P.M. Howard, Michele Mais, Bob Stillman, Joey Traywick, Positoids, NuBiHes and lavish amounts of love.

Part Six: P.M. Throws a Party and Charges $5

Laguna Beach.
Labor Day Weekend 1998.

"Hey, I noticed MY picture is not in there."

It was P.M. Howard saying this. To me.

Today, because Maisey, Amy, Bob and Alice the Stage Manager don't have internet access, I printed out the first five Laguna diaries and brought them down to rehearsal. Maisey was just blown away when she saw her interview from yesterday.

(And later on after reading it, she told me she almost couldn't hold herself together while singing "The Singer & the Song" -- which is Tryshia's attempt to "talk" Gideon out of committing suicide. She said she just kept thinking of her friend, Jimmy.)
Maisey and Amy both were asking questions about how it all worked. I was trying to explain the conversations we were having in the TLS Fan Chat Room. We told them that Binky has been posting regularly, helping Joey defend himself against the power duo of Bob and Amy.
We were at P.M's backyard barbeque -- very civilized; everyone pitched in 5 bucks for the meat or veggie -- and brought their own drinks.

P.M.'s wife was holding a camera, so Bob grabbed Amy and Maisey and did a ridiculous pose. Immediately, Joey looked over at us and said, "If I was Stephen Bienskie, they would have grabbed ME and let me be in that picture."

A truly tragic moment of realization for the young lad trying to live down the legacy of the altogether lovely Bienskie.

(Yes, he said but it was a joke. And we all properly sneered at him. The truth is that everyone loves this kid, too.)

Anyway, as I was saying, I was at rehearsal today and I had the Laguna Diaries out and P.M. sauntered over in that sarcastic way of his and said, "I notice you don't have any pictures of me."

Immediately outraged I stood and proudly pointed to the group photo in Episode One. "That's spot right there is your face over in the corner behind me, good sir! So you are a liar!"

After he slapped me, I explained that I hadn't had any good pictures of him until that very day -- of course, what I really wanted to tell him was that he was a talentless bum Not really, of course.


 I went to the Sunday runthrough and the Tuesday runthrough after Labor Day because they would be our last days at the Annex. I just love the room echo and know it will never sound that way again -- unless we all stand in a tunnel somewhere.

It was funny going into the annex today because the set was gone. Just a big empty room with a gone set. On Wednesday, tomorrow, we will get into the theater itself. This is very exciting, but the actors know "tech" is coming up. The worst few days of the year.

Everything is slowly falling into place. The actors know their lines and they know their blocking, but there is still hesitation here and there. And also, Jimmy is still working on "moments." (Putting It Together...bit by bit...)

We're not quite happy with "Somebody's Friend" yet. The coordination between the piano and the guitar is not quite working.

One good fix: At the end of "Singer and the Song" they eventually get to "...more than the singer, more than the song, more than the singer..." and today I realized what was making me crazy. They were all coming in on the upbeat and weakening the attack.

I suggested Maisey starting on the downbeat followed by the others. Bob agreed and we tried it, but then Maisey suggested the opposite; that the others hit on the downbeat and have her follow. Bob coordinated it and it worked brilliantly.

I did an interview for KFWB radion today. I sat and recorded for a half hour at least. Then the reporter says to me, "It's only a 40 second spot. I'm gonna lose most of this..."

After that I went into the rehearsal and joined David Dillon, the theatre's press agent. He was seeing the play for the first time and he was drenched in tears by the time it was over. So was Joey. Speaking of Joey, here's what he posted in the TLS Fan Chat Room:

Well, I guess y'all heard that!! Stephen B. says if anybody messes with me he's gonna come out and open up a six pack of whoop a$$ on somebody!! YEA! Finally, somebody takes up for the new kid!! Thanks, Stephen! I hope we can hang out sometime, never been to NY for more than a day or so and it seems pretty cool...

Welcome Rick. Ann Arbor can be beautiful this time of year (just guessing :-)) but this Laguna Beach is something else. Paradise is close. We all thought it would be a good idea to go to Los Angeles tonight and see the "Three Penny Opera" so we piled in my car ('72 convertible bug) and headed out. About two blocks down the road my generator light came on (very bad) and we had to turn around and get Bob Stillman's car. Well, I figured God didn't want me to go so I stayed here in Laguna and saw the most spectacular sunset. For some reason I think I just wasn't supposed to go. Anyhoo...

Today was the last day of rehearsal in the annex rehearsal hall. Tomorrow we move to the real theatre and everything! Getting nervous. Practice is at 5pm and we are having a photo shoot. I think I will get a haircut. Well, today's rehearsal we went through the show for David, a guy that is doing publicity for the show in Los Angeles. What a nice guy. He was the only one watching it today and I STILL cried like a baby. I just don't know... looking forward to getting in the real space.

Good night and God Bless TLS

I love this kid.


Hey, hey. Jimmy came home on Sunday night and he got to see his idiot cats again. Then I brought him home Tuesday night, too, because the rehearsal in the theatre doesn't start until 5pm.

BUT BEST OF ALL, Shawn Decker, Positoid Supreme, will be arriving tomorrow. He called me tonight but we were on LOCK OUT where we just turned everything off that wasn't Jim, Steve or Cat. So, sorry Shawn. Call me in the morning if it was important.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday. Singing at the Hollywood Palladium. Woo HOO!!! It just sounds SO Neil Diamond. Several of the cast members want to join me, but mean old Jim says they're having tech rehearsal that day and have to be in the theatre.

So I told Joey, "Just tell Jimmy you need to be there to do research on people with AIDS. It's a POZ Expo filled with HIV positive people. Tell him it's for the play."

"But what if he says, 'Buddy isn't SUPPOSED to have met any HIV positive people.'"

"Hey! Am I supposed to have an answer for EVERYTHING???"

These kids. Just can't think for themselves, can they?

Jimmy and Bob both gave me the evil eye today because I was trying to take pictures during the runthrough. See what I am enduring for you all? Scorn and rejection!!

Anyway, I snapped a few but had to stop. Tomorrow night they are doing a photo shoot, so i'll be there with my camera and will get some hot action scenes for you in costume.

(I'll upload more pictures that are still being developed -- in the next few days...)

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

The official stills by Still Productions | Pics by Steve | Cast pics by Steve | Fun pics
LA Times Review | TLS fan club page with pictures | L.A. critics quotes page
"From Hate To Humanity" | TLS Fan Chat Room | BennyTour fan pics

All photos and text are © 1998 by Steve Schalchlin.