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

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

January - February 2002.
Rochester, NY.

February 6, 2002.
Odds & Ends in Rochester.
I found my lost glove because the sun came out and melted a lot of the snow, so when I got back from scoping out where the biggest mall is (driving instructions: "Take 490 and turn where is says 'mall'")  I pulled the old Chevy Celebrity into the snowbank near the curb and there was my glove, right there on the elevated part of the front yard. (Sessionauts Lori, Karen, Julie and Mandy are coming in this weekend; they want malls).

I noticed that not only does it have department stores, but there are two or three other large retail stores in the same area: Borders Books, Target, Circuit City, etc. Just as I got there to scope it out, though, the snow starting blizzarding again so I didn't stay long.

I did, however, buy some Gold Toe socks that were on sale. Yes, Jimmy, I know we have a ton of them already but I didn't bring enough socks with me and it was a sale. It's snowing. I bought socks.

Anyway, no one knows this show like these babes who have since then moved to NYC and started their own website called Flinkers -- don't ask). They, having begun their theatrical lives as Rentheads, are NEVER shy about expressing their opinions but I'm not worried. I can't be any worse than what they saw in El Lay, and the rest of the cast rocks. They'll like it.

It's a quiet Wednesday morning. I'm sitting in my easy chair next to my frosted window. Ginger is on the bed next to me. Still, I'm no good without Jimmy. Here. Look at my room. (And no lectures, please.)

This is me without Jim. I never make the bed. I don't throw away boxes. I use toilet paper instead of Kleenexes. My trash can is a paper bag next to yesterday's clothes. Look under the bed: I didn't know where I had put those shoes until I actually looked at this photo.

Later today, I'm working with Danette on a new song we wrote together and then tonight I stayed in and rested for our big weekend. Tickets sales are really picking up. Every week, the audience has grown and grown. A couple nights are already almost sold out.

"You know, for a guy who's almost 50, you're really spry!"

(Where did that come from? That's what I get for doing cut/paste editing in this diary.) Tomorrow I'll show you the top of my chest of drawers.

TLS Odds and Ends:
I forgot to show you the CD covers for "Buddy Baker", part of the props used in the show. We were right up against the deadline so I raced through the few shots I had taken of Jay at the time and cobbled together album covers based on the shots. Interestingly, I exactly four "usable" shots that weren't duplicates of each other. (In the show, Buddy arrives with four CDs from his Gospel singing career.

First I found a shot of him I took while he was on his cellphone. That became "Calling On Jesus" Featuring the song "Operator." And I tried to imitate the look of those terrible custom album covers where they have a set design that you just plug your name into. Notice the slick hair and the "today's kinda guy" look.

Then I found this shot of him at the bottom of the staircase the first day I arrived when he was showing me my room. That became "Lookin' Up To Jesus". (Notice he's now wearing his Buddy Hip Hop style, hoping to reach that elusive Urban Contemporary Christian segment of the market. Emma, Buddy's mother, thought he was just trying to look like a little boy. She was appalled when she realized the truth.)

(She decided he needed to get back to his slick look to recapture the earlier look, but wth a concession in the title, "Jesus Is My Buddy" so that those who saw the Urban CD in the bin would associate him with "being sweet" rather than with big city ruffians.)

(Emma didn't know WHAT to make of this next cover. She liked that sweet boy, Guy, a lot. But she wondered if Buddy and Guy didn't just spend a wee bit too much time together.)

And no, Buddy is not a closet case in the show. I was just having some fun with my evil digital camera. And besides, we needed the props and the only other picture I had was of the two of them. Don't you think they make a great Gospel duo?

In the show, Gideon gives Vicki a framed picture of the two of them from the old days. So we went to a hotel here that had a brass staircase and shot this one:

Gideon and Vicki in the Old days
at the Treymore Hotel in Atlantic City.

Here's another face around the theatre. This is Jason Paul Fox. He's a poet and has his own website, too. He's running sound for us.

Finally, two more pictures. One is my housemate Aubry showing off her new haircut and who is a bigtime Lucy fan (and who has the cleanest room in the world especially compared to mine); and Brian who is going to be singing with me (along with Danette and Debbie) in my cabaret on the 16th. The three of us had our rehearsal and we sound GOOD together.

Aubry loves Lucy: Brian loves Steve's songs (good boy)

February 7, 2002.
A Scene From The Hugline.
Last night was the most powerful night of this whole run. After opening the show with talking to "Jack" and then singing "Save Me A Seat," we were greeted by defeaning silence. It scared me death. That's the first time this has happened here. I don't know if it was how I sang it or the mood the audience was in or what, but it was scary. No one moved.

The answer came as the audience began to breathe and then laugh with us. But it was intense. And once again, "Going It Alone" was greeted with the same intense silence. We all agreed in the dressing room that there was definitely something "going on". In Act Two, the comedy scenes went over like gangbusters. (Jay continually never fails to amaze in his fluidity as a comic actor which only feeds Amy, of course).

But what truly "got to me," was an incident in the "hug line." A very old woman, somewhat elegant in bearing but walking feebly with a cane, came up to me and said, "I'm not gay..." (which almost made me laugh) "...but I'm really struggling."

And I knew she was talking about her health. I said to her, "I guess you really know what 'Friendly Fire' is."

She looked up at me with the most knowing look I've ever seen in the eyes of another human being and said, "And I'm still going through it." She spoke a few more words, trying to explain but there were a lot of people and it was difficult to hear her.

"Can I give you a hug?" I asked.

"Oh, yes!" she said.

As I put my arms oh so gently around her, all I could feel were bones. "I love ya," I said.

Then a very tall, handsome older man (it seemed to me like both were probably in their 80s) approached after she got further down the line. "She's my wife," he proudly said the slightest of a choke in his throat. I could see him fighting to maintain as the slightest glimmer of a tear appeared in the corner of his eye.

His bug bearhug was full and warm. "Thank you," he said. "We really needed to hear this tonight."

And suddenly I realized, like Gideon, she's been struggling for those reasons to keep on living. And like Jack, he's been watching her and feeling helpless -- going it alone.

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 8 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

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© 2002 by Steve Schalchlin.
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