Reconciliation Express
Volume 4 Book 4 of
Living in the Bonus Round
(Part 6)

One of the many, many fountains in Rome.

[ Book 4-3 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6A 6b ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] -- [ Book 4-5 ]

June 15-16, 2005.
Rome 2.
Our hotel was only a few blocks from the Vatican so it was very convenient. But Italian showers and elevators are not made for big Americans like Jim and me. Also, the beds were fold-up metal cots that kept collapsin under Jim when he'd land too hard on them -- the front leg would fold under and he'd go flying. The shower was the size of a magician's box. My arms touched both sides so I couldn't raise my hands above my head unless I entered with them above my head. As for Jim, at first he was taking "hokey pokey" showers (left foot in, left foot out), but then finally he squeezed in. After his shower he proudly announced that the rubber seals on the doors had squeegeed him dry.

Steve in the shower.Jim tests out Italian beds.

At the end of our street was one of Rome's famous umbrella pines. I look at the picture below and suddenly all those Renaissance paintings with their almost mystical landscapes make sense.

Umbrella pine in Rome.

Rome was filled with lots of flashes of color. This was on a balcony overlooking the plaza in front of the Pantheon.

Walking the medieval streets, the way they twisted and turned, was feast for my eyes. I was absolutely in a stunned state of wonder at the sheer beauty of it all.

I love the faded, burnt orange on this building.

Look how these homes are built into the ancient wall.

We met up with a very cool cyberpal of mine named Anthony Majanlahti, who is a historian. His new book (which I highly recommend) is called The Families Who Made Rome: A History and a Guide. Anthony seemed to know every nook and cranny of Rome, taking us to all the places we'd have never found on our own, including churches hidden away behind nondescript fronts but filled with art and riches you cannot describe, including a Michelango of Jesus holding a cross.

Anthony & Jim.

As we strolled through the medieval section of Rome, we came upon The Pantheon, one of the oldest standing structures in the city. Anthony explained that it was a temple built to "all" the gods in Rome, but he also said that it was so unlike any other temple that it might also have been a part of the emperor's palace since he was considered to be a god himself. I guess he could commune with all the other gods.


Inside the Pantheon.

The incredible vaulted ceiling has a hole in it.
Sometimes they drop rose petals onto the floor.

Below is the incredible ornate pipe organ in one of the churches Anthony took us into. It was so ornate. Every inch of this church was decorated. Outside was an obelisk on an elephant.

More Rome in Part 6b...

June 21-23, 2005.
Random Updates.
We have one more weekend to go before the end of this "let's look at the show and see what we've got" run. It's been fun experimenting with things, cutting things, adding things. In fact, on Sunday at the matinee, Jimmy and I along with Cate our stage manager made a change in the show at intermission. It was something Jim and I rehearsed just before the performance.

There's a spot at the end of Act 2 where we are performing a song called "Sower & Scarecow." The song starts with me singing it solo while Jim (as a street preacher) stands in a a red silhouette. Then he steps into the spotlight and we do a scene that takes place in front of a theatre in Dallas where we are confronted by a young woman who tells us a story about how The Last Session changed her life, followed by a statement about how the theatre had transformed our own lives.

At that moment, in the past, we returned to our previous places on stage -- him in silhouette and me at the piano in the spot finishing the song. Well, there was something about the moment that never quite felt right to me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but inside, as the spotlight returned back over to me, it just felt "weak." And I would find myself losing my concentration while singing the song, almost trying to hurry through it to get to the next point. Not that my performance was bad, but that we had lost an opportunity or something.

This is not the best feeling to have during a theoretically climactic moment.

I believe it was Murphy or Paul or Ant'ny who suggested that Jimmy be added to the song rather than "cutting away" from him. It was an idea we couldn't test out last week because of his upper respiratory infection. So just before the show on Sunday, as we were settling down into the dressing room, Jim suddenly remembers that we wanted to work out that spot.

We raced onto the stage (using the Marie Cain piano) and, putting him on melody and me on high, open harmony, our voices blended like magic. Not only that, but hearing both of us sing these final declarative words, this discovery, the impact is stronger.

We are also helped by the fact that this room is small and very bouncy. When I sing in this room, I can hear my voice up in my face. The acoustics are absolutely perfect. 40 seats. All of us together in that room laughing and crying. It's like church. But with energy!

This weekend we have representatives from Showtime and Logo, the new gay channel, coming to see the show. In fact, this Friday we are pretty much sold out.

I've been having higher than normal blood sugars recently even though I have not been eating too many carbs, and I never eat sugar. So I went to see Dr. Ruchi and she changed one of my meds. We'll see how it goes. As she was delivering this news to me, she could see on my face that I wasn't exactly taking the news happily.

It's not that my sugars have been THAT high, but it's depressing to always be fixing things, getting close, and then having to start over. It's such a contant battle. I told a friend of mine I feel like a chemistry experiment sometimes.

She had suggested a new drug that's just out on the market, but it's a twice a day injectable. The only drawback was that it causes nausea and weight loss, something I can't afford. (I told her I'm already taking three different medications to keep weight on, so we just changed pills and are going to cross our fingers that it works.)

Meanwhile, one week to go before my eye surgery. I'm nervous about it, but it shouldn't be too awful. I hope. *cringe*

I found a new site on the Net that lets you have unlimited bandwidth for storage and displays of videos, so I've been experimenting with it. Readers of this site can bookmark my page and check to see what's been uploaded. One of the reasons I started doing this is because Jimmy's been setting up a new website for himself and his career. (, of course). The reason he's doing this is because nowadays agents and casting directors want the ease of instant access to resumes, video clips, photos, bios, etc.

[ Book 4-3 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6A 6b ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] -- [ Book 4-5 ]

© 1996-2005 by Steve Schalchlin.
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