Volume 1 Book 9 Episode 7
of Living In The Bonus Round
the online diary of Steve Schalchlin
Life's a Beach (and then you open).
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Praying With Guns In "Friendly Fire"

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 Seven: Moving Into the Theatre

Laguna Beach.
Second Week of September.

"Well, I finally figure out how to get through "Going It Alone" without crying. Just put a mic in front of me."

That was Joey talking. It was first day in the theatre on the set and it felt like being in Grand Central Station. They were testing the mics. When it came time for Joey to sing, I looked at him and it was like seeing a deer caught in headlights. He didn't WHAT to do with this metal device aimed at his face.

Maisey, on the other hand, handled it like an old pro. She belted into "Preacher and the Nurse" and all the promise of what she might sound like in the rehearsal hall came through like a trumpet in a storm. Just magnificent the way her voice careens back and forth between soft R&B and brassy belting. Amazing.

P.M.'s bass guitar also added a lot to the overall sound in the big room, bringing in some greatly appreciated bottom end to the manic maneuverings of Stillman on those keys. I can't wait until everyone hears them. It's like the music has become reborn.

Shawn Decker, young studly poz celeb on the go...

got to see the whole runthrough, but complained that we never put thinbloods on stage. He's writing Last Session 2 where a young exgay thinblood is seduced by Vicki, but hemorrages to death with desire:

But AMY -- Amy is just completely out of control. She's become a total Hollywood babe.

This is her at the BBQ. (Binky, I just HAD to show you this.)

Since Shawn and I didn't see Friday, I can't tell you how it went. Hopefully Jimmy will post something in the TLS Fan Chat Room. But I know what Saturday Tech Day was like for them: 8 beats of music followed by, "HOLD IT!"

Scurry scurry scurry. ("Focus that light." "Bring it down to six." "Okay, start again.")

The poor actors standing there for 10 out of 12 hours -- that's what equity allows for "tech." With luck they'll finish one act and then do it all again tomorrow for act two. Hideous.

Shawn and I, meanwhile...



Shawn and I arrived early and went to the POZ Booth where they had a stack of magazines with Shawn on the cover.

I went up to the stage and got behind the piano.

I have to confess I was a bit disappointed in the situation. I was scheduled to sing as part of the entertainment in this huge room -- and as regular readers already know, I get frustrated when they schedule me as "entertainment." I need a quiet room where I can sing these songs and we can all get into the same place emotionally.

Well, the room this morning -- it was like a convention. There were booths set up for people doing demonstrations, giving out t-shirts and pens and other assorted "gimmes" -- a busy loud room... (And I'm not slamming POZ -- the venue was difficult for them, too, and I totally appreciated the chance to promote TLS. I'm just telling you how it was.)

For instance, I was singing "Save Me A Seat" for the sound check; I hadn't gotten three lines into the song when an exhibitor approached the stage, walked up as closely to me as she could and complained about the volume -- I mean, truly, how loud can "Save Me A Seat" GET even with a loud PA?? I just looked at her and said, "Lady, I'm just the 'entertainment.' Don't ask me about sound."

Well, she must have found the sound guys because suddenly the volume on the PA dropped to below detectable limits. I might as well have been doing Chinese hand puppets up there. But I kept my cool and just dealt with the situation as it was.

Then, the biggest most hugest drag queen (who told me backstage that he used to be a pentecostal preacher) -- whose name was "Mother" -- came out and introduced me. We were already late so I skipped the first few songs and went right into "Somebody's Friend" followed by "The Group" and "Going It Alone."

Amazingly, people started to gather near the stage and listen. So. I ripped into "At Least I Know What's Killing Me" and when I said the line, "...I'd rather be me with AIDS than to have to be you without it..." the whole room cheered. Even "Mama" came out and stood by me laughing.

So, I told her to go to the mic and help me with "Friendly Fire." I tore into "Friendly Fire," getting her to lead the crowd on the call and response section, and ended my set to rousing applause.

I still wish they'd given me a quiet room so I could really commune with my pozzie brothers and sisters, but we takes what we can gets in this life. Y'know?

I stood with Shawn for awhile and then got a backrub, but I was so anxious to get the new pictures posted here onsite, I left early and came back here and worked on this new diary and photos. I went back about 2:30 and heard two hilarious women comediennes doing a routine about how they worked so hard to finally make it to their dream gig, "One where people are just walking around ignoring us...". They got us all going. Stephanie and Bonnie I think they were called.

I spoke to Megan Whiting who asked me if I could do the Expo next month -- the 17th I think -- in San Francisco. Well, Ken McPherson has already told me I have a permanent home with him with I'm in the City by the Bay, so I'm going. Look out! Shack Attack is coming Back!!

Earlier, Shawn was in my loft taking a good long nap after a long day at the Expo doing temporary tatoos with the HIV poz Playboy centerfold, Rebekkah Armstrong. I could tell she was really into Shawnboy... some smart girl better grab him while she can.

Shawn's music has also infected my car. He brought a cassette of his new "Synthetic Division" album, called "Tainted Goods" which he just got mastered and which I presume will be on sale soon through his site. The best, though, was tonight I got to watch professional wrestling with him.

Sunday night we were going to bowl with Kim and Mama Ronda, but it looks like we're headed back to Laguna to watch an evening runthrough with all the light cues. Then Jimmy and the cast have Monday off. Next week: Previews & the opening!!

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.