Funny the World...


April 21, 2000

Oh lord, what a couple of days! I’m exhausted and I have miles to go before I sleep.

I didn’t comment about the 19th in Santa Barbara because I wanted the page to Paul to go up yesterday, so I’ll talk about it today. When I got to Santa Barbara, there was a message from Steve saying he was coming in on the train, so I was down at the train station for his 11:45 train, ready to whisk him up to UC Santa Barbara to meet the peer educators prior to his appearance before the human sexuality class. The train didn’t arrive until 12:15, so we were late, but still managed to hook up with the counselors and went to the class. Unfortunately he was only given 10 minutes to speak and you can hardly even say "Schalchlin" in 10 minutes. But, standing in front of a gigantic overhead of a poster of himself, our humble Steve gave the class a little information about himself and the evening’s show and invited them to come.

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Then we went to have lunch and chat with the peer educators (Robin, Marin and someone whose name I don’t recall), after which Steve and I were on our own for the afternoon. We went back to the house and watched videotape of Dickie’s memorial and inurnment services. We both cried. We also had a nice chat, which I liked. And I got to hear Steve’s new CD, which is fantastic, and which should be released next week sometime.

We were back on campus at 7 for sound check and the 8 pm. show. The turnout was disappointing, but I suspect it wasn’t as bad as it looked. It’s a 600 seat house, and though there were about 50 people there (larger than some theatres where Steve has given this show), they were scattered all over the theatre, giving the impression of an empty house.

Nonetheless, the performance was great. I had not seen him do this show for an audience of strangers before and even though I know all the songs, all the shtick and all the stories, watching him put it together for this group was really incredible. Afterwards, girls came up to him with tears streaming down their faces. He has that effect on people. I sure wish I could get a hook on how to entice folks to come and hear him. It really has been, for many folks, a life-altering experience, which repeats itself over and over again as he travels around to different campuses talking with kids.

One of the most remarkable things about Steve is that he is so totally open and accepting. He’s up front with his disease, will answer any question, no matter how personal, and he’s dedicated not only to educating people about AIDS, but also about putting a face on homophobia--who could remain homophobic after sitting through an evening of Steve?

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Steve went to bed shortly after we got home. I stayed up writing a "review" of his show for his fan mailing list. Then I ended up waking up at 4:30 and spending an hour and a half uploading photos to my Club Photo Page so that the folks on the list could see the pictures. I’m thrilled with how well they came out. [2009 note:  I no longer have a Club Photo account]

This afternoon we wandered around downtown Santa Barbara, sat on the porch at the old Mission and chatted, had a fantastic pasta lunch in a lovely courtyard, and then I dropped him off at the train station to catch his 1:50 train back to LA.

Of course this meant that I didn’t get started home until 2 and that 8 hour drive seemed like 16. But I managed to make it home safely. Now I have a 10 page paper to transcribe before morning and in the morning I have to leave for the San Francisco airport (2 hours from here) at the crack of dawn to meet Jeri’s plane from Boston.

The best thing about driving all the way to Santa Barbara to meet up with Steve and be his "aid de camp" (which I describe as the aid who helps him camp it up!) is that it gave me Something To Do in these difficult days around Paul’s 1 year anniversary. I didn’t get nearly as emotional as I expected to because I was too busy fetching and carrying for Steve for two days. And in the end, the day didn’t end up being all about Paul, but all about Steve (which, as anyone who knows him will agree, is the way it always seems to be!)

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created 4/21/00 by Bev Sykes