... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next fridge door belongs to my friend Martha, in Cincinnati.

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* Discussion *

What's your idea of the best place to live?

Talk about it here.


Deja Dead
Kathy Reichs

(not for the squeamish!)


The West Wing

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.

Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

That's it for today!


16 August 2001

When Steve performed for Hospice volunteers and caregivers in Columbus, someone videotaped it. Our friend Sarah sent me the videotape a couple of weeks ago and it. is. good. It's so good that Walt, who often has the attitude "ho-hum, another Steve show?" was passing through the family room when I was watching it and stopped to watch for a second and ended up standing there through the remainder of the hour and a half, occasionally wiping away a furtive tear.

The guy knows how to work an audience. And what makes it special is that no matter how many times I hear him tell the stories (I can probably tell his "Potsie story" or his "Sharon Stone story" myself by now), I'm never unmoved by them. It comes from the fact that no matter how many times he says the same things, he's always speaking truth, truth that comes from his life experience, and truth that comes from his gut and it's the truth that grabs you.

As his self-appointed publicist for the past 2 years, I've discovered that he's very difficult to market. If you tell somebody that this is a singer/songwriter living with AIDS who talks to college, high school, and medical groups telling his story about what it's like to live with this disease, they kind of give you a "so what?" look. Doesn't sound like a very exciting program.

You can even expand on it, and talk about how lives are changed by attending one of Steve's performances, about how many college kids write and talk about perceptions being changed, about the people who have written to talk about their lives being saved by hearing Steve's songs. It still doesn't grab them. These are just words and it's impossible to translate them into the emotion that comes from seeing Steve live.

So when I saw this tape, my first reaction is that we have to get Steve into the hospice system, and into the medical teaching system. He was such a hit at Stanford both times he performed, but the turnout each time was meager, 'cause--what can a non-doctor teach doctors about living with AIDS, right? Yet the doctors who were there came away changed. They all do.

(Stop reading this, Steve...you don't need your ego inflated)

Steve is best promoted by word of mouth. Someone sees the show and raves about it to someone else, etc. etc. Heck, that's how I came into this family too. Someone raved to me about this show he'd just seen, I managed to go see it, I met Steve, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So I decided that I would call two friends of mine here in town. Both are very active with all sorts of caregiving organizations and one is the wife of a physician (I was never sure exactly which branch of medicine David is in). One of the women suggested I invite another woman who is very active with the caregiving organizations.

No fool, I. I invited them for lunch and then to watch the videotape. Who is going to say no to a free lunch? And a chance to visit with me!

I went all out for this lunch. Spent two days cleaning up the family room and kitchen, I planned a fancy salad, made a special bread, and fixed a dessert. I even made a floral arrangement for the centerpieces.

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By 12:15 when none of the three women had shown up, I was convinced I'd somehow gotten the day wrong, but no, eventually they did all arrive and we had a delightful luncheon. (I'm not a "luncheon person," but I discovered it was really fun having them here.)

When dessert was finished, I talked about who Steve is and why I was so eager to have them see this videotape. They were polite. It was the familiar "yeah, so?" face, but they were my friends and they were polite--and I'd just fed them, so they couldn't refuse to watch my videotape.

When you are sitting in a theatre and something is happening on stage that is totally engrossing, there is a moment when the silence becomes almost palpable. You can FEEL people listening. They don't move in their chairs, I swear they don't even blink their eyes. I wait for that moment when I'm watching a show--especially one like this where I don't have to pay close attention to the actual performance.

Somewhere about halfway through the videotape, I was aware that this kind of silence had descended on my family room. I knew they were hooked.

And then as the songs kept coming, they started making comments like "he's amazing." "This is very powerful," etc.

At the conclusion all sorts of ideas came tumbling out about where he could perform, where a videotape could be used, what could be done with a foundation. The doctor whose field I could never remember turns out to be the head of the AIDS unit at a local hospital and is in charge of AIDS education for the medical school. Duh!!! Was this ever perfect or what? (I sent her home with both a CD and a videotape for her to show to her husband.)

They all left here still stunned and talking about what a powerful performance it was.

Heh heh heh. You don't have to go Bloomingdale's to sign up for the Steve Schalchlin Fan Club, but if you hang around me--or any number of the host of people who are part of The Last Session family--you'll wind up in the I Love Steve Club anyway. He just has that effect on people.

When he wrote a song about his own memorial service, he says that when he finished writing it, he realized that what he was really trying to say was that he just wanted to be remembered after his death. He didn't want to be forgotten. He want to have mattered to someone.

Well. I think he's got that one covered pretty well.

One Year Ago:
Tech support???

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/16/01 by Bev Sykes