Friday, April 25, 2008
1) "No" means "NO!" the first time!
2) Yes, I am younger than you are! That does NOT make me a child!
Thank you for your indulgence. Have a great weekend, everybody!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Why are these loaded questions? Why does it take so much thought? It’s as simple as talking to anyone else you meet in real life. Right?
In reality, yes. But when it comes to fans and the objects of their affection, we’re not in reality.
When fans are getting ready to meet their idols, or if they are suddenly presented with the opportunity out of the blue, talking to them is not just about an average conversation. When fans are really drop-dead honest with themselves, they want – they NEED - something very specific out of this encounter.
They want their idol to like them back.
In words on a screen, that looks pretty simple. In practice it is anything but. Each fan has a specific idea of how that meeting is going to go. And for those who make an effort to get that meeting to happen (fan club meeting, book signing, whatever) there is more dreaming, planning, fantasizing, even role-playing in some cases, in an effort to prepare for any scenario. But you can't guarantee that real life will go the way of your visions.
To make it more complicated there’s always a fear that everyone knows about, but no one wants to voice, or even admit to themselves or anyone else:
They’re afraid their idol won’t like them.
Everyone wants to be the girl that Barry enjoys dancing/singing with. (I’m referring again to the commentary track on Manilow Live!) Everyone wants to be the one that can get him to laugh at something, or appreciate a gift. NO ONE wants to be “that girl” that he tries to ignore because she’s trying too hard, or that he “mails it in” for during a dance, or worst of all, the one that Stiletto staff laugh and gossip about later. (Disclaimer: I do not know whether that last one happens or not. Some individuals in various forums claim that it has.)
Now let’s add some irony: when given the opportunity to talk to their idol, the more you plan, the harder it is. Case in point: the BMIFC filmed Barry’s Q&A session at a Florida convention in 1989. No one has done more to prepare to talk to Barry than the people attending this type of gathering. The link below is from DailyMotion.com. He makes his entrance and invites the group to start the conversation. He literally says, “Talk to me!” "Ask me something!" The responses are all over the place. He realizes that it will take forever to get them going the straightforward route - he's carrying the conversation - so he switches to fielding questions that were sent in from other parts of the world. Then after a while people started to loosen up enough so that there is actual chatting back and forth.
I’m not in a position to give advice because if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I analyze things to death and over-think them. I can empathize with the fear of rejection; my one experience in that regard has made me profoundly gunshy about meeting anyone in any branch of entertainment, in spite of the long list of good encounters I’ve had.
The best meetings I can remember were the simplest. Especially the ones in “Not What You See”. Sure, there was some preparation to get the conversation rolling and I had to clarify what I thought my role was and keep myself in a mentally comfortable place. But that is what made it simple – I made myself comfortable in my own skin and made myself stop freaking out about being in an unusual place.
So if I had that phone call or random encounter what would I say?
I’ll have to get back to you on that one. ;-) If I felt comfortable spilling any amount of my guts to Barry, everything in this blog would have been put in a letter and mailed to Los Angeles a long time ago. But it feels safer putting it here; the Internet is a big place and there is no way that organization is going to plow through all of this. The odds against a random meeting are astronomical so I can afford to not stress out thinking about it. How’s that for the coward’s way out? 8^D
Friday, April 18, 2008
OK, I feel stupid not knowing about the "Flight of the Bumblebee" piece when I commented on the William Tell Overture. Again, people don't get how technically advanced you have to be to "just have fun" with a complicated work.
Snacks for thought:
Where did he get the idea from?
How long did it take him to practice FOTB until he could play the kazoo in front of people?
Are his lips sore afterwards?
I'm quitting before this goes straight down the gutter.....
So what next big classical challenge should Barry have in his shows? Enough of this baby talk, it's time to get serious. My vote is for Franz Liszt's Transcendental Etude #4 in D Minor ("Mazeppa"). By himself. No help from the other 3 guys who do "New York City Rhythm" with him.
One of the things that really stayed with me from the days as a small child when my father is trying to impose classical music on me is that the comedians and satirists are the ones who are not only the most technically proficient, but also have the deepest love for the work that words alone (serious words, anyway) cannot convey. They love it as completely and honestly like a child loves holding a favorite doll and it comes through in parody. Classical music has Peter Schickele, opera has Anna Russell (what she did with Wagner's Ring Cycle is either genius or criminal depending upon your approach) and classical ballet has Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Barry has that same kind of love and it always comes across - even on a kazoo.
Speaking of gutters, "Somewhere In the Night" in our house as always been a signal that one or both of us needs some fast action in the bedroom NOW. Then we listened to the commentary track. Domesticated doves are nothing more than high-falutin' pigeons. No different than the skyrats in any major city. So thanks to that commentary, SITN now brings visions of pigeon shit. I really need to get past that. Thanks, guy..... LOL!!
Please don't get me wrong on this - Pete and I were just dying when we heard the anecdote on this. Most times, Barry's talking about technical details, how he felt at different points in the show, elsewhere he talks about how much he enjoyed the girl he picked for CSWY, and then he gets to SITN and we're thinking, "Oh, wow, what does he have to say on this one?" as he's really getting into selling the song. And lo and behold he talks about.....bird shit! So now we're laughing through the whole thing, and at bed time, well - we just thought more than twice about putting on that song!!
On a more high-brow note, this video was my first intro to songs from Harmony. More often than not a rock or pop star writing a musical is usually some cheap publicity plonk. Not this time. Fans who have been involved more than I have know as well as I now do that this is going to be one amazing piece of work on stage. Only one other comes close. Email for the detail. ;-) "Stars in the Night" is on that short list of songs that can get me to tears.
The real point of this post is to hold you over until I can get some work done on a post on Manilow Musings. Check this one out from texas_fan, it's really worth some thought and discussion:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The original article is here: Band Directors Laud Manilow's gift of instruments (Published in The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, CA, 4/15/2008)
I blogged on Barry's original donation here with some of my own first-hand experiences with how music programs benefit all aspects of a student's life: Better Minds Through Music
The current article had me jumping up and yelling because on this subject, Barry and I are --->here<--- Even back when I was a kid, my folks knew you can't expect a tax-funded entity to provide every opportunity your child needs to be the best person they can be.
"I think everybody should do it. At your kids' school you can buy a clarinet and they would be very grateful for that clarinet.
"I thought the school system takes care of things like this. Well, they don't. Or they won't. Anybody that wants these kids playing music, they can do it."
To take that little epiphany one step further, you don't really want those kinds of opportunities left entirely in the states' hands either. (I'm going libertarian here - please bear with me.) American politics has its own Golden Rule: "Whoever has the gold, makes the rules." The minute the government has the final say over parents and families on education - especially subjects considered subjective like the arts - you're at their mercy. Tax money will always be tight. It wasn't long ago California's finances were as bad as Georgia's after the Civil War. Teachers were even being paid with IOU's. Whadaya think happened to core academic subjects, let alone the arts and sports, in those conditions? Besides, a tax-funded entity being in charge of artistic subjects means everyone is going to try to enforce their opinion on what is "appropriate". You want artistic freedom? "Just say NO" to tax money, and a lot of red tape and headaches will disappear. (But that's a rant for another day.)
When I've talked to people about Barry's involvement in his local schools and adapting that example locally, I always hear the lamest excuse in the book: "Well it's easy for him, he's a celebrity and has more money than God. Of course Barry can make donations like that happen."
Let's look at the basics: for all strictly practical purposes, Barry is a local businessman who has an interest in music as well as in supporting the local schools and youth, and the business connections that fill this need. Now what community doesn't have that in some form?
I can give you an even better example of what private citizens can do for their children and youth when they pool their resources.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) started founding private schools to serve impoverished Appalacian communities more than 100 years ago. Women did not have the right to vote, and holding public office was out of the question, so they couldn't rely on the government. Some state governments (Georgia, N/S Carolina, Kentucky) had already decided against establishing schools in these rural areas. Not even a church or religious community would found a school in these regions. Individual DAR society members saw children who needed education and a way out of the extreme poverty they were existing in. So they started to teach the children nearby. Often times it was a matter of having children enter their own homes and teaching them to read, usually from the Bible. Then they gathered their friends, passed the hat, and built a school building - usually with dormitories because the students' families were so broken they didn't have a legitimate home. Then after spreading the word of the progress they were making, and needs still to be met, the National DAR got behind the effort to encourage all members world-wide to lend their support as needed.
Six of these schools were established in (5 in Appalachia, one in Massachusetts) to meet needs more desperate than any of us "Barry Bloggers" ever imagined for music programs. In addition, two more schools were founded out west for Native American tribes eeking out a living on the reservations they were forced into. Today, children from poverty usually seen in third-world countries, or with major learning disabilities or other major risk factors are getting an education and a future that otherwise wouldn't be possible. Links to all of these schools with their histories are here.
To this day, the DAR is paying to ensure that these children have hope and a future. With only one exception (Kate Duncan Smith school in Alabama) they are independent of any government. Society members serve as Board of Trustee members and contributors of money and other material goods as needed. Students need clothing? Here ya go! Campbells soup labels or pop tops for a corporate school support program? Here, share some of ours from our kids' schools. Items to sell in the thrift shop for fundraising? We'll hire some trucks. Where should we send them?
And all of this was possible because rural non-celebrities with no voice in government used what they had and put it in action because that's what was needed, and their successors today continue the tradition.
These are entire schools that were built and still serving their communities needs today.
Now doesn't funding a music program by private citizens for your average school district look easy?
No more excuses!
There was info included in the article for others to add their own support.
For Barry's Manilow Music Project in the Palm Springs area: http://www.manilowfund.org/
For schools in your own area - pick up the phone and give them a call. No one is going to turn down an interested citizen.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Do you post on the BarryNet?
Aren't you really ___________ on the BarryNet?
Aren't you really ___________ on another Barry blog?
Are you in the BMIFC?
A: Nope x 4. Regarding Barry, this is the only place I post or participate.
Q: Are you banned from the BarryNet?
A: No, again. Can't be banned from a place that I never signed up for!
Q: What was the event that you described in Not What You See?
Where was the place you worked before?
A: These are off the record, folks. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I have my reasons for being extra-careful about online privacy.
Q: Why are you so hyper about revealing your name? Why not join in the other fan forums?
A: Many moons ago, I was involved in another fan group for a different artist. The politics bit me in the ass - unfairly, I might add - and it not only affected my career, but I was also physically stalked. (Details in Every Rainbow Has to Have An End) Some forms of paranoia die hard. I don't want any of those people to find me again, but I still want to vent my spleen and share my thoughts like anyone else. Hence, the precautions.
Q: Who was the musician who almost destroyed your love of music in "Every Rainbow"???
A: As much as I would like to reveal this, it would open the kettle of worms it took 10 years to recover from. Best to let sleeping dogs lie. Suffice it to say he plays in a different genre of music than Barry.
Q: Did he know you had a crush on him and how much you enjoyed his music?
A: Yes, to both. Not only that, when he produced a new CD and I posted on a bulletin board about how great it was, he went into a chat room full of my friends and lambasted my post saying it was "inaccurate" and "mean". Figure that one out. I stopped enjoying and writing about music in that moment.
Q: What does Barry or Stiletto think of your blog?
A: I can't imagine anyone in that organization has time to read any of this.
Q: This was only one show you were looking forward to - why is it such a big deal?
A: The bulk of that story is in "Every Rainbow" (linked above) and Lonely Together.
Q: Are you going to see any more of Barry's shows? If not, what will happen to this blog?
A: That would be fun. We'll see what comes in the future. Right now, Vegas isn't in the plans because I have a husband and small child (what's the difference???) and a home and community who need me here. For everyone who does schedule trips to the Hilton, I'm glad you get to the enjoy them, but I have to plan my life differently. But anything can happen and my mind is open.
As for the blog - same thing. Anything can happen. It won't go away any time I can think of, and maybe some stuff will be added from time to time. You never know when something you or ANYONE writes will hit someone just the right way. That's happened to me, and anyone can "pay it forward", as it were.
That's it for now. Thanks everyone for reading and writing in! I wasn't expecting any major responses but they were fun to read. Final notes: I am not into politics, especially the fan variety. I know there's conflicts and subgroups out there and that's the way it is. I'm not going to choose sides, or who I talk to because of that. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you, regardless of what "group" you associate with.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, April 4, 2008
Final Random Observations:
My first time getting to see Barry live, after a lifetime of waiting for the chance and it was everything I wanted, needed, and hoped for. Good thing, because unless plans change and he makes a return trip, this will be the only time. I'd like to be wrong about that. It also would be nice if I could return the favor to Barry for the music he's given and the effect it's had. Can't waste too much energy on that idea. But if the situation presents itself, I'll be there with bells on.
Thank you for everything, Barry. It's amazing what you can do when you're in the right place at the right time.
(PS - the photo that I said needed to be framed found its way into an 8x10 this week. The afterglow is still there. Pete's fraternity pledge brother, who we hadn't seen in years visited our home today. His exact quote was, "Geez, you really look happy!" Well, I have a lot to be happy about these days!)