Friday, October 31, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, there was one of those time-killing, mind-wandering threads on the Network speculating what fans would dress Barry up as for Halloween.
I live in a neighborhood where Halloween is a world-class event. Outrageous sets, house decorations that show up on TV and in the newspapers, haunted house attractions, and thousands - literally THOUSANDS - of trick-or-treaters.
Barry could put on any of the outfits he wears on stage and walk down the middle of the street as himself. Best of all, no one would bother him because everyone would either be gawking at the house displays, or, if visitors did notice him, they would just assume he was some local neighbor dressed up as Barry Manilow for Halloween.
It will never happen, but it's fun to imagine it.
Happy Halloween, gang!
(Update: Barry's shows were completely cancelled this week due to his illness. Again, condolences to those in Vegas and hopes that Barry will recover soon.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

But the World Goes 'Round

It looks like some fans are going to Plan B their evening tonight. Truly, I'm sorry things didn't work out.

There has to be something going around the hotel. The day after I left I had a head/throat cold (still have it ::hack::) and the 3-year-old has been coughing up a storm. Then Barry comes down with bronchitis. Then I hear of other friends and fans getting sick this weekend too.

To everyone visiting, I hope you enjoy whatever else you find in Vegas tonight.

Barry - for God's sake take care of yourself. No one wants a show so badly that they want to see you or anyone else sick or injured.


(I'm working on another post that will include some of the less crappy pictures I managed to get and some other thoughts that have come out since returning home. I swear, it feels like only minutes ago that I saw my first of three shows last week. If you'd like GOOD pictures don't wait around here, check out Manilow Musings.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OT: "I'm YBA and I Approved This Message"

Late last night I was planning a post along the lines of "Why Discussing Politics on the Internet is a Bad Idea". I watched a fight break out on a listserv I belong to composed of people with stronger bonds than those based on what music they listened to. I was reminded of my city's first election where friends attacked each other via blogs, and how the anonymous blogs have multiplied. Strange how more talk has led to less communication, even locally.

Presidential elections are the worst. I was tired of the bullshitting and posturing back in June. I don't think it will ever change because American elections have been like this since Thomas Jefferson ran against John Adams. Talk about close elections and nasty campaigning - IMHO that was the worst of all, even by today's standards.

I wear my heart on my sleeve in a lot of things and I've been hurt my share of times, so when I know some debate is going to get heated, I've learned to back out of it. I don't look at my laptop screen and see light and chips, I see the people behind it. But I don't always expect the people I see on the other end to reciprocate. So I get internally defensive when I see an online political conflict on the horizon. (Which was the inspiration behind "Why Don't We Live Together.")

It's no secret that Barry has supported Democratic candidates for as long as anyone can remember. But unlike most (all?) of his contemporaries and colleagues in entertainment, he doesn't mix his musical performances or appearances with his political support. Further, you never hear about said support through Stiletto, his website, or whatever. It's always from a blog or another source.

So I was initially disheartened when some fans broke from that example and mixed music and politics by starting a Democratic group on the Network. From years and years of past experience I initially believed the scenario would turn out like other online groups I've known: where anyone who agrees w/ the POV of the "artist in residence" will gleefully use their voice and those who disagree would be warily silent, or bullied if they voiced their opinion.

As of today, I'm glad and relieved to say that I was wrong about that. I seriously was concerned about sticking my neck out and saying that my opinion was the opposite of the more vocal ones. So others were braver than I and started engaging in that "tolerant discourse" that is much encouraged but never happens. (CC, you're my hero. Keep an eye on your email.) And son of a gun - it actually stayed tolerant. Even as other *ahem* "alternative" opinions crept out of the woodwork and passions were raised - the bullying I imagined hasn't happened. And TPTB let the discussion thread stay - something else I kept my eye on.

So again, I've found hope for humanity. We're not out of the woods yet - the main election is a week away, and then there will be fallout. Let's see if the "tolerance" holds out - I'm more hopeful that it will, whatever happens.

Keep in mind kids: the only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner, whatever party they belong to. So keep remembering you're dealing with real people here on 11/5.


Updates 10/31/2008:
Points of order:
  • Disagreement is not "venom", no matter how passionate it is
  • Copying/pasting an article from someone else's blog is not the same as making an argument for yourself
  • Belittling people who disagree with you does not change their minds
  • Demonizing those who disagree with you will NOT lead to "healing" and "unification" after the election, no matter who wins
  • If you accuse someone of bad behaviour, read your own posts and make sure you're not guilty of it yourself. It won't kill you to try and see yourself through someone else's eyes
  • No one likes a sore winner any more than a sore loser. See the point above about that outcome.
The only reason the Network hasn't gone to hell yet is because TPTB are staying out of the fan discussions. Praise be for small favors.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here's to Las Vegas

Home. Not nearly as kept up as Pete said it would be but what the hell - TLF was happy to have Mommy home.

First thing this morning was a parent/teacher conference. Yep, I'm back in reality. Of course, after the main conference was over, the teacher wanted to hear all about Vegas! So a lot of random thoughts come out that my head was just too crowded for the past few days.


I'm glad I didn't bring my husband. I love him more than life but there are certain *ahem* ASSpects of this show that you can't demonstrate your full appreciation for if the spousal unit is present.

Nice moment: during one of the shows (Friday, I think but not completely sure) someone tried to hand Barry a rose from the stage seats. He doesn't accept gifts from the stage anymore. It seemed that he understood that her intentions were very good. He accepted the spirit and sentiment behind the gesture by blowing the girl a kiss. I thought that was really sweet.

Just like in Risky Business, "sometimes you have to say 'what the fuck' ". Downing 6 Cosmos and wiggling my ass like an idiot and hugging Chickieboo from Tempo's house band cleared more cobwebs out of my head than all of the coffee klatches and therapy in the world.

Nothing makes a little girl happier than a feather boa and a stuffed animal.

However you describe it: Karma, the Golden Rule, etc, it's true. You reap what you sow. It's not a threat or a restrictive dogma, it's an opportunity to have good things and great people in your world. I went on this trip wanting nothing more than a good time for myself and anyone else of good will. In return I came home with friends I couldn't have conceived of a year ago. Even in the bar, a couple of complete strangers bought me a drink for no other reason than that it was my birthday and I was happy about it. My faith in humanity is restored.

The 80s record is going to be great, if the 2 songs I heard are any indication. I know a lot of people roll their eyes or are otherwise weary of the "Greatest Songs Of..." series but as always, this is Barry we're talking about here. He knows what he's doing. Just give it a listen before you decide whether to like it or not.

I still won't complain if he finds some way to release all-original material, too.

I don't care what anyone thinks of me for saying this - Barry is more attractive today than he ever has been, period. And I was close enough to make that call. ;-)

I think I'm starting to "get" song medleys now, whether it's Barry or whoever else is putting them together. (I'm probably wrong about the following but this is how it looked to me in my seat.) I thought by putting the medleys into a series, he was taking parts of songs that created the same "build" as a single song, then introduced the 80s singles as a climax. NOW I can see that they work. Before, I thought each line of each song was just a teaser and you didn't really "get" the feel of the song. But it doesn't seem to be about that one song, it's the presentation as a whole and it FINALLY makes sense.

Barry's entourage and security team have their positioning down to an art form. Even the Blue Angels don't fly in as tight a formation as these people move when Barry is out in public. Probably common knowledge for anyone who's been to these shows in Vegas before but it was a first for me.

Pete was very happy to get his wife back last night. I had three days of provacative shows and REALLY close views of crotch grabs and ass wiggles, and all that sexual energy had to go somewhere. He asked for Stiletto's mailing address. I think he wants to send them a thank-you note.

Unlike some of our online friends, there's no "post Manilow depression". Who could be depressed after a weekend like that? Just because you're back home? Don't you realize that if you're there for the music, you don't leave anything behind when you return home - if anything, you've already got a piece of Barry with you from being a part of that performance. Play your cards right and approach it the right way, and you won't need anything else.

When Barry brought his show to Atlanta, I thought it would be my one-and-only. I had no idea I would have this trip to enjoy too. So I'm not going to assume that it's over and there will be no other shows, etc. We'll just see what happens. That's worked out pretty well so far.

To Barry and the huge crowd of people who make these shows possible: I know this is just a regular job and a day at the office for all of you. Please don't underestimate the positive impact that your work has. My spirit was refreshed in a way that I needed for a long time, and I'll bet most people visiting have a similar story.

Thank you.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 3: This Is the Show I Came For!!!

I got my wish! Big fan audience last night. I was wrong, there is a difference in the performance when Barry and the gang don't have to pull teeth and reassure them it's OK to get up and have fun. Not something you can put words to - the performance is just more...intense, more energetic, more....I dunno what the words are.

And Barry seemed to be having a lot more fun throwing back to the crowd what he was receiving from them. I was afraid to draw that conclusion before last night because you don't want to ASSume what someone is thinking when they're performing. But now I'm convinced - if you hear that the show wasn't as energetic, involved, etc, there's a 99% chance that's coming from the audience.

People had the time of their lives and behaved at the same time. No desperate clinging from the stage seats, no yelling at anyone to siddown. I can handle pretty much anything if everyone's just getting into the show - yell, scream, talk, dance, spill drinks, have an orgasm, take your clothes off, it doesn't matter. Besides we're all going home tomorrow so this has to be good.

The only moments that came close to silence were (again ) "Somewhere Down the Road". It wasn't totally quiet this time like the last 2 shows. There was a lot of sniffling and Kleenex-rattling. For me it was a challenge - I'M NOT GOING TO CRY AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!! My eyes were pretty full though, just like in "Forever and a Day" back in March.

The only thing I would have asked TPTB if the opportunity arose was "How's Keely holding up?" After a loss like that you don't know how well or how soo someone's going to recover. Obviously I couldn't ask anyone so I could only watch from the audience. Keely, you looked great and our prayers are still with you.

And after the show is just as fun. Some people feel tense or some other kind of pressure if they think/know the band is coming to the bar afterwards. But last night we knew they were packed up and headed for home so we could let our hair down too. Yeah, yeah, that was me in the riduculous birthday hat and flipping off my friend's camera. I would NEVER have done that sober. Hope you enjoyed that little interlude, because you'll never see that again!

Hope everyone has a safe flight home where we will get back to reality. More when I get unpacked and spend some time with my husband and little girl.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 2: Someday We're Going to Look Back on This and Laugh

Got my first taste of a truly civillian audience last night.

Oy vey....

No matter how great the show is, those creatures will just suck the life out of you. To the rear last night was a row of fat, ugly, drunk, stupid, know-it-all salesmen from a nearby convention, straight out of an SNL skit. To my right were some ancient types with one foot in the grave who didn't find it fun to get up and dance. I tried to be nice, really. Like help the grandmas activate their glowsticks, etc etc. Waste of time. Everyone to my left and in front of me was looking forward to a good time. However, whenever they did, I was treated to the curmudgeonly rantings of Methusela's mom telling 100 people to sit down.

Forget nice. Bite me, lady, this is a party and I'm here to enjoy it!

More show elements that money can't buy came from the opposite end of the spectrum: stage left seats (the audience's right) became Barry's personal La Brea tar pits. He shook hands with the front row per his usual and an already-trapped beast pulled him in with both front paws. Barry was struggling hard to get free; literally a tug-of- war with his right arm as the rope. The beasts paid for it though - he didn't get anywhere near those seats the rest of the night. How did that work out for ya? Not so great, huh?

The opposite stage seat folks behaved themselves and were rewarded with more interaction. Some of my friends got some attention throughout the show. (Hey Kim - he wasn't looking at your eyes, dear.)

But in spite of this start and the usual kvetching by the uninitiated, the show was just as great as last night. If the Barry and the band were affected by the crowd, I didn't see it. So for everyone on stage - if it took more effort to reach the civilian types, it wasn't you - it was a rough crowd. "Somewhere Down the Road/Ships" brought the entire crowd to stunned, awe-inspired silence. Except for the ones who broke down in tears. (I can still keep from crying, though I'm losing that grip.)

I actually tore my eyes away from Barry long enough to watch other parts of the performance. The light show was outstanding. You can tell someone put a lot of thought into conceptualizing and testing out the patterns and timing. I still can't get a decent shot of Barry on stage because he won't hold still long enough and I refuse to risk blinding him with a flash. What the the hell - I'm not going to forget anything I saw on stage this weekend.

Eventually the crowd relaxed enough where the fans could as well. By the time we got to the climax on the catwalk (pun intended) we all forgot what civillians were. I think the old crones were shocked into catatonia by the womens' favorite moves. The worst of them left right at the encore. Hallefuckinlujah.

If that wasn't enough, the adrenaline got higher in Tempo later on. When the boys in the black suits and the wires growing out of their ears block off the side entrance and do obvious walk-through look-sees through the casino, you know Barry et al are going to come bend their elbows. And they did. So naturally the scene was exactly as I described in "One Ass Grab Too Many". That kind of show is just priceless. Just no other words. I watched from a distance as I sipped my Cosmo and watched purses while those who didn't spend all of their energy in the concert danced some more. If Human Theatre had awards, this would have gotten a Tony.

A few minutes later, Barry came running out of the side entrance like his ass was on fire, trailing his security detail. Garry had to jog to catch up with them. There is already a consensus on what - or more likely, who - they were running from.

So the scene finally calmed down some and the serious fans could meet and chat. I had the priviledge of showing some of my new friends a special memento I ran across a few weeks ago: a complete, collector-quality copy of the December 1965 issue of Playboy. Yes, the one with THAT letter and response. I've been looking forward to sharing that for a while and I'm glad so many got to enjoy it as much as I do.

As you can tell from the time stamp, I'm still running on Eastern time. One more show tonight and since it's Saturday I'm expecting a seriously fun crowd who is more interested in reflecting the energy back to the stage than leaving their butt prints on the seats. Watching Barry on stage is like being at home. But in my real home, TLF is asking her father "Where's Mommy?" so I need to high-tail it back on Sunday before my heart breaks.

It wasn't a bad night last night. I'm giggling just writing about it and getting some strange stares from the other business center users.

Fans only, tonight, OK???


Friday, October 24, 2008

Birthday in Vegas, Day 1: Anybody Got a Cigarette?

It was worth not sleeping for a week to get ready for this.
I'm keeping this short, the room internet sux and I'm in the Hilton business office because I just could NOT wait to post this.
You've heard the set list and other design changes to the new show on the Barrynet, the Network, wherever, so I'm not going to bug you with that here.
My own observations from last night:
1) Damn, that room is small! It looks huge on the DVD and I remember it seeming bigger when I saw another act here 10 years ago. But it bears repeating, there's no such thing as a bad seat in that house.
2) Unless your seat is in front of a bunch of killjoy civilians that won't let you stand when you need to during the show! (I would have been on my feet for the whole damn thing had it not been for the old farts behind me.)
3) Which means Barry was putting more into getting a reaction out of this crowd. VERY different from the arena show I saw in March. Similar set list, similar atmosphere screen, but different show. He's said this in interviews, serious fans go to see him in the arenas, but he gets everybody in this room so getting a reaction out of them takes more work. (Cement mixer convention??? Yikes....)
4) Good seats. REAL good. Like in less than 15 feet from the top of the catwalk. (I almost ducked when that thing came down on our heads.) Which means I had the "best seat in the house" for the usual shenanigans up there. Nice grab, guy. >;-) That moment was better than sex. (Sorry, Pete)
5) THANK YOU for the songs from the new album!!! I knew he would cover Rick Astley well but I just couldn't wrap my head around the "Islands in the Stream" cover. It was incredible. Very hot, very sexy menage a quatre with the girls. Kenny and Dolly can hang it up - just burn the original, this version is a quantum leap over it.

I need breakfast and I've got a nail appointment to keep. Two more nights of this and I'll need to be carried on the plane on Sunday. Crossing my fingers for a couple of more tidbitst his weekend.

Thanks for the best birthday weekend ever, B!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Riders to the Stars

Some folks have money, and others survive
God knows, it's not easy just bein' alive
The dreamer dreams on, and dreams never die
Long as we try

I had enough to do this time around that I didn't have a moment to obsess over a countdown to takeoff. ;-)

Most of the work deadlines are out of the way. My clients know I'm going to be out of town, they know WHY, and they REALLY know that trying to reach me on my cel phone during this trip will be hazardous to their health.

So now I have a few moments to think. "Riders to the Stars" has been stuck in my head for a few days. The music in that one gets to me more than the lyrics, it's just the sense of excitement that I've been trying to ignore while being a responsible adult.

I am the luckiest woman alive. Everything I have ever wanted in life, I have right now. My home, my husband, my family, my friends and neighbors, my gorgeous daughter, a career to support all of the above that has a proud past and a future that just recently turned brighter.

That doesn't mean life isn't busy or is all rosy and perfect. We all know it isn't. But knowing what's important and worth dwelling on and what isn't is the key to recognizing all the wonderful things we have.

When I finally had time to peruse the Manilow world, and look at the comments of other people going to this week's shows, I noticed there are a lot of us who are going because we have something to celebrate. There is a parade of us celebrating birthdays, especially milestone ones, lots of us received our trip from relatives as a gift. Others are celebrating surviving a major illness and just being alive.

This Thursday, I start celebrating the Big 4-0, and take time to lay down life's usual burden for a while. I don't want to hear about politics of any kind, I don't care who likes who, or who is pissed at who, or whatever petty schoolyard stuff that should have been left behind in junior high. We're going to be in the middle of the world's biggest playground for adults. We have so much to be happy about and Barry's shows to take our minds off things. My personal space is a Negativity-Free Zone. Strictly enforced.

To the new friends that I haven't met yet - I can't wait to join you. Let's play a game of "Who Can Recognize Who First". Start with my M&M picture on the Network. I'll have copies of the Manilow Wine Drinking Game and the spoof lyrics. Plus, I recently ran across a very rare, very special item (Barry-related) that I would love to show you. And I can't think of anyone else I want to share this birthday with, that I have been looking forward to since I turned 30!

And I lift my head right up to the sun
Never look down again

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finally, my decade!

Track list:
"Islands in the Stream” duet with Reba McEntire
“Open Arms”
“Never Gonna Give You Up”
“Have I Told You Lately”
“I Just Called to Say I Love You”
“Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”
“Careless Whisper”
“Right Here Waiting”
“Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)”
“Hard to Say I'm Sorry”
“Time After Time”
“I've Had the Time of My Life”
Here I am, working like crazy to get some deadlines out of the way before the big birthday trip, not getting (too...) distracted with the Network or anything else, then BLAM! Hotline message w/ the above press release. No one is going to complain about a new release, esp one that's been talked about and rumored for months.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw "Arthur's Theme". Barry covers Christopher Cross stuff perfectly. Plus, Arthur is one of my favorite movies. Every girl loves a Cinderella story, but this one makes me utterly homesick.
So, if anyone in LA or LV is reading this - any chance that any of these songs might suddenly sneak into the show a little early? Like, next week? Please? Pretty please??
Food for thought: couldn't help but notice Barry didn't include any of his own 80s singles here. Wonder why?
And of course, if the '80s compilation is a lead in to another release (the guitar-based album that has also been rumored and chatted about for months) there won't be any complaints from here either.
Now I have to find a way to get back to work and get my commitments done before 10/23!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"One Ass Grab Too Many"

The inspiration for the latest brainstorm came from here, and here.
A shout out to all of the fans who have to settle for less interaction because a few take their enthusiasm too far.

With apologies to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

To the tune of "One Rock n Roll Too Many" from Starlight Express.
(See post below for a video of the song if it isn't ringing a bell.)

One ass grab too many
Some are just too rude
A few don't know when to stop
So the rest suffer too

Some get too excited
Stalkers uptight
Security's on alert
And there's no dance tonight
One ass grab too many
Takes its toll on us too

One ass grab too many
Tempo's looking small
Some couldn't mind their own biz
So they put up a new wall

The stalkers all swarm, all sneaking a peek
The normal fans just want to sip drinks in peace
One ass grab too many
Takes its toll on us too

One ass grab too many
Don't wanna hear no more
What is it now?

Bring back the leather pants
Stop it already!
He's in the casino
Quick get a picture
Give him a break!
It's my 4th Platinum
"What, you again???"

One ass grab too many
Takes its toll on us too

OT - Syesha Mercado on American Idol

"One Rock n Roll Too Many"
I've had this song on the brain recently. Not because of the musical but because of Mercado's interpretation on American Idol. I like Andrew Lloyd Webber as much as the next person, but Starlight Express did nothing for me.

Syesha. Was. Robbed. for coming in 3rd on that season. She blew the entire world off that stage with this performance. Far better than the original. Everybody else should have just packed it in that night.

Most contestants (including the 2 Davids that were the finalists) just stand there and flap their hands around and pretend to feel and enjoy and express their song. Syesha just belted this one out. Look closely, even the conductor is gettin' down with it. You couldn't help but have a great time. (Kind of what I'm looking forward to in 3 weeks!) I don't want to hear the crap about "too theatrical" for pop music. If you don't have that performane element the song is going to fall flat. The minute she releases a record, I'm buying it.