Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another New Year's Eve

Wanted to get some thoughts and good wishes out before Pete and I have our private New Year's celebration.

From the Day Late and a Dollar Short Files: anyone else think that "Keep Each Other Warm" would have fit right in at the Christmas shows in Palm Springs and Chicago? There's always next year.

Our household is grateful for a good year. Not because everything was perfect but because we could see the good in whatever happened.

No saying goodbye to the old year via "moon shine". The neighbors won't know what they're missing.

Barry (and everyone else at Stiletto) congrats on an incredible run at the Hilton and thanks especially for the shows I got to see. Break a leg at the new venue. Try to get some rest in between recording sessions and promotional appearances for the new CDs. (We're still going to get Fifteen Minutes, right? I mean the CD, not your PR guy's book! ;-) )

Just when I think that there won't be any more Barry fun for me, something works itself out. So we'll see if a trip to the new show at the Paris happens. It's a night that feels like anything is possible.

Pete and I are settling in with the bottle of Dom Perignon that he promised me after TNLF was born. (1999 - supposedly a good year according to the dude in the wine shop. Not that Dom is ever made in a bad year!)

I hope everyone stopping by tonight has a wonderful 2010 and feels as happy as our family does tonight.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Counting Blessings

My first few moments of relative peace in about 10 days started.... now!

All that happiness and preparation and scheduling and getting stuff done doesn't give you the time to reflect on what you have.

Fortunately, it didn't take more than a few moments to notice peace in the whirlwind.

During one of the rare days this month that was both warm and dry, I shooed the kids out of the house to burn off energy, even though my energy was long gone. Among the dormant shrubbery were a few azaleas and wild honeysuckle in bloom.

On a morning when I don't think I'll make it through the day with the kids cooped up and cold rain outside, an extended family of eastern bluebirds lines up at the bird feeder like a smorgasboard.

I had new music for my iPod. It had been quite a while since I explored anything new. I noticed that most of it came from acts who either worked with Barry or opened for him. Usually opening acts are something to endure but I became a fan of Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, and Straight No Chaser because of those connections.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are coming to Georgia Tech in January. It's been forever since I've seen these guys live and now they're in my back yard. (I hope they do Pas de Quatre!)

Ditto Straight No Chaser. I missed their last visit to Center Stage Atlanta in November but April 2010 will be a different story.

Had a pre-holidays visit with MIL and SIL. This one was important. Pete lost his eldest sister soon after TNLF was born. Those relationships can't be the same anymore so we took some time to rebuild them from the ground up. That was a good week.

This year we were able to contribute to every charity request we came across. Not just bell-ringers for the Salvation Army either. The local police force collected toys and brought the entire community together to serve each other - haves and have-nots alike.

One I'll always remember: a team effort between our church and the county foster care services. The congregation was asked to sponsor foster children who otherwise wouldn't get any presents. Ours was an 8 year old boy, the eldest of three siblings, who only wanted a skateboard and a new coat. How can anyone NOT fulfill that kind of request?? I hope he liked them.

At home this was our first Christmas where TOLF was old enough to understand and participate in what was going on. She's still afraid of Santa Claus, although she wanted him to bring her presents. Even going so far as to make various crafts with paper and glitter and crayons as gifts. But in person, she much preferred the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and the Pink Pig. (You have to be near the ATL to understand that last one.)

The kids are finally in bed and Pete and I can finish leaving "Santa's" calling card: a pile of presents and a half-eaten gingerbread house. I got to write Santa's thank you note. TOLF really believed Santa was there. Her little sister was just bouncing because something exciting was going on. She's a baby, not an idiot, she knows how to have fun.

Finally - I don't have to do laundry this week! The greatest gift of all!

I hope everyone's Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year/whatever you're celebrating was as peaceful in your own way as was mine. I know that some other fans out there have times that are more stressful. I dish out some harsh criticism on this blog when somebody starts acting weird. I won't apologize for what I think of that. But at the same time if I see that someone's truly struggling, know that when I read your story you'll be in my thoughts and prayers, always.

Barry, I hope you got some serious R&R and that your time off was had without papparazzi or other public demands on your private time.

Back to the family. I'll come up for air again some time after January 1.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stone Soup

This is what happens when you have a lot of people getting together and contributing some of what they have to a larger whole. This is why there is no such thing as a contribution that is "too small".
Congrats to everyone involved with Barry's shows at the McCallum. You did some great things there.


Palm Springs, CA (December 15, 2009)—Pop culture icon and music legend Barry Manilow, together with the Manilow Fund for Health and Hope, raised $464,750 in much needed funds from “A Gift of Love…,” the five-night holiday concert series that Manilow performed at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA. The concert series, which ran December 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th, honored 25 local charities in Palm Springs, California, the singer’s hometown—each night benefiting five of the beneficiary charities. Manilow performed his hit songs in addition to special holiday songs featured on his new Christmas album, “In the Swing of Christmas,” released October 13th, 2009 and previous holiday releases, “Because It’s Christmas” and “A Christmas Gift of Love.”

“At this time of the year, I couldn’t be happier to give back to this community that I love so much,” states Manilow.

He recently performed his first ever solo concert at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24th, 2009–where, in association with the Manilow Music Project and the Grammy Foundation, he raised a donation of $100,000 in musical instruments for the LAUSD. An avid philanthropist, earlier this year Manilow donated $500,000 in musical instruments to schools in the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area which with this latest charitable donation takes his efforts over one million.

The legendary entertainer is also currently recording his next album, “The Greatest Love Songs of All Time,” which will be released January 26th, 2010 in time for Valentine’s Day. He will next making music and magic at Paris Las Vegas with a new resident show. On March 5, 2010 Manilow will throw open the doors to the Paris Théâtre at Paris Las Vegas with a re-imagined stage show that will be both more intimate and more exciting than ever before.

With worldwide record sales exceeding 80 million, Barry Manilow is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records); with no less than 25 consecutive top 40 hits to his credit between 1975 and 1983, on the Billboard Hot 100. Manilow has worked on over 40 albums over the course of his career as a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer.

“A Gift of Love..” Beneficiary Charities: The Palm Springs-based charities benefiting from Barry Manilow’s “A Gift of Love…” holiday concert include: ACT for MS – Palm Desert, Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation, Animal Samaritans, Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS of the Desert), Boys & Girls Club of the Coachella Valley, Desert AIDS Project, Desert Arc, Desert Samaritans for the Elderly, Desert Paws, FIND Food Bank, Inc., Gilda’s Club Desert Cities California, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Healthy Family Foundation: The Ophelia Project, Joslyn Senior Center, Mourning Star Center, Olive Crest, One Heartland, Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped, Shelter From The Storm, Stroke Recovery Center, Temple Isaiah Fund, The Living Desert, United Cerebral Palsy – Inland Empire, and Variety Club of the Desert. For information on which night the aforementioned charities were be honored, please visit

About The Manilow Fund for Health and Hope: The Manilow Fund for Health & Hope is a nonprofit organization that was created by Barry Manilow to support local, grassroots organizations that promote education, health and care. The fund donates to organizations that focus on cancer, AIDS, children’s issues, victims of abuse, the homeless and music education.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Barry on NBC Nightly News

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

He got his album promotion on NBC News as a news story.

Bragman gets a bonus for this one.

Update 12/11/2009:
Jay, there's a reason why your ratings are tanking. You couldn't shoehorn in a few minutes to actually TALK to Barry about his work?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Send in the Clowns

(Deadline is past and an acquaintance on Twitter advised me to treat myself to something special. So I am - I get to sit, let my mind wander, listen to my iPod and write!)

I hate award shows.

I didn't always hate them. For a while it was fun to see a once-in-a-lifetime showcase by those vying for the honors. But some time in the late '80s it became obvious that awards shows are less about artistic achievements and more about a mutual admiration society hosting its annual public circle jerk.

The best awards/specials performance is now and forever will be Michael Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25th Anniversary show in 1983. Every move, however slight, was smooth and perfect. Everything about his presence and performance underscored what he thought was important: the music. Right down to the last sequin on the socks. And that is what made Michael and all of his work so great: it was always about the music first. Everything around it, in the performance, staging, lighting, effects, etc was underscoring the music. There was no other agenda. Anybody remember the Michael Sembello song from Flashdance? There's a line that says "She has crossed into the danger zone/where the dancer becomes the dance". It was like that. He physically became part of the music. This Is It was an extended study in his approach to making this happen.

Not so much these days.

The tipping point for me was in the late '80s when I determined that award shows were a glorified fraud and it can be summed up in two words:

1) Milli
2) Vanilli

There is NO WAY in this time-space continuum that the entire industry, plus the Grammy Foundation itself, did not know that these two knobs were faking it. The only reason the Grammy award was pulled was because they were busted. The AMA awards stood and were never revoked. Hmmmmmm.......

So I lost interest. So did a lot of other people, because the ratings numbers circled the drain for years.

During this time, two things happened: first, MTV/Viacom decided to use the award show format as their sales pitch for new artists on video. Second, the "artists" (and I use that term more and more loosely these days) were less interested in music and more obsessed with just getting attention. Any attention. It didn't matter if it wasn't for music.

So instead of a showcase of the best performances and talent the best performers had to offer, you have a series of freak shows. That is what has given rise to Madonna, Kanye West, Britney Spears, and yes, AL (I'm using his initials here because you already know who I'm talking about and I don't want his nutjob fans who make the worst of Barry's fan base look sane camping out on my blog.)

Which brings us to the 2009 AMAs. You knew I was going there.

Per my usual, I didn't watch the show. I'm interested in music, not freak shows, and the AMAs had been the latter in my eyes for a long time. So when the non-news took up air time on the morning news programs, I rolled my eyes. Who cares? No matter how good a singer he was on American Idol, his focus is not music - otherwise his performance would have focused on that and not just grabbing attention any way he can.

I was relieved when Barry answered on the Joy Behar show (paraphrasing) "I was hoping he would perform a really good song. He missed an opportunity. I just want to hear some really good music, as for the rest of the stuff, I don't give a shit."

YES!! Thank God, someone else thought the same thing I did. I thought I was alone in the universe on that one.

Music is only truly moving when it is the only motivation; when the performance in all of its facets has one focus. Michael Jackson did this. Barry does this (I talked about it in my posts on the LV shows last year). Ditto Bette Midler. (Try and catch her performance on Johnny Carson back around 1973-ish on YouTube.) But there are just too few anymore who are willing to make that commitment. American Idol can be a launch pad for a serious career for some; for others it's a "Look Ma, I'm on TV!" idiotic moment. For most, it's a few days off of work.

There's a very fine line that separates the true diva from a douchebag. The true diva may be demanding of their staff and colleagues when creating a work of art, but they don't demand any more perfection of anyone else than they do of themselves. They always deliver the goods. And it's always about creating the art. The douchebag is the one who may not even be able to sing or perform, but they're making a spectacle of themselves just to get any attention for their own reasons. Even if they can perform their spectacle is all over the place and is disconnected from the music. At worst, they're a liar because they lure you in with the promise of a wonderful creation forged of talent and skill and creative genius, then switch to God-only-knows what's really on their minds. Even prostitutes are more honest than this.

I was about to give up on finding anything new and just keep over-analyzing the artists I've enjoyed my whole life. And not watch award shows. (Duh.)

Then I heard about these guys opening up for Barry at the Hollywood Bowl:

Straight No Chaser is all back-to-basics. They make music. They have fun. They're not idiots. Stiletto was smart enough to play the PBS card again and get their Christmas special on. So if you're losing hope in the music scene today - let this lift your spirits.
Maybe there will be more interest in serious musical creativity with that new acapella contest show on NBC. A girl can dream....

Greatest Love Songs Of All Time




Features Classic Favorites - “As Time Goes By,” “The Look of Love,” “You Made Me Love You,” “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “As Time Goes By,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and More!
(December 8, 2009) Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning recording artist Barry Manilow teams up once again with his longtime collaborator, Arista Records founder Clive Davis (now Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music Entertainment) to record a brand new studio album entitled THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME, set for release on January 26th.

On THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME, produced with Michael Lloyd (Somewhere in Time and Dirty Dancing), Manilow presents loving interpretations and arrangements of classic, nostalgic love songs for the Manilow and music fan alike. The album selections include jazz and American standards, as well as songs from the “Great White Way” and silver screen including: “As Time Goes By” (originally written by Herman Hupfeld for the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome and re-introduced in the film classic Casablanca), Irving Berlin’s ”How Deep Is The Ocean,” “You Made Me Love You” (written by James V. Monaco), George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” Fats Waller’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “The Shadow of Your Smile” (written by Johnny Mandel), “When You Were Sixteen” (written by James Thornton and revived and popularized by Al Jolsen in 1929), “The Theme From Love Story (Where Do I Begin)” (written by Francis Lai), “Nevertheless, I’m In Love With You” (written by Harry Ruby), Gershwin’s “Our Love is Here To Stay,” Johnny Mercer’s “Fools Rush In,” and “It Could Happen To You” (written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen).
The album also features great renditions of “The Look Of Love” (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David), “We’ve Only Just Begun” (Written by the songwriting team of Roger Nichols and Paul Williams), and “The Twelfth of Never” (written by Jerry Livingston and Paul Francis Webster).

“The real joy in creating this album was taking these classic songs that everyone knows and using my chops as an arranger to deconstruct then recreate them to make them my own,” explained Manilow.

Comments Clive Davis: “Barry and I have a mission to bring to a new generation the great songs that are the soundtrack of our lives. This album does just that and Barry is sounding better than ever."

Clive Davis has been a perennial collaborator with Barry Manilow on virtually all his recordings, since they first worked together on “Mandy,” Manilow’s debut #1 single as the first artist signed to Arista by Davis in 1974, the first year of the label’s existence.

THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME will be released on January 26th, 2010 A special pre-order campaign at the website and at Amazon will ensure that fans will receive THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME in its very first week of release.
Be sure to tune in this week to see Barry Manilow perform a holiday favorite from his just-released CD IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS on The Jay Leno Show on December 10th.
IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS, out now, and THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME are Barry Manilow’s follow-up to the mega-bestselling series of “decades” albums that he masterminded with Arista founder and co-producer Clive Davis. The series began in January 2006 with The Greatest Songs Of The Fifties, which entered the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (his first #1 album since Barry Manilow/Live in 1977), and was certified RIAA platinum. The Greatest Songs Of The Sixties (October 2006) entered at #2. When the RIAA platinum The Greatest Songs Of The Seventies entered at #4 (September 2007), Barry Manilow was distinguished as the only artist to chart three Top 5 debuts during 2006-2007. The most recent entry in the series, The Greatest Songs Of The Eighties was released November 2008. Beyond the sensational “decades” series, Arista is the home to Manilow’s biggest hits including “Mandy,” “It’s a Miracle,” “Could It Be Magic,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Copacabana (At the Copa),” “Somewhere In the Night,” “Ships,” “I Made It Through the Rain,” and many, many more.

With worldwide record sales exceeding 80 million, Barry Manilow is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records); with no less than 25 consecutive top 40 hits to his credit between 1975 and 1983, on the Billboard Hot 100. Manilow has worked on over 40 albums over the course of his career as a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer.

Complete Track Listing:
1. As Time Goes By
2. How Deep Is The Ocean?
3. You Made Me Love You
4. We've Only Just Begun
5. The Twelfth Of Never
6. I've Got A Crush On You
7. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
8. The Shadow Of Your Smile
9. When You Were Sweet Sixteen (1898)
10. The Look Of Love
11. Theme From Love Story (Where Do I Begin)
12. Nevertheless (I'm In Love With You)
13. Our Love is Here To Stay
14. Fools Rush In
15. It Could Happen To You
16. I Only Have Eyes for You

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Manilow Appearances Part Deux

"Cranberry Christmas" Decmeber 7 and 12 (ABC Family)
TOLF is already asking when this is going to be on.

The Jay Leno Show (NBC) December 10

Please, PLEASE, PLEEEEZE let this be a real interview and not just "letsfindamusiciantofillinthelast5minutesoverthecreditsafterwatchingthewholeshow"

If these aren't enough for you, there is also ManilowTV.
Those of you out there with any doubts at all as to how good the service is, check out this comment from Micks:

If this doesn't convince you to tune in, nothing will. (Way to go, Micks!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

DVR Alert 2009 (updated 12/2)

New Holiday season, new ad blitz.

December 1: The Today Show (NBC). Show airs 7 AM to 10 AM EST. Just record the whole thing, although I'll bet $10 he'll be on in the last hour.

(Update, cross-posted from Twitter: Dear Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera, and NBC: "Ass" is not a curse word. Lighten up.)

December 1: The Joy Behar Show on HLN (not CNN - HLN) 9 PM EST
You can post a question on Facebook. Someone, PLEASE post a decent question on the comments list, most of them are stupid.

(Update, watching the show, waiting for Barry's interview: there is not one bit of difference between this and The O'Reilly Factor on FOX. The sequence and structure of the show, and approach to content are identical.)

(Another update: nice promo for Paris. Amazing she actually used some of the Facebook questions. Not amazing at how dumb they were. Some people wouldn't know a good interview question if it beat them with a stick.)

Fun stuff: backstage clip from Behar's show.

December 2: Christmas at Rockefeller Center. (NBC) 8 PM EST
Barry's not listed on the grid (not mine anyway) so record and see how he fits into the show.

(Update: nice number, fit right in with the variety show-type gig. Everyone looked like they were having a good time. Extra was a dud. Big surprise.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manilow in Paris is Official

It's about time they made this official!

And they already planned the BMIFC convention!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


Bonjour! Barry is Going to PARIS!

PARIS Las Vegas that is!


Over the last few months, Barry and his creative team have been working behind closed doors on a brand new show that will open at PARIS Las Vegas on Friday, March 5! Check out the complete schedule at Fan Club tickets, Front Row tickets, Fan Club Convention (Friday, July 9 – Sunday, July 11, 2010) packages, and Platinum tickets are all available NOW for performance dates through July 18, 2010 only at!

Las Vegas middle school and high school music programs will benefit from the Platinum Experience tickets! Platinum Experience tickets will include a front row seat, pre-show champagne reception, meet & greet and photo with Barry, and an autographed show program.

Proceeds from Platinum Experience tickets go directly to the Manilow Music Project. The Manilow Music Project is part of Barry’s non-profit, Manilow Fund for Health and Hope and will put instruments into the hands of middle school and high school students in the Las Vegas Unified School District! We are holding spots for Platinum ticket holders who need to re-schedule their Platinum experience from 2009.

They can re-schedule by calling 310.957.5788 on Monday, November 30. Tickets are available to the public on Tuesday, December 1.

Even though it’s the Holiday, and we are not here to help via telephone or email, we wanted you to have the first chance to get tickets by ordering online! Our customer service representatives will be back at work on Monday, November 30.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is Nothing Sacred?

Posted today by TPTB on


URGENT ManilowTV Message

Several days ago we started to receive emails from friends who were concerned that a ManilowTV subscriber in Europe had started selling illegal bootleg DVD copies of the Manilow TV broadcasts. Like all of us, they were surprised that someone who pretended to be a fan was really out to rip off Barry and all the other musicians, artists, songwriters, casts, and crews who are involved in the production of these programs. Like all of us, they were offended that someone who had previously agreed not to be a bootlegger, would again try to rip off everyone while pretending to just be a good fan. Right.

This person has again been notified by the legal team and has again promised not to engage in illegal activities. This time, however, we have also notified the authorities in the host country and have blocked all ManilowTV access for subscribers in the host country and for those associated with the bootlegger. Hopefully this will stop the bootlegger and allow ManilowTV to continue.

It’s interesting to note that quite a few European countries have bootlegging laws much stronger than the US. Bootleggers routinely face fines, prison sentences and lifetime denial of internet access for infractions that many in the US would consider minor. Hopefully, our actions and the risk of further action by local governmental authorities will encourage this person to finally stop before we are forced to shut down ManilowTV.

To all of you who took the high road and shared both your concern and your disgust….thank you. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't keep up with the fan communities as much as I used to (or would like to) because I have to make a living. In fact, I make a living based on what I create. If I created a program and someone stole it, I'd be pissed. That's happened and I was pissed, and I've learned to protect myself.

In this case, it sounds like TPTB asked nicely for this person to cut it out, and they didn't. For the record, I have no idea who this is, and I really don't care. But if you're a fan, and you truly, innocently step over the line, you respect the request to knock it off. If you go back to business as usual, and the business is bootlegging, after getting a polite request, then you get what's coming to you.

If that is what happened here - not cool, kids. Not cool. Don't complain about how "mean" TPTB are when you're the one doing wrong and drawing the fire.

Cat's Out of the Bag

Legends onstage:Garth Brooks is at Encore. Wayne Newton is at the Tropicana. Carlos Santana is at the Hard Rock. Donnie &
Marie are at the Flamingo. Cher & Bette are at Caesars Palace (no, not together, and Midler's final performance will be Jan. 31). And, as of next February, Barry Manilow will be at Paris. It now has been confirmed that the entertainer, who's currently performing his Ultimate Manilow: The Hitsshow at the Las Vegas Hilton, will move to Paris on Valentine's Day 2010. .....[snip]

Watch your twitters or MMN or your Hotlines. The official word should make its way out any day now. Wonder what other suprises they have in store that we just haven't figured out yet?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

I was reminiscing today about a position I had years ago before my family got settled and my office was built into my house. Every other job, before and since, has been frought with politics and "dos and don'ts" and political correctness in every possible sense. This one job was completely different and I don't think I'll ever experience anything like it again.

The department was a mini UN, even for the company I worked for. You could walk into the central office and hear four different languages (at least) going on at one time. More than that, when lunch time rolled around, we'd grab something from the cafeteria and sit around chatting.

About everything you're not supposed to talk about at work: money, religion, and politics.

It gets better: all kinds of people, from all over the world, who otherwise could not get along with each other joined in.

Imagine Israelis sitting with Palestinians; Pakistanis with Indians; Venezuelans with Columbians, talking about international politics with Americans. No blood, no arguments, just earnest and polite interest.

Now imagine devout Jews and Muslims, sitting with Catholics and Protestants chatting about comparative religion, or a religious practice they heard about on TV the previous day. Again, no blood, no arguments.

Finally you had anyone who cared to join in yapping about American special-interest politics: abortion, gay rights, political parties, American history, pick one. We didn't just sit around agreeing with each other either - there was a spectrum of opinions and all expressed them.

I swear to God this actually happened on a regular basis. I have to say that because no one believes me when I describe this scenario. We didn't even need the "Vice President of Diversity" to help us out. In fact we told that guy to take a hike because he was killing our mojo. You should have seen the pot-luck parties we had; bring something from your home country. Comfort food, no matter where it's from, always breaks the ice and brings all kinds of people together. And it was AT WORK!

While reminiscing I tried to figure out why we had such an easy communion. It's not supposed to happen if you talk to random HR people. In spite of all of our differences we had quite a lot in common:
  • Each and every one of us - all of our races, ethnicities, and religions - thought that somebody else was completely, utterly, and totally wrong in their way of thinking or behaviour. No one was willing to compromise what they believed or thought about their own ethics or morality.
  • Each and every one of us was OK with that. No harm, no foul. Think as you please. Welcome to America. No one was made to feel that they had to separate their faith or other personal ethics from their work life.
  • Each and every one of us made the choice to care for others as friends, no matter how drastically different their POVs on whatever issue. It was OK to like someone even if you thought they were doing something wrong (or even committing a major sin - there were a lot of devout people here) as long as no one was committing a crime.
  • Each and every one of us could point to an instance where our ethnicity, race, or religion was misunderstood or maligned in popular culture, or deliberately mischaracterized by the media. We all had extemists and nutjobs in whatever group we identified with but we all knew that was the exception, not the rule. The media and society at large wasn't so forgiving and we all hated it. So rather than assume we knew it all about someone's background, we asked questions. And we answered them. And we accepted the answer, whether we agreed or not. Rather than make rude jokes, we expressed opinions in a way and with timing that let those with a differing one keep their dignity.
  • In short, we were all patient with each other. Acceptance meant that we accepted that our friends and colleagues had every right in the world to not like or agree with what we said or did. Acceptance meant that they didn't have to change that to be a friend. Acceptance meant that we didn't have to be perfect to be liked. There were occasional raw feelings, but we cared enough about each other to apologize if necessary and to work through it.

Our group worked together because all of these sentiments were mutual. No one was singled out as less than another, more equal than others (to paraphrase Orwell) , and no one was deserving of ridicule because someone else of their faith or ethnicity ran off the rails.

I've been thinking about these times lately because I miss them.

Over the years, I've become more timid about expressing my own thoughts and opinions.

"Yeah, right", you're thinking. "What about this blog?"

You don't see my name anywhere, do you? In my personal universe, if you don't have my name, you can't hurt me. I learned that many, many times, especially as the Internet became more entrenched in our lives. So I chose between expressing my opinion, and giving my identity. One is always private, one is always public, depending upon where I am. It's almost like living a double life.

I've gotten comfortable with that duplicity. Is that OK? Or a sign of something wrong? I usually just go about my life and not think about it. Is it dishonest to not tell everything about myself? Or is it just being judicious?

Well, I know I'm not ready to "tell all" yet. Any leaps I take will be little ones.

I'm a conservative Republican and a practicing Catholic. I carry a GOP membership card and I'm married to a 4th degree Knight of Columbus. I voted the McCain/Palin ticket and I think they would do a better job. I look forward to receiving the Sacraments from my pastor and celebrating Holy Days of Obligation.

There, I said it. The first little leap.

Not everyone is going to like or agree with that little confession above. But I'll ask this:

Don't hate me for it. Or assume you know everything about me or how I live because of the above over some sound bite on the 10 PM news. Get to know me as a person with the above qualities first before deciding who I really am. I'm not a soundbite, or a phrase out of the AP style book. I'm not what random strangers assume. Please try to believe that.

I promise, I'll do the same for you.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is more like it! :-)

He's not joking about music classes (and similar arts programs) for that matter keeping kids in school, or helping to keep grades up. Formal music lessons, from the time I was in the first grade, made a big academic difference for me even though I'll never be a professional at it. Music was a way of clearing my head and taking a mental break (even if it was a class!) before finishing the rest of my work. It still is! Which is why my kids started music classes in some form already. Even the new baby is joining her big sister in a weekly music-play program. So as I have said billions of times since I started this blog, Barry and I are -->here<-- on that subject.

(And I'm really glad to hear that all seems to be going well at home on the left coast. ;-D )


Message from Barry 10/29/2009

Hi everyone!
I’m recuperating and doing fine.
Thanks for all good wishes.
The Hollywood Bowl show was a fantastic experience for all of us. The crowd was amazing and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was magnificent. Hearing those beautiful arrangements and orchestrations made me want to stop singing and just listen to them!
The music was definitely a highlight of the night, but a close second was the knowledge that we were raising money to buy musical instruments for kids in the L.A. schools. As you know, because of budget slashes, the Music and Arts departments of the public schools all over the country are being cut.
And even the schools that still have music departments are struggling to keep them going. They’re running out of instruments and the ones that they do have are in terrible shape. They need music stands, sheet music, band uniforms – you name it, they need it. Music classes aren’t just for playtime. Music keeps the kids in school. Really. It keeps the kids coming back to school.
Ask any music teacher and they all say the same thing: when kids are in music classes their grades go up, they learn how to interact with other students and they stay in school.
The thought that the schools don’t have musical instruments or worse, that they may not have Music classes at all is just killing me.
I would like to ask you all to dive in and help me if you possibly can.
It would be so great if you could call your local high schools or middle schools and ask them what instruments they needed and if you could spring it, get the instruments for them.
I’m not suggesting anything near as large as what we’ve been doing of course. Just a trumpet or a clarinet or maybe even one of those Casio or Sony keyboards.
Maybe you’ve got some old music stands in the basement or a set of drums that no one is using anymore up in the attic. Just dust off Aunt Bessie, push her out of the way, and drive the set of drums down to the school!
If you guys could begin to help your local schools by keeping their music classes going, it would be the greatest Get-Well gift you could ever give me.
Once again, thanks for all the get-well wishes.
See you soon.



PS……If you don’t have an Aunt Bessie…..and want us to get instruments to schools in need… can also go to: then hit Donate Now………..

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Living Vicariously at the Hollywood Bowl

For those of us who live at opposite ends of the country (or the world) and couldn't make it last night.

Update 10/26/2009: Some really great pictures posted by a fan on the Ning Network (My God, the **lighting**!!! The Bowl must have had some incredible baseline capabilities to work with!) Anyone else think Barry needed a cigarette and a hot bath after the orchestra performed his arrangements?

As usual, I'll keep running updates. Dana, anytime you're ready, dear....


I hope we don't have to wait 30 years for this one to make a DVD!

From Twitter, courtesy of TPTB

Better late than never on TwitpicSNC rehearsing at the Hollywood Bowl on Twitpic


Barry Manilow PRESENTS LAUSD and GRAMMY Foundation with majordonation of $100,000 in musical instruments at Hollywood Bowl Concert

At the Special Pre-Concert Gala to Benefit The Manilow Music Project & the Los Angeles Unified School District, Manilow Delivers Gift of Instruments and Education

Los Angeles (October 24, 2009) –Pop culture icon and legendary showman Barry Manilowhosted his first-ever solo concert at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24th, 2009, with manyof the proceeds going directly to The Manilow Music Project and The GRAMMY Foundation®. Starting the evening with yet another act of giving to the Los Angeles community, Manilow surprised attendees by presenting the LAUSD with a donation of $100,000 worth of instruments for its underfunded music program. Manilow briefly spoke about the importanceof music in his own life before presenting yet another donation—two $5,000 Signature School Enterprise Awards to the GRAMMY Foundation®, also benefitting the LAUSD.

“It gives me great personal joy to be able to get these instruments into the hands of theLAUSD’s students. Music has been the foundation of my life and to be able to give that gift to others is both joyous and humbling,” states Manilow.

Superintendant Ramon Cortines commented, “Barry Manilow continues to show his tireless dedication and advocacy by extending the reach of musical education to the children in our community. We are profoundly moved by his continued generosity and support in such tough economic times.”

Manilow, who will end his 5-year partnership with the Las Vegas Hilton this year, regularly performs in arenas throughout the world. He recently performed to a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans at the BBC Proms in the Park on the world-famous Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park, London. The event was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and BBCTV reaching an audience of countless millions.

In December Manilow together with the Manilow Fund for Health and Hope, will present“A Gift of Love…,” a five-night holiday concert series at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA. The concert series, beginning on December 4th, 2009 and continuing on December 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th, will honor 25 local charities in Palm Springs, California,the singer’s hometown—each night benefiting five of the beneficiary charities tickets are available at

Earlier this year Manilow donated $500,000 in musical instruments to schools in the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area.

The Manilow Music Project
Last year, in response to the needs of public schools and their severely depleted music programs, Barry Manilow gathered some friends and formed The Manilow Music Project as part of his non-profit, Manilow Fund for Health and Hope. The mission statement of the Project highlights the importance of music programs in U.S. schools and donates instruments and materials to school music programs.

The Manilow Music Project is sponsored by Yamaha and BevMo!

Proceeds from Manilow wine purchases at BevMo! retail stores in California go directly to The Manilow Music Project.

The GRAMMY Foundation
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciationand advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artisticand technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of futuregenerations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy®, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information, please visit

Friday, October 23, 2009

Radio Alert: Barry Hosting BBC Radio Show on Johnny Mercer

Reposted from Moonstone's Shadows of Manilow blog.
This is really worth repeating.

Mark your calendars on November 13, starting at 7:30 PM local (UK) time.
[BBC] Radio 2 to celebrate work of Johnny Mercer

Listen live on the internet here:
I'll try and calculate what time it will be on in the US time zones. Unless some kind soul would like to comment with that info?

Random Thoughts on a Friday Evening

To everybody working the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night - break a leg. If the tweets I heard are any indication you're putting on one helluva show. Enough to make us east-coasters jealous.

Speaking of tweets, if certain twitterers/tweeps/whatevertheword is want to post those photos, I'll be watching. (You know who you are!)

We're getting ready for Halloween this week. I posted about this last year. I would pay to see Barry walk through trick-or-treating as himself. No entourage, bodyguards, etc. He could get away with it too - everybody staring at the decorated houses, people would think he was just another guy in a costume. Except for one neighbor on our street who is a serious fan. I'd have to find a way to shut him up.

Remember Dumbass from my OT post a while back? Well the chairman of the board finally neutralized him. (Think purple slime from Warehouse 13 - REALLY neutralized) I'm breathing easier tonight now that I can steer that ship without some mutant nipping at my heels.

My daughters' preschool music teacher is a Barry fan. And she was pumped to learn about the Music Project. Per my recommendation she's looking into using elements of Manilow Live for instruction for young children. My good deed for the day!

So for everyone going to the Bowl tomorrow (whether working or just having fun), have a good time for me while you're there. I'm going to settle in with Live at the Greek (maybe do the 2nd half of that POV review I've been threatening for weeks) and be with you in spirit.

Have a great weekend, gang!

ETA- can't believe I almost forgot this...
Barry, now that you have some time off, take some extra for some serious R&R, take care of whatever medical issues are hanging over your head, and get some "me" time before the Paris announcement hits the fan. ;-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone likes to be funny

Hardy har har har

GarryKief Exclusive. Behind the scenes at album cover photo shoot. -

And the cat-and-mouse game continues. But which is which?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big City Blues

This is a long couple of weeks and as I type this I am praying that my headache doesn't become a migraine.

It's ironic that life can be wonderful (it is!) but enough straws land on the camel's back that you're dragging through it. (See my old "Bananas" post.)

That's the case now. I have everything that I ever wanted in life, but there's a lot to handle and it gets us down around here. Pete has a chronic condition that flared up recently after all of the rain and flooding and the increased allergens that go along with it. (In life and death terms, it's not serious. No one has died from this condition in more than 50 years, but getting his medication straight is a PITA.) My work schedule is packed with one deadline right after another, with billing and meetings and political maneuvering on top of it all.

When you get stressed out, you lash out. Sometimes in a serious way, sometimes just by snipping at each other. That's what we've been doing here. Pete and I are biting each other's heads off over practically nothing and being really sensitive to any perceived slight.

On top of that, we have a built-in, 24/7 audience: the kids.

The infant isn't that big a deal. She's human so she can perceive stress and then get fussy. But as long as I can take a deep breath, give her a dry diaper, warm milk, and a gentle cuddle with smiles and cooing until she falls asleep, she's good to go.

The preschooler is another story. We believe that kids should not have to deal with adult problems or worries unless it's unavoidable and even then you have to make things real simple. She's constantly talking, wants to "help" and no matter what answer we give her, it's never enough. She'll keep asking. I think she just likes to hear the sound of her own voice and feel like she really knows what's going on when in fact we're keeping a lot from her.

When Pete and I are having a tough time - in this case, just not feeling well - the biggest help she can be is to just close her mouth, stop asking questions, and do what she's asked without having to repeat it 98987676 times. But no. She has to ask. And ask. And ask. And finally, we lose our patience and tell her TO JUST SHUT IT AND GO TO YOUR ROOM! We're not mad, just frustrated and tired about other things and we dont' have the energy to repeat ourselves. Plus, there are some things we do NOT want to explain to her. Of course, when that happens, she gets upset and cries and whimpers and thinks we're mad. Then needs reassurance that she's still loved. So I have to pull it together at a time when I can't and give her the reassurance she needs. Then I need to take care of myself.

But it's still not just myself. I have another half - Pete. He's not feeling well either. He needs the same reassurance and support that I do. And we can't give each other much when we're both running on empty.

I am the luckiest woman alive because I have a husband who is gentle, thoughtful, selfless, and doesn't believe in divorce. But when I'm about to take him for granted, I imagine what life would be without him. It wouldn't be a life at all. It is still frightening because I've seen what I thought were strong marriages fall apart when times got tough. Even after being together for 20 years or so. Pete and I have been married for 9 1/2. This is a tough time. I don't want him to second-guess our life together. I don't want to take him for granted, either.

So how are we getting through it?

To begin with, we alternate with the kids, our "built-in audience". Whichever of us is feeling stronger at the time plays with the eldest. I get the youngest most of the time because she has to be nursed, but that's not a problem. Even though it's effort to care for the eldest, it's a boost too. You never know when she'll say just the right thing to rejuvenate our spirits when we need it most.

When the kids are getting their usually scheduled "quiet time" or naps, that's when we both look to take care of ourselves. In the current situation, that's sleep or other kinds of rest. I plan on sleeping off the headache this afternoon. Pete is resting too, to get through his symptoms.
We also make sure there's time to just be alone and do what we want. For me, that involves cranking the iPod with a headset, writing on the blog ( :-) ) "retail therapy" and sometimes, just a good, serious, long crying fit. Crying is good for you in tough times.

Bottom line is, stress hurts. You can't heal if you don't take the time to do so. And if you don't heal, you won't be able to give of yourself to the people who depend on you in life.

I have friends whose relationships broke up recently. In the midst of feeling lost, they only start to recover when they focus on themselves. Sometimes the relationship can be repaired, sometimes not and they have to re-start their lives with a new direction. It's not being selfish; it's preparing yourself and gathering the resources you need so you can start contributing to others again. Every person in the world has to do this, no matter what they are relied on for. For me, it's my husband and kids. Thank God I have them.

Most of all, spend some time in your faith. It doesn't matter what you have faith in whether it's God, or gods, or goddesses, or the universe, or The Force. "Thou shalt sustain thy faith, for the day will come when it shall sustain thee."

Wow, when did I write all of this? I just noticed that my headache is fading. A quick nap and it should be gone. And the sun is finally coming out. Pete is out with TLF and he looks like he's feeling lots better. Maybe I'll play with the kids instead.

Even though your heart is breaking
In time, the sun will shine
And you'll begin again

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And still more...

That must be one busy office in LA today...


IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS Features 12 Yuletide favorites: “Silver Bells,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” (aka “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”), “Count Your Blessings,” “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” and Manilow’s original “Christmas Is Just Around The Corner” (From Cranberry Christmas) AND MORE!

(OCTOBER 7, 2009– New York, NY) Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning recordingartist Barry Manilow, has just announced that he has re-signed his recording deal withArista Records and will be releasing two new albums, one of seasonal favorites, ringing inthe holidays with contemporary and traditional yuletide repertoire on IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS and THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME scheduled for release in January, just in time for Valentine’s Day (track listing and details for THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME to be announced soon).

On the heels of the extraordinarily successful “decades” series (Greatest Songs of the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Eighties), IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS¸ produced and arranged by Manilow, will arrive in stores on October 13th. A special pre-order campaign at the website and at Amazon will ensure that fans will receive IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS in its very first week of release.

Manilow, who has had a long-standing relationship with Arista Records and its founderClive Davis, now Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music Entertainment will be teaming up onceagain to record his forthcoming album THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME, setfor release in January. Davis has been a perennial collaborator with Manilow on virtually allhis recordings, since they first worked together on “Mandy,” Manilow’s debut #1 single asthe first artist signed to Arista by Davis in 1974, the first year of the label’s existence.Beyond the sensational “decades” series, Arista is the home to Manilow’s biggest hitsincluding “Mandy,” “It’s a Miracle,” “Could It Be Magic,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like WeMade It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Copacabana (At the Copa),” “Somewhere In the Night,”“Ships,” “I Made It Through the Rain,” and many, many more. Comments Clive Davis:“Barry and I have a mission to bring to a new generation the great songs that are thesoundtrack of our lives. This album does just that and Barry is sounding better than ever."

IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS presents a dozen holiday gems. Contemporarystandards include: “Silver Bells” (first recorded by Bing Crosby & Carol Richards in 1950);“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGMmusical Meet Me in St. Louis); “Christmas Time Is Here” (one of the instrumental themes composed by Vince Guaraldi for 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas); and “The Christmas Song” (aka “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire,” the Mel Tormé standard that became an evergreen after Nat King Cole’s 1953 recording).

More: “Violets For Your Furs” (a Frank Sinatra rarity from his album Songs for YoungLovers, 1954); “Toyland” (a perennial favorite from Victor Herbert’s 1903 operetta, Babesin Toyland); “Count Your Blessings” (by Irving Berlin, from 1954’s timeless film, WhiteChristmas); Johnny Marks’ classic “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (popularized byGene Autry in 1949); and “Christmas Is Just Around The Corner,” composed by Manilowfor Cranberry Christmas, the ABC Family animated TV special first broadcast in December2008, based on the 1976 children's book of the same title.

IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS is actually the third album of holiday songs recorded byBarry Manilow during his career. In 1990, he released the 10-song Because It's Christmason Arista; and in 2002, Columbia issued A Christmas Gift of Love.

IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS is Barry Manilow’s follow-up to the mega-bestselling series of “decades” albums that he masterminded with Arista founder and co-producer Clive Davis. The series began in January 2006 with The Greatest Songs Of The Fifties,which entered the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (his first #1 album since Barry Manilow/Live in 1977), and was certified RIAA platinum. The Greatest Songs Of The Sixties(October 2006) entered at #2. When the RIAA platinum The Greatest Songs Of TheSeventies entered at #4 (September 2007), Barry Manilow was distinguished as the onlyartist to chart three Top 5 debuts during 2006-2007. The most recent entry in the series,The Greatest Songs Of The Eighties was released November 2008.

With worldwide record sales exceeding 75 million, Barry Manilow is ranked as the top AdultContemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records); with no less than 25 consecutive top 40 hits to his credit between 1975 and 1983, on the Billboard Hot 100. Manilow has worked on over 40 albums over the course of his career as a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer.

Stay tuned for further information on THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME setfor release in January.

Barry Manilow: IN THE SWING OF CHRISTMAS (final track listing)
“Silver Bells”
“Carol Of The Bells/Jingle Bells”
“Joy To The World/It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
“Violets For Your Furs”
“O Tannenbaum/Winter Wonderland”
“Christmas Time Is Here”
“The Christmas Song” (aka “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”)
“Count Your Blessings”
“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”
“Christmas Is Just Around The Corner”
1) "Re-signed" with Arista? Aside from 1985's Manilow and 2001's Mayflower, has he ever not been with Arista? Especially recently?

2) I admit I haven't heard any of his Christmas records yet, except for what was promoted on morning shows when he made an appearance. If anyone wants to comment, how does he handle a song like "Joy to the World"? It's a religious song, but he's not a religious guy - at least not in the same sense that the song was written in. Any commentary?

3) Thinking ahead to Greatest Love Songs...
Take a look at the tracks on this Christmas album. Some of the pieces are so traditional and so established, everyone knows at least part of them. Some are the kinds of things you know but don't realize (like the instrumental from Charlie Brown). Others, you've never heard of after they were recorded, so Barry can make them his own. (Think I Write the Songs.)

Not that my opinion means anything, but why not take the same approach w/ the new covers record? Sure, you need a couple of "number ones" but how about digging out and reinventing some really obscure works by those artists? The record's working title is "The Greatest Love Songs of All Time", not "the most famous".

Just a thought from a face in the audience.

Bary on KTLA this morning

Link to KTLA
Sorry, can't embed - the website doesn't have the capability.
Short and sweet - enjoy!
(And thanx Mick for posting on Twitter!)

Barry has left the building


LAS VEGAS — Barry Manilow’s record-setting five-year engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton will conclude on December 30, 2009.

“Barry Manilow is an exceptional entertainer and we have been extremely fortunate to have had him as our resident headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton for the last five years,” said Ken Ciancimino, Executive Vice President Administration of the Las Vegas Hilton. “Although this current engagement is ending, our friendship with him endures and we will continue to explore possibilities for future endeavors together.”

Barry Manilow began his long-term engagement with the Las Vegas Hilton in February, 2005 with “Manilow: Music and Passion.” His current show, “ULTIMATE MANILOW: The Hits,” debuted in July of 2008. By the end of the year Manilow will have performed well over 300 shows, to nearly 450,000 people with gross ticket sales of more than $70 million.“ULTIMATE MANILOW: The Hits” is packed with chart-topping music spanning his spectacular career, and gives fans an opportunity to enjoy decades of Manilow’s music and his amazing showmanship.

The remaining performances of “ULTIMATE MANILOW: The Hits” at the Las Vegas Hilton are October 1-3, October 8-10, November 27-29 and December 28-30. Show times are 8 p.m. in the legendary Hilton Theater. Stage seat tickets are $225 (plus tax and service charge). The seats are up close and personal with 34 located on each side of the stage and at the same level. Main orchestra tickets are $125-175 (plus tax and service charge); rear orchestra tickets $65-$85 (plus tax and service charge) and balcony $65 (plus tax and service charge). Tickets can be purchased at the Las Vegas Hilton box office, online at,, or by calling 702-732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361.
1) Did he top Elvis' attendance record?

2) Does he get his own statue in the Hilton lobby, now that Elvis' has been moved outside?

3) Who's going to report on what those last shows are like? Any speculation in the mean time?

4) How long will it take before the official Paris-Las Vegas residency is announced?

5) [insert the usual hints about having the final show or other special set lists included on Manilow TV here]

6) I am so glad I got to Vegas last year, you have no idea. I'm never sure when I'm going to see another show so I savored the ones I did get.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

OT - It's Got to be 5-O'Clock Somewhere

Breathe...... breathe...... breathe.....

(long stretch)
(big yawn)

Feel better?

No, but I might make it up to human after a night's sleep. Night >= 5 hours.

For the past year I've had a major client doing a major online job for a major community organization. (Sorry to be vague, but I don't want this story getting back to the subject, or my name floating around.)

Problem is, the guy is a nut. Perpetual motion. Puts me in charge of one aspect or another (even the entire project) then changes his mind after I bust my ass to accomplish something in record time. Crappy job but great exposure for my freelance company.

He went through assistants like paper napkins at a barbeque. Of course, they were all little blondes half his age, then they'd quit at 90 MPH because they were so creeped out.

So his online project has all kinds of bells and whistles in his personal world. Fine, I think, I've done this. Who is the audience, what do you want to present, what do you want it to do, then make a list, decide what is critical for launch, what can be set aside as an upgrade and go from there.

Oh no. Too easy. Too sensible. Too much of a risk for it to work right the first time. Dumbass decides that he's going to put info up on a whim. Or more accurately, have me do it. Then, after cajoling me into staying up until 3 AM to meet an arbitrary deadline, he changes his mind 18 hours later and edits it according to his new tastes.

Multiply by 15 times, you'll get an idea of my workflow.

I get asked why I freak out at him over setting deadlines. Gee, no reason. Just being a bitch on general principle I guess.

Let's not forget the time he called me on NEW YEARS EVE. AT HOME. To launch a critical "opinion poll" on a non-important issue. ASAP, of course. Well I got it running. He was happy. January 2 it's down. Seems a couple of the entities involved wanted to wait a while so they could all display it at once. I swear, I wanted to buy him a hooker so he would leave me alone for a week or so.

What kills me is this guy can make a server sing. He can almost hold a conversation in assembler language. He can make a database whistle Dixie and do the Watusi, all while wiping your ass. That kind of natural gift for server administration is rare, I've only seen it in one other person. I can't do it. He has his uses, when you can keep him focused on a project. Other than that it's only amusing if you're not in the crosshairs. Or the same state.

IT committee chair appointed. Then removed. Then reappointed. Then reremoved. Then forgotten about. Then reappointed in an ass-busting panic. We started taking turns buying rounds of beer at committee meetings. Birthday in Vegas (the one I posted about here). That cleared my head. Then I found out I was pregnant. Damn, no more beer. I have to do this straight. The committee chair was the same age as my dad, has a daughter my age with a family so we got along great. Any port in a storm.

I finally gave up. I get professional acknowledgement for putting up with this yutz and some other business out of it. So I just let the thing slide.

Maternity leave over the summer. Not really a vacation, I'm fielding client calls. Giving birth after the anesthesia wore off was still less painful than working with Dumbass.

Back to work. What's this? Changes are afoot. There's a new board of directors and the chairman is the new sherriff in town. "Hey, Dumbass, where exactly is that $60K? And you have a top-of-the-line manager for the online stuff, why isn't it running?" Dumbass is no longer in charge.

So I thought.

Restarting the project. Salvage what you need, pitch what you don't. You're in charge run it.

Ummmmmmmmmmm............ still need my server guy, Dumbass.

I start a blog of changes and updates and plans. Dumbass does an upgrade while I'm editing content. Flush, down the drain. Blog it - "Hey people, look out, we had a wipeout so don't overwrite each other. We'll straighten out permissions later."

Phonecall from Dumbass: "Hey, let's keep things positive it's obvious that was my fault." No, Dumbass, it's business. That's a potential conflict for everybody and it doesn't matter whether it was you and me who found it, or Sonny and Cher. It's legit. And I'm POSITIVE of that.

Clearly someone pulled him aside and explained reality because he is the quintissential gentleman now. I call the shots, I set the priorities, he explains his end and I make a decision. Yeehah!

What's that, Board of Directors? You want this launched soon? No problem. Dumbass has been working for months and I can crack that whip. Monday is go time. And your three most critical needs are A, B, and C. Got that, Dumbass? Great.

Zero hour. The project is beautiful. Everything where it should be. But where's Dumbass? ON "sales calls". Ten minutes to the bomb drops and he FINALLY tells me he's finishing up the databases on his end. And repointing URLs. Everything works except the aforementioned A, B, and C.

Day 1 after launch. Still not working. So he twiddles with it. Then he twiddles some more. Then breaks it. Oops. Can't make his test sandbox run in production. Transfer info in database A to corresponding fields in Database B. This was supposed to be so easy even I could do it. So I am scrambling to get the stuff in the database into something temporary so we don't look like the Three Stooges. Too late.

So now that brings us up to one hour ago. The Board of Directors understands exactly what's going on so it will make my schpiel this evening a little shorter. We're lining up other IT guys and seeing how we can neutralize Dumbass. Neutralize: think Warehouse 13.

When this gets done I'm on to someting easier. Like swimming with a millstone.
And THAT is why I am freaking out at work here and why alcohol is looking really really good.

Thanks for letting me vent, kids. Please offer a prayer to whatever deity you may acknowledge that the rest of this week is less exciting.


A shout out and love to my visitors...

...who are experimenting with proxy servers or visiting from vacation spots.

So how is Aruba? I wouldn't take my laptop to the beach - it's impossible to get the sand out. But I'm glad that I'm part of your relaxation.

For what it's worth, yes, I peek at visitor statistics to see who is visiting. It is only curiosity. You're curious about me, I'm curious about you. But like you, there is only so much information I want to reveal. We both understand that. It's cool.

I've noticed lots of interesting people visiting and I'm flattered that you like to read what I wrote. Don't worry, I don't blab when I see you. See above - I like privacy too. I also believe in the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)

So if you want to use a proxy server to "anonymize" your visit, I won't stop you. Or get upset, or preach. But it's hard not to take it personally. If I've been anything on this blog, it's discreet. You don't see my name anywhere, do you? You won't. And you won't see yours.

Even if you decide to drop during your visits.

(I'm serious, there's a proxy relay called Hide My Ass!!! I spit out my coffee when I saw it!!)

Equally seriously, be careful of those proxies from Russia, China, and wherever. Like Spam and virus city. It's not worth it to FUBAR your computer over it.

Once more I'm flattered that you enjoy coming here. I started this blog as a way of venting my spleen and to heal from some tough times. Now it's a place to go and gab over coffee. That evolution did wonders for me and my well-being. If I can share that with whoever comes by, then we can all enjoy the good karma.

Have a great week - I have a doozy of an off-topic coming soon about the Tech Team Member From Hell that I am still dealing with. (Just got him off the phone.)


Monday, October 5, 2009

Let's Get On With It

OK, folks, we've all had a chance to vent our spleen about the cancellations and communication. EVERYBODY got a word in.

Time to let it go. No more antagonizing. Too much anger. Don't let it get worse. We all need a break. We all have issues to deal with in our lives. Let's just handle them and leave each other alone.


It's not about being perfect, it's about doing the right thing when you're not.

Half of talking is knowing when to shut up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"It's a strange house. I don't want to run up a bill."

Personal Message from Barry
(Sunday, October 4, 2009)

Hi everyone

Well, things certainly have gotten exciting around here!

On the one hand, I'm really sorry to have caused so much pandemonium by postponing and canceling a few shows.On the other hand, I'm very glad that these shows mean so much to you.

Frankly, I'm not exactly sure whether the upset is that I cancelled a few shows or the way I cancelled them.

It seems to me that as soon as my doctors scheduled my surgery, I posted the rescheduling information with enough time for everyone to make new plans. After all, it's only a few shows, I thought.

The doctors tell me that I need between four and six weeks to recuperate so canceling six Hilton shows didn't seem like such a big deal and since the San Diego/Sacramento shows hadn't really been on sale for too long, it didn't seem as if that would cause too many people a lot of trouble.

But I guess I was wrong. So sorry if I was wrong. I really wasn't going to announce my personal, private hip troubles again, but I guess I have to since the freaking out seems to be getting out of hand.

You know, my friends, we're only human. I know many of you think I'm not, but stuff happens to humans. Deaths in the family, sicknesses, technical problems, late arrivals, etc. We all do the best we possibly can all the time to never disappoint you. But stuff happens to us humans. And as hard as we try, we just can't always be perfect.

Out of all the complaints there were only two people who wrote, "I hope Barry's okay". Only two. That was an eye-opener.

You must believe that when things like this happen- cancellations, postponements, delays - there is always a legitimate and unmovable reason for them.

You all must know by now, that me, Garry, John, Marc, Vicki, Kirsten and everyone at Stiletto take your loyalty and friendship very, very seriously and with the utmost responsibility.If things like this happen, you have to know by now that we have looked at every way to fix problems and that there is absolutely nothing that we can do before we make decisions like this. We all know that it's going to cause people to be upset and it kills us to have to change things.

Causing you guys pain and upset is awful for all of us. We would never make these decisions if there were any other way out.

Once again, my sincere apology to anyone who has been affected by my personal problems.I'll try to recover as fast as I can.

(Monday, September 28, 2009 )

Hi everyone,

Boy oh boy, this is a very busy and productive time in Manilow-land! I thought I’d bring you all up to date on what I’m working on since there is so much happening.

Manilow TV is a very exciting project and it’s just about ready to go. The videos that I’m about to share with all of you were never meant to be shown publicly. They were meant for me to study and for archival purposes, but I thought that some of you would find them interesting and entertaining, so I’ve decided to share them with you. It’s taken a huge amount of technical work to put them online. Many people have worked long and hard to put this project together, but I’m so grateful to all of you for sticking with me for all these years, I decided to let them out. I sincerely hope you enjoy them and that they bring back great memories for all of you and surprises for those of you who never got to see those performances.

The Hollywood Bowl concert is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’ve never performed an evening there and it should be thrilling for all of us. We’ve got the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra backing us up. Hearing all of these gorgeous arrangements and orchestrations finally being played by a 50 member orchestra should be fantastic. I can’t wait. Hope you can make it.

Now about the next few CD releases. My “Fifteen Minutes” CD isn’t ready to release yet. As I’ve told you, it’s more guitar driven and rock oriented than I’ve ever done Since I’m in uncharted waters, it’s taking me longer to create this one than I expected. I’m very proud of the 17 songs that Enoch Anderson and I have written. They’re emotional and edgy and they all tell a story. I think you’ll like it. However, it won’t be done until next summer. In the meantime Clive Davis has asked that I record a CD called “Barry Manilow Sings The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time”. I know I said that I was done with recording cover albums, but getting to sing and arrange songs written by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Burt Bacharach was a very difficult thing to turn down. We’re nearly done with this CD and I must tell you it’s turning out to be one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever made. It’s an honor to sing and arrange songs written by the greatest composers of all time.

Releasing three albums of music in 18 months is amazing. Lots of work, but very satisfying and creative. Between all of albums, Manilow TV and a brand-new live show in Vegas, I hope you don’t get sick of me! I’ve been getting comments about how thin I look these days. That’s me. Skinny guy. But I’m healthy and filled with energy and thank goodness, I still have my hair! So please don’t be concerned about me. As long as I have my music and all of you, I’m fine.

Thanks everyone for everything.


Friday, October 2, 2009

No Kidding, Kojak

(link in case the video doesn't play)

(Another link)

The worst kept secret in Las Vegas. As I said in a previous post, I wouldn't blame him a bit for foraging for greener pastures.

Just hang tight, kids. It's wait-and-see mode in the fan world. Enjoy what is there, do damage control if you have to. And be nice to the people on the phone at Stiletto if you must call. The people answering the phones are not the ones making the decisions.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Encore Performance

(Originally posted June 2008)

With much love and many apologies to Barry and the crew.
To my friends who work at Sony/BMG - delete now. You didn't see this, you're not involved.

Clive Finds the Songs
(to the tune of I Write the Songs)

Clive's been alive forever
And he sold the very first song
He gave the words and I put the melodies together
I make music
But Clive finds the songs

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

My home lies far away from you
And I've got my own place away from crowds
Now when I look out through the bars
I'm glad again, even though I live with two dogs

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

Oh I begged that just one time
To make a record that was mine
15 Minutes gave me hope I'd write again
But that's not enough
Getting new music out is tough
"Greatest Hits" every year
is what he says I should do
"Sing this kid, it's good for you"

Clive finds the songs that he wants me to sing
Clive finds the songs that get the Billboard ratings
Clive finds the songs that make the public buy
Clive finds the songs
He finds the songs

(in the background)
Listen to me Barry
I know the public
Just do what I say

I make music
But Clive finds the songs

Friday, September 25, 2009

(Not Really the) Top Ten Manilow.TV Requests

Just for fun, folks.

Top Ten Archives Barry's Fans Would Pay to See on Manilow.TV

10) The BMIFC 2009 Convention Concert (Las Vegas) with the intact Mayflower segment. (There goes that hint again.)

9) Paul's Mall, 1974

8) Any full-length set with Bette Midler performed at the Continental Baths.

7) Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Bette, 1974

6) Paramus Mall with Bette (year?). Don't forget the part where she tells off the Girl Scout.

5) BMIFC 1987 Convention (Washington, DC) where he premiered content from what was then called Jump Street.

4) A full-length perfomance from the One Voice tour, complete with kids chorus.

3) A full-length performance from Paradise Cafe.

2) Barry's entire "coaching" session with Debra Byrd for the American Idol contestants last season.

And the Number One Archive Barry's Fans Would Pay to See on Manilow.TV

The conversation in the limo back to the hotel after the Jonathan Ross taping.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Of These Days...we'll see Manilow TV

It looks like they're almost ready to go! is taking pre-orders now. Click the logo to go there. Still think they did a great job w/ that site. I love tight code....but guyz, come on, the countdown clock came from a dating site? We're going to have fun with that one.

Not that anyone cares what I think but a "teaser" clip of video as a hint of what's to come would really close the sale on top of the text on the page.

I would pay to see the concert that Barry gave for the BMIFC convention that included the new, longer Mayflower segment. (Is my hint strong enough?)

BTW gang, I have no idea what's going on behind the scenes on this, but I *do* know that encoding as much video as they're talking about is a TON of work and setting up a pay-to-view system is a complex beast. If there's a bug in the system (IF - I don't know for sure, I just know that I've had to debug all kinds of projects post-launch) be kind if you have to point it out and be patient for a few minutes while it gets fixed. Yes, I know there's money involved, but TPTB and whoever's working on this is human so "be nice". Why? Well, it's the human thing to do. Besides, they have a beefy FAQ list and it looks like they paid attention to the pre-launch Internet chatter and addressed some of the issues brought up.

Sitting back and watching to see what happens.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Then one day the sun appears

At least that's what we're hoping for in North Georgia.

DVD is turned off because we're tracking flood warnings here. We were in a 100-year drought event up until this year. Water rights caused a huge brawl between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. My neighbor has a 5-foot lake in his backyard.

If you're watching for more Greek posts, they're coming. Just have to wait til there's no more weather warnings and we can kill the broadcast TV and watch the DVDs again.

Say a prayer for NW Georgia. People are getting killed up there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are There Really People in the Trees???

The YBA Greek review. It took long enough, didn't it?

Nap time for the kids, Pete's at work, home and business chores are caught up, time to settle in with a new concert video. At first I swore up and down that I hadn't seen the Greek yet. My folks are constantly six steps behind on technology and entertainment so I couldn't remember if we even HAD HBO yet. What we had was a TV the size of a cabinet with a 3-button remote control that weighed about 2 pounds and the buttons made a heavy mechanical "click" to change a channel up or down or turn the power on and off. A cable remote involved a 10-meter cord attached to the cable box and a dial to change the channels. Our movie channel was a dinosaur called "Home Cinema" that showed movies after 3 PM. I reminisce on this as I am about to lose my DirecTV dish and have AT&T Uverse fiberoptic installed tomorrow. Do I feel old yet? Hmmmm. Nope, it's just fun to watch things change.

Speaking of change, what's great about watching Barry's videos, from the first TV specials, to the Greek to the made-for-MTV stuff to M&P is watching the evolution of concert production and technology, as well as the variation in fashion and other tastes. Barry is the same person, his earlier music is the same, so it's easier to separate the set list out and focus on comparing and contrasting all of the other elements.

So begins the stream of consciousness. I'm starting to approach all of my new video acquisitions as analytical projects. It's become more relaxing to actively engage mentally pulling the show apart than just sitting back and absorbing.

Yeah, this was the 70s. Unitards and capes that NO ONE could possibly look good in. The best I can say is that Lady Flash's costuming made The Leisure Suit look not quite so bad. (Checking the concert schedule on Ning Network.) Yes, there is a show on Halloween. Barry, I double-dog dare you to dig one of these outfits out for that show!

There were so many more "hits" Barry included in his show back then. I searched through the Code of Federal Regulations and there is not one line in any law that says that Barry's shows MUST open with "It's A Miracle". Yes, it's a great song, yes I love it, yes it does make for a great opener. But then again, so does, "Here We Go Again". It's one of several that I wouldn't complain about seeing live again.

Is it me, or did Barry sit at the piano more in this show than in current ones? It's probably just me because I'm watching for it. Although the performance of "New York City Rhythm" itself is just as good, the current rendition is better: the "piano race"is more interesting - and musically challenging, trying to play a part on the keyboard without stomping on each other - than whatever the hell Lady Flash is doing on the side.

As I said earlier, I could get used to hearing the full-length "Even Now" in a show. I understand the medley concept. Seriously. I also get that it's not a new thing unveiled in Vegas; Barry has been rearranging songs together since The Midnight Special. When I've seen other bands or musicians try to medley their hits together, it sucked. Most of them can't arrange their way out of a pay toilet. Barry's medleys make logical and musical sense, like he's created a new song out of parts of previous ones. But here's the thing: we don't listen to songs like that. We get into one at a time. The live show brings the additional intensity of actually watching the passion go into the performance as we're getting turned on listening to it, so the performer and audience become their own feedback loop. It's intense. So, while I understand medleys, enough already.

Speaking of medleys, we got to the 40s medley. :-) I wonder what ever happened to the Jive Hat? Or is that what Kye was wearing in First & Farewell? I never thought of these songs (at the time) as "period" pieces. It was just the music that Barry played and it was fun to listen to.

Here's where the deja vu kicked in. Before I thought I had never seen this HBO special. Then Barry gets to the line where he asks, "Are there really people in the trees?" Then swears and pretends to get flustered as he covers up the microphone after the fact. (Even with establishments like Studio 54 and Plato's Retreat, it was still very much a G-rated world and cable hadn't started broadening its standards on language or content.) All of a sudden, the memory came rushing back - I had watched this show live as it was broadcast! I wasn't allowed to go to concerts yet (I wasn't even 10 years old in the summer of '78) but a Barry Manilow TV special, even on cable, was OK and filled the void until I was a teenager and allowed to go into the city for a rock concert. Officially, the only special/TV show Barry made that I didn't see at its premiere was Swing Street; I was in college and even during the summer I was either working or taking a class. I didn't watch TV for almost four years.

Barry has said in so many interviews that it was ironic that he had become a performing icon because he never intended to be a stage performer and he hated pop music. But the irony goes further than that: Because he did the Top 40 tunes, I got interested in the other styles he managed to work in and was willing to give it a listen. If it was my folks or anyone else who tried to get me to listen to that style of music (or jazz, etc) I would have rolled my eyes and blown them off. But because Barry played it, I was willing to listen and learn something from it. I like to think there are a lot of us out there who started appreciating the music Barry loves because he first did the pop tunes. I wish there were more because then we'd hear more Mayflower and Paradise Cafe at live shows.

Pause. Dinner Time. To be continued....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

UPDATED: Proms in the Park on BBC: 2:30 PM EDT

Listen live in less than an hour!

Picture here:

And in case you weren't able to record the shows:

Archived radio interview w/ Claudia Winkleman

Final night of Proms

Courtesy of YouTube while it lasts. ;-)

"Come on, interview me!"

Courtesy of YouTube while it lasts.
Yanks can watch this episode on BBC America on 9/18.
Commentary: in short, it's official, the world thinks Barry's fans are fucked in the head. The mermanilow thing was just embarrassing.

Ross as a TV presenter is up there with Graham Norton. BBC shows are better about doing interviews (especially with Barry) than American talk shows.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Barry on BBC Radio TODAY!
Listen online by clicking the "Listen Live" button in the upper right corner.

(September 10, 2009 - Photo by Bauer Griffin)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What a Small World!

A link to an article in Variety found its way into my "in" box this evening.

Seems Barry, Garry & Co are fooling around with the idea of creating a romantic comedy based on Barry's music and fictionalizing Barry's own fans!

Check it out!

No one knows if this movie will happen or not. So if you can't wait for this kind of fun, you're in luck!

MMN's own Cynthia B Ainsworthe has already written a novel based on this very idea and she herself was inspired by Barry. You can get her award-winning novel RIGHT NOW at Words and Passion.

Fan fiction is alive and well and may be coming to a big screen near you....