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....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let Me Go

Someone posted a comment to one of my previous posts asking why I haven't weighed in with greater commentary on the latest tempest in a toilet bowl on what fans prefer or don't prefer in Barry's shows. No disrespect to that person, but I didn't publish it because it didn't go with the original post.

Gang, it's just not that big a deal.

I just came off of maternity leave. I'm back to my freelance business full-time. The local chamber of commerce is crawling up my ass for a big systems upgrade. TOLF (The Original Littlest Fanilow) started back to school today. The CO detector in our bedroom starts chirping for NO REASON at 4 AM, exactly 23 minutes and 8 seconds after the baby goes to sleep. And my husband wants us to have his mother visit us for a week this fall.

Plus I have three major Manilow posts in the hopper that I wish I had more time for.

When you have someone like Barry with a career that long and varied, with that big a music catalog, and that many fans, you're going to get some wide variation in likes and opinions.

So what???

It's a unique kind of "special" that motivates one-upmanship on the Network. "Well, *I* must be a better fan and a better person, because all of my opinions about Barry are positive." Folks, you got a molehill with icecaps on it, there.

There's room on the Network for everybody (or the Blogosphere, or the newsgroups, or whatever area you park your mouse in) if you approach it right.

So you want my take on it? I'm flattered, seriously. :-)

Any kind of artistic creation (music, visual, whatever) starts with the artist, but doesn't end there. The audience/viewer/listener/fan plays a part as well. When a serious fan pays attention to what's being presented they have to bring a part of themselves to it. Then the creation becomes something else that even the artist couldn't conceive. That's what those opinions are: the morphing of the original creation when it reaches the ears of the fan listening. Those opinions - even if it's negative or whatnot - when it comes from someone who takes the time to pull apart the creation and experience it internally, are part of the artistic process. However, stifling that comment, or trying to portray some fans as more equal than others, actually kills the creation by making it static. It can't morph if you're allowed to only look at it one way. IMHO, that's the worst form of censorship.

I don't remember a law being passed that says that to be a serious fan of Barry's that you have to lllluuuuuuvvvvvvv every move he makes or every note he plays. How about using those POVs for some more interesting discussions and make each other think about WHY we enjoy one thing more than another?

I gotta get back to work.......

Barry Lands on the Couch

We know Barry's episode of Jonathan Ross is airing on the BBC this Friday, 9/11.

Us Yanks with BBC America can find him on the grid at 9 PM EDT on 9/18. We don't have to wait for months for the fun!

Guess what my DVR is set for?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Be Nice

Late last year I commented on how people say the wrong thing at the wrong time and the first instinct is to hide.....

(Check it out here......)

Fortunately not everyone thinks that way...... you get lots of kudos and brownie points from those in the loop when you do the right thing, even if you're not perfect. ......

People notice when you do the right thing...... both those you are directly communicating with and the bystanders. And it's appreciated at all levels........