Sunday, December 12, 2010


Courtesy of assorted posters in Europe who got the footage of the Nobel Peace Prize concert on YouTube.
For as long as TPTB allow it to stay.  (Come on guys, make an exception for this, OK?  Please?  The world won't end and more will see the HUGE impact Barry's music has made at yet another level.)

Barry's the master of arranging.  This presentation in this setting are the ultimate.  Nothing is going to beat this version.  I don't want to say retire it, but every performance from now on will be compared to this one.

Dammit.  You sonofabitch....  I said in posts before that I wasn't going to let you make me cry and now I'm crying.  Shit.  You win.   ;-)

Gotta lighten up a little bit.  What good is hope and freedom without joy and fun for the helluvit?  This would have been a good time to reinstate the random duet.

Barry, I wonder how many times when you were making these "commercial" songs written by someone else you wondered what the point was.  From a Chinese dissident winning the greatest honor bestowed on this planet, to the misfits on the alt.newsgroup and the blogs (like this one....) telling stories of how a song or two turned their lives around, every note made a difference.  Our little fan stories may not be as great an honor as the concert you gave here, but it still meant the entire world to each of us.  Even if it was just a simple commercial song or yet another typical show that you didn't think much of at the time.

So now that you've performed in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize, do you believe us now???

Here's more....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Conversations

Hi Everyone

Well, I’m alive!!


This horrible flu/bronchitis/head cold was a real big one. It’s gone through the band and crew like wildfire. It’s going through all the shows in Vegas. Even Donnie and Marie had to cancel their show.

Doesn't surprise me in the least.  Those resorts are petri dishes, I swear.  The older ones are the worst.  I have come home with something every time I stayed at the Hilton. I won't set foot in the Sahara.

On Thursday, I came in especially to light and stage the new Christmas segment with Chris Medvitz, my media/lighting designer.

Keely and a few of my crew told me that during the two weeks between Paris weekends, they were in bed feeling awful.

The whole country has it.  I won't bore (or sicken) you with the details of what it was like when three kids in the same house catch the same bug with different results.

But I was feeling fine all day Thursday. On Friday, I was still okay and started run-through’s with the adorable children’s choir from the schools in Vegas.

At 5:30 I did the very last run through with the kids and as I got to the last few notes of “Because It’s Christmas” I could feel my chest and vocal chords tighten up.

Within one hour –ONE HOUR- I had 102 degree fever, and I could barely speak, no less sing.

I will do anything not to cancel a show. I have performed with fever, flu, broken toes, death in the family, hurting hips – but if bronchitis hits a singer, there’s nothing to be done.

Two doctors said to me: “Barry. Go home.”

Ya didn't listen to the first one, did you?  He had to call in reinforcements to get you to rest?

So, feeling horrible Jewish Guilt, I canceled the show. And the entire weekend.

Just like when I passed on my "Vegas Bug" to my eldest and she came down with walking pneumonia.  Excet that was Catholic Guilt.  Same guilt, different holidays.

I want to apologize to all those people who planned on seeing our show. I am so sorry I had to cancel that weekend.

When you're sick, you're sick and since no one wants to watch you barf or pass out on stage, an apology isn't necessary.  But it's nice to hear it and the words mean a lot to those who had to miss you.

We all came back and did last weekend, but by the way, half of the band and crew are still suffering with this nasty strain of flu. Thanks everyone, for understanding.

I read that BMI printed the titles to the songs on Fifteen Minutes. The only titles that are part of Fifteen Minutes are the songs that were written by Enoch Anderson and myself.

Hey, we need something to chew on until the big unveiling.  Do you blame us?

The album is moving along. Very exciting.

Speaking of albums, Sony in Australia, is releasing a CD of all of my duets over the years. Listening to them all back to back is very entertaining and pretty powerful. From singing with Sarah Vaughan on “Blue” to Bette Midler on “Slow Boat To China” to Lily Tomlin on “The Last Duet”. The list goes on and on and it’s such an honor to have been able to write, arrange and sing with these great talents. I hope you like this CD.

Any chance it will hit iTunes in the USA?  Or maybe on as an import? "Slow Boat to China" is my favorite in that list.

And by the way, the duet with Elaine Paige is out and I think it’s great. A beautiful song (“The Prayer”) and Elaine is just wonderful on it. I loved singing the song and singing with her.

I finished doing a very interesting project last week.

The BBC2 in Britain offered me to host my own series about great composers of the Great American Songbook. I’m calling it “They Write The Songs”.

Ten weeks. Tuesdays at 10:00PM.

Each week I talk about the life of a great composer – Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, etc. – play their music sung by great vocalists and play and sing now and then as I describe why their songs are different and lasting.

It was like writing a thesis on each composer, but I learned so much about these talented men who gave us some of the greatest songs ever.

It begins airing in the U.K. and on line in March. If you can find BBC2, check it out. I love it.

This is going to be great!  For the Yanks, bookmark this and listen online:  Someone post when they go up, 'K?
I'm glad you're into these types of shows.  I listened to your stint on "Desert Island Discs" as many times as I could before it was pulled from the BBC site.  I can't tell whether you were just talking or trying to teach the crowds something more about music than they (we) casually here, but I learned a lot from it.  In your book you talk a lot about Laura Nyro and well.....  I had no f*cking idea what you were talking about.  On the radio when you're describing what you liked and why, and the impact the music had on you, it made a lot more sense.  I can hear why she's one of your favorites.  I don't have the words, they probably exist, but it's something that even someone like me can hear.  Because of the music you made, new worlds opened up to me and others like me who otherwise wouldn't pay attention to these types of music that are outside of the mainstream. 

Have a great holiday, everyone and thanks for another wonderful year.

Same to you - especially that last part.  I think you're in Oslo now for the Nobel Prize presentation.  (Or lack of presentation.  We'll be perched by the news seeing how that plays out.)  Congrats also on the Grammy nomination!  You've gotten so many is it something that becomes routine?  Or that you get tired of?  Or is it still exciting when your name is on the list in the press release?

Just got an email from your people at Stiletto about your performing at the Grammys as well.  Not that you need any ideas but these "insider" type of shows would get a good response on Manilow TV.  Somehow it's easy to imagine that you perform differently for your peers and other "industry people" than you do for the average fan audience. 

We're not going to forget about "Fifteen Minutes".  If your heart is in that work the way it was in "Paradise Cafe" or "Mayflower" it will be incredible.  That's the way it always is with your music.  I know you're not going to "rest" so I'll just say I hope you have a good holiday season (whatever you're celebrating) with family and friends.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks Down Under

Courtesy of TPTB via Hotline.
There's going to be a lot of happy Australians in April!  Great deal, considering "tours" allegedly don't happen anymore.  Whoever's going, make sure to post your story somewhere!

After 15 years, Barry is returning to Australia with his brand new orchestra show!

Starting on 7 April, Barry, his band, and singers will be travelling to various cities in Australia and performing with local orchestras in each city. That’s right…Barry…his band…his singers…60 musicians….all of the hits….and you!

Here is the complete schedule:

Performing with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Thursday 7 April 2011 - Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Saturday 9 April 2011 - Sydney Acer Arena

Performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Monday 11 April 2011 - Rod Laver Arena

Performing with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday 13 April 2011 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Saturday 16 April 2011 - Perth Sandalford Estate

BMIFC members always get the first chance to buy the best seats in the house before they are available to the general public. BMIFC Tickets are available on Wednesday, December 1 at 12 PM (Eastern Australia – Sydney) and 9 AM (Western Australia – Perth) and Tuesday, November 30 at 5 PM (Pacific – Los Angeles). BMIFC tickets are only available by calling 0011-1-310-957-5788 or going to

Front Row tickets will also be available on December 1 ONLY at!

Barry can’t wait to see all of his Australian friends and share this incredible new concert with them!

So, don’t delay, grab your great seats before they are available to the public!

See you down under!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All it Takes is One Voice

From the Washington Examiner:

Manilow, Jamiroquai to perform at Nobel peace concert

Associated Press

11/16/10 6:21 PM EST OSLO, NORWAY — Barry Manilow and Jamiroquai have joined the lineup of artists to perform at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo.

Organizers say Indian musician A.R. Rahman, who did the score for "Slumdog Millionaire," will also feature in the Dec. 11 show honoring this year's peace laureate, imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will host the concert, which is always held a day after the prize ceremony.

Previously announced performers include British pop band Florence and the Machine, U.S. pop singer Colbie Caillat, pianist Herbie Hancock and singer-songwriter Elvis Costello.

A quick bio of Liu Xiaobo

"One Voice" and "Let Freedom Ring" are the obvious choices for this performance, unless Barry has something else up his sleeve.

Every year, we bitch and moan about politics in the USA. We complain about how "uncivil" politics are, but only when the politicians WE support are on the receiving end.  (Those we opposed, well - who cares how they get treated, right?)  For nearly ten years, the USA has become more and more divided along party lines and the news media has abandoned any illusion of objectivity.  But our political system is still a beacon of hope that others around the world give their lives every day to attain.  We all have the right to bitch and moan.  In public.  On blogs.  On street corners, even.  The news media has the right to be biased if they want, or if their business model encourages it.    Media personalities can hold rallies right in Washington.   New movements can start (like the Tea Party) and they can be derided by those in disagreement (like MSNBC).  The worst anyone has to worry about is the court of public opinion.  No one ends up in a labor camp in Siberia, or in a shithole prison in the armpit of China.

I think we're frakkin' spoiled over here.  It takes a spotlight on an activist such as Liu Xiaobo to remember how fortunate we are - even as we complain about USA politics and politicians.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Power of Reminiscing

Late night, the first time I've been able to check into ManilowTV for a while.  This month's video is a special made for VH1 promoting the Summer of '78 record.  Guess who didn't have cable at the time?

I never get tired of this type of show - up close, a very intimate feel, lots of storytelling.  Serious fans know most of the anecdotes Barry was telling in this episode but there always seems to be something new that gets thrown in.  (If anyone is taking requests, I'd get a giggle out of the "Richmond, Indiana" story.)

After blogging for going on 3 years, I've learned there's a fine balance in telling personal stories.  Some things are just too personal, complicated, or embarrassing to put out there.  Or so I think - it's always worse to me than it is to people reading it.  On the other hand, taking the time to develop personal stories for public consumption is cathartic.  There were some serious tough times that just would NOT go away for me, until I organized them into chapters and put them out for 6 billion people to see.  Now it's over and I don't have to think about it anymore.  Unless I want to - and it's easy.

But I always hold something back.  Whether it's names or specific places or something like that.  In my mind that small barrier makes being open about myself easier.  It's like being open without being vulnerable.

I wonder if it's the same or even similar for anyone in entertainment when they decide to tell personal stories.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

M&G Contest from the Desert Sun Newspaper

Short and sweet:

The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs is hosting a contest.  The prize is a weekend in Vegas including Barry's show and a spot in the meet and greet.

Here's the main link

Here's where you can sign up

(To the Desert Sun web folks - not *everything* has to open in a new window, K?  Just my 2 cents.  Otherwise great site!)

Good luck to everyone jumping at this chance.  Post your story if you win for the rest of us!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Conversations with.... part deux

Second verse, same as the first.  Original from Barry - black/normal.  Me - bold/red

Hi everybody,

Thanks so much for all the answers to my last post.

You know we love it.

"Fifteen Minutes” is really moving along.
Next week, we’re going to put background vocals on every song. That’ll be a fun couple of days. Then Michael and I will be pretty close to being finished.

It’s so ironic about mixing records. After spending months and months with the top musicians in the top studios with the top equipment, you wanna know where we listen to the final product,? In our cars!

YOU DO THAT TOO?  (I mean, listen to music in the car.)  That's the only place I can really enjoy music these days.  My "office" is wherever my laptop plugs in and it's not always possible to kick back with the iPod wherever I happen to be sitting.  So drive time is the only place I have an excuse to pop in something new/soothing/familiar/whateverI'minthemoodfor.

We mix the song, make a CD, and all of us run out to someone’s car, and play it in the car. And usually if there are any mistakes or imbalances they will come through loud and clear being played in your car.
Then we run back into the studio, make the fixes, make a CD, run back out of the car, listen to it and take notes and do the same thing over and over and over until the album is done.

So - do you just take spins around the driveway or actually take a serious ride?  Because the mood that the music brings out is much different at 70 MPH on the freeway than tooling around the neighborhood at a dead crawl.  Or even parked in the driveway.  You have to know what I'm talking about....

“The Talk” was a great opportunity to talk about the Manilow Music Project, and “Fifteen Minutes.”

That segment sounded really good too.  Gotta love AT&T Uverse & DVR.

You know, this Manilow Music Project is so moving to me. I thank you all so much for donating to the Manilow Fund for Health and Hope and for visiting with me during the platinum hours.

As fortunate as the kids and schools are to have your donations of instruments and accessories, they're equally fortunate to have a school board that is going to make the most of it.  I've been harping on this for a while on this blog because our local school board and system has crashed and burned in the past few years.  It kills me to say this but until the school boad pulls its head out of its collective ass, all the donations, fundraisers, and supporters aren't going to help.  Donations go to waste.  I'm glad you're not contributing instruments here, because they won't be cared for.  How pathetic is that??? 

All  of my eldest's preschool teachers (she's going on 5 - just for reference.  The TOLF from past posts) are warning me to get her into private school by any means necessary because she'll otherwise be lost in the shuffle in public school.  At least she'll get formal music as part of the regular curriculum, starting in kindergarten.  She's already learned some basics of reading music by playing on a bathtub toy xylophone.  So she's on the right track.

The point of that rant is it's obvious the students, teachers, and parents in the Las Vegas school district understand and appreciate what you've done.  I just wish everyone did.

The Platinum hours are turning out to be so interesting. I’m meeting such interesting people, characters, people with great senses of humor, couples that tell me that they’ve been with me for so many years, people quoting lyrics from songs that I thought no one even paid any attention to.

We reminisce about a concert here or a TV show there. It’s turned out to be my favorite Friday evening half-hour. And of course I double what ever we bring in on those Fridays and Yamaha and Hal Leonard send over brand-new instruments and music stands and sheet music and we give away brand-new musical instruments to kids that need them.

I've heard all kinds of stories from folks who got to visit with you during Platinums, both at the Paris and the Hilton.  You're braver than I am.  I have to meet new people all the time at work but your Platinum scenario sounds (from the outside) like it could be wonderful or it could be the worst kind of awkward for everyone.  If you can make that work every week, more power to ya! 

We did this in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and let me tell you that it was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I thank you so much for being involved in this with me. I received box-loads of thank you notes from the kids, but listen to this letter that I received from a teacher:

Dear Mr. Manilow and the Manilow Music Project:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity. My students are so excited to have new instruments! When they walked in and saw all of the boxes the excitement was palpable! They opened those boxes with the joy of youth, it was like Christmas morning!

I was surprised to find music stands there too! Thank you so much, we have a big music program and stands are always needed.

Some of my beginning students had been playing on some very old flutes, when they tried their brand-new beautiful flutes they exclaimed, “it’s so easy to play now!” They sound great and I wish you could see the smiles on their faces.

Imagine my surprise to find two boxes this morning filled with sheet music! They were the exact method books we use as well as jazz ensemble books and pep band music. We are so excited to put all of this to good use.

We feel so blessed here at Brown Junior High School and cannot express our gratitude enough.


Amy Sue Rich
Isn’t that something?

Not in the least bit surprised.  When teachers are given the freedom to do their jobs by their overlords in the local system, and they have the tools to do it, it's like they can watch the world unfold in front of their eyes as the kids learn.  Growing up I went to schools from 3rd grade through graduation with every possible music ensemble and opportunity to take some kind of music class.  Now I have to work harder to make sure MY kids have the same opportunities.  The teacher that wrote you that letter sounds like the teachers I had growing up and there's no doubt her kids will benefit just as much.

Gotta go.
Oh, one more thing!
When we come back to the Paris in November, were going to be doing Christmas songs!
I know it’s early, but Christmas Is Just Around The Corner and I so love our Christmas arrangements and songs.
So if you’re in the Las Vegas area, come see us and celebrate an early Christmas.

Never too early to work in Christmas songs.  It's the one thing that gets people to perk up and not look at working through the year as a drudge.

All my best,




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Feedback time!

Looks like Barry is venturing out onto the MMN.  Good for him, and good for everyone who can now follow up with his thoughts as they happen.  Since this is the Internet, it's going to get leaked.  I found it on the alt newsgroup.  (Thanks to whoever reposted - you know who you are.)  This post went public while I was still in the hospital so I'm just getting around to it now.

Here's the post.  My comments are bold and red.


Posted by Barry Manilow on September 29, 2010 at 9:54pm in Manilow TV
Hi everyone

I wasn’t going to post so soon after the first post, but the beautiful responses and questions are encouraging enough to write again. And I’d like to answer a few questions that kept coming up in your posts.

First – Just because I said that the CD is “guitar driven” doesn’t mean I’M going to play the guitar!! I don’t even know how to hold the thing!

Didn't think so.  Yes, I remember the 3rd TV special.  ;-)  Really looking forward to this because there's been so much more guitar in more recent records than years back.  The redux of "Copa" on the 70s compilation, a big chunk of Mayflower ("Tito", especially) and a lot of the tracks on the 80s record.  There's no question you can do this guy, we just want to hear it.  We've been getting teasers up til now.

The guitar work on this CD will be done by some of the finest guitar players in L.A. So, no, it won’t be me playing the guitar.

One of the great things about delving back into Barry's music is discovering the talent that he's worked with.  He doesn't work with "just anybody".  (That unfortunate interlude on LOGO channel with "Nemesis" notwithstanding....)  I've discovered all kinds of great stuff that will never make the bland not-even-vanilla crap on the radio that has stretched my mind and given me new things to figure out.  Before my latest inpatient trip, I made sure to download the latest from Straight No Chaser, Culbertson's XII, and I'm waiting to see if Dave Koz' latest has made it to iTunes yet.  Just when you think your music discovery days are over, someone comes along with something new to reawaken you.  At least we can be sure that we're not going to be stuck with some three-chord wonder trying to fake his way through the songlist.

Thanks for all notes of encouragement about this new CD.

You know we're behind you when you're doing something new.  Just find a blog, newsgroup, or whatever.  We haven't gone anywhere.

One of the questions that kept popping up was about “Everything’s Gonna’ Be All Right”. As of now, it closes the entire CD. I mean, after taking our hero through this dramatic trip, I had to bring everyone back up with a song that says, “stick with it”. So, as of now, yes, it is scheduled to close the album.

It'll be a while before I get back to Vegas to hear this myself.  All of the comments I've heard start with "Wow!"  :::sigh:::

Ok, I have a question for all of you.

Hit it...

You know, we’re heading across the Pond in May to do shows at the fantastic ’02 Arena.

Not to mention a nice little Florida circuit.  So close and yet so far.  There will be a lot of happy people down there too.

We might record it – a DVD and/or a CD of the shows. Don’t lock me into that statement, please! You never know what will happen between now and then.

I thought you recorded everything?  I know, there's a difference between personal recordings and professionally taped stuff for release.  But consider this:  some of the best video was what you never intended to release in the first place.  Hence why the "First" DVD of "First & Farewell" is in my constant personal Top 10 list of videos.

But, IF we do, (or if we don’t!), I’d love to know what rare songs you’d like to hear us do. Songs that we haven’t done in a long time.   “If I Should Love Again”, “No Other Love”, “Some Kind Of Friend”.   Songs like that. What would you like to hear done live?

Oh geez, how many times do I have to say it???  You'd have to sop up half the room with a mop if you worked "If I Should Love Again" into your set list.  Especially since these gigs are "full blown orchestra" shows.  IISLA is one of those "if you've got it, flaunt it" numbers.  It would stop time.

Also heard that "Some Kind of Friend" is in the Vegas set, at least once in a while.  I don't believe in bootlegging so that is killing me.  Yes include that one.

If you're going for upbeat numbers - how about "Riders to the Stars", "Beautiful Music", "Let's Hang On, and "It's a Long Way Up"

And if we're talking about really rare, I'd give a whole lot to hear "Let Me Go" and "I Was A Fool to Let You Go".  Call me crazy, I'm just partial to anything with a blues progression in it.  Go figure.

And, if I were to do a duet with someone, who would you like to see?   Elaine Paige? (our duet came out GREAT!). Lulu? Shirley Bassey? John Barrowman? Lorna Luft?  Anyone else you guys can think of?

Dude you are so missing the obvious...  Susan Boyle would put asses in seats in a heartbeat.

I'm going to assume that the duet thing is something the Brit fans look forward to, so I'm not going to knock it.  IMHO, you don't need a duet.  But if that's the direction you want to go in, you've already answered your own question above.  If Elaine Paige did that well, it would be successful again.  I have a hard time imagining duets so I can't help with some of your suggestions. Except two:  if you're going to team up w/ your buddy Lorna, you could have a shitload of fun with "Me and My Shadow".  I dunno about Barrowman.  I mean I love the guy - I have my DVR set to record "Torchwood" all the time.  And I about peed myself when I saw him do "Springtime for Hitler."  But from the video I saw of the Proms last time you were there, something about that duet just didn't work for me.  Can't put my finger on it.  Don't shoot me for that, it's just one girl's opinion.

But I'll bet Boyle would be a really popular choice.

I’ll post when I get a minute.

Same here.  Minutes are hard to come by in my house these days.  Lots of thoughts rattling around, not enough hours in the day to put them down.



I am really looking forward to the next post.  This was the most fun I've had in a while!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Talk is Cheap

From ( )

Barry Manilow is scheduled to appear Live on The Talk

CBS, Monday, November 1, 2010

(11am, CBS Studio, Studio City, CA)
Attention Barry fans: To be in the audience, please contact (Audience Coordinator, The Talk) directly for VIP tickets.

Check your local listings.  In the ATL, it is on at 2 PM.
OK, folks, a new show on a new network that has a very similar format to a certain other show on another network that has had Barry on numerous times but the last time didn't go so well.  In other words, the situation couldn't have been fucked up worse than if everyone tried their best at it.

So here are some suggestions for ground rules.  Make yourselves very happy and consider them.
1)  With this many people and the obvious format of the show, opinions and ideas are going to be exchanged.  Some may be different from yours.
2)  Get over #1.  You will not melt like the Wicked Witch of the West in water if you share space with someone who has a different POV on a topic than you.
3)  Set your priorities.  If you want to fight, then fight.  Be ready for some negative fallout.  If you want to be loved as a wonderful human being, be a warm fuzzy wonderful human being. 
4)  If you get pinned down on a topic that makes you uncomfortable, it is possible to be both tactful and straightforward.  To get out of it altogether, a good stock response is "I'm really not comfortable talking about that topic.  Let's move on to something else."  Then zip your lip.  The other option is to just give your opinion, making it very clear that this is your POV and others are entitled to theirs.

Really simple, right?  I think so too.  Why?  Because these are more elaborate versions of the rules TOLF is learning in pre-K.  All based on the Golden Rule itself.

Now - have a great time in your slot on a new show!  Break a leg!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Altered Reality

Psst. Hey you. Yeah, YOU. Wanna be on TV? We can make you famous! Everyone will see you. Will they think you're cool? Uh.... sure! Why not? We're doing a show about Barry Manilow fans so let us film you and you'll have a great time. Honest!

It's that time again. Another production company developing a "reality show" is casting. Details here:

The alt newsgroup had a discussion on this. According to one of the posts, Garry Kief commented on this at the ManilowUK Ning site.

Fans On TV
Posted by Garry Kief on September 1, 2010 at 6:25pm

I've heard rumors again of fans being contacted to be on TV. This has
happened in the past....when TV companies have gone directly to
fans....and all have promised to be respectful etc. Unfortunately, it
has never worked. I've talked to countless fans in tears about how
they were portrayed on camera, how the program was edited, and how
they had been been manipulated to look like idiots. Even though we
always ask production companies to first contact us and explain their
real intentions....they never do. I'd encourage everyone to be very
cautious before they consider getting involved.

Looks like it's more than just a rumor this time.

Here's my comments, also from the alt newsgroup:

Garry basically took the words right out of my mouth.

"Reality" shows (I prefer the term "unscrpited" to reality) are not
altruistic endeavors out to glorify their subjects for their benefit.
They're going to exploit you to make money. Period. If you sign on
for this and understand what you are dealing with (perhaps by watching
a few reality shows to get the hang of their goals) then knock
yourself out. There are a few people who figured out how to
"manipulate the manipulator" - like Dr. Will on "Big Brother" - and
were comfortable enough with themselves and the scenario to use it to
their advantage. If you think the production company is going to make
you look like the hero of your own story, get the Kleenex ready.

If you go on one of these shows (not just one about Barry's fans but
ANY reality show) I would heed the insight I heard about from a
production crew member. (I think it was aired on the old now-defunct
Fox Reality channel but I'm not sure so if I need to attribute this
later, I will.) "Reality shows depict you as you are, even if they
are edited. With editing, ou can make a good person better. You can
make a bad person worse. But you can't turn one into the other."

Whatever you say or do on camera is going to be amplified. Start with
a factor of 10, just to be safe. What you think is "funny" or "just
being silly" is going to be used to make you appear to be an idiot.
And you're never going to control the court of public opinion. It is
very hard to stay classy 24/7. Composing yourself with a camera in
your face all the time is even worse. Not many people can do it; even
the best people in the world.

When I watch these shows (I admit it, it's my guilty pleasure.
"Amazing Race", "Survivor", "Big Brother", and my favorite of all -
"My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee". I even watch "The Real Housewives of
Atlanta" but you couldn't pay me to patronize the establishments that
they do after they've been there and I wouldn't spend time with these
people, even at gunpoint.) Where was I? Right - when I watch these
shows, I have to wonder about their judgement most of the time. As
in, if I was in a position to hire one of these "reality show divas"
for a job, would I? Probably not - because if their judgment is so
poor that they allow themselves not only to be sold on the idea of
being a "star" on a reality show, but then fly off the handle and
behave like a fool as well, what kind of employee would they be? Not
one that I would want to manage.

Anywho - long story short, this is advice from Garry that I would
take. If they don't have the integrity or the balls to approach
Stiletto with a pitch for a reality show about the fans of their top
client, you can't expect them to treat the cast that well either.
Be careful out there, folks.  Don't be taken advantage of.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NOT Waiting for Superman in Nevada

The Manilow Music Project kicked off a major donation today in Clark County, NV.

In my little corner of paradise, parents and taxpayers are on the warpath with those in charge of the public schools.  Once the RICO indictments rolled out (I blogged on that some time ago) a deluge of news stories hit the fan regarding nepotism, misspending, race-based political manipulation of an order not seen but prior to the Civil Rights era, and forms of incompetence too numerous to count.  A member of the school board actually threatened to hit a TV reporter.  To her face.  On camera.  In front of the television crew.  And she got away with it, only to receive a hollow written reprimand a month later.  No real consequences.

Then there's the story about a teacher in a local elementary school who built up an orchestra program with his bare hands and own blood, sweat, and tears.  The principal allegedly engaged in a dick-measuring contest with the teacher, felt that he fell short, then fired him.  Bye-bye innovative music program.

While this is going on, the film Waiting for Superman was released.  The documentary is one person's POV on public school systems in trouble around the US and explores his idea of a solution.  There's been plenty of arguing back and forth regarding the merits and drawbacks of the points presented.  Parents are glomming on to the flic because they are just so frustrated they need someone - ANYONE - to say "Yes, I see what you see, and I have an answer."

The filmmaker gave an interview that cut right to the heart of the problem.  (Paraphrasing)  "Superman" isn't coming to save you, your schools, your community or your children.  You're going to have to do it yourself.

That's the point where I connect the dots with the MMP.  Barry isn't Superman, and a donation of instruments to music classes isn't going to magically solve all issues in public schools so that parents and elected officials can kick back in their Barcaloungers and think "Whew!  Glad that's over!  Where's the remote?".   Barry is a local businessman who works in the area and is in a position to jump-start interest in public education.  He can work out a deal with manufacturers and get kids the tools they need to engage and broaden their minds through music.  Kids may find a career path they hadn't considered.  Or realize they can do anything they choose to do.  Or just enjoy school more so they get better grades.  The positive fallout is potentially endless.

But only if parents and the community take the next step.  Get on top of the school boards and make sure that a variety of music classes are scheduled in the school.  Make sure that qualified teachers are available.  Make sure that funding is available for the same.  Get your physical plant up to snuff so that instruments and other equipment can be stored safely.  Ensure that rehearsal rooms, band rooms, and an auditorium are available so rehearsals and recitals can be their own reward.  There's so much that goes into a music program, that instruments are only the start.  Don't get so comfy in that warm and fuzzy glow of today that you forget that the work BEGINS tomorrow.  Then Barry's (and his fans') fundraising will do the most good.

Photos courtesy of TPTB on Twitter:

Just left Western High. Headed to Indian Springs school. Made... on Twitpic
#BarryManilow arrives on the scene on Twitpic
Valley High School marching band.  Heard them rehearsing &quo... on Twitpic
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Can't smile without you #Manilow banner on Twitpic
5 trucks.... READY TO ROLL!!!  #Manilow on Twitpic
Instrument donation #Manilow on Twitpic

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One Night Live! One Last Time!

Finally, the dawn breaks, the fog lifts, and there's news.

On September 26, first thing in the morning, we had our 3rd child "PJ".
Just over 8 lbs and almost 24 inches long.  Blue eyes (like Dad!) and he loves to snuggle.

It's going to feel good to start posting again.  Hell, even to be able to THINK again!

Please be patient with us.  Mom is still sore.  If you're on our regular Christmas card list, pictures will go out via mail in announcements and our cards this year.

I hear someone crying to be fed.  See you later!



Saturday, September 18, 2010

And the winner is....

Millie Wilkins

According to TPTB there will be some modifications before it goes into production but this design got the most votes, that's what they're going with.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vote for the new Manilow T-shirt

Submissions are closed and the voting begins!


Confirmed via Chris, yes, the winner will have their design printed on an official Tshirt.  And the designer gets a bunch of other cool prizes.

YBA endorses and is voting for  Jackie's design

Winners will be announced on 9/17.

(OK, really, I'm crawling into a hole now.  Without going into TMI, I feel like shit and labor will begin at any time.  This is a "wait-and-see-what-happens" scenario according to the doctor - the one that Pete is threatening to wedgie.  Wish me luck.)

Friday, August 20, 2010


(I lied - one more post before I retreat under my rock for a few weeks.)

When Chris announced the current Manilow TV episode was from 1975, I thought of 3 things:
1)  Leisure Suits
2)  Rhinestones
3)  Mullets

I was right.  Although the good ole boys warning the audience they were being taped won the Mullet Contest hands-down.

What's cool about this is the set list and chatter are basically the same as the Troubadour show in Los Angeles that was taped a couple of months earlier and that I linked to back in February.  (I haven't been back to that link in a while so I don't know if the file is still there or if it's since been taken down.)  So at least we not only get the show through "official" channels, there's visuals now.

Warning:  not only the dresses got the Ronco rhinestudder treatment.  So did the girls' EYELIDS.  OUCH!!!

Nobody looked "broke" up there.  (Barry's word, not mine.)  Although the girls looked like they just walked out of King Herod's scene of Jesus Christ Superstar and everyone and their dog wore flannel shirts, that's just what everyone looked like at the time.

Highlights:  again, "Somebody's Baby".  I hope he's playing it like this at the Paris.  It's one of those songs that doesn't need a lot of window dressing, it stands on its own.

More highlights:  the Martha & the Vandellas medley.  Those of you who are upset that he's "doing all covers" now, here's a reminder that that isn't a new tack for him.

The VSM reminded me of when I got to see Barry's show for the first time in Atlanta.  I didn't know if this would be part of the act or not, so I prayed constantly, "Please, PLEEZE do NOT do the Pepsi or Tropicana things."  You see, the venue was three blocks away from the Coca-Cola Global HQ.  People are fiercely loyal to that brand (or at least loyal to the stock in their portfolios) and anyone who flaunts that by waving "the other company" around does so at his own risk.  TPTB would have to pan the Chattahoochee just to find enough of him to bury.

I love comparing and contrasting these shows from different eras.  Not to see what's different necessarily, but how much is similar.  Some bits just work - always.  You can also see that Barry may have gotten more comfortable with himself and his presence on stage over the years, but the core was always there.  Though he may not have known it at the time, or even thought about it.  It's just there.

This one is worth the price of admission and fun to watch.  That's what grabbed me about the set list, including the songs you don't hear much anymore:  it's just fun.  You couldn't tell that they were broke, or if someone was pissed off at someone else, or something else was going wrong.  The show took all of that away.

If TPTB are taking requests for ManilowTV, I'd be obliged if you'd put this in the queue.  How about something from the 80s?  Between Paradise Cafe and the purple album.  Lots of great music made in those years and not all of us got to see it live.  (ahem)

T-Shirt Design Contest

Now THIS was a great idea!
Design your own Manilow Tshirt, if you win it gets printed and you get free tix to the show.

Deadline is September 3.  Check out the competition and give it a shot!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

And for the record...

Noticing who visits a blog is NOT stalking!
You do the same thing, pal!


I Deserve A Break Today

It's been a long month.  Lots of great things at the Atlantic City show and online.

Here's the deal:  My next (final) due date is a few weeks away and my IQ temporarily dips to that of vegetable matter.  You moms out there know what I'm talking about.  Getting work squared away, getting everyone as up to date as possible for when I'm taking emergency calls and when I'm REALLY not available.  (Would you believe one dude actually emailed me the day I gave birth for a technical question?  Talk about not getting the memo!!)

So I'm going to curl up with ManilowTV and lay low for a bit.  I'm still here, I'm reading, just not posting in the mean time while I get life organized.

I'll post when the Big Event happens and as usual, my energy and IQ will snap back to normal and I'll go back to shooting from the lip.

Until then, try to be nice out there.  And wish me luck!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Into the Breach

It's time to address the elephant in the room.  Again.

I've blogged here about fan bullying ever since this blog started in 2008.  Typical stuff, but if you'd like to review, I'll make it easy:

This Bears Repeating

Who's In Charge of the Manilow Network

The Right Love at the Wrong Time

The Golden Rule - The Hard Way

Every rainbow has to have an end (the source of all of the above)

Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme.  "Imagine if you will...."
That those who engage in the bullying described above (and worse) were to engage in what is generally called "Real Person Fiction" of the pornographic persuasion?

It's not a hypothetical question.

Blogilow:  Exploiting celebrities:  Sexually-explicit fantasy by extreme celebrity worshipers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aging Groupies

Brett Michaels and his latest PR efforts are growing on me.

I liked the occasional Poison hit in the 80s - who didn't. But the hair rock bands all ran together. Their careers took off at the same time once they got that third chord straight.

In "Rock of Love", he had his head up his ass. I watched it only for my own self esteem. Whatever was going on in my life, or whatever faults I thought I had, at least I wasn't in this crowd of cows.

Then on "Celebrity Apprentice", he really showed how he had his act together as a creative businessman. I understand that and got some respect back for him. I thought he was a goner when the subarachnoid hemorrhage hit. Then he WALKED onstage for the Apprentice finale. Albeit slowly and dragging one leg. He had the chrome-plated, brass balls to do it. I hope that the latest VH1 "special" (that was supposed to be an entire series before his brain hemorrhage leveled him) gets picked up again. There's just something about that human side and he seems to be one of those parents who tries desperately to balance work and home and keep his kids normal. I know of 3 guys in the music industry who have their priorities set as "family first, music job second", and I've met two of them. Just someone's dad who plays an instrument. It's great.

Then the most classic of all was Michaels' guest spot on Don't Forget the Lyrics where he sails right through "Looks Like We Made It" without stopping to blink or take a breath. Then he crashes and burns on a Quiet Riot song. Priceless!

Brett's video humor has reached a new height. His spoof PDA for the "Do Something Awards" applies to damn near any over-the-top fan base of almost any successful act. So if you see someone you know in these images, or even yourself - don't blame the messenger! (link in case it doesn't appear below)

2010 Do Something Awards Videos and Photos Headlines

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where Do I Begin

Moonstone found the following interview online and posted it on her blog. This is the best interview we've heard from Barry in a looooong time. Best = most open and most vulnerable.

I didn't blow off the birthday wishes on June 17. Or forget. I always want to come up with something new and nice to say and every year I come up short.

I always go back to the first post I made for June 17.

I've always enjoyed Barry's music, almost as long as I can remember. Whether it was a safe retreat, a daily break, or a major emotional renewal it was there to rely on. But the greatest moment of all was when my eldest child finally understood music for the first time - it was when she caught sight of the 1st TV special.

Variety specials in the '70s were one-shot deals, a passing fad. Everyone and their dog had at least one. And they really were "special" - you could count on seeing them only once. The idea of multiple reruns on dozens of networks via cable or satellite hadn't taken hold yet. The Betamax was on the market but they were huge and awkward and expensive and most people didn't have them - or use them to save their favorite shows.

A lot of good came out of these promo pieces years later.

My favorite line from the above interview as printed: "I’d like my tombstone to read: The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music."

Barry, you're in great company:
"He who sings, prays twice." --St. Augustine

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now THAT'S What I Call Class

Condensed from the newsgroup

Those of you from the UK who stop by, the news of Lynn Stephens' passing was posted on the newsgroup, then on the ManilowUK.
Dear Friends,

It's with great sadness that I write this message. Lynn passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning.

As many of you may know, Lynn ran the BMIFC UK for close on 30 years before retiring a few years ago and throughout that time she touched many people's lives and hearts and will be greatly missed by all that knew her.

Condolences to her family, loved ones and friends at this very sad time.

With love,


Mark Worrall
The Official UK Barry Manilow Website
WhenI hear of someone passing like this, I always wish their surviving friends and family well in my heart. I didn't comment because I've never been a part of the BMIFC.
The following was posted to the newsgroup this afternoon from ManilowUK. Now THIS is a magnanimous gesture fitting everything I have heard about Lynn and her fan club work:
All of us are saddened beyond words at the sudden passing of our friend Lynn Stephens.
Lynn was a "one of a kind," passionate, strong willed, always looking out for the underdog....with a heart of gold and a wicked sense of humor.
For many, many years she served as a trusted employee at our offices in London, but more importantly, she served as a trusted friend.
Both will be missed by us all.
In her honor, we have established the Lynn Stephens - Manilow Music Scholarship.
Each year, a deserving student will receive a grant from the Scholarship Fund to assist them in their music studies.
In this small way, we hope that by keeping music alive, we will be able to keep her memory alive.
Lynn was quite a gal.
And she is missed......
With love.....
Barry.....and your family at the BMIFC and STILETTO.
All of you lucky UK fans who get to see Barry in May at the O2 will have a chance to celebrate Lynn's life while enjoying the show(s?)

Barry and TPTB - way to go. Your gesture and the letter to the UK fans was perfect.

UPDATE: for those looking to make a donation in Lynn's memory, please visit this link at ManilowUK:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sounds of Silence


That there is almost no news out of ManiLand these days?

When Barry was at the Hilton, there were stories of trips, and set lists and special events (special for someone, somewhere), Platinums, and the whole 9 yards.

But when I put my ear on the ground today, I hear crickets.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Time to Give, a Time to Keep

If you've been following this blog for any length of time (or if you care to use the search function) you'll know I've been a supporter of the idea behind the Manilow Music Fund, keeping music education in the public schools. Barry's comment hit the nail on the head - you'd think the public school system would see to these needs, but they don't. (Paraphrasing) I've said in one of my earlier posts that it is unwise at best to leave all of the decisions regarding education in the hands of any government entity. Parents, plus anyone else interested in seeing children get educated need to keep their hands in and keep control.

Barry's idea of contributing to the schools is great. I support it, I practice it with my local private preschool where my kids are enrolled. (Too young for kindgerarten yet.) But with that said, the needs and the processes are not "one size fits all". Not only are needs different, but the process of ensuring that the money actually goes to the MATERIALS USED IN THE SCHOOL varies widely as well.

Why do I have a bug up my ass about this tonight?

THIS: Former DeKalb Schools Chief, 3 Others Indicted

Complaints about this school district have been stinking to high heaven for years. While the Board of Ed makes $100K each (including SECRETARIES pulling down upwards of $90K plus benefits) and the "former Chief" banking a cool quarter mil annually, some school buildings are literally falling apart, steps away from being officially condemned. Musical instruments? How about toilets that flush? Many kids are still waiting on the latter! Even in better neighborhoods schools are so old and overcrowded that the school system sets up trailers with port-a-shits in them as mobile classrooms, rather than build or add on to school buildings.

BTW, have a barf bag handy for the part where he used a state-issued purchasing card to vacation in the Bahamas an buy tickets to the Masters. The indictment is for RICO, kids. Racketeering. We're in Tony Soprano territory now, not just swiping a handful of paper clips.

Before you give ANYTHING to your local schools or whatever - and that is not just money, but time and effort as well - do your homework. Make sure that there is a very short distance between your checkbook and the intended recipient. Can the stewards of your donations account for Every. Last. Cent. of your contribution? Is it getting wasted on administrators and other beaurocrats rather than the children they are supposed to educate? If the answers are "No" and "Yes", respectively, maybe it's better to wait. I know a lot of parents who are going to focus on flushing the poop out of the Board of Ed and stop the (now criminal) hemorrhaging of cash in all the wrong places.

Yes, it is important to give to the schools. I intend to when I'm sure my money and time are spent wisely. But for now, the wallet stays shut and my eyes stay open.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Decision From Hell

OK, folks, here's where I'm at.

Series at the Georgia Tech arts center opens this September. Season opener is Debbie Reynolds. I became a fan of hers when my parents forced me to watch Singin' in the Rain when I was 5. Was hooked on that movie (and movie musicals of the '50s in general) ever since. (Favorite scene: when she pops out of the cake at a bigwig party as a Coconut Grove girl after telling off Gene Kelley for being a lowly silent movie actor.)

The "good" seats include an after-show reception. Now I know I couldn't chew her ear off all night, but I would love to hear how she got to work with Donald O'Connor - the guy could **move** even in his 70s in Out to Sea. What I wouldn't have given for a dance lesson for 5 minutes from him.

And if she felt like telling a story, I wouldn't complain. Movie making seemed so different back then - actors were professionals, and even if they had a "moment" once in a while, you didn't see the temper tantrums every other hour like you do today - and today's actors have so much less talent and skill, IMHO. The timing, the delivery and the physicality of performing, even though there were occasional stunt doubles - people had to WORK for a living in that day!

So here's the issue: the performance is 2 weeks before my due date. My brain tends to stop functioning around that time. It won't turn on until a couple of hours after delivery.

Please leave a comment - do I make my other half grab the tickets or do I let this one pass and wait for a different opportunity when the kids are older?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Bears Repeating

Originally posted February 21, 2008
Emphases are new.
Any similarities to the epistle below and the current state of the MMN are purely deliberate.
Before I get into the next chapter of this story, I'd like to put out a heads-up to anyone - fan or artist - who is involved in a fan club or collective of some time.

Be careful what you say and do, especially on the Internet.

People get excited, people want to get carried away. Some people will love everything, others will find something to criticize.

Let. It. Go. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. Unless your career or family are directly affected, it's not worth getting in a lather. Just turn off the computer and go do something else and it will all go away.

Every fan group on Earth either IRL or the Internet has conflicts. Artists, (and management) stay out of it. It's about the fans, it's not about you and you can't do any good by getting into it. Fortunately, Barry seems to be a smart enough guy to realize this. I haven't seen him post in fan-oriented chat boards, he seems to handle that kind of interaction in structured environments to ensure that conflicts don't happen. There is a parade of other artists that can and should learn from his example.

Fans, when you fight about music and the people who make it, you are not fighting with words or keystrokes. Music is about your immortal soul. When you fight with each other, try to get an artist or their management on your "side", that is what will get damaged - souls. Yours as well as your target. Hurting someone with the thing (music) that they love the most and that inspires them in many ways doesn't always get healed. You have to be very fortunate to recover from that kind of battle. Manipulating your way into the temporary good graces of TPTB on a fan website is one example of this. Hurting others by having them eliminated from "your" domain in hopes of sucking up to Barry isn't going to work. You're wasting your time and your karma points.

Do you want that on your conscience?

If you're using Barry and his music as a weapon you're on dangerous ground. Get off while you can.

TPTB - you didn't get where you are, or get your clients where they are, by being gullible. Anyone on MMN whispering in your ear is out for their own good, not yours. Wake up and smell it already.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What the...?

Did anyone notice that "The Vault" is gone from

Just passing by, happened to notice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What a tease....

You may know him as the man behind the microphone of such hit songs as “Copacabana (At the Copa),” “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs,” but Barry Manilow has always been much, much more than just a pretty voice. A songwriter, producer, conductor and musician, Manilow has examined every corner of the music industry and found success in each and every one.

He’s written jingles for commercials—the State Farm Insurance “Like a Good Neighbor” campaign, Band-Aid “Stuck On Me” commercial and McDonald’s “You Deserve A Break Today” campaign, to name a few—film scores and produced platinum albums for fellow music legend Bette Midler, not to mention released dozens of his own albums, many of which have gone multi-platinum.

After decades in the limelight touring the world, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native has spent the past five years in Las Vegas, performing at the Las Vegas Hilton. But a new decade calls for a change of scenery and the prolific artist made the move to the Strip for an exclusive, two-year engagement at Paris Las Vegas in early March.

“I’ve had nothing but fun and good times at the Hilton, but the opportunity to play right on the Las Vegas Strip seemed very exciting,” Manilow says of the move. “The theater at Paris Las Vegas is beautiful and perfect for what I do. It’s a large room, but intimate enough for my music. I’m putting a brand new show together—Paris is all about love and romance, so we’re making it very romantic.”
I never even dreamed about a career as a performer. My goal was to be a songwriter, a musician, an arranger, a producer. Never to be the lead. And never, ever to sing.
A trip to Paris, France, once the wheels of the Paris Las Vegas show had started moving, inspired the intimate vibe of the new production, which takes place in the 1,500-seat traditional, proscenium-style Paris Théâtre. Theater and setting in mind, it fits that Manilow sees the show as a “theatrical experience,” more than any production he has been a part of in the past.

“It’s the most beautiful show I’ve ever been involved with. Beautiful, smart, musical and very exciting,” he describes. “We’re doing lots of the hits, of course, some of the album cuts, a few songs from the new CD The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time and some odd songs here and there.”
Beyond getting inspiration for the show from the City of Lights, the show’s direction is the work of Jeffrey Hornaday, a film director and choreographer who is directing the upcoming High School Musical 4: East Meets West (he also boasts choreography credits that include Madonna concert tours and films—Flashdance and A Chorus Line among them). So expect expert set design, new video elements and a Broadway-style feel fitting for the Paris Théâtre’s classic stage.

Of course, Broadway has always been a jumping-off point for Manilow, whose 2001 concept album Here at the Mayflower is nuanced with Broadway style throughout. He also marks his off-Broadway work on The Drunkard as the first time he knew music would be his life’s work.
“I was hired to play piano for [the show],” he recalls. “I was the entire band! I loved that job. I remember thinking, ‘I want more of this.’”

Manilow’s last work of original songs, Here at the Mayflower is also the artist’s favorite of all the albums he’s recorded during his lengthy career, he says, though it doesn’t look to be his last concept album offering.

“Next up for me is an original album of songs called Fifteen Minutes about a young person who wants fame and blows it,” he says.

Manilow might not have much first-hand knowledge of blowing his chance at fame, but despite the indelible mark he has made on stages the world over, it could surprise fans of the performer to hear that Manilow never intended on becoming the entertainer he is today.

“I never even dreamed about a career as a performer. My goal was to be a songwriter, a musician, an arranger, a producer. Never to be the lead. And never, ever to sing,” he admits. “I only sang my original demos because nobody wanted to record them.”

Now, more than 40 years later, it’s hard to imagine a stage that wouldn’t gladly welcome Barry Manilow to it.


I think we've had enough foreplay about the new record. When are we getting busy?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

American WHY-dol

American Idol is in serious decline. It's like every season someone just can't resist hitting the "SUCK" button just one extra time. Between the auditions highlighting the trainwrecks and the final three - maybe - is torturous. In our house we have to watch it; that's a really long story.

Every standard on the show is dropping. Ellen DeGeneres is bringing nothing, except for her notoriety as an actress and comedienne. Paula Abdul may have been a goofball but at least she worked in the industry and had some idea what she was talking about. When she was lucid, anyway.

When mentors/guest judges are directly involved there's a glimmer of hope that there's going to be some seriously constructive pointers during the tutorial session, and hard core, experience-based feedback after the performance. In 2004, when Barry took the mentor throne (and again last season when he gave a brief seminar and Q&A with the Hollywood finalists) he gave the same advice that he has always given in interviews and other venues all the way back to 1981: be honest. Convey yourself in the song. Pick a song that expresses you. (I'm seriously paraphrasing here.) Remember the "One Voice" special where he's having a little reivew with the teens from the choir? He said basically the same thing: If you sing it like you mean it, it will work. (Again, totally paraphrasing.)

And every time he gives this advice - AI, Entertainment Tonight, wherever - he's laying out a really easy to follow road map to a successful performance. And almost every time, the dumbass in the spotlight seems to ignore the advice and do whatever the hell pops into their head. More often than not, it's crap.

But why? I realized that the producers at AI are aiming for teenagers in their little show. A number of successful artists (Barry included) will tell you that their careers didn't seriously take off until they were in their late 20s or even 30. This past Sunday on The Celebrity Apprentice, Cyndi Lauper said the same thing - she was 30 before she really made it big. The point was to reassure her project protege, Emily West, that she has time to work on her craft and career and it doesn't have to be right now. Almost a maternal moment for Lauper and I respected how she delivered that advice that can only come from living life in that industry.

But the average AI contestant is in their teens (as young as 16) and their early 20s. The age limit is 28. Most of them do not have a whole lot of life experience. They can't express themselves because they don't know who "themself" is. There aren't too many people that age who have had to find their place in the world and understand themselves due to difficult decisions or circumstances, and then wish to express it through music. A few more trips around the sun and there's a better chance you've seen one or two things that clarify your self-perspective.

For example:
On "Beatles" night (may God have mercy on their souls....) David Archuleta made the usual rookie mistake with Lennon's "Imagine". He starts off right but then he tries to create an emotional build up for the final chorus. Problem: "Imagine" is about a world without passion or emotion. It is inherently nihilistic. So a passionate build anywhere in the song is not only pointless it's contradictory to the lyric. Not in a funky ironic kind of way either, it's just awkward and weird.

Adam Lambert started off strong in the "contest". He was my favorite all the way through the season and I was seriously pissed when he didn't win. Lambert was an exception to the above, at least to start: he knows who he is and he's so happy with it he lets it out when he gets on stage. That's probably why I liked him so much. But as soon as AI ended, he went right off the rails. It wasn't until he came back as an AI mentor this season (Elvis night - again, God have mercy....) that he managed to stop yammering on about his sex life for five minutes in a row.

The Ford-sponsored music videos. I don't know who's managing that account or measuring the ROI of that aspect of sponsorship but I'll bet they don't know how to use a calculator and there's a VP in Detroit just itching to give them a beating if they ever catch that dork alone in an elevator. Celebrity endorsements just don't have the clout that they used to and the producers are holding these "contestants" up as "celebrities". No wonder so few of them can think straight.

Vote For The Worst has become my friend. And I agree with their pic. All appearance, no substance.

Tonight we turn on "Idol Gives Back". I let my hopes get up again, thinking there may be something special here. Nope. No such luck. The opening number was stiff enough to surf on and I swear they're using pre-recorded tracks to beef up the sound on stage. It's another publicity stunt. (Don't make that face at me! If you think for one red-hot millisecond that charity appearances aren't a PR stunt, then let your fingers do the walking through Chapter 8 of Howard Bragman's Where's My Fifteen Minutes. It gets really good starting on Page 85.) It wasn't all bad; I have a very soft spot in my heart for supporting educational efforts in Appalachia and that segment tugged the heart strings. But it is what it is.

Regardless of whether some in my house feel they "have to" watch this ongoing trainwreck, I've decided to find my artistic fulfillment elsewhere. Every time I hear the teasers about who is the mentor, or some unique approach, I watch and get disappointed. Like looking forward to a night of intense and creative sex with James Bond. Only at the last minute you find out that instead of 007, you're getting Mr. Bean. THAT kind of disappointed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Year of Living Vicariously

You weren't going to get rid of me that easily.

Just kidding.

Work picked up and got crazy, the kids have been giving each other the same cold for weeks.
(And the usual first trimester fatigue didn't help either.)

And the cherry on top of that sundae is following the posts on various outlets, including Twitter, and not being able to share it. Sure, living vicariously isn't nothing, but I'm starting to realize there's less to pick apart and analyze and understand that way.

But there's always visualizing. Like the galaxy-class snafu on opening night. Can you imagine the phone calls??? "Hello, Guitar Center? What do you have in a sound board in stock? What would it cost to deliver? Here's the address...."

But once that got squared away (and the dunce in building maintenance installed a better surge protector) we were treated to a parade of Tweets that painted a great picture.

I already claimed a green and yellow glowstick at previous shows. Now I need a red one. Dammit.

On the flip side, drama happens just as something else comes up in life to distract me. In case you forgot, me no likey da drama. My condolences to those who get caught up in those incidents without warning or legitimate provocation. It always sucks ass and it can ruin a lifetime of otherwise fun memories. At least there's a place to vent. But just as I'm sorry that anyone has to deal with that, I'm equally relieved that I didn't.

So my ear is to the ground, listening for more signs of life. Garry tweeted about being on the set of Glee not long ago. You know what that's hinting at.
(Garry - What, no twitpic of a toilet bowl or a pile of cleaning supplies as a teaser? Must have been a busy day.)

Final comment: THIS

Barry's shows grow and evolve as they go on, this one will too. Stuff will be added and taken out.

DON'T. CHANGE. THIS. It's perfect.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

35 Years Ago Today

Barry's mention of "I Want to Be Somebody's Baby" got me thinking.
I ran across an almost-lost gem that was recorded for King Biscuit Flower Hour.
Brace yourself for....

Barry Live at the Troubadour February 25, 1975

You have to register, but it's free and they don't bother you (much) with email.

"...Somebody's Baby" is the second song in the set.

He also debuts "Tryin' to Get the Feeling" with the story about how he came across it, and includes that rare extra bridge you almost never hear.

There are some songs in Barry's catalogue that have that stereotypical mid-'70s vibe that just grabs me. I don't want to hear the song any other way. The list includes "You Ought to Be Home With Me", "Leavin' in the Morning", and (suprise) "I Want to Be Somebody's Baby".

I'm the first to admit I'm no expert; I just know what I like. The above performance of "...Somebody's Baby" is the best. It doesn't need anything, no tweaking, no remastering, nothing. If it gets included in the show, do it just like that. Don't over-choreograph it, over-produce it, or over-think it. Don't fuck with it. Just sit your ass in front of the piano, put your face on the mike, and belt it out with the same clear, uncomplicated sincerity that you did in '75. Even the brain-dead civilians will be bopping their heads.

Enjoy, everybody (as long as TPTB allow it to stand) while we wait for the new show at the Paris!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Barry's Note 2/23

Emphases added. My comments in red.
Hi Everyone!

Well, we’re in the thick of it!

Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals. Twelve hour days of playing new arrangements, new songs, new choreography, new costumes, new scenery, new lights and most of all a new showroom.

We’re all very, very excited about this new show. As I’ve said before, this show will be the most beautiful one I’ve ever done.

Jeffery Hornaday and his team have helped me to create a new and exciting production and we can’t wait to put it on its feet.

Of course all the hits will be in the show, but I’ve decided to pull out some of the songs we hardly ever do. How about “No Other Love”? Or “I Wanna Be Somebody’s Baby”? HELL YES!!!! While you're on the topic, how about "If I Should Love Again", "Fools Get Lucky", maybe dust off "Riders to the Stars", reinstate "Sandra" (heard it fit right in with the Mayflower theme ), "It's A Long Way Up", "Big Fun" and dealers' choice from Barry Manilow (1989) and Swing Street.

We’ve been rehearsing a handful of songs from my gorgeous “Love Songs” CD and we’ve blown up some of the songs we’ve been doing for years and they sound fresh and very contemporary.

Muffy Hendricks has joined our team! It’s so wonderful to have her back with us. Muffy and I just look at each other and burst into tears! She sounds better than ever and looks amazing.
(Wasn't she working for Tom Jones for a while? Does she have any underwear war stories? Is it going to be a break for her coming back to work for you? As in the stage doesn't look like a clearance sale in Macy's lingerie department halfway through the set?)

We’ve had one full run-through so far and it was great. Next week we get to work on the stage of the Paris so wish us luck.

Hope we see all of you in Vegas.

Love, Barry
Break a leg, gang. I know you'll knock it out of the park.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Eureka Moment of 2010

Remember how Barry made an entire musical out of "Copacabana"?

How about doing something similar with Here at the Mayflower? Musical movie or stage musical maybe? All he would need is the libretto, just include all of the songs, including the ones on the bonus discs.

Bonus Eureka:
Not that my opinion on set lists matters but for the new Paris show, how about "I Was A Fool (to Let You Go)" from Even Now... BUT - do it Paradise Cafe style. Dump the horn section, replace it with a single sax. No one could do it like Mulligan (may he RIP) but Barry's buddy Koz could do it well.

Whadaya think? Too far "out there"?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"I can't smile....are those cows over there?" Manilow TV from Rodeo Houston

There is so much more to the show currently on Manilow TV than just Barry's performance. Rodeo Houston isn't just a sports event, or a concert series. It's a cultural affirmation and anyone is welcome. If anyone is tempted to bitch about how short the clip is this month, don't. Everyone who plays Rodeo Houston gets one hour, including the ride in the pickup (used to be a chuck wagon) to and from the stage through the bull chute. The evening's music is just a drop in the bucket.

As far as the public is concerned, you know when Rodeo is coming when the local news reporters start appearing on camera in traditional western dress on horseback. That's not a typo. Local rodeo clubs will re-enact trail rides from the 19th century, when cattlemen would drive their stock to feeding grounds along the coast, then into Houston for sale. News crews will follow along on their own horses.

On the Friday before Rodeo starts, the trail rides all arrive in town. On the streets. Sometimes during morning rush hour. TV and radio warn drivers to leave extra time, give the animals some room and lay off the horn, and everyone will be happy. Hundreds of cows and horses rest for the night in a major park.

This Friday is officially designated Go Texan/Go Tejano day. Western dress is encouraged at work. Hats and boots included. This translates into everything from honkey-tonk nightclub wear to fuzzy chaps to 1950s Roy Rogers atrocities. Many companies will have mock "arrests" for those who don't get into the Texan spirit and wear their usual clothing. "Bail" becomes contribution to the Livestock Show scholarship fund.

This same night is a massive BBQ cook-off that almost fills the parking lot around the Astrodome. Every major and minor corporation in the county has a tent of some kind. Some will brag that there is no road kill to be found within 3 miles. Western dress is all but required for admission. News crews won't get an interview if they're not in hats.

The kickoff parade through the middle of downtown is the event of the year. EVERY dignitary in town is on a horse, including the Mayor, City Council, Board of Ed. Everybody. Western tack, no wimpy English riding saddles. The trail rides make their final trek and some well-sedated authentic Longhorns are pulling chuck wagons past the old Enron building.

Anyone planning to come to town on business, or to visit a hospital, etc get warned repeatedly - FOR MONTHS - to double check their lodging reservations over and over. There is NOT a hotel room to be found in five counties. People in larger houses will rent rooms or garage apartments for ridiculous amounts. And people WILL pay them. Even some of the competing cowboys crash on someone's sofa to save cash.

If you've seen rodeos, this one is no different in terms of the professional events. Maybe the purses are bigger at this world-class stage but you've seen one guy pray to stay on the back of a pissed-off, 2,000-lb bull for 8 seconds, you've seen them all.

Rodeo Houston is officially called the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. This is about raising money so kids can get an education in Texas. Over the past 50-odd years they've handed out almost $150 million. The money is where the mouth is. This rodeo pays special attention to agricultural education with the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America (FFA) whose members are showing their animals in competition, then selling them at auction. There's even kids rodeo events!

Hush, it's not what you think. For the 5-year-old tykes, there's Mutton Bustin'. Grown men (sometimes women) ride untamed horses. The kids ride a big sheep. They wear protective gear, they're close to the ground if they fall, there's lots of wool to hold on to, it's hilarious.

For the teenagers, it's the Calf Scramble. 30 kids, each with a piece of rope. 15 calves. All turned loose in the main arena. The goal is to catch a calf. Bare-handed. Tie a halter on the calf with the rope. Drag the animal across a finish line. For the fifteen that accomplish this, the calf is theirs. They raise it and show it in the next year or two at the Livestock Show. Selling it at auction earns them money for college. If their animal is judged a Champion, the auction price goes up. Some Grand Champion winners get a free ride to college this way.

Finally, there's AG-venture Plaza. Do you realize how many kids don't know that chickens hatch from eggs? Or where eggs come from? Or that think meat just comes wrapped in plastic in a supermarket? This is where the public ed takes place. Kids go crazy for the egg hatching incubator.

The concert at the end of the night is only icing on the cake. Some purists insist that there should only be country or Tejano music but that's never been the case. Take a look at the past history of performers and you'll see that Barry is far from the only one to ask "What's that smell?" while trying not to think about the answer. Texas was a nation at one time built by people from all over just making their way in life. Nothing's changed, except for the technology and population density. Everyone's a Texan for these few weeks so all kinds of music gets showcased.

And THIS is what Barry performed in the middle of. This is what is going on for weeks around this month's episode on Manilow TV.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"All of us looked like idiots back then" - Barry on Jimmy

As far as American talk shows go, Jimmy Kimmel always gets the best interviews of Barry. Bar none. Kimmel approaches anyone in front of him with the same relaxed ease that my husband does when talking with his buddy about the golf course conditions. The interview is a conversation, something that just "is", nothing to stress about. At the same time, he has some fun and just tosses out what's on his mind. (Ask Jay Leno about that one.)

That isn't true of everyone with a talk or news show. The interviews were totally different on Rachel Ray and even The Today Show. The women interviewing him were fans and were having trouble at times putting that aside to do their job and it showed.

At my old job, we had high profile people in all the time. Not just musicians and folks from the entertainment industry - athletes, politicians, you name it. Any time you had to interact with someone this public at work, you had to suck it up and "not react" either positively or negatively. It's hard! A patient was a patient with all of the same fears and vulnerabilities as those who didn't live their lives in public. Now if it was someone you didn't like, as long as you could refrain from spitting in their face you were fine. Any distance could be written off as "clinical detachment." But if it was someone you did have a positive emotional attachment to, well, your job just got a lot harder. Indulging in that, even if it was paying a compliment, was taking away from their care and focusing on your thoughts and feelings. Then at times they had to take their clothes off for an exam. I know some nurses that asked to beg off if their favorite athlete was in their clinic and they were required to take vital signs.

The point is, Kimmel doesn't seem to have this kind of problem with Barry or anyone on his show. Which brings out the best in Barry (and any other guest) which means everyone is having more fun. And this is why Kimmel has one of the top shows on late night and he got away with the schtick in The Man Show. But any time Barry gets to sit and talk in addition to singing makes for a great appearance.

My own tidbits:
Anyone notice the performance stage was surrounded by Budweiser ads? Anyone else think that would have been the perfect setting for the "beer truck story"? The sponsor would have been fine with it, Barry worked for a different brand. 8^D

If the original Bell Records promo 8 x 10 was the only gag that Kimmel pulled, Barry got off VERY easy. Kimmel was right about the shoes. There should have been a law that anyone 6-foot or taller would be barred from wearing heels like that. You look back at your fashion plate 20-plus years later and wonder what the hell you were thinking. Everybody out there looking for new and unusual ways to puncture body parts, or add artwork, or wear jeans so that your boxers or g-string shows, your future awaits you.

Twitter was jumping with questions about whether Barry was lip syncing either of the performances on this show. Personally, I don't buy it. I do believe that he may give that impression because of botox use.

The following will be my one and only comment on this subject: It is time to knock it the fuck off with that useless and potentially dangerous garbage. Barry. Doesn't. Need. It.

Next stop - follow up with the charts to see how the record moves. With V-day and some home-run-out-of-the-park TV appearances, I won't be suprised if #5 improves this week.