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