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,