Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

For years it's been an unspoken speculation in the fan world. Is Barry gay? Pictures have surfaced causing massive speculation by the fans. There have been occasional stories, references in books, and the press has pushed the issue. But Barry has remained close mouthed--refusing to speak of his personal life in no uncertain terms.

Those who have lived in Palm Springs have told friends who are fans that it was common knowledge among the locals. There are stories from those who have worked with him alluding to the fact that he is definitely gay. But still the speculation continued. Until this past week when a story broke in the National Enquirer and got picked up by reputable sources: he had married his manager Garry Kief at a private ceremony at his home a year ago. And Twitter and Facebook exploded. "Manilow married" was trending on Twitter all day on Wednesday. People were retweeting tweets confirming the truth to the story.

Let me say first that I could care less. I never understood why people seem to think that a person's sexual orientation defines who they are. It's just one aspect of their life and it has nothing to do with the work they produce. Of course I have my own views on the subject, but that is irrelevant. They are my views, and my views alone. With that said, the human theater on social media is something to write about. And let the claws come out!

Those who are angry
The gay organizations and those who profess this lifestyle are angry with him for keeping it a secret for years. They voice their frustration with the fact that he kept it hidden and could have helped others who were dealing with "coming out" or being bullied.

Those who continue to live in denial
These fans won't believe it unless it comes from the horse's mouth. I have news--he's never going to say a word about it. If we've learned anything over the years it's that he knows how to keep silent and as he says "his private life is private." And yet, they still believe that until he confirms or denies, it's not true. Living in denial is much easier than facing reality.

Those who feel the need to offer congratulations
News flash. He could care less about his fans' congratulations. If he did, he would have announced it when it happened. He kept it a secret for a reason. Didn't you know? His private life is private. He doesn't need the fans' approval or congratulations. I would think long and hard before mailing a present (or giving him a wedding gift at a Platinum).

Those who feel they were betrayed
Why weren't they told? After all, they are his fans and he has said over and over again that he loves us. Right? If you feel betrayed, you're too invested in his private life and need to take a step back. His private world has nothing to do with his music. News flash--he didn't betray you--he made a decision related to his life, not yours. He doesn't owe you an explanation.
Those who champion gay rights
Of course, there are those fans who feel the need to pat him on the back and wish him happiness. Then they proceed to list all the members of their family who are gay. As if that has anything to do with the news. I'm sure we would all prefer that those fans "keep their private life private."

Those whose love was lost
Whether this is true or not (and it most likely is), a bubble has been burst in the hearts of many fans. It's possible he's unavailable. It's possible he is taken. And worse yet, it's possible he prefers the company of men (or a man) over women. It's a very tough pill to swallow for some fans who were convinced he loved them and only them.

Wake up and see the elephant in the room!
Texas Fan

A footnote:

Let me reiterate again that I do not care if the rumors and stories are true. For some, it won't be true until they hear it from his mouth. But what I do care about is the way he and his management have messed with, manipulated, and played with these women's emotions. Knowing full well that as long as these women believe he's "available" they will keep buying tickets and pouring all their money into Platinums, trips, and other Manilow related events hoping against hope that he will notice them. Some might say if these women are gullible enough to believe it, they deserve it. But he has hyped up his sexuality over and over again to his female fans and that is deception.

He and his management team have laughed and joked and even played games with these women over the years. That's just plain cruel. I never liked it and now we know why they found it to be so amusing. He has claimed over and over again to love his fans. That's not my idea of love--you don't intentionally hurt the ones you care about.

UPDATE: Apparently the Manilow camp chose Suzanne Somers to confirm the story. I guess that puts a nail in the coffin of those who are in denial. Smart strategic move on their part. Was the call a set up? You can bank on it!

Suzanne Dishes on Pal Barry Manilow

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mr. Darcy vs Mr. Manilow

The last few days I've spent time reminiscing about the "good ole" days with a good friend. We've been living it up talking, eating and enjoying watching human theater (something I dearly miss from the days at the Hilton).

Today we discovered a movie theater that showed "art" films and decided to take our chances and go see "Austenland". In the first few minutes of the movie, we were the only ones in the theater laughing. Why? The main character was a Jane Austen fan. She lived and breathed Jane Austen. She wore Jane Austen t-shirts, drank out of a proper tea cup from the period, had her walls plastered with photos of Mr. Darcy. Her bedroom was filled with Jane Austen references: the most notable was a life-size cutout of Mr. Darcy. When she walked up and kissed the cutout, I almost fell out of my chair. For those longtime Manilow fans, you will get the reference.

After several "real-life" romances failed, she invests all her money in a Austenland vacation. Actors played the characters from Austen's book and the guests were immersed in the tradition of that time. She went there hoping to find love and realized that it's difficult to discern what's real when you are so consumed with the fantasy.

Here's a rhetorical question--Do you see any correlation within the Manilow world?

And then there's Harmony. A musical show written by Barry and Bruce. It's not a concert. It's a theater production of a play. And yet, those immersed in the fantasy world can't seem to differentiate between the two. Take a look at YBA's review of opening night. It's an example of a fan who "gets it" and knows the difference between reality and fantasy. Read the entire review but especially take note of the final paragraph.

There's fantasy and there's reality. And some Manilow fans just don't see the distinction. I'm glad that I do.

Content in reality,
Texas Fan

Friday, September 6, 2013

And then there was Harmony (an answered prayer)

Harmony opens tonight. It's something that's been a long time coming and I'm happy for Barry. I really am.

For years many of us have been praying for God to move and allow Barry to pursue this dream that was taken away so abruptly. It wasn't just the play we were praying for, or even just Barry. We prayed that the message of Harmony would be received by all those who attend as a reminder that music can overcome all our differences and transform our lives.

Hats off to Barry and Bruce tonight. But for me, it's hats off to God for once again answering the many prayers of fans who were faithful and persistent to bring their requests to God and believe that He would answer our prayers.

God really does care about ALL our needs. Break a leg guys and know that without God this never would have happened.

A grateful prayer warrior,
Texas Fan

Friday, August 30, 2013

When is stalking not stalking

Barry's new project is in full swing and what do you know....a group of fans have taken it upon themselves to "inform" us about the goings on around Harmony. The Facebook page is flowing with all kinds of "insider" information about Barry and Bruce. Of course, a post doesn't go by without the admins mentioning they are in direct contact with B&B and they always run things through them before they post. And of course, in true fan fashion, they won't reveal who they are. They've coined names for themselves like "the Quarterback".

Yesterday, they posted a picture of Barry and Bruce having lunch together. It wasn't long before the sparks began to fly about the picture and the "admin" had to write a long dissertation about how the picture wasn't stalking, it was approved by B&B. Of course, she mentioned that people were concerned about Barry eating so it was meant to show them he's eating. Are you kidding me?

When is stalking not stalking? I guess according to the admins of the Facebook Harmony page it's ok if fans are concerned and it's been approved to post. Stalking is what the paparazzi do with celebrities. It's what crazy fans do when they won't let celebrities have lunch without taking a photo; or chasing down a car with the celebrity in it after a show.

What is wrong with today's culture? We have forgotten what's important and we focus our time and energy on things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Honestly I can't understand this behavior any more. Not that I ever did, but it's become even more apparent to me the past few years that life is more than swooning over a celebrity.

Then again, what do I know. I'm just a fan who doesn't have the inside track to Barry or his management (thank God). And I've never taken a picture of Barry off the stage.

Some things never change,
Texas Fan

UPDATE: I guess the secret admins found out about the blog and blocked me from their Facebook page. Some people just never grow up. Honestly, I think it happened days ago and I didn't even notice. You really stuck it to me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Celebrity Obsession

This may not be Manilow related, although on some level I think it is. When did our society become so obsessed with celebrities. It's like the world revolves around their comings and goings: Entertainment Tonight, TMZ and so many celebrity reality shows have turned celebrities into role models. If a celebrity does it, it must be good. If a celebrity speaks out against something they must know what they are talking about. And if a celebrity has an illness, their struggle becomes all the media talks about.

Take Barry's afib for example. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have afib, but when Barry began talking about it, you can't even imagine the number of people that started posting about how they had it too. Before he came out and became a spokesperson, it wasn't a fashionable ailment to have. Barry dealt with it so it must be talked about.

What prompted this revelation? Angelina Jolie's announcement today that she had the BRCA gene and she had a double mastectomy because of it. Women all over the world have been tested and diagnosed with that gene, there is an organization called FORCE that educates women about it, and doctors over the last ten years have been recommending the test if their patients have a history of breast cancer in their family. But until Angelina announced her "decision" the media rarely covered it. Now, women all over social media are saying they want the test. But here's the deal--if you don't have a history of breast cancer in your family (and I mean a strong history), testing is not necessary or even recommended. How do I know? I'm one of those women, as is my daughter. News flash--it's not about the press coverage you get because of it; it's about a very difficult decision once your know you have the gene; and about what it does to you and to your family.

Recently, Julianna from E TV came public about her mastectomy and made the news because a/ she was a celebrity and b/ she had a reality television show. Women all over the world have dealt with that decision and because a celebrity had to go through it the whole world watched and listened. And not only that, but they had to compare her plight with everyone elses, especially those who were having or had a mastectomy. "Julianna was such a trooper." "Julianna went back to work quickly after hers." "Julianna was so brave." 

What can I say? It just bugs me. Partly because me and my family have faced those same decisions and we kept it within our family. It was a personal struggle and  although we are willing to talk about it, it didn't become a media event. Since Angelina came out about hers, it's fashionable to have the BRCA gene and a prophylactic mastectomy. And I'm sure doctors all over the world will be hearing these words, "Angelina Jolie said I should get the BRCA test."

Disgusted with celebrity obsessions,
Texas Fan

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The memories of music

Yesterday when I was walking I had my iPod on shuffle and a Manilow song came on. It's one I listen to often because it reminds me of a wonderful memory--Forever and a Day. In a much simpler time with the best of friends while up close and personal he sang that song. I have pictures of the dance that night--it was Fran. When I hear that song my heart breaks thinking about how much I miss her and how I can't believe she is gone, and while the memory is sad it also reminds to tell everyone in my life how much they are loved.

But not all memories are sad ones. When I hear, See the Show Again, I think back to that very first Las Vegas show when Barry walked up to me and asked me to help him with his jacket. I was shocked and totally surprised. I had no idea this was a regular occurrence. It was my 50th birthday and an absolutely wonderful memory.

Many of them put a huge smile on face. Like, for instance, Islands in the Stream. The week of shows that he debuted that song were some of the best of time in Vegas. My Aussie friend was there and we stayed up all night and shopped all day. Then there were songs that played while my friends were blessed to dance with him, It's Not for Me to Say and Moonlight Serenade. Both those nights gave me great joy watching the expressions on my friends faces while they were dancing AND being able to capture it all in pictures..

Then there was the Atlantic City concert. The first show after Barry's hip surgery. I flew to Philadelphia alone and took the train to Atlantic City. That night was magical and I bought his Greatest Songs of the 60's cd and listened to it on the train to Boston. Every time I hear You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling it reminds me of those many years I spent going back and forth to Boston.

There were firsts: the first time I heard I Am Your Child live, the first time I heard the music of Harmony, and the first time I heard him sing Sandra and Talk to Me at the Hilton. And of course, the first time I saw him perform songs Here at the Mayflower at my very first concert in San Antonio.

One song that makes me grin from ear to ear is Can't Smile Without You. It is my daughter's song. I sang it to her when she was growing up, she sings it to E. When we saw Barry in Dallas, as always, he sang that song. It was again a very special moment.

And finally, Here's to Las Vegas. That song brings back memories of the best of times and of the last show I saw at the Paris with my daughter. That songs evokes the happiest of times and reminds me that those years brought into my life new friendships; some are still thriving and others have since moved on. But while we were whooping it up in Vegas we definitely had THE BEST OF TIMES.

I'm sure everyone has their own list. Songs that evoke happy memories and even sad ones. But we will always have the memories, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

To the memories of the music,
Texas Fan

Sunday, April 14, 2013

When the good times come again

Today is two months since my friend Fran's passing and with baseball season in full swing, I have to say I miss her. We used to have a friendly Rangers/Yankees rivalry on Twitter and it made the season more fun for both of us. Every day brings another memory of her and the things about her that always made me smile. Those times, however, are gone. In an instant they were ripped away and left me with only memories.

These days memories are all I have of Fran, as it is with many in the Manilow world who knew her. But life goes on and we can't focus on the past, or what was or would have been, but on the future and hope and pray that the good times come again.

The good times...I certainly had some of those. Even with all the fan drama, those good times always outweigh the bad. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't been to that show in Vegas on my birthday in 2006.

My life would certainly have been different. Thinking back, I  made a wise investment. I'm not talking about the shows, or the brief Manilow moments that happened during the shows and at Tempo. Those were nice but they don't last and faded away when I left Vegas. What did last? The friendships I made at the shows, online with this blog, and through the Barrynet. I can't put a value on them except to say they are priceless. We've had some ups and downs; we've had some losses. I've lost some friends and gained some others. I've learned the value of true friendship, the heartache of betrayal and weathered the vicious attacks of bullies.

My prayer today is that those good times will come again and that we will be able to make some new memories. The music drew us together but the friendships kept us coming back time after time. I'm glad, however, that those friendships weren't all about the music, but about shared joy and sorrow that transcends the world of Manilow.

Til the good times come again, even if it is away from the music of Manilow,
Texas Fanilow

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Barry used social media before it was called social media

Barry--a social media pioneer. I bet that's one title that would make heads turn (especially his). But you have to admit, this fan world grew and prospered because of their effective use of social media. If you think about it, it's more than just a little amazing.

First there was the telephone Hotline
Years ago, you called a number to find out the latest Manilow news and hear personal messages from Barry. That was before email, but it served the purpose of keeping the fans in touch with Barry's upcoming events, conventions and concerts.

...then the Barrynet
The Barrynet was my first venture into the Manilow fan world. Someone I met at my very first show at the Hilton told me about it. Until then, I had no idea it even existed. I jumped onto the message board and began interacting with other fans. From that communication I made friends all over the world and even met them in Las Vegas for some shows. Since then those friendships have grown beyond just the Manilow world. All because of a simple message board on the Barrynet. It was on the board that many of us got together and started a fan club "I Am Your Child BMFC"and a fan club website. I met so many great friends through this fan club.

...then the Hotline messages
When email became popular, fans were connected using email hotline messages. If you signed up for the emails or joined the fan club, these arrived in your inbox frequently to keep you posted on the goings on of Barry and his fan club.

...then there were blogs
Once blogs became popular, I met even more friends. I will never forget discovering Scooter's blog one day and all the information she provided about the early Manilow years. Then I started my own blog along with many others and my circle of friends (and enemies) began to widen. I kept my blog for years reporting about the shows, sharing memories and expressing my opinion (even though it wasn't popular with many of the fans).

...then there was MySpace
MySpace put me in touch with even more friends and allowed us to post messages to Barry on his page, even send private messages as well. The interaction became even more social, being able to post pictures and comments on other fan pages.

...then the Manilow Network
The Manilow Network was created and fans were given the opportunity to create their own pages, add friends, and communicate back and forth by leaving messages, posts and adding photographs to their profiles. This also became a great place to read show reviews and see photographs taken by fans during the show.

...and then there was Facebook and Twitter
Barry and his team finally dove in deep when creating a Twitter account and Facebook Fan page. This enabled them to connect with so many more fans by taking full advantage of social media. The notes from Barry on his page went a long way in connecting him back with his fan base as he used to be in the beginning. It was a safe way for him to communicate his thoughts and announce explanations for cancellations. As the page grows, more fans are connected and adding new friendships.

I'm grateful to Barry and his team's attempt to connect his fans with him and with one another. I have made lifelong friendships, met people I might never have met, and found strength from them during the most difficult times in my life.

Hat's off to a great social media pioneer,
Texas Fan

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Fanilow Fan Frenzy

I don't think I could add anything to this. Except to say this did not shock me in the least. Some things in the fan world never, ever change.

Those Fanilows sure are feisty!

Barry Manilow’s loyal fans were out in full force on a recent night at the restaurant TAO, where the legendary 69-year-old singer dined after performing nearby in “Manilow on Broadway.”

“Several groups of women were beside themselves trying to get to the table for photos and autographs,” a witness at the midtown hotspot told us. “TAO management had to keep fans at bay to allow the group a quiet meal.”

That said, a 15-year-old girl sitting near Brooklyn-born Manilow and his group managed to “slip by” management and ask Manilow for a photo, which he “gladly” posed for, the source said.

Just how many photos do you need?

Not surprised,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A fitting tribute

Garry Kief posted this on the alt-fan site:

"Fran's photographs were a reflection of the love and goodness that was in her heart. All of us at STILETTO would look forward to what she had to share with us and with friends around the world. Though she might be gone in body, her heart and soul live on in the photographs that brought us all such joy. Thank you to everyone who has honored her memory by your contribution to the Manilow Music Project. Someday, some kid, somewhere, will bring music to the world because of you...and because of Fran."

As I said earlier today; Fran had CLASS. That's something that is a rare commodity in the Manilow fan world these days. It's nice to know that we (her friends) aren't the only ones that recognized it. We should all take a page from her book.

Today there were posts on Barry's Facebook page about "saving the bamms for us when we come next week." Fran would have scoffed at that behavior. As I said, she was one classy lady.

The fan world will miss her and I will miss her wit, her wisdom and her candor.

Rest in peace Fran and know that you left a part of yourself with each of us.
Texas Fan

For those of you who wish to honor Fran by making a donation to the Manilow Music Project here is the direct link:

Clicky Web Analytics