Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jersey Boys AND Harmony

After seeing t
he Jersey Boys in Vegas last month, I've been enjoying the soundtrack and recalling the story behind the musical. Jersey Boys is a documentary-style musical based on the lives of one of the most successful '60s rock 'n roll groups, the Four Seasons. The musical uses many of the group's hit songs to tell the turbulent story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' rise to fame. The story is told from the viewpoint of each of the members of the group, giving the audience a different perspective and allowing you to actually see the personalities and the conflicts that arose during their rise to fame and subsequent success. Part concert, part Jukebox musical, Jersey Boys took in over $400,000 at the box office the day after it opened. Jersey Boys premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse.

I couldn't help but compare this successful musical to another musical about a group of male singers: The Comedian Harmonists. Barry's musical, Harmony, is based on the real-life tale of the Comedian Harmonists, a vocal group in Germany in the 1920s and '30s, around the time Hitler was rising to power. The story is focused around the lives of these six men and the music tells the story of their struggles and their eventual success. Harmony also premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse and received very positive reviews, prior to encountering legal issues that forced its shut down.

So here's my question? If Jersey Boys could be such a success financially and win numerous Tony Awards, why not Harmony? Perhaps now is the time. Perhaps now the public is primed and ready to receive a musical of such high caliber and creativity both in the writing of the story, lyrics and musical score.

I will continue to believe it's possible and keep the dream alive...
First..there was Harmony!
Texas Fan

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bring Them Home

Being the parent of an ex-Marine and the daughter of a father who served during World War II, Memorial Day holds special significance to me. My son served his country willingly and proudly while in the Marine Corps and was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice if necessary for our freedom.

Staff Sergeant Everett V. Muilenburg, USAF 1941-1945 (left)

PFC Ryan D. Shaffer, USMC, 1997-2001 (right)

Dear Lord,
There's a young man far from home,
called to serve his nation in time of war;
sent to defend our freedom
on some distant foreign shore.
We pray You keep him safe,
we pray You keep him strong,
we pray You send him safely home ...
for he's been away so long.

There's a young woman far from home,
serving her nation with pride.
Her step is strong, her step is sure,
there is courage in every stride.
We pray You keep her safe,
we pray You keep her strong,
we pray You send her safely home ...
for she's been away too long.

Bless those who await their safe return.
Bless those who mourn the lost.
Bless those who serve this country well,
no matter what the cost.

God bless our troops today, their families, and all those who have lost loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

God on high hear my prayer,
In my need you have always been there.
He is young he's afraid,
Let him rest heaven blessed
Bring him home!

Texas Fan

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Silent Fans

A review from Friday night's show made me think about this subject. There was a fan in the audience with terminal cancer that had never been to a Manilow concert. He was there with his sister to recall some wonderful childhood memories and experience the music LIVE. Then I remembered two weeks ago the story of a woman who was also there with uterine cancer and her picture was captured unknowingly by a fan photographer with a huge smile on her face. Barry might never know that his music did indeed provide hope and comfort to these two fans and to the ones that came with them.

I thought about all the fans out there whose voices have never been heard. The ones who have never posted a blog online, visited the Barrynet, found the Manilow network. The ones who have for years enjoyed the music and never connected with other fans or with Barry. These fans remain in the shadows of the Manilow world. They don't get involved in the "politics" or the "drama". All they know is the music and how it moves them.

Then, I thought about how many whiners are in the online community and how many complain about this and that and never seem to be happy. I thought about the ones that are quick to criticize and take shots at him and his music and his private life. I thought about all the vocal fans, the ones who pass along rumors and look for anything they can gossip about. And it made me just a little sad that these are the fans that make the most noise and sometimes have the strongest voice.

Although Barry may never know the magnitude of the affect his music has had on the masses, he does know and hear from those who take the time to tell him: in their Platinums, on radio phone calls, in the cards and letters he receives, during back stage meet and greets, and by word of mouth from those who are close to him. Those of you who are lucky enough to do this can be the voice of the silent fans and pass the message along. His music gives all of us joy and hope and that's why we keep coming back and that's why all those fans who never say a word keep listening.

If I had a chance, I would like to say, "Don't forget about those silent fans, Barry. They are out there, enjoying the music and the memories it brings. They may not voice it or you may never hear it, but your music is touching their lives every single day."

From a once silent fan...thanks for the music,
Texas Fan

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hearts with Paws

In a recent radio interview Barry was asked what made him laugh. "My dogs," he said, "their just big hearts with paws." That comment brought a huge smile to my face. I've had some special pets in my lifetime and two very special "grandpuppies" that I absolutely adore. I raised these miniature dachshunds from pups until it was time for my daughter to take them to live with her. I grew very attached to them and I take every opportunity to go and see them when I can since they have recently moved to Dallas. They make me smile every time I'm with them and bring such joy into my life.

Pets are great stress relievers, joy providers, smile givers, and pain healers. I can't imagine not having them around. They love you unconditionally and provide you with hours of entertainment. They truly are "hearts with paws".

Bentley (brown) and Pacey (black)

Missing my grandpuppies,
Texas Fan

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Living Deep

I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

~Henry David Thoreau

One of my absolute favorite places is Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. It's where Thoreau went into the woods to meditate, write and be alone. It's where he found his inspiration and where he put all the cares of the world aside and was able to see life in a different light.

It's so easy to get tangled up in the day-to-day mundane activities of life and miss out on the beauty of it all. Living deliberately takes some effort. It requires determination and fortitude and an ability to say no to all the naysayers that come along. Navigating the ins and outs of it all can be difficult and scary at times. But this life we live should never be wasted or taken for granted. Grab hold of it and:

Just aim beyond the clouds
And rise above the crowds
And start your own parade

Living Deep,
Texas Fan

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Black on Black

This morning the new pictures are up from the Ella Awards (see above). Of course, Mr. Manilow looks absolutely dashing as always. And trust me, I'm not the fashion expert (I leave that up to my daughter who tells me he always looks "classy").

But I long for some variety. Black on black is classy, but when he mixes it up and changes his shirts, that's when his good looks and his absolute charisma seem to burst forth. Here's a few of my favorite pictures in something other than black on black.

My personal favorite-the classic white shirt.

Just some fun for today,
Texas Fan

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stop and smell the roses

A perfect rose for a perfect day.
Singing to the world...


The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
(Barbara Kingsolver)

Your hopes, dreams and inspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.
(William James)

Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope; and the one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.
(John F. Kennedy)

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams..Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
(Pope John XXIII)

Hope sees the invisible, feel the intangible and achieves the impossible.
(Charles Caleb Colton)

Hope is like a bird that senses dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.
(George Weinberg)

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
(Albert Camus)

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.
(George Iles)

Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.
(Jim Wallis)

Hope, like the gleaming taper’s light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
(Oliver Goldsmith)

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality.
(LJ Suenens)

In silence and in hope shall be our strength.

As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move, and the map to move by. We have a hundred alternatives, a thousand paths and an infinity of dreams.

In this world of darkest night
Where hope is hurled away
There they are
And still there's light
Oh so far
But will they...?
Dare they lift our hearts
As we lift our eyes
Are we fools to see
The hope that's gleaming in the skies?
There's the light!
Stars in the night!
(Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman)

Texas Fan

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where do you hide your heart?

Another day, a lonely day
So much to say that goes unspoken
And through the night, his sleepless nights
His eyes are closed, his heart is broken

Yesterday's a dream
I face the morning
Crying on a breeze
The pain is calling

And so you smile your smile
And fool those fools you care about
You've got it all
You've got the whole thing figured out
Well haven't you?

You know I wanted to be like my mother
But if I hadn't done it as soon as I did
Oh there might have been time to be me
For myself, for myself
There's so many things that she wishes
She don't even know what she's missing
But that's how she knows that she's missed.


And I've looked high, low
Everywhere I possibly can
But there's no trying to get the feeling again
It seemed to disappear as fast as it came.
(Tryin' to Get the Feelin')

Smile, make them think you're happy
Lie, and say that things are fine.
And hide that empty longing that you feel
Don't ever show it, just keep your heart concealed.
(Friend of a Wounded Heart)

I hear you're down again
You've lost the will to win
Where do you run when your hurting?
Where do you hide your heart?
(Where Do You Hide Your Heart?)

Sometimes, the music and lyrics just know.

Come Monday.
Texas Fan

Friday, May 16, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

I spent the day researching Las Vegas activities for two trips that are approaching. Since I will be there for an entire week each time, I was interested to find some things to do there during the day that I had not yet experienced. There is horseback riding in Red Rock Canyon, indoor bungee jumping, a view from the top of the Stratosphere, a masquerade parade in the sky at the Rio, a champagne bar in the Paris, a classy piano bar at the Bellagio, and a classic car collection at the Imperial Palace.

What is interesting to note, is that as I flipped through the travel books at my local bookseller I noticed how often Barry was mentioned in them. He was heralded as "a class act", a "entertainer reminiscent of Frank Sinatra", a "headliner must see", and "the one who writes the songs". In each of the travel books they listed his show as something you don't want to miss. They heralded him as a true entertainer that knows how to give you your money's worth.

Of course, none of this is news to any of us who have been there to see him. It's just nice sometimes to see the rest of the world stand up and take notice.

Here's to a class act,
Texas Fan

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Memories

I had the unexpected pleasure of spending yesterday with my daughter and my grandpuppies (yes, pathetic perhaps..but I'll take what I can get at the moment). I always dreamed of being a grandmother. Probably because my mother was the best grandmother ever, even though she barely got to know my children before she left this world. So naturally I had those "missing my Mom" moments yesterday, especially when my daughter gave me the new Johnny Mathis CD--my mother's equivalent to Barry. I had the best mother. And she left this world too soon. In honor of her, and all those mothers that have left loved ones behind, I'd like to share this story of her.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

I can’t say that my mother verbally spoke these words. This is one of those gems I learned from watching her live with cancer for four years. A wise person once said that your children are always watching you, even if you’re not telling them things, they are picking up nuggets to live by. My mother gave me a gold mine without ever saying a word.

Before my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she had been in the hospital a total of four times in her life: once when she was born, twice when she had her two children, and once when she broke her leg in several places trying to entertain me on Thanksgiving at a rollerskating rink. She hated going to the doctors office and avoided it like the plague. She had to be dying before she would call the doctor. She hated needles, giving blood, and avoided all types of surgery even when the doctors explained it was necessary. She would just smile and say, “God can heal me much better than you can.” And they had no choice but to believe her. Because, up until she was introduced to cancer, he always did.

To make a very long story short, she smiled and laughed her way through every surgery, test, treatment and negative diagnosis. The day she died, her oncologist told me, “I don’t know what to tell you. I have had her dead for two years. Every time I think she’s not going to make it, she opens her eyes and smiles and asks me when she can go home.” She baffled every doctor and nurse assigned to her case. Visitors left her hospital room feeling hopeful after talking to her, in spite of all the gloom and doom her doctors dished out daily.

She and I spent hours on end in waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, labs, and hospital rooms laughing about everything from the size of her patient folder (it was a volume) to the sad faces everyone put on when they spoke to her. We used to try and mimic them after they left and give them names to match their faces. We laughed so much that the nurses in the hospital had to tell us to be quiet because we were disturbing the other patients who were sick. Imagine that, a little cheer in a hospital ward. What were we possibly thinking?

One day, toward the end of her life, she was battling a brain tumor that was affecting her motor functions. Very simply, she was having trouble walking and kept constantly bumping into walls, doors and people quite unexpectedly. She and her friend took a trip to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. As she held onto her friend for stability and walked around the mall, her legs quite unexpectedly gave out on her and they went plummeting to the ground. The two of them laid in the middle of the floor in a Montgomery Wards store laughing so hard that neither one of them could stand. People kept trying to help them, but the more they tried, the more it made my mother laugh. I still smile when I envision the two of them sitting on that floor laughing in that crowded mall during a busy Christmas shopping season.

The average person might say, “There’s nothing funny about cancer”. And I would have to agree with them. It’s not funny. It’s deadly and it eventually robbed my mother of her life. But it’s not the cancer that was funny. It’s all the unexpected things that happened that she found humorous. Somehow, they helped her cope through the pain. Somehow, the smiles told everyone around her to stop treating her like she was sick. Somehow, even when she was dying, she managed to remind all of us that she was happy with the way she had smiled and laughed her way through this horrible ordeal. She made gallons and gallons of lemonade, sweet and sour mixed together…the perfect blend to quench anyone’s thirst and leave them refreshed and satisfied. That lemonade gave all of us hope that even in the worst of circumstances; you can see the humor and the joy in this life.

My mother and my daughter Jillian--her last Christmas with us

She was always smiling. Even in this picture, with an inoperable brain tumor, she was smiling. Today...and every day, I miss that smile. I miss that laugh. And I miss her overwhelming joy that even in the worst of circumstances, found something to be happy about.

To our mothers,
Texas Fan

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paying it forward

This morning I was reading a magazine article about random acts of kindness. Apparently someone at a Starbucks in Florida bought coffee for the car behind him in an effort to curtail his anger based on an impatient outburst of horn honking from the drive of that vehicle. He wanted to change his attitude of anger to that of compassion. The driver of that car was so moved, that he did the same to the car behind him. This continued for the entire day. Car after car went through the drive thru window and offered to purchase the coffee of the car behind them.

This is a very simple philosophy: pay it forward. Someone does something for you; you reciprocate by doing something for someone else. Imagine the affect this could have on the world if we all practiced this principle. I've been the recipient of some of those random acts of kindness and I can tell you that it motivated me to do the same. We can see this principle in the Barry community: sharing photos, memorabilia, tapings of television appearances, and even memories. And recently we saw Barry "pay it forward" with a donation to Palm Springs music programs.

It would be great if we could all change our philosophy: instead of getting even, let's pay it forward. By doing this, we can change the world, one act of random kindness at a time.

Paying it forward,
Texas Fan

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Only "mature" adults need come here (not carryovers from high school cliques)

Don't bother leaving a comment if it's a personal attack (I've heard it all before)

Don't come here if you don't like what I write (Surely you have better things to do with your time)

It's MY blog and I can say whatever I choose (If you disagree, go write your own blog--a much better use of your time)

Hiding behind false names and anonymous posts is rather cowardly (I know who you are, where you live and your IP address)

Leaving me nasty comments (here or anywhere else for that matter) WILL NOT stop me from writing (and I'm well versed on how to use the "reject comment" button)

I've been around the block a few times. I know a thing or two about the type of people that try to bully others into their point of view. So you're wasting your time here. Go bully someone else. Or better yet...grow up!

This is my blog and I approve this message,
Texas Fan

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Try Listening

My son can debate with the best of them. He is a great orator and has knowledge of just about every subject you could ever imagine, from the Bible to current pop culture. There are times when we all would prefer that he not impart that knowledge and be quiet. His superiors in the Marine Corps also experienced his verbal diatribe, noting that there were times when he should just have obeyed orders instead of questioning their validity or the wisdom in which they were given.

Make no mistake. He has plenty to say. Our family knows from whence this comes and we all wish we would have had the foresight to listen when he was a child. Because he had much to say then and was not allowed to say it. He was silenced to his room on numerous occasions without listening to his explanation or hearing his side of the story. He would sit in the doorway to the hallway and say over and over again, “I just want to say one more thing; just one more thing.” As parents, we felt it was the best method of training. With hindsight, we wish we had done things differently.

The other day I was in a parking lot walking to my car and I witnessed a scene that was all too familiar. A mother was battling with her toddler about something and I heard those words I had heard so many times years ago: “I just want to say one more thing”. I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, if she only knew. If she only knew that just a few seconds of listening to him could change both of their lives dramatically.

Listening is a dying art. We are a nation of talking heads. If you don’t believe it turn on the television to CNN or Fox News and watch those “heads” debate one another. They rarely listen. They talk over each other to the point of annoyance. Neither listens to the other point of view. They are so intent on getting their own point across that they are planning their next discourse while the other person is talking.

How many of us truly listen? I have come face to face with this reality in my own life when I was encouraged to listen to the words of certain Manilow songs that I might have heard but never really paid attention to the lyrics or their meanings. So I started to listen. And almost instantly the songs took on new meaning. I had always heard the music, but hardly ever paid much attention to the words that went along with it.

This made me wonder how often I had missed something someone had said to me because I never took the time to listen to what they were saying. How many times had I missed something said in pain or anger because I didn’t want to hear their point of view? How many times had I ignored my son’s words because they went on and on for longer than I cared to focus? How many conversations had I sat through with friends and been doing something else at the time and missed that they needed my encouragement?

Listening is one of the most compassionate acts we perform as human beings. And its more than just hearing. We all hear. Listening involves much more than your ears. It involves your heart and your head. It involves feeling what the other person is saying and using your intellect to understand what they are attempting to communicate.

When my son kept saying, “I just have to say one more thing” what he really meant was “I feel like I’m not being heard. I feel like you are not listening to me. I’m trying to tell you that I have an opinion and I feel an injustice has been committed.” Instead, we told him to stop complaining and sit in his room quietly. It’s notable that he has spent the last 20 years trying to get everyone he knows to hear him.

I would go so far as to say that if we listened to each other more often, there would be more consensus reached and fewer wars fought. How hard would it be to say, “I’m trying to understand your point of view. Can you help me?” It’s perfectly acceptable to disagree once both points of view have been set forth. But it’s hard to do that when you never truly listen to what the other person has to say.

So here’s an exercise for you. Take out one of your favorite Barry CD’s or IPod. Put on your headphones and sit down to listen. Pay attention to the words this time. If you can’t understand them, look them up online or in the CD jacket. Think about what he was saying when he wrote the lyrics to the song or interpreted the lyrics written by others. As Barry has told us time and time again…Listen.

Trying to listen,
Texas Fan

Monday, May 5, 2008

Where did they all come from????

I just payed a short visit to the new Manilow Network. It has exploded. I took a look at the member count--1245. Where did all these fans come from? I've been around for two years myself and had no idea there were that many fans in cyberland. We all know that they just didn't appear. They went to their browers, as they normally do and the new network popped up. And to their amazement it was OPEN, and inclusive, and dare I say, friendly. If you want to see a cross section of Barry's fans take a gander for yourself. Could it be that on the old Barrynet they felt excluded or baffled by the lack of intelligent conversation? One has to wonder...

Kudos to TPTB for providing this community. It gives ALL of us an opportunity to connect and reconnect with old and new friends. It gives us the individuality to express our thoughts and opinions without being attacked and ridiculed. It gives us the chance to share pictures, videos and memories.

Although it may not be for everyone, it certainly came along at a perfect time and looks like 1245 fans agree with me!
Texas Fan

Sunday, May 4, 2008

You've Got a Friend

Today, it has to be said. There really is nothing quite like friendship. This morning, I've been thinking about those friendships in my life--the ones that carry me through the hard times and keep me on the path when I seem to lose my way. I'm grateful for them..grateful and blessed.

"...I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart...and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away."

To my friends...if it weren't for you, I'd be forever wandering,
Texas Fan

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Farewell Scooter

I wanted to post today and say goodbye to one of my fellow bloggers. She's been somewhat of a "mentor" to me when I first started blogging and has encouraged me to keep posting. Her own site, Scooter Talk has provided us with a plethora of information over the last few years. It had become a part of my morning routine. Going there took me to a time that I had missed. A time when I was raising my kids and life seemed to get in the way of following Barry and his musical career. But Scooter shared her memories and her momentos of the past with all of us and allowed us to actually be there as we read the articles, the reviews, the Q and A's from old Barrygrams and saw all the wonderful photos she took. It was a journey back in time and it was an act of love for her to share all of those memories with all of us.

Scooter you will be greatly missed. Please know that your act of kindness was not in vain and that we all appreciated the sacrifice you made to share your memories with us. You have touched all of our lives in ways that you cannot possibly imagine.

Rest assured...the memories will live on.
Texas Fan

Friday, May 2, 2008

The NEW Barrynet

View my page on My Manilow Network

WOWSER! I'm impressed. Welcome to the 21st Century Mr. Manilow! This new "network" is amazing. Finally a place to share photos, videos, blogs, thoughts about "the man" all in one place. have control over comments and such. What could be better?

If you haven't been by yet, check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Texas Fan

Thursday, May 1, 2008

All Things Manilow

Just for fun--here's a list of "things" that can fill our lives and make people wonder if it is indeed time for an intervention:

Our vehicles:
"I (heart) Barry" keychain
Music and Passion License plate
"I'd rather be in Vegas attending Music and Passion" bumper sticker
ONLY Manilow music in the CD player or Ipod connected to the stereo
Barry Bobblehead on the dashboard

Our offices:
2008 Barry Calendar
A photo on our desk of us with Barry (Platinum, Meet and Greet, The Dance, Jacket Girl, CSWY Girl, Convention, etc.)
Numerous recent photos of our Barry trips with friends
Music and Passion mousepad
Music and Passion notepad and pen
Music and Passion coffee mug
Barry background on our computer desktop
Barry screensaver (all the photos we've downloaded over the years)
The Manilow Search toolbar (to acquire those all important swag bucks)
The new "Shadowman" Laptop skin on our laptop

Our homes:
Manilow clock
Manilow throw on couch
M picture frame with photo of recent trip to Vegas
Assorted coffee mugs
Assorted Manilow wines, teas and chocolates
2008 Barry Calendar
Memory wall (containing photos and other Manilow collectibles)
Scrapbooks of our "Barry" trips
Photo albums and photo boxes of all the pictures we have taken
Manilow pillowcase
Numerous Manilow refrigerator magnets

Our "persons":
Manilow watch
Manilow bracelet
Manilow necklace
Manilow Fund Health and Hope bracelet
T Shirts from every concert and tour we have attended
Music and Passion jogger jacket
Music and Passion baseball cap
A copy of the "Bamm" flip book in our purses
A small photo album or small photos in our wallets

Our collections:
A collection of glow sticks
A collection of Hilton room keys
A collection of confetti
A collection of champagne glasses procured during our numerous "sittings" on stage
A collection of Music and Passion ticket stubs
A collection of photos on our computer taking up over 50 percent of our hard drive space
A collection of Manilow tourbooks
A collection of BMIFC pins
A collection of "bags" of various sizes from the M Store
A collection of DVD's, CD's, VHS tapes of his music, concerts and personal appearances
A collection of Barrygrams

Our pets:
Manilow dog shirt

Our grandchildren:
Fanilow in training shirt

Read it and weep,
Texas Fan

Disclaimer: I DO NOT have every item on this list. Although, I know some that do. More power to them!
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