Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Many Faces of Manilow's Philanthropy

The Desert Sun has deemed Barry Best Valley Celebrity and it was largely because of his community involvement and philanthropy:

...in the mid-1990s he stepped up his philanthropic activities to support College of the Desert's music program. Then he supported the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs Art Museum, Desert Regional Medical Center, the AIDS Assistance Program and the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center at Eisenhower Medical Center.

But this year, he really stepped up his philanthropy. This year, he elevated to Frank-Sinatra-heir-apparent status among performers using their celebrity for the philanthropic good of the valley. Manilow became the first celebrity to be honored with a Steve Chase Humanitarian Award for Community Service at the Desert AIDS Project's 25th anniversary gala in February. Before that, he started this help-out trend by distributing $500,000 worth of musical instruments for valley schools.

Along this vein, and in honor of his gifts, here are some pics to remind us all of how often and how much he gives.

From left to right: A benefit concert for Cystic Fibrosis, The City of Hope Award, AmFar charity event

From left to right: Manilow Music Project, Breast Cancer benefit concert, Steve Chase Humanitarian award

Now that's the reason we are all PROUD of Mr. Manilow,
Texas Fan

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Many Faces of Manilow

I've taken quite a few pictures over the last few years. And as I was looking through them over the weekend, I noticed the many faces of Manilow. Some might say his faces betray his moods. Others might say he's the "Shadowman" and you can't possibly know his true feelings. But however you might view him, his many faces definitely reveal his humanness and his ability to display his emotions. For me, that's the true joy in watching him perform.

Making a face myself [huge smile],
Texas Fan

Addendum: Just for YBA and Tammy! :>)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Manilow-"A Polished, Powerhouse Performance"

"At last, a polished, powerhouse performance worthy of the title "Premium Entertainment".
Peter Warner, The Hollywood Reporter, February 22, 1979

Back in 1979, HBO came to Barry and asked him if they could record his concert in Los Angeles at the Greek Theater for a Pay-per-View broadcast. Barry said YES, but he wanted the licensing for the recording. And aren't we all ecstatic that he did!

According to a Hotline Message, Starz is releasing a DVD of this recording to the fans. You can't buy it in stores, on Amazon, or anywhere else. And to sweeten the deal, they are including a copy of the 1978 Tour program. Here's an excerpt from the message:

It’s an AMAZING DVD….and an AMAZING experience. But….to make it even better….we’re including a copy of the 1978 Tour Program….filled with great pictures…and classic jumpsuits. Together…the Live At The Greek DVD and the 1978 Tour Program are a special 30th Anniversary Limited Edition….and they are yours for $24.99.

The release date is May 5th. I know I'm not missing out on this marvelous piece of Manilow history. It's amazing that after all these years, shows, and recordings the quotes from the reporter still ring true.

Everything clicks like a dream..

From the moment the blue-eyed rock-ballader from Brooklyn steps out on stage..excitement erupts and never loses momentum through upbeat pop tunes and lushy arranged romantic ballads.

…culminating in a splashy, Grammy-winning “At the Copa” production which brings the entire live audience to its feet.

Manilow reaffirms himself as a master of sophisticated romantic and Broadyw-derived pop music, and of audience rapport.

You can preorder your copy at Starz right now!

Booking it over to Starz to order my piece of Manilow history,
Texas Fan

Friday, March 27, 2009

Following in Manilow's Footsteps

One of the things that Manilow fans do is give. We give of ourselves. We give of our time. And we give to so many charities that the local fan clubs and the Manilow Fund support. Barry himself has said that when he feels down, he gives.

During these difficult times, there are some fans who are doing just that: following in Manilow's footsteps. They are
Team Harmony. These dedicated individuals give of their time and money to support AFAN (Aid for Aids of Nevada). Each year they raise money and walk to help fight Aids. This year, their small, yet focused team is currently ranked Number 1 in relation to the funds they have already raised.

Here's how you can be a part of this GREAT fundraising event.
  • Join the Team-If you live in the Las Vegas area or will be there on April 19, you can sign up to walk with them.
  • Give-Every donation counts. Give up your Starbucks this week or your burger and fries. You'll be amazed at how good you'll feel.
  • Support Them-Post on the network, your blog, Facebook, MySpace and pass the word along to your friends. Remember all it takes is One Voice!
They've got a great incentive for you if you give $25. You get a Team Harmony or a Manilow Fund T-Shirt. If you chip in another $10, you get BOTH. That's a great deal and a you're supporting a great cause in the process.

Here are the links if you want to: donate, support, and encourage the team.

Team Harmony AFAN page
Manilow Network Post with details
Direct Donation Link

Hats Off to Team Harmony: Judith Domingo-Vicerra, Joe Allard, Meredith Allard, Susan Allard, Dawn Downes, Karen Elimelech, Gary Fenstermaker, Rosanne Fenstermaker, Carol Sinclair. So far, they've raised
$14, 947 for AFAN.

Proud to be a Manilow fan AND a fan of Team Harmony!
Texas Fan

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gambling with Manilow

Vegas. The place where we all take chances. We feed slot machines with coins hoping to get lucky. And this week the fans will be back gambling with Manilow, hoping to win! And in my estimation it's a pretty sure bet.

If you gamble with Manilow you're sure to "win" a few things:
  • Tons of fun
  • Boatloads of emotions
  • Mountains of memories...and last but not least...
  • Immeasureable joy
If you've been a fan for very long you know that he's the real deal. He delivers what he promises and he gives 100 percent every time he walks out on that stage. From power ballads, to uptempo renditions of his classics, to amazing piano duels, that 90 minutes of Manilow is worth every penny and more. There's not a bad seat in the house. And if you walk into that theater down or depressed, or even just needing a little boost of hope, you'll always leave feeling better than you did when you came in.

I'll take those odds any day of the week!
Texas Fan

BTW I don't know about you but I sure do miss those Manilow slot machines at the Hilton. I wish they would bring them back. They were TONS of fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The World of Manilow

Imagine if you will, minding your own business, walking along a public street and out of nowhere someone jumps out with a camera and snaps multiple photos of you.

Imagine you're walking on a beach with your dogs and someone takes a photograph of you from thousands of yards away with a telephoto lens.

Imagine walking in downtown Toronto and having a discussion with your friends and someone across the street snaps a photograph of that conversation.

Imagine going out to dinner with friends and being greeted by hundreds of cameras as you exit the restaurant, snapping pictures as you leave and firing off questions.

Now...imagine having those photographs posted all over the internet with captions that didn't necessarily pertain to the photos, but were the photographer's interpretation of what was happening, even without speaking to you.

Next...imagine your fans, discussing and theorizing about those photos and captions without any personal knowledge of you or what your life is truly about off the stage.

Finally...imagine those same fans following your every move (outside of the venue where you give of yourself and your music for their enjoyment) and ask for even more from you time after time after time when you're just trying to enjoy an evening after the show with your friends.

Such is the world of Manilow. I know that a celebrity, by definition, must accept this type of scrutiny. But it must be hard to wake up every morning, knowing that at some point, someone will invade your space and make you wish you weren't so famous. Especially when all you ever wanted to do was make music.

Heavy sigh,
Texas Fan

Rocking Manilow

Photo from left to right: John Corabi, Dee Snider , Barry Manilow,
Rudy Sarzo,
Bruce Kulick, Fred Coury, and Tony Montana.

On March 19th Barry took in Monster Circus at the Hilton. Barry and Rock. You don't see those two words together often in the same sentence. And yet, there he is. Guitarist Bruce Kulick said, "He was totally rocking with the Monster Circus concept of high energy rock-n-roll in the Hilton showroom". Barry. Totally rocking.

And the thought crossed my mind. Barry. Rock. New rock album. Hanging with rockers. What better way to gain some inspiration, camaraderie and street cred than hanging out with hair band rockers the likes of these guys? I'm liking the idea. I can see it now, "The critics RAVE about new ROCK sensation BARRY MANILOW". Now that, my friends, is a headline.

Rock on!
Texas Fan

BTW-Liking the jeans and the casual jacket. That's the Manilow I'd like to see more of.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Motivation and Manilow

This morning I woke up singing one of my favorite Manilow songs:

Come Monday, Come Monday,
My life starts again.

My new point of view is beginning.

Come Monday, that one day

My ship's coming in.

And this time I'm ready to roll...

Mondays are always about new beginnings. I can't help but wake up every Monday and feel like I can always start over. Barry captured that feeling in the stories in this song. The players are making a plan, going back to school, joining a gym, losing weight, and generally starting over. Those stories motivate me in so many ways today. They motivate me to pursue my goals, my dreams and to know that we all need to start over at times. The past is the past so to speak. The future is as great as we want it to be.

We've had tons of "Mondays" in the Manilow world. And on this Monday a new week begins and the promise of some great shows in Vegas. Plus, the motivation to count our blessings and be thankful that when we need a jump start, Barry's always there to ramp up our engines and motivate us to do great things!

Feeling motivated,
Texas Fan

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dealing with Disappointments the Manilow Way-Part 2

This morning the sun is up and all things should look more clear in dawn's early light. At least that's always my hope.

I don't know about you, but there are a few things re: Manilow that I'm thankful for today. And instead of focusing on speculation or contrived theory about the events of this weekend, I'd much rather focus on the positive. My mother always taught me: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  1. He's still out there giving us "live" performances of the music. And even though there will always be cancellations because it's the nature of the business, he is still giving back to his fans after all these years.
  2. He's still recording albums. And not just ONE every 3 or 4 years. We've had 4 in a row with a promise of an "original" one coming soon.
  3. His music still brings people together. Many of us have found new friends at the shows, online and met in person.
  4. His music still comforts us when we need it the most. We turn to it when heartache comes; when we want to dance; when life is hard and we need a musical boost.
  5. He has given all of us some wonderful memories. Those memories are the substance of our love for Barry and his music. Those memories are tied to our lives and when we think of them, even today, we smile.
It's phenomenal, and yes, even miraculous that after all these years he's still up on that stage giving his best and trying to provide his fans with those 5 gifts I just mentioned. I'm 55 and I don't have half his energy and stamina. The rigors of his schedule and his life exhaust me just thinking about them. At this point in his career, he doesn't NEED to get out there on that stage week after week. He could retire like most of us do and just make music. But he does. Not only that, but he puts up with more intrusion into his personal space and private life than any of us could ever imagine. For that, in my eyes, he's got the patience of Job. I can't even begin to fathom the emotions that must surface when this happens.

Today is the kind of day that we need to take a step back and look at the BIG picture. For me, it embodies those 5 gratitudes. If I have those, I have everything. And Barry, I don't say this enough:

Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me.

Texas Fan

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dealing with Disappointments the Manilow Way

Barry's Back but obviously the sound is not. Last night's show at the Hilton was canceled due to technical difficulties. If you've been a fan for very long, you know it's bound to happen. Barry gets sick. The sound board doesn't work. The weather interferes. Because in this life, stuff happens.

As a Manilow fan, we've learned to deal with those disappointments using calm and logic. After we cry, and fret, and rant, and rave, and DRINK and sometimes even break something! We've drowned our sorrows in alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages and even food at the Paradise Cafe.

But one thing's for certain, we eventually return to our senses and rise to face another hopeful day that tonight's show will indeed go on as scheduled. So to all those in Vegas who were disappointed last night, remember...dealing with disappointment the Manilow way puts you in the ranks of all those who have gone before you. And the good news is, we survived!

Here's to Las Vegas AND the "technical difficulty" repairman!
Texas Fan

Friday, March 20, 2009

Barry's Back!

Barry's back in Vegas! It's always an exciting time when his show returns to the Hilton. The fans get amped up on the MMN and the Barrynet. When he steps out on stage the magic always happens.

In a recent interview, he put it very simply:
"It is kind of lonely up on that stage. There aren't that many people doing what I do. There's never been [anybody like me], by the way. I have my own little slice of the pie. It's small, but it's mine."

Small? I don't think you'd call it small. Perhaps in the sense that he's the only one out there doing what he's doing and attracting the type of crowds he does after 30 years. But at last check, the fan base is growing, adding younger fans and appealing to a whole group of Generation Yers who are looking for "music" and have found it in his arrangements and his genuine ability to deliver that honest emotion.

Things are always brighter in Vegas when Barry's there. Smiles abound.

Here's to Las Vegas. It's one of a kind. Here's to the smiles all around!
Texas Fan

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Geeks Rule!

On one of Barry's cover albums, there was a short "this is how it's done" included. When my friend and I watched that video of him talking about his shoe planter we fell on the floor laughing. And his in-depth discussion of how he goes about finalizing the songs on his computer in his studio was priceless. We looked at each other and said, "Geek!" Mind you we both married geeks. So when we said it, it was in fond adoration. Truth be told, I'm a geek at heart as well.

Yesterday, in an online article, Barry himself admitted it:

So you were the original Williamsburg hipster.
A: I wasn't really a hipster. I was a geek.

Q: Hey, geeks rule the world now, right?
A: You know, you're right. That was me. Steve Jobs? Bill Gates? See how they look? That's exactly how I looked. Worse! My hair was slicked down with a part. But that was before I discovered the blow-dryer. Now I'm fabulous.

You really are FABULOUS Barry. Still a geek, but fabulous!

Geeks Rule!
Texas Fan

Read the rest of the article here

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Six Degrees of Barry Manilow

Years ago, there was a popular game called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". The premise was that you could tie him to any movie or actor with six connections or less. Tonight on Facebook, one of my friends and I played this game. Unintentionally, of course. It was past my bedtime for sure and the conversation began with the new Facebook rules and ended unintentionally talking about Barry's passion for the color black. It got me thinking...how often does that happen?

It's not that we don't have other things to talk about. We do. We both have very full lives right now and numerous topics of conversation to pursue. But for some bizarre reason, when two Manilow fans are discussing life, the conversation always tends to come back to all things Manilow.

Here's how the conversation progressed:
  • I’m not sure about the new Facebook setup.
  • Oh come on..Embrace the change!
  • I am sick and tired of change. That is all I do!
  • Get used to it deary. It's life! You have at least 50-60 more years of it!
  • Thanks for ruining the next 60 years of my life! haha! Actually I am so used to change that if things didn't change, I think I wouldn't know what to do. That's frightening!
  • No. You've learned a valuable life lesson. It took me 50 years to figure that one out. My mother told me at 30, and I didn't believe her.
  • I learned that a few years ago. haha! and I will be 30 this year!
  • You've got 20 years on me. Just think of the misery you are avoiding by figuring it out now. You're still a BABY!
  • Haha! So true. But I think age is only a number. . . at least right now. That view might change as I get older. haha
  • Age is only a state of mind. What age do you want me to be?
  • So true! besides they say that 30 is the new 20. LOL! Whatever THAT is supposed to mean. Is that like brown is the new black?
  • Have to ask B about that. He's the BLACK expert!
  • Remind me and I will!
  • Ok. Let me know what he says. I'm curious..because he's got the black down to a science.
  • I know. Poor thing needs to branch out into the world of COLOR! Of course this coming from someone who about of my closet is black
  • I would be happy if he would just wear white. But I'm with you, most of my clothes are black as well. We're such experts aren't we????
  • He looks good in white. But black hides everything sooo well. Yes we are THE fashionistas!
  • From Facebook, to Age, to clothes, to B...4 degrees of Manilow!
  • Sad. . .huh? We do have all kinds of things to talk about. Anyone who tried to follow this link could be very confused!
  • Yes..they would be VERY confused. Gotta love it though.
We did it in less than six degrees. It only took four. It never fails to happen. From life, to the economy, to politics, to passion, to music, to Manilow. Try it for yourself sometime. See how many steps it takes for you to get there.

Enjoying the journey,
Texas Fan

Monday, March 9, 2009

Class vs Crass

Rolling Stone magazine quoted this famous pop artist this weekend:

“We did some stupid casino gig in Palm Springs for one of the high rollers there. These private gigs are like doing a bar mitzvah. They're not fun because they're for private audiences, not paying audiences. They're not your audience. They don't know your stuff. They're there just to say they were there.

“I feel like a slut when I do them, but you get paid like a really good call girl. When I walk offstage, it's like the walk of shame.”

Believe it or not, it was Billy Joel. Imagine that. Imagine taking the money from this private party and then complaining about it.

Does Barry ever have to deal with those kind of audiences in Vegas? You bet. Does he ever have to deal with rude fans? All the time. And yet, he doesn't spout his mouth off to the press when the audience won't get into the music or applaud at the appropriate moment.

There have been numerous times Barry has performed for non-fans. Most recently in a benefit for breast cancer. Was the audience composed of fans? No. There were clearly people there who were less than enthusiastic. The dance girl even made some rather negative comments that night. But Barry didn't run to the press complaining about it.

Maybe Billy needs to have a sit down with Barry and learn from the master of decorum and gratitude. I guess their money was good enough to take but not good enough to be appreciative of the fact that 1-his music is still in demand, 2-he's still working, and 3-he's not living homeless on the streets.

Guess that's the difference between class and crass,
Texas Fan

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Music

Someone on My Manilow Network actually started a discussion group to talk about the music. Wow. What a novel idea. A discussion about Barry's music. I was pleasantly surprised this morning. And I had to post a comment as well, since I've harped forever about the fact that there doesn't seem to be much discussion about it there any more.

The question was proposed as follows:
When did you start your music collection? How large is your collection? Which of his music would you recommend and why?

Here's my response:
I started my collection in 2002 with Here at the Mayflower, although I'd have to say that I began truly collecting in 2006 after I met a young fan at my first concert in Vegas. She let me listen to "Sandra" on her Ipod and I have to say I was absolutely blown away. That's when I began my collection.

I have just about every single CD that he has released, except for some of the foreign versions. I've collected individual "rare" songs from collectors and added to my collection via MP3's on my computer.

My favorites? That's difficult. I'm partial to Here at the Mayflower, because that's where my love for the music began. After that I'd have to say Scores, the 2AM Paradise Cafe, followed by If I Should Love Again. The 4CD collection, because it has "Sandra" on it, will always be a favorite of mine as well.

For the fan who loves the genius behind the music, you can't live without the Mayflower, Paradise Cafe and the Scores CD. Those are all original compositions and those are the reason I admire his passion, his creativity, and his musical genius.

Borrowing this topic, if you so desire, please post your comments to the questions proposed. I'd love you hear your responses.

It's ALL about the Music,
Texas Fan

P.S. Shout out to Ann Greer on the MMN for starting this discussion group!

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