Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is one of those instances when a picture is worth a thousand words. It's obvious to see the pleasure this group of students gives Barry and how happy he is that they attended his show in Vegas. It's much like a proud parent surrounded by their family-his family of future musicians that will carry on his legacy of music.

Texas Fan

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Barry Manilow Meet Jack Bauer

It occurred to me tonight after watching an hour of Jack Bauer on 24, that he and Barry have a great deal in common. And Jack might be able to teach Barry a thing or two about getting out of sticky situations.
  • Jack ALWAYS knows the quickest escape route. Something that might prove quite valuable the next time he is cornered outside of Tempo or in the casino.
  • Jack ALWAYS speaks his mind, even if it's not what others want to hear. Something that might come in handy the next time someone demands a photograph during his personal time after the show.
  • Jack ALWAYS gets to the point and circumvents the red tape. Something that might come in VERY handy when a fan takes way too much liberty with him either on stage or during a Platinum meeting.
  • Jack ALWAYS knows how to blend into a crowd. Something that Barry obviously needs to learn how to do to avoid the stalker-like presence at the Hilton.
  • Jack ALWAYS does the right thing. Come to think of it, so does Barry. This is one area that he and Jack have both mastered.
The next time Barry finds himself with his back against the wall or surrounded by those who seem to want a piece of him, perhaps he might want to grab a page out of the Jack Bauer manual. And maybe, just maybe, he'll escape. Just like Jack!

Having some Barry fun today,
Texas Fan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some "Barry" Good Advice

I try not to comment on fan behavior too much, but this deserves an AMEN. YBA just posted a blog (Some Bar by the Harbor) about the new show and the convention. It's a MUST read for all of you who plan on attending. Why? Because she addresses an issue that has been floating around in the fan community for many, many months: the mobbing of Manilow. I'd like to expound on a possibility.

What if he were actually allowed to walk freely through a room in a casual manner?
  • He might stop for a few moments and engage someone in conversation.
  • He might be able to talk to you as a person and not a celebrity; something he has commented on in great detail.
  • He might stay longer at the event.
  • He might actually get some verbal encouragement from the fans face to face.
  • He might enjoy himself and try more often to interact with us.
  • He might recall the "old days" when fans were actually (not in just words) friends.

I don't know about you, but I'd like to see these things happen. And even if they don't and it's just a pleasant evening for him and for his fans, isn't it worth it? Don't we at least owe him that much?

Just some food for thought,
Texas Fan

P.S. Thanks YBA for the blog post and spurring this conversation.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ask and "Ye Shall Receive"

To celebrate the BMIFC Convention during the weekend of May 22-24, and as a personal thank-you from me to you, I've put together a segment of songs from my beloved "Here At The Mayflower" album that I'll be performing during those shows.

This segment will include songs we've never done. I hope everyone that has supported the "Mayflower" CD makes sure that they're at the Hilton for that weekend. I think it will be a very exciting and special group of shows.

See you there


Wow. What an exciting Hotline Message! Those that are attending will be in for a TREAT! I hope hope hope that someone is there who can write excellent reviews (Dana?). It's going to be one of those wonderfully magical moments. And just wait until the rest of the audience hears the genius that is Manilow. I predict there will be MANY new fans and MANY skeptics eat their words!

Thanks Barry!

Texas Fan

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Barry Manilow and Wedding Preparations

I have to admit, this was inspired by Bonnie's blog (thanks Bonnie). I've spent the last few hours after reading her wonderful story about her goddaughter thinking about a few things. Namely my daughter's wedding and the wedding of one of her close friends. Her friend's wedding website (they think of everything these days) is asking for song recommendations for the DJ. A dangerous request around a Manilow fan! And shortly, my daughter will be thinking about song choices as well (not sure which Manilow songs she'll add to her play list since she is a fan). One thing is for sure, they will definitely be included.

I recall months ago that Barry was asked what songs he would recommend to Tom and Katie to use at their wedding. He mentioned the Never My Love/I Swear medley. Both great songs but not traditionally Barry. Bonnie said her goddaughter used Who Needs to Dream for her first dance. I thought The Best of Me might make a fabulous choice as well.

What about you? Any recommendations for me to pass along to the future brides?
Texas Fan

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Supporting Barry Manilow

We all talk the talk, but can we walk the walk. Here's a chance for all of us to support Barry and it's simple. All you have to do is follow this link (Brooklyn Hall of Fame) and cast your vote to have Barry inducted into the Hall of Fame. How much easier could it be?

Here's a screen shot of the current count:Notice who is ahead? Neil Diamond. Although they are inducting the top 5 and we have many more days to vote, why wait? Cast your vote NOW and put your vote where your mouth is!

Just voted,
Texas Fan

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Manilow Mayflower Musings

All the comments over my recent post has made me think (dangerous..I know) about how Barry's Here at the Mayflower might be turned into a Broadway play or television mini-series. Granted, I'm not a media expert, but the potential within the catalog of songs is extraordinary.

I could envision this as a mini-series. It could be as steamy or as G-rated as you prefer. Take for instance, Apartment 4J: Talk to Me. A couple is working through some very difficult problems. Perhaps one of them has had an affair and the other found out; or it's an older couple that has grown apart after their kids have moved away. The possibilities are endless. Then there's Apartment 6C: Not What You See and I Miss You: a picture of love that has lasted a lifetime and the sadness that comes with the loss that occurs after all those years. Not to mention the Elevator Operator who relays the stories of all the tenants in Do You Know Who's Living Next Door, and the poignant story told in She Shoulda Been Mine.

What about you? How do you see the stories unfolding?
Texas Fan

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Night That Tito Played

Mayflower is back! Barry has brought back a song from the Here at the Mayflower CD. The Night that Tito Played is an interesting choice that I'm sure made for some great fun at the show. It's upbeat and a great dance number, "moving and swaying under the moon" (or the famous Manilow stars).

This concept CD never really got the attention it deserved. Every song tells a story and the entire album has something for everyone. Even a non-fan can get into the rhythm of
They Dance or Come Monday. Adding any number of these songs to the show is a win/win in my estimation. Because this pleases the fans AND is musically appealing and crowd pleasing for the civilians (yes, I did use that term!).

What's next? Freddie Said? Now that would be my idea of art imitating life!

Lovin' it,
Texas Fan

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Barry Manilow fans vs Neil Diamond fans

Barry Manilow fans vs Neil Diamond fans. The quintessential contest. I happen to love contests. Over the last few years there have been contests online pitting Barry against Englebert, Clay Aiken, and the likes for the best love song. Barry's fans rush to vote, offering their support whenever it is needed.

This past week a contest on Twitter (a social networking website) pitted Ashton Kutcher against CNN. The challenge was given from Ashton that he could garner 1,000,000 followers before CNN. Originally it was a simple competition. But Ashton sweetened the pot by pledging to donate $10,000 to purchase malaria nets if he won. The EA (a gaming software company) threw in a prize for the 1 millionth follower to become a character in their new SIM game. Ashton won in a heated last minute surge. And the contest generated media attention for his charity.

I got to thinking what might happen if Barry or Neil challenged each other to a contest along the same vein. Imagine the media attention that would ensue for both of them and their charities. Barry could promote the Manilow Music Project and challenge celebrities to match his contribution as Ashton did. It would be a great way to dabble in social media and generate some much needed funds for the project.

Neil is already on Twitter and has a following of fans. There are numerous "Barry Manilow" Twitter accounts. None of which are official. Since Barry finally arrived on Facebook, why not Twitter? How long do you think it would take for Barry to catch up if he was so inclined?

How about it Stiletto? Will you jump on the Twitter bandwagon?
Texas Fan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This week in Manilowland

Barry is BACK on stage and the Team Harmony AFAN Walk is scheduled for Sunday. Fans are arriving at the Hilton and Fortuna is providing the much needed caffeine boost on a daily basis. The sights and sounds of Vegas are in the air and the excitement level is through the roof.

What is it about Manilowland that makes all of us yearn to return? I wish I could put it into words. I wish I could explain to those who shake their heads in disbelief when we tell them we are returning AGAIN to the same show. I wish I could make them understand what it feels like to meet friends who "get it" and share that experience with them. I wish I could bottle up the joy that comes when you're in a theater of 1700 fans, all there to "love Barry" (as he comically addresses it during a show).

It's going to be a long time before I head that way again. But I have my memories. And those warm fuzzies that accompany them. The all-nighters spent with friends. The late night coffee dates at Fortuna. The pre-show dinners. The after-show frivolity at Tempo. The get together with friends at Shimmer. It's all there, safely tucked away in my memory and in pictures.

All the best to Team Harmony on Sunday and to all the fans (first-timers and old-timers) arriving in Vegas to see Mr. Manilow. He never disappoints. He always delivers. You always leave with a smile on your face and love in your heart for the music.

We can't smile without you,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Manilow Concert Reviews

Reviews: the glue that keeps those fans together who can't see the shows often enough or haven't ever been able to attend a live concert. Reviews give us a glimpse of the fantabulousness (my word) that is Barry Manilow. And in the fan world, there are two types of reviews: the ones that talk about the clothing and the "hot" moves, and the ones that talk about the music. The great reviewers weave both into their reviews and those are the ones that stand out in my eyes.

This past week, a GREAT reveiwer was at the shows. If you've never been to a show, she puts you right there in the theater with her using descriptive language and excellent photographs. When Dana is at the show, we all know that we'll get a sense of the emotion in the music, of the interaction on stage with the backup singers and the band, and a true account of the quality of the performance. The Manilow world is about sharing, and Dana has shared her experiences with all of us as far back as I can remember. We all look forward to her reviews with great anticipation because we know that she can truly "see" the heart and the soul of the performance.

If you haven't read her latest review, drop by the MMN and check it out. It's absolute poetry as always. Thumbs up to Dana who has given me and so many other fans the gift of experiencing the shows from miles away and the privilege of seeing it through her eyes.

Thanks Dana,
Texas Fan

Monday, April 13, 2009

Barry Manilow and Friendship Factor

It's been a very long time since I've been serious here on this blog. But several things have happened in my life over the last few weeks that have reminded me of the value of the friendships I have made in the Manilow world; most of which began online via the internet and the Barrynet message board. These friendships have been my lifeline at times, carrying me through times of grief, sadness, and hopelessness; encouraging me to reach for my dreams and expand my horizons.

Some of the friendships have also been sources of great turmoil and frustration, teaching me that some people will always have their own agenda. But along the way I've learned some tough lessons about myself, human behavior and about the kind of friendship that matters the most. I've had adversaries turn into friends and friends turn into adversaries. I've had casual acquaintances turn into trusted allies and trusted allies turn into traitors.

These type of friendships have littered and enhanced my life over the last few years. Perhaps it's the ying and yang of it all. Always reminding me that there is good and evil in this world and the good far outweighs the bad. And it's the friends I've made in the Manilow world that I always seem to turn to when I need support and encouragement, just as I do the music. They are my kindred spirits, leading me to hope when all hope is gone, and driving me toward my passionate dreams and goals.

Some have said that the measure of a true friend is that they can share in your joy as well as your sadness; be happy for you when you succeed, not just comfort you when you fail. Those are the friends I treasure and value.

"It's you and me forever and a day",
Texas Fan

(picture taken by Debbie Giese)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Many Caricatures of Manilow

Lightening things up a bit and in keeping with some of my previous posts this month, I thought I would post some caricatures of Barry that have been published over the years.

Most of these were downloaded from Scooter's blog (which I miss dearly), and I have noted below who was responsible for the caricatures.

It's just another way to see Mr. Manilow creatively. Which one is your favorite?

Glad I'm not the object of an artist's rendering,
Texas Fan

(Credits: 1st row-Toronto Daily Mail, Radio Times; 2nd row-Kolson, Hirshfield, NY Times; 3rd row-Rolling Stone, Penthouse; 4th row-DMag July 2002, Wall Street Journal, Nancy Stahl; 5th row-Australian Publication 1995, Birmingham Alabama Newspaper)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Manilow Photo Sharing-A Controversy

It's no secret. Barry is the object of our photo affection. He's one of the few celebrity entertainers that allows photographs during his concerts. At any given time cameras are snapping away trying to capture a shot of the Showman of our Generation. Granted, it's not easy. The man moves faster than a gazelle at times. If you ask any fan, you'll find that a huge portion of their shots are blurred or out of focus. That's because most camera shutters can't keep up with his constant motion.

With the plethora of photographs being taken during every show, it stands to reason they will wind up online on various Manilow sites and blogs. Some fans consider their personal photos to be just that, their personal photos. Other fans freely share any and all photographs without claim of ownership.

Personally, I share my photos freely. It's never been an issue for me. Not only do I share them, but I find it gratifying when they show up online on blogs, personal websites and pages. After all, if someone downloads the photos, then they consider them to be worth keeping. If any photograph were that priceless, I certainly wouldn't put it online making it vulnerable for photo sharing.

But, just as there are many different opinions about the music, there are many different opinions about photo sharing. What do you think? Should they only be used with permission? Should they be freely shared? Should they not be copied or downloaded?

Looking forward to your opinions,
Texas Fan

P.S. Feel free to download and use the above photo. No strings or credit attached!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Manilow-On the Road Again

Once again, the Manilow entourage will pack the trucks and head east for two concerts scheduled for Rochester, NY and Pittsburgh, PA. Another benefit (among many) of living on the east coast. Those of us living in the deep south yearn to be close to the hub of the Manilow action, or at least have the Manilow action come to us.

So here are my top ten reasons why Barry should venture down below the Mason Dixon line:
  1. The food-You can't beat that down home cookin' and Barry could benefit greatly from some chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, grits and biscuits.
  2. The people-Southern hospitality is second to none.
  3. The accent-Not that we have one of course, although some would argue.
  4. The sweet tea-Every restaurant in the south serves sweet tea with unlimited refills (none of that green tea or bottled tea)
  5. The music-Some of the greatest musicians in the world hail from the south and would provide an opportunity for some killer jamm sessions.
  6. Yardsales and flea markets-These are great places to find some bargains and tons of fun (much more fun than shopping in Beverly Hills).
  7. College football-You can't beat college football in the south. It's an experience everyone needs to add to their "bucket list" (even if you're not a football fan).
  8. Front porches with swings and rocking chairs-There's nothing more relaxing that sitting on a front porch with some sweet tea on a Sunday afternoon.
  9. The smells-At any given time you can smell the jasmine in bloom, the cedar trees, fresh cut bermuda grass, and gulf breezes.
  10. Barbeque-Every southern state has it's own specialty, sauce and technique; it's a treat that you can only find in the south. Mmmmm good!

As Paula Deen would say,
"Come on down here, y'all!"
Texas Fan

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Many Styles of Manilow

Continuing my theme, here are some stylish looks best described in pictures. Mr. Manilow certainly knows how to "dress for success"...or at the very least clean up quite nicely.

What's your favorite Manilow style?
Texas Fan

How could I forget the Tux?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Many Music Genres of Manilow

Over the years, Barry has taken us on a magical ride of musical expression. He's sampled genres from pop, to jazz, to rock (yes rock), to big band music, to Broadway show tunes, to Christmas classics, to themed projects, to "live" recordings, and even the highly underrated decade albums. There are only a few recording giants with catalogs to match the likes of Manilow. Today, I'd like to pick the ones that truly stand out as masterpieces of talent and creativity.

Ultimate Manilow
This album is "the best of the best". Every power ballad Barry has ever recorded is in this collection. From Mandy to Weeken
d in New England Barry shows his talent to reveal his emotions and ensure that the listener is moved by every lyric and enraptured with every note.

2:00AM Paradise Cafe
Jazz. Barry is most comfortable in this genre. And it shows. It's his first love and the way he
brought the jazz greats together to record this once-in-a-lifetime project was absolute genius. Watching the "Making of 2:00AM Paradise Cafe" makes it clear that he is at his best composing and arranging the music he loves.

Here Comes the Night
What a rockin' a
lbum! The rock vibe is apparent from the very first song I Wanna Do It With You until the last song Stay. The guitars, synthesizers and drums amp up the music and make all of us eager with anticipation to hear more.

In the Swing of Christmas

What could be better than combining jazz and Christmas? This Grammy nominated album takes the sound
s of Christmas and the vibe of jazz and manges to magically entertwine the two and create a final work of musical art.

2 Nights Live

en I'm looking for all the dynamics of a Manilow concert, this is the album I listen to. On this album there are such gems as You're There, excerpts from Harmony and Here at the Mayflower, and some absolutely moving renditions of his infamous power ballads.

Here at the Mayflower
This album tells a story, with the music and the lyrics. It's
about relationships, and emotions, and reveals the heart of the the composer/musician in every song, culminating with the bonus track, Shadowman.

The Greatest Songs of the Eighties
This is my favorite
decades compilation. There are some incredibly fun songs (Islands in the Stream, Never Gonna Give You Up) and some surprise arrangements (I Just Called to Say I Love You, I've Had the Time of My Life). The sax solos by Dave Koz are standouts and bring the jazz element into this great decade collection.

There is something for everyone in the Manilow catalog of music. And we wait with anticipation for the next work of genius!

Loving the smorgasboard of music,
Texas Fan

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