Monday, June 18, 2007

A New Point Of View Is Beginning...

I feel compelled and must, MUST continue to tell you the story of my book writing odyssey. Only unlike Hubbell from "The Way We Were", who was beautiful beyond beautiful, smart beyond smart and talented beyond talented, my journey was born out of depression and a need to focus on anything besides my horrid marriage, even more horrid divorce and the looming title of “Single Full-Time Working Mom”. Besides, I promised “redcat” I’d finish the story. And really, wouldn’t Barry Manilow like to know?

No. I didn’t think so either. And actually, right or wrong, poor Mr. Manilow had nothing to do with any of this, other than having the tenacity and talent to hang around from 1974 through to the new millennium.

So to summarize, we left Lara post Manilow google, doing some serious contemplating and welcoming in of January, 2006.

The remaining notes I took during my journey were in diary form.

January, 2006

Knowing I’m going to hit 50 this year, I’ve decided I’m going to take a trip to Vegas, perhaps by myself and see Barry. I haven’t seen him since 1979 – in the old Chicago Stadium. I found the program from that concert the other day and really cracked up. Lots of jumpsuits and rhinestones! I also found my calendar from 1976 when I saw Barry for the first time in concert – Ravinia in Highland Park. I suspect his Vegas show is nothing like Ravinia, which featured 3 backup singers, a small band, him and his piano. Oh and the palm tree. Loved the palm tree and his frenetic pace back and forth on the stage.

When I told Anne of my plans, she heard the words “Vegas” and “birthday” and said, “I’m so there.” Manilow is merely a side attraction. She is checking on hotels and flights. I’m in charge of Barry tickets.

We have hotel, flight and tickets for October, 2006. I have put my confirmation up on my bulletin board at work. My co-workers, while admiring by Beatles calendar and Captain James T. Kirk action figure (along with pictures of my kids – I’m not that crazy) are puzzled by this Manilow addition.

I realize I am awash in a sea of….Manilow-who-cares? You know, they wondered if he was even still alive. I march boldly on, used to the chuckles and snickers. As Barry said years ago, “You take a lot of shit for being a Manilow fan.” Fine.

There is some recognition that he is indeed still alive as his 50’s CD debuts at Number 1 on the charts. Sorry, Barry, but I just can’t make the purchase. That picture on the cover frightens me. A part of me realized you just might need me to set you straight on what is “cover-worthy”.

February, 2006

I decide that I need to touch base with other Manilow fans, as I realize there are none within a 200 mile radius of where I live.

I’ve hit paydirt. On-line fan clubs! Now this is what the internet was designed for! The BMIFC/Barrynet thing is fine, but I’m beginning to realize that his fans are like the population in general. You’ve got Right Wingers, Middle of the Roaders and Left Wingers. The extremists scare me, but I’m a big girl and have been taught not to give out my home address and social security number, even if they ask.

I have written a reminder on my computer at home limiting myself to 45 minutes of Barry Manilow a day. Any more than that, and I may have to check myself into rehab.

Anne, Vegas companion and friend since kindergarten, tells me that my Manilow fixation comes out of left field to her. She hasn’t remembered the name Barry coming up in any of our conversations since Barry Newman. Or Barry VanDyke. I tell her it’s hormones and to just play along. I know all her secrets.

March, 2006

Not only are there on-line fan clubs (Barry’s Retro Fans Unlimited, Manilow’s Midnight Dreams, Manimodems, Barry Manilow, All4Barry Manilow, Melting for Manilow to name only a very few) but there are bloggers. Lots and lots of bloggers. Anne tells me to check out one she found on line. I do so and start corresponding to one in particular, using an alias of course. See? I know how to feed my fixation and remain anonymous.

I painfully realize that while I am well versed in Manilow trivia from 1974-1990, I am sorely ignorant of his tours, travels, loves and fax paus from 1991-2001. Oh, I have all the mainstream albums and CD’s, but have not ventured into the purchasing of CD’s that have all the songs from say, Barry Manilow II, along with a bonus track, necessitating the need to dish out $11.99 for one song. I remind Anne that I have scoured racks of CD’s during our 25 year annual pilgrimage to the Fest for Beatles’ Fans looking for a particular McCartney compilage, which has everything from “Ram” on it, except in a different order. She accepts my Manilow fascination as a fact of life.

I yank out my old VHS copy of “Copacabana” taped off the television in 1987 and notice it’s disintegrating before my eyes, plus irritating me with commercial interruption. How can I get a new one? Oh, look here. Barry Manilow merchandise on-line! Imagine that! Perhaps along with replacing my worn copy of “Copacabana”, I can get a tee-shirt that actually fits. I could finally put that medium sized “I Love Beagles” shirt to rest, where it really has been since I was last able to wear it in 1980.

April, 2006

It’s spring and I’m busy. I do keep up with the on-line fan clubs and notice there is lots and lots of information out there on poor Barry Manilow. Part of me starts to feel sorry for him. Thirty years of having the press up your ass at every turn must be very wearing, especially when they usually rip you a new one every time. There’s lots of press because of the 50’s CD and his Music and Passion show.

I realize, via Barry, that he likes his fans and could give a good shit about what the press and reviewers have to say about him. He laughs his ass off all the way to the bank. I finally get a good night’s sleep. I hear that he’s planning a 60’s CD as a follow up to the 50’s CD and I wonder if I can get a note to him quickly enough, offering my suggestions for the cover. I lose sleep once again.

I have been getting to know one of the Barry bloggers fairly well. Her blogs are a riot...she comes up with very humorous stuff. We “converse” via blog, which is an interesting way to talk to anyone. You are having a conversation with someone solely via the written word. It’s like the 1800’s again, only you can’t give out your real names or where you really live.

I’m still contemplating how I can meld my future writing career and Barry.

I get my answer at 2am during a very impressive panic attack. The fans. The fans share stories, their pictures. There’s the Manilow Fund for Health and Hope. Why not create a book of fan stories/pics and donate the proceeds to his charity?

I decide to think about that some more.

To be continued...

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