Posts Tagged With: Barry Manilow

Why Barry Manilow is dead to me

This Thursday, I’m flying to Las Vegas. Naturally, I’ll be doing some singing while in town. My upcoming trip to Sin City will be my fifth time there; and as it approaches I’m reminded of some of the great times I’ve enjoyed in Las Vegas in the past. But I’m also reminded of a colossal disappointment that I suffered at the hands of Barry Manilow during a Vegas vacation in 2009. I’m going to reprint here, verbatim, the text of a heartfelt letter that I sent to Mr. Manilow (with a copy to his agent) in the aftermath of that incident; the letter speaks for itself regarding how Barry wronged me. Then I’ll share some parting thoughts.

Before I get to the letter, I also want to apologize to you, my readers, for the long interval between blog posts. In my previous article, I promised that the subject of my next posting would be my September 2010 trip to Easter Island. I’m still working on that essay; it’s a wide-ranging account of my experiences on the island also known as Rapa Nui, and it’s taken longer than anticipated to edit my recollections and photos into a coherent form that’s ready for publishing. (Also, in all candor, it can be tough sticking to a regular schedule when you’re writing for your own blog and don’t have an editor pushing you to meet deadlines.) However, I’ve reached the point where I no longer want my entire blog to be on hold just because of delays in completing one post. So while my Easter Island memoir will soon appear in this space, I’ll publish articles on other subjects in the interim — including some dispatches live from Las Vegas later this week! And now, without further delay, here’s the letter that explains my antipathy towards Barry Manilow.

Dear Mr. Manilow:

I am writing to express how upset I am about your last-minute cancellation of your Las Vegas concert on Friday, March, 20, 2009, which my friend David and I had tickets to attend. Enclosed is a copy of my ticket order confirmation. Continue reading

Categories: North America, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Country no. 1: the United States

Two weeks ago, Portugal became country no. 24 on my World Karaoke Tour. This is the first in a series of posts that will review the first 23 countries on that tour. Today our topic is the place where it all began — the U.S. of A. In this, my most personal post yet, I discuss how I was first exposed to karaoke nearly 21 years ago, and how that hobby gradually came to assume a position of pre-eminence in my life.

It started with a nursery rhyme. Although I’ve sung hundreds of different songs over the years, the very first time that I grabbed a karaoke mic the song I belted out was “The Farmer In The Dell.”

The first ten years: 1991-2001

On the night of March 4, 1991, I was celebrating my 21st birthday. I was living with my parents in my hometown of West Orange, New Jersey; the previous year I’d graduated from Johns Hopkins University, and I was in the midst of a two year stint as a paralegal at a small law firm in Newark. My enrollment in law school was still nearly a year and a half away.

This was the milestone birthday on which I became “legal” to purchase alcoholic beverages in the United States. Of course, it was not as if I’d never imbibed (or never become intoxicated); but reaching the magic age of 21 still carried a certain symbolism.

To honor the occasion, I was hanging out with my high school friends Jon and Andrew, who had also returned to West Orange after their university studies. During the course of our evening wanderings, we entered a bar in West Orange that happened to be holding a karaoke night. Karaoke was relatively new to the United States at that point. The first karaoke bar in the country had opened in Burbank, California in 1982; nine years later, karaoke was still relatively unknown in the U.S. I’d first become acquainted with the concept while watching an episode of The Simpsons that aired on January 24, 1991. In that episode, Bart and Lisa Simpson had sung the theme song from Shaft at a Springfield-area sushi restaurant.

Now, less than six weeks later, I found myself in the presence of karaoke for the first time. I flipped through the song book, in search of a song title and number to submit to the KJ. Continue reading

Categories: North America, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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