Really? People are surprised Barry Manilow is gay?

ManilowWhy the stupid headlines?

People: Surprise! Barry Manilow Has Married His Manager Garry Kief


And this from the story in the U.K.’s Daily Mail: Apparently, the star who has millions of female fans around the world, was worried that if they made their union official, word would leak out about his sexuality and that his fans wouldn’t approve of him being gay.

Yes, because a gay male star can’t have millions of female fans. Right Ricky Martin? Liberace? Elton John? Adam Lambert? Clay Aiken?

And those headlines — really?!


No, Barry Manilow, 71, never came out officially with a big public pronouncement. No one did that in the late ’60s, early ’70s. He never did the big Advocate coming out cover story interview.

He didn’t have to. He was gay. There was never any secret since his 1971 hit, “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDonalds.” Really. “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” is his, too.

But if anyone needed clues that the man who made the whole world sing was gay, he dropped a few along the way.

He wrote the Broadway musical Copacabana. Gee, I hate to stereotype, but name a straight Broadway composer — later than Oscar Hammerstein — off the top of your head.

Here’s another:

He got his start as Bette Midler’s piano player. At the Continental Baths. With gay men dressed only in towels watching him perform. Night after night. Especially every Saturday night. With the Divine Miss M. At the baths. The really sleazy Continental Baths.

Anyone who didn’t catch on with that clue wouldn’t have gotten the hint had he said, “Yep, I’m gay” on the cover of Time. With some people, it just doesn’t sink in.

And “secret gay wedding” as the Daily Mail claimed? They got married at their home with about 30 friends there. Just because they didn’t make a big announcement to the press doesn’t make it a secret wedding.

Maybe it just bothers some straight people that “The Greatest Love Songs of All Time” was by a gay man.

—  David Taffet

Bette to speak at Hyatt luncheon



If you think I should have put a last name in the headline, you have no need to read further and won’t be attending.

Bette Midler will be in town on May 1 for the Woman to Woman 2014 Luncheon benefiting Jewish Family Services. Chad Mantooth and I are two Jewish women here in the Dallas Voice office that will be there.

The first time I saw Midler perform was in her first role on Broadway as Tzeitel in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. I saved my Playbill and years later she signed it. A few years later, I saw her first concert on Broadway, Clams on the Half Shell. Her piano player from her Continental Baths show, Barry Manilow, was in the audience. She pulled him up on stage, and they did an extra half hour that day. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of her concerts. I’ve always been exhausted after watching her perform. She’s always been nonstop, high-energy, start to finish.

The only reason I’m not still watching Ruthless People and Down and Out in Beverly Hills is because my Beta machine finally conked out, and I never replaced them on DVD.

Beaches I only saw once — I thought a great Bette movie would be comforting after coming home from my partner Jon’s funeral. Not the right time to watch it, but I had a good cry with Bette.

For anyone unfamiliar with Jewish Family Services, their offices are on Arapahoe Road in a building on the old Prestonwood Mall site. Its services, open to anyone, not just the Jewish community, include marital, family, divorce and individual counseling. LGBT families have always been welcome at JFS, which has partnered in the past with LGBT synagogue Congregation Beth El Binah to create a coming out and a parents group. A food bank, family violence intervention, employment services and services for children and adults with special needs are among the many services provided by JFS.

Woman to Woman luncheon at Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Reunion Blvd. May 1 at 11:30 a.m. Individual tickets $250 available online or at 469-206-1664.

—  David Taffet

The gay interview: Bette Midler

More than 30 years have passed since Bette Midler made her screen debut as a rocker with a self-destructive drug habit. The film, 1979’s The Rose, turned the Hawaii native’s dreams, and her nights performing for half-naked gay men at a New York City bathhouse, into a legendary and undeniably influential career in music — the title song is one of her biggest hits — and in film.

Later roles would include parts in Beaches, Hocus Pocus and The First Wives Club, all of which go down as gay cult classics. A star of the stage, screen and recording studio, with numerous Grammys, Golden Globes and Emmys to her name — even the moniker “The Divine Miss M” doesn’t quite do her justice.

But now that the curtain’s closed on her two-year Las Vegas spectacle (The Showgirl Must Go On wrapped in 2010) she returned recently as a leading lady in her first major picture in more than a decade.  In Parental Guidance, the 67-year-old plays a grandparent alongside Billy Crystal, who both try to navigate modern-day parenting conundrums when they’re stuck watching their daughter’s three kids.

Just in time for our Hollywood Issue, Midler chats about Parental Guidance (including the film’s stance on bullying) and the “bittersweet” beginning of her career.

— Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: You share some similarities with your character, Diane Decker, in Parental Guidance. One thing I’d like to believe you don’t have in common with her, though, is when one of the kids dresses up as a girl. You would have let that boy wear those high heels, wouldn’t you have?  Midler: What are you trying to get at?

That you’re a gay icon. I could see you being OK with him in heels.  I sort of try to avoid encouraging kids to be hustlers.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 • Online Exclusives


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Taped before thousands in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the 70-minute cavalcade The Showgirl Must Go On features many of Bette Midler’s colorful and classic stage and screen characters.  Joining her on the gargantuan stage is an energetic corps of talented performers, including the staggering Harlettes, twenty dazzling dancers she calls The Caesar Salad Girls and a 13-piece band.  Ms. Midler’s superstar power shines in renditions of her immortal songs including “The Rose,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “From a Distance,” “Hello in There” and “Wind Beneath My Wings.” The Showgirl Must Go On comes in DVD and Blu-Ray and priced at $19.98 and $24.98 respectively.

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Whether serving them at a holiday party or giving as a gift, these are baked fresh upon order and delivered to your door. How easy is that?  And the tiny ones are like little stocking stuffers for your mouth. Dee-lish!


Don’t think that’s all there is. This year we’re doing something a little different. From Nov.  25 (Black Friday) to Dec. 16, we’ll be posting a gift-a-day to help with your holiday shopping decisions. From stocking stuffers to high-tech gadgets and everything in between, we’ll have gift ideas for everyone on your list.

—  Rich Lopez