Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Melissa Manchester concert - a 2007 highlight

Words cannot adequately describe the past day. It was both unexpected and amazing. Yesterday at this time I had no idea that I would not only see the incomparable Melissa Manchester perform, but that I would also meet her, have my picture taken with her, and get a personal autograph signed on her latest CD. I'm on a bona fide Melissa Manchester high.
I saw Melissa perform last night at the Capitol Civic Center in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which is where my parents live. I was my mom's date to the concert, and it was an ultimate mother-with-her-gay-son evening.
Let me say that Melissa looks wonderful; time has been good to her. She has gorgeous eyes, a beautiful face, and her trademark long, curly hair. More importantly she is effervescent, engaging, and incredibly entertaining. She was gracious, honest, and funny throughout the two hour concert. She performed at a Steinway grand piano accompanied by Stephan Oberfhoff on acoustic guitar and keyboards.
Not only does Melissa have a truly remarkable and inspiring voice, she is also a talented pianist, and a gifted and outstanding songwriter. She demonstrated all of these talents in her performance last night. She came on stage wearing a teal patterned jacket and skirt. She opened with one of her newer songs, followed by "Through the Eyes of Love (Theme from Ice Castles)." I cheered extra loud for that classic song at Ruben's request.
Melissa mixed old and new songs throughout the show. Fortunately she performed many of her best known songs, including her first hit, "Midnight Blue." Melissa explained that when she wrote "Midnight Blue," she recorded a demo and sent it to Dionne Warwick's producer hoping that Ms. Warwick would record it. Dionne heard the demo and said that whoever was singing on that needed to record the song because she has an amazing voice. So Melissa recorded it, and "Midnight Blue" became her first hit song, launching a distinguished career. Before singing "Whenever I Call You Friend," she told about how she and Kenny Loggins were frequently paired up at awards shows in the 80s as presenters. After the fifth or sixth time, they decided to collaborate. So Kenny brought a bottle of wine over to Melissa's house, and they ended up with "Whenever I Call You Friend." She also performed "Just Too Many People," which is one of my favorites.
After the brief intermission Melissa returned to the stage wearing black slacks and a white men's dress shirt. She explained that some of her luggage was lost, so she went shopping at the Manitowoc Wal-Mart and bought this new outfit. Of course, she looked fabulous.
Melissa took quite a few years off from performing to raise her two children, who are now adults. She noted that she and her husband will soon celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, a rarity in her business.
Unfortunately she did not sing "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" or my personal favorite, "Just You and I."
Melissa did a slow and emotional cover version of "By My Baby" by the Ronettes, as well as her own version of "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. Melissa told the audience that she wrote a number of songs for Dusty Springfield over the years. When Ms. Springfield knew that she didn't have long to live, she called Melissa to thank her for their professional and personal relationship. So Melissa performed "Son of a Preacher Man" as a tribute to her friend.
Melissa closed the show with her signature song, "Don't Cry Out Loud." She didn't play the piano during this number; she sang accompanied by acoustic guitar. There's no doubt that she's a true performer - she has unique and compelling way of looking at her audience when she's playing the piano and singing. When she's not playing the piano she uses dramatic and effective hand gestures, during which you can tell that she began her professional career as a backup singer for Bette Midler.
For an encore she played "A Mother's Prayer," a touching song she wrote with Karen Taylor Good about her love for her children and all mothers' love for their children. This song was particularly poignant for me since I was at the concert with my mom.
Melissa announced that she would be in the lobby after the performance signing CDs. So Mom and I waited for about fifteen minutes in line to meet her. By the time we reached the front of the line, I was so nervous that my knees were shaking and I had butterflies in my stomach. As I typically do when I'm nervous, I talked way too fast. I said something along the lines of, "Ms. Manchester, you're an amazing singer and songwriter and your performance tonight was wonderful. Could I get my picture taken with you?" She said sure, stood up, and Mom took our photo. She was incredibly gracious and kind, signing my CD, "To Steve, love to you, Melissa Manchester." While Mom was taking our picture, I told Melissa that "Just You and I" is my favorite song of hers. She said thank you. Then Melissa shook Mom's hand, and that was it.
It was a magical evening. Thanks Mom, for the ticket, and here's to you, Melissa. You're the best!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Melissa Manchester, here I come!

My appreciation for and love of Melissa Manchester has been previously documented. I was just on the phone with my mom, who was telling me what she and my dad had been up to recently. I was half-listening to their usual activities until she said, "and tonight we're going to see Melissa Manchester at the Capitol Civic Center." I just about fell over. I said, "Melissa Manchester? Are you serious?" Mom responded, "Yes, are you a fan?" Of course I am! Mom was able to get me a ticket, so I'm headed to Manitowoc this evening to see Melissa in person. I'm so excited. I'm almost positive that she'll sing "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," "Through the Eyes of Love (Theme From Ice Castles)," and "Don't Cry Out Loud." I will go absolutely crazy if she performs "Just You and I," which is my favorite Melissa song. I'll post a full report on the concert tomorrow.

Prince William and Kate Middleton split

Prince William and Kate Middleton, his long-time girlfriend, have split. Perhaps this means that there's still hope for me? Wills, while I'd be rather unconventional, I think that I'd make an excellent consort for you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dan Gbur, where are you now?

In the summer of 1988 I developed a crush on Dan Gbur, my next door neighbor on Weatherstone Boulevard in New Berlin. Dan was three years older than me, so he had just graduated from high school. Considering it was 1988 Dan had very short, dark brown hair. He was a really nice guy; if he saw me outside he would come over and we'd shoot baskets in my driveway. I was always nervous when he came over because I didn't want to say or do anything that he might think was dumb. Nevermind that 14 year-old boys can't avoid saying or doing dumb things. Plus I worried that I'd say or do something "gay." At the time I knew deep down that I was gay, but I wasn't prepared to even consider what that meant or how I might act on that reality. Dan worked at a landscaping company that summer, so he was tan and in great shape.

I'll never forget one hot summer afternoon when I was mowing the lawn. Dan came outside and was washing his car wearing nothing but navy blue spandex shorts. I thought I was going to pass out since all the blood rushed below my belt. I was so distracted that I probably made a mess of the lawn, but who cared? Dan Gbur was wearing nothing but spandex shorts! This scene of Dan in skintight shorts, sweating in the summer heat, and getting wet with the hose gave me "private material" for a very long time. I can still see his muscular ass in those shorts, as well as the hair around and below his belly button. It's still fun to think about 19 years later. I'm sure that Dan was and is straight, so I knew that there was little or no chance of him ever trying to seduce me. And particularly so since at the time I was still very much a boy. I'm sure he viewed me as the nerdy and not-very-athletic neighbor kid. Fortunately he was a nice guy. Unfortunately, Dan and the Gbur family moved away from New Berlin in the fall of 1988, so I didn't have the pleasure of seeing him when he came home from college the following summer. But I do have fond memories of his being nice to me and his car washing.

California Dreaming

Wednesday was awful here in Milwaukee because it snowed. Yes, it snowed on April 11. Supposedly we had 7" total, but it was warm enough that there was never that much on the ground; I think that it was melting pretty quickly. Fortunately the weather has improved and today it's close to 50 degrees and sunny. All of the snow is gone. But still, it's a bit rough enduring snow in April, even when you're a Wisconsin native. The weather was making me wish that I had a plane ticket to go and visit Nate in Orange County, California. Particularly so since he's had a rough week on a number of fronts. I wish that we could go out for dinner and drinks tonight so I could help him forget his troubles. When you're down, it's nice to have a good friend around to help you laugh and put things in perspective. Sure, we chatted on the phone, but that's not the same. Particularly during Nate's "hour of need." Girl, you know I wish I could be there. I'll have a few drinks for you tonight with the gang and you hang in there.

9 years of Qdoba

I received an email from Qdoba informing me that the Q location on the corner of Oakland Avenue and Kenwood Boulevard, the first in Wisconsin, was celebrating its ninth anniversary this month. I remember very well the day in the spring of 1998 when Michelle S (now Michelle SD) called me at work to say that Dennis Getto from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had written a review of this new burrito place, which was then called Z-Teca instead of Qdoba. I think that the name change from Z-Teca to Qdoba occurred in about 2000 or so. In any vent, Getto liked what he ate, so Michelle and I promptly checked it out. Since then I think it's fair to say that I've eaten at Qdoba approximately 50 times per year. So 50 burritos per year times 9 years is 450 trips to the Q. Wow. People who know me realize that I tend to be a creature of habit (see prior post about Subway veggie sub), and that I'm Virgo (read: OCD) enough to stick with a good thing when I find it. [Note to future boyfriends: once you win me over, it's likely that I'll commit for the long haul.] My order at Qdoba is almost always the same: vegetarian burrito, black beans, two scoops of hot salsa, and cheese. And, of course, a Coca-Cola.

The email I received from Qdoba headquarters gave me a buy one, get one free deal at the Oakland Avenue Q this week. So Mandy and I enjoyed this special offer on Wednesday.

Here's to another nine years of vegetarian burritos at Qdoba!