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Don't forget who else played the Baths!

To the Editor:

In his article on Bette Midler's appearances at the Continental Baths in the early 1970's (May-June 2008 issue), Jeff Auer neglected to mention that Barry Manilow played the piano for Bette at the Baths and worked with her on her first two albums.

What struck me most about Jeff Auer's Midler article was the fact that Bette had made it into the issue at all. Suddenly you are Entertainment Weekly. Well, that's okay. She is a gay icon and pop culture is legitimate turf for an intellectual look-see. But not to mention her connection to Barry Manilow had me thinking that you folks didn't do your homework. Both have repeatedly recalled their working together in interviews, and I've seen photos documenting their joint appearances at the Continental. In the last few years I think they even reunited for a performance somewhere. I leave it to you to satisfy your own curiosity about this by exploring it on your own.

Michael Goldstein, New York City

Editor's Reply:

Since you directly address the workmanship of the editor and staff of the Review, let me respond briefly.

Fair enough, the article's failure to mention Barry Manilow was an error of omission that neither I nor four copy editors noticed. Manilow was indeed a pianist at the Baths who accompanied Bette Midler and other entertainers there; what's more, he continued to work with Midler on the singer's first two albums. I can only assume that our collective failure to remember this fact is attributable to one thing: Manilow has never been particularly open about his sexual orientation, and, like Bette Midler herself, has tended to downplay his earlier association with New York's demimonde. It is only by assuming that Manilow was or is gay that our failure to mention his connection to the Baths becomes noteworthy.

Second, for what it's worth, I really don't think a serious treatment of an important moment in gay popular history makes us Entertainment Weekly. I for one find popular culture endlessly fascinating and worthy of study.
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Title Annotation:Correspondence
Publication:The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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