I love when any famous someone is able to take valuable time out of their schedule to share with us what’s happening in their busy lives. Especially when they are a popular celebrity or a fierce somebody with fabulously interesting things to say willing and wanting to do an interview with me. Is that you? Let me know, then! Live vicariously, much? Ah, I love sharing what other people share with me – wait, did that sound right?!
As a pop culture blogger, I’ve always tried to bring the best of what I can bring on an international level and to a worldwide audience. I’ve had famous people trust me with their words and wisdom while knowing I mean no harm only good health and happiness in my delivery. Today fellow author William Mann joins me and shares his personal feelings about the iconic women he writes about, life with his husband and his upcoming projects. William’s latest book Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand is currently out in stores, on Kindles and in the hearts of any true Barbra Streisand fanatic. Maybe Santa will drop a copy under the tree for me next month. <—Did I just make a Christmas reference, already. ACK!
Steven Michael – Bill, thanks for taking the time today with me. Let’s jump into it because I know that you’re busy just getting back into Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy wrecked the East Coast and especially nailing New York City. What draws you to the three women you’ve devoted such effort and desire to get their story out there? Barbra, Elizabeth and Katharine.
William Mann - “I’m mostly interested in the business of fame, the merchandizing of celebrity, how they turned themselves into institutions and how they maintained their fame over the years. All three had a different approach to fame but all three cultivated legends that sustained and enshrined them.”
Of the three icons, is there one you relate to more and how?
“I think Elizabeth was probably the most down-to-earth, the most authentic, the one I’d most have enjoyed hanging out with.”
Quite a lady and such a fighter for causes that were near to our hearts. I worship Barbra. Your favorite music by her? And best film in your opinion?
“Although I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘fan,’ I love, love, love the early Barbra – which is why I focused on her early years. I think those early albums are so alive and real and vulnerable and human – though I have to admit I did enjoy her rock-pop era as well. As for movies, I’m a sucker for The Way We Were – but also love What’s Up Doc.”
How do you deal with “writer’s block” when it strikes? I self-published my first book a few years ago and had to step away from it all many times towards the end, especially editing. Do you burn out on writing or is it something that if you didn’t do you’d go crazy? That’s me. I have to express my words. Both vocally and for the eyes.
“I have never had writer’s block. I’ve had days where the brain shuts down and I can’t write anymore, but it’s usually gone the next day. I call it letting the circuits recalibrate. Sometimes they jam up and I just need to reboot by getting away from it and doing something completely different.”
Great way of looking at it! Do you make it here to Palm Springs very often and what draws you here? I’ve been here about 11 years now. We love it.
“We lived there for five winters. My husband’s work in New York really made leaving the East Coast for that long undoable, so we sold our place. But we do love Palm Springs. I still spend several weeks a winter there. It will always feel like one of my homes to me. The desert is such a magical place.”
I worship New York City! Haven’t been in a handful of years but feel like I know the Island like the back of my hand since I spent so much time there in the late-’90s. What are you working on now? You’re touring, right?
“Just finished one leg of the the tour, will start up again next week for a bit, then finish up in a Christmas sprint next month. Working on a new book, plus involved in adaptations of two of my previous works: Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines as a musical play and Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn as a film.”
WOW! That sounds amazing and very exciting. Have you had the honor of meeting any of your leading ladies in person? I’m sure you feel like you really know them well, regardless.
“Hepburn had died before I started writing, although I had corresponded with her in the past. Taylor was too ill when I started, and died soon after the book came out. And Streisand, of course, never meets biographers.”
So I understand that many in Barbra’s circle were quiet regarding the protected and protective star. Is that correct? Did you finally gain any of her close confidants’ confidence?
“Because my book was just the first five years, I got virtually everyone who was involved in her beginnings to talk to me. Her first manager, first publicist, first boyfriend, best friends, roommates, club patrons, Phyllis Diller! Most of them did not follow Barbra to the heights of fame so they could be quite candid.”
Ah, nice. Can’t wait to read the book. My boss just finished and loved it! You mentioned that you had a husband. Do you share quiet nights at home alone with him or do you like being out in the nightlife to mingle amongst the living? The readers need to know!
“I have a husband — together nearly two decades, married for seven years. But that doesn’t mean we don’t mingle!” (smiles)
And what is an evening with you like? We tend to be homebodies and rarely go out. Been there, done that. What’s your preference for a fun night out?
“Mostly the same – I’ve definitely been there, done all of that, so home watching Netflix or Hulu is the way it usually goes. But occasionally a few drinks out in Hell’s Kitchen (or Provincetown where we live in the summer) keeps me from complete retirement.”
During all of my gay travels I have never been to P’Town. Points are falling off my gay card as we speak. And the most important quandary of all… Boxers, Briefs or Bare? Again, for the fans.
“Briefs and boxer-briefs. CK, Armani, Diesel, Andrew Christian.”
And finally, what have you never been asked in an interview but always wanted to share?
“Well, this is probably apropos since you work at the gym – I think keeping in shape makes me a better writer. When I slack off at the gym, my writing suffers. Well, everything suffers. Creativity in all aspects of life is enhanced by being as fit as you can be in mind, body and spirit.”
Wanting more William Mann?! Check out his WEBSITE or order his newest book Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand today. Thanks Mr. Mann! Keep writing your words and see you next time you’re in Palm Springs.