Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween Montage

~Montage by Yollie950~

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can You Feel The Love?

Fan recaps of the Gala Weekend are trickling in on the message boards. Here's a bit of the sampling of the reactions:

I just know that this gala was the single most amazing Clay experience I ever had (other than my M&G). I have been to Spam opening and closing. I have seen over 40 concerts. I saw QVC and R&big mouth. This just blew me away. Not because it was so important to Clay but because I needed to see Clay as Clay for me. And, I will tell you that I never, ever loved him more. Gay, shmay. He is one hot man. And loving, caring, passionate, and funny. He has it all and aren't we lucky that we found him? Don't I feel sad for those who haven't?
The Gala was wonderful, he was adorable, funny, snarky, handsome. I don't have enough adjectives to describe him!! My face still hurts from smiling. The auction was fun to watch & he was so excited to see how much the items sold for! His voice was just awesome!
This was one of the best Clay events I have ever attended. Or maybe they just keep getting better.
As has been noted, nothing has changed about how Clay acts with the fans. Nothing. He’s the same gorgeous, silly, wonderful, snarky, smart ass we’ve known and loved for nearly 6 years now
The moments in "On My Way Here" were very emotional (did I mention that there was crying?) and of course by the time he had finished "Right Here Waiting" (the song whose status changed drastically for a lot of us last night, I think!) we were both exuberant and drained and oh so incredibly grateful. I remember thinking over and over how fortunate I was to be there and literally said to myself after every song that that one alone had been worth the ticket price.
This was my first Gala and my first chance to see him in his "salesman moving the merchandise" mode for the chirren. He and the auctioneer, as you've seen, made a great team and sidesplittingly funny. Shamelessly working the room, milking it relentlessly for every dollar. Clay really looked to be having the time of his life. Modeling the leather jacket, making the bear dance, offering up his "stool" with the appropriate mock grimace. Flirting. Exhorting. Cajoling. And it was so much fun and so exciting to watch the bidding war over the top items.
About midway through "Right Here Waiting for You", I thought I was the only one with tears streaming down my face and sniffling, but then I realized I was hearing sniffling and sobbing all around me. In case you're wondering, the little ripple of laughter at the very end of "Right Here Waiting" was slightly embarrassed laughter at ourselves as the sobbing was just as audible as Clay's tender voice as he sang the last phrase of "Right Here Waiting" without the mike. (And the beauty, purity and texture of his unamplied voice...truly every bit as beautiful and transcendent as the finest instrument ever made).
For me, it felt like we had gone back to our roots. Clay even looked so much like he did back in 2003/2004 when he first mezmerized us and cast us underneath his spell. I saw so many of those early gestures and nuances and passion. It reminded me of why I first fell in love with him. (Yep, I said, "in love" with it!). It was so eerie but so right. Whatever the degree of wondering each of us may have gone through about "is Clay still Clay", I say the answer is a blessedly, resounding YES! Even for those who didn't have that doubt or concern, what a treasure it was to be reminded and be able to relive that magic again. Last night was like the perfect mixture of Clay of the past AND present...old look, new songs. Totally cool, freaky and somehow right.
There has never been anything like the love between Clay and his fans and you could feel that love flowing back and forth...and around... between us, too, the friends he has given us..
Clay is a professional entertainer, but one that actually has a giving and loving heart, and one that loves each and every fan. Everything that has led him to this moment in his life began with "us". His emotional rendition of "Right Here Waiting" only touches on what he was trying to say and I can only say that I believe Clay knows and deeply appreciates all the love and support we have given since the beginning....for without that solid beginning, there may not have been that fateful meeting with Jaymes, which has led Clay to the happiest and most fullfilling time in his life.
Now, I'm not an easy crier, it really takes something for me to tear up. But-- omg that was one emotional night! I was so embarrassed when I started crying during Right Here Waiting-- but, as I was desperately searching for a tissue in my teeny worthless but pretty purse, *g*, I began to hear it-- a sniffle here, a stifled sob there-- and knew I wasn't alone. I was so proud of him, and so thrilled for him! I know he felt the love, it was a palpable entity-- and I'm so glad I was there to share it with him and everyone else there
The reality of the moment is really more then I can probably convey with mere words. The love that was flowing in that room, from him to us and back, was beyond anything I have felt in a Clay setting. There are times I wonder if I imagined it, but then I see others commenting on the same thing, so I guess I wasnt the only one. I will always remember this weekend, it will be very hard for him to top, but Im willing to let him try and I sure as heck plan on being there when he does.
I can say with all honesty that being in that room Saturday night was, without doubt, one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had as a Clay fan. There was such electricity, love, and true emotion in the ballroom of the Marriott. Clay was the same Clay he has always been. He offered his love and caring and we gave it back to him. It was truly amazing.
I know he stripped himself naked with the People article and the blog and the thread at the OFC. But saturday night, in that few minutes, he bared himself, he bared his soul. That was one of the greatest acts of courage i have ever been a witness too
All I know is this man is firmly entrenched in my heart and in some strange way we are all also there in his. I don't know him--he certainly does not know my name or my face-- but I do believe I and the many, many like me, are nestled in that huge heart of his along with the handful that he does know. We are all just so lucky to have had him come into our lives .
It was amazing to hear and watch him take his voice and use it to connect to everyone sitting in that room. The voice says it all- there is no filter, no chance to misinterpret. The honesty comes from his soul.

You get the idea. *g* It was a magical night for most fans. Yes, some are still struggling with recent events, but Clay is who he is, a pretty amazing man, one well-worth admiring, and yes even loving.

And now for your viewing pleasure a Gala Montage by LovesClaysVoice:

Song: Miracle Of The Moment
Sung by: Stephen Curtis Chapman

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Gala Auction: Treasures for the Clay Aiken Fan

Fans had fun bidding on the many desirable Clay Aiken related items that were up for auction at the 2008 Champions for Change Gala that was held in Raleigh on Oct 18th. The items included the Spamalot Broadway Cares Bear (pictured left) that was signed by both Clay and the original Sir Robin, David Hyde Pierce. The item that created the most frenzy was a the leather jacket worn by Clay during the Juke Box Tour in the summer of 2005. It went for the hefty price of $55,000.Clay said the Gala made $207,000 , not including the silent auction or the raffle. Congratulations to The Bubel Aiken Foundation on a job well done.

Here are some the items auctioned off:

Voice Mail Message $3700
Kimmel Bust $2700
Juke Box Tour Leather Jacket $55,000
Concert Stool $5300
Wango Tango Shirt $21,000
Someone Else's Star Shirt $28,000
Spamalot Bear $31,000
Celine Dion Concert Package which includes watching the concert with Clay $26,000
New York Gift Package including dinner and dessert with Clay (and friend) $36,000

~YouTube: Auction of the JBT Jacket~


Not to lose the message of the foundation amidst all fun, here is Clay's opening speech about the foundation and the importance of inclusion:

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2008 Champions of Change Gala: Performances

Clay performed at the The Bubel Aiken Foundation's 2008 Champions of Change Gala in Raleigh last night. Here are three of the performances:

~Everything You Don't Need~

~~Right Here Waiting~~

~Where I Draw The Line~

More on the Gala and hopefully the other two performances later.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spotlight Video: August's Rhapsody

Once in awhile there is a montage that is just so special it needs to be shared. Here is a stunningly beautiful montage montage of Clay Aiken: performer, humanitarian, dad.

Montage by the extremely talented Aspiegirl

Music from the film, August Rush: "August's Rhapsody"

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Spamalot Stage Door Fashion

It's always fun to see what Clay will wear when he greets the fans at the stage door after a show. Clay tends to comfort and quirky choices for his everyday wear. One could say that the fashion and style gene was left out of his gay coding. *g* Who knows, because one person's style is another person's horror show. I love hoodies myself, but grandpa vests (even ridiculously expensive and trendy ones) not so much.

Judge for yourselves from a selection of photos taken over the last several weeks at the stage door:

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Clearing the Air

"In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was." ~Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice

Coming out usually means telling family, friends, and colleagues. Unfortunately when someone is in the public eye, there is the added burden of having the media feeling it has the right to know a person's orientation. Over a week ago, Clay Aiken finally gave into the pressure of the constant scrutiny into his personal business. He did it for his son, and I hope also for himself. He didn't want to bring his son up learning to lie.

Clay is smart enough to know that fans reaction would run the gamit from those who already felt they knew to those who were totally blind-sided. He wisely gave some time to the fans to work through their feelings with little or no moderation on his fan club message board. He has not directly addressed the fans since his coming out until today. He graciously permitted his blog to be public so that all his fans can read it.

The blog:

Killing the elephants in the room.

What a week or so this has been. In fact, it's just been two weeks since I started back to the Spam. Jerome and I were just talking the other day, though, about how the past two weeks have felt like a month. So much routine to get back into and yet so much routine and consistency to break. No doubt, many of you have been going through quite a bit over the past week or so yourselves. What a bunch of headline news we have had in the past 10 days! Wall Street falling to it's knees. Congress propping it back up. Two debates. Hijackers in Somalia. New leaders in South Africa and Japan. You'd think with all of the important events going on in the world, there would be plenty to fill up the pages of America's newspapers, websites and blogs without the need for information on the private lives of the country's singers and entertainers. But, alas, thats never the case. In fact for the last five years, I've found what seems to have been an inordinate amount of interest (not from the public, but from the media) in my own personal life. The questions never seemed to stop. Oh sure, they die down for a period, but they resurface. The wind blows another direction, and I do yet another interview worried that my personal life will become a topic of discussion. No doubt the birth of Parker would bring the same scrutiny, just heightened. It's an interesting time we live in. Gone are the days when entertainers could go about their lives without the invasion of privacy that we now see everyday in the form of paparazzi and internet tabloid bloggers. So, in the hopes of being able to sing and act (and dance poorly) and do what I love to do for a living while raising my son in a hopefully more private and accepting environment, I chose to go ahead and confront things head on. Yes, I would have preferred to separate my personal life from my professional life. I would have been just as happy to go on without discussing my orientation. But, it seems like that was not an option. Make no mistake, its not because I am ashamed. No, not for a minute. I haven't always been as comfortable as I am now, but I am without a doubt, proud of who I am and make no apologies for it. Instead, I would have been happy to have kept my personal life private for that very reason. Because it's personal life and I have always considered myself a private person. But, living as myself without discussing my sexuality publicly would have been as impossible. One chance to expose the truth would have been a payday for any greedy opportunist.

I went to American Idol, much like many of us did "back in the day". Naive. Unlike the contestants who join up today, we had no idea of the power and pull of Idol when we signed on. (I'm sure many of us season two folks like to think we are the reason the show got so big!!! ;-) ) There I was two months off of the biggest show in the country, sitting at a table with a reporter from Rolling Stone who was asking me every single question I would never think of. Twenty-four years old in the rest of America is a LOT younger and more naive than twenty four years old in the media business. So when this guy started asking me about things that I didn't really know how to answer for myself... things that I was not yet ready to admit to folks like my mother and my family.... things that I found intimidating and invasive, I responded in what I assumed was a benign way at the time. I attempted to "out spin" a professional. I wasn't as good as I thought I was. But, I have no regrets. The truth is, I don't apologize for the responses I gave to that reporter or any reporter over the past five years. I did make every attempt I could after that one interview to never say "I am not gay" or "I am straight". And I never said either. (some interpreted my vague answers to mean that... but I never said either) Some will say thats misleading. In truth, it might be defined that way. But, a better definition and a more accurate way to describe it for me, is a redirection and an attempt to change the topic to something that matters more. For some of you it won't be enough, but I can't apologize for keeping my personal business to myself. If someone feels that they were mislead, I can totally understand that viewpoint and apologize for that feeling, but I can't apologize for how I handled questions that affected me and my right to privacy.

In my opinion, sexual orientation is ALWAYS a private thing. I think the OVERWHELMING majority of people agree with that. Why in the world should someone's sexual orientation be a news item? Why should anyone care? Yet, for all we espouse as a society about tolerance and open mindedness we forget to allow folks the opportunity to be who they are without judgement. Making a decision to come out to family is a difficult and heavy decision. But, for every young man or woman who is struggling with it, it should be a decision that is made on his or her own schedule ONLY. It's never acceptable for anyone to make such a decision for anyone else nor to coerce someone to take such a significant step before they are ready. Not a friend, not a stranger, not the media. So, I waited until the time was right for me. For that I can't apologize either.

There are plenty of you who have anticipated this blog in hopes that I would "set the record straight" or "admit to lying for five years and apologize for it". For that small group of people, I am afraid I will have to disappoint you. My decisions over the past five years have been made with lots of deliberation and at times even heartache. Always with concern for folks who might feel mislead. Don't doubt that. But they have also been made as an attempt, not to hide my true self, but instead to allow myself the same liberties and rights that every single gay man and woman in the world should have... the right to determine for myself when I was ready to discuss my personal life. In as much as that, at times, was interpreted as misrepresentation, I feel badly. But I reserved that right for myself and I can't say I regret it.

I have endeavored over the past several days to allow folks to vent and express themselves as freely as possible without restriction on these message boards. There is no way to change a person's mind when you tell them they are wrong. We all, when backed into a corner, have a human instinct to swing. Having different feelings and opinions and viewpoints are only natural. The only way to deal with that is to accept everyone's right to disagree, and allow them to discuss their feelings. I always have, and I always will. That said, it hasn't been, nor do I imagine it will be, my intent to make the message boards or the OFC a clearinghouse or discussion zone for sexuality or such topics. I hope we can always continue to discuss the same things we have always found important. The need for inclusion for children with disabilities. The desire to make sure every child in the world has access to their basic needs for survival. And any other topics that will make our neighborhoods, our regions, our country and our world a better more acceptable place (where that relates to issues involving sexuality, I hope we are able to advocate, at those times for the acceptance of others)... and I hope we will all still use the message boards for the lively discussion of the need for better entertainment and music in the world!!!! ;-) That said, as of this posting, I have asked the moderators to archive the thread regarding the People magazine article and close it from discussion. For those of you who are still struggling, I encourage you to continue to talk to your friends and neighbors and fellow OFC members in the thread devoted to such support. It is not going to be as easy as accepting something over night, but I believe that we are on the right track. The moderators will resume their regular duties of moderating the boards in the fashion that they did prior to last week, and I (and hopefully all of us) will resume our routines in the same fashion as well. Talking about music, talking about potential tours and other performances and appearances, talking about me forgetting my lines of tripping on stage in Spamalot, and discussing with our friends how many times we have seen the show and will see it! (And... looking forward to the announcement of out Playbill contest winner!!!)

Finally, I will say that, also representative of most every other gay man and woman in the world, that I am not defined by my sexuality. No more so than each of you are defined by your sexual orientation. No more than a man or woman is defined by race or ethnicity. It is, simply, a small facet of the same person I have always been. Most of you realize that nothing has changed. I hope to continue being able to entertain you in the same way I have for the past five years. And I hope you will allow me to continue to inform you of the causes that I find important and entertain you with the music and performances I love. For I love and cherish you all. Yesterday, now and forever.


~Thank you Clay. As always, I admire the man that you are, and am proud to be your fan.

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