Newly out crooner Barry Manilow, 73, spoke to BUILD about his early days with Bette Midler at the Continental Baths in New York City – which, he stresses, were a lot briefer than people think.
Via Gay Star News:
‘Those were just for a couple of weekends. That was it,’ Manilow said when asked recently about the shows.
‘It was just a couple of weekends and people think we were there for years. It was two weekends.’
Two weekends? Hmmm. I don’t know if I’m buying it.
The Continental Baths, btw, were a ’70s institution in the LGBTQ community. The opened in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel on the Upper West Side in 1968, and could serve nearly 1,000 men, 24 hours a day…
In addition to the tiny rooms that could be found in any gay bathhouse, it also featured a disco dance floor, sauna rooms, a narrow ‘Olympia blue’ swimming pool, bunk beds in public areas, and of course, the cabaret lounge where Midler and others performed.
‘It was odd. You’ve got to admit, it was odd,’ Manilow said.
‘She’s performing in front of guys with towels on. (laughs). She would sing The Star Spangled Banner and they would all get up and the towels would drop and she could check out the merchandise.’