Sometimes I am not the very model of a modern homosexual. I was insane for Barbra back when she was “Simply Barbra”, with the Egyptian eyeliner, the kooky thrift shop clothing, & the Modigliani posturing. Her television specials (1965-1973) were unlike anything I had seen before & I was mesmerized. The first was My Name Is Barbra (1965) made in black & white,& then came Color Me Barbra (1966) which has a sequence shot at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with Streisand wandering among the masterworks & antiquities, singing Where Or When dressed as Nefertiti. Next she's among a circus of animals, singing Try To Remember to the elephant & poking fun at herself by looking eye to eye at an anteater & singing- "We have so much in common, it's a phenomenon." The final act is just her singing at a microphone, with Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home & It Had to Be You. It made quite the impact on little 12 year old Stephen. I decided that a person with a big nose & unusual looks could be sexy & talented & adored instead of being made fun of & feeling like an outcast. I had talent damnit!
I obsessively listened to her albums up through Stony End & then I started to loose interest. She took me down that Stony End, I never wanted go down that Stony End, but she took me down that Stony End. She was a Jewish girl from Brooklyn who “was raised on the good book Jesus & my mother worked the mines”. Huh? She seemed to be a woman with a once in a century vocal instrument & very questionable taste in material. Who could blame her for trying to be contemporary? Barbra started a career singing songs that were decades old then & going out of fashion, as songs from the theatre & standards being "the" pop music were being replaced with Rock & Folk. It was Dylan & The Beatles. But, I would come back to her. I loved the album from 1974 simply named Barbra Streisand. It has a beautiful cover of Paul Simon’s Something So Right, that still gets to me, but it was followed by the horrible Butterfly with a really stinky cover of David Bowie’s Life On Mars (was there ever a worst match of material & singer?)... & so it went through the decades. I would fall in love with her all over again with The Broadway Album (1985) & then she would come up with icky drek like A Love Like Ours (1999) with not a single redeeming cut.
Today I downloaded her new Diana Krall produced- Love Is The Answer, just released today. I have yet to listen, but I have high hopes. Each song is done with a version done with Diana’s jazz quartet & a version with full orchestra, with arrangements by super-duper Johnny Mandel. The album contains some of my favorite songs…ever. The one song I have listened to- In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning is like champagne & velvet. I appreciate that, at 67, her voice has gotten richer on the bottom notes & is huskier & a bit rough around the edges.
Last Saturday, she did a small club gig (her last time was in 1961!) at the Village Vanguard for a small group of about 80, mostly fans that won the tickets in a contest from her website, plus pals like Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker & the Clintons. I think that would have been amazing thing to have experienced. I have even more conflicted feelings about her film work…but not on this post, except to say that What’s Up Doc? is one of the best film comedies of all time & one of my favorites. When Barbra sings You’re the Top to Ryan O’Neal? Like Buttah.
Barbra singing Memories = please, NO!
Barbra singing C'est Si Bon from Color Me Barbra = perfection.
I am a mid-20th century gay man still trying to get a handle on how to live life with meaning. I live in Portland Oregon with my husband/partner of 32+ years & the terriers: Lulu & Junior.
As an actor I have been in over 150 full stage productions, 12 films/TV, over 50 commercials & voice overs.
Our home & garden in Seattle (1981-2001) were published several times & were featured in a "coffee table" book- Flea Market Decorating by Meredith Press. That garden was on the Seattle Art Museum's Tour Of Artists' Gardens in 1999.
We moved to Portland in a fit of middle age anxiety in 2001.
We spend our time & money working on our house & garden in a working class bungalow, in a working class neighborhood.
The old-ball-& chain & I are thought to be a little nutty. ME:
cocktail drinker, tree hugger & seeker.
Kinsey 6, Myers-Briggs ENFJ, Capricorn/Snake