Tag Archives: Barbra Streisand

Tips For Adulthood: Five Things Barbra Streisand Taught Me

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

This Wednesday’s list comes from the interview I watched last Friday night with Barbra Streisand on the Jonathan Ross show. As I gushed on Monday, I think there are a lot of things about Barbra that make her truly admirable. But some of what I learned about her during this interview also resonated with my views on adulthood:

1. Be Gutsy. One mark of adulthood is the willingness to put yourself out there. Streisand is nothing if not gutsy. In addition to her many different professional endeavors, she’s been outspoken on her political views for years. Have a look at her website. In addition to the usual fan memorabilia and updates about her new album, there are links to articles about public policy and a list of “truth alerts” to correct public figures when she thinks they are lying. Gutsiness is also a feature of her personal life. In the Jonathan Ross interview, she told the story of how – the first time she met her husband – she reached out and touched his hair without thinking. That act sparked a relationship of 11 years (and counting…).

2. Be Vulnerable. At the same time, it’s important to admit your weaknesses. My favorite moment in the Ross interview was when she confessed that she’s terrified about performing in front of live audiences where she can see people’s eyes. Huh? 30 top ten albums and you get nervous in front of crowds? But she does. And that explains why she so rarely performs in small venues like nightclubs. I liked her more once she admitted this about herself.

3. Try Different Things Inside Your Career. What sets Streisand aside from many other stars of her generation is the sheer variety of things that she’s done in her life professionally (and succeeded at). Actress. Singer. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Producer. Director. She simply hasn’t allowed herself to get stale and that’s because she’s always taking on new challenges.

4. Try Different Things Outside Your Career. But equally impressive are the things she’s done outside her career. In addition to her foundation – which has contributed money to all sorts of political and environmental causes – she’s currently at work on a book…about architecture. Lots of celebrities write auto-biographies and it looks like she’ll do that, too. But in the meantime, she’s thinking mostly about design. Wow.

5. Don’t Write Off Plastic Surgery. Hey, I’m not usually one to advocate “getting work done.” But I must say, Barbra has clearly put herself under the knife and she looks pretty impressive for 67. It made me think twice, anyway…

*****

Guess he’s not Jewish after all. Or maybe he is. Read my follow on about Ahmadinejad’s alleged Jewish roots here

Image: Village Vanguard by Luizfilipe via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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The Way We Are: What Barbra Streisand Teaches Us About Adulthood

I woke up Friday morning in a very good mood. For I knew that at 9 pm that evening, Barbra Streisand was going to be interviewed and then perform live on the Jonathan Ross show here in London.

Let me to preface all of this by saying that I’m not a huge Streisand fan by any standard measure. I don’t own any of her albums, and I’ve only seen a handful of her movies. But I still find her tremendously inspiring.

And she’s inspiring in precisely the same way that author Frank McCourt – who passed away recently – was inspiring. In McCourt’s case – and as I wrote about when he died – he reminded us that 66 isn’t too old to pursue your childhood dreams. That’s the year he published his break-out hit, Angela’s Ashes. In Streisand’s case, she reminds us that 67 isn’t too old to keep on pursuing your childhood dreams. She just released her latest album, “Love Is The Answer,” and performed live at the Village Vanguard two weekends ago for the first time in 40 some years.

I know that some people aren’t wild about Barbra. They don’t like her politics. They don’t like her personality. Fair enough. But here are just a few things to remember about Streisand before you diss her:

1. She is the top female recording artist in American history. Wow. I had no idea.

2. She doesn’t read music and can’t really be bothered to do warm-ups or vocal exercises.

3. She’s the only person to receive an Oscar for both acting (Funny Girl) and song-writing (A Star is Born).

4. She’s got star power. Even Stevie Wonder was obliged to do the standard Jonathan Ross show where he appeared alongside two other guests. Barbra got a solo interview. Unheard of.

Me? I could watch The Way We Were every weekend of my life. The way it ends with that bittersweet reunion between Streisand and Redford’s characters on a busy New York street and all the longing, regret and acceptance built into that scene? In a word: adulthood. And I also loved The Prince of Tides – which Streisand directed. (Dysfunctional family, decline of American South, personal journey towards self-hood, plus Jewish New York Therapist all rolled into one? What’s not to love?)

If you’re still wondering how you feel about Streisand, listen to this You Tube clip of her performing Send in The Clowns. Devastating.

Oh yes. And stay tuned for Wednesday’s post for more life lessons from Barbra…

*****

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, do check out my post on PoliticsDaily.com about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s newest secret…he’s Jewish!

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Image: Barbra Streisand by Nadwork via Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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