Number one strei-fan
There are very few things in this life that I am deeply committed to, and albeit obsessed with, more than the infamous and insatiable Barbra Streisand (pause for awkward laugh, eye roll, or confused expression).
It is a love that very few in this generation truly understand or appreciate, one for which I am teased about on a regular basis, and yet my devotion to her never waivers.
This strange one-sided relationship began many years ago when I saw the film The Way We Were starring Streisand and Robert Redford at their very best. From then on, I was hooked and my slight interest in this celebrity slowly but surely turned into an intense curiosity that should require me to wear a white jacket with attached sleeves while rolling around in a padded room.
The desire to be near her got so bad a few years ago, as I explained to a classroom of strangers a few weeks back, that I took things to a dangerous level. It was reading break and some friends and I had headed down to Malibu for the week. I was just finishing up Barbra’s book My Passion for Design, which chronicled the construction of her new home in Los Angeles, when I realized that, with the very minimal knowledge I had of the California coastline, I could figure out where she lived by the pictures in her book. What I planned to do with that knowledge scared even me. We headed to the pier at Paradise Cove for breakfast (a diner I had heard she frequented) and I promptly began a lonesome yet determined trek down the beach to find my Barbra.
Once I located the house, only one thing stood in my way: the mile high cliff on which it perched. So I began to climb, and it began to rain. Once I finally realized my dream of scaling the wall was over I quickly backed away and came to my senses. What did I think she was going to do if she found me? Bear hug me and sing the bridge to “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl? Okay, well maybe I had hoped for that. With my dreams dashed and my spirits somewhat dampened, we headed back to the car, which I had left unlocked with the keys in the ignition and running for two hours in the parking lot because I was so hysterical about the possibility of seeing her, and went home.
But the story doesn’t end there folks (lucky you). Just last month she began what was reportedly her last tour, and one of the stops was in Vancouver. So obviously I was beside myself with excitement, jumped on the web (do people still call it that?) and ordered that ticket to my destiny. Note: I said ticket, not tickets, which means exactly what you are thinking: I sat alone, and wouldn’t have had it any other way.
During the weeks leading up to the event I kept making quips to my mother about how she should prepare the guestroom in case Barbra needed a place to stay after the concert, or remarking on how excited she must be that I’m coming to see her. They were the kind of things you pretend to joke about but secretly dream will come true. On the night of the concert, as I waited impatiently in line for souvenirs at Rogers Arena, reality hit me. If I had considered myself her biggest fan ever, which I did regularly, the women around me were quick to prove that theory wrong. Though most of them could recall being teenagers during World War II and required orthopedics in every pair of their New Balance Velcro shoes, their love for Barbra was undeniable. One lady in front of me had an infamous photograph of Streisand tattooed on her back while another mother-daughter pair had spent $2000 to fly from Alberta just to see her perform.
I was way out of my league. But that didn’t stop me from crying multiple times throughout the evening, taking pictures which were strictly prohibited and for which I got scolded for by security, and singing along too loudly, much to the dismay of patrons around me. As I walked away in a haze, mostly because someone nearby was lighting up throughout the night, I realized that my dreams had indeed come true and it was a night I would surely never forget.