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The Tentacle


October 18, 2006

Barbra! Shut Up and Sing

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Last June it was announced that Barbra Streisand would begin a fall North American tour on October 4. The tour, her first since 1994, is scheduled to have 20 shows.

Like many, I would love to go to one of her concerts and, as fate would have it, the fifth performance was scheduled last Friday at the Verizon Center in Washington. I chose not to go.

To be sure, Ms. Streisand is a beautiful woman of enormous talent. She is statistically, if not critically, one of the greatest female voices to ever grace a stage. She has enjoyed such a wonderful career that she has become the standard bearer of hyperbole.

Unfortunately, it is the hyperbole part that has flawed her recent tour to the point that many fans and critics alike are singing from the same sheet of music: "Barbra, just shut up and sing!"

If she wants to use her incredible talent to foist upon concertgoers her misguided, misdirected misrepresentations and Bush Derangement Syndrome, "don't ya know that you can count me out."

The news release on www.barbratour.com says that Ms. Streisand's longtime manager Martin Erlichman reports that "her motivation to return to the stage. is her commitment to contribute to charitable organizations." Read: liberal Democrats and other liberal causes.

As you are aware, in 1994 she championed then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton, raising huge amounts of money along with Mr. Clinton's name recognition and stature. She excelled at the art of the political-concert fundraising among the Hollywood elite.

>From all reports her current tour has not forgotten her liberal Hollywood foundation; that it is not her singing that is causing a buzz these days, but her gratuitous use of her concerts as an opportunity for liberal ideas indoctrination.

Born Barbara Joan Streisand on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, she has dominated the stage since she graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1959. (She sang in the school choir with Neil Diamond.) She assumed the name "Barbra" in 1960, while working "Off-Off-Broadway" and nightclubs, because it was unique.

Her first album, "The Barbra Streisand Album," in 1963 won two Grammy Awards. At a time when "The Beatles" were dominating the charts, her first three albums achieved the unusual feat of appearing simultaneously on "Billboard's Top Ten."

As her singing career soared, her cinematic and stage career also took off. Her first movie, "Funny Girl," in 1968, won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Her 1973 film, "The Way We Were" with Robert Redford, was particularly memorable. In it Ms. Streisand played the role of Katie, a 1930s socialist, a point which has not been missed by her ardent critics.

Of course, she was playing a role in a movie and it baffles the mind that folks would extrapolate a movie role to criticize her for her liberal politics.

However, there are many who yearn for the Barbra Streisand "the way she was;" when she concentrated on thrilling us with her enormous artistic talent.

In the beginning throes of her political activism, most of us were willing to overlook it as a nuisance. The persistence of this "nuisance" quality has grown to become a major distraction. Why can't we go to one of her concerts and just enjoy her wonderful voice?

It was at her recent New York Madison Square Garden show that she really made waves. Her performance, since the beginning of the tour, has included an overly-long skit in which she utilizes a celebrity impersonator of President George Bush, with whom she "muddle(s) through a skit that portray(s) the president as a bumbling idiot," according to a number of published accounts.

Let's be clear: heckling at that concert was wrong. She has a right to say what she wants to say and it is important that we respect her free speech rights. Besides, if someone wants to pay $750 a ticket to hear her spout her moonbat venom, it is their right also. And they have a right to do so without someone, anyone, spoiling their enjoyment.

And no - just in case someone gets the bright idea that perhaps her concerts should be protested, there are three responses: NO!, NO! And NO!!

I have never had a chance to hear Barbra Streisand in concert. When I was younger, it was something that I had always wanted to do. Now that I am older, I realize that I cannot and will not support an artist that uses her talent to divisively and rancorously further an ideological approach that does not bring our great nation together at a difficult time.

If she would only just shut and sing.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org



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