Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Renaissance of Barbra Streisand

Over the past 30 days, Barbra Streisand has been everywhere. 

It started last month with the 50th anniversary Blu-Ray release of The Way We Were, one of Barbra Streisand‘s most popular movies that garnered her an Oscar nomination. The anniversary issue is digitally remastered and includes a version that includes some deleted scenes that many say were pivotal to the movie and were cut for time.

Barbra’s music then took center stage earlier this month with the release of two albums. True they are mostly repackaged and enhanced from previous collections but they did the job at keeping Barbra fans happy. Her Evergreens collection features 22 songs from her repertoire that were hand-picked by Barbra including a remastered/remixed Evergreen. The collection also includes some lesser-known performances like Some Enchanted Evening and I Believe that might help people decide to buy the collection. Around the same time Yentl‘s music was rereleased in a 40 year anniversary collection which included an extra CD of workshop songs from the film, making this truly a must for her fans.

All of this exposure likely led to the release of her memoir My Name is Barbra, which just came out so we couldn’t get away from Barbra on TV, TikTok and IG Reels. She sat down with Howard Stern, Stephen Colbert and Robin Roberts, to name a few, to promote her book.
This exposure certainly helped her book debut near the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

Those queer and forty may know of Barbra as an auteur who made fewer albums and movies and was more selective in her choices. But those of us who are queer and sixty and seventy lived and experienced the pinnacle of her career.  All of this exposure has brought up some misty water colored memories for sure.

My “relationship” with Barbra started on March 9, 1975. I remember I was left with a big decision. Do I want to watch the Cher show which I did every week or try the special From Funny Girl to Funny Lady. In these days, there weren’t  VCRs, DVDs or streaming. You watched TV live. I opted for Barbra, in the hopes the Cher episode would repeat. By the way, I didn’t know I was gay then – but I think this should have given me a clue.

When I heard Barbra, I thought wow, she’s multi-talented and Cher can only sing (no big movie career yet for Cher). Her voice was better too and she had songs I just loved. So this is the day I started having Barbra my #1 diva.

In those days, the 1970s, Barbra made at least one movie and one album a year. It was always fun to go to see her movies opening day — I remember Christmas day in 1976 I went to A Star is Born twice! Then when a single would come on the radio, I’d pull over the car to listen.
Time went on and Barbra produced less. Still good and worth the wait, but it wasn’t as plentiful as in the 1970s. And, if you are queer and seventy, you were one of the luckiest people in the world, having had the opportunity to see her live and sing original material on Broadway or in concert.

And that brings us to now…being fans of a woman in the record books for having a #1 album in six decades. That’s huge. She is also the recipient of a Tony Award, 2 Oscars, 6 Emmys, 9 Grammys, 9 Golden Globes (including the first woman to win Best Director), 1 Directors Guild of America award and 3 Peabody Awards.

Barbra has said in all of these recent interviews that she was often misunderstood and had to fight a lot of battles simply because she’s a woman.  So apparently the book will go through her professional career and for the first time, open up about her personal life in this near 1000-page book. So if you weren’t around during her heyday, you can certainly read about it.

Learn more and get info on all at

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 157 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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