Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...

KILLER BEES MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS HONEY

...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?



bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

April 24, 2010

MEETING BARBRA STREISAND



I'll never forget the first time I met Barbra Streisand. Let me explain...


I was 6 years old the first time I heard that voice. I pulled down a stack of my Mother's lp's off the closet shelf, and selected the one that had the picture of a pretty lady with long blond hair on the cover. Once the needle grazed the vinyl,  I was instantly transfixed. I'd never heard anything like that before, and I wanted more. I played it over and over. Side One, Side Two. I was of course too young to understand the emotional depth of this very adult material, but I felt it. I felt her. It was the first time my soul ever connected to music, and it would be a connection that would span decades. Was it just another case of little gay boy getting his first case of Diva-itis? Perhaps, but it would not be the last time our paths would cross....

By the time I was 9 I'd collected all 39 of the albums she had recorded up to that time. Christmas, birthdays, Valentines Day or Easter- any excuse I could use to get my Mother to buy me a missing piece in the heralded discography. On the day of a new album release, I would run all the way from school to Cheap Thrills Records so I'd be there in time for the UPS delivery. They'd slice the box open for me, and I would get the first copy . Most 9 year old boys back then collected baseball cards and comic books. But every penny of Michael's allowance went into his Barbra collection. Fanzines, recordings, bootlegs and biographies.

Because I was a nine year old boy who collected Streisand, was overweight, and wore glasses, I was picked on mercilessly. Therefore the Streisand 'story' appealed to me too. The ugly duckling misfit kid who didn't look like, sound like, or act like anyone else beat all the odds, and won the world over with her spellbinding talents. 

As a kid I saw more parallels in our childhoods than actually existed, but her story of triumph gave me hope that I too would make it out of my own miserable youth. I would come home from school and loose myself in her music for hours on end. She inspired me to want to be a singer. Not because I wanted to be famous, but because I wanted to be able to make a noise that beautiful with my voice. And maybe, just maybe if I could, people would love me too.

It was at the intersection of adolescence and Yentl that I would meet Barbra again.
We both were about to turn a corner...

Yentl was the first Streisand film I was old enough to actually see first run ,on a movie screen. I had called the Santa Maria Theater  to find out when it was opening in town. They told me it wasn't! Can you imagine my panic? So the night it opened in Santa Barbara, my Mother and I made the hour long pilgrimage. Even more than being dazzled by every frame that projected onto the screen, I was touched profoundly by the fairytale like story. Yentl and I both possessed a secret that was so big, it's admittance would change our lives, and the lives of everyone around us forever. When this 41 year old woman fought her way through male dominated Hollywood to make her film about a girl who perpetrated an unbelievable lie in order to live a life that was forbidden to her, I realized I could never fight who I was...and this 13 year old boy busted the door off of his closet, right off of it's hinges. 

I would continue to bump into her through my teens,  20's, and 30's...


Barbra has always been a champion of important causes. With her intellect and talent, she has raised millions of dollars for and through her foundation, to fund those causes. After school programs, women's health issues, and the environment. You can argue her politics all you like, but you can't deny her financial contributions to improving the lives of others. She has spent a lifetime courageously marching to her own drum, whether YOU like it or not. Perhaps it is this facet of Barbra I admire most now. Not the singer or filmmaker, but the activist. The compassionate woman who believes in everybody's right to their human rights.

I remember when Rosie interviewed her back in the mid-90's. She thanked Barbra "for being a constant source of light in an otherwise dark childhood". When Rosie started to cry, I did too. I understood her emotion. You see, it's not just about being in awe of celebrity, or envy of talent. It is about recognizing a truth in someone, and having that truth inspire you when you need it most. Barbra could have just as well been a sister, a mentor, a teacher, or guidance counselor at school. For Rosie and I, she was all of the above. Without ever knowing it.

Does it sound as if I'm elevating her to some sort of Goddess level? I'm not really. I'm just saying thank you. For sharing HER truth, for inspiring me.

I look forward to running into her again. I understand that while many may know her not everyone gets to meet her , like I did. What a privilege.

3 comments:

al said...

Great article! I concur with all that you said in "meeting" Barbra. I experienced the same feelings and euphoria when I was first exposed to that voice when I was twelve. It only got more intense over time. Thanks for reminding me of how I, too, met Barbra.

Anonymous said...

Nice meeting you last night at Bab Fab!! Thanks so much for coming.

Matt (Barbra-Archives)

Manuela Mauger said...

It is so wonderful to read your story,because there are so parallel to what I feel about her.I simply try to explain it”there is a gift given to us,to take in,enjoy ,spread it,feel it you will be never able to describe it ,how she does grab your soul and every part of your mind and body she is simply heavenly

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!