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...


...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

October 29, 2012

Three Times A Lady

The air was ripe with excitement and anticipation.
20,000 well-dressed people were seated in Chicago's cavernous United Center waiting for the legendary Barbra Streisand  to take the stage for what we'd heard would be a spectacular 3 hour show. Everyone knew it would be a polished production punctuated by a lush orchestra. But at 70 years old, could she still 'deliver the goods'?

If you aren't new here then you've seen Barbra mentioned from time {wink} to time. Perhaps you've even read my special Barbra story...

When we were teenagers, my best friend Stacey and I swore if Barbra ever went on tour, we'd quit our jobs and follow her like Deadheads follow The Grateful Dead. Of course back in the mid 80's there was no hope in sight that Barbra would ever overcome her legendary stage fright and give up those goods. She hadn't toured since 1966! When she finally did conquer her fears and hit the road in 1994, I was a struggling young waiter and the closest stop on her tour was Detroit. Forget the increasingly (and exceedingly) high price of concert tickets; I'd have to take a weekend off from work and pay for airfare! I could either fulfill a lifetime dream or pay my rent. I paid my rent and waited for the HBO special.

When she decided to give it another go 6 years later, there was no question I would be there. A plan of action was quickly put together and implemented. I flew into Los Angeles and met Stacey there for one of the most exciting evenings of my entire life. I'll never, ever forget sharing that experience with him. Or going to Canter's deli on the way for patrami on rye and the best rugelach in L.A. for desert! I clearly remember leaving the venue that night amongst a silent crowd of thousands- everyone still too mesmerized to speak. Once we hit the street, Stacey lit up a joint. Two older ladies passed by us and one said to the other "At a Barbra Streisand concert?" Her friend quipped "Sure, why not."

In 2006 while I was living in Chicago, she did it again.
There were allot of folks griping because they had paid steep prices for tickets 6 years before under the guise that she would never tour again. But this new tour was devised as a way for her to raise money for her charitable organization and in doing so, she raised millions and millions for excellent causes. I was more than happy to do my share! This time I was able to host a pre-concert soiree at my place, complete with tasty noshes and Barbra's favorite libation- Bellinis. Jeffery arranged for a limo for the whole gang to be transported to and fro worry free. It was all-so chic. Stacey and I were interviewed by Rosie O' Donnell's cameras for a documentary that never saw the light of day, and I wore fur pants. Yes I did.

Flash forward to this past Summer. 
With her 70th birthday just behind her and her 50th anniversary with Columbia Records just around the corner, Barbra announces a special 2 night stint at Brooklyn's brand spanking new Barclay's Center. It would seem that the borough's most famous export was coming home for a first time ever concert event! Then several weeks later, the Brooklyn shows unexpectedly expanded into a mini tour. The morning of the announcement my reaction was calm and resolved. After a lean year it didn't even occur to me that I would go. I couldn't justify the expense. When tickets for Chicago went on sale Jeffrey called and said "Are you crazy? That's what credit cards are for! It'll be your Christmas and next year's birthday present. We're GOING!" And the next thing I knew I had a ticket.

In the press and gossips (and even online fan forums) there was much speculation about Streisand taking on such a venture at her age. Could she still cut the mustard? Would her voice hold up?

Welll, I was there in Chicago this past Friday evening and I'm here to tell you that she not only delivered the goods once again, she exceeded expectations. Her tone sublime, her legendary phrasing of the lyrics as impeccable and poignant as ever...and in some instances like never before. She hit and held all the necessary notes- caressing or belting. The buzz at intermission was all about how her voice seemed to be in even better shape than it had been in 2006. Clearer and stronger. How was it possible? I could go on, but you really ought to read Miriam di Nunzio's spot on review from the Chicago Sun Times here.

When the concert came to it's rapturous conclusion and we all met up at Gate 3, the look on everyone's faces was that of pure bliss. Barbra Bliss. It wasn't so much the awe of being in the presence of a living legend, or even the sheer delight of having had an exceptional musical experience. It was quite simply, Barbra herself. She imbued the evening with so much warmth that you had no choice but to part ways with a glow. She's never been a mere songbird. She's an activist, a humanitarian, a mother. To see her in concert is to be wrapped in the cloak of all those things. Did I mention she looked like a million bucks in Donna Karan? She did.

I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that she'll ever tour again.
She has a couple of almost certain film projects coming up, and by the time she were to get around to putting another show together, she could easily be in her mid seventies. After seeing her this past weekend, I can't help but think about how fortunate I was to be there for this last, magnificent hurrah. Thanks Jeffrey.

The kid who never dreamed he'd be able to see his idol even once, has been three times lucky. She's truly ageless...and yes, evergreen.

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