All posts tagged: Barbra Streisand

human-highway

10 Movies…Directed By Rock and Pop Stars (To Prepare You for Rob Zombie’s ‘The Lords of Salem’)

Lots of musicians decide they are famous and attractive enough to act, but it takes a special kind of hubris to take a break from making music to direct a movie. Sometimes it works out, as with the fruitful horror filmmaking career of Rob Zombie, whose The Lords of Salem comes out this week. Here are some others who gave it a shot. The Education of Charlie Banks The guy who got an Oscar nomination for The Social Network was once directed by Fred Durst, the guy who wrote the line “gimme somethin’ to break / how ‘bout your fuckin’ face.” But he does know what it’s like to be a violent thug, so there’s that. Yentl Streisand has one of the greatest voices ever, and she’s a good actress, too. And then there’s this literal vanity project, in which the 41-year-old Streisand directs her own performance as a teenager, who disguises herself as a boy to attend a yeshiva. Falling From Grace Ol’ John Cougar made himself up a movie-film real good like, with …

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You’re Dead to Us…Broadway Musicals As an Important Cultural Force

A series in which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads. The Great White Way. The Boards. Ol’ Stagey. Sondheim’s Grand Temple. Gershwin Alley. The Street Made of Songs and Dreams and Songs. These are among the many nicknames for Broadway with which, as an average American in the middle of the 20th century, you would be familiar. Except for the ones I just made up of course, but you probably wouldn’t even know that, because who cares about the day-to-day of Broadway except for those intolerable kids in high school who were obsessed with Rent? But a few decades ago, you, average American, would have known and loved “Some Enchanted Evening,” “You’re the Top,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and also known that they came from South Pacific, Anything Goes, and Carousel. The plays, but more so, the musicals of Broadway, up until the 1970s or so, were a major influence and …

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 86

Here are even more songs by artists whose names begin with the letter S, as we continue looking at singles that charted below #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1980s. Barbra Streisand “Promises” — 1981, #48 (download) “Memory” — 1982, #52 (download) “Left in the Dark” — 1984, #50 (download) “Make No Mistake He’s Mine” — 1984, #51 (download) “Emotion” — 1985, #79 (download) “Somewhere” — 1985, #43 (download) If you’ve been reading this series for a while you’d definitely think I’d be ripping into Babs about now. I really tried to, but everything I was writing seemed forced which made me realize that I don’t really have that many issues with her. I will never ever voluntarily pick up a Streisand record and I’m cursing myself for listening to all of these on my iPod as they are now most likely going to show up in shuffles more often, but it is what it is. I give her credit for trying to stay relevant with the times. She could record anything and …

CD Review: Vanessa Williams, “The Real Thing”

It’s been more than 25 years since Vanessa Williams was crowned the first black Miss America. But once nude pictures of the former photographer’s assistant were published without her consent in Penthouse magazine in the summer of ’84, she was forced to relinquish the title. After all this time, the question remains: whatever happened to Bob Guccione? Williams, of course, bounced back quickly from the scandal, scoring first as a singer with pop-R&B albums like The Right Stuff (1988) and The Comfort Zone (1991), and the hit ballads “Save the Best for Last” and “Colors of the Wind.” She then transitioned into acting, starring on the big screen in Eraser (1996) and Soul Food (1997) and earning a Tony nomination for Into the Woods. Since 2006 she’s played over-the-top villain Wilhelmina Slater on TV’s Ugly Betty, but if the Ritalin-deficient rhythms of that sitcom have you reaching for the remote, you may appreciate the subtler approach of her latest record, The Real Thing (Concord). It’s Williams’s first album of (mostly) original, non-holiday material since 1997’s …

How Bad Can It Be?: “Barbra Streisand: The Concerts”

In the pantheon of queer models of femininity, Barbra Streisand looms large — just below the holy trinity of Judy and Liza and Liz, perhaps. For many gay men of a certain age, La Barbra is something akin to a goddess. I’ve never understood the appeal, myself; but with the 3-DVD set Barbra Streisand: The Concerts sitting on my desk and awaiting review, it’s high time I figure it out. Because let’s face it — we are all products of gay culture now. If that sounds like paranoid heteroseparatist conspiracy theory — fear the day when our gay overlords (David Geffen and Tim Gunn, most likely) force us all into re-education camps, to be released only when we’ve each written a 3,000-word essay on the greatness of the Pet Shop Boys! — the reality is both more mundane and more complex. The fact is that many of us, both gay and straight, could write our Pet Shop Boys essays already; that’s because traditionally-gay perspectives have been thoroughly co-opted by, and absorbed into, the cultural mainstream. …

CHART ATTACK!: 1/29/77

Welcome back to another edition of CHART ATTACK!, everybody!  We’re going back a full 32 years this week, and it’s an interesting chart: if you like your rock or your sappy ballads, songs 10 through 5 are for you. But if you came here to shake your groove thang, you’re going to like the second half of this chart much better. Onward we go, to January 29, 1977! 10.  Walk This Way — Aerosmith Amazon 9. Love Theme From “A Star is Born” (Evergreen) — Barbra Streisand Amazon iTunes 8. Blinded by the Light — Manfred Mann’s Earth Band Amazon iTunes 7. Torn Between Two Lovers — Mary MacGregor Amazon 6. New Kid in Town — Eagles Amazon iTunes 5. Hot Line — The Sylvers Amazon 4. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing — Leo Sayer Amazon iTunes 3. Dazz — Brick Amazon iTunes 2. I Wish — Stevie Wonder Amazon iTunes 1. Car Wash — Rose Royce Amazon iTunes 10. Walk This Way — Aerosmith “Walk This Way” peaked here at #10 and became …

Into the Ear of Madness: Week 3

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. Are you ready for some Barbra Streisand and Gary Wright? Of course you are. I think Jeff is waiting for me to crack any moment now. You know, that’s why he wanted me to do this series in the first place. A year with nothing but David Foster? You won’t last three weeks! Guess what? I’m enjoying myself. I’m digging up information on all these old 1970s acts I never knew the first thing about, and at the same time I’m revisiting my youth listening to his mid-1980s stuff. Good or bad, those songs from the 1980s were such an important part of my life when I was about 15 — and I remember exactly why I thought they were great. That’s not to say I still think it’s all great music — …

Lost in the ’80s: When New Wave Happens to Old Artists — Barbra Streisand

It’s the age-old story in pop music — when the hits start drying up, it’s time to grab the current “hot” producer and jump on the latest trend, hoping to ride it to the top of the charts. You know what I’m talking about, Madonna. After all, it worked at the dawn of the ’80s, when Streisand rode the Bee Gees’ heat to score a few huge hits from her collaboration with Barry Gibb on the Guilty album. But Streisand hadn’t had a Top 40 hit in four years when 1985 rolled around, yet she wasn’t quite ready to become relegated to standards and schmaltz yet (that would come with her next release, The Broadway Album). Babs wanted a hit, so the call went out and producer Richard Perry answered it. Perry was white-hot at the time, coming off his production of the Pointer Sisters’ mega-platinum smash, Breakout, which just seemed to spawn hit after hit after hit (an astounding six singles were drawn from that album). Perry brought a song called “Emotion” (download) to …

Chartburn: 1/18/08

Mainstream Rock: Lou Gramm, “Midnight Blue” (1987) John: Move over, Foreigner! There’s something blander! Zack: Despite Lou Gramm’s dreadful, dreadful hairstyle, I really enjoy this song. I can’t help it. It’s such a simple song I could probably play it myself (and I don’t play any instruments), but I appreciate that, the same way one appreciates an old rotary telephone: not too many moving parts, won’t break down too easily, can take a good knock without falling apart, and works even when the power is out. Scott: When Lou Gramm left Foreigner (the first time), I thought it was because he wanted to rock again, not produce mediocre pop like this. I love this guy’s voice, though. And I think that the follow-up song, “Just Between You and Me,” was a better, more passionate mediocre pop single.