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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 05/ 2/2007

Barbra Streisand's Pricey Proposition

By Liz Kelly

Well, she's gotta pay for these sparkly togs somehow. (Reuters)

When I read that Barbra Streisand is charging European fans as much as $1,000 to see her in concert, my first thought was "You couldn't pay me $1,000 to go." My second thought, of course, was much more complex -- involving vague memories of a woman who used to dress for TV appearances in thrift-shop finds and exactly what kind of fan base Babs hopes to cultivate by alienating entire tax brackets (despite her egalitarian assertion that she "can't wait to experience these different audiences and different cultures").

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to admit that while I can appreciate a few minutes of "Hello, Dolly!" every decade or so, I just don't get Barbra Streisand worship. I seem to be immune to the kind of blind loyalty some (Rosie O'Donnell, for instance) profess for the prima donna.

For me, the turnoff started at a young age when I was expected to accept the frazzle-headed Streisand as Kris Kristofferson's love interest in another "Star is Born" remake, and then pretty much peaked when forced to endure her saccharin performance as an ugly-duckling-turned-swan in 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces."

Clearly, I'm not Babs's target audience.

A spokesperson justified the cost by saying that seeing Streisand in concert was akin to seeing Elvis or Sinatra live.

One blogger on the U.K.'s Guardian Arts blog put it in perspective thusly:

"That's a plane ticket to the far east. Half a month's rent for a one-bedroom flat in central London. A Starbucks latte every day for the best part of a year. Or two hours in the company of Barbra Streisand."

He goes on to say that he's scratching his Streisand itch by watching an earlier concert on DVD for approximately $20. Me, I'll scratch mine by watching this -- and it doesn't cost a thing:

Like buttah.

By Liz Kelly  | May 2, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
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"Like a big stick of buttah."

That clip never gets old. Cracks me up every single time.

Posted by: Melinda | May 2, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, even if the tickets were free I wouldn't go! She hasn't put out anything new, gosh I can't even think of the last original song she has done that I am aware of, everything she does is old old old! If IA ever had her, I think I would have to stop watching!

Posted by: MF | May 2, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'll watch "The Way We Were" and like it each time but $1000 is beyond my relm of understanding.

I've got to agree with the UK blogger. There was a concert on HBO at some point, it has got to be on DVD by now. For about $3.99 you can have Barbra for a 5 day rental. Is Blockbuster in Europe or Netflicks perhaps?

Posted by: petal | May 2, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"my first thought was "You couldn't pay me $1,000 to go.""

I'd go if someone paid me $1000. I've endured much worse for 2 hours (or longer) for less or no money.

Just gotta bring high quality earplugs, and a gameboy.

Posted by: BF | May 2, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Duetting with dead crooners has now become commonplace, but Streisand goes one better: she duets with a two-storey projection of herself in Yentl, the film that - she never fails to point out - she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. At her last concert, a 12-year-old girl, representing the pubescent Streisand, joined in as well, the audience worshipping before a holy trinity of Babs."

I can't wait until the South Park guys read that. Oh the things they can come up with.

Posted by: petal | May 2, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea mike meyers was getting a divorce!

Posted by: man, am I out of the loop! | May 2, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I've never quite understood the whole Cult of Babs thing either. She's got a very pretty voice & I do looooves me some Yentl but I don't quite get the elevated status.

But then I'm a card carrying member of Jon Bon Jovi's Church of Rock N Roll so I'm not expected to get it.

Posted by: Bored @ work | May 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I've paid big bucks to see Placido Domingo, but not $1000, and I have a feeling he gives you more for your money (like, sings with other people! In an opera!)
I had a room mate in college that was nuts over Barbra. I still don't know why. I have to say I love "Funny Girl", though.
Do you remember when she was married to Eliot Gould?

Posted by: POS | May 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

My mother was a huge fan since she saw Barbara on Broadway in Funny Girl. It was my mother's first Broadway show. She watched Barbara's TV special in the sixties, and she saw Barbara in concert in Central Park. I heard ALL Barbara's albums growing up. I not a huge fan as my mother was, but I love Barbara's voice. I have great memories of my mother sing "Don't Rain on My Parade, People" and "Evergreen"

P.S. Barbara reps Brooklyn NY, and that makes her alright with me.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 2, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Babs swore she would leave the country if GW won the election.

Maybe she needs to build that nest egg so she can stay over there.

Give her to France ... I don't care much for them either.

Posted by: SoMD | May 2, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I used to be a rabid fan--and I'm a straight woman. I'm so old that I had ALL of her albums on vinyl. Then she got all preachy on one of her late 80s/early 90s albums, telling her fans to recycle and do our bit to save the planet. A nice enough sentiment, but I felt as if I had already been making an effort to leave a small footprint and didn't need Babs lecturing me about it while she was living a life of greater excess than I ever would. Making your maid (in *one* of your houses) put things in the right recycling bin doesn't give you enough cred to beat everyone else up about being green.

I do miss her glorious voice, but I haven't paid money for anything she's been associated w/ ever since. I decided she was an egotistical jerk, and she's done nothing to disabuse me of that opinion.

Posted by: sen | May 2, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I would have paid $5,000 to see Elvis, but he put on a show (some people think it's gross how much he used to sweat, I just like that my entertainers are working that hard to entertain me). I would have paid $1,000 to see Sinatra, but would much rather have put that (or more) money towards _hanging out with_ Sinatra (and the Pack).

I would agree with BF, however. I'd easily bill $500/hour to go to a Babs concert - hell, that's more than most partners in this city bill!

Posted by: OD | May 2, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd pay $1,000 to see Brit's comeback, however.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Yentl the movie where she co-starred with Mandy (Voice of an Angel) Patinkin but didn't let him sing a note?

Posted by: arlington | May 2, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I just love Babs....I saw her on her US tour here in DC and she was just FABULOUS!! Paid mucho bucks for those tickets and would do it all over again! you think this obsession is somehow linked to the gay gene I inherited?????

Posted by: pjm | May 2, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if $900 ov=f every ticket went directly to charity I could see justifying a $1000 price tag. Otherwise it is just a plain rip-off. No one is worth that much.

Posted by: HappyDad | May 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Great, now i have "jingle bells" (done by Babs in her fast tempo) in my head. I hate you.

Posted by: Tilie72 | May 2, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I would pay $1.25 to see Brit comback and only if there's a buffet table too.

Posted by: NYC | May 2, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

NOT a fan at all. I said it yesterday and I'll say it again, her comparing herself to Sinatra and Elvis is disrespectful to them, she is no where near as talented as them. Tilie72 NOW I have that rendition of Jingle Bells in my head..YIKES..where's the Excedrin!

Posted by: Sharon | May 2, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"A spokesperson justified the cost by saying that seeing Streisand in concert was akin to seeing Elvis or Sinatra live."

The way I see it, Babs is making out like a bandit here. Most of a G-note to see The King and/or The Chairman Of The Board live would probably go toward the considerably higher overhead costs that come from having to have those performers brought back from the dead and all.

Posted by: byoolin | May 2, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

hey, with the dollar worth about half what it was in the Clinton years, the $1000 is really a bargain, isn't it?

Posted by: Michael | May 2, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks here too - that is the WORST rendition of a Xmas carol ever - whenever it comes on some cd my Mom has, we practically jump over each other to fastforward it!

Posted by: Betty | May 2, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Friday list suggestion: what band/artist would you pay $1000 to see live and in concert? As the Guardian Arts Blog points out, $1000 can do a lot of other things, and can entertain you for a lot longer than 2 hours of music. That's 1000 songs on iTunes, if you want music!

Posted by: akmitc | May 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"That's 1000 songs on iTunes, if you want music!"

Actually, at 99 cents a song, that 1,010 songs! LOL...

I'm not sure I'd spend $1000 to see anyone unless that included airfare, a hotel stay, meals, and a meet and greet before or after the show (with an autograph and photos)!

Posted by: WDC | May 2, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The reason she's charging this much dough is because she has to. Hubby James Brolin has a notorious reputation for high living and an astonishing burn rate for income. Even Babs is probably feeling the pinch.

Posted by: scott | May 2, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Barbra Streisand is the music industry's #1 best-selling female artist with 50 Gold, 30 Platinum and 13 Multi-Platinum albums to her credit. She is second in the all-time charts, ahead of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, exceeded only by Elvis. She continues to be the highest-selling female recording artist ever. Streisand remains the only artist to receive Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, and Peabody Awards, and the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

This is why Barbra can charge what she wants - like her voice, her poltics, her hair or nose - it makes no difference - she has made a lot of people very wealthy and continues to set records with each new project -

An artist of unparalleled accomplishments in multiple entertainment fields, Streisand has made her mark as an award winning actress of stage and screen, recording artist, concert performer, movie producer, film director, screenwriter and songwriter. Having earned two Oscars (Best Actress and Best Song), four Emmys, ten Golden Globes, eight Grammys, a special Tony Award (in 1970 as "Star of the Decade"), and two Cable Ace awards, she is the only performer to hold honours from all of those institutions. In addition, Streisand is a recipient of the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award, the National Endowment for the Arts National Medal of Arts, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The film that returned her to movie acting, "Meet The Fockers," became the first live-action comedy to exceed a half billion dollars at the box-office. It also set a record of 3,000,000 copies sold in its first 24 hours of video release.

Posted by: FOB | May 2, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

FOB, are you Barbara Streisand's PR person ?


Posted by: csavargo | May 2, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

That "Meet The Fockers" did a half-billion box office and sold 3,000,000 copies in its first 24 hours of video release says waaaaaay more about the rest of us than it does of Barbra.

Posted by: byoolin | May 2, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I saw Barbra in concert here in DC and paid $200. The price range for tickets was ~ $125 to $1000. So, there are cheaper seats that the $1000 tickets. She can charge that much because people will pay that much to see her. I'm a early 30s female and it's one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Her voice is like buttah (seriously) and she does not disappoint.

And I agree that her rendition of Jingle Bells is terrible.

Posted by: J | May 3, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Upsot?" Count me among those now trying to get that version of Jingle Bells out of my head.

As for "Meet the Fockers": One of the worst movies ever. Barbra, Robert, and Dustin should've had to given their Oscars to Blythe Danner to atone for their sins.

Posted by: TD | May 3, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I could be induced to go to a Streisand concert for $1000 but I wouldn't pay as much as $50 to see her. Her appeal-- and the rabid fanaticism she seems to inspire-- is absolutely lost on me. Yes, she sings well but there are a LOT of great singers in the world. There are certainly many better actresses. So why the fan zealotry? No idea in the world...

Posted by: DB | May 3, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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