July 22, 2011

"The Main Event" - Meeting Barbra STREISAND !!!

So what do you do when you finally get a chance to meet a celebrity you've admired your entire life? I am not a fanatic, but Barbra's career has been important & meaningful to me ever since I can recall! Lines from her movies & songs are a part of my daily vocabulary. "Don't tell me not to live just sit & putter..."

I have a connection to her through her work, since that has been the extent of it. I was never fortunate enough to see (or been able to afford) one of her rare live concerts. We both are from New York & have a similar rhythm that comes from being native New Yorkers. I learned to question things & see things differently because she made me aware of these options at a very young age, so I am forever grateful to her for that. "Papa, can you hear me? Try to understand me..."

Long story short, as you may have read in my previous post, I won a contest through Sony Records to coincide with the release of her latest recording "What Matters Most". It was called The Barbra Streisand Flyaway Sweepstakes & I was chosen to meet Barbra Streisand in Vegas on the set of her latest movie - "My Mother's Curse". There was ONE winner & it was ME!!! OMG! "It's gonna be a great day..."

Sooooooooo, what the hell do you say to an icon when you finally get to meet them? I had a list of things I would say, but I was just overwhelmed with emotion & was not able to do my "checklist". The first glimpse I caught of her is when she appeared on the set. I was about 20 feet away from her & I could not believe I was actually watching Barbra shooting a scene & I was gonna meet her in a few minutes. My armpits were wet, my mouth was dry, my lips were tense & I was doing my deep breathing to help calm me down for what seemed like an eternity. "There are moments you remember all your life. There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life. This is one of those moments..."

During a break in the filming, she looked my way & headed towards me, almost tripping over the velvet rope pointing & saying - "Ohhhhh, you must be the winner!" and she extended her hand towards me. Holy shit!!! She came towards ME & spoke to ME. (And yes her hands were incredibly soft "like butter"). I was almost at a loss for words, which is a first for those of you that know me. I introduced myself & she was "sweet as pie" to me. We talked about her upcoming album, I told her I enjoyed one of the cuts, she asked which one & I hummed a few lines. (I hummed to Barbra)! OMG!!! I wished her Mazel Tov on the success of her yet to be released CD. When I told her that she was my first wedding gift, she looked at me like - whaddya tawkin' 'bout, kid? I explained my partner of many years & I will finally be "allowed" to get married & we were returning to NYC to do it! She in turn wished me lots of luck & said that it was about time & how happy she was for us. She immediately asked her photographer to take our pictures (she was truly excited for us), but he suggested to shoot on the set, since the lighting was better. We walked over to the set together, which was in Caesar's Palace lobby in Las Vegas. I said "Wait a minute, I wanna get my good side". She looked at me & said "Which is your good side"? I said "you tell me, you're the director". She laughed. OMG! I made Barbra Streisand laugh AND congratulate me all within a few minutes. She was so warm, engaging & real. After the photo shoot, she told me to ..."stick around for as long as I want to...". Wow!!! She liked me, she really liked me! But I was thinking -  "Nicky Arnstein, Nicky Arnstein... I'll never see her again." NOT true, I was on & off the set for the rest of the night & was even asked if I wanted to be in a scene taking place at the slot machines (OMG, yesss)! Somewhere in between all that, I had gathered up the courage to ask if I could get some vintage magazines autographed & she not only personally signed them, she signed them in the specific color markers I requested!!! WTF? "Extra, extra I'm in love. I'm gonna thank my lucky stars above..."

At the end of the night, which slowly turned into early morning, I was exhausted. I was leaving the set when Barbra's publicist asked "are you leaving already"? I said it's really late & it was a full day for me, BUT if Barbra wants to have a glass of champagne when she wraps filming, I'll head back downstairs immediately!!! The anticipation, the preparation, the planning, the traveling, the uncertaintly, the meeting, the conversation, the photos, the laughter, all "the memories" made it truly a once in a lifetime experience & I knew that I was extremely lucky. I mean "How lucky can you get?" And as Barbra said in "Yentl"... "Nothing is impossible". She was right... once again!

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or thoughts about what you've read. If there is anything you'd like to add related to NYC vs Suburbia, please feel free to do so. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word. Until our next time...

July 11, 2011

"Hello Gorgeous" - Nose 2 Nose with Barbra Streisand?

I must have a pretty loud voice because the universe heard me! 

In my previous  blog entry I was complaining (like a good New Yorker does) about the lack of celebrities in Suburbia. Well, a few days ago I received confirmation of a contest I entered. I WON the opportunity to meet one of the greatest stars living today!!! OMG, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it... Barbra Streisand!!! WTF??? This has got to be some sort of kharma! Two New York kids meeting nose to nose in Vegas. (If I had a choice it would've been Brooklyn, but this makes it even more surreal).

Okay, okay. Breathe. What do you wear... what do you say when meeting Barbra? It's not that I never met or had celebrity run ins, but THIS is an actual meeting... she's expecting ME on the set! It's all a bit much to digest, but the reality of it all is starting to settle in. Now I really do feel like a "Suburbanite", a "New Yorker" wouldn't be nervous at all. It's something that happens a lot to New Yorkers... okay maybe not being invited to the set to chat, but walking by a set as they are filming. I guess I still have the New Yorker in me, because I did switch flights & seat assignments already. And of course I'll request photo approval, but other than that... OMG!!!

I feel better being able to share my experience as it's happening, so I can remember the emotions that have been snowballing. Starting with disbelief, increasing anxiety & escalating to being totally psyched!

BTW, Have I complained about never winning the lottery out here in Suburbia??? I said, have I complained about  NEVER winning the lottery out here in Suburbia? Helllooo, are you listening?

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or thoughts about NYC vs Suburbia. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.