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...

45 comments:

  1. OMG!!!!!!!!! Absolutely, positively the most fabulous experience ever for you two. RB IN NYC

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  2. Julie in PetalumaJuly 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Lucky, lucky, lucky...and I am so glad YOU won. I loved hearing the account in person. A memory to have forever. Glad she was SO NICE! She's mellowed over the years. Love Babs and love you guys! Julie and Jeff

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  3. What a dream meeting. Sounds like you were treated like royalty. So good to hear that she is so real and down to earth. You lucky dogs!From L.A.

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  4. OMG I am sooooo happy for you!!!! What a glorious moment for both you and Douglas - not to mention that whole getting married thing, by the way!!! Wanna share about THAT now???? I know it pales by comparison but - YOU GOT MARRIED!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

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  5. There are moments you remember all your life (and beyond)--this is one of those (OMG) moments! Congratulations!

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  6. How lucky can you get! It's wonderful for you to have had the ultimate fan experience. What were your impressions of the movie, if you don't mind telling us? She looks amazing in the photo!

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  7. Good for you, Vinnie- it sounds magical. And mazal tov to you and Douglass!

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  8. wow... i got ferklempt reading your blog.... lucky you.....

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  9. That is so great!!! Thank you so much for letting us in on your experience. I have entered every contest they have had, regarding Barbra. I am glad you, a true fan, won. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I win the next contest..She looked great in the pictures..also congratulations to you and your spouse!!

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  10. Very cool story ! I will share the link on my BestGayNewYork.com site!!

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  11. Even though I don't know you, I'm very happy for you AND you get to be married! Finally! It sounds as if she was incredibly kind and lived up to all of your expectations and more! She really is a kind and caring individual. It's too bad she's received such negative press most of her career considering all she has wanted is to better her life as well as the lives of all people. The Human Rights Campaign had it right when they honored her seven years ago. If more people cared about others the way Barbra Streisand does, this world would be a much nicer place. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with the Greatest Star. It's a blessing to have someone as talented and kind as Barbra touch your life.

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  12. You all look great in that photo! A chance of a lifetime to have met a truly great artist.

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  13. I was close to where Barbra was sitting at a fundraiser. I was affraid to go up to her -- thinking she may not appreciate it.

    I think though, she has changed a lot since marrying James Brolin. She sees more relaxed and at ease.

    I have no idea what I would do, if I had the chance to meet her.

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  14. Wow...I can't imagine what meeting Barbra would be like! I saw her in '94 in Detroit and I cried through the whole first song! I had dreamed about seeing her for 30 yrs and never really thought it would ever happen. But to actually meet her...wow! Thanks so much for sharing the experience with those of us not quite as lucky. Although I must admit, I feel very blessed just to have the joy of listening to her voice and watching her perform. Congrats on the wedding too, guys! I am a 60 yr old lesbian from KY and honestly, I never thought I would see that happen either!

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  15. Hello gorgeous!
    I am a big Barbra fan from Argentina! My name is Bel and I am 24. years old! I am really glad that one of us, being so many fans, had this opportunity and enjoyed it as it was well deserved!
    Congrats to you! I truly enjoyed your post, beautifully written and great pics!
    I am going to visit NY by the end of the year and it would be great to get some tips from you! :)

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  16. Your story with Barbra and your text made me cry! I think like you. You even used my words. I've been to her concert four times but nothing is better than got the chance you had. Congratulations! Fernando de Carvalho - São Luís - MA - Brasil.

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  17. Greetings from edinburgh scotland,im soooo delighted for you both ,my gosh a dream come true,wish it was me....xx

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  18. I'm glad it was someone like you, who like me, is a knowledgeable connoisseur of Streisand. Enjoyed the blog, tks for sharing!!!!

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  19. Stupendous! Good for you! Loved the report!

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  20. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with Barbra. I am so glad you had a great time. It was so great to hear how nice she was to you and your partner. I wish you a Mazel-Tov on your Wedding and I am glad if I did not win the contest that 2 great people won. I am trying now to win the new contest for the premiere of the film.
    Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing your story and pictures.
    Best Jeffry Freedman
    js341@aol.com

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  21. Absolutely fabulous man! Wow.. so lucky.. Wish they opened the contest in Asia... hahaXD Mazel Tov on your wedding. I'm happy you guys won it:P Best of luck in your future endeavours.

    Cheers
    Victor Lee

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  22. I got goosebumps reading your post. That was an amazing experience. I got to see her in concert in 2006. It cost me an entire payday but it was so worth it. Congrats on your big contest win. And best wishes and much happiness on your wedding. It's about time that equality is starting to spread. Mazel Tov!

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  23. Thanks for sharing your story, as it is so nice to hear when things go so right with meeting a celebrity and Barbra came through on this one!

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  24. woooww you are so lucky! i'm jealous!! Ojalá algún día yo también la pueda conocer!
    Kisses from Spain!

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  25. Simply Fabulous!!! Love all the song references too!! Great picture with Babs...couldn't have happened to better peeps!!! love you both!

    --Greggalaaaaa

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  26. What a lucky person and your Partner are....at least I've got to see her in Concert 2006 Ft Lauderdale and 2007 in Vienna-Austria. I'm from Germnany Singer & Entertainer myself and I whish to see her one of these day's....I Know....well one hase to believe in dreams come true?! Thank you for nice story and good luck and a happy wonderful life to you and your partner.Sincerely Montana Falvini

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  27. What a blessed event! You reminded me of the nervousness and elation I felt when I met her by chance crossing the campus of Union College in Schecnechtedty, NY, the fall of 1972. But you were chosen. my situation was happenstance. As it turns out I was one of the 2 first prize winners in a Sony contest, in which I wrote a review of THE MOVIE ALBUM! My prize was to be quoted in an ad for the album (CD) that did appear in THE NEW YORKER magazine.

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  28. ...awesome....do you have more pics???

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  29. To paraphrase another quote from a song: You got to grab the big brass ring; and you got everything... If I was able to meet Barbra, I'd probably drop dead just hearing the sound of her voice. I've been a fan since I was twelve, and nobody can take her place. Her music at various stages has defined my entire life and attitude. You are indeed a blessed individual to have met her.
    Continued happiness!

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  30. William in Nova Scotia CanadaJuly 27, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    What an incredible story!!! What a treasured memory for you both to have :) I finally got to see Barbra live in concert in Boston in Oct 2006 and it was sooo thrilling and such a dream come true for me! I have admired and respected her for over 35 years now... she is THE BEST, bar none! Congratulations to both of you on having the chance to meet her and on your Wedding also!!!

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  31. What a dream come true for you both!!
    Really, you saw BARBRA!!!!
    My dream came true when I saw her in Vienna at Schonbrunn June 22 in 2007 and Berlin June 30.
    I'm so happy for you both.
    People who saw Barbra are the luckiest people in the world!

    Happy Days

    Peter

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  32. Felicitaciones!!!! Te tengo envidia!!!!!
    Gracias por compartir tu linda experiencia y bendiciones por tu matrimonio!!!!
    Un abrazo desde Chile

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  33. I'm so happy for you! You're telling us about this wonderful event is so amazing and exciting and Barbra comes out so wonderful as all of her fans surely think she be.
    Congratulations for everything!

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  34. Seem to remember at Murray, you had a quick Barbra impression that always cracked me up (was it, Papa, can you hear me?") I am delighted to have found you, thrilled at the news of your upcoming marriage!

    Best, Robert

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  35. Cuánto te envidio!!!! Estar cerca de Barbra y lograr su atención es más de lo que uno puede soñar. Yo la adoro desde que tenía 8 años y me encantaría tener la posibilidad que tú has tenido. Felicitaciones desde Buenos Aires, Argentina por tu boda y tu encuentro con Barbra.

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  36. Fantastic commentary, really enjoyed reading it- what joy! So happy for you both :) Perhaps one day it'll be me there haha!

    Elizabeth

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  37. It was really fun to read about your time with Barbara. I really like how you used her songs to express your visit. And congrads on your big day coming up soon. Welcome to our family with open arms. xxoo

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  38. Just stumbled on this post from BarbraArchives.com. Just HAD to say congratulations on both your marriage AND on meeting Barbra -- what a wedding present ! For years, I've daydreamed about meeting her but in every single one, all I do is cry like a fool out of sheer gratitude. I don't give a rat's ass if I AM the cliche gay-guy-who-adores-Streisand, there's just something about her music and career that feels like it touches me directly and I'm so grateful to her for overcoming prejudice, sexism, naysaying, envy and even her own fears to bring so much joy to the world.

    As for your experiencing TWO of my lifelong dreams -- meeting Barbra and getting married (possibly in that order, depending on the guy) -- doing both makes you the ultimate "Sadie"! I don't "do" jealousy so all I feel is joy for you. Congratulations, I hope you and your husband will have a long, happy, wonderful marriage, and thanks for telling us what it was like meeting Barbra. Mazel Tov !

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  39. Wow, nice story and glad you guys all had a great time.

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  40. All I can say is WOW! What a story, you are lucky!

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  41. Thank you - it was a surreal experience & Barbra was really sweet!
    Please spread the word about my blog...

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  42. I could not be happier for you and more GREEN with envy! But mostly happy!

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  43. Thanks so much for your comment. I still can't believe it happened & it all still seems unbelievable. Being in the moment at the time, it just flew by like an out of body experience! It was a dream come true. PLease spread the word about my blog... thanks

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  44. So Liza and Barbra? It is really interesting to know what is going on "behind the scenes". So you you've done the album, the movie and now the book? Who's next? What's next?

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  45. it is great to meet a woman respectable and adored throughout the world . She is "the America we love" in my country too! What a lady! Guts, Brains, solidarity, activity, class, and even (not plastic) looks. "To loose someone like Katie, that woyld be a loss!" said a fellow in The Way we Were. To meet the Queen sure was great! All the best my friend(s)!

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