Billboard cleverly asked dozens of pop luminaries to write love letters to the LGBTQ community for Pride Month, and the results are engrossing, to say the least.
Britney Spears responded with a handwritten note — millennials, she knows cursive — in which she states:
This is my letter of love to all my LGBTQ fans. Continuously throughout my career, you've always been so vocal about what a positive impact I've had on you — that I've instilled joy, hope and love in you at times when there was none. That my music is an inspiration. That my story gives you hope. But I have a secret to share w/you. You see, it's actually you that lifts me up. The unwavering loyalty. The lack of judgment. The unapologetic truth. Acceptance! Your stories are what inspire me, bring me joy, & make me and my sons strive to [be] better people. I love you. Britney
Check Billboard for letters from lots of other gay-household and just plain household names.
Since I was 13, Marlon Brando was my favorite. I saw him in Guys and Dolls—and that was it. Interestingly, there was a period of 27 years when I didn't sing in public, because of stage fright, and when I finally did, I created a scenario in which I sang “I'll Know” with Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls. I put myself in his movie! I invited Brando to my house to see the piece, and he made me take him through my entire show. We then watched a movie together. It was wonderful: He was my idol, my biggest crush.
Of that crazy, sheer pantsuit she wore to accept her first Oscar, she notes:
That night, in my dressing room, I was choosing between two different outfits. One was lovely, but very conservative. And then there was the pantsuit with plastic sequins. I had no idea that when the lights hit that outfit, it would become transparent! I wanted a white collar and cuffs, which it had, and I wore my hair under my chin, because I thought to myself, I'm going to win two Oscars in my lifetime, and I'll be more conservative next time.
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I'm not a major Barbra Streisand fan, but when I saw her do a six-song set—with a cold—at the opening of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, I vowed to see a full live show someday. There was definitely a little magic in that moment, but there was much, much more than just a little last night at Barclays in Brooklyn.
Loved her Oscars-esque pantsuit... (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
In spite of the hag behind me who felt the need to loudly sing along the entire first act when she wasn't loudly talking (and heckling the pro-Hillary Clinton asides: “Benghazi.”), the show was a marvel.
Streisand was political, but not relentlessly so. She did talk about about President Clinton's (the first one) speech regarding how all human beings are 99.9% genetically the same, “Except for Trump. He's ... different.” She included projected images of police shootings and even 9/11 during a stirring performance of Carole King's “Being at War with Each Other,” and also included appeals for attention to climate change and women's heart problems.
But the banter was largely humorous and relaxed. She joked effortlessly with the crowd and seemed to feed off the delight in the room any time she tackled a monumental Broadway number, or, even more so, indulged us with a more commercial smash like “Evergreen.”
She definitely gave the crowd what we came for, and was in excellent, spine-tinglingly on-point voice, so my complaints are few: I would've liked full versions of the hits she confined to a medley, I felt her “I Didn't Know What Time It Was” made for a meh encore and she's dead to me for skipping “Prisoner.” Okay, that last one I never dreamed would happen.
It takes 2... (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)
She more than made up for small shortcomings by bringing out Jamie Foxx and Patrick Wilson for powerful duets. Actually, she received a standing O after every song she sang:
Highlights for me—these were the A-plusses in a field of straight As—were “Being Alive,” “Papa, Can You Hear Me?,” “Pure Imagination,” “Children Will Listen” and “Don't Rain on My Parade.” It was also a hoot hearing how Arthur Laurents never forgave her for improving on his vision of her “Miss Marmelstein” number in I Can Get It for You Wholesale.
She seems humorless in interviews, but not onstage! (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
It was a performance for the ages. At 74, she looks lovely, sings beautifully, is curating her catalogue pretty well and still knows how to make the people laugh, as when she asked if we knew what it was really like to be famous and have an amazing career, answering her own question with, “It's fan-fucking-tastic!”
...which would've made for a good, one-word review of her show.
Full set list (the only difference on Saturday night was she dropped “Everything Must Change” and did “Children Will Listen”):