The Streisand Incident
At the age of 18, I had the fortune to participate in a program called the Academy of Achievement. Long story short, about 400 high schoolers spend a weekend at a lecture series put on by this organization that recognizes leaders in numerous industries. I shared a meal with the gentleman who proved the existence of quarks, and another with renowned Looney Toons director Chuck Jones. I made chit chat with Dolly Parton and Tom Selleck.
Returning from an event at Hoover Dam, a friend and I were discussing politics when a producer on our charter bus took interest in our conversation. He chatted with us for the ride back to the hotel, then invited us to skip the next lecture and hang out instead. “I’ll show you how they treat the stars.” he said.
We followed him into this foyer, where a couple of guards stood against the wall. You would have walked right past it. But they pushed open a hidden door and we walked through into another hallway. Or at least so we thought. It turned out to be a huge suite the size of the adjoining lobby, with a bathroom larger than the room in which I was staying.
We had started on politics again, when a woman approached, whom the producer introduced as his friend Barbara. Yep, it was that Barbara. For the next half hour or so, the group of us continued with politics moving to growing up, parents, and other topics. At one point in the conversation, Ms. Streisand asked us if we had seen her recent movie, Nuts. My friend had. I had not.
I don’t think she did it on purpose. She had been truly lovely and welcoming the whole time we were there. But there’s no denying that when I said I hadn’t seen her movie, Barbara Streisand turned her shoulder several degrees away from me, and my participation in our conversation was over.
Nowadays, committed as I am to pursuing a life in the entertainment industry, I do what I can to keep this from happening again. I watch everything. If I meet someone, I want to have seen their stuff. You never know.