Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Barbra Streisand returns to Brooklyn: could it have been Prospect Park instead of the branded Barclays Center?

A New York Times article published today, headlined in print " A Film About Streisand, or Brooklyn" and online as Remembering a Film About Brooklynites Who Were All About Streisand, begins with a quote from a Flatbush-voiced Brooklynite, declaring in a 1981 documentary called “I Remember Barbra," “Come back to Brooklyn and give us a concert.”

Now, as the Times reported:
Ms. Streisand, who is 70, is finally heeding the request. For the first time in her storied career, she will perform in Brooklyn, at the new Barclays Center arena on Thursday and Saturday.
The article focuses on filmmaker Kevin Burns, who reveals that he was asked by Streisand's manager for footage from the film, and he gave it away.

Snobbery or venue?

In the comments on the Times article, one reader carped that it was snobbery for Streisand to wait so long to perform in her home borough. Supporters retorted that not only has Streisand performed rarely in the past 18 years, but "there has been no reasonable venue in Brooklyn for her to perform in."

Yes, and no.

If you watch the video accompanying the online article, you can hear other interviewees chiming in, "Where in Brooklyn? In Prospect Park."

After all, Streisand once played to more than 100,000 people in Central Park, as the video explains.

Prospect Park is a venue, an imperfect one acoustically and logistically. But it is public--even if people must pay to attend certain events--in a way that the commodified, branded Barclays Center never will be.

However, that didn't fit with Streisand's plans. October's not the best month for an outdoor concert, after all.

But to claim a performance in the Barclays Center represents the essence of Brooklyn, as I'm sure Streisand and her fans will do, is to skate over something important regarding the Brooklyn of today.

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