Friday, July 6, 2012

Star-Spangled Barbra

Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day in America, and a national holiday. In honor of the holiday, two of my favorite Barbra images. On the right, the photo Barbra did for George magazine, in which she was "dressed" as Betsy Ross. Ross, for those who may not know, sewed the first American flag. To me, this was not only a clever, creative "acting" assignment for Barbra, but the execution was flawless. Barbra looks gorgeous and the joke is perfectly realized. Bravo! To read the article, it's at Barbra-Archives.  Now, for a second helping of holiday fireworks (!), watch Barbra's dynamic performance of "America The Beautiful" from I Love Liberty. For those who don't know much about the TV special, let me explain. It was a terrible show; clunky and obvious and a liberal response to the conservative based entertainment of the time that was saying, "America, love it or leave it." Barbra was not in America at the time; she was deep in preproduction of Yentl in England. Nevertheless, when producer Norman Lear asked her to contribute to the show, she got together with Joe Layton (who'd worked on Barbra's TV specials) to stage her version of "America The Beautiful." Filmed in the UK, it was dropped into the TV show and, quite simply, was the best thing in it! I love how Barbra looks in this clip, her long permy hair growing out, the chestnut color so much like Yentl. And the passion of her performance is incredible. It's further proof that Barbra never throws it away; she gives 100% if it's something that matters to her. America -- her country and mine -- matters a lot and you can hear it in her vocal.  I still get goose bumps hearing this rendition by Barbra.

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