Interesting column and short video ahead of this weekend’s concerts:
“Come back to Brooklyn and give us a concert.”
That unsolicited plea directed at Barbra Streisand was delivered in a thick Brooklyn accent in a 1981 documentary called “I Remember Barbra.” The film was shot in and around Flatbush, the neighborhood where Ms. Streisand lived for most of her childhood.
The documentary was made by Kevin Burns (no relation to Ken Burns) when he was a 23-year-old film student working on a master’s degree at Boston University. As part of his course work he wanted to make a documentary about Barbra Streisand.
Mr. Burns became a fan thanks to his sister, who, he said, “would play her records all the time” while the two were growing up in Schenectady, N.Y.
But he could not get Ms. Streisand’s cooperation for a film, and without that he was at a loss as to how to approach making it.
Mr. Burns’s professor, Arnold Baskin, who now teaches film at New York University, came up with an idea — talk to the people of Brooklyn about their hometown star. As a native of Brooklyn who had filmed there himself for his own project, he was familiar with its personality. “I knew it would be hilarious,” Mr. Baskin said.
Mr. Burns’s film does include some of Ms. Streisand’s high school teachers and classmates, but many of those interviewed had never met her. Nonetheless, they still had a lot to say.
“I would stand on the Boardwalk and I would literally turn on the camera and say, ‘Tell me what you know about Barbra Streisand,’” Mr. Burns recalled in a recent telephone interview. “And they’d say, ‘I know everything about her. Ask me.’”