Arts and Entertainment Nicola Benedetti: 'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

POP / Anything for Barbra: The carpet, the ticket prices, the security checks, the set, the autocue. And, somewhere in among it all, Barbra Streisand

For Barbra, anything is possible. Who would have thought Wembley Arena, the home of stadium rock, could do such a passable impression of the London Palladium? Black drapes obscured the venue's sad red hoardings, a cushion converted your plastic bucket-seat into . . . well, a bucket with a cushion in it, but it was a giant advance. And underfoot lay a deep blue carpet, which wasn't there when Metallica last thundered into town.

First Night: A star reborn with a little help from her analyst: Barbra Streisand; Wembley Arena

ENJOY? they did. In the pounds 260 front-row seats they didn't, as John Lennon once suggested, rattle their jewellery rather than clap. They simply went sedately bananas.

Funny Girl spreads a little sunshine to disabled children before start of her world tour

Barbra Streisand taking a break from rehearsals for her forthcoming concerts at Wembley Arena, north-west London, yesterday to present the keys to 10 Variety Club Sunshine coaches for disabled and underprivileged children. Miss Streisand's concert tonight, which sold out almost immediately despite ticket prices of up to pounds 260, will be her first in Britain for 28 years. The 52-year-old entertainer's last appearance was in the West End musical Funny Girl in 1966.

Funny, when you think about it: How will historians explain why late 20th-century men and women flocked to vast arenas, paying three-figure sums to hear a woman with long nails sing syrupy ballads? OK, it is Barbra Streisand but .. William Grimes reports

When some future cultural historian tries to identify the most puzzling instance of mass hysteria in the 20th century, he will skip right by Orson Welles's 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast and proceed directly to Barbra Streisand's 1994 concert tour.

Barbra and her funny girl fans: David Lister on the devotion that makes women pay a tenth of their annual wages to hear Streisand sing

NEXT WEEK Ruth Davison will spend 10 per cent of her annual salary. She is going to see Barbra Streisand sing. Miss Davison, a clerk in a copyright office, has bought seats for all four concerts at Wembley Arena, at pounds 260 a ticket.

Streisand concerts sold out

All 250,000 tickets for 18 Barbra Streisand concerts were sold within an hour, Reuter reports from New York. They cost up to dollars 350 ( pounds 234) each.

MUSIC / And what's more ..

Barbra Streisand's first ever British concerts will be to 12,500 people a night at Wembley Arena in April . . . The Butcher of Broadway is dead, long live David Richards, who has replaced the New York Times drama critic Frank Rich. .

ART MARKET / Funny girl with serious tastes: Barbra Streisand's passion for art nouveau and deco began when she was only 16. Her impressive collection is on sale this week. Geraldine Norman reports

THE FILM star Barbra Streisand is selling a huge chunk of her art collection at Christie's in New York this week. The public knows a lot about her singing and her acting, a good deal about her lovers and her marriage to Elliot Gould, and something of her political idealism and devotion to liberal causes - she sang at President Clinton's inaugural concert - but, until now, they have known little about her devotion to art.

Here Today: Polish Centre

Somewhere, way back in my family, there is Polish blood. I thought that perhaps, in visiting London's Polish Centre, I would feel some kind of bond with my ancestors. Unfortunately, the bond was not so strong that I could understand any of the information about the Centre, which was entirely in Polish. Still, I sheltered from the rain and various pretty, blonde old ladies showed me around. There is currently an interesting display of Polish religious art, and a cafe and restaurant to enjoy. The Polish Centre also has a cinema, where they screen English films in Polish. The impressive Polska Theatre is mounting a Tom Stoppard play. Latymer, the school across the road, recently put on an acclaimed performance of Guys and Dolls there (Cameron Mackintosh let that one go ahead). It was generally agreed that 16-year-old Eliza Mishcon, as Miss Adelaide, is the Barbra Streisand of Hammersmith.

Final respects

Hot Springs, Arkansas - Hundreds of mourners, including neighbours, government officials and Barbra Streisand, joined President Bill Clinton in paying final respects to his mother yesterday. After the funeral for Virginia Kelley, the President joined a procession for the 90-mile drive to his birthplace, Hope, where Mrs Kelley was buried. AP

The style of Hillary Clinton: Next to the Lincoln Bedroom, where Barbra Streisand has slept, find the Lincoln Sitting Room, which the Clintons have just restored to what they think it ought to be. Rupert Cornwell reports. Loyd Grossman dissects

Once it only happened on truly serious occasions; as when the British burnt the place down in 1814, or when Harry Truman had to leave in 1948 because the building was collapsing around him - or, most recently, when Jacqueline Kennedy moved in. After Jackie, however, everybody has been at it. Indeed, doing up the White House has become a presidential rite of passage, a statement of character scarcely less scrutinised than an Inaugural Address.

A date for dinner: Pandora Melly enjoys a tete-a-tete

ON THE train to Paddington were two disgusting men. One probed his left nostril while the other examined my feet, ankles, knees and finally my frowning face. He leered and licked his lips, and I prayed that he and his companion were not on their way to the Tete a Tete introduction club dinner, where I hoped to make some Lasting Friendships.

THEATRE / Coming out on the tiles: Paul Taylor reviews MSM at the Royal Court

It's not the first time this year that we've been made privy to a Gents on the main stage of London's Royal Court theatre. Max Stafford- Clark's Edwardian King Lear opened with Kent and Gloucester discussing affairs of state over a ruminative pee side by side at a Palace of Westminster urinal. That, though, was just a flash in the pan (so to speak) compared with MSM, DV8 Physical Company's extended anatomy of 'Men who have Sex with Men' in public lavatories.

Raging fires sweep into Malibu

THE EXCLUSIVE Californian seaside town of Malibu, which is dotted with Hollywood stars, was hit early today by a fire which swept across mountains north of Los Angeles, consuming multi-million-dollar mansions in its path.

Dear Chelsea Clinton: The next time they make their feeble jokes about you, just remember that the First Daughter always has the last laugh.

This year has been a bummer for one member of the Clinton family, and I think we all know who it is.
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