The singer Barbra Streisand is starting to sound a lot like Oprah, what with her focus on lady friendships. But girl is gonna need her close confidants, ’cause the gay icon is being sold out by her former boyfriend who’s credited with discovering her — who’s a gay.
Barry Dennen and Babs met in 1959. They were both starring in a terrible way-the-hell-off-Broadway production, and Barry heard her sing, then turned her on to Edith Pilaf, got her singing and working out those wind pipes as they moved in with each other in New York’s Greenwich Village. As the story goes, Barry realized he was a big ‘mo, they split, and she went on to have an enormously successful career.
Barry went on to write 1997’s book My Life With Barbra: A Love Story. Now, he’s looking to cash in again, auctioning off Barbra’s earliest recordings and hoping to snag $1 million in the process.
The tapes include Streisand singing “A Taste of Honey” and “Two Brothers” in Dennen’s apartment, with him accompanying on guitar. There’s also a Sept. 17, 1960, rehearsal at the Bon Soir nightclub, where Streisand sang “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now,” “A Sleepin’ Bee,” “I Want To Be Bad,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” “Lover Come Back to Me,” “Nobody’s Heart” and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”
“I’m a little trepidations,” says Barry. “I don’t know what the fallout will be. I don’t like upsetting Barbra, and I don’t want her fans angry at me.” That’s funny, because he knows what the fallout is going to be; she’s already got lawyers involved to block the recordings’ release, if you believe the Internet.
Amusing, Barbra is hosting her own auction of her own things, except these proceeds will go to charity — one not called the Barry Dennen Desperation Fund.