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Barbra Streisand (#110 of 12)

Barbra Streisand Drags Donald Trump in “Don’t Lie to Me” Music Video

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Barbra Streisand Drags Donald Trump in “Don’t Lie to Me” Music Video

Columbia Records

Barbra Streisand Drags Donald Trump in “Don’t Lie to Me” Music Video

Pop icon and political activist Barbra Streisand takes aim at President Donald Trump in the lyric video for “Don’t Lie to Me,” the first single from her 36th studio album, the pointedly titled Walls. Written and directed by Streisand, the video intersperses lyrics from the song—which include bon mots such as “Why can’t you feel the tears I cried today?/Cried today, cried today”—with scenes of environmental disasters, the March for Our Lives rallies, and protests over Supreme Court Justice, proud beer guzzler, and alleged sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh.

Hello, Gorgeous: An Interview with Buyer & Cellar‘s Michael Urie

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Hello, Gorgeous: An Interview with Buyer & Cellar’s Michael Urie
Hello, Gorgeous: An Interview with Buyer & Cellar’s Michael Urie

Last month, Michael Urie ended a sold-out run of Jonathan Tolins’s playful comedy Buyer & Cellar at Off Broadway’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, after winning several accolades, including a Drama Desk award for Best Solo Performance. He’s back for a return engagement, currently playing at the Barrow Street Theatre in the West Village.

In recent years, Urie has become a familiar face on and off Broadway (The Temperamentals, Angels in America, The Cherry Orchard, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), but he’s best known for his four-season stint as a fashion designer’s assistant on Ugly Betty. He recently directed his first feature film, He’s Way More Famous Than You, in which he also plays a character loosely based on himself. Later this month, he will be seen in a supporting role in the wacky comedy Petunia, starring Christine Lahti.

As the 32-year-old Texas-born actor describes it, his career path owes much to a series of happy accidents so far. “I grew up in front of the TV and, at age nine, I wanted to be a director,” he recalls. “But then I kept getting cast in plays in school so I thought, ’Maybe I am good at this.’ Then, somebody suggested that I audition for Juilliard, which I thought was crazy, but I decided I might as well try. At Juilliard I fell in love with the classics and when I graduated, I would have just been happy as a clam going from regional theater to regional theater playing the great parts in Shakespeare and Chekhov. I mean, I would kill to do Shakespeare in the Park, but I can’t get arrested there!” It was playing a classical role on stage that led to his big break on television. “I was doing a wacked-out version The Revenger’s Tragedy with the Red Bull Theater Company in a basement, where I looked like David Bowie and acted like Caligula.” His performance caught the eye of a casting director, who the actor learned was currently casting a TV pilot which had a small part for a character described only as “bitchy gay assistant.” Urie says, “I thought, ’I bet I can do that.’” It was meant to be a one-shot deal, as the character was supposed to be replaced every week since the designer, played by Vanessa Williams, would fire her assistant every week. “Vanessa and I got along immediately,” Urie reports. “I made this choice that I was obsessed with her character and I would emulate everything she did, which she loved. So we started playing together. And she would give me tips; if you stand close to me, you will be in this shot. And by the end of week they put me in the cast photo. And, of course, the rest is history.”

In Buyer & Cellar, with expert comic timing and devastating charm, Urie plays an out-of-work gay actor who’s hired to work for Barbra Streisand, in a basement shopping mall constructed in the superstar’s estate in Malibu. The only factual element of Jonathan Tolins’s whimsical fantasy is the actual existence of a subterranean street of shops that Streisand had built in her barn to display her collections, described in her lavishly produced 2010 coffee-table book My Passion for Design. Urie talked to us recently about what it’s like playing the fictitious store manager of Babs’s personal shopping mall.

Everything Is (Not) Illuminated Eric A. Goldman’s The American Jewish Story Through Cinema

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Everything Is (Not) Illuminated: Eric A. Goldman’s The American Jewish Story Through Cinema
Everything Is (Not) Illuminated: Eric A. Goldman’s The American Jewish Story Through Cinema

The American Jewish Story Through Cinema, the latest book from author/scholar Eric A. Goldman, is a difficult work to evaluate, primarily because Goldman is quite proficient in one sense (contextualizing the development and production of American Jewish stories/films within Hollywood cinema) and wholly deficient in another (offering a critical lens from which to form nuanced considerations). When presented with these problems, the deficiencies inevitably outweigh the proficiencies, because even the adept historicizing is tainted by a sense that what’s being presented merely gets at the surface of these complex issues. Moreover, Goldman has written an academic book that’s constructed in such a basic, often needlessly explanatory manner, that one cannot help conclude his ultimate aim is less an appeal to academics seeking a thorough, methodologically rigorous framework, than a more biographically inclined reader, whose interest lies purely in the historical context within which the chosen films of study were produced.

Holding Court: Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last

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Holding Court: Bette Midler in <em>I’ll Eat You Last</em>
Holding Court: Bette Midler in <em>I’ll Eat You Last</em>

One of the distinguishing features of the dullish theater season has been the rise of the solo show. Last week alone, three opened on Broadway. Producers’ love for the genre makes sense: Running costs tend to be as low as it goes, and even when a one-person show doesn’t feature the best acting, it often has the most acting. And that can be enough to get a Tony. Done right, these shows take theater back to its magical roots, when a shaman would tell a story around a campfire. When they’re vanity projects built on such hoary devices as talking to off-stage characters or writing letters and reading them aloud, they can make theater feel like a dried-up old fossil. Fortunately, most of the ones currently running cast a dazzling spell.

We’ve got Holland Taylor as a persuasive Ann Richards in the enjoyable Ann, her own play about the Texas governor; the one-of-a-kind Alan Cumming captivates in the strenuously inventive one-man Macbeth; Tristan Shurrock stars in his own story Mayday Mayday, about a Humpty Dumpty-like fall from a wall; the thoroughly charming Buyer & Cellar features Michael Urie as an out-of-work actor who gets a job working for Barbra Streisand; and Fiona Shaw stuns as the virgin mother in The Testament of Mary.

15 Famous Movie Impostors

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15 Famous Movie Impostors
15 Famous Movie Impostors

This week sees the release of the so-wild-it-must-be true documentary The Imposter, which tells the tale of Frédéric Bourdin, an international master of disguise who, in the 1990s, impersonated a missing Texas boy, one of countless identities the chameleonic subject assumed. Bourdin’s story may be all too real, but his is one of many impostor tales we’ve seen committed to film, as so much suspense rests on characters not being who they seem. In the cases of stars in drag, stars undercover, and stars on the run, viewers are usually in on the incognito secret. Sometimes, though, the ruse is so convincing that everyone is fooled, swept up by the yank of the proverbial rug.

2012 Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions

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2012 Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions
2012 Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions

Eric Henderson: As someone who nearly earned myself a toaster oven in a karoke contest busting hip rolls to “Teenage Dream,” I can’t fully sign off on your malcontent, but that song still represents the sole time Perry’s formula struck on something winsome and enduring. “Firework,” in contrast, is as arch and addicted to whip-its as anything else in her catalogue, and ergo hypocritical because of it. That still places it one notch above the smarmy nothingness that is “Grenade” though.

Sundance Film Festival 2012: 2 Days in New York and For a Good Time, Call…

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Sundance Film Festival 2012: <em>2 Days in New York</em> and <em>For a Good Time, Call…</em>
Sundance Film Festival 2012: <em>2 Days in New York</em> and <em>For a Good Time, Call…</em>

When it comes to Julie Delpy, the key question remains the old Barbra Streisand one. Namely, how much of her can you take in one sitting? A dedicated movie-polymath, effortlessly bilingual and scooping the best of both Old and New World, Delpy resembles a bizarre version of Miranda July: Instead of celebrating lonely quirks of a self-centered sensibility, she throws herself (and the viewer) into a comic vortex of agitated, super-busy scenes of noisy familial squabbles and cerebral lovers’ quarrels, which seems a projection of her own coyly humane view of life.

Her new movie is a sequel to 2 Days in Paris, in which she played a fabulously promiscuous European chick to Adam Goldberg’s perpetually shocked American straight man. Five years have passed, and Goldberg is no longer in the picture: Delpy’s character, Marion, is now living in New York with a new partner, Mingus (Chris Rock), and two children—one of hers and one of his. As befits a typical New York couple, Mingus is a radio-show host (and a Village Voice reporter, no less), while Marion prepares to open a debut photo exhibition, frankly examining her previous sexual relationships and involving a public act of a (literal) “selling of her soul” to an anonymous buyer.