Small World

Funny Boy

It's impossible to feel gayer than you do after you've made a mad rush to get to the first matinee of the Funny Girl rerelease and realized it was unnecessary because nobody's there. This is no Apocalypse Now Redux, Mary. You, my friend, are a homosexual; you may as well sew a few sequins on your tightest pair of pants and start planning your figure skating career. The 1968 film that won Barbra Streisand an Oscar and set her loose on Hollywood has been playing in sumptuous solitude at the Cinerama and was just released on wide-screen DVD. If you've enjoyed either, you're part of a dying breed: Join the rest of us in feeling like a steadfastly sandaled hippie who looks around and realizes that everyone else has given up and put on Nikes.

Funny Girl was originally released, as comedian Sandra Bernhard once joked, when Streisand was "Simply Baaaaaarbraaaaa," back when the idea of James Brolin would've been a joke to her, before she fell into an unholy alliance with her perms, before all of her movies told us how beautiful she was and we were no longer touched by her palpable need to make that feel true. This was when she sang because she had to, when she used to bite into songs in a triumphant attempt to save her own life—howling and grinding her jaw and emphatically tossing her head around as though she were dispatching some small, vicious animal that had the hubris to think it could take her on. This was the once-awkward Jewish girl who paid her dues transfixing the intimate Bon Soir nightclub in Greenwich Village, singing "Cry Me a River" like you'd damn well better cry her a river, you bastard, or she'd come after you and then you'd really have some sobbing to do.

Nobody performs like this anymore, because if they did, they'd be greeted with raised eyebrows from a society that thinks a generous display of open emotion is, well, gay. It isn't hip to show people what you're feeling from a mile away. When a young Streisand first hit big, she hit the world. If she tried to start the same career now, even most gay boys would look askance and continue to pretend that they're standing around waiting for that big rugby game on the south lawn.

Where have all the homos gone? Long time passing.

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